Resurrection 4

This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.

Identification

Chief Dalton took a long drag on his Marlboro, squinting his eyes as if he were in pain.  “Do you think it’s the preacher?”  His words came out as puffs of smoke, made all the more obvious in the lights from the patrol cars.

“I’ve only met him once, but he looks like him.  If he has any ID we’ll know in a second.  I hope not, he’s got a new kid.”  Tom looked back at the body as Officer Jeff Harlan rolled it to its left so Danny could check the back pocket of its jeans for ID.

Dalton’s mind wished against what he already knew to be true–that the body was almost certainly J.W.

White County had 438 deaths in the last year.  Most were from natural causes.  23 were traffic accidents.  12 were homicides.  8 suicides.  Of the homicides 3 were domestic and 9 were drug related–Crystal Meth mostly.

If this was J.W. that meant a good young man, a man just starting his family, the minister of a leading local congregation, had been murdered.  Not a drug dealer.  Not a meth head.  Not someone who robs, steals or attempts to harm others.  Not a drunk or a wife beater or a child molester.

Danny lifted out the wallet, placed his flashlight in his left arm pit and used both hands to remove the driver’s license.  “John W. Reeves.”

“Damn” Dalton exhaled.  “Tom will call Plummer’s and have them pick up the body.  Harlan, when he gets here, make sure to tell him to be careful, we’ll need everything for evidence.  You stay with the body until you’re relieved, you, Truesdell or Canada will have to ride along to Frankfort.”

In Kentucky all autopsies are handled by the Chief Medical Examiner in Frankfort.  To maintain a chain of custody the body has to be accompanied by an officer in transport.

“I know where the parsonage is Doc, you want to come with me for the notification?  It won’t be easy.  He and his wife just had a baby.”

“I need to stay here until Roger gets here.  I want to make sure the body is bagged and I sign for it.”    Roger Plummer owned one of the two local funeral homes and one of seven in the county.

“OK, I’ll take Truesdell.”  Wayne Truesdell was the fourth of the officers and was sitting in the driver’s seat of his Black and White Crown Vic, filling out paperwork.  He was the only one who actually liked keeping up with the paperwork.  “TRUESDELL!,” Dalton raised his voice to grab his attention.  The Officer looked from his paperwork, jumped up, and jogged over to Dalton.

Dalton opened the driver’s door to his black Explorer.  “Get in, we’re going to go see Mrs. Reeves.”

Truesdell stopped dead for a heartbeat.  Fear shot through him, he had never done a notification before.  “What are you waiting for?  Get in dammit!”  Truesdell took a deep breath as he jumped into the Explorer without saying a word.

Truesdell wanted to ask all kinds of questions as they drove.  “What do I say?”  “What do I do if she cries?”  But neither of them spoke as they drove the few short blocks to Front Street.

They turned onto Front Street and the dark 150 year old edifice of the First United Methodist Church dominated the block.  Dalton pulled up in front of the two story, red brick parsonage next door and parked in front of the wrap around porch.  As he placed the SUV in park he broke the silence.

“Look, I want you to keep quiet.  I’ll handle it.”

“Sure Chief,” Truesdell was relieved.

With that Dalton got out of the truck and approached the dark porch, Truesdell padding behind.

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