Sheriff Porter 13
“Who found the body,” I asked Simpson.
“That old man over there. He says he was here to see if there was any scrap laying around,” he replied.
“Or any that he could easily break loose,” I said. “So does he know we don’t give a crap. We just want to find out what happened.”
“Yeah he is cooperating. Said he checked the building two days ago and there was no body at that time,” Eddie added.
“Wilson, call the ME to pronounce her and then the University to do the Medical Exam,” I said. Our medical examiner was a local GP, so we used outside labs. The new affiliation was with the State University was about to be tested. They had a branch 25 miles away at Abbottsville.
“Nobody but Wilson and the ME to pronounce her and the Abbottsville crew goes near the victim. We can all wait,” I said. The deputies taped off the area while Wilson covered his shoes and began collecting evidence and other loose stuff. Way more than half of what he collected had no relation to the victim at all, but you couldn’t be too careful. It was the forensic people’s motto and I agreed.
Eddie and Osborn began talking to anyone who would listen and talk back. They were talking to the window breaking neighborhood kids when the ME showed up. He was about a hundred year old white man.
The heat was getting to us all, but to him it could be lethal. “When the fuck are you gonna find someone else to do this shit?” he asked.
“Come on Doc, you know you love it,” I said.
“Porter, I haven’t loved this shit for 25 fucking years,” he said.
“That’s quite a bedside manner you got there Doc,” I said.
“I am trying to retire and I get you remarking on my bedside manner. You, who have killed more men than colon cancer,” he said laughing at his own joke.
“So if you want to retire, retire,” I said.
“Were would all my patients go? To one of those fucking clinics that don’t even have a doctor on call,” he said.
“I hear there is a full clinic at the hospital in Dobson,” I said.
“A full fucking clinic with half the doctors they need. Where they measure the waiting times of days instead of hours,” he said. “That’s fucking socialized medicine.”
“Okay instead of the lecture tell me how long she has been dead, and give me a preliminary cause of death,” I demanded.
He put on gloves and the little shoe covers. Even though he tried to act like he didn’t care, he was careful to keep the scene clean. “Most likely cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Her fucking skull is caved in and her brain is leaking out. I’d say that’s a good guess,” he said.
“Her liver temp and lack of rigger (rigor mortis) tells me it was last night at least but no more than 24 hours. The lab can tell you more,” he said.
“You have always done good. Anything on the body to identify her?” I asked.
“Nothing obvious, I expect Wilson can tell you more. The SBI cutter should help some,” he suggested.
“Well Doc, she is going to Abbottsville lab not capitol city,” I said.
“Good, a teaching hospital will be out to prove they are smarter than any other mother fuckers,” he said.
“Jeeze Doc, could you take it easy with all that mother fucker stuff? Somebody may come around. It isn’t very professional,” I said.
“You don’t like it Porter go get yourself someone else to pronounce the obvious dead, dead,” he said.
“She been sexually assaulted?” I asked.
“The question isn’t was she assaulted, it is by how many,” he said. “Does it remind you of anyone?”
“No it doesn’t. Why, you had others like this?” I asked.
“First one ten years ago, then one seven years ago, and then one two years ago,” he said.
“Why the hell have I never heard of this?” I asked.
“You think the old Sheriff wanted people thinking their kids weren’t safe in their beds. Now that last Sheriff was a real piece of work. Go back you’ll see,” the ME said.
“We need an ID, take a picture with this,” I said handing him my camera phone. “Don’t pose her Doc just the damn picture.” He was in the process of moving her to get a full face shot.
“I phoned into the office. Did anyone check for a missing persons reports?” I asked West when she answered. “This is the victim du jour,” I said after I sent the pictures.
“She looks like she could be Lucinda Martinez,” West said.
“Call Simpson on his phone please. Tell him and give him any of the information in the Doc’s report. Then tell him we need to meet, before he does anything other than canvas the mill area.”
“Right Sheriff, would you like me to get someone to ID the body before you go meet with the mother?” Mrs. West asked.
“Mrs. West I would rather you found someone who can speak to the dead,” I said. “Someone whispered in my ear this might not be the first young girl killed by this perp. What do you know about that?”
“We have had a couple of unsolved murders of girls about her age now that you mention it,” she said. “But I think they were different ages and they weren’t bludgeoned.”
“Well make that call and tell Eddie to keep it off the radio. He has me on speed dial,” I explained.
I was absolutely soaked when the lab crew from the State University at Abbottsville arrived. I guess they weren’t used to a Sheriff being soaking wet. Even my hair was dripping and I looked more or less like hell by the time they arrived.
“Is there someone here who can authorize us to go to work?” an especially nasty dis-positioned lab tech said.
“Do you reckon the County Sheriff would do?” I asked.
“Yeah where is he?” the tech replied.
