Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

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“Now what in the hell do you think she could be hiding?” Leverette asked shaking his head. “That poor thing was so terrified. She didn’t act like she was hiding anything. Hell, she doesn’t look like she has it in her to do something like this.”

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Marsden said. “She might have just seen something and is afraid to say anything. Maybe she’d been threatened.”

“You’re reaching,” Leverette said. He looked up and the chief waved them to come into his office. “Chief wants us.”

Marsden didn’t want to go but knew better. The two got up and went into the chief’s office.

“You two are going to be very busy,” Billingsley said and picked up three more files. “Three more parts. Right leg and two arms.”

“Shit. Where?” Marsden asked.

“The leg in a sewer drain in Fort Gratiot, right arm in a factory lot in the industrial area, and the left arm in an abandoned home in Port Huron,” Billingsley said and handed the files to Leverette.

“Same lady?” Leverette asked.

“Same nail polish according to the primaries, even on the fingers.”

“So we’re just missing the head and torso,” Leverette said as more of an afterthought.

“Haven’t gotten anything from Dr. Carrington yet, so we don’t know if she’s in the system.

“I’ll checked for missing persons, but with just a leg it’s a little difficult to ID. We do have sixteen missing women,” Marsden said.

“Is anyone at the other locations yet?” Leverette asked.

“Yeah, some patrol officers. Waiting on Carrington and the others,” Billingsley said. “I’m not sure where anyone is going to first, so you might want to call.”

“Have to call Amy Lang first,” Marsden said. “She’s supposed to meet us here in about half an hour.”

Leverette looked at his partner. “I’ll call her.”

Marsden looked at him. “Just be nice.”

“Don’t forget about Carrington,” Billingsley said.

“Will do,” Marsden said and headed to his desk. He picked up the phone and called Carrington.

“He already left,” a voice on the other end said.

“Did he say where he was going?” Marsden asked.

“No, but two of his associates will be going to each of the other ones.”

“Okay, thanks,” Marsden said and hung up.

Leverette was just walking to his desk when Marsden hung up.

“Where to first?”

“Doesn’t matter, Carrington and two of his people have headed out to each of the locations,” Marsden said. “So it doesn’t matter. Work our way back?”

“Yeah, that sounds good,” Leverette said and handed the files to Marsden as they left the squad room.

In the car Marsden looked through the three files that contained the intake sheets. “Wow. The parts are spread around but not that far from each other. The sheriff’s department will probably be there.”

“No doubt,” Leverette said as he turned on Simpson off of Pine Grove and headed to the end of the small street.

“Look at that,” Leverette said as he pulled over to park. “He didn’t even try to hide this one.”

Marsden got out and crunched up his face. The leg was just lying over the drain wrapped in the same type of black trash bag. A man was standing with the officers and they were all shaking their heads.

“They’re keeping this out of the press?” Marsden whispered the question as he and Leverette walked over.

“Yeah, for now. Once we find all the parts and can identify her body, Billingsley might let it out. Depends on what we find.”

Kenneth Denton was the man who found the leg and he seemed pretty upset over finding it. He was giving his statement to the officers who were there when Leverette and Marsden walked up to them.

“I didn’t know what it was until I went to pick it up,” Denton was saying. “It felt weird so I thought I’d call you.”

“So you touched the bag?” Leverette asked.

“Yeah, but I have my mittens on,” Denton said and showed Leverette his hands.

“What brought you down here today?” Leverette asked.

“I like to jog down this way. It’s quiet,” he said and turned to look at the two detectives.

“Do you live around here?” Marsden asked looking at Denton’s running shoes. They were well-worn.

“Not far. I’m in the apartment building on Krafft Rd. Not far from here,” he said and pointed to the apartments.

“This is a regular routine then?” Marsden asked.

“Yeah. Every day, rain, snow or shine. I had a mild heart attack two years ago and my doctor said it would be all right to go a short distance and this is perfect, or was until today.”

“Did you see anything out of the ordinary when you got here?” Marsden took over the questioning.

“No, just that bag,” Denton said and shook his head. “Why would someone do something like that?”

Marsden just shook his head. He looked Denton directly in the eye. “And you’re sure you didn’t see anything?”

“No. I never do. That’s why I like it,” Denton told him. “There’s little or no traffic. I have my cell phone if I need help. It’s the one with the emergency buttons.”

Leverette noticed a few old houses on the other side of the street.

“Have you ever seen any of the people come out while you were here?” Leverette asked.

“The third house. The guy there leaves for work, I think, just as I get here.”

“What time was that?” Leverette asked.

“Around 7am. Other than that, nobody.”

“Here’s my card if you think of anything,” Leverette said. “We might call you to come down to the station later. Sometimes things come to you once you calm down from something like this.”

“I don’t have to be to work until 3pm so I could stop by before that, or we’d have to wait until tomorrow.”

“No problem.”

Marsden had the same feeling about Denton that he did with Amy. “He knows something, too”, he thought.

Leverette noticed the look on Marsden’s face. “What now?”

“He knows something,” Marsden said as they walked toward the bag.

“What are you? A psychic or something?” Leverette sounded more amused than pissed.

“No. Just a feeling I got when I looked into his eyes,” Marsden said, defending himself. “Just like I did with Amy.”

“Well, let’s head to that house. You got the address?” Leverette asked shaking his head at Marsden.

“Yeah,” Marsden said and gave him the address.

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