Blood Crumbs: Chapter 3Mature

    The apartment was musty and smelled of stale cigars and mold. The lights had been turned off and all of the curtains pulled shut, so it was impossible to take in the entire scene at a glance. I reached for the light switch but an officer was standing in front of it.

    “Just a minute, Burton.” Came a voice from behind a big puffy coat sitting in the middle of the room. “I’ll also need you to close that door.”

    Jared Wells, Sandy’s go to forensics guy, was hunched over the body of a middle aged man, stripped to his boxers and lying on his back. I stepped over as Jared reached into his gigantic duffle bag and pulled out a long black stick. A small click revealed that the object was a black-light.

    The dim purple tube highlighted the man’s feet exposing nothing out of the ordinary. Slowly he moved the object up the corpse revealing no highlighted regions.

    “Trace fluids,” Jared mumbled as the wand moved over the victim’s boxers. “I’ll make sure to have Dr. Canar get me some samples but my guess is they’re mostly his own.”

    “Where is Dr. Canar?” I asked, “And why are you messing with the body?”

    Jared grunted and looked up at me with what I supposed would have been a irritable stare, but the room was too dark, so the emotion was lost on me.

    “I’m not messing with the body, you know me better than to think I would disturb the crime scene. I had a quick hunch based on what I've seen and I wanted to check it out.”

    I stepped in closer over the body and saw what I suspected to be the killing blow. The man’s throat had been slit; a clean slice from ear to ear. The weird part was that Liz had been right, as far as I could see, there was no blood.

   The black light continued its ascent revealing nothing at the torso. “Just as I suspected.” Jared said with a hint of self-satisfaction.

“What?”

   “Well our victim obviously wasn’t murdered here. Well, he was murdered here in this apartment, but not right on this spot. We know because there’s no blood on him. The thing is, that even if the blood had been cleaned up there would be traces of it in crevices on the body. Inside the belly button, near the collar bone, and whatnot.”

I frowned. “Which means?”

   My question was answered as the light hit the victim’s face and lit up like a Christmas tree. Jared grinned and looked up at me. “Which means down was up when this guy bled out.”

   He stood up and beckoned me to follow him. We walked carefully through the darkened room trying not to disturb anything. The main living room connected to three doors and a dining room. Jared moved through one of the doors, which turned out to be the bathroom.

   It was dark except for the black light which Jared pointed into the bathtub. The tub ignited under the florescence and I cringed.

    “Go ahead and hit the light.” He said clicking off the black light. “Black light’s not really helpful beyond helping me get a feel of what’s going on. I’ll use the Luma-Light after we’re sure we’ve gathered everything we can. I’ll have one of my assistants record what it finds. Nobody likes luminal all over their crime scene.”

    Luminal was a chemical compound that, under specific fluorescence, would show much more detail in trace forensics. Urine, blood, and semen, amongst other compositions, will all react better after the treatment of chemicals. The Luminal mist is sprayed over the necessary surface, tests are done, and when it dries, it becomes a fine powder that is easily washed away. The process, however, contaminates the fluids allowing a much more limited array of tests.

    I flicked the switch next to the sink and two of the three dim bulbs over the mirror flickered on casting shadows over my puffy face. I stared in the mirror for a second and sighed. The ten hours cramped in Bertha didn’t do much for the sagging features. I was forty-nine but on a good day looked in my mid fifties. The lack of sleep definitely added a few more years and I quickly forced myself to look away from my reflection, running my hands through my thinning hair.

    Jared was pointing at the ceiling where I quickly located a dime-sized hole. Someone had drilled into it.

    “I’ll let Dr Canar take a look at the body before I give you anything official, but from first glance I’d say that this guy was incapacitated somehow. Then our killer strung the victim upside-down from something he drilled into this support beam. At that point our killer probably slit his throat and bled him like a pig. You can see it might’ve been some sort of pulley-system, there's a second hole right over the door.”

    He pointed to a second mark.

    “Any idea if he was still alive when they cut?”

