Saturday, the 7th of May.
The New York police state department was more alive today than it was the day before and that was mainly because of the murder that had happened just last night. Everyone was busy, everyone was moving to and fro and in a hurry too, everyone had something to do and most of them had to turn in to work much earlier today and some had chosen to stay here overnight. Some like Tia and Aiden were the detectives assigned to this case and they had much of the pressure on them and Tia most especially was putting in her heart to cracking this case. She knew there was a pattern so there had to be some sort of a clue, like a hidden message, something they could use to track down this serial killer and bring him down. One reason why she had refused to go home last night.
“I can not believe you guys actually stayed here the whole night.” Mark commented, coming into the detectives’ office and seeing Aiden just getting up and stretching over Tia who was still sleeping. She had fallen asleep on an open file, papers scattered on her desk and a cup of cold coffee on one side of the table.
Aiden yawned and stretched, cracking his joints and knuckles. Last night had been one hell of a night with none of them being able to get adequate sleep until five in the morning. There had been another murder last night and this one had been a little bit different from the others because this one was very fresh, at most it had happened maybe two hours before they had gotten there. They had been this close but had still missed it. Tia was right, this was all some sort of sick game that the killer was playing with the police team and the ladies had to suffer the most for it, paying with their lives. For each murder that they were unable to solve, another body was dropped. It was indeed frustrating, so frustrating that neither of them had agreed to go home last night. That had to crack this killer’s mind.
“Sometimes, you have got to sacrifice some things to achieve some things Mark.”
Tia stirred and lifted her head up, mumbling a “what…?”, a bit of drool on the corner of her mouth. She turned her head to the side and in her still blurry vision, she caught the sight of Mark at the door. She smiled and lifted her body fully off the table, a piece of paper stuck to the side of her face, she arched her back and stretched a little, the joints in her elbows cracked.
“What time is it?” She asked, peeling the paper off of her face and placing it back down on the table with the rest.
“Time for you to get up, that one is for sure.” Mark chuckled. “I will arrange for you a “get out of bed” coffee right away.”
“Hold on Mark,” Aiden called, stopping him at the door. He turned. “I think you mean a “get up from your desk” coffee.” He laughed and so did Mark. “I would want one too, thanks.”
Mark tipped his cap to him and turned to walk away just as Aiden also turned to approach Tia. The office was a mess, most especially their desks which looked like they had been raided by a small tornado, with every piece of paper in every possible place.
“What time is it?” She asked again, now fully awaken from her sleep. She turned to Aiden.
“This is seventeen minutes past eight, imagine only being able to have just a two-hour sleep and…” Aiden had started but was interrupted by a sudden rapt knock on the door, both he and Tia turned their heads towards the entrance. Aiden sighed out loud the moment he saw who was standing at the door. “…and here comes more work.”
“Sorry,” the guy chuckled nervously as he stepped in, holding out a file to them. “It is just that Dr. William wanted me to give you this and if you have the time, to come to the lab.”
“Thank you. What is this?” Aiden reached out and took the file from him.
“DNA sample reports from Stacey Rohn.”
Tia snapped her head to the side and snatched the file from Aiden’s hands, hurriedly flipping it open even before she placed it down on the desk.
“Thank you.” Aiden dismissed him, pulling up a chair beside Tia. “Well someone seems eager enough for the whole department.”
But Tia paid no attention to his teasing, this was what she had wanted to have since the report about the crime and she was alive now that it had come in and so early too. Placing her index finger on the paper, she skimmed through the texts, her eyes darting from the left to the right and her lips moving rapidly as she silently read the reports, there was just one thing she needed to find and there was just one reason she had wanted this report earlier. She tapped her finger on the part when she found it and then tapped repeatedly after she had read it. She had finally gotten it, the pattern she had been looking for.
“Here.” She said to Aiden. “This is it, right here. A perfect match.”
“What is?” He pulled the papers to himself to have a look.
“According to this report, the sample of DNA found in Stacey Rohn’s murder scene belonged to Pamela Neil.” Aiden looked up from the paper to Tia who had this excited look in her eyes. “That is the pattern. That is the clue we have been searching for!”
She stood up from the chair and walked over to the cabinet, pulling out all the files of the last murder victims they had worked on; Pamela Neil and Clarissa Jan, then walked back to the desk and slammed them down beside the file Aiden was still reading. She flipped them open.
“The unidentified DNA sample found in Clarissa Jan’s murder scene had belonged to Pamela who had been alive as at the time of Clarissa’s death and then after Pamela had been murdered, a DNA sample of the deceased Clarissa had also been found in her murder scene.” Tia explained, tapping each file as she did so, to buttress her points.
“Okay, I’m following.”
“Good. Then Stacey’s DNA sample had also been found in Pamela’s murder scene, Stacey was alive. So Pamela’s murder scene had both DNAs of the last victim, Clarissa Jan, and the Stacey Rohn, the next victim.”
