“All right settle down, settle down,” Sergeant Sutter slapped his palm on the podium a couple of times. He stood at the front of the room, filled with detectives, much like a classroom. “Waters, Pelon, where are we at on that serial case.”
“We got blood and semen from the foundry, just waiting on the lab, Sarge,” Detective Waters said flipping a pencil in his hand, looking over at his partner, smirking about a joke he told them all before Sergeant Sutter came into the bullpen.
“What’s so goddam funny, Waters?” Sergeant Sutter asked him.
“My mother called this morning, Sarge, she asked me when ya gonna call her? She misses you.” Detective Waters answered. The whole room started chuckling.
“Maybe if she didn’t sample all the semen you sent to the lab, I might.” Sergeant Sutter shot right back, causing the room to erupt in laughter, this time at Detective Waters, “Alright, alright, settle down. I got a heads up for ya. There’s something going on up near Ten Town, about fifty miles out, a little town called, uh,” He looked down at his notes, “Paradise Falls. C.D.C. will be coming through, along with the national guard, or some kinda military escort, I’m not entirely sure. If you got any business up there, stow it. It’s under quarantine.” The room started to murmur, “Any questions?”
“Yeah, Sarge, what’s goin on up there?” Detective Pelon asked.
“I just told you, it’s under quarantine, Pelon. What’re ya retarded?” Sergeant Sutter replied. Sergeant Sutter was the only officer in uniform. The detectives wore civilian clothes. The uniformed officers had their briefing earlier in the morning. “Ok, any other questions?”
“Sarge, I need some help with a Jane Doe that popped back up.” Detective Crane said.
“A what?” Sergeant Sutter leaned on the podium with both forearms on the edges.
“Jane Doe.” Detective Crane repeated waving a file in her hand.
“Yeah, I heard ya, what do you want, exactly? You found her, right? Case closed. Move on. File it.” Sergeant Sutter said, “Who else needs something?”
“Sarge, my Jane Doe popped up again in the same house she disappeared from twelve years ago,” Detective Crane explained, “She’s in a coma at Saint Francis and the Doctor wants to move her around, but I’m still investigating what-”
“Ok, ok. Come see me after. Charles, Hopkins, I wanna see what you got on that b and e at the Lakewood pharmacy. We got another hit last night over in Kenworth, same m.o. get with the responding unit before they go home for the day, then come see me. Ok, let’s get out there and stop some crime, huh?” Sergeant Sutter gathered the papers on the podium.
“Hey Sarge, can I get a heartfelt, atta boy?” Detective Waters piped up as everyone was getting up and leaving the room.
“Not without a paternity test first, now get the hell outta here.” Sergeant Sutter said smiling. Detective Crane followed Sergeant Sutter from the bullpen.
“Give me a minute Crane, I gotta hit the head. I’ll call you when I’m ready for ya. Hey, do me a favor, go see if there’s any doughnuts left by the coffee machine, thanks.” Sergeant Sutter left her standing just outside the bullpen.
“Hey Crane,” Detective Waters stopped shoulder to shoulder with her and they both watched sergeant Sutter head to the bathroom, “So, ya got a happy ending on a Jane Doe? That’s something, huh?”
“Well,” Detective Crane turned to Detective Waters, “She’s in a coma.”
“But she’s alive, right?” Detective Waters walked away toward his desk, she followed.
“So, what did you and Pelon dig up on that serial?” She asked trailing behind him.
“I think we got a huge break.” Detective Waters turned around smiling, “We think we found his lair.”
“Are you shittin’ me?” Detective Crane smiled back excited for him.
“I shit you not.” He said lowering his voice, “An abandoned foundry. We found a shit ton of rags left behind, with blood on ’em, next to some bleach, like he was going to clean ’em but forgot. Plus, restraints, shackles and shit, and all kinds of D.N.A.”
“And the Feds aren’t here yet?” Detective Crane was always interested in his cases, they were far more exciting than cold case or missing persons.
“We’re waiting on the lab before we let them know what we got. I’m hoping we can I.D. this fucker and pick him up ourselves, I’m not callin’ the fuckin’ Feds til I absolutely have to.” Detective Waters took a seat on the top edge of his desk as they talked.
“That’s great, Tommy.” Detective Crane said smiling at him, “You think he’s still around, though. The profiler said he was a nomad, always on the move.”
“Yeah, but if he’s here he hasn’t dumped any bodies yet. So, I’m thinking, uh, he ain’t goin anywhere til he poses at least one.” Detective Waters moved from his desktop to his chair, “So what’s the deal with your Jane Doe?”
