The chronological order of my stories is as follows:
Todd & Melina series, Interludes 1-5, Sperm Wars series, Russian Roulette series, Case of the Murdered Lovers series, Case of the Murdered Chessplayer series, The Swap series, Interludes 6-10, Case of the Black Widow series, Teresa’s Christmas Story, Case of the Black Badge series.
A Case of Revenge, Ch. 1-5
Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.
This story contains graphic scenes, extreme language, and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial or racist language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.
Part 23 – The Crime Scene
At 6:00am on June 15th, I received a call on my cellphone just as I entered the Headquarters.
“Lieutenant, this is Deputy Strait in Coltrane County.” said the voice on the other line. “My Sheriff is asking if you’d deputize yourself into the SBI and come down and help us. Two EMTs have been murdered on the Nextdoor County Highway near the Asylum.”
“EMTs?” I asked, shocked. “Who’d want to kill EMTs?”
“That’s what we’re hoping you can help us with.” Deputy Strait said. I replied that I and another SBI Reservist would be there as fast as we could. I went and got Cindy, who was just making coffee, and asked her to deputize herself and come with me. We changed clothes for an outdoor crime scene, and headed out to Coltrane County.
The Nextdoor County Highway, State Route 142, traveled southwest-to-northeast from Buford, the seat of Coltrane County; to Hillside, seat of Nextdoor County. I cut over on some farm roads and we came up upon the flashing lights of vehicles. The sun was now up, so we could see fairly well. We were permitted through a roadblock cutting off the section of the highway where the crime scene was, and I thought that I just might have to be impressed by Coltrane County Law’s efficiency.
It was 6:30 am when we arrived, and Cindy and I were wearing identical black mock-turtleneck pullover shirts with sewn-in SBI Reserve badges on the front-left and “SBI” in big letters on the back, black ‘parachute pants’, and black military-style boots. We looked good. Damn good.
“Thanks for coming, guys!” said Deputy Strait. “Congratulations, Detective Ross, on the SBI appointment. Sheriff, Detective Ross is a ‘boner-fied’ celebrity from those Miss Physical America competitions. She was really great in those.” Deputy Strait was young and a bit too talkative and overeager. I could also tell that he was attracted to Cindy, but he didn’t realize she didn’t play on his team.
By way of contrast, the new Sheriff of Coltrane County, Sheriff Sorrells, was a somewhat overweight man with an easygoing demeanor. Stereotypical rural sheriff. “Pleased to meet y’all.” drawled Sheriff Sorrells. “If you can shed some light on this one, I’ll be grateful. Just what the hell this is about, I don’t understand.”
An ambulance was parked by the side of the road. Two EMTs were lying on the road, one near the front of the ambulance, the other near the open back doors. The one near the front was a young black man, lean, clean shaven and possibly ex-military, and the one in back was also youngish, white, a bit overweight, with black hair and a thin beard and connecting sideburns. No, not Skinny Beard, this guy was younger.
Both had been shot in the head, execution-style, with a small caliber firearm. Professional-looking, all the way, I thought to myself.
“So how were you alerted to this crime?” I asked as I examined the bodies. The men had been shot in the back of their heads, execution-style. I also noted some burns on the neck of the white guy, likely cigarette burns.?
“Guy who works at the Asylum left for home and came up on this scene. He called the Asylum for help, and they called us.” said Sheriff Sorrells. “Let me give you a little background: ambulances or police cars bring patients into the Asylum at night, so the patients can’t see the lay of the land and try to escape-“
“Kinda like Parris Island; the Marine Corps brings their recruits in at night.” interrupted Deputy Strait, a bit too eagerly.
“Sounds like a good plan.” I said, trying to cover for Deputy Strait’s impetuousness.
“Yeah, you may have heard of that raid on the Asylum by the FBI a couple of weeks ago.” said the Sheriff. “One reason that worked so well was because the Asylum guards thought the cars were patients being brought in.
“Anyway, this ambulance brought in a patient about 2:00am. At 5:15, just as dawn was breaking, they left the Asylum, headed towards Nextdoor County. They radioed in to the Asylum that there was a car crash inside the ‘no-stop’ zone and that they were going to stop to help, and asked for backup. We have a County bahis firmaları Police car at the Asylum strictly to enforce that ‘no-stop’ zone, and they were dispatched. They found the ambulance here, just as it is now. We’ve verified that these EMTs were the ones that brought that ambulance in and took it out, and they’ve been working for Nextdoor County for a little while now.”
