Detective Ashton Lewis and Officer Derek Plant stood in the hallway of the large home, the only connecting space from the kitchen to the master bedroom and ensuite. There was nothing out of place that suggested this was not a burglary, but obviously, there was some reason that someone came in and killed this man. DI Lewis knew that the minute he started looking into the victim’s background it would all come to light and the pieces would fall into place.
“Plant, I don’t see any sort of weapon or anything that could have been used to cut this guy open”, DI Lewis said from near the front windows of the bedroom.
“Yeah, we’ll have to check the kitchen but based on how clean this place is and how unnoticable the wound was I will bet that the suspect took the weapon with them to dispose of it somewhere they knew it couldn’t be found. Leaving it here adds too much risk.”
DI Lewis and DI Plant continued to comb the room for obvious evidence. As soon as they were done the CSI team would come in and do the deep search, looking for hair fibers or anything else that weren’t visible to the naked eye. The fingerprints were always one of the best traces left behind. They both learned over the years that a suspect, once they are done with the crime and ready to leave the scene often forget about fingerprints on their way out. Its as if they are concerned with all the details until the job is done then they are either scared shitless that they will be caught or cocky that they did what they had come to do.
In the coroner’s office Dr. Buick was getting ready to start the autopsy. The body had been placed on the steel gurney and was ready for the first wash. The tech would come in and place all the collection bins before the doctor started the wash. She knew that some of the most important evidence was found during the first wash. The clothing had already been sent to Forensics for that team to collect evidence. Dr. Buick knew this was going to last into the late hours, as this was a fairly big man. She wasn’t worried about it though because she had taken a late lunch.
The date is January 1, 1975, time is 13:55 hours. I am Veva Buick and I am the lead coroner performing a forensic autopsy on victim Ralph Bennett; aged 53 at the time of death. Time of death estimated to be between the hours of 9:00 am and 12:00 pm, December 31, 1974. Cause of death was not determined until victim was placed on stretcher and outer clothes were removed. It is apparent from the report of the investigators and the clean condition of the victim’s clothing that the victim was cleaned up after being cut. According to police, the scene had been cleaned or the body had been moved to the location it was found, as there was not blood seen at the placement of the victim.
The body was delivered at 12:22 pm to the morgue in a black body bag originating from St. James Police Department, as the property of Officer Derek Plant. The body was put in a body bag following a preliminary investigation of the crime scene. No injuries were visible to the officers at the time the body was transferred. Upon first viewing following the opening of the body bag, there appear to be no disfiguring marks or injuries visible to this coroner.
The temperature of the body is now 74 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature places the time of death of this victim, Ralph Bennett, between 9:00 pm and 12:00 am on December 30, 1974, 12 hours earlier than first suspected. Due to the location of the victim, which was in the laundry room located on the first floor of the deceased’s residence, it was recorded that the ambient temperature in the room was approximately 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
The body portrays that of a well-nourished, normally developed white male measuring 74 inches and weighing 215 pounds. The hair is dark brown with a maximum length of 1.5 inches. The body hair is that of an average male. The head is symmetric and appears unaffected. The rib cage is fully intact on the anterior portion of the body. After removing the clothing of the victim it is evident that the lower part of the ventral cavity is open exposing portions of the large intestine. No blood or tissue was found on the outside of the clothing, meaning the victim was dressed after he was dead and the blood had begun to congeal.
Upon further investigation of the ventral cavity, it appears that the victim was first cut laterally from three inches right below the rib cage to the bottom of the belly button, curving around the belly button, leaving that part of the skin intact. Pathology suggests the victim was under the influence of some substance, which has been sent for a toxicology exam. Pooling of the blood under the large intestines suggests the victim had been laying down during the cutting and left in that position until police recovered his body. Laceration to the skin appears to be jagged made by a serrated blade of approximately six inches in length. According to police there was no weapon at the scene.
Veva leaned back against the table behind her. This was going to be a long grueling night and she was already starting to feel the exhaustion.
“I’d better go get a black coffee now, I won’t be able to leave once I cut the torso”, she said aloud, but to herself.
As she started towards the door she heard someone, a male, clear their throat.
Veva spun around, startled. No one was in here with her. She scanned the room, her eyes stopping on the victim she had just started to examine.
Without turning his head, Ralph shifted his eyes to look at Veva. “I feel alive,” he said.
Veva doesn’t remember passing out.