After selecting a section of wall about two thirds of the way along the CSIs drilled a pilot hole in the wall and inserted the camera.
The expression of Phil’s face tightened. His eyes lifted to Luke before dropping back to the display monitor. ‘Got something, Luke,’ Phil said.
Luke glanced across at Megan to monitor her reaction. Her reddened distressed eyes met his. Her face was etched with apprehension. Luke moved to Phil’s location to view the display monitor.
While Phil manipulated the snake-like camera inside the wall, he described his actions to Luke. ‘If I move it over here you will see it is all dark…nothing there—see. But if I turn it back to this side, there is something there…see that…’ he said lifting his eyes to Luke. ‘It appears to be something wrapped in plastic. If you look over there…up on top of it…it looks like a small piece drywall just sitting there.’
The quality of the vision was incredibly clear. There was definitely something in there that appeared to be wrapped in plastic.
Luke's eyes lifted in contemplation. He moved to his file sitting on a nearby box, opened it and slid out the list of items that Kirk purchased from the store. He read through it.
‘The last item on this list is heavy duty industrial plastic sheeting,’ Luke said to Phil. Luke knew what they had located would almost certainly be Emily’s body wrapped in that plastic.
‘I’m sorry Megan…but we are going to have to remove that section of wall…’
Megan nodded her understanding. Her hands were clasped just below her chin as she watched the proceedings. She too must’ve feared the worse. The female officer standing beside Megan rubbed a comforting hand up and down Megan’s back.
Luke instructed one of the CSI’s to attend upstairs and bring Kirk back down to the basement before they open the wall. They waited until he returned.
‘What now…’ Kirk arrogantly asked as he stepped from the last tread onto the basement floor. He stopped in his tracks when he noticed the CSI with the camera inserted into the wall.
‘We are going to open that section of wall now and I want you to be present when we do it,’ Luke said.
Kirk did not respond. He watched with an expressionless face as the police officers commenced to cut into the wall with a hand saw.
A square piece of wall about one yard by one yard was cut out from the wall. The first thing that greeted Phil was the unmistakable odor of death. The smell wasn’t overpowering, but it was clearly evident.
Phil raised his knowing eyebrows at Luke. The hole revealed an opening that extended under the entire first floor of the house. It was a type of crawl space to access plumbing and wiring etc.
What they had found was a small body wrapped in plastic, lying horizontally on the ground behind the basement wall. Megan’s hands shot up to her mouth.
Phil’s colleagues took a series of crime scene photographs of the discovery, while Luke’s focused turned to Kirk who remained silent with his eyes on the ground in front of himself. He did not move. He did not look at the wall. He had no reaction at all to police finding a body under his house.
Once the crime scene photos were completed the CSI’s carefully removed the body out from the wall and gently placed it onto the ground. Further crime scene photographs were taken before Phil slowly cut away the duct tape and peeled open the plastic sheet.
Megan wailed and collapsed to her knees when she recognized the pale lifeless body in the sheet was her little girl, Emily. The female officer did her best to comfort Megan.
Suddenly Megan sprung to her feet and rushed at Kirk. She repeatedly pounded his body with alternating fists. ‘What have you done….? What have you done you monster…?’ she screamed. ‘That’s my little girl, damn you…’
Kirk didn’t try to defend himself. He allowed the blows to land while he stared blankly at the ground in front of himself. Each blow caused his body to rock from the force.
The female officer ran at Megan and restrained her hands then moved her back away from Kirk. Megan turned into the comforting arms of the female officer as she broke down and sobbed.
Phil reached back inside the wall and removed what appeared to be small offcuts of blue painted drywall and a small timber access door.
‘I’m sorry Megan, but I have to ask you this,' Luke said. 'Can you remember if there was previously a small access door here in the wall?’
Megan nodded, almost as if to concede. ‘I think there was…I just never noticed it was gone.’
When Luke caught the eye of the female officer embracing Megan, he discreetly motioned to the female officer for her to take Megan upstairs. The female officer obliged.
Luke glanced down at the young lifeless body of Emily. He felt a surge of pity for the little girl lying amongst the plastic sheets that had been peeled open like the husk leaves wrapped around an ear of corn.
She was fully clothed and wearing a short little pink skirt and a white t-shirt with the words “I Love My Daddy” printed on the front. A lump formed in his throat at the disgusting irony.
Helpless, defenseless and trusting were words that bounced around Luke’s head as he gazed down on the poor soul. He hoped like hell she wasn’t interfered with and didn’t suffer before she was killed, but he wasn’t confident.
