Please note some changes:
This book is a work in progress, so sometimes I make changes. To help you, I always post these changes prominently.
Sally is now Joan
Bob is now Steve
“Detective Morales? This is Dr. Horowitz from the medical examiner’s office. I think you should see something. Can you come over?”
“Sure. I’m taking some witness statements now. How about after lunch?”
“Perfect. See you then.”
Jésus Morales spent the morning interviewing workers from the construction site. Not much to learn there. No, no one had seen anything suspicious. No, nothing out of place when they got there are 7 am.
CSU hadn’t found much either. Whatever tire tracks might have been left by the killer were obscured first by multiple trucks delivering materials, then the truck removing construction waste that discovered the body wrapped in an old shower curtain. They were sifting through materials around the dumpsite, but mostly they’d just found construction debris – nails, chips of metal, a couple of coffee cups, and a used condom. Maria said they’d check it all out and let him know.
Maybe an early lunch, then he’d call that hot babe he’d met yesterday – the neighbor — to see if she’d seen Jaime or thought of anything else they might find valuable. Better make another call to the husband, too. It looked pretty suspicious that they couldn’t reach him on his cell or at work. Danny called Jaime’s supervisor and they said he’d taken some vacation time, left after work yesterday soon after they’d talked to him. Not a good sign. He’d already put out an APB and added Jaime to the “Do Not Fly” list. He was waiting on a warrant for Jaime’s phone provider and had a BOLO out for his car. Not much more he could do at this point.
Danny and Mike were over at the dumpsite now. They had a crew doing a grid search around where they found the body hoping to find something that led them to the killer. They also had a cadaver dog, just in case. Dios Mia, he hoped that didn’t pan out.
“You’re kidding me?” shouted Morales, letting loose a string of expletives in Spanish. Unlike English, Spanish allowed you to get really colorful when you needed to swear. “The dog hit on 2 more potential bodies?”
Danny held the phone away from his ear not so much to avoid the profanity as to avoid splitting his eardrum. “That’s what it looks like,” he said when Morales gave him a break. “The dog indicated 2 areas; one northwest of the original body about 1500 yards and the other northeast about the same distance. It doesn’t form a perfect triangle, but it’s close. Looks like the person who buried this last victim knew the other 2 were already there. I can’t think of another explanation.”
It was pretty rare to have bodies turning up here, well, except the occasional illegal who got caught breaking into a rancher’s house. The rancher might just dump the body somewhere to avoid answering questions. Nothing like a serial murder, which was what this was shaping up to be. Now he had maybe 3 bodies dumped in a construction site and Jésus wasn’t happy – wasn’t happy at all. There hadn’t been a serial since he made detective. Heck, he couldn’t remember the last time there was a serial killer in the valley.
“Get CSU up there and call someone to dig. Carefully. I’m on my way.” He threw the rest of his sandwich into the trash and headed out the door of Whataburger. Belching as he got into his car, his stomach on fire, Jésus called his wife and told her not to wait dinner on him. He didn’t figure he’d be very hungry, even if he managed to get out before midnight.
He heard about the body on the radio.
Wow, that was fast. They still haven’t found the other bodies I hid up there. I wonder how they found this one so fast. Good thing I buried something a little special with this body. Send all those assholes on a wild goose chase and give me a little breathing space.
I’ll have to lay low for a while. Maybe I should take a vacation – visit some friends in Mexico. I’ve been meaning to see if Juan Filipe had anything going on. He’d hinted at something special the last time we talked. Besides, it was too fucking hot for him here now.
With a total of 3 female bodies now, Morales figured he’d better see if there were more bodies in the area. No reason a serial killer would only have 1 dumpsite in an area covered with undeveloped land and lots of back roads with little traffic. An email went out to Brownsville, Corpus Christi, and other towns near McAllen. Each email contained a description of what he’d found and asked them to report any suspicious murders of young women in their districts. He even sent a message over the border to Reynosa asking them if they’d seen anything like this. He didn’t expect much cooperation from them, but he figured it was worth a try.
“Oh, shit. I forgot about the coroner,” he said as he dialed the coroner’s office. “Doc Horowitz, you gonna be in for a little while. I got tied up, but I’d like to stop over and see what you’ve got for me.”
“Sure, I know you guys have been busy. I just got the other 2 bodies. I’ll start their autopsies tomorrow, but I wanna get a few things done today. I’ll be here for at least another 2 hours.”
“See, that there,” said Dr. Horowitz when Morales got there later that day. “That’s the hyoid. It gets broken when someone is strangled.”
“But her throat was cut, Doc. Couldn’t that have broken that hyoid thing?”
“No, not like this. He strangled her. You can see the marks from his fingers around her neck over here past the cut, although he almost cut her head right off. Her hyoid doesn’t show any cut marks near the break telling me it was broken, not cut. Why he cut her throat, too, I can’t answer. Suggests a lot of anger, maybe. Notice how there’s very little blood around the wound or in the plastic she was wrapped it. Supports my finding. She was dead before he cut her throat so she didn’t bleed much. The heart wasn’t pumping.”
“Anything else you can tell me, Doc?”
“Not much, I’m afraid,” said Dr. Horowitz, shaking his head. “He cleaned her up pretty good, even under her finger and toe nails. I’ve never seen anyone do that before, very thorough. I can tell you she’s in her 20’s and her stomach contents suggest tamales as her last meal – not much of a surprise there – and alcohol. Tested her blood and it came back as .14. She was pretty lit and I found traces of GHB, too. We can test isotopes to determine if she was from Mexico, but it won’t tell me how recently she came to the US. She could have been here a couple of years or arrived yesterday. My guess – she’s a recent arrival.
“Why do you say that?”
“For starters, she looks too underweight for an American. Second, she has the skin tone you commonly find among homeless Mexicans.
“Thanks, Doc. Let me know if you find anything on those other two, probably the handiwork of the same guy. I don’t know when we last had a serial in these parts, but it was long before I joined the force.”
“Before my time, too. I don’t envy you. This is a tough case and the media will be all over this – not just here in the Valley, but up in Austin and San Antonio, maybe Houston. Heck, maybe the national papers will show up in a day or two.”
“Just what I need,” said Detective Morales as he headed out the door with his head down and a look of desperation in his dark eyes.