Friday, April 4, 2014

Ocean- Part 9

            Look, do me a favor, Hooper, just keep quiet this time. I don’t want any misunderstandings with the locals but I want you to be able to see the body before anyone else touches it, okay?”
            “You have my word, Chief. Not a word unless you ask me a direct question. Fair enough?”
The two men walked in silence to the latest sighting.  Even from a distance, Grady recognized Rosalyn Lander and her neighbor, Myra Goldstein.  Ugh, not those two again, he thought silently, while hiding his thoughts behind a professional smile. 
            “I see you haven’t given up jogging on the beach yet, ladies. I commend your dedication to fitness.”
Grady hoped his fake flattery would distract the community’s biggest busy-bodies from paying too much attention to Hooper. His concern had been in vain. Rosalyn Lander was an emotional wreck.  Her eyes were puffy and red, matching her raw and irritated nose.  She’d been wiping at both rather vigorously to remove excess moisture. 
            “Oh God,” she sobbed. “It’s-It’s M-M-Mitch.”
Her friend Myra awkwardly attempted to console the grieving widow as Grady and Hooper moved up the beach toward the remains.  Already, red flags went off on his head. The previous remains had been found close to the waterline but this body was closer to the street on the powdery sand. Sure enough, it was clear that the body belonged to Dr. Mitchell Lander. Strike two, Grady’s mind insisted. He immediately began photographing the body and noticed that, with the exception of blood, the doctor’s clothing was bone dry.  The final nail in the proverbial coffin was the body itself, the wounds were entirely different. The previous bodies looked as if something had chewed them up and vomited them onto the beach.  Dr. Lander appeared to have been hacked up, a crude combination of blunt object and perhaps a knife or ax.  After a few more photographs and a couple of quick text messages, Grady addressed the two women. 
            “Ladies, I don’t think you two need to be down here looking at this. Deputy Poole is on his way down here now. He’s going to drive you both to the station for statements. After what you’ve been through, I don’t think you ought to drive.”
            “Yes, I understand, Chief Grady.” Rosalyn sobbed. “I think you’re right. Thank you for your kindness in th-th-th…”
Overcome by emotion, she was unable to finish her sentence. Instead she dissolved into in a fresh wave of tears.  She whimpered piteously until Poole and the other two deputies arrived on the scene and then she broke down again for their benefit. 
            “Poole, would you please drive these ladies to the station and get their statements?” Grady commanded.  “I’m going to handle a few things here and then I’ll be there to speak with you Mrs. Lander and also you Mrs. Goldstein.  So please, sit tight at the station until I get there.  If you need anything to eat or drink, Poole will take care of it, won’t you, Poole?”
            “Sure thing, Chief!  Ma’am, if you’ll just follow me, we’ll get you two taken care of right away.” 
            “Kline, you stay here with me. Barker, I want you to help Poole and under no circumstances do those two leave the station. Got it? See if you can question Mrs. Goldstein alone. I’ve got a feeling ol’ Roz will try to prevent that but try anyway. Don’t push it though, I don’t want them getting suspicious.”
Barker raced off while Kline and Grady continued gathering evidence. Within minutes, he’d gotten the Municipal Judge to issue a search warrant for the home of Dr. Mitchell Lander.  Little specks of blood could be found leading away from the body and back to the Lander’s spacious beachfront home. 
            “Hey, Kline…use the video on your phone and go from the body to the house. Make sure you zoom in on each blood spot. After that we’ll scoop it up tag it for evidence. I’m pretty sure this is the doctor’s blood and we’re gonna find plenty more in the house.”
            “Hooper, I’m afraid I won’t be needing you right now. What we’ve got here is a good, old fashioned murder. Granted, they tried to copycat whatever is attacking people on the beach but this isn’t even close to the carnage from…well, from whatever it is.”
            “I guess I’ll see if my room is ready over at the EconoLodge and we can catch up later, Chief.”
            “Tell ya what, Hooper, I’ll stop by there later and pick you up. We’ll have dinner at my place. My wife is an amazing cook.”

***Be sure to come back, Monday, April 7th for the next installment of Ocean*** 

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