The Cryptic Killer

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Chapter 25

Emma peeked through the small security peep hole in her apartment door after responding to a firm knock. She instantly withdrew her eye from the spy hole and reeled backwards. Her eyebrows were dipped and her face showed lines of concern.

She paused briefly before returning her eye to the spy hole, this time holding a more deliberate peek before asking the visitors to identify themselves.

‘Police…’ was the firm reply.

‘I’m sorry gentlemen…can you hold up your badges so I can see them please.’

Both men complied and then waited for a brief moment. The tell-tale clicking of door locks announced they had passed her initial security screening and were about to be granted entry.

Aware they were traveling to interview a street hooker who had possibly had an encounter with the Cryptic Killer and lived to tell her tale, both men were pleasantly surprised and somewhat taken aback when Emma opened the door.

Although dressed in her unflattering, figure concealing, light-grey sweats and oversize t-shirt, she was not what they were expecting.

She in no way resembled their preconceived image of an illegal street sex worker. Haggard looking crack whores with over sized wigs, make-up that looked like it was applied in the dark with a spatula and bodies that screamed neglect. But that certainly wasn’t Emma.

Jack and Spence shot a brief side-ways glance of approval as she stepped back to allow them access. Even in her stressed state, even after she had to flee for and her life and cower in fear, she was still an alluring presence. Her natural beauty was not lost on the visitors.

The agreeable aroma off freshly brewed coffee was next to welcome the boys as they entered the apartment.

She gestured towards the lounge chairs. ‘Please… have a seat. I’ve just made a pot of coffee.’ She indicated her freshly poured mug on the coffee table in front of the Detectives, who were lowering themselves onto the lounge sofa. ‘Can I get you gentlemen one?’ she asked.

Both men accepted the offer and a few short minutes later all three were seated in her lounge room sipping hot coffees while she opened her soul to these two complete strangers staring back at her.

‘I actually shit myself when I first looked through the peep hole at you.’ She lifted her chin to Jack and smiled. ‘I thought he was back…I thought you were him…It’s just that he was big like you.’ She extended her arms to her side.

Jack edged himself forward in his chair. He held Emma’s gaze. ‘I want you to understand…we are not interested in your nocturnal activities on the street. We are Homicide, not Vice…’ Jack said.

Emma nodded her understanding as she took a sip from her coffee.

'What I want you to do, in your own time, is explain in detail what occurred during last night.'

Emma started by telling the boys she was a law student at NYU and her justifications for working the streets on weekends. She told them her street pseudonym. She mentioned where she worked, her little piece of Hudson Street and the time she started her shift. She discussed how the man who chased her initially tried to pick up Lulu, but Lulu was taken by a walk-up trick. She told how her pimp told her to pick him up on the rebound.

She told them he was a handsome man; a big man and very charming. He was well spoken, quite eloquent actually. She told them how he chose the location he wanted to drive to for the service. She walked the men over to her window overlooking the East River, peeled her blinds aside and pointed to the area where they were parked.

She told them how he sat in the passenger seat while she kneeled on the ground in front of him to perform her service on him. She told of the sudden sharp pain in her neck and how her wig rotated around over her face when he forcefully twisted her head. She lifted her lip and showed them her larger than usual eye teeth and mentioned how one of them must have cut his penis.

Jack and Spence just let her talk to allow her recall of every detail to flow without interruption. Spence jotted down notes.

Emma started to tense up when describing how she ran for her life and hid in the grounds of her apartment’s estate. She told how she strategically placed clothing items on the path to lead him away from her and he eventually drove off.

‘That was very clever…’ Jack said when she had finished. ‘Especially under extreme duress. Are you OK now...? Would you like to take a break?’ He noticed she nervously rubbed and twisted her hands together.

‘No, no I’m good.’ She took a large hit of coffee.

‘There was no intercourse, is that right?’ Jack asked.

‘No. He specifically asked for head… Ah, sorry. Oral,’ she clarified.

