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It was all about Marlene Berrios

Updated on October 17, 2014

For anyone with experience in the Criminal Justice machine, understood the interrogation room happens for only a few rare suspects. Usually those in domestic murders or child abuse cases.

Murders happen so much that it no longer unsettles a man. In Bridgeport, Connecticut it doesn’t even ruin his day. However, the feel of murder was so different today. It happened to a young girl who had hoped to become a big sister. She was so excited that her life would change, but it wasn’t the way she expected. She met death head on and lost. Marlene Berrios was abducted and brutally murdered. Her body was discovered stretched across a basement floor in full rigor. She was covered with a few sheets of yellowed newspaper. The saddest thing about the scene was watching the young girl being examined right there on the basement floor. The medical examiners were professionals as they examined the tiny body without demonstrating shock or dismay.

The interrogation rooms these days were routine, and that it could take all of two minutes to complete an interrogation.

Enter room.

Miranda Rights.

Anything to say this time, Mr. Suspect?

No, sir. Just want to call my lawyer.

Fine, Mr. Suspect.

Exit room.

On July, 6, the interrogation room was different. There was a suspect accused of killing Marlene Berrios. The two detectives were standing over that suspect, Mariano Sanchez. He kept telling the detectives that he had abducted the young girl but he did not kill her.

Detectives Laura Kimber and Hemel Patel stood directly in front of him neither one believing his fabrication.

Kimber turned away from the suspect and stared into the large mirror directly in front of her. She felt an animalistic anger building inside her. It was the spontaneous feeling of provoked hostility. She had this blind loss of control. Murderous rage started to fill her heart. It was a virulent, heart burning, seething anger. It was a complete venting of anger and frustration.

Patel knew exactly what she was feeling so he walked over to calm her down and make a suggestion he thought he’d never make.

“Laura, Willie Da Greek still has his offer on the table,” he started. “If you and Detective Rios lose all the evidence you have on him he’ll take care of Sanchez. He says he’ll make it look like a drug deal gone bad. I think you should consider it.”

“Become an animal like Da Greek?”

“This guy killed a young, tiny girl,” Patel added. “He’ll keep the courts busy for years before anything happens to him.”

Kimber knew deep down inside that she wanted that baby killer dead. He was a monster and didn’t deserve to live, but who was she to determine his fate?

It was all about Marlene Berrios. That statement kept riding her brain until it felt like a phone-line that had gone dead. Still after a week they have not charged Sanchez with the murder.

The only link they had so far was Larry Boyd’s statement. He claimed that he saw Sanchez carrying the body into the basement of the six apartment row-house off of Kossuth Street. The problem was that Boyd was an addict and a two-time loser and his mother owned the apartments. He was a terrible witness and could easily be proven as unreliable. The prints found in the basement did belong to Sanchez, but he claimed he carried her down there and just left her. When he did leave her, she was still alive. A good lawyer could hammer that home and shed doubt on the case.

Kimber glared at Patel.


Sanchez looked with terror at Kimber and Patel, certain that they had something up their sleeve. That look did little to warm up the cold hatred Kimber felt inside as she just shivered.

“I want to, but it doesn’t feel right.”

“I know Da Greek had you and Rios locked up in a self storage room and he sent you a warning. Maybe he knows you weren’t going to back down. Perhaps we can use him in a way that unties our hands.” Patel added. “Trust me, I hate doing it this way too, but damn it if I let this creep walk!”

Detective Laura Kimber felt her neck muscles turn to wood, because she knew what she had to do. It wasn’t the right thing to do, but it had to be done. She’d face her demons when her Maker comes calling.

“Do it,” she said quietly.

Patel almost grimaced as he turned to Sanchez. “We’re letting you go Sanchez, because we don’t have anything to hold you on.”

He looked confused.

“Get the hell out of here before I change my mind!” Patel shouted.

It was all about Marlene Berrios. Detective Laura Kimber kept repeating that statement over and over again.

Two days later the Connecticut Post’s headlines read: Mariano Sanchez was shot three times in a drive-by while selling drugs to several teenagers as gang violence continues to grow.

The article stated that none of the teenagers were hurt and that Sanchez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detective Laura Kimber folded the newspaper and threw it into the backseat of her unmarked cruiser. There was no guilt in her heart.


© 2013 Frank Atanacio


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    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you Jackie :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Didn't remind me of Jon Benet at all and I would bet she never entered your mind on this one. Strange how we all need to guess where this idea was born, huh? lol You tell a good story.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much Flourish :) Frank

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      Wow, this is excellent! It has a Law & Order feel to it. Absolutely riveting. You get right into people's motives, revealing the complexities of investigation and tough decisions. I like the retributive justice ending; sometimes it is indeed a Just World and people do get what's coming to them. Voted up and more; sharing.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you mylinda :)

    • mylindaelliott profile image


      4 years ago from Louisiana

      Good job. Sometimes a decision is a decision...

