The unexplainable investigation - Part II

(Part 1 from 2)

We rode back to Headquarters, Linda was driving, I was thinking about all these cases. They did not make sense to me. Each suspect was different yet the same in some way. No sign of forced entry yet the suspect got in. The only similarities were that he had a large penis and he could not get satisfied. Linda spoke first “So what do you make of all this” she asked as she glanced over toward me. I shook my head and said “I don’t know Linda but there is something eating at me about all this and I cannot get my mind around it!” “You worried about me” she asked. “Yes and no” I said with a laugh “I know you can handle yourself but this case has me on edge.” We did not talk anymore while I kept going over each of the cases in my mind.

As we finally got back into the office I started looking at the photos that the crime scene techs had sent up on each crime scene. Nothing jumped out at me at first so I began looking at the closer. Then I heard a man’s voice say “You won’t find anything, I didn’t.” I looked up and there stood a man in his late sixties or early seventies. He smiled and put out his hand for me to shake “I am Tim Reed and I use to be Detective Tim Reed” he said. I had heard of him, the top detective on our department in his time. He retired over twenty years ago but some of the older officers still talk about him. Some of his cases are still talked about in the Police Academy too.

“Damn, what an honor” I said as I stood up “you are like a legend around here sir!” He laughed and said “that ain’t saying much then son.” I offered him a seat and then I asked “What did you mean I would not see anything, you seen these pictures already” I asked. His face got serious and he leaned in toward me “No, but they are the same to me” he said. “I saw them all twenty years ago” he continued. “It was the last case I worked. After it ended I retired” he added. Without my prompting he continued.
“It was this same time of the year, hell it even happened on almost the same days. There were five women, raped by men that looked like men they knew and trusted. Ever man had an alibi and the victims even said that they were not the suspect. All the victims said the same thing that he had a large penis and that he was extremely strong and brutal. Here is the kicker for you. When I was handling the cases I went back into the records and I found that twenty years before, almost to the day, the same type of crimes were committed. Five woman, over a two week period, with no arrests ever made and then they stopped” he finally stopped talking and looked me dead in the eyes. “You get the picture now? This has happened forty years ago and then again twenty years ago, and now” he almost whispered it as if saying it out loud would make it happen.

“If anyone else came in here and told me this I would throw them out” I said. I felt angry and I did not know why. Yes, I did, I was angry because this pervert was out there or his son was out there and was going to strike again and I could not stop him. “I know that is why I came to help you, if you will let me” he offered. I called Linda over to us and said “Linda I want you to meet Detective Tim Reed, retired. He is now a member of our unofficial task force. Now I got an idea. Records have put all the crime reports and investigator reports going back to the beginning of our recordkeeping into a searchable database. I want you two to work on doing a record search all the way back as far as you can. I want to know if this ever happened before and if so what and when” I concluded. Linda looked at Tim and said “Well welcome to the nut house cause this case is crazy!” Tim laughed and said “Just wait until you learn how crazy. I will bring you up to speed with what I told Duke.” As they walked away I heard Linda yell “You’re full of shit!” Then the two of them laughed.

I spent the rest of the afternoon reviewing medical rape reports, crime scene information and statements from the victims and the supposed suspects. Nothing helped really. I then headed over to the first crime scene. Ms. Welsh lived in a townhouse style apartment. It was an old brown stone built in the late thirties. I walked around to the back of the place to look it over too. Nothing really out of the ordinary there either. So I walked back to the front door and rang the bell. I heard someone coming to the door then her familiar voice ask “Who is it” so I identified myself and she opened the door. The night chain was still on the door though. She saw it was me and she opened the door the rest of the way. “Hi, I hate to bother you Ms. Welsh I just want to look around again and maybe ask you a few questions if I may” I said. “Sure come on in” she said.

“Now the door was locked but what about the back door” I asked. “The back door stays locked all the time, I don’t even carry the trash out that way” she said. I walked back to the back of the house and looked at the door. “How long has the crack been in the door” I asked. “It was here when I moved in. It gets smaller in the summer and bigger in the winter” she offered. “I can see out of it now” I stated. “My dad usually tapes plastic over it, he just has not had time this year” she said in defense. “Well, I was wondering if there was anything else you could tell me about your attacker that you had not mentioned before” I asked. “Yes’ she said “there is something else. The smell, it was like old, musty kind of a smell.” While she talked I looked around the kitchen at the windows, they were all painted shut. “Not very much ventilation here, are all the windows painted shut like these” I asked. “Yes, they are. I was planning to work on them this spring so I could save on air conditioning, but I don’t know now” she said as she looked down. I started to make my exit toward the front door when she said “You are not going to catch him are you?” “I don’t know ma’am but we are sure going to try” I assured her.

