“Ronald J. Smith, Male, black hair and twenty-six years old,” Cameron Short wrote in his notebook before replacing the wallet on the victim.
The victim was slumped on the grass, not too far from the edge of the lake. The picnic blanket suggests that Smith came to the lake with the second victim, who was in Smith’s car in the parking lot not too far away. From the position of Smith, he was caught by surprise, killed without struggle. Small-calibre gunshot.
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Cameron Short wrote some more information down, then walked slowly to the parking lot. Even from where he stood he could tell he was in for a grisly sight.
Cameron eyed the ground, looking for any clues that could suggest what happened. However, the grass was curling, still wet with morning dew, offering nothing. When he looked up, he saw the second victim in the car. She was in the driver’s seat, leaning against the door. The amount of blood on the car seat suggested she was killed a lot more savagely.
Jefferson, the senior officer of the patrol that found the victims, kept his eyes averted. He leaned against his patrol car, watching other cars cruise by on the highway. Cameron noticed he wore an emotionless expression, unmoving, forced. He couldn’t blame Jefferson, it’s never pleasant seeing death, especially when both victims were young.
Cameron wasn’t about to get his hands dirty, any disturbances might interfere with the crime scene. He would leave the medical examiner and forensics to gather something more. However, nothing was keeping him from making some observations.
“Female, blonde, in her mid to late twenties,” Cameron thought as he wrote. “Victim died in a struggle, a wound on the right side of neck suggests a knife or other sharp instrument was used.”
Cameron looked at the wound. The blood was mostly dry. The problem was the wound faced away from the door, so the killer did not strike through the window. Most likely, the killer was in the backseat.
Several scenarios played through Cameron’s mind, but he couldn’t work out the order of events. However, on a hunch, he leaned in as close as he could see the contents of the car. In the passenger seat was the woman’s purse. Cameron leaned in and opened it, finding the usual purse contents surrounding a gun. A small calibre revolver, the kind of gun that almost every family in the country had.
Cameron Short looked up to see Jefferson standing by. He kept his eyes on the detective.
“Officer Jefferson, morning,” Cameron said, matching Jefferson’s formality. He could tell the officer wasn’t interested in small-talk, so it was all business. “What do you think of all this?”
Jefferson finally glanced at the victim in the driver’s seat.
“Innocent couple had a picnic but were attacked by a third party. She tried to get away, but that didn’t work out,” Jefferson said gruffly, not wanting to go into details.
“That simple, huh?”
“If you know better, feel free to share.”
“A killer doesn’t leave the murder weapon, right?”
“The gun is in the passenger seat...in her purse. The young man died before he realised. Gunshot to the back of the head.”
Jefferson’s eyes widened and he looked at the gun in the passenger seat. It was easy to miss.
“She did it?”
“Maybe,” Cameron shrugged. “But I feel she did, yes. The killer that got her, well, not that’s the real mystery.”
“Hmph. I don’t envy you, Detective. I don’t have the stomach to be around stuff like this.”
“Then why become a cop?”
“Had the opportunity, needed the money.”
“That’s life,” Cameron said, paging through the notes he made. “Just need some ID, find out where she lives.”
Cameron took a handkerchief from his pocket and picked out the woman’s wallet, flipping it open to read the ID.
Judy L. Glenn, twenty-six. After gathering a few more details, Cameron sighed.
“I’m done here, the medical examiner will be here and take them away soon,” Cameron said. “Once they’ve come and gone, you can file your report at the station.”
Jefferson’s partner, Officer Tim, had finished the cordon already. Slipping beneath the tape and climbing into his car, Cameron collected his city map and found the addresses to the victim’s apartments. Same building.
“That’s convenient,” Cameron thought.
Despite the frigid morning, the day warmed up considerably. By 11 am, Cameron had his windows down and sleeves rolled up. As traffic picked up, the trip to the apartment building became a real pain.
Cameron never really got used to driving an average car. He always expected a patrol car radio to crackle to life, but it was silent. Making a stop at the station, Cameron sorted out some paperwork and took steps towards getting a warrant.
He was relieved and refreshed when he walked into the high-end, air-conditioned apartment building.
“Their clothing was average, the car was old and not in the best condition, but they have apartments in a building like this?” Cameron thought. “This is a nice place, not someplace you live with an entry-level salary.”
Cameron had no right to search Smith’s apartment, as he appeared to be only a victim. However, since Judy was under suspicion of murder, he could search her apartment. After explaining the situation and flashing a badge, Cameron received a key from the apartment building owner.
Cameron stepped into the sleek elevator and stepped out when he was on the fifth floor.
“I need something to confirm the murder was premeditated,” Cameron thought. “Anything...a packed bag, a resignation, a plane ticket to another country. That, and something that can help identify the third party.”
When Cameron opened the door, he saw a large, open apartment. The walls were cold, but large glass sliding doors let a lot of warm light in. What Short did not expect was two wide-open gym bags filled with cash, banknotes spilling out every time a turning fan blew a stiff breeze in their direction.
“That answers that question,” Cameron murmured. “But it raises a lot more than I would like.”