Friday 25 – Tuesday 29 April 2014
Carrie Butcher had become a police officer because it was in her blood. She came from a long line of police officers and detectives and, as with many members of the police forces all around the world, it was like a family trade. Had her mother been more influential in Carrie’s youth, she may have become a nurse or a teacher, but Carrie was her father’s girl all the way, and his influence was a much more powerful factor in her life. She often thought that perhaps she’d been born to be a cop. As difficult and frightening as it could be, Carrie loved every minute that she spent doing police work.
Like the majority of her colleagues, Butcher’s desk was piled high with papers, reports, and case files. There was little room for anything else, and currently, her cup of coffee was precariously balanced upon the results of DNA testing, and a series of photos from the Gregson crime scene. Trying to find a link, any link, between the victims was frustrating Carrie. There didn’t appear to be any logical association between any of the women who had ended up on the bottom of their pools.
‘Why are you picking these women? What’s the thing that makes them stand out to you?’ She tapped her pen against her forehead as she posed the questions.
‘Often talk to yourself, do you?’ Her partner, Lucas Miller, strode into the room. He threw a greasy bag to Carrie as he approached her desk. ‘Donuts. Every good cop needs to eat donuts while they’re trying to figure out a case . . . at least, that’s what Hollywood movies tell me.’
Nose crinkled in disgust at the grease, Carrie opened and peered into the bag.
‘They look surprisingly delicious,’ she said.
‘You didn’t think I’d bring you crap, did you?’
‘Well, with all the grease I just thought they’d be revolting.’
‘Try one,’ Miller replied.
She reached into the bag, pulled out a donut and turned it over, examining it from every angle. Putting it up to her nose, she sniffed the deep fried food, and glanced at Miller.
‘Oh, for crying out loud, just eat the damn donut,’ he said.
Carrie cautiously bit into the donut expecting it to taste as bad as the greasy bag looked. She wouldn’t have been surprised if Lucas had given her something that looked good but tasted terrible.
‘Well, what do you think?’ asked Miller.
She nodded and raised her eyebrows.
‘Not bad. Pretty good, actually,’ she mumbled in between swallowing and taking another bite.
‘Slight change of pace . . . have you had any break-through ideas about how we’re going to catch The Pool Man?’
‘Or Pool Woman,’ Butcher replied, managing to avoid spitting crumbs of donut as she spoke.
‘Fine. Or Pool Woman. Any ideas?’ Miller sat at his desk, and swivelled his chair around to face his partner.
‘Not a thing.’ Butcher dumped the remains of the donut next to her coffee cup. The thought of not having arrested anyone for the murders that she and Miller were investigating put her off eating. ‘I wish I knew where to start looking.’
Miller sighed. He desperately tried to come up with a starting point.
‘Look at all this,’ Butcher interrupted Miller’s thoughts. She gestured to the files and reports that hid her desk. ‘Most of this is evidence and reports and photos, all to do with this damn case. Somewhere in here, there has to be information that will point us in the right direction. There has to be, but I . . . this case, Miller, has me stumped. I don’t even know where to start with all of this.’
‘Okay, okay, what about this? Let’s start with the first victim. What made Patricia Borello so important that she had to be killed?’ Miller ferreted around on his desk for a notepad. When he found one, he flipped through to find a clean page on which to start a new set of notes, and pulled a cheap ballpoint pen from his shirt pocket. After pulling the lid off with his teeth, he readied himself to jot down any ideas that he or Butcher might come up with. Butcher followed his lead.
‘Right, what do we know about Patricia Borello?’ She paused as she tried to remember details of the victim’s life. ‘Married at twenty. First kid at twenty-one, second kid came two years after, and the third one came two years after the second. Stay at home mother until the youngest was old enough for school, and then Patricia found a secretary’s position at a car dealership. And that’s pretty much her life.’
‘What did she do the day before she ended up on the bottom of the pool?’ Miller didn’t bother looking up from his writing. Butcher would be quick to rattle off any information that she remembered.
‘Got up, got her kids ready for school, got her husband organised for work, drove the kids to school, went to the gym. Spent an hour at the gym, went to the market and bought groceries. Drove home. Did housework. Husband picked up the kids from school. That’s it.’ Carrie moved the coffee cup and donut, and scoured through the files to find the one that contained Patricia Borello’s movements the day before she was murdered. She quickly re-read the summary page that she had created for the dead woman’s movements. She stumbled over a single piece of information that she had previously missed, or had forgotten about given the other cases.
‘What?’ Miller asked.
‘Shit, shit, shit, shit. How did I miss that?’
Carrie handed the file to her partner, and watched as he read the summary. His eyes widened when he hit what Butcher had discovered.
‘Holy shit. Her husband gave us this?’
‘Yeah,’ replied Butcher.
‘She made a call to nine one one the day before she was offed? Do we know why?’
Butcher nodded. She knew exactly why Patricia Borello had called emergency services, and no one involved in the case, including her, registered it as important during the initial stages of the investigation.
‘I’ve even heard the recording of the call. I have it here somewhere. Patricia Borello called nine one one to report a trespasser in the backyard. Someone had gained access to the rear of the Borello property and was watching her from the poolside.’
‘And?’ Miller pushed.
‘And . . . it was a woman.’
. . . To be continued . . .