Jack lifted his hand in a gesture of that’s OK. ‘Did he ejaculate?’

‘I don’t think so…No, my tooth cut him before he was finished. But he was wearing a condom anyway.’

'You would have sliced open the condom…Did you happen to notice if you got any of his blood on you?’ Jack asked.

‘I don’t think so…it was all contained in the condom…he bled into the condom.’

‘Ah…right.’ Jack nodded. He scratched the stubble on his chin. ‘Did you see what he did with the condom when he removed it to examine his injury?’ Jack asked.

Emma stared blankly. Her face remained expressionless, probably while her mind rewound back to that moment she first saw the cut on his penis.

‘Um…’ She lifted her closed fist. ‘He held it in his hand. He rolled it up into itself, into a small roll, if you like and held in his hand.'

‘What about the payment...the notes he gave you… where are they?’ Jack asked.

'He gave me his wallet and asked me to take out my fee…said he injured his fingers and couldn’t bend them or something.’

Jack‘s eyes flicked to Spence. 'The perp thought of every last detail. Having her remove the notes so as to mitigate any risk of leaving prints,' he said.

'Where are the clothes you wore when he attacked you?' Spence asked. ‘I assume you have showered since then.’ He lifted his chin her current attire.

Emma quickly jumped up and moved to her bedroom, returning a short time later with her black wig, Bolero Jacket, denim shorts and the bikini top she wore last night. She reminded the Detectives how the offender took her black thigh-high boots and cap after she planted them for him.

Emma showed the Detectives her red pair of thigh-high boots so they could get a visual image of what the black pair looked like.

Spence removed a neatly folded plastic bag, shook it open and held it out for her to place her clothing in the bag. He then sealed it shut. ‘We’ll get these analyzed for DNA and trace evidence and get them back to you,’ he said. ‘With a bit of luck there might be some blood or other evidence from him on them,’ he explained.

‘That’s OK...I won’t be needing them… I’ve decided to take a break for a while.’

After Emma had finished updating her guests on the events from earlier in the night, she escorted the boys down to the exact location by the river where the car was earlier parked.

The brightness of a fresh new morning dominated the skyline, but long dark gray shadows still stretched under the FDR, in the area of the vacant parking lot.

The Detectives conducted a detailed search of the area under probing torch lights. A check of nearby garbage bins for the discarded condom, or a blood soaked handkerchief failed to locate any evidence. Their perp was too clever to be careless, but these were stones that could not be left unturned.

Emma then walked the boys through the grounds re-enacting both his and her movements. This time though, the horror-movie like scene of tedious black and grays in the gardens had transformed into vibrant greens and browns.

Once back in the apartment it would be another 2½ hours before they would finish compiling her statement. They required it to be completed while everything was still vivid in her mind. Emma agreed to attend at the police station later in the day to compile a photo-fit image of her attacker. She said she would never forget his face.

By the time Jack and Spence had returned to the station, Wylie had completed his photo-fit of “Bear”. All they had on Wylie at this stage was four counts of aiding and abetting motor vehicle theft. There was nothing to suggest his complicity in the murders; not at this stage anyway.

The usually arrogant and opinionated Wylie was dumbstruck. He stood motionless. His face was drained of color as he stared blankly at Spence while he was informed of the consequences of his actions.

He would lose his job at the Waldorf Astoria and faced the very real possibility of jail time over the car theft charges.

Jack flicked his hand towards the door. ‘Get him out of here,’ Jack barked. ‘I‘m sick of looking at him.’

A uniform officer removed Wylie from the charge counter and escorted him to a predetermined meeting with a bail justice.

Back in the homicide Bull Pen the Operation Code-Breaker debrief was intentionally kept short. Unit Fourteen was late having been reassigned to obtain a statement from the owner of the Black Audi A6.

Jack summarized the evening and pointed out that it was through good fortune rather than good planning that the perp failed to claim his 4th victim tonight.

The crews were thanked for their cooperation and patience and were promptly dismissed so they could grab some sleep and enjoy what was left of their Sunday.

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