    Jared shrugged. “For that, you’ll have to wait for the autopsy. I didn’t touch the body other then running the black light over him, but I didn’t see any other wounds that might’ve killed him. There looked to be some bruising on the ankles which, best guess says, is from a rope that was used to hang him upside down. If there are fibers in it then I’m sure Canar will send them to me. It would be nice if there were because I gotta tell ya I’m not finding a whole Hell of a lot otherwise.”

    I nodded thoughtfully, “So do you think there was enough blood in his system for a tox-screen?”

    “I’m sure there probably is. Blood in his lungs if he was awake when his throat was slit, he might have drowned in it. Tox-screens can be done from the liver and the brain tissue though, so the blood draining was probably not meant to hide anything that will show up there. All this is still Canar’s specialty though.” Jared said motioning for me to follow him back into the living room.

    “Where is the doc?” I asked again as I stepped in tow. “Not like him to be late for a party.”

    “From what I heard he had a few days off. He was down at Utah Lake getting ready to go fishing with his family when the call came in. He’s got someone covering for him on the usual stuff, but I think he wants to be here in the flesh.”

    We stepped back into the living room and Jared nodded to the officer in front of the light switch. He clicked it on and I got my first good look at the body.

    The victim was a Hispanic man, short, probably around 5’5” and I put him in his mid-to-late thirties. His black hair was shoulder length, but he had a clearly receding hairline. His face was pock-marked under a stiff looking mustache and a few day old scruff that began to grow on his neck. He was skinny and from the track marks on his arms, probably an addict. A single brownish-red dot sat right in the middle of his forehead.

    “That looks like blood.” I said pointing to it.

    “I would agree, but until the Doc says different, it's a 'redish-brown stain'.” Jared said as he set his black light back into his duffle bag and began pulling out assorted bags and scrapers and tubes for gathering evidence.

    “His?”

    “Yeah, right, like I’m going to make that call here and now. It seems strange that our unsub goes through all the effort of draining the vic’s blood. Then he cleans it up, well not like super clean with bleach and all that jazz, but clean enough, you know? Then leaves one drop of it on his forehead.”

    “Could be a message.” I said thinking out loud.

    “Maybe it’s racial. I mean this guy doesn’t look Hindu but it could be a Tilak.”

    “Tilak?”

    “Yeah, you know the customary red mark on the forehead is called a Tilak or a Tilaka if I remember correctly. Maybe our victim converted to Hinduism and our perp didn’t like it?”

    The officer standing by the light let out a small chuckle. “That doesn’t seem likely.”

    I didn’t recognize him, but his name plate said Littel.

    “Got some insight to share Little?”

    “Uh, it’s pronounced Lit-tell, but yeah I recognize this guy. Few years back I used to come here and break up a lot of fights between him and his old lady. Well not here, here, his old place was further east. Anyway his name is like…Emillio, I think and hers was Courtney…or maybe Kate or some other K sounding name. They were both pretty big users back in the day, but last I heard, Emillio was doing time. Haven’t heard about any disturbances for a stretch.”

    “Well I’ll definitely need to get her name and speak with her.” I said thinking things might be easier than first anticipated.

    “I’m not sure a woman could have hoisted this guy up before slitting his throat.” Jared observed apparently following my same lines of logic. “Though that might explain the pulley-system.”

    “Or she could have found a new guy to call her own. Wanted to bury the hatchet as it were. Emillio looks skinny and at five foot nothing, he probably weighs maybe a buck forty.”

    Jared nodded but seemed unconvinced.

    “Who found the body?”

    Littel reached into his front pocket and pulled out a small memo pad. “Older gentleman by the name of Brady Cook. He lives in the apartment down the hall from here. He works nights and says when he got home this morning, Emilio’s door was open. He knocked and called out, but when Emilio didn’t answer, he came in to make sure it wasn’t a robbery. He found the body and immediately called us.”

    “Alright, do you think you could go ahead and take him into the station to get a full account of what he saw please? Make sure his alibi checks out.” I asked. When he nodded, I turned to Jared. “Any clue on an ETA on Canar?”

    Jared shrugged and was about to respond when some commotion from outside drew all of our attention.

    “-SIR you cannot go up there, it’s an active crime scene. SIR!” Thaton’s voice drifted in from behind us. I sighed and prepared for my day to become that much worse.

The End

64 comments about this story Feed