I left and drove over the few blocks to the second victim’s apartment. I then realized that all the victims were within a ten block radius of each other. I called Linda on my cell phone. She answered on the second ring “Linda, I was you to get with Tim and look at all the cases that you found and tell me how far apart from each other they were.” “Duke I can tell you that already all of the rapes that were reported were in the Bromley precinct” she offered. “Okay, I want you to plot the locations of all of them on the area map. Use different colored pins so we can tell the old ones from the latest ones. I am going to check out some other hunches and I will be back when I am done” I directed.

I went to each crime scene and I looked closely at the physical building itself. I then asked each victim about anything unusual that they smelled. Each said the same thing “a funny musty smell”. Finally, I was coming to conclusions that I did not like but that seemed possible none the less. Then I walked back into the squad room and headed over to where Tim and Linda were working on the precinct map. Tim looked up and said “So what you think?” I looked at him and smiled and said “If I told you, you would think I was completely nuts!” “Now get this, every crime scene showed no signs of forced entry. Doors and windows locked or painted shut at every one of them. Yet, on everyone there was access to the outside, a crack in the back door, a broken window, a hole in the wall where a cable TV ran through at one time. But the important thing was that every one of them had outside access. Another thing is that each victim remembers a musty, old kind of smell during the attack. Now I need you to tell me something from all these past crime scenes” I concluded. Linda looked at me and said “Every crime scene going back since we started keeping reports is within at most ten blocks of each other and all in the Bromley Precinct. Not only that but every block over all that time has been hit at least once except this one block” she concluded. I then looked at the map and there it was one block that no rapes had ever occurred on. It was between East 16th and East 17th Streets on the east to west side and Dupree Avenue on the north and Linwood on the south side of the block. We studied the map and studied the map trying to find a reason why this one block was spared. Then Tim spoke “the only thing that I can think of is that old ghost story that we use to tell as kids. It was something about a demon or something but I can’t remember.”

Well, I knew that if you wanted to know about the history of our city you would go to the Public Library and ask Mrs. Griffin the head Liberian. So all three of us detectives piled into the car, me driving and Linda in the front passenger seat with Tim in the rear, and headed over to the Public Library. Now the library was on the other side of the precinct and into the Waters precinct. It was the old red brick high school then when the City built the new modern high school they moved the library into it. Mrs. Griffin’s office was on the third floor so when we parked we headed directly to her office. I knocked on the door with the white tinted glass and we waited for her to speak. Then I heard that old familiar voice “Come in” she said. I opened the door and walked back into time. Mrs. Griffin’s office was decorated like it was 1950! Even the phone on the desk was an old rotary dial. Mrs. Griffin was in her eighties, the oldest city employee we have. She always wore a black dress, black shoes, and white pearl necklace which made her snow white hair and skin stand out all the more. “Well, Duke, I see you have not returned that overdue library book yet” she said sternly. “You checked it out in 1963 and it is still out! What do you have to say for yourself” she demanded. I just laughed and said “The same thing I always say to you Mrs. Griffin. I have no excuse; I lost the book years ago. If you will tell me the price I will buy another.” “We should charge you the fine and we can build a new wing onto this place with the money” she said with a laugh. “Now tell me why you are here since you never come to check out a book anymore” she said with a chuckle.

I then sat down across from her and I said “What happened on the block between East 16th and East 17th Streets on the east to west side and Dupree Avenue on the north and Linwood on the south side of the block. She looked down and I swear she became paler then before. She then looked up and said “The darkest day in our city’s history. As you know this has always been a port for ships, going back to the founding of America and the settling of Jamestown. This was before there was anything really of the city we know today. A ship came to port. A sailing ship from Spain or Portugal nobody even really knows now. But one night the sailors were all drinking at the bars in the bad side of town. There was a law then that sailors were not allowed past 5th Street. All the good descent people lived north of 5th Street back then. Well, it is said that one of the sailors, in a drunk rage, went up to the Brambleton’s mansion there on that block, it was said to have covered the whole block it was so large an estate. Anyway it is said that he broke into the house while the master Mr. Brambleton was away in Richmond on business. He found Mrs. Brambleton and their two daughter’s Amy and Alison home alone. It is said that he tied them all three up and then took turns with them, if you know that I mean. When he was finally finished having his way he just headed back to his ship. But when he was leaving he did not know that the ice man was delivering ice and saw him come out of the house so early in the morning. So the ice man went up to the house and called out to Mrs. Brambleton. They said he heard one of the girls or Mrs. Brambleton cry out so he ran in and found them. The accounts did not give much detail back then, you know, respect for woman and all. But it was terrible what he had done to those poor women. When Mr. Brambleton returned from Richmond he had men go to that ship and take the accused off of it. They took him back to the estate and for the next five days the poor devil was beaten and tortured to try and get his to confess, but he wouldn’t. Then they say that Mr. Brambleton hanged the man right there on the estate and left his body hanging until the constable came the next day and demanded that it be taken down.” Now she looked at me and said “Why are you interested in that old history Duke or is it the curse that you really want to know about?” “What curse Mrs. Griffin” I asked.

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