Luke knew all too well from experience that in cases such as these, pedophiles chose to kill their victims to prevent their perverted and sickening violations against their victims being discovered. He wondered how long this had been going on. How long did this innocent little girl have to endure the person she trusted and loved as her father figure, interfering with her?
‘Better get the Medical Examiner down here,’ Luke instructed Phil.
Luke turned to Kirk. The anger and hatred Luke felt towards Kirk bubbled dangerously close to the surface. He grabbed Kirk by his puny arm and physically wrenched him over towards a male police officer.
‘You’re under arrest you piece of shit…’ Luke said. He used every ounce of his strength not to snap Kirk’s skinny little neck.
With a final push he shoved Kirk towards the officer. ‘Cuff him and read him his rights…’ he said. ‘And get him out of my sight…Take him back to the 84th…’ Luke flicked his arm towards the upstairs doorway. ‘I’ll be there shortly.’
The officer grabbed hold of Kirk’s wrists and applied hand cuffs. With a firm grasp of Kirk's bicep the cop escorted him up the stairs and out of the basement. Luke watched the men ascend the stairs before he turned his attention back to the small lifeless body.
The CSI team had already sprung into action. Some were examining the body for trace evidence while others were dusting the plastic wrap, the painted timber door and the drywall for prints.
Luke sat perched on a stack of boxes with his hands shoved deep into in his pockets. His shoulders were rounded and his expression was blank as he despondently watched the ME conduct his examination of the tiny body.
Crimes involving young children were particularly distressing and this one was no exception. Luke had come to know Megan quite well, and he respected her. He was worried how she would cope with all that has happened.
For a moment his mind wandered back to Barnaby’s bar, to his discussion with the old man. It suddenly occurred to him that the old man was exactly spot on with his prediction. The body was hidden in the wall of the basement and the step-father did do it. I’ll be... He shook his head. I definitely owe him a beer.
Luke’s brief moment of deep recollection was interrupted by the voice of the ME. ‘I’m all finished here Detective. I just have to bag her up once your team has finished…’ he said. ‘And then we will take her away.’
‘What can you tell me, Doc?’ Luke asked.
‘The lividity has only pooled in one place, on the lower extremities of her body so she was placed into the wall shortly after she was killed, and that’s where she stayed. So it would appear that somewhere in this house is your primary…most likely here in the basement.’
‘Were you able to estimate a time of death?’
The ME nodded. ‘Rigor has well passed…I would estimate she has been dead about…two weeks.’
Luke performed a quick mental calculation of the days. The Doc’s estimate puts her death around the time Megan was in Manhattan. ‘What was the cause, Doc?’
‘Strangulation…undoubtedly,’ he said. ‘Oh…and ah… the young girl was sexually assaulted ante mortem as well.’
Luke’s eyes closed at hearing the discovery. He raised his head to the ceiling in disgust at learning young Emily was sexually assaulted before she was killed.
The ME continued. ‘There’s evidence of forceful penetration and considerable lacerations and bruising to the young girl’s vagina and groin region. I’m certain my full examination will confirm a tear in her hymen.’
Luke’s closed eyes were still lifted skyward as he heard the diagnoses. He cringed at the thought of what the poor girl must’ve gone through before she died. Luke slowly shook his head in disgust.
‘I suspect your killer didn’t expect her to be found…’ The ME began. Luke’s eyes met the Doc’s serious gaze. ‘There appears to be large quantities of semen remaining in the young girl’s body, Detective...Your offender didn’t even attempt to clean up any of the incriminating evidence,’ the ME said. ‘The CSI’s are gathering what they can now.’
‘OK thanks, Doc.’ Luke pushed himself away from the boxes. ‘I’m gonna head back to the station to speak to this maggot. Let me know what you get there Phil,’ Luke said. ‘And can you bring me the copies of these images as soon as you can.’
After arriving back at the 84th Luke parked his vehicle and made his way into the interrogation room where, Kirk was being held.
Luke was in full step by the time he passed by the Lieutenant’s office, but was halted when his boss abruptly bellowed out to him.
The Lieutenant sat back in his chair as Luke entered the office. ‘What’ve we got here?’ the Lieutenant asked.
‘That’s in relation to the child who disappeared from her bed about two weeks ago,’ Luke said.
‘Ah yes… the Boerum Hill matter. Good,’ The Lieutenant nodded. ‘So who’s this?’ he jabbed his thumb towards interrogation.
‘He’s the step-father…and it turns out, he’s also our perp.’
The Lieutenant raised impressed eyebrows. ‘Really?’ He nodded. ‘Great. What do you have on him?’
