Danger is nearer than one thinks.
Defoe was exhausted. He knew he was too involved with the case for the good of his health and decided some rare leisure time was needed. The officers were working hours and hours of overtime and looked like ghosts. They needed to slow down but the first twenty-four hours of each case were the most important when the leads needed to be examined before the evidence disappeared or became too old and worthless.
His respect for Chase was increasing now he saw his methodical approach to police work. Chase had admitted the day before that he was still feeling raw years after the death of his kid sister. He was surprised when Defoe admitted he still felt raw and guilty when he remembered his best friend had died in a road side bomb in Afghanistan and he had gotten away scot free. The men had gone away not buddies but understanding each other’s positions now. His episode with Mary Jane Linton was an aberration. He was a good cop. Defoe hoped his sample would prove negative and he could be removed from the suspect list.
A phone call put the cat among the pigeons again. Kids fishing in a lake had pulled out a foot. Divers had found parts of a body which Kate had analysed quickly.
‘‘Slight bruises around the neck but only enough pressure used to render him unconscious. Throat cut and the eyes were taken this time. The body was not dismembered but it looks like the same killer. What is different was the person was a transvestite who had recently had completed gender change treatment.’’
‘‘Why the hell would he want to kill a man who changed his sex? I don’t believe he is changing his task.’’
‘’He may have thought he was a woman and his next victim. Finding he was a man may have shocked him. He was of no use if the killer wanted a ‘real’ woman.’’
‘‘I’ll get an officer to find out where he went the night he died,’’ said Cradley. ‘’He was dressed to kill so he clearly went to find a guy. Someone at the bars or clubs must remember him.
‘‘No items of identification were left on the body. The killer hoped he would stay hidden in the lake for a while.’’
‘‘Try the local clinics. See if he was a patient at the clinic where our surgeon was murdered. These murders must be connected. If so, we may have the link we are looking for.’
The clinic confirmed the victim was Alex Dalton, a former patient. What was interesting was he worked in the local hospital and might have known the medic who was the murderer.
Cradley put forward the fear that was haunting all of them. ‘‘Now he has the eyes his project may be completed. He may scarper now!’’
‘‘No!’’ said Defoe emphatically. ‘‘I don’t believe it. Alex had a reputation for sleeping around. Our killer wants a pure woman. He chastised Mary-Jane for behaving like a whore. He would not accept a kid who has been around the block and a guy at that. It doesn’t fit. Alex’s eyes didn’t match his hair either. His hair was dyed. His natural hair was a light brown. I think he cut Alex’s eyes out to make us think he has finished his task. He is still after the real eyes. The scalp he took before was from a red head, Louise. He is still looking for some green eyes to match the hair. Our killer is still on the loose and ready to complete his project.’’