"Good evening, doctor," Sam said politely as he and Beth entered the city coroner's office so that they would be able to speak with the woman about her autopsies on their five victims. "I'm Agent Cooper with the BAU, and my partner here is Agent Griffith. We were hoping you could talk to us about the murders?"
"As you can see, I'm pretty swamped," she answered with a sigh as she leaned up and paused what she was working to look and speak with the agents. "Whoever your killer is, I hope you find him soon. Not that I don't appreciate the business, but I feel like I've seen more dead bodies in here in just the last two weeks than I have in the last several years. It's very sad."
Sam nodded as he responded, "It is. Can you give us their exact cause of death?"
The woman looked back down at the body of their latest victim, as she was currently finishing up the autopsy, then replied, "All of these men died after they were stabbed with a jagged blade of some kind in their abdomens. From the tears inside the wounds, it appears that your killer thrust the blade in with a hell of a lot of force and twisted it several times before pulling it back out. Their stomachs have been shredded. At least three of your victims would have died almost instantly due to their sizes, while the other two after a minute because they're bigger than the rest. They all lost a lot of blood."
"Our killer probably has some morbid fascination to see how long their victims can last," Beth stated grimly.
"He would have to," the doctor agreed.
Cooper leaned down to get a closer look at the body of the cop as he asked, "Were there any drugs in their systems? Anything that our killer might have given them, to either keep them from struggling too much or something that could heighten their pain levels perhaps?"
She nodded as she answered, "I did find drugs, for both reasons actually. Acetylcholine was used to keep your victims paralyzed while a great deal of torture was inflicted upon them before your killer finally put them out of their misery. I also found traces of tetrodotoxin, a poison used in many Haitian voodoo rituals."
"So we are dealing with voodoo," Beth responded worryingly.
"Yes, but the strange thing is, I've read that this kind of drug is commonly used among the Haitian cultures for healing," the coroner replied.
Sam thought for a moment, then turned to Beth and said, "It's possible our UNSUB somehow sees evil in each of his or her victims and wants to heal them.
Beth nodded as she continued his train of thought, "But when his attempts to complete his ritual fails, he feels it necessary to kill them, in order to destroy their evil."
"Exactly," the team leader answered as he looked back again at the coroner. "Thank you, doctor. I appreciate your time."
"You're welcome," she responded as she raised her hand in order to shake her visitors', but quickly retracted it as she realized her hands were still covered in the killer's latest victim's blood. "I hope you get whoever's done this, especially before he or she kills another poor soul. This city has seen far too much death. It's no wonder so many people see New Orleans negatively."
Beth nodded in agreement and then spoke up again saying, "We'll find them. Our team's good at what we do."
Prophet walked out from their second victim's home, followed by Gina after having spent the last hour or so speaking with two of their victims' families. As expected, each of the family members were devastated and no one seemed suspicious in any way, as the agents paid close attention to each person they spoke to in case they were involved with the deaths at all. It was a part of their jobs to rule the family members out first.
Gina spoke as she said, "So, no one recognize any of our other victims. They don't appear to be connected in any way."
"I didn't really expect them to know each other," Prophet answered as he looked around him and then pulled out his phone upon receiving a text from Mick. "Mick says that he's heading to the cop's home now. He says according to his partner at the precinct, that he was a practitioner of voodoo himself, but that he only used his craft for healing. Apparently no one else knew about this, but his partner."
"That's interesting," Gina responded in surprise. "It's possible that this cop was involved with our killer somehow. They could have worked together and then when something went wrong in their partnership, the other could have turned against him and killed him."
Prophet nodded and replied, "It's the best lead we've got so far. Let's go meet up with Coop and Beth back at the station. Maybe they'll have something too."
Before the agents could get into their car, a young boy ran out of the home they had just come from as he shouted out, "Wait! Don't go yet! I have to tell you something!"
"Are you alright?" Agent Simms asked quickly as he stopped the boy who ran into the older man's arms. "Just take it easy. What's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong," the child answered as he fought to regain control of his breath. "I mean I'm fine, but something was wrong with Charlie. I saw… I saw my brother… I saw him fighting with another man. He threatened my brother. He threatened to kill him if my brother didn't back off."
Gina looked at the boy in confusion as she asked, "Back off? What did he mean?"
He shook his head as he responded, "I don't know. Neither of them said. At least I didn't understand what they were talking about. They mentioned something about a deal gone wrong and then the other guy said that Charlie double crossed him."
"Did your brother or this man know that you were around while they were arguing?" Gina asked again. "Can you tell us where you were when this took place?"
"Neither of them saw me," he replied and then pointed to a small apartment in the back behind the house. "I was playing by myself inside my brother's house to get away from my annoying sister, despite him telling me to stop going inside there when he wasn't home. I wasn't expecting my brother home from work so soon, but as soon as I heard him coming in, I hid inside his closet and stayed quiet. I was scared when the other man grew angry and threatened my brother."
Prophet leaned down to look the boy in the eyes as he patted his shoulder gently and then answered, "I'm sure you were, but I promise you that you're helping your brother by speaking with us. Is there anything else you can tell us? Did you happen to get a look at the man Charlie was arguing with?"
The boy shook his head and responded, "No, I was in the closet the whole time. I was too afraid to peak. I'm sorry."
"It's alright," the male agent replied kindly. "You did really well. I promise you, my friends and I will do everything we can to find the person who killed your brother."
"Thank you," he answered quickly and then ran off as the agents watched him go back into his house.
Gina spoke up again saying, "Poor kid. He may have heard our killer's voice."
Prophet looked over at her as he responded, "Maybe if we find us a suspect, he'll be able to tell whether or not he's the same guy who threatened Charlie. It could be a step in the right direction."