The Cryptic Killer

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Chapter 13

Jack and Spence burst through the door without any initial greeting. Both men had determined looks on their faces as they hastily made their way to the interrogation viewing room window.

Having shaved and changed into his suit, Jack once again looked like a Detective. Both he and Spence stood at the window overlooking the interrogation room where they visually summed up the suspect seated facing them at the table.

Uniformed officers had earlier arrested a male person who claimed to be involved in the cryptic murders. The arresting officers contacted Jack and summoned him to monitor the initial interview of the suspect.

The derision on Jack’s face was obvious. He glared at the unkempt white male sitting in front of them. He was approximately thirty-five years of age with a slim build, untidy brown hair and pale complexion. He certainly didn’t look anything like what Jack had visualized the Cryptic Killer would look like.

Jack looked at Spence. ‘This is bullshit…’ He firmly shook his head. ‘We’re wasting our time here…this isn’t our guy.’ Jack was confident. He had seen enough. Jack tapped on the glass with his pen, which was an indication to the officers in the interrogation room that he wanted one of them to come and speak to him.

A short time later the arresting officer, Jerry Carr entered the viewing room. ‘Jobs…Spence,’ he nodded as he entered.

‘What’ve we got Jerry?’ Jack inquired. ‘Why should we be interested in this guy?’ He said.

'We were out on patrol and had just finished checking a motorist on 6th Avenue and this guy,’ he jabbed his thumb towards the male in the interrogation room, ‘comes up to me and says he can’t take it anymore…I say can’t take what Sir, thinking he is some lunatic who wants to end it all…? And he says I can’t take all the hiding and the feelings of guilt anymore so I want to turn myself in-’

Jack frowned. ‘Hiding…?’ Jack was abrupt in his skepticism. ‘The fuckin’ killer keeps sending us clues to where the bodies will be dumped…he wants the attention… he’s not fuckin’ hiding.’ Jack waved the back of his hand. ‘Go on.’

The cop nodded. ‘So I say, turn yourself in for what…? And he says…The dead hookers…I’m the one you’re looking for…I killed those girls.’ The officer paused. ‘I was a little stunned at first but I wanted him to say to me who he was,’ Officer Carr continued. ‘So I said to him…what girls are you talking about, Sir…? And the guy looked to his left and then his right, took a step closer to me and in a reduced volume he says to me, I’m the Cryptic Killer… you are looking for me…I want to turn myself in…So here we are Jobs.’ The officer held his hands out to his side. His eyes flicked from Jack to Spence and back again, presumably looking for the slightest indication of approval or recognition.

‘Who is he…?’ Jack grunted.

The officer removed his notebook. ‘Ahh…his name is Bradley Scott Walker…thirty-six years, born May 21, 1976. Says he lives alone at 58A Clifton Street, Brooklyn. We’re yet to confirm that though.’

‘He’s not our guy.’ Jack punctuated his comment with a firm shake of his head. ‘He’s just a nut looking for his fifteen minutes of fame.’ Jack sneered. ‘He’s wasting our fucking time.’

‘How can you be so certain Jobs?’ The Officer said.

'How much have you asked about the murders so far?' Jack asked.

‘Nothing really. We’ve mainly been confirming his ID and running his priors waiting for you to show up before we start.’

‘Good. Any form…?’ Jack asked.

‘Yeah… see that’s where it’s interesting,’ the cop replied. ‘He’s got a rap sheet with sexual assaults…peeping tom. This guy’s a sex offender Jobs.’

Jack shook his head, still unconvinced.

‘How intelligent does this guy sound to you Jerry?’ Spence asked.

Ah…Actually, not very Spence…He’s not mentally impaired or anything, he just not that bright.’

‘I’m telling you, he’s not our guy…’ Jack repeated. ‘I’ll show you exactly why I know he isn’t our guy…’ Jack said. ‘We’ll be there in a minute to talk to him. OK. Thanks,’ Jack said, indicating their conversation was over.

Having been informally dismissed, Jerry returned to the interrogation room.

Jack looked at Spence. ‘I’ve been profiling the Cryptic Killer for what seems like forever and this fuckwit…’ he motioned towards the suspect, ‘is not him. I’m sure of it,’ he said. ‘Our guy is intelligent…educated…he knows about the law and way too much about crime scenes for my liking…He is clever, cunning and very patient. I would say possibly even narcissistic.’ He lifted his chin at the suspect in the in the other room. ’Does he look like any of those things to you?’ Jack asked.

Spence smiled as he nodded. ‘Not even close.’

‘Come on, let’s get rid of him,’ Jack said as he turned for the door.

All heads snapped towards the interrogation room door as it suddenly flew open ahead of the two stern-faced Detectives who stormed into the room. The suspect looked up at Jack with a look of surrender, as if to concede you got me.

