The lift pings and deposits him on the Homicide floor, the usual chatter of voices, the usual scraping of chairs, ringing phones, yells and conversations … he can't help rubbing his hands together, memories of last year flooding back and though he's on a mission, the thrill of being in the middle of it all can't be denied.
He spots Ryan leaving the break room at about the same time as the Detective notices him, waving him over towards one of the conference rooms. As he approaches, Ryan pushes open the door and says, "Morning Castle, we're in her for the duration …"
Rick follows him in, closing the door behind him and looking around as he takes it all in. Detective Esposito's sitting at the far end of the elongated oval table, its veneer wood covered in folders, printouts, legal pads and several evidence boxes still, he notes, sealed with red tape.
Ryan makes his way round to the far side of the table, pulling out one of the chairs and dropping into it, back to the slatted blinds over the windows which are casting patterned shadows across the room.
Espo looks up, notices Castle and raises a hand in salute, "Morning Castle, best grab a coffee if you want one before we get stuck into all of this"
"You want one Espo?" he asks hand already on the doorknob.
"Yeah, seeing as my partner didn't bother bringing me one" and looking across at Ryan in disgust, who throws his hands up in the air in mock despair.
Castle has to grin as he makes his way to the break room, the comic act was obviously still in full swing. His grin broadens even further when he notices the coffee machine he'd presented them last year was still in use. Three days into his stint with the two detectives and he'd had no choice but to supply the Homicide floor with a decent coffee maker, his own health was on the line! Of course it had not been unusual after that to find someone from Robberies or Narcotics trying to sneak up or down the stairs for a coffee, but Homicide had been extremely protective of their break room and on more than one occasion he'd spotted some poor trainee from one of the other departments being escorted off the floor, loudly claiming they were only following orders.
Returning to the room with two mugs carefully held in one hand, Castle closes the door behind him, hands one to Espo and takes his own seat opposite Ryan, his back to the bullpen. Espo, as lead detective, sets out the procedure.
"Ok, first of all, were going to look at each of these cases individually. Kevin, you take the Cambrea file …" and Ryan nods, leans over, spins one of the pairs of boxes round, checks they're the right ones and pulls them towards him.
"Rick you take the Perea case and I'll look over the Beckett one …" as Ryan pushes each pair of boxes towards them. Rick's annoyed that it's not Johanna Beckett's file he's getting a look at, but not wanting to draw attention to it he nods and pulls the Perea evidence boxes towards his side of the table, "… make a list of all salient facts, anything that might strike us as weird or out of place along with all the obvious details, time, place, MO, etc. When we've finished, we'll swap boxes and repeat the procedure. Anything one of us misses should, with luck get picked up by the others".
"Tomorrow well get the boards set up and work though the three cases together, see where they tie in with each other. Right let's get to it … oh, and Castle, before you do anything else, check the contents of the box against the clerk's invoice, ok? Make sure all the evidence is there before you begin to tamper with it".
Rick nods, clears a space before him, and using his thumb, tears the red evidence tape and lifts the lid from the smaller box with the stuck-on label stating it to be:
CITY OF NEW YORK
PROPERTY CLERK'S VOUCHER
To the left of the heading, a computer printed text reads:
PROPERTY OF DECEASED
MIGUEL ANGEL PEREA FUERTES
Below that is a three-columned section stating:
Precinct: 19 / Precinct Voucher No: 1879B / Year: 2005
Below that again, the label is divided into two columns, the left-hand one stating
EVIDENCE MUST BE RETURNED IMMEDIATELY.
If impounded, receipt by D. A. necessary.
If delivered, release by D. A. and receipt by owner.
Receipt must be filed with Pr. Clk.
The printed columns and rows underneath that are all blank except for the first one which shows Detective Esposito's name and badge number along with today's date. It's obvious that no one else has officially looked at this evidence since it was put away. Rick flips the legal pad to the first page, scrawls Miguel Angel Perea Fuertes across the top, underlines it twice and adds his observation as Point 1.
In the right hand column, he reads Item nos. 5 … and below that the items listed as:
2005 RED DIARY WITH KNIFE CUTS
GOLD ROLEX - Yacht-Master 168732
FOUNTAIN PEN - MONTBLANC 149 SPECIAL EDITION TEATRO ALLA SCALA
SET KEYS (2 House, 2 office, 1 car – Leather Jaguar fob)
PIECE FOLDED PAPER (Notebook)
Lifting the box onto his lap, Rick removes each item, checks that each evidence bag is still sealed and then compares each item with the list on the box's lid. Everything matches, so he drops the lid and has a closer look at each item, still without opening the bags. Looking across at Espo who's busy studying a file he coughs, waits for the two Detectives to look up and holding up the bag with the watch asks, "Do we open these to check if they're genuine or not?"
Espo looks considering at the bag he's holding before turning to look at him, "You think it might be fake?"
Rick shrugs, "Looks genuine but we'd have to check the serial number to be sure …"
Espo nods, "Leave it for the moment, just make yourself familiar with the case, we'll look into all the evidence later on".
Rick nods and picks up the bag containing the piece of paper. Scrawled across it is a number. It doesn't look like a phone number, nor anything obviously familiar. Safety deposit box?
Replacing the items in the box, he turns to the legal pad and copies the list of items, adding a comment to each one.
- 2005 Red Diary With Knife Cuts – contents?
- Gold Rolex - Yacht-Master 168732 – genuine?
- Fountain Pen - Montblanc 149 Special Edition Teatro Alla Scala – ditto?
- Set Keys (2 House, 2 Office, 1 Car – Leather Jaguar Fob) – checked?
- Piece Folded Paper (Notebook) – Safety deposit? Bank account? Secret code?
Placing the box off to one side he takes a look at the larger box with a slightly different label. This one, apart from the Property Clerk's Invoice and NYPD headings indicates that the property is 'Required as EVIDENCE', that the date was March 23, 2005, the Officer Assigned was Gary McCallister, Det.
Below that is the Case number, the victim's name and address, and under the section marked 'Description of Enclosed Evidence' he can read a handwritten scrawl indicating Crime Scene and Forensic Evidence. Right down near the bottom, the handwriting looking very much the same, is the signature of the desk officer which looks to be Sgt Kieth Teeler, but he can't be sure.
Lifting the lid, Castle finds the box to be filled with individual evidence containers; paper bags, plastic ones, phials and different sized boxes. Slotted down one side are two brown cardboard folders, one marked CSU LAB REPORT, the other GARY McCALLISTER, PRESIDING DETECTIVE.
Lifting out McCallister's folder, Castle settles back and begins to flip through the pages, finding that the folder contains a number of different reports and clipped-together papers. A quick glance at the dates shows the first one to be from the 6th of March and the last one to be from the 21st of March … fifteen days give or take.