3 I“ve Found You
David hung up the phone. His team had been assigned a case and they didn't even get a chance to review the ones that were already preassigned to them. He sighed and made his way to his desk area. Jeffery, Eden and Marcus were fiddling with their computer.
"We have to go somewhere," David announced. "A body has been found in West Lake Park."
There was a pause between Eden and Marcus. It was there first day on the job and they were being handed a new case. They thought that it would be something older, requiring more office work. They grabbed their belongings and followed David and Jeffery as they led them out the building.
After a silent car ride and the busy traffic, they arrived at the location almost an hour later. Cars were already parked at the entrance of the path. A small crowd had already gathered behind the tape.
David and Marcus got out one car and Jeffery and Eden out of another. They crossed under the tape and followed the path until they saw a group of officers and the coroner.
An officer saw them and immediately and began to walk towards them. David too the lead in speaking.
"Morning," David said. "I'm Detective Stan, and these are detectives Hines, Elsworth and Hugh."
The officer held out his hand, "Officer Mencken." They shook hands and Mencken led them to the scene.
There was a shallow grave that was half exhumed. There was a worn plastic tarp that looked like an extremely faded shower curtain. There was something a little chilling about this.
"What do we have?" David asked as they walked over to the body.
Eden followed close behind. The coroner's office and the CSI team were taking pictures and collecting soil evidence. She inched closer and took in the scene before her. In front of a large evergreen, the body was buried. The body looked as if had been buried deeper than your average shallow grave. The body seemed to have been in some type of faded clear plastic, like a shower curtain. There was no doubt this was just a dumping site. The skeleton didn't look white but brown, as if it had some tissue on it.
"What can you tell so far?" David asked the CSI coroner, an older man who looked close to his retirement.
The coroner glanced up at David before answering, "Well, if you can look at the skull, you can see that all the teeth were removed and," he moved his hand to motion lower to the torso. "If you look at the hand you'll see the distal phalanx seemed to have been removed. As for age and sex, Its definitely female. Last adolescence. And no obvious sign of cause of death. It looks as if she's been here for a few months. Winter just ended and left this much tissue for us to work with."
A dead teenager? There was no way no one was looking for her. But whoever did this wanted to ensure she couldn't be identified. In fact...
Eden took a look around. This place was so off the beaten path, it would have been hard to have found the body on your typical stroll. So, how was the body discovered?
Eden turned to the responding officer and asked, "Could I speak to the witness?"
"Sure," He said. "She's right over there." He pointed to a log branch where an older lady was seated, obviously in shock. A service dog was seated not too far, panting with his mouth ajar.
Eden turned to walk in that direction and Jeffery followed. "Excuse me Ma'am?"
The woman jumped a little and then her eyes focused on Eden. Eden smiled at her and asked, "Are you okay?"
"Oh yes, yes, dear," The woman responded.
"I know you were already questioned but do you mine if I ask you again."
"No, it's okay."
Eden took a seat next to the woman, "I'm Detective Hines and this is Detective Hugh."
"I'm Rosa Kaufman."
"Could you tell me in detail what happened."
"Well, I left my house this morning for my walk and we when we came here, Pinkie-my dog-started barking erratically and she just dragged me here and then started digging. I couldn't get her away and then I began to feel like something was wrong so I called 911 and by the time they got here Pinkie was already to the body." Mrs. Kaufman trembled a little.
Eden used her calm voice to ask the questions."Do you usually go for walks in the morning?"
"For the past 20 years or so,"
"And how long have you been using this path?"
"For the past 5 years."
"And you've never noticed anything strange during that time?"
"No not at all," Rosa responded.
"And Pinkie? Was it the first time he's behaved out of character when using this path?"
"Yes, He has never acted like this before. This is the way we always take. I didn't know what it could be. But do you guys know who it could be?"
Eden paused. They just got here. What would they know? "Not as of yet."
"Such a surprise. Things like this doesn't happen in this part of town."