I was noticing the tire marks in the road as well as on the curbside near where the ambulance had stopped. Deputy Strait said that they’d already taken photos and tire impressions.
“Okay, it does look like they stopped to help an accident scene.” I said, pointing things out to Cindy and the others in a manner of teaching. “Cars off to the side, ambulance parks in a way to protect the scene from other cars coming up. That’s standard, and it confirms in my mind that these are real EMT drivers. So who was in the ambulance? Just these two dead guys?”
“As far as we know.” said the Sheriff. “The Asylum said that no patient was being taken out of the place, and they didn’t say anyone else was aboard.”
I looked around the back of the ambulance. “Anything missing from back here that you can tell?” I asked.
“No, not that we know of.” said Deputy Strait. “No obvious empty shelves, everything seems to be in its place, though I’m no expert.”
I looked up the road, towards the southwest. The road gently but steadily moved uphill for quite a distance. “Deputy, how far would you guys say it is to the top of the hill? Cindy, your guess too.” I asked.
“I’d say about half a mile.” Strait said. Cindy agreed.
I handed Cindy the keys to my T&C Police SUV. “Cindy, I want you to drive slowly up this hill, taking note of the mileage. I’m going to stand on the running board and look at the road, so drive very slowly, okay?”
“Roger that.” Cindy said.
“Deputy Straight, would you like to ride with us?” I offered.
“Yes sir!” exclaimed Strait. He climbed onto the running board behind me and we held on for dear life as Cindy drove slowly up the road. The light was getting better and better as we completed the trip. I noticed tire tracks, hoping they weren’t all police cars overran other tracks.
“Wow, 0.7 miles.” said Cindy as she parked at the top of the hill. “More than we thought.” A Coltrane County Police car was stationed here, diverting motorists onto a dirt farm road going east, where they could pick up a farm road going north and get back to the highway past the point of the accident.
I began looking around, explaining to Cindy and Deputy Strait what I was looking at. “Okay, ambulance came up this road. Let’s say they got right here to the top. Yeah, it’s a ways, but you can see the cars in the distance, see their lights. Dawn was breaking, so there was probably just enough light to see the cars of the accident as they topped this hill.”
“Let’s just use our imaginations.” I continued. “Let’s say the ambulance saw the accident down below, stopped for a minute, then continued on down. They got to the scene, got out to help, and they were murdered. Now why would someone want them dead? Meanwhile, staying up here, let’s look to see if they let someone out… ah yes, here you go, Strait!”
I pointed out to Strait and the other County Policeman the set of footprints. The men were impressed. “How’d you know to find those?” Strait asked. I said I’d tell him everything in a few minutes.
Cindy looked at the tracks and said “They’re fresh. Looks like sneakers, and just the type of sneakers orderlies might wear at the Asylum.”
“Yes.” I said. “I’d say someone got out of the ambulance here and fled into the farmed field here. Probably ran to this dirt road everyone’s detouring on, likely was picked up a distance down the way. Cindy, why don’t you and this officer follow those tracks. I’ll sit here and compare notes with Deputy Strait.
When we were alone, I asked Strait “Tell me about this new Sheriff, Sorrells is his name?.”
“Yes, sir. He’s great, he’s like night-and-day compared to our old Sheriff. We’re doing things better in every respect.” said Deputy Strait, his fresh young face striving to be helpful.
“Yes, I noticed the efficiency of securing this crime scene. Is Sorrells honest? A good man?”
“As far as I know.” said Strait. “This whole county is corrupt to the core, from our State Senator Allen to the County Commission to the Buford Town Council, so I don’t think Sorrells is clean or he wouldn’t have gotten the job. But I think he’s okay, and he did let me call you, so that’s a good thing.”
“Yes it is. Thanks, Strait. Now let me stand here and think for a moment.” I went into a reverie. I was thinking about an orderly that took shots at me during the Asylum raid, sensing the link between that incident and this crime here. I thought about what was going on at the Asylum, the total lack of accountability and control there. And then I remembered something, another road ambush that had failed, whereas this one had succeeded…
Some minutes later, kaçak iddaa Cindy and the officer returned. “Tracks led to the dirt road, there’s spots of them here and there, but where that bridge crosses that irrigation canal, the farm road starts and there’s no more prints.” Cindy reported.
“Great job, guys.” I said. “Let’s rejoin the sheriff at the scene.”
