Detective Sherman sat at his desk, looking through the file on the victim. No ID. No clues as to why she and her companion were even down here. Sure, hundreds of couples chose New Orleans, especially around Mardi Gras, to marry. But it would take weeks to sort out all the possible couples, and even then that was no assurance. What if they had all made it to their appointed marriage dates? What if they had been on their honeymoon instead? Which hotel could he possibly start at? And would they even know whether these two had been the ones who had picked up the key-cards?
What if they never made it? There were more questions than answers.Too many places to go to, too little time. Too much inconclusive evidence. Too much circumstantial evidence. Not enough hard. And the hard evidence was what they needed.
He looked down at the victim description. White Female. Age: 25-35. Distinguishing marks: tattoo on right shoulder, mid-shoulder, “Jesus Saves”. Belongings: none. Name: Jane Doe. Hair: blonde. Eyes: blue. body: petite. Height: 5’5″. Weight: 75-100 lbs.
The pictures would haunt him. But not now. He had seen a number of these types of cases. Many were hookers, but some were house wives or domestic servants. Many were afraid to press charges. Mostly because it had been someone they knew or worked for. Or, in the case of a hooker, a john that had wanted more than he had paid for. Or a pimp “breaking” his new whore in. Either way, they never pressed charges.
It was sad, really. All those women. Hurt. And not a single one ever did the right thing. Not one. They never helped get their attackers off the streets. Perhaps their noncompliance had been forced through threats of death. Who knew?
But this victim was different. She had not known her attacker. He was sure. No way she could have. She was not from here.
Whoever had done this had known police procedure. He had known that they would look for clues. Spent condoms. Bullet casings.weapons of any kind.
He looked down at the file again and began reading again. Source of injury: bludgeoning, beating, rape. Most likely weapon: lead pipe. Attacker: male, unknown race. Height: unknown.
Damn! This lady was lucky to be alive! He shook his head. How did she manage to survive such a savage attack? but would she be able to name her attacker?
He hoped she would. He looked up to see Captain Marcel headed for his desk. Behind him was Officer Reilly. Danforth had been left to guard the victim’s room. Detective Sherman rose.
“She has awakened,” came Marcel’s thick Cajun accent, “we should go talk to her, non?”
“Yes,” Michael stifled a snicker, “let’s go.”
He grabbed his badge and gun, then joined them as they headed out of the precinct. He couldn’t decide whether to ride with, or drive his own. He looked at Marcel.
“Shotgun?” He smiled.
“Don’ see why not,” Came the reply.
He climbed into the passenger seat of Marcel’s little Palomino. He smirked for a bit, then turned to his friend. “Are you ever going to get a new car?”
“Why, mon ami?” Marcel looked over at him. “Dis car, she is a classic. Don’ find many like ‘er.”
“No,” Michael snickered, “I suppose not.”
They rode quietly, the rest of the way to the hospital. Michael decided not to tell Marcel that he preferred to ride with him than in the squad cars. It would have ruined his reputation as a squad-man. Besides. If he did, he could no longer tease his friend about his car.
In the ICU, they made their way to the victim’s room. One question weighed heavy on their minds. Would she be able to tell them anything? Or were they just wasting their time?
Their question was answered with a single look at her. Her stare was vacant. She had no attention span. She was mentally gone.
Their hearts dropped. They would get no answers from her. They would be surprised if she even knew where she was. She definitely had no clue who she was. Any questions would be pointless.
The doctor entered the room. Marcel looked around, as did Reilly.
“Doc,” Reilly began, “where does she go from here?”
“We have to do a lot of therapy first,” came the answer, “then, she will have to go to the state hospital for long term psychiatric help.”
Detective Sherman shook his head. “What a shame.”
“Oui,” Marcel agreed, sadly, “You c’n say dat again.”
Hours later, as they were leaving precinct to go home, Marcel looked at Sherman. “Why is it always de pretty ones who end up gettin’ hurt?”
“I don’t know, Justin,” Michael answered, “I just don’t know.”
“We gon’ play cards tonight?” The Cajun was unstoppable.
“Why not, Justin?” Michael smiled. “Might get our minds off the case for a while.”
“Know what I t’ink?” the captain looked over at the detective.
“What?” Michael was now interested in Justin’s thoughts.
“I t’ink we dealin’ with a policeman,” Captain Marcel began, “how else would dey know to clean up de scene?”
Michael looked over at Justin. “You know, I think you’re right. But who?”
“Oui,” the Cajun remarked, “dat is de question.”
An hour later, they were all gathered around the card table. Beers had been issued, the meal served, and now they were hard at work gambling away their card money. Sherman and Marcel were dominating the table early, then Reilly hit a wild streak. Danforth remained quiet the whole evening. The case had really begun to affect him.
“What is it, Danforth?” Michael inquired.
“I can’t help thinking,” their friend began, “how that woman could have been my daughter. Or yours. Or Justin’s. Or even Reilly’s. Or our wives.”
“Oui,” Justin agreed, “Sombitch gon get caught one deez days. I gar-on-tee.”
Michael smiled sadly. “I hope so. But with nothing to go on, how are we going to catch ‘im?”
“Good God damn question,” Reilly remarked, “especially since his only surviving vic has no mind left.”