Luke took the next ten minutes updating his boss on the results of his inquiries and the outcome of the search warrant. He added that he expected they will have DNA and fingerprint evidence as well. His summary included everything in relative detail.
When Luke had completed his update his boss asked, ‘What made you think the young vic was hidden behind the wall…?’
Luke shrugged. ‘Just a hunch, really…’ he said shaking his head. ‘And a bit of luck, I suppose.’
‘Luck my ass…’ the Lieutenant waved the back of his hand in dispute. That was brilliant Detective work, son…well done. I knew you had it in you,’ he said. He gestured towards interrogation. ‘Now get in there and finish it off.’
When Luke arrived at the interrogation viewing room one of his colleagues was in the room monitoring Kirk through the two-way mirror.
‘Hey Foxy,’ his colleague said, then lifted his chin toward the interrogation room. ‘He’s lawyered up already.’
Luke moved to stand beside his colleague. Both men watched on in silence.
The interrogation room was a small room—three and one half yards by three yards wide, about the size of an average bedroom, with cream colored walls.
A table was centrally positioned in the room with a two chairs. Kirk sat facing the two-way window with his head lowered. His lawyer sat next to Kirk, talking closely to him. The Detectives had no idea what was being discussed. Due to strict laws surrounding lawyer-client privilege the viewing room’s intercom was turned down while the suspect talked with his legal advisor.
After about twenty minutes nothing had changed in the interrogation room. But Luke was prepared to wait. He was satisfied he had his man. Kirk was not going anywhere.
Crime Scene Investigator Phil Duff entered the viewing room.
‘Hey Phil. How’d you go down there?’
‘You hit payload on this one buddy,’ Phil began. He opened the folder he carried and slid out an envelope. ‘Here are the crime scene photos you asked for…’ He handed the envelope to Luke.
Luke slid out the ten by eight inch color photographs and ran his eyes over each one. There were ten in total.
Phil continued to talk while Luke examined the photographs. ‘We were able to lift excellent prints off the plastic sheet, the timber door, and the off-cut of dry wall. We also ran a rape kit and found traces of semen and hair particles on the body, so I’m confident your DNA evidence will be compelling once we have finished running it,’ Phil said. His focus then turned towards the suspect seated in the interrogation room. ‘This is a slam dunk,’ he predicted.
Luke nodded while he regarded Kirk. ‘Good work Phil, thanks,’ he said. ‘I look forward to receiving the reports.’
A further five minutes passed before Kirk’s Lawyer raised his hand towards the two-way window.
‘You’re up buddy,’ Luke’s colleague said as he motioned with his head towards the interrogation room.
Luke slid the photographs into his folder and grabbed another chair before he exited the viewing room.
The lawyer sat back in his chair when Luke entered the interrogation room. Kirk remained sitting with his head bowed. Luke placed the chair on the side opposite Kirk and moved to sit.
Kirk’s lawyer was an overweight man, bordering on obese who appeared to be in his early sixties. His face was hidden behind a full-faced beard which was graying in apparent sympathy to his thick head of white-gray hair. The lawyer spoke with a discernible southern accent.
‘Emerson Hardy, Detective…’ the lawyer said then slid his business card across the table towards Luke.
Luke’s eyes briefly lowered to the card. He pushed the business card to the side and placed his folder on the table. He opened it up and commenced to remove each of the ten crime scene photographs and one-by-one place them on the table in front of Kirk. As he was part way through, Kirk’s lawyer raised his hand to Luke.
‘Contrary to my advice and protestations….’ The lawyer began in his southern drawl. ‘My client has advised me he wishes to make a full signed confession in relation to all charges.’
Luke sat back in his chair. His focus flicked to Kirk whose head remained bowed. ‘Is this true…?’ Luke asked Kirk directly. Kirk nodded. ‘I can’t hear a nod…’ Luke said. His tone was firm. ‘You will need to voice your response to me...’
Kirk lifted his head and glared at Luke. ‘Yes… it’s true,’ he said firmly before lowering his head.
‘So you want to confess to raping and murdering your step daughter, Emily…?’ Luke asked.
Kirk didn’t lift his head he simply said, ‘Yes.’
‘My client says he accepts that he is going away for a considerable time so he doesn’t want to drag his partner through the stresses of a lengthy trial. He feels she is too fragile at the moment and it would be detrimental to her health,’ Mr. Hardy advised.
Luke nodded his understanding, possibly even his approval while his firm gaze remained fixed on Kirk. ‘OK. I will however ask that you remain throughout Mr…’ Luke paused while he consulted the Lawyer’s business card on the table, ‘Hardy.’
The Lawyer nodded once to Luke.