All that remains, p.35
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       All That Remains, p.35

           Patricia Cornwell
 

  Significantly, benzene has been associated with aplastic anemia. Steven had worked at a printing press. Benzene is a solvent used to clean printing presses and other machinery. He was exposed to it, so his hematologist said, on a daily basis for almost a year."

  "And the symptoms?"

  "Fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, possibly infections, and bleeding from the gums and nose.

  Spurrier was already suffering from aplastic anemia when Jill and Elizabeth were murdered. He may have been having nosebleeds, which would have occurred with very little provocation. Stress always makes everything worse, and he would have been under a great deal of stress while abducting Elizabeth and Jill. If his nose had started bleeding, that would explain the blood in the back of Elizabeth's car."

  "When did he finally go to the doctor?"

  Wesley asked.

  "A month after the women were murdered. During his examination, it was discovered that his white count was low, his platelets and hemoglobin low. When your platelets are low you bleed a lot."

  "He committed murders while he was that sick?"

  "You can have aplastic anemia for a while before it becomes severe," I said. "Some people simply find out during a routine physical."

  "Poor health and losing control of his first victims were enough to make him retreat," he thought out loud. "Years went by as he recovered and fantasized, reliving the murders and improving his techniques. Eventually, he was confident enough to start killing again."

  "That could explain the long interval. But who knows what went through his mind."

  "We'll never really know that," Wesley said grimly.

  He paused to study an ancient grave marker before speaking again. "I have some news, too. There's a company in New York, a spy shop whose catalogs were found in Spurrier's house. After some tracking we've ascertained that four years ago he ordered a pair of night vision goggles from them. In addition, we've located a gun store in Portsmouth where he purchased two boxes of Hydra-Shok cartridges less than a month before Deborah and Fred disappeared."

  "Why did he do it, Benton?"

  I asked. "Why did he kill?"

  "I can never answer that satisfactorily, Kay. But I've talked with his former roommate at WA, who indicated that Spurrier's relationship with his mother was unhealthy. She was very critical and controlling, belittled him constantly. He was dependent on her and at the same time probably hated her."

  "What about the victimology?"

  "I think he spotted young women who reminded him of what he couldn't have, the girls who had never given him the time of day. When he saw an attractive couple, it set him off because he was incapable of relationships. He took possession through murder, fused himself with and overpowered what he envied."

  Pausing, he added, "If you and Abby hadn't encountered him when you did, I'm not sure we would have gotten him. Scary how it works. Bundy gets pulled because a taillight's out. Son of Sam gets nailed because of a parking ticket.

  Luck. We were lucky."

  I didn't feel lucky. Abby hadn't been lucky.

  "You might find it interesting to know that since all of this has been in the news we've received a lot of phone calls from people claiming someone who fits Spurrier's description approached them outside bars, at service stations, convenience stores. It's been reported that on one occasion he actually got a ride with a couple. He claimed his car had broken down. The kids dropped him off. No problem."

  "Did he approach only young male-female couples during these dry runs?"

  I asked.

  "Not always. Thus explaining how you and Abby fit that night he stopped to ask directions. Spurrier loved the risk, the fantasy, Kay. The killing was, in a sense, incidental to the game he was playing."

  "I still don't completely understand why the CIA was so worried the killer might be from Camp Peary," I told him.

  He paused, draping his suit jacket over his other arm.

  "It was more than the MO, the jack of hearts," he said. "The police recovered a plastic computerized gas card in the, back of Jim and Bonnie's car, on the floor under the seat. It was assumed the card had inadvertently fallen out of the killer's pocket, a jacket pocket, maybe a shirt pocket, while he was abducting the couple."

  "And?"

  "The company name on the gas card was Syn-Tron. After some tracking, the account came back to Viking Exports. Viking Exports is a cover for Camp Peary. The gas card is issued to Camp Peary personnel for their use at the pumps on base."

  "Interesting," I said. "Abby referred to a card in one of her notepads. I assumed she was referring to the jack of hearts. She knew about the gas card, didn't she, Benton?"

  "I suspect Pat Harvey told her. Mrs. Harvey had known about the card for quite a while, thus explaining her accusations during the press conference that something was being covered up by the feds."

  "Obviously, she no longer believed that when she decided to kill Spurrier."

  "The Director briefed her after the press conference, Kay. Had no choice but to inform her that we were suspicious the gas card was left deliberately. We were suspicious from the beginning, but that didn't mean we couldn't take it seriously. Obviously, the CIA took it very seriously."

  "And this silenced her."

  "If nothing else it made her think twice. Certainly, after Spurrier was arrested, what the Director had said to her made a lot of sense."

  "How could Spurrier have gotten hold of a Camp Peary gas card?"

  I puzzled.

  "Camp Peary agents frequented his bookstore."

  "You're saying that he somehow stole this card from a Camp Peary customer?"

  "Yes. Suppose someone from Camp Peary walked out of the bookstore leaving his wallet on the counter.

  By the time he came back looking for it, Spurrier could have tucked it away, said he hadn't seen it. Then he left the gas card in Jim and Bonnie's car so we would link the killings to the CIA."

  "No identification number on the card?"

  "The ID numbers are on stickers that had been peeled off, so we couldn't trace the card back to an individual."

  I was getting tired and my feet were beginning to hurt when the parking area where we had left our cars came into view. Those who had come to mourn Abby's death were gone.

  Wesley waited until I was unlocking my car before touching my arm and saying, "I'm sorry for those times "So am I" I didn't let him finish. "We go on from here, Benton. Do whatever you can to make sure Pat Harvey isn't punished further."

  "I don't think a grand jury will have a problem understanding how she's suffered."

  "Did she know about the DNA results, Benton?"

  "She's had a way of finding out details critical to the investigation, despite our efforts to keep them from her, Kay. I suspect she knew.

  Certainly, it would help explain why she did what she did. She would have believed Spurrier was never going to be punished."

  I got in and put the key in the ignition.

  "I'm sorriest about Abby,' he added.

  I nodded as I shut the door, my eyes filling with tears.

  I followed the narrow road to the cemetery's entrance, passing through elaborate wrought-iron gates. The sun shone on downtown office buildings and steeples in the distance, light caught in the trees. I opened the windows and drove west toward home.

  #####

 

 


 

  Patricia Cornwell, All That Remains

 


 

 
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