Sheriff Porter 14
I went home and went to sleep, but only after I punched the bag for half and hour. I felt guilty and planned to run the first thing the next morning, since I missed my run that night.
When the sun came up I was at the softball field. I checked for cars. I almost didn’t stop when I saw the Grey Honda. The woman inside saw me drive into the lot and got out to wait for me. Since she had gone to all the trouble of walking up in the middle of the night, I figured I owed it to her to run along side her.
“Sheriff Porter,” Osborn said.
“How did you know where I ran, and more important how did you know I would be here now?” I asked.
“The news whore interviewed you once from here, when you were running for sheriff,” Osborn said.
“Okay that’s the where now the when?” I asked.
“We worked late last night, and there were no gang arrests on the books. They hang out here smoking weed at night. I know you are religious about running. Tonight will probably be another late one, so this seemed the most likely.”
“So I will have to tell Eddie that you are a getting good at it,” I said. “‘Eliminate the obvious and the whatever is left, no matter how unlikely, must be the truth.’ or something like that was a Sherlock Holmes quote.”
“Yes I know, I rather like the new Sherlock series. Not the American one the ‘Young Sherlock’ on the BBC,” she said.
“Are we going to talk TV or run?” I asked.
“I’ll try to keep up,” she said.
“You are ten years younger you should be able to run me into the ground,” I said. I was already headed for the free standing bleachers to leave my towel and water bottle, then on to a counter clockwise lap of the field. I ran off setting a not too fast but a nice steady pace. Something around seven miles an hour I would think. She struggled to keep up. Since she was always behind me. I didn’t know she dropped out at the bleachers till I past her on my last couple of laps.
I was out of breath and absolutely soaked when I sat down beside her. I used the towel to dry my face. When my breathing was steady, I said, “You did pretty good. But when you are tired of running you should start walking. You need to keep moving for the whole hour. You will eventually teach your body to run it all.”
“They are right you are one tough bitch,” she said. “No offense meant.”
“None taken, I have heard it all before. Now go home take a shower get dressed and I’ll see you at the office,” I said.
“Aren’t you going to Hardee’s for breakfast?” she asked.
“Sure, but I don’t talk business, just in case you are planning on a learning experience,” I said.
“Okay, but I would like to have breakfast with you,” she said.
I looked at her seriously, then asked, “Do you have an off duty piece?”
“Yes I do a 9 mm FIE automatic,” she said.
“Do you have it with you,” I asked.
“Is something wrong,” she asked.
“When you are with me, you have your threats to worry about, and mine as well, so carry yours off duty piece,” I said honestly.
“Yes Ma’am, I understand,” she said.
“Good, come on you gave up you are buying,” I said.
Over the coffee and biscuits she asked, “Do you still hit the bag?”
“It’s not a heavy gym bag these days. I work out with a duffel bag filled with dirty laundry, but yeah I hit it some,” I said.
“I would love to work out with you,” Osborn said.
“Let’s see how our running friendship goes. Tell you what, you give me your number to put in the phone and I’ll call you when I go to run. If you can meet me there answer and I’ll wait. If you don’t answer in five minutes I’ll go without you,” I said. It was the best I was going to do. “Now let’s go get ready to work.”
I went back to the box house and took a quick shower. You had to with that hot water system. The coil that heated the water continuously got cool after a while and the water became only tepid. I had pretty much figured out when it was going to happen and timed my shower accordingly. Wash my body under hot and my hair under somewhat cooler, but still warm water.
Even with all the jumping through hoops, I had time to get coffee and meet with Wilson in the lab. “Alright Wilson what did you come up with?” I asked.
“I found prints all over the place, and I found what I think is the murder weapon last night. Well to be fair, the dog led me to it, sort of.”
“Okay Wilson you get the credit, but for god’s sake get on with it,” I said. “I thought we agreed that there was not enough blood for her to have been killed there.”
“There was if someone covered her face with a cloth of some kind, then clubbed her. I think the pathologist is going to find fibers in the wound, when she does her cutting today. She can probably tell us what kind of cloth.”
“If it is Lucy, I have a pretty good idea. She was in a low cut tee shirt pushed up above her breast. Her mother would never have let her leave the house dressed like that. She had to have had a cover shirt, or sweater over the top to hide it. She also would never have gotten out with that amount of make up and eye shadow. My guess is she went somewhere put on the make up and opened the top to reveal her cleavage. When the killer did her, he covered her with the over shirt, then took it as a souvenir,” I said.