Aiden’s eyes widened as the realization dawned on him and he pulled all the files closer to himself, reading them over again. “He had set it up, he planted the clues there himself.”
“Right.” Tia agreed, slamming her palm on the desk and walked away, she began to pace as she absent-mindedly chewed on her pen. “He wanted us to crack this but then we had placed Stacey as a potential suspect and not as the next victim.”
“He is a stalker. He already knew who his next victim was going to be.”
“So now, this is him daring us to try to stop him.”
“He gives us his next victim and then plays catch with us, “let us see who gets to her first!” my God, he is a sick psycho!”
Tia sighed. “So then we do have the DNA sample of his next victim.”
He turned to her. “We do. Do we know who it is?”
She shook her head negatively. “No, not yet we will have to wait till the results are in.”
“Wow, this is crazy. Makes me wonder if there are more cases, more that are older than Clarissa’s which we might have missed.” As soon as he said that he looked up to Tia and she caught his gaze, the look on her face told that she had been thinking the same. He quickly pushed the other files to the side and pulled Clarissa’s file closer to him. He skimmed through the file, using his index finger as a guide until he got what he was looking for and he read out loud.
“Recorded missing on the 12th of February. Body found on Monday, the 21st of March, at 05:31 pm. Fished out from the Hudson river by a Mr. Robert Lance who was fishing in the river as at around the time.”
“We have a time frame. We would need the files of every unsolved murder case from February up to November last year.” He said, snapping his fingers at the assistant who had long been sitting there quietly and typing away. The young man immediately stood up and began searching the cabinets.
“Aiden there is something else which I had noticed.” Tia said, placing a hand on his shoulder and pausing him. She pulled back the files he had pushed aside and continued. “The location in which he dumped the bodies were specific.”
“How do you mean? Specific?”
“Look.” She pointed to a part in each file. “Clarissa Jan, body found in the Hudson River, that is in the Hudson park.”
“Okay…” He nodded, following what she was saying. Tia continued.
“Pamela Neil, her body found in South Cove Park and now Stacey Rohn, found in Duane Park. He is using the parks as a dumping ground and he is not spreading out too far.”
“He is saying that he is close. He wants to be found?”
“He is messing with the police,” Tia said, slamming her palm on the desk and pacing away. “And he is loving it.”
“There are four unsolved murder cases from November last year till February.” The assistant came to them and placed the four files on the desk in front of Aiden before walking away and back to his seat after a thank you from Tia. They wasted no time flipping the files open.
“We need the ones who had traces of strychnine poisoning in their system and…”
“Found one.” He announced, placing the file down so that Tia could read it as well. “Here, Joan Benson, December seventeen, strychnine poisoning…” He paused and put the file down, a confused look on his face as he turned to face Tia.
“These girls, these victims, they have so many things in common even though neither of them actually knew each other.”
“And what is that?”
He turned and leaned into the chair, rubbing his index finger against his chin. “For one, they are all women, the killer is only after women. Two and like you said, their bodies were found in parks that are close around, he is not spreading out and three, what I just realized now is that they had all worked in the same place.”
Tia leaned on the desk and folded her arms across her chest, giving him her full attention.
“They all worked at Skyline.”
She raised her eyebrows in question. “Skyline? Hotels?”
“Both the hotel and the club, look at this.” He pulled all the files and arranged them on the desk. “Pamela Neil, a waitress at the Skyline Club. Clarissa Jan, also a waitress at the club. Stacey Rohn, the most recent was working as a secretary at the hotel.”
“But these could just be coincidences.”
“I am not saying that they could not be and I do not want to point a lead where there is none but I do think that this is something to consider even if it is just a coincidence.”
“I understand what you are saying Aiden.” She pushed herself off the desk and sat on the chair, leaning in and spinning with it. She sighed. “I hate this.”
“This DNA killer is a sure riddle master.”
Tia stopping spinning the chair and faced him. “DNA killer?”
Aiden shrugged his shoulders. “It just fits his method of operation, scattering DNA here and there and contaminating the crime scenes with his previous and next victim.”
She nodded in agreement. “It does fit and speaking of the next victim, we really need those reports in as soon as it is possible. And the show prints too.”
“Shoe prints, we have that.” He pulled out the drawer and took out a piece of printed paper, handing it over to Tia. “Shoe size forty-five, indent on the soil was greater on the heels so we estimated his weight to be around two hundred and twenty-five pounds.”
Tia scoffed as she kept reading. “It is either this DNA killer loves going to the gym and keeping fit, or he is a fat ass.”
“Fat asses would not be able to carry a struggling victim so easily.”
“So he likes to keep fit then.”
“Using the prints, we would be able to trace it down to the company that produces that kind of shoe, and from there on, I am hoping it would be easier, and smoother to do as well.”
“Sounds too easy. Makes me uncomfortable, he is no dummy.”
“And neither are we Tia. Neither are we.”