“It’s weird, really weird. It doesn’t compare to your serial, though.” Detective Crane leaned against his desk.
“Come on now, Crane, I’m sure you’ll get out of cold case soon. Just keep your head up. If we ever need any extra manpower, I’ll ask for you.” Detective Waters leaned forward keeping his voice down.
“That would be fucking awesome!” She said equally low but much more excited.
“So, tell me about your Jane Doe.”
“Well, Jane Doe shows up after twelve years, drops down in a coma? And, get this, I go out to the girl’s home and it looks like she’s been hiding out there all along, in a bedroom in the attic. The same goddam place she disappeared from? Fishy, right?”
“Really? That sounds like a real case?”
“Yeah, the house mother says the whole room wasn’t there before the girl showed up yesterday morning. But I saw the room, Tommy, it’s been there for a while. I swear to god that girl grew up in that room.” Detective Crane shook her head in disbelief of what Miss Forrester claimed.
“So, you don’t buy any of it?” Detective Waters asked, “Why don’t you haul her ass in here and scare the shit out of her?”
“Yeah, I thought about it. I don’t want to ruffle any feathers til I got something to put a pin in, ya know? Get this, all the girls there, dress like they buy their shit at goodwill, but this girl’s room was built for a fucking princess, high end bags, clothes, shoes, the works!” Detective Crane grabbed her file off Detective Waters desk, “I’m not sure yet, but not only was that girl hidden, somebody was showering her with gifts, very expensive gifts.”
“You think she might be a call girl, or maybe their pimping some of the girls out?” Detective Water’s raised his eyebrows.
“Yeah, I think it’s something probably not too far off from that. Only hole in that though, is my Jane Doe’s still a virgin. So, either she dropped into a coma before they could seal the deal, or they were grooming her for somethin’ else?” Detective Crane was bright-eyed and excited to have what felt like a real case.
“Well, if you need any advice or anything, let me know, alright?” Detective Waters offered.
“Yeah, thanks. I think I got this. I just need to make sure this fucking doctor doesn’t disappear my Jane Doe before she wakes up. Don’t forget what you said about getting me out of cc for a while, I’m gonna hold you to that shit. Put in a word, alright?” Detective Crane started to her desk but before she reached it Sergeant Sutter called form just outside his office door.
“Hey Crane, where’s my doughnut? I just made room for it.” He laughed, amused with himself.
“What a fucking comedian.” Detective Crane said shaking her head. She changed directions and went to the coffee machine for his doughnut.
“You got til I’m done eating it. Don’t come back without it.” He said as she passed his office door.
“Yeah, yeah.” Detective Crane waved her hand as she walked past his office. She went to the coffee machine and grabbed Sergeant Sutter’s doughnut, then returned to his office.
“Ah, that’s what I’m talking about.” Sergeant Sutter stuck his hand out like a little kid, opening and closing it repeatedly until she handed it to him, “How come you didn’t get me that big one?”
Detective Crane sat down across from him and watched as he took a big bite of the doughnut.
“It was gone.”
“You should have got me two of these then.” He said chewing with his mouth open.
“You’re such a fucking cliché it’s disgusting. All the way down to crumbs on your uniform.” Detective Crane shook her head, glaring at him.
“Shut the door, Crane.” Sergeant Sutter’s face changed, and the joy of the doughnut left him. Detective Crane stood up and shut the door, lingering a moment before turning around. She knew he was about to let her have it.
“Look,” Detective Crane said as she turned around.
“No, you look.” Sergeant Sutter growled, his annoyance was clear, “I know you’re pissed at me, Crane. But it is what it is, there’s no reason to get nasty with me at every fucking turn. You need to remember who you’re talking too, young lady!”
“Pissed doesn’t even begin to-” Detective Crane made her way back to the front of Sergeant Sutter’s desk before he cut her off.
“Detective Crane!” Sergeant Sutter barked, “Sit!” he pointed at the chair across from him. Detective Crane sat down like a child, reluctantly. They looked at each other for a few moments before he began to speak again. “Detective Crane, we can’t keep doing this dance every week. Get over it already. You are in cold case as long as I’m here. That’s that. You wanna transfer, that’s on you.”
“You keep giving me missing person and cold cases, never a real fucking case! Why are you doing this to me, Uncle Todd?” Detective Crane snarled, “Besides,” she twisted in her seat, “I didn’t even say anything about that yet!”
“Really? So, you’re just being nasty for no reason?” Sergeant Sutter let his question linger.
