All that remains, p.22
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       All That Remains, p.22

           Patricia Cornwell
 

  He shook his head. "Now, I got no idea about that. It was mighty dark out, and I didn't stand there staring."

  Marino got a notepad out of his pocket and began flipping through it.

  "Mr. Joyce," he said, "Jim Freeman and Bonnie Smyth disappeared July twenty-ninth on a Saturday night. You sure when you saw this car it was before then? Sure it wasn't later on?"

  "Sure as I'm sitting here. Reason I know's because I got sick, like I told you. Started coming down with whatever it was the second week of July. I remember that because my wife's birthday's July thirteenth. I always go to the cemetery on her birthday and put flowers on her grave. Had just come home from doing that when I started feeling a little funny. The next day I was too sick to get out of bed."

  He stared off for a moment. "Must' Ave been the fifteenth or sixteenth I went out to get the mail and saw the car."

  Marino got out his sunglasses, ready to leave.

  Mr. Joyce, who wasn't born yesterday, asked him, "You thinking there's something about these couples dying that's got to do with my dog being shot?"

  "We're looking into a lot of things. And it's best if you don't mention this conversation to anyone."

  "Won't breathe a word of it, no, sir."

  "I'd appreciate it."

  He walked us to the door.

  "Drop by again when you can," he said. "Come July the tomatoes will be in. Got a garden out back there, best tomatoes in Virginia. But you don't have to wait till then to visit. Anytime. I'm always here."

  He watched us from the porch as we drove off.

  Marino gave me his opinion as we followed the dirt road back to the highway.

  "I'm suspicious about the car he saw two weeks before Bonnie Smyth and Jim Freeman was killed out here."

  "So am I" "As for the dog, I have my doubts. If the dog had be shot weeks, even months, before Jim and Bonnie disappeared, I'd think we were on to something. But hell Dammit got whacked a good five years before these couples started dying."

  Kill zones, I thought. Maybe we were on to something anyway.

  "Marino, have you considered that we may be dealing with someone for whom the place of death is more important than victim selection?"

  He glanced over at me, listening.

  "This individual may spend quite along time finding, just the right spot," I went on. "When that is done, he hunts, brings his quarry to this place he has carefully, chosen. The place is what is most important, and the time of year. Mr. Joyce's dog was killed in mid-August. The, hottest time of the year, but off season as far as hunting goes, except for crow. Each of these couples has been; killed off season. In every instance, the bodies have been found weeks, months later, in season. By hunters. It's a "Are you suggesting this killer was out scouting they woods for a place to commit murders when the dog trotted up and spoiled his plan?"

  He glanced over at me, frowning.

  "I'm just throwing out a lot of things."

  "No offense; but I think you can throw that idea right out the window. Unless the squirrel was fantasizing about whacking couples for years, then finally got around to it."

  "My guess is this individual's got a very active fantasy life."

  "Maybe you should take up profiling," he said. "You're beginning to sound like Benton."

  "And you're beginning to sound as if you've written Benton off."

  "Nope. Just not in a mood to deal with him right now."

  "He's still your VICAP partner, Marino. You and I are not the only ones under pressure. Don't be too hard on You sure are into handing out free advice these days," he said.

  "Just be glad it's free, because you need all the advice you can get."

  "You want to grab some dinner?"

  It was getting close to six P.M.

  "Tonight I exercise," I replied dismally.

  'Geez. Guess that's what you'll be telling me to do next."

  Just the thought of it made both of us reach for our cigarettes.

  I was late for my tennis lesson, despite my doing everything short of running red lights to get to Westwood on time. One of my shoelaces broke, my grip was slippery, and there was a Mexican buffet in progress upstairs, meaning the observation gallery was full of people with nothing better to do than eat tacos, drink margaritas, and witness my humiliation. After sending five backhands in a row sailing well beyond the baseline, I started bending my knees and slowing my swing. The next three shots went into the net. Volleys were pathetic, overheads unmentionable. The harder I tried, the worse I got.

  "You're opening up too soon and hitting everything late."

  Ted came around to my side of the net. "Too much backswing, not enough follow-through. And what happens?"

  "I consider taking up bridge," I said, my frustration turning to anger.

  "Your racket face is open. Take your racket back early, shoulder turned, step, hitting the ball out front. And keep it on your strings as long as you can."

  Following me to the baseline, he demonstrated, stroking several balls over the net as I watched jealously. Ted had Michelangelo muscle definition, liquid, coordination, and he could, without effort, put enough spin on a ball to make it bounce over your head or die at your feet. I wondered if magnificent athletes had any concept of how they made the rest of us feel.

  "Most of your problem's in your head, Dr. Scarpetta," he said. "You walk out here and want to be Martina when you'd be much better off being yourself."

  "Well, I sure as hell can't be Martina," I muttered.

