Case Number EV-101583
As the second shift drew to an end the rest of the detectives drifted toward the elevators, but Detective Caleb Rivera stayed put in the Congress Street Annex realizing he had slept for hours with his feet up on the desk and his arms crossed. When he looked at his wrist he noticed he forgot to wear his watch. It was late, but time mattered very little. Caleb pushed the seat back and grabbed one of the black and white photographs of the thirteen year old girl who had been raped and killed. He stared at a black basketball pump that was shaped like a rod resting on the curb a few feet from the child’s head. It wasn’t the first time he looked at that pump, and it wouldn’t be the last. That pump was that particular detail to symbolize everything that went wrong with the case. It was in all the pictures, but it wasn’t anywhere to be found. Evidence lock-up had never seen it nor have they ever checked it in.
Detective Caleb Rivera had planned to go back to the crime scene, but it was too dark and four hours of rain battered the streets.
If he wasn’t a detective he would have been in Florida with his ex-wife, shirtless, shoeless, and sipping on Coronas at the beach. But he was, and case number EV-101583 took him into darkness.
Caleb had no idea what the pump had to do with the murder, but it was there and it went missing. Maybe it was dumped there with the body. Maybe it was used by the killer, perhaps to simulate sexual intercourse. That would certainly explain the blood and hair, as well as the vaginal tear discovered at autopsy. Or maybe it was just there before the body was dropped and had nothing to do with the murder. However, the facts still remain, it went missing.
Caleb turned around and looked out the bay window. He noticed Congress Street was littered with limbs and leaves and other remains left behind by the storm. He thought about the questions that should have been asked, could have been asked, during the interviews with neighbors. What had they done wrong? He knew he was trained by Congress Street’s best, Laura Kimber and Nathan Chambers, but all the training couldn’t put a resolve on case number EV-101583.
A woman living directly in front of the body said she knew nothing of the murder, and she didn’t know the little girl. That was okay, but no one asked her if she heard voices, car sounds, car headlights, anything that night. We didn’t ask if she saw any strange person trying to talk to children, creeps, weirdos, drunks, addicts, anything, even in the past.
Caleb looked back at the photograph and stared at the basketball pump. It still carried hair and a clot of coagulated blood that would have matched the victim. The hard plastic would have easily picked up fingerprints. Yet the day the body was found, the basketball pump had somehow been overlooked, and then disappeared.
For some reason, Detective Caleb Rivera felt that he let that little girl down. Isolation settled in, slowly at first, and then rushed in every time he stared at the photograph. And for a moment he felt like a lonely man and a damn few cared.
© 2014 Frank Atanacio
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