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SHADOWS IN THE GLASS - by Lance Dean - Chapter 5

LanceDeanApr 25, 2022, 1:41:14 PM

At a quarter to five Fein and Doe returned to the station. Neither looked forward to meeting their FBI liaison.

This wasn't their first serial killer. They'd worked with a Quantico profiler for Edgar Haynes and Joseph Grimes. Even where they were accurate they weren't particularly helpful. It felt like using a horoscope to interpret tea leaves. Lisa started second-guessing herself. She still was for that matter.

After they'd found those guys there were things in their homes and pasts that ticked boxes on the profiles. But the DA told Lisa that the profile was useless for arrest or at trial. In Lisa's experience it was more frustration in a difficult job. She doubted it would be any better this time.

They rode the elevator in silence. Homicide was on the third floor. A big squat room seven feet high and four hundred square feet interlaced with cubicle dividers. Alongside Homicide were cubicles for Crimes Against Persons, Crimes against Children, Assault and Sex Crimes. Missing Persons was on the second floor with Burglary, Fraud, Vice and Narcotics.

When they got to their desks there was a man in a gray suit sitting in Benny's chair with his nose buried in a file.

Lisa cleared her throat. The man looked up. Stood and stuck out his hand. "How do you do? I'm Field Agent William Jeffries."

Standing over six foot two, his lean frame appeared lanky. His thick shock of red hair, although trimmed, still managed to appear unruly. The serious expression on his boyish face managed to appear both younger and more mature than his thirty-six years.

Benny shook his hand. "I'm Benjamin Fein. This is Lisa Doe."

She shook his hand, already not fond of him. Growing up she never had anything of her own. Nothing was private. Nothing was safe. Now that she could defend it, she was fiercely protective of her privacy. The Agent was lucky she didn't find him at her desk.

"Sorry for getting into the files while you were gone. Your Lieutenant told me to go ahead. I've been here an hour so I did some reading."

Benny asked, "See anything?"

Jeffries tapped the stack of folders. "Are these all the victims?"

Benny shrugged. "No way of knowing for sure."

"Did anything turn up on your trip?"

"Another victim." Lisa said. "His MO. His type. A young Latina woman."

"Single mother putting herself through college doing exotic dancing." Benny added.

Lisa filled Jeffries in on the fuzzy security camera image. Showed him the sketch of the face and the tattoo.

"Precious little," Benny admitted. "But a hell of a lot more than we had yesterday."

Jeffries said, "We can establish his height and build from the video. There's also a data analyst at our field office that keeps surprising me. I'll give him everything and see what he comes up with."

They called Deputy Dominguez and arranged for the original security tape to be shipped overnight to the Phoenix Bureau office where the best video capture equipment was available. Jeffries had brought a portable high definition scanner. He spent the next two hours taking high resolution scans of everything in their files.

They talked as he worked his way through the stack. Tanya had been the seventh victim in three months. The first one outside of Phoenix. The grabs and dumps were a week apart on Tuesday or Wednesday. Slow nights.

Tanya was snatched and dumped on the same night. On the fourth of July. Not a slow night.

"An impulse grab." Jeffries noted.

Benny nodded. "He keeps them for a week while he plans his next grab. Never any witnesses."

"Meticulous planning. Everything very deliberate." Jeffries said.

Benny continued. "Until this morning we had zilch on this guy. Never been seen or photographed. Not one of these girls were considered a homicide until a body was found."

"Girls go missing in Phoenix." Lisa said. "Most turn back up. When they turn up dead with their eyes gone and their genitals slashed we put them in that pile."

"That's different." Jeffries commented. "Usually the impulse grab is the first kill. Then they refine their technique."

Lisa said, "This guy's a control freak. Every detail choreographed. A body every two weeks like clockwork."

Jeffries repeated, "Every two weeks? That's pretty hot. Did he ramp up?"

"He came in hot." Lisa said.

"Maybe he was already active." Benny suggested. "Phoenix is a town of transients. Maybe he started in another state."

Lisa said, "Maybe there's a gang connection. This guy honed his skills doing hits. That's why we never saw the other victims."

"Right under our nose but completely off our radar." Fein said. "So we'll look into gang hits. Look at other states. Maybe some slob got his eyes cut out."

Jeffries nodded. "I'll have that run through VICAP."

When Field Agent Jeffries completed scanning the files he gave them business cards. Then shook their hands and took his leave. Afterwards Benny said. "What do you think? He seemed all right."

Lisa had thawed considerably towards the agent. "He wasn't a complete pain in the ass."