For forty-eight hours Detectives Williams and Toni sat parked in Isis’ truck in front of an apartment building on Sullivan St., in the village. The cloudy morning had turned into a beautiful afternoon. Isis had run the names—Stacey and Jannifer Hill—through the system and found out that the girls had no arrest record.
“Where the hell could they be?” Isis asked. Her brows were knitted together in frustration.
Toni, who was sitting in the driver’s seat, shifted her aching butt from cheek to cheek and said, “They’ve got to show up eventually.”
Suddenly, Isis sat ramrod straight in her seat. She looked at the photo that was given to her by the dean at NYU. “That’s them—”
Before Toni could respond, Isis bolted from the truck.
A large eighteen-wheeler braked as Isis ran in front of it. “Hey lady, there are easier ways to meet Jesus!” the truck driver shouted.
“Excuse me,” Isis said as she flashed her ID at the teenage girls.
Toni, who was standing beside her partner said, “Where have you two been? We’ve been waiting two days.”
Isis stared at the girls. They look nothing alike, she thought.
“I’m Detective Toni, and this is my partner Detective Williams. We’d like to ask you two a few questions if that’s all right with you.”
The twins studied the detectives’ identification.
“So, what can we do for you?” one of them asked.
“First, which one of you is Stacey?” Isis asked.
Stacey stood behind her younger sister and raised her hand. “I am.”
“Whatever you two want, it must be important because this one almost got hit by that truck,” Jannifer said, pointing at Isis.
“It is,” Isis said. “We’ve been trying to get in touch with you two days—”
“We’ve been busy,” Jannifer said, cutting Isis off.
“Look, is there somewhere we can go and talk—”
“No!” Jannifer barked. “Say whatever you have to say right here. And make it quick, because we have a function to attend.”
Isis felt her blood boiling. This little bitch, she thought. ” Look, this is a murder investigation and it’s gonna take as long as it takes, you got that?” Isis said as she glared at Jannifer.
Stacey and Jannifer both stared at their watches. “You’ve got five minutes,” Jannifer shot back. Isis took a step toward Jannifer.
Toni placed her hand on her partner’s shoulder. “Take it easy,” she said.
At the same time, Stacey placed her hand on her sister’s shoulder. “Ask your questions, Detective.”
Isis and Jannifer were staring at one another like they were ready to do battle.
“Is she your girlfriend?” Toni asked Stacey.
Jannifer shot Toni a look. “Is she yours?
“Do you guys know a Derrick Simmons?”
“No,” Jannifer said flatly.
“Are you sure about that?” Toni asked.
“Look, we know what happened to that girl, what’s her name—”
“Her name is Pamerla,” Isis said, through clenched teeth.
“Whatever, “Jannifer said.
Isis wanted to slap the disrespectful teenager.
“Have you ever been to the Due Motor Inn?” Toni asked.
The twins were quiet for a second. Then Stacey said, “He’d invited us to the motel, but we turned him down. We’re not that type…”
“What type are you?” Isis said to Stacey while she continued to stare at Jannifer.
“We’re. Not. That. Type!” Jannifer said as she took another step toward Isis.
Stacey placed her hand on her sister’s shoulder again.
“How did you two feel about him?” Toni asked.
“We didn’t know him that well to feel anything,” Stacey answered.
“Did you ever go out with him?” Isis asked
“She just told you that we didn’t know him that well, didn’t she?”
“What about Pam? Did you two hit it off?” Isis asked.
“No, that crazy bitch thought somebody wanted her boyfriend…” Hate shined in Isis’ eyes when Jannifer spoke those words.
“Time’s up,” Jannifer said. She and her sister turned their backs on the detectives at the same time and marched toward their building.
“Wait a goddamn minute,” Isis said. She reached out and grabbed Jannifer by the arm. Jannifer yanked her arm away from Isis. Stacey placed her hand on top of Jannifer’s shoulder again, but this time, she’d whispered something in her ear.
Jannifer unzipped her fanny pack, fished around for a second, and removed a business card. “Here, if you two have any more questions please contact the person’s name on that card.”
Toni took the card, and again, Stacey and Jannifer turned and marched toward their building like they were glued at the hip. Isis watched as Jannifer pulled the door open so her sister could walk in first, then she winked at Isis.
Isis was seconds from pulling the door open and snatching Jannifer by the hair before Toni had stopped her again. “Here, take a look at this.” Toni passed Isis the card Jannifer had given her. “How in the world could those two afford this guy?”
“S.T. Tyler? Fuck!” Isis said.
“This guy is the most famous defense lawyer in the state. He also handles civil case. He’s won millions for his clients that’s been victims of police brutality, harassment, and other civil violations,” Toni said.
Isis ripped the card up and threw the pieces to the ground. “Damn him,” she shouted as she took a swing at the air. “They’re guilty as sin. Did you see that bitch wink at me? And when we asked them if they knew Derrick, did you see how the other one reacted? They’re guilty alright...”
“Yeah, but now we’ve got to prove it.”
“Where’re we going?” Toni asked as she jumped into the passenger side of the truck.
