MacArthur and Varnes looked at each other from their desks in the detective's bureau.
"I can't believe he didn't do it." Varnes began.
MacArthur replied, "We don't know that he didn't do it. We just know that we don't yet have enough evidence to hold him to it."
The phone's singing pierced the tension enveloping the room. Varnes reached out to pick it up.
"Yeah?... What?.... Okay, we'll be right over." Varnes hung up and looked at his partner. "The M.E. is faxing over a report. It looks like our case just took another unexpected twist."
The two men walked over to the fax machine and picked up the report that had just finished printing out.
"Man," said MacArthur, shaking his head in disgust. "Autopsies are the sickest things I've ever heard of. Compare these pictures of the victim at the crime scene to this one her mother gave us. And listen to this. The Medical Examiner sliced open the cranium and examined the brain. Removed the liver to search for poisons..."
Varnes interrupted him, "Yeah, that's all nice. What about our vic?"
MacArthur read farther down the page. "Cause of death... suffocation. What? Wait a minute... It says here that she was shot post mortem." MacArthur threw down the report. "What is that telling us?"
Varnes' answer was almost instantaneous, "It means that she probably wasn't killed there. She was strangled somewhere else. Now the perp wouldn't have shot her in a house or office because it would make a mess, but he could strangle her there, and then just dump her off by the side of the road, putting a few bullets in her so as to throw us off the trail. We also got semen samples we can try to match up with whoever we pick up."
"Well, we're no closer to catching whoever did it. It may just turn out to be easier to build a case if and when this comes to trial."
"Oh, don't worry Mark, it will. We still have a few leads left that the mother gave us."
Mark MacArthur looked at his partner. He suddenly remembered something else, "We never got around to searching the vic's room!"
Varnes got up, "The chief figured that we were too busy following up on the Turner lead. You know how closely he adheres to that forty-eight hour principle. He sent Smith and Voorhees, the two county detectives that were sent over to help us out, over to check it out. I'll go see if they picked up anything." With that, he walked out of the detective's bureau, down a flight of stairs, and through a long hallway until he came to a juncture. To the left, was the arsenal that was opened in the case of massive violent uprising or an assault by a particularly dangerous and well-armed gang. To the right was the evidence room, where anything found at the scene of a crime or other relevant location was stored before it was transferred over to county.
While the one at County had a permenant attendant, the evidence room at the police station was more informal. All of the pieces of evidence were locked in indivudual "cages", and a ring with the various keys on it dangled above a clipboard containing descriptions of what was in the cages, where and when it had been found, who found it, and who it belonged to. Varnes scanned the list for Smith or Voorhees' name, and found them towards the bottom. He removed a key and opened an evidence cage along the top row. In it, he found a folder and a notepad. He flipped through the pad to the last few pages. One of them contained the date she disappeared, along with a reminder - "Dinner, 7:30, Diner." In the folder was a piece of paper with a list of company names and dollar amounts next to them neatly handwritten. Judging from a quick comparision of the handwriting, the paper in the folder was written by someone other than Juliann.
Varnes began to recall a vague memory, It was about a newspaper article he had read the previous week. Suddently, everything fell into place. Clutching the folder and notepad, he scribbled his name on the clipboard, slammed the evidence cage shut, and flew down the long hallway, up the stairs, and up into the detectives' bureau. He was breathless by the time he arrived.
"Mark - do you still have that picture from the awards dinner four months ago?"
MacArthur reached into the bottom drawer of his desk, pushed some papers aside, and pulled out an 8.5" x 11" frame containing a picture of him receiving an award.
"Great! Get your jacket. We're going on a little field trip."
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The graphical bars are taken with permission from the CD-ROM accompanying Que Corporation's book Using HTML by Tom Savola.
The music is taken with permission from the Americana CD-ROM.
The picture of the girl in red is taken with permission from the Kodak Photo Styler CD and Photo Sampler. The photographer was Bob Clemens.
The picture of the cage was taken by Detective Sergeant Stephen Wilde for the purposes of this project.