Thursday, August 9, 2018

Parting Gift


I stood in total shock...Not like I hadn't seen a murder before...Why was I so shocked by this particular one?
They were pulling the body out of the water...I didn't need to look, I knew who it was...After all of the cases I have been on...All the death I've seen...I was visibly shook by this...
 Dr. Hazel Baylor, Coroner and Forensic Investigator  walked over to me..

"Kevin" she said softly..
" alright?" said Lt. Sissy Van Buren of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Philadelphia Police Department..

"I'll be alright...I suppose.."I said..

The body was of a young girl, Lamecia Womack, age 23..A young girl I had gotten a job for....

Detective Carlotta Wallace observed the body...

"Her neck was broken...." she said softly..She could see how upset I was....

 ''Looks like she's been in the water at least two days."said Detective Tyriq Pile..
"Hop and I and some uniforms will search the area, see if anybody saw anything.."said Detective Jimmy Barlow..

'Come on Jimmy, Maybe somebody in one of these restaurants and bistros saw or heard something."said Detective Tony Hopkins...

His partner, Detective Sirena Pile and Detective Angie Belton-Barlow looked at the body...

"We won't get any forensics from this...She's been in the water too long.."said Sirena..

Angie observed the body....

"Her clothes are all in tack...She was strangled and then dumped...Quickly..No attempt to conceal the body...The killer didn't even weigh her down.."she said..
Detective Edwin "Duke " Baylor looked around...

"There are at least two street cams ....Wonder if they picked up anything...?" he said..

"Put a team on it Duke and one on the traffic cams in the surrounding areas...We might get lucky." said Sissy...

"My FBI guys might be able to pull up something even more substantial.."said Deputy FBI Special Agent in charge, Sharon Hopkins..
Sissy looked at me..

"So Kevin you know this girl right?" she asked..

"Yeah...Her name was Lamecia..Lamecia Womack...  I-I got her the job......She was the receptionist at the House of Pure Joy, a lingerie operation...They manufacture panties and bras and they have a magazine that features models...She came to me a year ago looking for a job at my company....I didn't have any openings...but I knew the owner, well co-owner of the House of Pure Joy and she did me a favor, she hired her...She did good work...They really liked her...and she was taking classes at Community College, a real good kid...

She reminds me of Josie so much..."I said..Thinking of Josie Boyd, my adopted daughter...

Lamecia had been missing for Two weeks...Mindy Reagon , who I had initially been looking for had been missing for four weeks now.

Bonnie and I were still searching for her....And we had now broadened our search for Lamecia Womack...No activity on her credit cards or debit card or bank account...and no one in her neighborhood had seen or heard from her either... Her mail had been piling up at her apartment complex too!

Her trail and the trail of Mindy Reagon had grown as cold as ice and I was frustrated....Then one of my operatives heard over a police band that a young woman's body had been found floating in the river and I drove to the scene hoping it wasn't Lamecia...

It was though and one mystery was solved...Lamecia had been murdered... I was inconsolable...I blamed myself.. She had been seen talking to Bonnie and I ,Maybe she was seen in the restaurant talking to us..

After our visit, We had interviewed all of his women...Brad Ruland...That cocky lowlife bastard...

I was certain that he had murdered Mindy and Lamecia....But we had no proof and no physical evidence of any wrong doing on his part...


Sepia hugged me, She could see how upset I was..

"Awww baby...I feel bad too...I liked Lamecia...I had a spot for her at my office...I was going to call her....She had just told me the week before when I saw her at the Jewelers that she was thinking of leaving that Lingerie store when school started.." said Sepia..

"You saw her at the Jewelers?" I asked..

''Yeah, the week before Mindy Reagon vanished..She was picking up a gold plated smart watch for her..

Mindy had had the links removed...You could text with this thing, make phone calls and even go on social media with it...But it's a watch...The small print would have me squinting...It looked very expensive."said Sepia.
"I didn't find that amongst Mindy's belongings...I called her phone, It went to voice mail...Hmmm." I said.

"What?" asked Sepia..

"It won't help poor Lamecia, but it might shed some light on where Mindy is.." I said..