“Over to the Due Motor Inn.” Just then Isis’ cell went off. It was Anthony Bliss, Pam’s lawyer. “Whatcha got, Bliss? What...are you crazy? She would never do that.” Isis sat silently as Bliss spoke. “Okay...” Toni stared at her partner. Isis switched off her phone.
“What happened? Is Pam alright?”
“Yeah...Bliss wants to talk Pam into taking a plea. He said the D.A.’s office is pushing for a speedy trial. He said the girl in the video is Pam and that the witnesses are all credible.”
Toni looked shocked.
“He also said all the trace and DNA evidence that were collected from the room came from Derrick and Pamerla.” Isis slammed her palms against the steering wheel. “Motherfucker!” She started her Durango and peeled away from the curb.
The Due Motor Inn was closed to the public. Yellow crime scene tape blocked the entrance to room 1H. Isis ripped the tape down and opened the door. Instantly the copper smell of blood filled her nostrils.
Toni, who was carrying her crime scene kit, asked, “Where do we start? They’ve already gone over this room with a fine-toothed comb.” She looked around at the mess the crime scene investigators had left. Fingerprint powder was everywhere. Bloody footprint crisscrossed the entire room. “What the hell were those girls doing in here? Dancing?” Toni asked as she tiptoed into the room.
Isis was eyeing the room like a lioness eyeing its prey. If those two maniacs left any physical evidence in here, I’ll find it, she thought as she stared at the chair Derrick Simmons was murdered in. Isis’ level of concentration was the highest it had ever been.
Toni stepped into the bathroom. At the Jonathan Jacobs crime scene, there were two piles of bloody cellophane underneath the sink. She could see traces of the same thing underneath the sink here. The faucet and knobs on the sink had all been dusted. So was the rim of the bathtub, the toilet seat, and the handle on the toilet. Toni stepped out of the bathroom and caught Isis on her knees by the bed.
Isis asked Toni for her Maglite. She gave it to her, then Isis slid under the bed.
After fifteen minutes, Isis slid out from under the bed. She had dust mites in her hair, and Her lips were moving.
Toni had looked around, but not as hard as Isis. Toni was convinced the crime scene technicians were competent. She watched as Isis made her way over toward the dresser. Isis started from one end of the dresser and slowly made her way toward the other end, scanning the dresser top intensely.
Forty-five minutes later, both detectives sat at the foot of the queen-sized bed. They were facing the dresser. “Are we done?” Toni asked, exasperated.
Isis continued to stare at the dresser.
Toni sighed as Isis stood up and slowly walked back over to the dresser, got down on her knees again, and looked under the edge of the top of the dresser. She switched on the Maglite and panned it under the edge.
Isis’s whole body froze. “Toni, get over here and check this out. Look at that.” Isis shined the light on a small sliver of what looked like dried saliva. “What do you think it is?”
“It looks like…wait, give me the light.” Isis passed her the Maglite. “It looks like the crime scene boys missed a spot.” Toni removed a small scraper and a piece of paper from her tech box. She carefully scraped the evidence onto the paper. Toni stood up and looked at Isis. “I think we’ve got someone’s body fluid.” Toni taped the ends of the paper, then placed it into an envelope. “I’ll get this over to Raymond,” she said.
“I knew we’d find something, “Isis said, smiling.
“Isis, you know as well as I do that this sample could have come from any—”
“It came from them, Toni!” Isis snapped, cutting her off.
The two detectives left the Due Motor Inn and headed back to the Harlem. They’d dropped the sample off at Raymond Johnson’s lab, then they went to visit Deloris at Queens General Hospital.
Deloris’ condition had not changed. She lay in her hospital bed staring at nothing. Isis thought about what the doctor had told her about people who fall into a catatonic stupor. She sat down next to her sister. She looked straight into her sister’s eyes, then she whispered, “Deloris, I’m so sorry this happened…”
Deloris’ brown eyes did not waver. Isis ran her hands through her sister’s short, brown hair. She looked lovingly at her sister’s oval shaped face. She gently placed her hands on her sister’s cheeks and kissed her lightly. She hadn’t touched her sister in this way in fourteen years. “...And... Mommy and Daddy. I…” Isis began to weep. She brought her sister’s hand up to her lips and kissed it. “I wish I would have died that day...I’m sorry, sister.” Isis wept as Toni, who was standing by the door, wept along with her.
Stacey and Jannifer sat on the floor inside their village apartment. The twins were sitting in a lotus position, and the upper part of their bodies was tilted toward each other so that their foreheads could touching. They’d been sitting in this position for over an hour. Finally, the twins stood up, and Jannifer removed a laptop computer from their bed. She placed it on the floor, and the twins stared at the screen. Jannifer tapped on a few keys and a list of names popped up. There were 4,246 registered sex offenders living in Harlem. Jannifer tapped an X next to three names: Anthony Jenkins Jr., Joseph Brat—the homeless man—and Derrick Simmons.
Jonathan Jacobs and Detective Andrew Taylor were not registered as sex offenders, but to Stacey and Jannifer McHill—they were. Jannifer added an X next to their names also. The twins had 4,241 names left on their list to X out.