The mystery continues! Be sure to catch up on Parts 1, 2, and 3! # Cops swarmed around the parking structure like hornets on a downed hive. I drove by slowly while Lucky made his
Cops swarmed around the parking structure like hornets on a downed hive. I drove by slowly while Lucky made his assessment.
“Looks like they called in overtime. I count seventeen—no eighteen officers at street level.” He took a sip of coffee.
“And you’re sure this is related?”
“Well, nobody on the radio used the words ‘brain missing,’ but the response from dispatch sure made it sound like they were thinking serial killer.”
I nodded. “How long ago?”
“Not long, looks to me like they’re still organizing the scene.”
“Perfect.” I drove another block, turned down a side street, and parked next to a meter. “I should have enough gear in the trunk to get us in.”
“Actually, Boss, I think I need to sit this one out. We don’t all have friends on the force.”
“Fair enough. Head home, dig up anything else you can on Richmond Jones, then get some sleep. I’ll catch up with you in the office tomorrow morning. Oh, and I’ll need this.” I grabbed the coffee cup out of his hand.
“Hey! I hope they arrest you this time. Stealing a man’s coffee, it’s not right.” Lucky climbed out of the car and headed toward the nearest bus stop, still muttering about his coffee.
I fished a pair of thick-rimmed glasses out of the glove compartment. One of the lenses had popped out, but a little cajoling got it back in place.
The rest of what I needed was in the trunk: an old jacket, a wrinkly blouse, and an empty metal-sided briefcase. There wasn’t as much stuff as I remembered, so it was probably best Lucky wasn’t coming too. Though he was also probably the cause of the missing gear.
Since it was late enough that traffic had largely disappeared, and my car’s windows are strongly tinted, I changed in the back seat. I left a couple buttons undone on my blouse, enough to distract the average man while still maintaining a professional look. The jacket helped with the second part. I finished the ensemble by pulling my hair into a ponytail, donning the glasses and carrying the metal-sided briefcase in one hand with the coffee in the other.
On the walk back to the parking structure I was glad to still be wearing my sneakers.
As I approached the scene, I remembered my training: “If you don’t believe it, why should they?”
I ducked around the officer putting up yellow tape and addressed the man who appeared to be supervising. “Which level?”
“C’mon, I swore after college I was done pulling all-nighters.” I ignored the sniggers from behind me and hoisted my briefcase. “Evidence isn’t going to collect itself. Now, which level?”
“Three. Northwest corner.” He gave me a noncommittal wave.
I took the stairs, rather than stand around waiting for the elevator. The less time I spent standing in one place the less likely someone would question my presence.
Up on level three it was easy to tell where the action was. The crime scene unit had cordoned off a corner and were busy tagging and photographing every little imperfection. On my side of the scene, two men were talking: Donnie the medical examiner and Jim.
They would make things more complicated.
I set my briefcase down at the top of the stairs, put the glasses inside, and re-buttoned my blouse. Then I walked toward where Jim and Donnie were speaking.
“I’ll have to take him back to the morgue to make a full report, but my preliminary examination definitely suggests this body is in the same condition as the last one.” Donnie brushed a hand through the thinning wisps of his hair.
“I was afraid of that.” Jim rubbed the stubble on his chin.
“How many does this make?”
“Four that we’ve found.”
“Well, three that you’ve found and one that I gave you.” I held Lucky’s cup out to Jim. “Coffee?”
Both men turned and I was greeted by Donnie’s sardine breath. Unfortunately, Jim’s bad cologne was not nearly strong enough to compete.
“Ange, what are you doing here?” Jim grabbed my arm.
“Easy, I’m bringing you coffee, what’s it look like I’m doing.”
Jim took the cup from my hand. “It looks like you’re sticking your nose into police business again. On a case I specifically told you to stay away from.”
I shrugged. “First you say you want to spend time with me, then you tell me to go away; how’s a girl supposed to know what you want.”
One of the other investigators came up to Jim. “Sir, we found this in the car.” He held up an old wallet.
After pulling on a pair of latex gloves, Jim took it and showed Donnie the driver’s license. “This our vic?”
Donnie studied the picture for a moment. “Yeah, that’s him.”
Jim glanced at the name. “Damn it.”
“What?” I asked.
“This guy’s girlfriend tried to report him missing this morning.”
“What do you want from me? I’m in homicide, I sent her over to missing persons, but I don’t know if they opened a file. She said she hadn’t seen him in about twelve hours.”
Only twelve hours? “What’s the name?”
I winced. This might not have been as random as the others. “What about the girlfriend?”
“Uh, Dean. Virginia Dean.”
“What? No. Ange, stay out of this.”
I held up my hands. “Who said I was getting involved.”
“See that you don’t. I’ll arrest you if I have to.” He took a sip of Lucky’s coffee. “You talk to your client about Hilsberger yet?”
“Well, you better get some sleep then.”
“Yeah.” I left Jim to his crime scene. He was right; I needed sleep. But I also had to get ahold of Virginia Dean. The killer had moved on to cleaning house, and for all I knew she could be next.
To Be Continued…