“The he is a she, and she is right here, now who the hell are you?” I said very calmly way too calm to anyone who knew me.
“I’m sorry sheriff, but you don’t look like a sheriff,” she said.
“I didn’t ask for an apology. I asked who the hell you are,” I said.
“I’m Dr. Dale Evans. I know, my parents loved old western movies,” she explained.
“Well Dr. Evans, I need any help you can give us in Identifying this body. Also I want a rape kit of course. I always want to know, if this was a dump or if she was killed here. Now you can get with my lab geek Wilson. Between the two of you I want to know everything that young lady can tell us.”
“I’m not a pathologist, but I’ll pass it on to that department. My doctorate is in criminology,” she said. “I asked for this job of picking up bodies for the lab, so I could get some field experience.”
“You look more like a high school student. Now you have your authorization, so how about getting her on ice before she spoils,” I suggested.
“Sure, did your man get all the photos you need?” she asked.
“No, you make all the standard photos and send me a copy. Also don’t contaminate my crime scene,” I said.
“I know better than to do that Sheriff,” she said.
“Good hold on I want someone from my office here since it’s our first time.” I put a call in to Wilson. “By the way it is comforting that you know better than to contaminate my crime scene,” I said.
Wilson was waiting down the street in a convenience store, one where they had fountain cokes. He brought me one. “You look like hell Sheriff,” he said.
“Thanks Wilson. Get in there and make sure they don’t spread their DNA everywhere. We have to have a clean sample for sure this time. It might well come down to that,” I said.
“Okay, I’ll keep and eye on them,” Wilson said.
“Good, I’m going to see the mother of the missing girl. Whether this is her daughter or not, we need to get all the information we can on the missing girl. We will make a full effort to find her as well as this little girl’s killer.”
I drove to the small frame house of the Martinez family. Mr. and Mrs. Martinez were legal immigrants, they were quick to point out. “Lucy she is a good girl. When she didn’t come home from the movie, we knew something was wrong.”
“So Lucy went to the movie?” I asked.
“Yes she went once a week on Wednesday. On Wednesday night they show the current run movie for one dollar. She works as a Child sitter for a family here in town. She likes to go to the movie on Wednesday night,” the mother said.
“Did Lucy go to the movies alone?” I asked it but I couldn’t imagine they allowed their daughter to go out alone at night. They were very old school.
“Lucy went with her friend Elle,” the father said with distaste evident in his voice.
“Is Elle a family member?” I asked.
“Of course not, she is a Norte Americano,” he said again with distaste.
“So your daughter who was 14, was out with this Elle? Someone she knew from school?” I asked.
“Yes she lives in town. Her father is the one who got Lucy the job, caring for the children,” the mother informed me.
“Could you give me the last name of Elle and the name of the family your daughter worked with?” I asked. “I would also like to take a swab inside your mouth Mrs. Martinez. It’s just to eliminate all the other missing girls from across the country.”
While she wrote the names in my note pad, I looked at her husband. He looked angry and she looked worried. I didn’t look forward to showing them the body. I decided to put off the identification until the last possible minute.
It was 6 PM when we finished with the family. Mrs. West had gone for the day and I was about ready to give up for the first day. All I needed to do was brief Eddie and Osborn. Then I would be free to either go home or go visit Liam. Yes Liam and I were still lovers. We didn’t do it too much. They were into some super secret bullshit out at the camp. I had been bored waiting, but I suddenly had lots to think about.
“So what did you learn while I was talking to everybody in the damn neighborhood?” Eddie asked.
“I learned that if Lucy isn’t the victim, her father might kill her when she got home,” I said.
“They hardcore huh?” he asked.
“Oh yes, the thing is they had a school picture of a very plain Latina girl. The girl in the broom plant was possibly Latina but very Americanized. She had the right coloring but with that makeup no way to ID her from the school picture.”
“So what do you suggest,” Simpson said.
“I think you should proceed as if the ID hasn’t been made, and continue trying to nail her down. I’ll just pretend we don’t have a body and try to find Lucy Martinez,” I suggested.
“Yeah, even if she isn’t our girl, finding her would still be a priority,” he said.
“I agree. Just to change the subject is Osborn much help?” I asked.
“She is staying pretty busy, but I don’t know how much she is learning from me. I don’t think I’m a very good teacher. There are things that I take for granted that I need to be teaching her. I’m afraid a lot of the information I should be passing on to her is getting passed over.”
“You will get the hang of it. For one thing tell her, if she is shy, she needs to be more demanding. Hell buy her a pair of thigh high boots and a whip,” I suggested.
“They don’t make those boots in her size, I don’t think,” he said being somewhat snide.
“I’m sure the same size you wear would fit her fine,” I said and laughed. “You could loan her yours.”
Edited by Walt