Dr. Patterson had rubbed her knees after she sat down.
“Are you okay, Doc?” Isis asked.
“Yes, it’s just these old knees. Last year while I was in the rainforest of South America, I fell trying to get away from a wild boar.” Dr. Patterson opened the last drawer in her desk and removed a pack of E-Z Wider rolling paper and a half an ounce of marijuana. “You don’t mind if I smoke?” Dr. Patterson paused. “It’s for medical use. The state of Louisiana has not yet legalized the use of medical marijuana, so what’s a girl to do? Plus, it does a job on this freakin’ pain.” Dr. Patterson licked the thin strip of adhesive, poured in the weed, then she twisted the joint up.
Isis and Toni stared at the doctor as she lit the joint up and took a drag. For some reason, Isis’ left ear started to ache. She hesitated before she said, “You don’t mind do you, Doc?”
Dr. Patterson passed Isis the joint. “In pain, are we?”
Isis took a drag. “In fact,” she said as she held in the smoke. “I was attacked by Stacey—or was it Jannifer?” She said as she held in the smoke. Isis exhaled. “I lost some of my hearing in my left ear.”
Toni, not wanting to be left out, said, “You know, Dr. Patterson, I’ve been experiencing some pain in my lower back.” Toni reached around and touched the spot. “I think I sprained it while I was working out.”
“Be my guest.”
Isis passed the joint over to her partner and Toni took a drag.
Isis had brought along a large manila envelope which contained crime scene photos, eyewitness reports, and the sketches the homeless man had made of the twins. “Take a look at these, Doc.”
Dr. Patterson took the sketches. “That’s them,” she said almost immediately. Dr. Patterson tapped a few keys on her computer and turned the screen around so the detectives could see it. The sketches and the images on Dr. Patterson’s computer screen were identical. The mark that ran across the twins’ mouths were more pronounced on Dr. Patterson’s computer screen, but there was no doubt in Isis’ mind that these were definitely the same girls the homeless man had sketched. “Stacey and Jannifer were in my care for over two years,” the doctor said. “This is what they looked like when they were first brought to the hospital.” Dr. Patterson tapped a key and turned the screen in their direction again. Isis gasped at what she saw. The faces of two young girls, with both their eyes swollen shut, were on the doctor’s computer screen. Their little faces were beaten black and blue, and the marks that ran across their mouths were hideous. The dermis was missing from their cheeks and lips.
“Jesus!” Isis said. “And how old were they when they were brought to you?”
“Thirteen. The intruders poured cement glue on the adhesive part of the duct tape before taping the girls up. When the tape was removed, so was their skin.”
“Intruders?” Isis asked.
“What happened to their parents?” Isis asked. Dr. Patterson sat back in her Kennedy rocking chair and proceeded in telling one of the most mind-boggling stories of physical violence and mental torture the detectives had ever heard.
“The McHill’s were a very affluent family. Terry and Linda owned a construction company here in Shreveport. Aside from building homes here in the community, they had a contract with the city. They were loved…” Dr. Patterson lowered and shook her head. “They didn’t have a bad bone in their bodies...they didn’t deserve to die the way they did.”
“And how was that, Doc?” Isis asked.
Dr. Patterson shifted her butt in the rocking chair, then she looked at Isis. “Those bastards desecrated their bodies. On May 1, Terry and Linda McHill threw their daughters an elaborate party for their thirteenth birthday. Terry and Linda believed that if they shielded their children from the madness of this world, you know, the crime and the drugs...” Dr. Patterson smiled at the memory. “... that the children will grow into drug-free, God-fearing adults. Not like some of the teenagers that roamed the streets of Shreveport. The twins were home schooled. There were no T. V’s in the McHill’s’ household, no video games, and no cell phones, nothing that showed any hint of violence. They attended church every evening, in fact, all the children and the parents that attended their birthday party were part of their congregation. And all the kids that were at their party were home schooled also. I was there that day. It was lovely. All the kids had a magical time. But that evening…” Dr. Patterson lowered her head again. “...That evening ended in unspeakable violence…”
Toni could see the doctor was having a hard time with the story. “Just take your time, Doctor.”
Dr. Patterson removed a Kleenex from a box that was on her desk. “The sheriff said it was the worst home invasion in the history of Shreveport. Once the intruders were inside the home, they overpowered Terry and Linda. The monsters cut off Linda and Terry’s clothing, applied cement glue to the adhesive part of the tape, and taped up their wrists and ankles…” Dr. Patterson paused again. Isis was getting frustrated.
“Dr. Patterson, I don’t mean no disrespect, but could you please…”
“I’m sorry, but I’ve never had to tell this story aloud, let alone in detail— “
“I know, Doc,” Isis said, cutting her off. “But we’re on a tight schedule, so if you don’t mind…” Isis’ irritation was showing. Dr. Patterson glowered at Isis.
“The intruders viciously raped and sodomized both Terry and Linda. Then they cut off Terry’s penis and balls and stuffed them into Linda’s vagina. They used a scalpel on Linda to cut her from her vagina to her asshole! Is that what you want to hear, Detective...?” Dr. Patterson said as she snatched a Kleenex.
Isis looked at Toni, then she looked back at Dr. Patterson. “I’m sorry, Doctor—”
“No, no, Detective Williams, that was my fault, “Dr. Patterson said as she pulled another Kleenex from out of the box and dabbed at her eyes. “They poured superglue into her rectum and vagina after they were done with her. According to George English, our medical examiner, the rapes were done postmortem.”
“My God,” Toni muttered.
“What was the actual cause of death then, Doc?”
“Asphyxiation. The rapes and everything else that was done to their bodies was done after the couple was dead. They’d doused Linda and Terry’s heads with the cement glue, then they taped their heads up with so much duct tape, their heads looked like two giant balloons. Most of the men and women that worked for the Caddo Sheriff Department swear this was the case that drove Sheriff Bean to drink...after five months, the pressure had gotten to him to make an arrest. Sheriff Bean killed himself.”
“Where were the twins during all of this?” Toni asked as she slid her rocking chair closer to the doctor’s desk.
Tears filled the ducts of the doctor’s eyes. “They sort of watched the whole thing. Those poor little girls were present when their mother and father suffered and died. Those sweet innocent little girls who’d never known any kind of violence were forced to watch.” Dr. Patterson paused to compose herself. “The intruders focused their attention on the twins after they killed their parents.”
“Doctor, what do you mean by, ‘they sort of watched’?” Isis asked.
Dr. Patterson looked at Isis and said, “I’ll get to that in a minute.”
“Were the killers ever caught, Dr. Patterson?” Toni asked.
“No. And please, call me Susan.”