Blood Crumbs: Chapter 9Mature

    Jared’s lab was a flurry of activity despite him being the only full time forensic employee of the city. Two interns, one skinny bald guy and a young woman with dark black hair cut short and tight like Cleopatra, navigated expertly around the room.

    The lab had become a revolving door of interns, and Jared had taken steps to keep it that way. Not that the prospective additions chose to leave, just Jared preferred to not take anyone on full time. About five years ago, Jared was given an increase in his budget to allow for the hiring of one full and one part time lab assistant. Instead he had taken the money and used it to buy new equipment for the lab.

    The government wasn’t happy with his decision but he had an impeccable track record and his ability to constantly keep the staff filled with highly skilled interns spoke for itself. Despite working in such a small town, Jared had published quite a few papers and was pretty well known throughout the forensic community, or so I’d been told.

    The bald intern almost ran into me as he stared down at a piece of paper in his hand. He mumbled something that I assumed was an apology, for his sake, and handed the paper to Jared. Jared waved me over as he scanned the paper.

    “Damn.” He said and frowned.

    “Bad news?”

    "Blood types don’t match and I don’t like the implications.” He waved the paper at me and I picked it up.

    “You know I don’t like to read, and this shit is full of two dollar words. Would cost me a couple paychecks just to get through it." I said handing it back.

    “Well, the blood on our victim’s forehead wasn’t his own.”

    “Maybe it’s our killer’s blood?” I said hopefully.

    “Dare to dream, Detective.” Jared said. “I would suggest a second victim taken at the scene, but nothing I have found would suggest it. If there was a second victim, they certainly weren’t killed in the apartment.”

    “Ok, what can you tell me about the crime scene that will give me a sense of what happened?”

    He walked over to a folder and handed me an 8”x11” photo of a fluorescent blue splotch. It reminded me of those ink blotch tests that therapists do.

    “That’s a luminal photo of the bathroom, but I figured you wouldn’t be able to understand it so I made a set just for you. Call it the laymen’s version of blood spatter photos.”

    He pulled out another photo with a plastic sheet over it. The plastic sheet had an identical shaped splotch but had been colored red. Under it was a photo of part of the bathroom.

    “Luminal only reacts in the dark under very specific conditions. So I took two pictures, one with the luminal and one with the flash. Then I colored the luminal red so you would know what it was and overlaid it on the second photo so you can get a feel of how it relates to the bathroom.”

    “Very handy.”

    “Yeah, in my experience prosecutors don’t like it when they can’t show juries a picture of a blood splattered crime scene. I figured this would be the next best thing.”

    I spread out the pictures along the table and looked for anything helpful, but nothing jumped out at me.

    “What else can these tell me?” I asked.

    “Well, for one thing, the victim was killed in the bath tub. Based on his height we can confirm that he was hanging upside down and enough evidence to conclusively say he was unconscious when it happened. If our victim’s blood had been racing as it often does when you’re aware that your throat is about to be slit, there would be stronger splatter. From this we can conclude that his head was about twenty-eight inches off the ground. That makes our object holding the rope that bound his legs likely to be somewhere between two and eight inches in length.

    “His blood was washed off of him when his body was moved but with water only. No additional chemicals were used. If he was wearing clothes they would have been removed before he was taken out of the bath tub but we didn’t find anything in the apartment or any of the dumpsters in the complex. Our killer likely took them with him to dispose of later.”

    He stopped and shook his head. “The problem is, at the moment we’ve got little else to go on. If I have to, I’ll be running reports on every fingerprint, hair sample, and trace fiber we found but I’m not liking our odds.”

    The female intern gave a little cough and nodded her head at a metal instrument laying on the table. I looked closer; it was a hand powered drill.

    “Right. Jenna brought up a good point.” Jared said lifting up the tool. “She didn’t think our killer could’ve made the three drill holes in the middle of the night with an electric drill. It would’ve been way too loud.”

    “Wait. Hold up, Three drill holes? You only showed me two.” I said.

    “Ah yes, I found a third one at he base of the door, inside the door frame. Probably used to anchor the rope in place while our killer went to work.”

    “So Jenna thinks these holes were made by one of these?” I said taking the hand drill and holding it up to the light.

    “It would make sense,” He nodded.

    “Well then, hopefully they aren’t very popular.” I said, “Maybe I can start running down all the hardware stores that sold any within the last week or so. With a bit of luck it won’t be much extra work.”

    Jared shrugged. “They might be more popular then you think. I hear they’re pretty big in polygamist colonies.”

    “I don’t think I get it.” I said thinking Jared had just made some off-color joke.

    “He’s not joking,” The girl, Jenna, piped up. She had a very petite voice that didn’t quite match her strong broad features. “Polygamist colonies in Utah sometimes have very Amish-like cultures. They don’t shun technology or anything, they just live that way more out of frugality. When you have lots of children for man-power, then the luxury of power tools seems unnecessary.”

    I gave a slight nod and secretly hoped my investigation would not end up in some sort of polygamist compound.

    My cell began to vibrate at my side and I pulled it out.

    “Pizza Hut.”

    “Hey Burton, I think I’ve got something.” It was Gavin.

    “You figured out who Ramirez was informing to?” I asked.

    There was a small pause on the other end of the line. “You know,” Gavin said clearly annoyed. “I’ve been pouring over these damn documents for over an hour. The least you could do is not ruin my big reveal.”

    “Sorry about that. Was he on the books or off?”

    “Ramirez, it seems, was way way way off the books. It wasn’t easy as I couldn’t find anything in any of the complaints and he certainly didn’t go to bat for Ramirez at the trial.” Gavin said.

    “So how’d you find out?”

    “It was when he was first arrested on the attempted murder charge. They kept track of lots of pertinent information, including the fact that his first call after his arrest was not to a lawyer or family member, but to a Detective Richard Mesker of the DEA.”

    “Well color me impressed. Now I’ll just have to find out how to contact this Mesker fellow.”

    “I figured that would be your next line of inquiry, so I put in a call. Apparently he plays ball down at the Jordan Rec Center in the afternoons.”

    “Perfect. Good work Gavin. Where’d Ramirez serve his stint?”


    Uspen was the nickname given to Utah State Penitentiary as if it was some second rate ski resort near Aspen, Colorado. There’s nothing quite like convict humor.

    “Put in a call and find out anything you can about his stay. Any leads that might be able to help” I said

    “Can do.”

    I hung up and looked over at Jared. “Anything else that you think might help me?”

    Jared took off his glasses with one hand and ran his fingers through his hair with the other. “Not that I can think of right now.”

    “Ok, I want to know anything you find on the blood droplet as soon as you can.”

    “I’ll call Bishop and see if he’ll approve using the private DNA testing facility. The state stuff has a much longer turn around, and I'm getting a feeling it might be important.”

    “Good. Keep me in the loop. I’m sure he'll have no problem approving the expense.” I said and headed out.

    I was hungry but I wanted to catch Mesker while he was still at the Rec Center. Looks like lunch would have to wait.

The End

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