Detective Theodore “Ted” Wade stared down at the coroner’s table at the reassembled body of David and Mariam Strauss’s daughter Marie. This was the part of the job he despised more than any other. Someone’s baby lying brutally murdered in front of him and he had absolutely no idea who had done it. What made the situation even more excruciating was that the coroner would walk in one second and let him know what all had been done to the girl following up to and causing her death. The atrocities that a person could carry out on another still shocked him to the core even after fifteen years as a detective with the Lake Havasu City Police. The job had a way of showing Detective Wade the highest of highs and the dirty filth covered lowest of lows.
The first case he caught as a detective was one of the highest points in his life. A young boy’s stepfather had taken him and was threatening to cut his head off if his estranged wife refused to take him back. The hard part was that the asshole was driving around Arizona in a white 1996 Ford Taurus with the kid in the trunk stopping at random gas stations and calling from pay phones. At that time in history everyone didn’t have a cell phone and GPS in every car. Not to mention the model of car couldn’t have been a more common model to try to send an APB out on. Luckily, Ted Wade was there at the mother’s house when the husband called from a service station that he had been at the following week and he recognized the sound of a specific driveway bell they had just installed. He was able to alert the local black and whites while the mother kept him on the line. Detective Wade was there when the patrolmen brought the woman’s son home and her joy and the simple happiness that the boy felt made all of the bad the job involved seem worth it.
At least back then, lately there weren’t a lot of happy endings and for some reason this particular case was eating at his insides worse than usual. Watching the cold pale wave that instantly overcame every ounce of David Strauss’s soul the second he heard the sick twisted piece of shit cut out his daughter’s tongue had damaged Ted Wade more than he could stomach. He had no idea how he was even able to hold himself together long enough to get out of the sight of David and Miriam Strauss and now once again staring down at their child he felt the same sense of panic as he looked at this young beautiful girl’s life that been hacked to pieces by a madman. Ted Wade was using every ounce of strength he could find to keep from breaking down right there in the morgue. He could just picture himself laying down on the cold tile floor and going to sleep and not bothering to wake up ever again. That was what this life had done to him, broken him down, beaten the soul clean out of him and left a shell of a man that was once strong and full of pride but now at least mentally, was curled up in the fetal position on a cold tile floor.
His stupor was broken by the coroner’s entrance. A short mole looking creature that appeared to be a slightly younger and less green version of Yoda from Star Wars whose soul if it ever existed was reduced to a mechanical forensic machine devoid of any visual emotion. He sat his folder down on the small metal table that resided by the larger one that Marie Strauss now lay on and took a small pair of wire rimmed glasses out of a case that he kept in his front pant pocket and placed them at the end of his nose increasing his similarity to a cartoon mole. He pulled latex gloves from a small box with an oval opening that was already on the table and stretched them tightly over his sausage like fingers, making a small grunt when he did so.
“Case number 1269351 Marie Allison Strauss age fifteen years old, Caucasian, weight 98 pounds height 154.94 centimeters, cause of death brain hemorrhaging due to blunt force trauma probably caused by a large rock.” He paused, scanned the page and asked if the detective would like the particulars.
“Not especially Doc but I guess I don’t have a choice.” Ted Wade prepared himself as best as he could for the particulars, the information on what was done to the girl before she was bashed in the head and put out of her misery.
“The tongue was removed with a very sharp blade that was serrated on one side and it appears cauterized with a hot piece of flat metal, there were also circular burns covering most of the lower back and thighs. Pieces of skin were removed from the chest arms and groin areas and there are deep rope marks around the wrists, ankles and neck.” Dr. Yoda again scanned the piece of paper up and down and then looked up directly into Detective Wades eyes and said “The dismemberment was post modem.”
“Was there any hair, fibers or DNA that we recovered?”
“No Theodore the body was left in a bath of bleach water for at least 2 hours before it was dismembered and it looks like it was carried to the dump site in some kind of plastic sterilized bucket.”
“And there were no clothes found with the body correct?”
“That is correct.”
“Any idea what kind of saw dismembered her?”
“A 1-1/8-inch reciprocating saw. I am thinking probably a Bosch RS-7, the kind of sawzall found in most handy man’s toolkits found in every Home Depot in the land, no way to trace it.”
“Thanks Doc.” Ted Wade had not expected much more from the medical examiner but he had held out hope for anything this time.
Detective Wade turned silently and walked to the double doors exiting the morgue. He placed his hands in the center of the door and he visualized putting the details he had just heard into a large garbage bag, pulling the drawstring closed tightly and then tossing it into a large green dumpster for later inspection. He had nothing to go on to help him find Marie Strauss’s murderer. He would return to his desk, sift through her file and the other girls that he believed was connected to this same murderer until he couldn’t stand it any longer and then he would take the short drive home to a waiting handle of Johnny Walker Red.