Megan had long ago learned that haste and rushing through a case made for errors. She’d witnessed investigators rush to judgement regarding a scene, a perp, a scenario and that misjudgment had resulted in the loss of the case, and worse yet, the real culprit had escaped justice due to a technicality. Not on her watch!
First on the scene, she’d taken notes and pictures to add to those that would follow for her use later but was awaiting the ME’s arrival. Instinctively she knew there was more involved than the simple tragic death of a woman living alone.
Serena Majors undoubtedly had money, it was a large ranch. A foreman lived on sight in a cabin at the other end of the field and a live-in caretaker, Mrs. George, who although elderly, moved slowly and meaningfully, stayed in the house, and there was a twinkle in her eye that belied her age.
Until the ME could tell her more, she couldn’t call it a homicide or accidental death, but the position of the body spoke volumes. Time of death had been within the last few hours for Mrs. George had summoned the foreman, Joseph Craig when she’d headed out to the stables looking for Serena when she hadn’t come in for tea and it was past four o’clock and tea at four was a ritual. Unable to reach her employer due to an old back injury that negated the possibility of bending down low, she’d jumped in the truck and ridden to get Mr. Craig.
Upon interviewing Mr. Craig, he’d also indicated it was half-past four or thereabout and that when he’d reached his employer, she wasn’t breathing and but her body was still faintly warm to the touch.
During their conversation she’d learned he’d been a navy man for years, seen a great deal of death and had handled it well, but it was obvious he’d cared about Serena Majors, his eyes damped continually turned toward her throughout their conversation.
“Hey!” he nodded shrugged and headed toward the body. Nothing more was said as was his custom until after a thorough exam had taken place. As Megan watched, he seemed puzzled which was very unlike Mikey. He was good at summoning up a situation rather quickly and 9 out of 10 times, he was correct.
“What you think, Mikey?”
“She’d been deceased for approximately six hours, maybe less. This is a staged scene, Megan. We were supposed to think she’d been thrown from a horse, and perhaps she was, but she was strangled first. Ligature marks around her throat ankles and wrists are clear and bruising indicates she’d been manhandled. The bruising is already distinct enough I can tell you the man is large, his hand span nearly wrapped around her neck. Whoever did this, believes they are clever, but they aren’t. The body of evidence will catch up, of that I am certain!”
“You can move her now,” he told his assistant(s).
“Go careful on this one, Megan, something isn’t right. It’s too stage as if to purposefully draw attention, our attention to be exact, and I guarantee you whoever it is, won’t stop.”
Megan felt a cold chill flash across her skin. She looked Mikey in the eye and asked, “You think it’s him?”
“Yeah, I do. The MO is different, but there’s a feeling about it. Look for a large individual, strong. From the look of those marks on her body, he literally picked her up with one hand and threw her like a rag doll. Although she’s slender, she’s tall, but tossing her was child play for him.”
He walked toward her and stopped alongside her, “Don’t you go investigating this alone, Megan. It’s what he wants. He may be after you. It’s always the cops he wants, the taunts, the arranged bodies, the “notes” he leaves.”
“This perp gets away not because of what he leaves, but because of what he doesn’t leave behind. He jerks our people around, leaving hints and clues that when we finally get him, will put him away for life, but in the meantime, if it’s the same person I think it is, he’s responsible for at least six deaths I know of, and that doesn’t include the two cops investigating the last two.”
Megan took a deep breath and promised, “I’ll take care.” And she would. She didn’t have a death wish and she was determined to take him off the street and to do that, she needed all the assistance she could get. She knew exactly who she’d call.