  "Don't be so determined to win points when you ought to be working at not losing them. Playing smart, setting, up, keeping the ball in play until your opponent misses or gives you an easy opening to put the ball away. Out here that's the game. Club-level matches aren't won. They're lost. Someone beats you not because they win more points than you but because you lose more points than them."

  Looking speculatively at me, he added, "I'll bet you're not this impatient in your work. I'll bet you hit every ball back, so to speak, and can do it all day long."

  I wasn't so sure about that, but Ted's coaching did the opposite of what he had intended. It took my mind off tennis. Playing smart. Later, I pondered this at length while soaking in the tub.

  We weren't going to beat this killer. Planting bullets and newspaper stories were offensive tactics that had not worked. A little defensive strategy was in order. Criminals who escape apprehension are not perfect but lucky. They make mistakes. All of them do. The problem is recognizing the errors, realizing their significance, and determining what was intentional and what was not.

  I thought of the cigarette butts we'd been finding near the bodies. Had the killer intentionally left them? Probably. Were they a mistake? No, because they were worthless as evidence and we could not determine their brand. The jacks of hearts left in the vehicles were intentional, but they were not a mistake either. No fingerprints had been recovered from them, and if anything, their purpose may be to make us think what the person who had left them wanted us to think.

  Shooting Deborah Harvey I was sure was a mistake.

  Then there was the perpetrator's past, which was what I was considering now. He didn't suddenly go from being a law-abiding citizen to becoming an experienced murderer. What sins had he committed before, what acts of evil? For one thing, he may have shot an old man's dog eight years ago. If I was right, then he had made another mistake, because the incident suggested he was local, not new to the area. It made me wonder if he had killed before.

  Immediately after staff meeting the following morning, I had my computer analyst, Margaret, give me a printout of every homicide that had occurred within a fifty-mile radius of Camp Peary over the past ten years. Though I wasn't necessarily looking for a double homicide, that was exactly what I found. Numbers C0104233 and C0104234. I had never heard of the related cases, which had occurred several years before I moved to Virginia. Returning to my office, I shut the doors and reviewed the files with growing excitement. Jill Harrington and Elizabeth Mott had be
en murdered eight years ago in September, a month after Mr. Joyce's dog was shot.

  Both women were in their early twenties when they disappeared eight years before on the Friday night of September fourteenth, their bodies found the next morning in a church cemetery. It wasn't until the following day that the Volkswagen belonging to Elizabeth was located in a motel parking lot off Route 60 in Lightfoot, just outside of Williamsburg. I began studying autopsy reports and body diagrams. Elizabeth Mott had been shot once in the neck, after which, it was conjectured, she was stabbed once in the chest, her throat cut. She was fully clothed, with no evidence of sexual assault, no bullet was recovered, and there were ligature marks around her wrists. There were no defense injuries. Jill's records, however, told another story. She bore defense cuts to both forearms and hands, and contusions and lacerations to her face and scalp consistent with being "pistol whipped," and her blouse was torn. Apparently, she had put up one hell of a struggle, ending with her being stabbed eleven times.

  According to newspaper clips included in their files, the James City County police said the women were last seen drinking beer in the Anchor Bar and Grill in Williamsburg, where they stayed until approximately ten P.M. It was theorized that it was here they met up with their assailant, a "Mr. Goodbar" situation, in which the two women left with him and followed him to the motel where Elizabeth's car was later found. At some point he abducted them, perhaps in the parking lot, and forced them to drive him to the cemetery where he murdered them.

  There was a lot about the scenario that didn't make sense to me. The police had found blood in the backseat of the Volkswagen that could not be explained. The blood type did not match up with either woman's. If the blood was the killer's, then what happened? Did he struggle with one of the women in the backseat? If so, why wasn't her blood found as well? If both women were up front and he was in back, then how did he get injured? If he cut himself while struggling with Jill in the cemetery, then that didn't make sense, either. After the murders, he would have had to drive their car from the cemetery to the motel, and his blood should have been in the driver's area, not in the backseat. Finally, if the man intended to murder the women after engaging in sexual activity, why didn't he just kill them inside the motel room? And why were the women's physical evidence recovery kits negative for sperm? Had they engaged in intercourse with this man and then cleaned up afterward? Two women with one man? A menage a trois? Well, I supposed, there wasn't much I hadn't seen in my line of work.

  Buzzing the computer analyst's office, I got Margaret on the line.

  "I need you to run something else for me," I said. " list of all drug-positive homicide cases worked by James City County Detective R. P. Montana. And I need the information right away, if you can manage it."

  "No problem."

  I could hear her fingers clicking over the keyboard.

  When I got the printout there were six drug-positive homicides investigated by Detective Montana. The names of Elizabeth Mott and Jill Harrington were on the list, because their postmortem blood was positive for alcohol. The result in each instance was insignificant, l than .05. In addition, Jill was positive for chlordiazepoxide and clidinium, the active drugs found in Librax Reaching for the phone, I dialed the James City County Detective Division and asked to speak to Montana. I was told he was a captain now in Internal Affairs, and my call was transferred to his desk.

