The number of bodies without brains had risen to six.
August 10, 2013
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
Skeeter could not hide her shock as she gazed over Angus’ shoulder at the map in his pocket atlas. “Oh, my gosh. And maybe one or more in Mexico! What kind of a time span are we looking at, Angus, for brainless bodies?”
“About three weeks. Six possible bodies, all spread out. Dr. LeBraun is familiar with the incidents and has even been consulted, but it is too soon for him to tell anything. Especially since he hasn’t personally examined any of them.” Angus’ desk phone rang again. After a short discussion on the phone, he hung up. “Okay, they have got two definite print matches and the documents to back them up, Skeeter. We can go pick them up. Plus, they have something interesting to show us.”
* * *
“Great! We have nailed Guzman and Ortega. Thanks fellas. Now, what else did you want to show us?” Angus was actually very curious when he and Skeeter arrived at the forensics lab.
Philip Kozlow held up the prints retrieved from the scene. “Angus, Skeeter, these prints are Guzman and Ortega, as we have shown. The print circled in red—look closely at it. It belongs to a third party. Do you notice anything unusual going on here?”
“No!” Skeeter blurted out.
“Not really—except those two circled prints are awfully close to each other—like one is almost on top of the other.” Angus responded.
Philip smiled. “Actually it is a pretty rare event in the fingerprint business. We have had some like this, but it is rare, rare, rare. It is a deformity. The third party has a double thumb.”
“Huh?” Skeeter squinted at the image.
Angus added, “I don’t remember a note about a double thumb on any of those guys in the stack. Did you see anything, Skeeter?”
“No, I saw nothing. We went over all of that with fine-toothed combs.”
“Well, we are going to have to go over it again, it looks like. Now we can get arrest warrants on these two guys—get their photos and prints off to all border patrols, Texas police departments for the immediate pick-up for the crime of murder.”
Skeeter added, “Then we had better call Padilla again, thank him profusely and emphasize that they are made as murderers and that we have issued warrants. If they come back in the country, they will be picked up.”
“Now we have to do a walk-through of the neighborhood, take the photos of Ortega and Guzman and show them around. We will tell the people that they have been identified as the killers of the couple and ask if anyone remembers seeing them at the time, warn them to contact us immediately if they see them again.” Angus was planning out loud.
“Before we do that, maybe we should see if they have vehicles in Mexico—makes, models, tags. We should get photos of those types of vehicles and show them around the neighborhood, also. The residents should report if they have seen the vehicles in the past and encouraged to be on the lookout for them now. I am pretty sure these two would not be driving their own vehicles over here, but it wouldn’t hurt anything to provide that information for them.” Skeeter offered her two cent’s worth. “I think we are gonna get blank stares on all of this, Angus, but we can look at their facial expressions.”
“We should also get a list of nearby homeowners from city hall and see if any of them have the names Guzman or Ortega. Then we should demand to talk to any employees of the couple’s neighbors—be firm and emphasize that they will not be charged with hiring illegals. Any cooks, maids, gardeners, caregivers.” Angus added.
“I think we would get better results if we offer to give them a document that absolves them of guilt. It would have to be worded just right. They will not be charged during this investigation and no one will be deported as a result of current questioning. It would have to have an allowance on there that states, future suspicious activity would not be immune. It would be tricky.” Angus offered another of his off-the-wall ideas.
“Yeah, I have heard of PDs using something like that before. Maybe there is a model. We will have to get the legal department to look it up.” Skeeter egged him on.
Angus continued his idea. “We will tell them that we know they don’t want dangerous murderers running loose, and we don’t either. We are willing to bend the law a little bit on it.”
“They aren’t gonna do it, Angus. In fact they will probably send them off somewhere to hide, ‘til the heat is off.”
“I have a gut feeling these two jokers have a connection somewhere in the area—probably a blood relative working in a house.”
Back at headquarters Angus and Skeeter cleared off their desks. They had decided to head over toward the legal department at the end of the day. They were almost out the door when the phone on Angus’ desk rang.
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.