I loved Sissy's new headquarters, It was modern and away from everybody else...It was just them and the feds, FBI and ATF...
Sharon and the FBI and the ATF had an entire floor...while Sissy and her detectives

had the floor below them....with an administrative staff that they hand picked and vetted and a kitchen and dining area....
Not to mention modern crime fighting equipment and a staff of uniformed officers at their disposal...
Sissy was in her office when I arrived....

"I was going to call you..We found something..."said Sissy..

"Really?" I asked..

"Sirena and Hop popped open her car.. They found a phone..Her phone...That's odd because no woman leaves her phone like that....The phone 's GPS tracking system was on it....This car left from her place of business ,The Pure House of Joy over the bridge to Camden, The Camden Waterfront."said Sissy..
"The Camden Waterfront?" I asked.

"Yes, Why?  I believe she was strangled over there and dropped in the water..."said Sissy...
"That's an awful long way to go to murder somebody.."I said.

"It takes suspicion off of anyone  here....She had the presence of mind to activate it..."said Sissy..

Carlotta, Tyriq and Jimmy took a trip to Camden and are talking to the Camden P.D.  We are scrubbing the Traffic and Street cams in the entire area, All three bridges and the waterfront....

Duke and Angie talked to the owner of that Lingerie Store, Brad Ruland...Needless to say he was very un-cooperative..Said he fired her the day before and hadn't seen her...Told us the next time we need to talk to him to bring a warrant.."laughed Sissy..

"He told me if I wanted to talk to him further to talk to his attorney.."I said..

Sissy laughed..."He just made himself suspect number one.." she said.
"Keith Wallace is preparing to get a warrant right now.." said Sissy...
Carlotta walked in just then...She had a piece of paper with what looked like a phone number on it..

"Sirena and Hop found this in the glove compartment of Lamecia's car.."she said.

I looked at it...

"It's not her number or her boss, Mindy Reagon..."I said..

"It does belong to Mindy Reagon....Bridget told me she hired you to find her, and that she's been missing for four weeks.."said Angie..

"Sharon and I checked the number out...It's a pager number...but since no one has seen or heard from Mindy Reagon...It's of no consequence...We called it....We got no answer.."said Duke..
"It mean anything to you Kevin?" asked Tyriq..

"It might...Lamecia told me she picked up a gold smart watch for her boss from the jewelers the week before she vanished..But since we can't find Mindy...Guess we can't find the number or smartwatch.."I said..

"I know you guys have a copy of this..Can I keep this number?" I asked.

''Sure and don't worry Kev...The Camden P.D. has been very helpful..We are going to catch whoever did this to your friend.."said Jimmy...
"I hope you do.."I said..  "Thanks guys"I said and I left..

The next morning, Sepia walked into the Pure House of Joy..

She picked several pairs of panties and some matching bras, a babydoll and some fishnet stockings...

Brad Ruland checked her out and smiled..

"WOW!  Ummmmmmm, Somebody is going to be real lucky seeing you in all of this.."he said and smiled..

"My husband."said Sepia..

"Ohhhhhhh you're married...Newlywed?" he asked..

"No..we've been married almost five years and we have a baby.."said Sepia..

"You want to uh put the spice back in your love life huh?" said Brad..

"Yeah,kind of.." she said..

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!  Beep Beeep BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!  came a noise from behind a recently painted part of the back wall..

''What is that noise?" asked Sepia..

''What noise..?" said a startled Brad..


"That noise?" she asked..

He looked startled..

"Oh that...I -I -I uh have no idea...Hmmmmm...Some kind of static.." he said..

She paid for her purchases with her company credit card..

"You need to look into that...Have a nice day.."she said..

Sepia smiled and walked out...She got into her car and pulled off.

Brad looked at her and smiled..

"Damn...I'd like to look further into her...She was fine." he thought...

Three blocks away...She drove up to the car ,Bonnie and I was in....

"Husband, your hunch was right...Bonnie dialed that number and I heard a beep, very loud...He's got a wall in the back that looks like it was recently dry walled and painted...." said Sepia.

"I remember seeing that wall....Oh My God....."I said.

"Does this mean what I think it means?" asked Bonnie..

"I believe it does...Lamecia gave us one last parting gift before she was murdered...She led us to where she was murdered and she unknowingly just told us where Mindy Reagon is..."I said.

"Mindy's body is in that lingerie store!" I said.


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