Jack didn’t bother sitting down. He knew this wouldn’t take long. Instead he stood at the end of the table and leaned on his hands looking directly at the suspect. ‘My name is Lieutenant Jack Head from Homicide. I have — ’

‘I know, I know… you’ve been looking for me.’ The offender interrupted Jack’s introduction. That was his first mistake.

Jack glared at Walker. His eyes widened. ‘Shut your fucking mouth.’ Jack jabbed a finger directly at Walker. ‘You interrupt me again…’ He leaned in towards the suspect, ‘and I’ll knock your head off…ARE-WE-CLEAR?’ Jack held his ferocious stare on Walker. 'You speak to me only when I ask you a question. Do you understand?’ Jack’s theatrics were designed to unsettle the suspect.

The outburst clearly startled Walker. He sat motionless with his shoulders rounded in subservience, clearly too frightened to reply to Jack’s question. He just sat and stared at the huge aggressive man towering over him.

Jack raised his eyebrows. ‘I asked you a question…DO-YOU-UNDERSTAND?’

Walker cringed at the volume of Jack’s voice. ‘Yes Sir,’ he timidly replied.

'Now…I hear that you want to turn yourself in,’ Jack said.

Walker nodded, probably unsure whether he should speak or not.

‘Can’t hear a fucking nod of your head.’ Jack’s response was firm and aggressive.

‘Ah…Ye…Yes, that’s correct Sir,’ Walker stuttered.

‘Well, if we are going to do this right, we need to know where the knife is that you used to stab your last victim.’ Jack briefly glanced at Spence who returned an almost indiscernible but knowing smile. ‘We haven’t been able to recover it yet,’ Jack continued in his stern official voice.

His question intentionally contained the wrong information about the murder to assess how much this man knew. The known cause of death had been intentionally withheld from all media reports - just for these types of interviews.

‘Ah…I…I threw it away.’ Walker’s reply was tentative.

‘You threw it away, did you…?’ Jack was condescending, as he and Spence exchanged a brief glance. Jack’s focus shifted to the arresting officer. His eyebrows lifted in an expression that screamed, I told you so.

Jack returned to the suspect. ‘Exactly where…? Where did you throw it?’ Jack continued.

‘Ah…I threw it into the East River, ri…right out into the middle.’

Jack again looked at Spence and then at the other officers. Each was well aware of what had just happened. Walker had indirectly admitted that he stabbed the last victim. All police officers in that room knew Amber died from a broken neck - not stab wounds. Officer Carr had his answer; this guy couldn’t possibly be the Cryptic Killer.

Jack returned to Walker. 'Where into the river dickhead,’ Jack yelled. ‘Was it the area where the body was found, or was it further upstream - or downstream? We are going to send divers in there looking for it, so I need to know exactly where you threw it,’ Jack said.

Walker’s head dropped. ‘I…I…I threw it into the river near the body,’ Walker stuttered his reply.

‘I…I…I,’ Jack mimicked as stood back up from leaning on the table. He stood motionless while he glared his contempt at Walker. He allowed a pause of silence to beat by.

Jack shook his head in obvious disgust. He opened his folder and removed a copy of the letter he received from the real Cryptic Killer and slid it across the table to Walker.

‘This is your last letter...’ He pointed to the document on the table in front of Walker. Walker nodded as his eyes dropped to the page. ‘The clues were too clever for me…So, as you are giving yourself up, you won’t mind telling me what the letter says…I’m curious as hell.’ Jack grinned as he lifted his eyes to Spence, then the uniformed officers.

Walker slowly lifted the letter. His confused eyes scanned it up and down. His mannerisms clearly demonstrated not only had he never seen the letter before today, but he had no idea what it was about. He started to read,

“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent-”

‘I didn’t ask you to fucking read it to me,’ Jack said. ‘I can read that part…I asked you to tell me what it meant…the message, dipshit,’ he said. 'What’s the Valley of Fear got to do with it all…?’ Jack asked.

‘Huh?’ Walker lifted his eyes of Jack.

Walker had nothing but confusion in his eyes. ‘The Valley of F — ’ Jack stopped himself. ‘Don’t worry about it.’ He flicked the back of hand at Walker. His patience for this game was starting to thin.

'Tell me this…who the hell is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and what is his involvement in these murders you are committing? Is he an accomplice…?’

Walker’s eyebrows dipped in obvious confusion. ‘Who…?’ He asked.

Jack collapsed his arms back onto the table and glared at the suspect. He lifted his eyes to the other officers in the room. He jabbed his head towards Walker with a look of do you believe this guy?

Jack leaned in closer to Walker and pointed to clue thirteen. ‘What about this clue here…’ he said. 'We couldn’t solve this one. It was too tough. You wrote it, so you can tell me what the answer is. I’m very curious,’ Jack said. His tone was condescending.