Eden nodded her head in agreement but her mind was somewhere else. She felt strange when being in this place. Imagining being dumped here where no one could find you was a bit more chilling than anything else. Her mind went to her sister's case. She wanted to hope Amanda was alive after all these years but she was always confronting herself with the reality of the situation every day. This was an example of one of those confrontations. But at least this family could get some consolidation when they identified her. Her family had nothing to cry to or visit but their memories. And even that was slowly fading. She hoped after enough time she could revisit her sister's case and that boy's. Even if it was just a bone, she needed to find them. She needed that final closure.
Eden's eyes shifted to Marcus who stood with next to her father. They were still with the scene investigators. A chill ran through her heart when she saw him. She wasn't sure if it was excitement or apprehension. He claimed he didn't know her but Eden didn't believe it. She never forgot a face. He may not remember her but she definitely knew him. Hopefully the answer would come to her, or else she wouldn't be able to sleep.
Eden shifted her mind back to the case at hand. Her first suspicion was why did the dog become attracted to this area. If that body was here for at least the past six months, the scent would have dragged him here long ago, but it didn't. She felt as if this sudden discovery was important. Whoever placed that girl there didn't want her to be found but know she was.
Even though this Ms. Kaufman discovered the body in such a manner, Eden didn't consider her a suspect. A crime of this nature seemed outside of her domain.
Eden scrolled through the list of missing persons database. She wasn't aware so many people could be missing in Capital City in the past 5 years. Her mind kept on telling her that somewhere in this database was two people she knew. She shook her head and starred the searches that matched close enough to the description. There was twenty-something in total. Hopefully after the facial rec was complete, she would have better luck.
Eden began to search through the information on the missing persons list to see if any case stood out. Majority were missing teens and runaways. There was one case of a girl who vanished for a full two weeks before anyone noticed she was missing. There was another case of a pregnant young mother who ran away from home. Others were foster children or orphans who took off. Majority of these cases the disappeared had chosen to not return. There was only one case with a possible abduction but it was by one of the parents.
Eden's eyes stopped on a picture on her list. It was a nineteen year-old who had gone missing. She had a striking appearance- deep red hair, large hazel eyes, oval face, high check bones, elaborate make-up. Her name was Dianne Hawkins. She looked like a wild child, vivacious and unruly.
A voice whispered to Eden that this may be her. The thought scared Eden for some reason. It wasn't her first time investigating a missing persons case but since she reached the crime scene today, she couldn't shake this weird feeling.
It all came from the dog. She didn't understand why today if not the the day before or tomorrow. Why did the dog decide to act today. From the depth the body was buried, Eden could tell she wasn't to be found. She probably would never had been found unless some type of construction was supposed to take place in that area.
Eden read the case file. It was extremely short. There was lack of evidence to suggest any foul play. The girl, Dianne didn't get along with her family. She had gotten into an argument with her family a week before she was reported missing. She had left to stay with a friend and told the friend she would be staying somewhere else for a while. Everything that belonged to her went missing. There was no known boyfriend nor enemies. It was as if she vanished into thin air. Without evidence or indication of a crime the case went cold.
If Eden was right about her suspicion, this would all change. Without looking she reached for a pen she had earlier.
Eden jumped and looked over. A black sketch book she's had with her since her teen years had fallen, a few loose pages hanging out. The cover was more faded and the ears peeling slightly.
"Damn!" Eden whispered to herself.
She quickly bent to gather the book in her hand. She never opened it anymore. She had lost the inspiration a long time ago. She always carried the book though, hoping to feel the need, the itch to grab a pencil again. It served almost like a safety blanket. She had it in her backpack at all times.
She gathered all the papers, briefly opening the book to make them fit back into their former space. She reached for a yellowed paper smudged with grey charcoal on one side more than the other. It was folded in six, to form a flat square. She held the paper up and wondered what it was. Out of curiosity, she carefully unfolded the paper and smoothed it out on top the book. She narrowed her eyes at what she saw, trying to make sense of it. She knew the face that took up most of this paper. It was one she drew a thousand times, a thousand different ways. It was unforgettable.
"Hines," a voice called to her.
She looked up and her heart caught in her throat.