When we got back, the Crime Lab team, such as it was, were loading the bodies into vehicles to transport back to the morgue, and another EMT was going to drive the impounded ambulance back to the Coltrane County Police Department. I filled in the Sheriff on the found tracks. As the others left, the Sheriff asked “Anything you can tell us, Lieutenant?”
“First, I’d like to ask what you guys think. Anyone?”
“All I can think of is highway robbers.” said the Sheriff. “But they didn’t take anything when they could’ve taken the ambulance itself. And then again, you found tracks up there, so I’m still forming an opinion.”
“Very good. Strait?” I asked.
“I don’t know, sir, but the way they were shot suggests whoever stopped them meant to shoot them.” said Strait.
“Excellent, Strait!” I said. “That’s a great observation. Ross?”
“I’d have to say they were helping someone escape from the Asylum.” Cindy said. “They let that person off at the top of the hill. Maybe the cars then chased and flagged down the ambulance, and shot the men to cover their trail. Now your turn, Don.”
“Sheriff, how are your relations with the people at the Asylum?” I asked.
“Okay, though they’re wary after that FBI raid.” Sorrells said. “Strait, you’re in pretty good with them, aren’t you?”
“Yes sir.” Strait said. “Some of them graduated high school with me.”
I said “Strait, I’m going to email you a photograph of a known criminal. I’d like you to ask your friends at the Asylum if that man was an employee there. He might have been an orderly; I doubt he was patient, but if he wasn’t an employee he might’ve posed as a patient.” As I talked, I emailed Strait the photograph. He brought it up on his iPhone. Cindy saw it and gasped, then looked up at me.
“Yep.” I said to Cindy, just nodding. “Strait, I also need for you to ask if anyone else was on the ambulance when it left, if the EMTs were giving an orderly a ride, for example. But check and make very sure it was either just these two dead men or if there were more persons aboard. Next: Detective Ross, do you remember the Bounel transfer?” I asked.
“Yeah… oh, yeah!” she said as she caught on. The Sheriff look mystified.
I said “Sheriff, a few months ago Ross and I transferred a prisoner from the City to our County. Along the way, there was a two-car accident on the road, and they tried hard to flag us down. We did not stop, as we were transferring the prisoner, but I radioed in for an ambulance to go there. When they got there just a few minutes later, they found nothing, nothing at all.”
“Okay.” said the Sheriff, trying to connect the dots in his head. “So what does that have to do with this crime?”
“I think the same thing happened here, and maybe by the same perps.” I said. “To start from the beginning: I think the ambulance came out of the Asylum with a passenger in the back, an orderly who works there, whom the drivers knew and were helping. When they got to the top of that hill, they saw the accident scene here. They stopped, let their passenger out, then called in on the radio as they slowly approached the accident with lights flashing. The flashing lights would also help hide any view of the passenger escaping in the dim light.
“But once they got here, they were ambushed, and the people in the cars held them at gunpoint. I believe the perps were looking for the passenger. Not finding him, they tortured at least one of the EMTs with cigarette burns to get the info on the passenger, and I don’t know how successful they were.
“Then they shot both EMTs dead and left their bodies here on the road as they drove away. One car came back up the hill and looked for the passenger. I have no idea if they found him, but I suspect not. The other car headed north, maybe to try to cut off the passenger by circling around.”
“Well, Strait, you were right about this guy.” said the Sheriff. “He’s every bit as good as you said he’d be. Good job, Lieutenant. What you say certainly ties in with everything we’ve observed. Strait, take two deputies with you and go talk to the Asylum people. Lieutenant, I’ve just got one question: Do you know who the passenger was?”
“Sheriff, do you remember three murders in my County over the last two years by a young psychopath who also was a drug maker?”
“Vaguely.” the Sheriff said. “I haven’t been here that long, of course.”
“I’ll email you some reports.” I said. “And I emailed you the picture I emailed Strait. This guy is armed, exceptionally dangerous, and if you catch up to him, please let me know immediately.”
“Wow, I don’t believe it.” said the Chief two hours later as he, Cindy kaçak bahis and I sat in his office. Deputy Strait had emailed that the Asylum confirmed that the man in the picture was an orderly there, and that he’d hitched a ride on the ambulance to get back into town.
