By midday we were back at the precinct. I sat at my desk drowning in witness statements, evidence documents and paperwork for another seven hours. I’d drunk more coffee than was medically recommended, and Bateman had buggered off home leaving me to sift through the crap that threatened to envelop my workstation. More often than not the details were sketchy, if not completely unrealistic; our witnesses gave us a few suspicious blond men, a black guy in overalls, a red haired woman who, from the description, sounded a lot like me, and one poor old man was convinced that the government was to blame. I cleared a gap, groaned, and laid my head on the desk. It was going to be a very long day.
“Great work you’re doing there, Jorjie.” Ryan interrupted my moment of exasperation and self pity, I didn’t bother raising my head.
“Come closer so I can hit you.”
“Now, now, you don’t bite the hand that brings caffeine.” He put on his mock psychiatrist voice. “I’m sensing a lot of frustration, pent up anger, a feeling that a certain someone isn’t pulling their weight? Let me guess, the Neanderthal has gone home and you’ve got to have this done by tomorrow?”
“Yep. But don’t you go all profile-y on me or I’ll ram some pencils where the sun don’t shine, okay sweetie?”
“God, Jorja! Here, a peace offering, vanilla, your favourite. I know you’re too proud to ask; do you want a hand?” I scowled at him, but accepted.
“Thanks, and sorry. What do we know?”
“Well, don’t quote me just yet but I think we can safely rule out all the women, not only would this has taken substantial body strength, but it is very physical. If a woman commits a murder, we generally see little or no physical contact between victim and assailant; poison, a gun shot from a range of a few feet. Men tend to be more ‘hands-on’, pardoning of course snipers, it’s much more common to see stabbings, beatings, strangulation from a male assailant.
“Next, look at the level of mutilation, Dr Moore said the majority was done pre-mortem. There are two main reasons for a killer to torture a victim; to derive some kind of sadistic pleasure, or to gain information. I’d be looking at the latter seeing as the crime most likely wasn’t sexually motivated.
“There’s also a very good chance that the victim knew the unsub, that’s a lot of rage, a very personal attack.”
“So, a younger guy connected to Pearce?”
“Something like that. Crawl through your names, and get back to me in the morning. Oh, and Holly wants you, if you get a chance.”
I doubted that I’d get a chance, but anything to break the monotony of this work.
“Thanks, Ryan. I’ll call you later – if I ever get out of here.” He took a mouthful of my coffee and left.
In the guts of the building were the 24-hour forensic labs, staffed by a small white-coated army of scientists scurrying about like ants to the tune of beeping and whirring machines, all under the expert guidance of the ancient but highly revered Dr McLeod. I immediately spotted Holly, bent over a rack of test tubes in a corner.
“Holly! You sent for me?” Holly was a gifted technician, a stunning blonde, and one of my closest friends. At 5’11” she stood a good nine inches taller than me, even in flat shoes. We were like the ultimate odd couple, but somehow it worked. She was also a good source of ammunition where Aaron was concerned; it was the worst kept secret in the building that he had a certain weakness for her.
“Hey girl. Good news or bad news?”
“I have blood, lots of blood, but the bad news is that I haven’t been able to DNA it yet, the machine's down. The even worse news is that from my preliminary blood typing test, I only have one kind, A positive.”
“So, there’s no DNA from our unsub?”
“Sorry, blame Ryan, Unknown Subject of investigation. It’s a psych thing, I think. Blood?”
“Okay, anyway, it looks like there’s no DNA from our ‘unsub’ but we won’t know until the tests come back. It might just be that I missed a sample when I did the blood type analysis. You’d expect that in a scene this violent that there would be some kind of trace from the assailant, so, fingers crossed. I also got some fingerprints from the tape used to bind his wrists, but no match in AFIS. One more piece of bad news?”
“If I must…”
“It’ll be a week until you get your DNA, and even then it mightn’t be in the registry.”
“Always manage to brighten my day, don’t you Holly? Err… yeah, call me when you get something.”
In the elevator back up to the office I slumped against the wall and weighed up the benefits of having a minor emotional breakdown. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time. I stared with a kind of morbid fascination at the mess in the mirror; my unruly red hair was positively anarchical, sticking out in random tufts despite my best attempts, my skin pale and drawn, and my blue eyes were rimmed with black bags that a boxer would be proud of. I decided on a short-term fix of pizza, shower and bed instead. With all the best intentions I picked up a stack of paperwork to take home, neatened my workspace and headed out the door.