Walker read Clue thirteen out aloud, “Worker agonizes, before dropping off final message for third rate opponents.” The expression on his face was obvious. He had no idea what he had just read. He looked up at Jack with a puzzled look on his face.

'You sent me this letter, didn’t you?' Jack said. 'You wrote these clues, didn’t you?’ Jack didn’t wait for an answer between his questions. ‘Well, I want to know what the answer to that clue is. I couldn’t solve it.’

Walker, not too bright at thinking on his feet, tried his best response, ‘Ah…it’s been a while since I wrote this letter,’ he said. ‘I…I can’t remember…what, what the answer is now.’

Jack snatched the letter from Walker. ‘Pathetic,’ Jack said. ‘You have never seen this letter before,’ Jack blurted. Walker’s head dropped and his shoulders rounded, as if to concede defeat.

Jack shifted his focus to the arresting officer Jerry Carr. ‘Still think he’s our guy?’ Jack’s question was rhetorical. ‘Get this piece of shit out of here before I do something I’ll regret.’ Jack waved his arm in the air as he turned to exit the interview room.

Half way to the door Jack stopped and turned back to address Jerry. ‘Better still…’ Jack locked his fierce glare on the suspect. Jack had a fixed glare that could turn stone into molten lava. ‘Charge this loser with making a false report and interfering with an ongoing investigation.’ He held his intimidating glare. ‘You wanna fuck with me… then I’ll fuck with you,’ Jack said before turning and exiting the room, with Spence following closely behind.

As expected, and consistent with the two earlier crime scenes, there was no evidence found at the crime scene of Amber. Although he expected as much, Jack still managed to offer a shake of his head as he sat at his desk reading the reports from the Medical Examiner and Crime Scene Investigators.

His reaction was not because he was disappointed at the lack of evidence being located, in fact he expected as much. His reaction was because this killer seemed too adept at leaving pristine crime scenes. Even the most careful killer could inadvertently drop a single hair, or leave epithelial samples, but this guy...nothing. He obviously had a thorough clean up routine.

This further supported Jack’s suspicions that the suspect was trained in, or was certainly well aware of Law Enforcement and Crime Scene forensics, and that concerned him.

The ME reported the cause of death was a clean break of the C3 vertebrae and death would’ve been instant. Fingerprint records identified ‘Amber’s’ birth name was Susan Brown. She had eight priors for Soliciting for the Purposes of Prostitution. Her date of birth on file indicated she was only twenty-four and recently lived in Brooklyn.

Twenty-Four. Jack removed his reading glasses and glanced over at Amber’s photo on the white board. Her drug abuse made her look considerably older.

Jack had just finished updating the latest known personal details of Amber on the white board when Spence appeared in the office door way. ‘Nineteen black colored luxury vehicles in the New York-Jersey area Jobs.’ Spence slid into the visitor’s chair at Jack’s desk. He gently lobbed the list of cars and owner’s addresses onto the desk for Jack to read. ‘Pity she couldn’t have been more specific about the make,’ Spence said. ‘Would’ve shortened the list…’

‘Nineteen...’ Jack grumbled as he walked over and snatched up the list. He knew they would have to visit all nineteen vehicle owners. He slipped on his reading glasses to scan the list. 'Shit… we got them all haven’t we…? Eight Mercedes Benzes…Five series seven BMWs …Three Lexus LS’s…Two Audi A8s and one Maybach 62…’ Jack frowned. ‘Maybach…?’ Jack lifted his questioning eyes to Spence. ‘What the fuck’s a Maybach?’

‘Oh, Yeah. They’re about $400K worth of motor car Jobs. They’re the chauffeur-driven cars you occasionally see the billionaires driven around in,’ Spence said.

Jack nodded. ‘Looks like we’ve got some luxury car owners to visit tomorrow,’ he said.

Jack had cleared it with Matthew’s boss so Matthew could come in and spend the afternoon viewing the first two letters from the Cryptic Killer, to see if those codes were the same as the 3rd letter.

It didn’t take Matt long to identify that the same cipher had been used in the previous two letters. He quickly identified the locations in the letters where the bodies were to be dumped; Battery Park and under the Williamsburg Bridge. Of course he was correct.

With the killer using the same cipher for the first three letters it reassured Jack should a 4th letter arrive. Given Jack’s inability to crack the ciphers in each of the first three letters, there should be no reason why the killer would change the cipher, or so Jack hoped. That could be the killer’s first mistake.

Although he had Matthew’s assistance deciphering letters, and the sighting of a black luxury vehicle prior to Amber’s disappearance, Jack had little else to go on at this stage.

Jack decided to swallow his pride and contact the Feds to request their assistance in a psychological profile on their killer.

Jack called the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit where he was informed they were aware of the case and, surprisingly to Jack at least, they were happy to look at the case files to see what they could do to assist.

Jack arranged for all relevant information to be copied and delivered to the Feds for consideration. The results would be released to Jack once something was known.

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