“Yep.” I said. “It makes sense. I was wondering how my nephew Ned was able to hide so well and yet have access to food. He was in the Asylum, as an employee. He apparently practically lived there, staying overnight every night, eating in the mess hall with the other staff and patients. Damn, that was a good hiding place!” I said, more than a little impressed with Ned’s ingenuity.
“Yes, and he could get in and out with the ambulances, and no one the wiser.” said Cindy. Just then Martin Nash peeked into the door and the Chief invited him in. He handed me a folder with some papers.
“You were right, Lieutenant.” Nash said. “FBI facial recognition program came up with the Asylum ID.” I could see it was my nephew’s picture as I looked at it, hearing Nash continue: “He went by the name of ‘Donald Kyle Irons’ while there. Most of the other employees called him Kyle.”
“Heh!” Cindy said. “The ‘Donald’ and ‘Irons’ are clearly shots at you, Don.”
“Yep.” I said. “Cute, verrry cute. Wonder where the ‘Kyle’ comes from? Hmm, says here in the file that he’s been with the Asylum a little under two years. Probably forged paperwork, but we’ve recently found out how lax the Asylum is about their paperwork. If memory serves me correctly, after we brought Ned here to be arrested, Elizabeth got him out of the country to France. Looks like he came back about three months later, and took a job there.”
I continued: “Says here he was hourly, paid just for the time he worked. He also took chunks of time off, saying he had to take care of his mother and uncle, who were in poor health. No doubt about that, though his bedside manner sucks.” There may have been some sarcasm in my voice about that. “Strait said the other people there said he was there most of the time but occasionally took stretches of time off.”
“Well, Crowbar,” said the Chief, “it looks like you’ve stumbled upon Ned. Maybe we can get on his scent soon. But what about the two dead EMTs? How do they tie in?”
“If I may, Chief,” Martin Nash spoke up, “It looks like those guys were dirty. Lot of money in their bank accounts, much more than normal EMTs. The black guy was a military man, honorably discharged. Got the EMT job straight out of the military, but the City Police had been watching him as a possible gangbanger. He fell off their radar though. The white guy had been an EMT in the past, but was fired from three jobs, twice for stealing drugs from ambulances, and once for general reasons of lateness, untidiness in appearance, and such. He’s currently unemployed, so we think he was in with Ned.”
“Who’s ‘we’?” Cindy asked. I love Cindy Ross, but sometimes she just asks that one question she shouldn’t.
“Oh… myself and Sandra Speer.” said Nash, blushing slightly. “She helped me compile this data.”
“Good job, Martin.” said the Chief, diverting the line the conversation was taking. “Alright, so they were dirty, helping Ned get in and out of the Funny Farm. So what was this ambush about, Crowbar?”
“I’m not sure.” I said, my eyes boring into the Chief. He got the hint.
“Okay,” said the Chief, “Don, Cindy, did you get any breakfast?” Cindy and I shook our heads ‘no’. “Okay, I’ll take you two to the Country Breakfast Diner now. Martin, keep up the good work with that data.”
“Okay, sorry about asking that question in ‘mixed company’.” said the Chief as we ate our late breakfast. “So what is the ambush about?”
“As the two of you know,” I said, “Ned worked under that CIA project that my wife and Dr. Heinz are overseeing. Once he went bad, he was not part of that project anymore. However, I believe that there is another group of CIA peeps with projects that want to bring Ned in… even by force. They want him to make drugs for them and their CIA applications.”
“Were they the same group that tried to ambush us over Bounel?” Cindy asked.
“I think so.” I said. “Same type of motif. They set it up to take Ned when he left the Asylum. After the FBI’s raid there, these guys knew their chance to take Ned was diminished. So they lay in wait for him. When the ambulance came over the hill, I think they realized what was going down, just as I’d anticipated it in our Bounel transfer. They let Ned out, then went down to the accident scene. I’m sure the bastards in the cars were furious Ned wasn’t there, and they tortured the two men before killing them.”
“Do they want to kill Ned?” the Chief asked.
“No, they want to use him. If they catch him, though, he’ll be a ‘meth lab slave’ to them. He knows it, too, so he’s not playing their game. He knew what went down this morning, and I’m sure he’s having to hide again.”
“Think he’ll go back to the Asylum?” Cindy asked.
“No, that’s blown for him now.” I said. “I think he’s in our County now, and he may be poised to strike. We’ve gotta keep our eyes peeled, hard. And…” I paused, in a reverie. The Chief recharged his coffee mug, and Cindy was kind enough to feed her face and wait on me.