“It is safe to say that many people do not remember the case I am about to cite,” Michael Sherman, the retired detective, stated, “but it happened. No one knows her name, but she has been called the Jesus Saves killer. And she earned this name from a singular feature. A tattoo on her shoulder, just high enough that it showed above where the strap of a spaghetti-strap blouse meets the back.”
He peered at the journalist sitting across from him in the privacy of his New Orleans home. The young lady, a hungry blonde who was definitely on a race to be top journalists, had requested an interview. In his reticent manner, he agreed. Under one condition. He got to pick the subject.
And he picked this one for a reason. It had been his last case. The one that had caused him to retire from the force. It had also cost him two friends. And about two years of his sanity. Not to mention his family.
“What was the significance of the tattoo?” His guest asked.
“I can assure you,” He replied softly, “That it had nothing to do with faith, belief, or God. I can honestly say that, had her victims knew what their nights would end up like, they would not have chosen her. The tattoo was the one thing that drew her victims to her. As well as her unusual charisma. Some called it an aura.
“She just had the touch. But the tattoo had everything to do with another case as well. One that involved the very same woman. There had been a rape case four years prior. It had been a case of robbery, rape and murder. A young couple had come to New Orleans for their wedding. Since there were several weddings planned that week, it was hard to tell which couple had been attacked. Or if the names on the registers were the actual names.
“All we knew was that whoever had raped her, had not intended for her to survive. But she did. But not intact. The attack had destroyed her mind.
“The state mental hospital had taken her in and attempted to help her heal, but a stay there is mostly temporary nowadays and she was released when she was somewhat better. She was given meds to take to keep her problems under control, but as with any transient, she soon ran out or stopped taking them. With no job, no identity, and no real community connections, she was cast adrift to fend for herself.”
“What of the rapist?” The reporter asked, “Did you ever catch them?”
“We had nothing to go on,” He ceded, “She remembered nothing of the attack. She barely remembered her fiance. And the DNA samples were inconclusive. We had no suspect. No evidence other than the rape kit and pictures of the crime scene. No weapon had been found, nothing more could be done. The case was relegated to the cold case bureau.
“I had completely forgotten about the case until the calls began coming in. Of course, by that time, she had vanished from the streets…but would turn up in the company of a wealthy real estate developer name Morgan Le Grue. This would not concern me until the first of the phone calls from her came in, dealing with his disappearance.”
” Why would this concern you?” The question seemed out of place. Had she not been listening?
He shook off the urge to ask. “Because of the fact that Mr. Le Grue never once just up and disappeared. And, besides. We would receive a concerned call from his business partners in Miami stating that he had not made it to his intended meeting with them 48 hours after he disappeared. In the week following, we would receive over one hundred calls from her about missing neighbors. Each call held a concern, almost an obsession, about being followed and all the people in her life being taken from her. She seemed sure that her attacker had returned to make her relive her nightmare.”
“Was he?” the reporter sure knew how to ask all the wrong questions.
“No,” He said nonchalantly, “in fact, he had been her first victim. But he would be the last body we would find.”
“I see,” she replied, writing his answer down, “Then how do you know he was her first victim?”
“How do police officers usually know such things?” He answered in question. “You can’t be that out of touch with police procedures and how dates of crimes are estimated. I mean, time does have a hand in determination of conditions and states of things. Bodies are no different.”
He stifled a laugh as she turned green and held a hand to her mouth. Apparently, she had not taken that into account. She had expected him to be talking about the victim as bones, yet she had caught his meaning in his way of saying state. He had meant that the victim had been in a state of rot, not simply a pile of bones.
“Let’s not discuss that,” she said, her temporary indigestion passing, “please.”
“I wasn’t about to,” he smiled, “I hadn’t wanted to even infer such things, but you asked. I would much rather go into more detail with the case, but in other ways. The victims. Their connections. How we caught her. Why I ended up quitting. Why I lost everything, including my sanity.”
“OK,” she replied, trying to banish the image of the decaying body out of her mind, “But no more about–that.”
“Agreed,” he nodded, “at least, until we reach the end.”
“So,” she stated, “begin at the very beginning.”
“As I stated,” he responded, “it all started with the rape case that was relegated to cold case. All leads had gone cold, so we set it aside to pursue cases we had ample evidence for. We would later regret this decision, but at the time, it was all we could do. As I said, we lacked evidence. We had some, but none was truly conclusive…”