The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Tom and Spence met up in the hallway outside the headmaster’s office. “You get my text about the security guard,” Spence asked.
Tom pulled his phone. “Nothing.” It chirped in his hand. “Now.”
“Crap. The guy had a ton of shit on his belt. Wondered if he had anything useful.”
Tom shrugged. “I doubt that guy has the guts. He puked on camera after finding the body.”
“Acting skills?” Spence tossed out.
“Not so you’d notice. You want me to go back, ask for the belt?”
“Maybe after we figure out who the guy not doing the backstroke was.”
“Got a line on that. Mike, the other guard, who we need to run background on by the way, says he thinks pool man is on the board here.” Tom raised an eyebrow.
“Board, huh. Think the headmaster is lying or suffering from ‘it can’t be anyone I know’ syndrome.”
“Let’s find out.” Tom gestured to the headmaster’s office door then stepped forward to knock on it. He didn’t wait to be invited in before he pushed the door open.
“Have you finished interrogating the staff?” Doctor Wallsgraf had undergone a bit of an attitude change.
Spence moved forward brandishing his cell phone. “Are you sure you don’t recognize the man in this picture? Think carefully. I’m sure when you normally see him he isn’t pale and wet and dead.”
A soft choking sound came out of Tom. Spence cleared his throat to cover.
The headmaster stared at the screen. “Well, really, it could be almost any middle-aged, white man, going a little bald.”
Spence kept the picture in front of the headmaster’s face.
“No, I don’t know him. And I really think this has gone on long enough. It’s the middle of the night. If you have further questions you can come back in the morning and discuss them with the Academy’s lawyer.”
Spence retracted his arm and phone. “I’ll check on our forensic staff.”
The detectives left the office headed for the pool deck. “I’m leaning lying.” Tom said.
“Because he lawyered up. I’m leaning ‘no one I know could be murdered’ syndrome.”
“Beer on it.”
On the pool deck the technicians were still collecting bits of minutia which might prove probative. Spence looked over the scene once more. It would have been rather dark out here. The pool was quite close to the school, meaning sound could travel. The body was either brought in through the gate, with a key? Or through the woods?
“What are you thinking?” Tom asked.
“Prior knowledge. This is not a scene you stumble on.”
“I agree. We should get the security tapes for the last week? See if anyone has been hanging around.”
Spence nodded. “I’ll wrap up here, why don’t you go see the guards, get them to send everything over.”
“See you at the station.” Tom turned back the way they came.
Spence called to the tech who alerted them to the BBQ mystery meat. “Hey, Patty, you find anything else I should see?”
“The usual ton of crap and a lot of pictures. I’ll get it all back to you as soon as we can.”
“Thanks. Hey, uh, any of those donuts left?” Spence smiled. With a laugh, she pointed him to an almost empty box. Spence grabbed a chocolate glazed and headed back to his car. Bronson was still at the side gate with his clipboard and recorded the hour and minute of Spence’s departure.
“I think your ice cream is back to straight cream.” Bronson pointed to the leaking bag on the ground.
“Great. Toss it for me, would you?”
Spence didn’t immediately start the SUV once he climbed in. Almost four in the morning. The autopsy would start at eight. He could go home and grab a few hours or he could head to office and start following up. Tess would be asleep. He was bound to wake her if he went home. He started the car and headed for his favorite early morning coffee shop next to the office. At his desk in the task force room, he found a physical copy of the ten print card for the dead man amid the overwhelming paperwork. He logged onto his computer and checked for IAFIS results. Nothing back yet. Of course on a Friday morning, the search could take hours. In the meantime, he kicked off a background check on the headmaster. He texted Tom, names of the guards for background. Tom responded immediately. Mike Hunter and Bobby Tasker. Spence added those to the queue. He turned around in his chair to look at the locational map. If they added a red “found” dot to the school, how did that fit in with the other bodies? He moved closer to the map and tried to locate the approximate coordinates of Whispering Evergreen Academy. Most of the previous bodies had turned up in city based spaces: parks, zoos, library rotundas. A couple of state parks had been touched. This site was very much in the middle of nothing else. That was a point against this being their serial killer.