Lieutenant Reyes walked down the hall to the double stainless steel doors that led to Dr. Bob’s Lab. He had something to say but he couldn’t just put it in a memo or make a phone call. He hoped the Doc would be in a little early. As he pushed open the doors and walked inside, the doctor was just exchanging his suit coat for a clean, fresh lab coat. His lab assistant, Jake wasn’t expected for about another hour. Doc was about to consult the overnight reports on his computer to see how today’s business was shaping up. Lt. Reyes walked over to his desk.
“Good morning, Doc. I came to see you because I owe you an apology. I was abrupt with you yesterday and presumptuous about your final report on the guy we found in the desert. I’m sorry about that.”
Dr. Bob wasn’t new to this game. Detectives - old and new - around this and other departments he had worked with in the past were pretty much the same. These young detectives always thought they knew everything right out of the box and their first impressions of a case were all they had to go on. From that point investigations became a runaway train. The new guys just out of college and police academies were the worst. The guys who came up through the ranks knew better, but they still played the game their own way. “That’s all right, lieutenant. Your job involves shooting at a fast-moving target of evolving information. My targets never move. Don’t think anything about it.”
“Well, I was rude and I’m sorry. I won’t let it happen again. I gave it some thought and what I did was disrespectful and you definitely don’t deserve that,” confessed Reyes.
“Lieutenant, I could tell this case was one of those rare cases that got under your skin for some reason. I don’t know why and I don’t care. That’s your business. In fact, it got on mine, too, a little. I figured the Captain would pull the plug on this case, but I want to take another look just to see if I missed anything before I send my report upstairs. Besides, it will be several days before someone from the family can get here to take care of things. I’ll let you know if I turn up anything new. Thanks for coming down. Don’t sweat the rest.”
Dr. Bob was, first and foremost a scientist and secondly, a man. He never got emotional about his cases. He had seen so many bodies in his career that he was immune to it all by now. The time for his emotional involvement passed years ago when he was a young Navy doctor, working in trauma and caring for injured Marines on board the hospital ship during the first Gulf War. It was their pain and suffering that got to him more than the injuries. Sometimes that suffering would last the rest of the young soldier’s life. Human suffering and the tragedy of war - he could stitch up their bullet wounds, but the wounds to their psyche was a difficult matter that he couldn’t fix. He served his hitch in the Navy, then switched his focus to Forensics because the dead feel no more pain and their tragedies are over. He could deal with the rest. Working with law enforcement in this way, seemed to help him emotionally get back at those who would invest tragedy on others. As Detective Reyes left the room, Dr. Bob sat at his desk and scrolled through his inter-departmental e-mails and notices.
Lt. Reyes took the stairway up to his department rather than take the elevator. He thought better when he walked. There wasn’t anything new or different to consider. It was haunting and he couldn’t get a handle on it. Maybe it had to do with the disappearance of his own father when he was a baby. Reyes wasn’t even his real birth name, but he never knew what that was. With his Sheriff’s Department access clearance, he could surely find out easily enough, but it didn’t matter to him. His genetic father walked out and he was raised by a step-father who was very good to him. He loved his mother and made a good life for them all. Like other people he had met in the line of his duties and with his participation with the SOLVE program, he had met lots of puzzled and at-risk kids whose parents were divorced and felt abandoned by their father. He knew how it affected them, too. None of them could figure out why they were so unlovable that such a thing could happen to them. So, they acted out in macho fashion hoping to get attention from a man who was long gone. It wasn’t logical. It didn’t make sense, but that’s the way it seemed to be - out there - in the streets.
Arriving at his desk, Lt. Reyes found that someone had put a copy of this morning’s Yuma Sun newspaper, on this desk, folded in such a way that the story on top was what he was meant to read. He looked around, but there was no one else in the bullpen. Sitting down in his chair, he scoured the facing 1/4 page for the article he thought he was meant to read. It was small, but it got his attention.
He wondered what the Captain would think. The dead man was a traveler. Maybe he was involved with this other dead man’s murder. Lt. Reyes stood-up with the folded newspaper to go see the Captain when a business card fell out from under the newspaper folds. It read, “Victor Malone, Special Agent, Dept. Of Homeland Security, Tucson, AZ.” The card had the official department seal emblazoned in the upper, left corner of the card, in full color. This would be interesting.
He picked up his desk phone and called the evidence lab. “This is Detective Reyes. Do you still have the file on the Desert ex-Marine? Did anyone check his bank accounts for gasoline purchases or anything out of the ordinary?” Reyes waited impatiently, tapping his foot and bouncing his knee. “Well, I need someone to tell if he bought gasoline, oil, pack of chewing gum a Coke or a bag or Doritos with his bank card anywhere near Tombstone. I need this right away. .. Why? I’m working on a hunch, that’s why. Will you help me or not?” The article said nothing of Tombstone, but it did say Sierra Vista, Arizona.
>>>> Chapter 11 >>