"Hey James," the pathologist said with a warm smile as I entered the room. Spread out on a table was the man's body, half covered by a clean white sheet, folded over so you could clearly see his gaunt face.
"Hey Madison," I answered back as she handed me a pair of gloves. "Another jumper," I sighed. Already I could tell I was late. I could see the lines of incisions made along his torso. Because of the media's constant urgency for answers, forensics worked fast and hard. "Has there been a print ID yet?" I asked.
For some reason Madison screwed up her face as she organized her tools. "Yeah. His name's William Lakey. Twenty four. He's the guy Martin from narcotics has been looking for. I guess we've got ourselves a drug dealer. Not what the media was hoping for, although I'm sure they'll spin it somehow to blame the drugs."
I frowned. "You don't think he was intoxicated?"
"He dealt cocaine, but there are very little traces in him. Or of any other drug." Madison sighed and brushed back the dark hair that had fallen from her ponytail and into her face. "Besides, you can't just stumble off of the bridge. With the barrier being built and precautions in place, I doubt he could intentionally jump while intoxicated."
"So what have you found so far? Have you placed a time on him?" I asked as I pulled the sheet back to just below the navel.
"He's only thirteen to fourteen hours dead, but he didn't die right on impact." She gingerly lifted the body on its side to show me the back. There was a large patch of red-purple discoloration. "The dead don't bruise," she said as she gently lay the body back down on the table.
"So what was the cause of death? Hypothermia? Drowning?"
"Drowning," Madison confirmed. "Possibly as a result of both hypothermia and the shock of the impact. Broke his ankles, tailbone, three ribs and one collapsed lung. He had a rough fall."
I frowned. Something about this jumper didn't seem to line up with the rest. I had seen many jumpers in my career, but this one was different and it wasn't just because he was a drug dealer. I asked to see the bruising again.
"So he landed on his back," I muttered. Madison nodded. I frowned as I searched her face. There was no change in expression. No revelation.
"Tell me Madison," I said slowly as I pulled the sheet back up to the corpse's chin. "How many suicide cases jump backwards?"
She furrowed her brow as she thought. "I haven't personally examined all of the jumpers, but from the ones I've seen, not too many. It's not uncommon though. Not everyone is brave enough to face their fate, I guess."
"Or they're not ready," I said as I walked out. I was already an hour late to my meeting with the constable.