“I’m not being nasty,” Detective Crane finally replied, with a much calmer demeanor, “I have a serious request. It’s not about being sidelined with every bullshit case that comes across your desk. You brought that up. I haven’t even begun to start that dance this week, by the way.”
“Hmm, so nasty is just going to be your attitude, even in a professional capacity?” Sergeant Sutter started eating his doughnut again.
“I’m sorry, ok?” Detective Crane said with a conciliatory tilt of her head, “Uncle Todd?”
“Alright, Detective Crane, tell me, what do ya got?” Sergeant Sutter asked.
“Well,” Detective Crane leaned forward in her seat, excited to talk about her case, “Jane Doe #11576 admitted to the Deer lake girls home seventeen years ago as a baby.”
“That’s unusual,” Sergeant Sutter sat forward, “Why not an orphanage?”
“Right? That’s what I thought too. But there is no information in her file about how she came to be placed in the girl’s home.” Detective Crane put the file down on the desk and slid it to Sergeant Sutter, “She arrived at the home as a Jane Doe, with no record beyond that. At age six, she disappeared from the home without a trace. The investigation into her disappearance yielded nothing and they classified it as a runaway. There are no records of the investigation, and that file there is pretty thin, barely even a description of the girl. I’m surprised there’s picture of her in it.”
“A six-year-old runaway? Unlikely.” Sergeant Sutter picked up the file and started to thumb through it.
“Exactly, and here’s where it gets interesting. Yesterday morning, she mysteriously reappears in the same home she disappeared from. Only now, she’s in a coma.” Detective Crane sat back in her chair like she was closing her case, “Not only that, but check this out, she’s been living there the whole time, supposedly hidden. But there is no way! I am absolutely positive that girl never left that home and they’ve been keeping her there, for some reason.”
“Like a prisoner?” he asked leaning forward in his chair.
“Like a fucking princess. She had a room full of expensive clothes, bags, you name it. Somebody was doting over that girl, big time.” Detective Crane leaned back crossing her arms over her chest with the confidence of a much larger person.
“Hmm, you thinking sex trade, prostitution?” Sergeant Sutter asked.
“Well, if so, this coma happened in the nick of time, cuz she’s still a virgin.” Detective Crane unfolded her arms, “And that’s why I need some help. I want to find out what they were grooming that girl for, but I need her awake for that. I don’t know what’s going on, but it smells like low tide to me.”
Sergeant Sutter nodded his head as he read through the file listening to all Detective Crane said.
“Alright, I think it isn’t worth the effort but if you want to pursue it, I’ll support you. Maybe you got a real live case here, Detective Crane.” He glanced up at her, “Keeping you in cold case may be the best thing I ever did.” Detective Crane rolled her eyes at him.
“You tell yourself whatever you need to, but just cause my mom asked you to watch out for me doesn’t mean you need to sideline a good detective. You’ll see what I can do with this.” She waved the file, “Just think how many people out there I could be helping-” Sergeant Sutter cut her off with a raised hand.
“Don’t start. We aren’t here for that, remember?” Sergeant Sutter gave her a stern look, “You’re doing good work here, Detective Crane. What do you need from me to help you with this?” She took a long deep breath and exhaled it slowly in her frustration.
“Ok, so I’m afraid this doctor is gonna disappear my girl into the system before she can wake up and tell me her story.”
“He can’t do that.” Sergeant Sutter said quickly shaking his head.
“Technically,” Detective Crane said standing then circled her chair as she spoke, “She is still a ward of the state. It can be said,” Detective Crane made air quotes, “A mistake was made, and she has always been a ward of the state, and no crime ever took place.”
“How you figure that?”
“Aren’t you listening to me? She’s been living in the attic all along, at the girl’s home. She never left,” Detective Crane stood behind her chair with both hands on the seatback, “If she never disappeared…”
“Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, but can you prove it?” Sergeant Sutter stood up with the file in hand.
“Pretty sure.” Detective Crane looked down at her chair then back to Sergeant Sutter, “No one ever followed up on the original report, like no one gave a shit she disappeared. Or, she never disappeared, so why follow up?”
“Then maybe what we really do have here is a mistake?”
“I don’t think so. The woman that runs that place claims she never even heard of that girl. All she had to say was there was a mistake, she wasn’t even there when it happened, she wouldn’t be culpable for it anyway. So, why lie? Something’s not right here. I really think there’s more here, uncle… Sarge.
“Can you prove that?” Sergeant Sutter asked as Detective Crane left his office.