It took days for the crime scene to be discovered, by a passing cyclist. By then, leaves from the lime trees lining the bridge had half covered the rigid body, with only a peek of pink epidermis peeping out from under autumn’s scarlet and jessamy blanket.
Peeling back this burial shroud, the forensics officer revealed the body of a young woman. He made notes: position face down… naked upper torso… through-and-through gunshot wound… lower back. This was unusual – a killer’s signature; what they in the trade called a trademark.
Maybe even something to go on.
The investigator, himself gloved like a murderer, checked for ID, but none was present. Plastic evidence numbers were dropped; photographs snapped, a camera clicking away with a quick shutter and a momentary flash, paparazzo style. “Ready for your close-up, madam?”
He shrugged Jane Doe over to look for more clues. Her hair curled wildly about her pale features, but wilder still were the wide baby blue eyes which now stared blankly up at the sky. How long had she been gazing down at the ground? He swabbed her dirty face and scraped trace out of her painted nails. From her tight pink trousers, he plucked tiny fibres – possible transfer from the perpetrator – poking them with tweezers into mini Ziploc bags.
The medical examiner pulled her lids closed. Abrasions on her delicate knuckles indicated a struggle, but they would have to run more tests back at the lab; analyse tox results; hypothesise a legitimate motive. The doctor couldn’t establish a precise time of death; C.O.D., however, was obvious.
They swept the area for a weapon; found a bullet embedded in the wooden handrail. The ballistics expert studied the round; suggested that perhaps she could get a match to the firearm discharged, locate its registered owner. The prime suspect.
The CSI sighed deeply. He knew it was unlikely to be their man. He’d been here before – leads cold, literally a dead end.
This time he was beat.
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