  I intended to be very careful. If it were perceived I was considering that the murders of the two women might be related to the deaths of the other five couples, I feared Montana would back off, not talk.

  "Montana," a deep voice answered.

  "This is Dr. Scarpetta," I said.

  "How'ya doing, Doc? Everybody in Richmond's still shooting each other, I see."

  "It doesn't seem to get much better," I agreed. "I'm surveying for drug-positive homicides," I explained. "And I wonder if I could ask you a question or two about several old cases of yours I came across in our computer."

  "Fire away. But it's been a while. I may be a little fuzzy on the details."

  "Basically, I'm interested in the scenarios, the details surrounding the deaths. Most of your cases occurred before I came to Richmond."

  "Oh, yeah, back in the days of Doc Cagney. Working with him was something."

  Montana laughed. "Never forget the way he used to sometimes dig around in bodies without gloves. Nothing fazed him except kids. He didn't like doing kids."

  I began reviewing the information from the computer printout, and what Montana recalled about each case didn't surprise me. Hard drinking and domestic problems had culminated in husband shooting wife or the other way around - the Smith & Wesson divorce, as it was irreverently referred to by the police. A man tanked to the gills was beaten to death by several drunk companions after a poker game went sour. A father with a .30 blood alcohol level was shot to death by his son. And so on. I saved Jill's and Elizabeth's cases for last.

  "I remember them real well," Montana said. "Weird's all I got to say about what happened to those two girls. Wouldn't have thought they were the type to go off to a motel with some guy who picked them up in a bar. Both of them college graduates, had good jobs, smart, attractive. It's my opinion the guy they met up with had to be mighty slick. We're not talking about some redneck, type. I've always suspected it was someone just passing through, not from around here."

  "Why?"

  "Because if it was someone local, I think we might have had a little luck developing a suspect. Some serial killer, it's my opinion. Picks up women in bars and murders them. Maybe some guy on the road a lot, hits in different cities and towns, then moves on."

  "Was robbery involved?" I asked.

  "Didn't appear to be. My first thought when I got the cases was maybe the two girls were into recreational drugs, went off with someone to make a buy, maybe agreed to meet him at the motel to party or exchange cash for coke. But no money or jewelry was missing, and I never found out anything to make me think the girls had a history of snorting or shooting up."

  "I notice from the toxicology reports that Jill Harrington tested positive for Librax, in addition to alcohol," I said. "Do you know anything about that?"

  He thought for a moment. "Librax. Nope. Doesn't ring a bell."

  I asked him nothing else and thanked him.

  Librax is a versatile therapeutic drug used as a muscle relaxant and to relieve anxiety and tension. Jill may have suffered from a bad back or soreness due to sports injuries, or she may have had psychosomatic problems such as spasms in her gastrointestinal tract. My next chore was to find her physician. I began by calling one of my medical examiners in Williamsburg and asking him to fax the section in his Yellow Pages that listed pharmacies in his area. Then I dialed Marino's pager number.

  "Do you have any police friends in Washington? Anyone you trust?" I said when Marino rang me back.

  "1 know a couple of guys. Why?"

  "It's very important I talk to Abby Turnbull. And I don't think it's a good idea for me to call her."

  "Not unless you want to take the risk of someone knowing about it."

  "Exactly."

  "You ask me," he added, "it's not a good idea for you to talk to her anyway."

  "I understand your point of view. But that doesn't change my mind, Marino. Could you contact one of your friends up there and send him to her apartment, have him see if he can locate her?"

  "I think you're making a mistake. But yeah. I'll take care of it."

  "Just have him tell her I need to talk to her. I want her to contact me immediately."

  I gave Marino her address.

  By this time, the copies of the Yellow Pages I was interested in had come off the fax machine down the hall and Rose placed them on my desk. For the rest of the afternoon, I called every pharmacy that Jill Harrington might have patronized in Williamsburg. I finally located one that had her listed in their records.

  "Was she a regular customer?" I asked the pharmacist.

  "Sure was
. Elizabeth Mott was, too. Both of them didn't live too far from here, in an apartment complex: just down the road. Nice young women, never will forget how shocked I was."

  "Did they live together?"

  "Let me see."

  A pause. "Wouldn't appear so. Different addresses and phone numbers, but the same apartment complex. Old Towne, about two miles away. Nice enough place. A lot of young people, William and Mary students out there."

  He went on to give me Jill's medication history. Over a period of three years, Jill had brought in prescriptions for various antibiotics, cough suppressants, and other medications associated with the mundane flu bugs and respiratory or urinary tract infections that commonly, afflict the hoi polloi. As recently as a month before her murder, she had been in to fill a prescription for Septra, which she apparently was no longer on when she died, since trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole were not detected in her blood.

 

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