“Sounds like a good explanation,” Wilson said getting all excited.
“I hope I’m wrong. I don’t want to tell her mother and father that their daughter died like that,” I said.
“I know it will be rough,” Wilson said.
“Here send this down to Abbottsville for a match. Lucy had nothing, no prints or DNA on file and the picture won’t be conclusive. We couldn’t get a match with what we had last night but with this we might get a match,” I said.
“What you got there,” Wilson asked.
“I got her mother’s DNA. See I do listen to you. Have them test the Mother’s DNA,” I said. It was an expensive test, but if the county balked I would pay for it out of my own pocket. I wanted to spare the family a view of the body till I was sure it was Lucy. The body was in the University Hospital and it had her face so destroyed, I wasn’t sure her mother could recognize it.
I called Osborn in from patrol. I wanted her along when I spoke to Elle and her family. I called ahead to be sure everyone would he waiting for us. When we got in, and after the introductions, I was the first to bring up Lucy. “You have heard that Lucy is missing?” I asked Elle directly.
“Should we have a lawyer present,” the father asked.
“If you feel you or your daughter is guilty of some crime, then yes you should. If I were to place any of you under arrest, the state would appoint you a lawyer, if you could not afford one. You are always entitled to have a law present during any interrogations. If at anytime you feel you need a lawyer, I will stop and allow you to seek counsel. In the mean time when was the last time you saw Lucy?” I asked Elle.
“We planned to go to the movies the night she went missing, but she canceled at the last minute,” Elle replied.
“I see. Did you see her at all that night,” I asked. I noticed at that she lowered her eyes she was about to lie to me.
“No I didn’t see her,” Elle said.
“How about you sir, when did you last see Lucy,” I asked.
“I saw her at Dave’s house when we went to play golf. The plant is closed this week for vacation. Dave and I are both supervisors at the Dog Food Plant. I arranged for Lucy to be Dave’s nanny when Elle decided to go to band camp instead of taking care of his kids. I knew her family needed the help and Lucy was a good kid,” He explained.
“So when was your golf game?” I asked.
“Day before yesterday, I guess it was the day she went missing, but it was much earlier in the day,” he said.
“How about you Ma’am?” I asked Elle’s mother.
“At church Sunday,” she answered and looked me in the eye. She was the only one who had during the whole conversation.
“Well can you think of anything to help me find Lucy,” I asked finally. I waited but no one answered.
“Well it is very important that we find her as soon as possible,” I said and handed them my card. “If you think of anything call me day or night.”
“The girl knows more than she is telling,” Osborn said.
“I think so as well. I also think the father does too. If we get them separated, we just might find out we are just going to have to go somewhere else to ask. In the meantime I have a job for you. Go find out where a girl, dressed and made up like Lucy, would go to party,” I demanded.
“I would do better without the uniform for this,” she said.
“Then wait till you get off shift to ask around. Don’t spend more than an hour at it,” I said.
“In that case while I’m waiting for something to happen on patrol, I’ll find Elle’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. I would bet she is involved in it as well,” Osborn said.
“You are probably right, she at least knows where Lucy went,” I said. “While you are at it, do a search on her dad. He might have some kind of secret identity as well.”
“You like him for this?” she asked.
“I don’t not like him,” I said. “He is just a possible for now.”
“Are we going to visit the parents of the children she sat with?” Osborn asked.
“I would like to get to them after we identify the girl in the closed plant for sure,” I said. “Let’s go back and check with Wilson.”
In the basement of the courthouse I found Wilson was out. A call to dispatch told me he was back at the plant. I doubted he missed anything out there. Hell I could rebuild the loft where the body was found using the material he brought back.
Osborn and I drove out to the plant. I had her drive her car again so she could answer any emergency calls. I didn’t expect any except calls from Eddie Simpson, since his case had the priority at the moment.
“Wilson what the hell are you doing back out here?” I asked after blowing my truck horn to get him outside. He came from a much smaller building than the one where the body was found.
“Recovering this,” he said showing me a clear evidence bag. Inside was a canvas zip type women’s wallet.
“Since you obviously overlooked it last night, where did you find this?” I asked.
In the smaller building beside the parking lot. I didn’t look there, one of the patrol guys did. I will name no names because she is standing there,” he said pointing at Osborn. Anyway I can get a better read on the sequence of the crime now. I’m in the middle of processing the small building.”
“What made you come back here though,” Osborn asked trying to redeem herself.
Edited by Walt