The uniformed officer met detectives Fred Morrisey and Ron Hayden when they arrived on the scene. “This is the way we found her, detectives,” the officer said. “The body hasn’t been touched and the ME should be arriving any minute now.”
“Who found the body?” Hayden asked.
“A man was walking his dog about an hour ago,” the detective answered. “He said that his dog was attracted to something, and he went to investigate. That’s when he said he saw the girl and called 9-1-1 on his cell.”
Morrisey leaned over to get a closer look at the body. “She seems to be naked except for some flowers in her hair and around her neck. And the way her body is situated beneath the underbrush that is spread on top of and all around her, it suggests to me that the scene might have been deliberately staged.”
“She has such a peaceful look, as if she’s just sleeping,” Hayden said. “Do you think the killing involves some sort of ritual?”
“Possibly,” Morrisey said, “or perhaps it’s an indication of compassion or remorse on the part of the killer, but it’s too early to say one way or the other.” He directed Hayden to re-interview the man who found the body and waited for the ME to show up, which she did a few minutes later. Morrisey shook her hand as she got to the scene. “Hell of a way to start the day, Doc,” Morrisey said to Sharon Albright, the medical examiner.
Dr. Albright knelt by the body. “She’s got good color. Her death must have been within the past hour or two,” she said. Then the ME touched the body. “And she’s still warm.” The ME cleared away the underbrush, uncovering the girl’s nakedness, and inserted a rectal thermometer into the body. After reading the body’s temperature, and making a few calculations, the ME looked up at Morrisey and confirmed that the time of death was likely no more than ninety minutes earlier.
Morrisey walked over to the uniformed officer and instructed him to go over to where detective Hayden was interviewing the man who found the body and called 9-1-1. “He’s now our prime suspect, “Morrisey said. “Handcuff him and read him his rights.”
Written for the Mindlovemisery Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: AlexandriaSophie at DeviantArt. And for The Daily Spur (scene).