Resurrection 51Posted: November 27, 2016
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.
Chief Dalton pulled up in front of the parsonage just after 1pm Saturday. He smoked the last of his Marlboro in the cab, it had become habit to smoke there since Wednesday.
He had talked to Edward and Magnolia Reeves Friday afternoon. They didn’t have any new information on J.W. or his mother. Even the birth certificate had been reissued in their names so it was no help. They did give him the name of the adoption center. Dalton immediately had a subpoena drawn up to request the adoption records, and had taken it over for Judge White to sign. When he was done he called the Baptist Children’s Home, but the records people were already done for the weekend. The records would have to wait until Monday.
Dalton didn’t have any real leads in the investigation. He was concerned the killer or killers thought they were killing J.W. If they realized their mistake, it put J.W. and his whole family at risk. That idea, frankly, scared him.
He got out of the vehicle and knocked lightly on the door of the parsonage.
Suzanna was holding Claire when she opened the door.
“Mrs. Reeves, is J.W. around?”
Suzanna didn’t ask him in, she wasn’t sure if she had made her displeasure with him clearly enough yet.
“John, Chief Dalton here to see you,” she shouted to the back of the house. Then she closed the door.
It opened again with a smiling J.W., “Come in, Chief,” leading him to the living room.
“What’s up? Anything new?”
“I can’t tell you anything more than you already know. We have some leads,” it was barely a truth, but they at least had the adoption angle.
“Well, I’ve been thinking…” J.W. then launched into what he had discovered in his research. He ended with “Do you think it’s possible he came here to kill me and take over my identity?”
“At this point it’s possible, though I’m not sure it’s plausible.” Dalton had trouble imagining someone pretending to be the local preacher.
“J.W. I came by to register my concern. We don’t know who this man was, and we’re busy tracking him down, but it’s possible someone wants you out of the picture. I’m concerned for your safety and the safety of your family. I would be much more comfortable if you go away, maybe to Suzanna’s parents, until we have a better handle on things.”
“I’m concerned too, maybe you’re right. Honey?” He directed toward the upstairs where Suzanna and Claire were, “can you come down for a minute?”
Suzanna came down the stairs, still carrying Claire.
“Chief Dalton thinks it would be a good idea for us to go away until they figure out better what is going on. I think it’s a good idea too. Do you want to go visit your parents for a few days?”
“Well, they would love to see Claire again, this week was not much of a ‘visit’, but what about church tomorrow?”
Dalton interrupted, “There may be nothing to worry about, but missing a Sunday at church is much better than having some harm come to you all.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Suzanna resigned.
“How about this? I’ll help you get packed up and you and Claire can run up to Vanceburg. I’ll do church tomorrow and head out right after and meet you there tomorrow afternoon. Then we can stay until we get the ‘all clear’ from the Chief?” suggested J.W.
“I’d prefer you’d all go today, now if possible.” said Dalton.
“No, I’ll be alright. It’s just one night. We don’t even know what this is about.”
“Well, I can’t make you go. I’ll make sure we send cars regularly past here tonight, just to be safe.”
“Thank you, Chief,” said Suzanna, actually smiling at him. She did appreciate him looking out for them. She showed him to the door.
He was getting into his Explorer when he heard the radio.
“Chief, they found a body up at Laurel Lake Dam. You might want to check it out.” It was Canada. He was a pain in the ass and lived for this kind of thing. Laurel Lake Dam was far out of their jurisdiction, out of the county. Still, with this mystery of the John Doe looming in his mind, he decided to check it out.
He wouldn’t need Tom on this, it was out of his jurisdiction too.
“I’ll head up there,” Dalton replied.
“You want me to come with you? Nothin’ going on here.” Canada was hopeful.
“No, I want you here. Tell the boys to make regular runs past the Preacher’s today and all night. I want us to be there if something happens.”
“Roger.” Canada sounded dejected.
Dalton drove up to the spillway. When he got there, KBI’s detective Harrison was already on the scene.
“What we got?” Asked Dalton, lighting a Marlboro.
“Hard to tell, woman’s body, about 2/3 down the spillway. Worker saw it when he went down to the controls at the bottom of the dam this morning. They’re trying to retrieve it now. Couple guys from Corbin Rescue rappelled down. They’re sending a stretcher down now to put her on it and get her up. Might be a suicide.” Answered Harrison.
“You got another one of those for me?” Asked Harrison, he had told his wife he quit, but still managed to get a few a day. Dalton opened the box and offered a cigarette to him. “What are you doing all the way out here? Bit out of your jurisdiction, isn’t it?”
“Well as you know we don’t have many leads on our John Doe from Wednesday. When I heard another body showed up, I hoped it might give us some insight.”
“Here she comes,” remarked Harrison as the top of the stretcher reached the road.
They both threw down their cigarettes and approached the stretcher as the Rescue guys laid it on the shoulder next to the road.
“Shit,” said Dalton.
“You know her?” Asked Harrison.
“Yeah, Polly Henderson. Works for the Democrat.”
The body looked as if Polly were sleeping. Her hair was tousled and she was missing one shoe. Otherwise you might have thought she was just taking a nap. Other than bruising around the neck and abrasions on her legs, she looked unharmed.
“Must have happened last night, this body hasn’t been here long.” Remarked Harrison.
“She’s been choked,” noted Dalton.
Non-lethal strangling is one of the most common types of domestic abuse. It is often minimized by law enforcement, yet a woman who has been strangled at least once by a partner is seven times more likely to become a homicide victim. Domestic violence is the main cause of death for women under 44.
Odds are good Polly was killed by someone she knew, someone she was intimate with.
At the same time, it was hard for Dalton to accept the idea that two murders in less than one week, people from his small town, people who both had some relation to J.W. Reeves could be mere coincidence.