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks so much Lisa :)

    • Lisawilliamsj profile image

      Lisa Chronister 

      4 years ago from Florida

      This is a very good story, with realistic characters. You had my attention from beginning to end. Well done, I voted up =)

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you Lady for stopping by and commenting :)

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 

      4 years ago from On planet Earth

      Good one Frank, very sad how the little girl had to die and there are these psychos living amongst us.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks Audrey :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      4 years ago from California

      Powerful write Frank! Our system seems so broken to me--I am not sure what the fix is--but I know we need one--

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks Uban :)

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 

      4 years ago from Lagos

      I love the ending..,

      She is the James bond of our generation.

      The 'bringer ' of justice... Hehehe

      Love the story.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you sands for stopping by and good luck with your short im sure itll be very well written :)

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      You are such a good writer! How do you know so much about police procedure? I'm writing a story that involves the police and I hope I'm getting it right. Is it typical for the police to leave two suspects handcuffed and locked in the back of their police car while they question another suspect? Anyway, a very powerful story and a very scary story.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks Blossoms

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Great story. It holds the attention from beginning to end.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you Vin :)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      4 years ago from Nepal

      Frank, you are a master of this genre. This story has all the elements to hold a reader's attention.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you CrisSp :)

    • CrisSp profile image


      4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I'm a big fan of crime stories not that I love the scenes but I find it interesting, intriguing and sad that these things are happening around us. This is terrifying...poor lil' soul.

      I'll certainly check the rest of your stories.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      Genna thanks so much it means alot coming from a polished writer like yourself :)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Like Faith, I thought of Jon Benet as well. The question of weighing morality and justice in this tragic, thought-provoking story really hit home, Frank, and those "scales of justice." This is one reason why I could never be a real-life homicide detective. Well done!

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      Gypsy, and Till and you too Marlene thank you guys for sharing my murder today.. bless you for the comments :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you J Givens and Moms-Secret.. good to see you Moms.. :)

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Frank, you really stirred up some strong emotions in me. why me? I'm scared can you hold my hand? lol. voted up awesome, chilling, terrifying. this one was too intense to read.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      So my friend, does Faith hit near the point of origin? Either way this was yet another story that drew us in immediately. The emotion that you generate in such a short piece is truly amazing! I love reading your stories because I know I am always going to be emotionally involve din just a few short sentences.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      You always capture my attention and lead me thorough the criminal process. Looking forward to more of your stories.

    • Moms-Secret profile image


      4 years ago from Central Florida

      Working on the side of justice has its limitations and those limitations only seem to benefit the guilty. Of coarse, taking care of things ourselves has it drawbacks too, still it seems so much more satisfying. Always a crossroads.

    • JA Givens profile image

      J.A. Givens 

      4 years ago from United States of America

      very interesting. ready for more...

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you Rosemay, Mhatter and Darksage for visiting my short

    • Darksage profile image

      Khen Ramos 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Another amazing short story, sir. I enjoyed reading your stories, mostly the crime centered ones. I hope reading more from you and more of these good stories. Voted up!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      4 years ago from San Francisco

      What an imagination! Well told. thank you

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      A shocking story Frank but no doubt that this sort of thing does happen. Justice will find a way one way or another.

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much Rose the planner, Aupad , Becky Katz.. and Ms Dora for commenting on Marlene Berrios....bless you guys :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Justice doesn't always come through the main door. I guess he's welcome no matter how he enters. Great ending!

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      Faith thank you for stretching the comment hint hint..LOL you're the best bless you :)

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Interesting story. I am not sure I like that she can be perverted, even though it happens often. Some just have their rights and wrongs figured out and they can't be changed. Awesomely written.

    • AUPADHYAY profile image



      An awesome one. I liked it. voted it up. Thanks for sharing it.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      This was an amazing and shocking short crime story! You are a talented writer! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Frank,

      This reminds me a lot of the real murder of that little beauty pageant girl, Ramsey, who was also found in a basement, well the basement of her home but maybe not "stretched" across the floor. Sad reality that this kind of work would harden the hearts of many no doubt. When it comes to children being harmed, then Faith Reaper's horns come up for sure!!!

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      God bless and hugs to you this day from southern USA, Faith Reaper

    • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      hey Lyric thanks so much for reading my short crime

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      Frank, up, awesome, and shared on FB. Powerful and emotionally. It's sad that murder would come to such a point, where it is viewed as normal. How could you not put a value on life? Sadly, many don't care. Loved it Frank, powerful message. Take care pal.


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