"Scarp must have done it" Jill cried, "He said he was going to just go in the house and kill him." The officer sat listening as she spoke. She was one of only 4 possible suspects or should he say witnesses to the death of her friend Bill.
"Okay Miss Landers slow down and start from the beginning."
"Sue, Bill and I were going to go out tonight for a dinner and a movie thing. There is a new movie in town that Sue wants to see" Jill hesitated wiping her eyes.
*Go on please" the officer said.
"I took a box out to the garage. I had been cleaning out my room of some clutter. Scarp came in wanting to know what I was doing tonight. I told him I was going out with Bill." She sniffed and continued, "I figured maybe he would get the point we were finished and reminded him that it was over between us and I didn't ever plan on going out with him again. He asked me if that was Bill's car in the drive I told him it was and he said he was going to just go in and have a little talk with him maybe just get rid of the problem between us once and for all. I thought he was bluffing and blowing off steam, and would just go home. He always threatens he is going to kill some guy if he even looks at me and it's all just venting off steam and big talk.
Then he picked up my box and threw it against the garage door making a lot of noise and throwing and breaking stuff all over the garage floor "I just stood up and told him 'whatever you want to do. Just get out of my life' I really thought he was just blowing off steam like he usually does when he is mad. I never thought he would go through with it. Tears rolled down her face and she buried her face in her hands. "It's all my fault, I should have followed him out...,” she cried.
Officer Handle just listened he had learned that letting people just talk through their grief made people say strange things but sometimes it could hold a clue. When she calmed back down a bit he began again.
"What did you do after that? Miss Landers" the officer inquired.
"I was s bit shaken because of his outburst but I thought he would just leave if I didn't provoke him more and walked around the garage and picked up the stuff and cleaned up the broken glass that had been thrown all over. The stuff that had been in my box, that is.
"Did you see where he went after he left the garage?"
"No, with Scarp it is better to just let him walk away. I was a bit shaken so I chose to just clean up the mess and hoped he would realize it was really over and would just leave me alone. I couldn't leave the broken glass all over the floor so I just cleaned it up I can show you the broken stuff if you want." She added. Thinking it could help in some way
"That won't be necessary Miss Landers. Thank-you for your time."
Officer Kelly Handel wrote a few notes in his book and went to look for Sue Petry. The tall brunette sat on the arm of her couch watching the crime scene people going from room to room looking for evidence on the situation. It seemed she chose the arm because it kept her high enough to come almost face to face with the people in her house and yet she was steady, as she felt a bit faint. She was hugging herself rocking slightly. Her face was seemed pale and it was easily read for the shock and sadness of the situation.
Officer Kelly Handel approached her. He stood observing her movements and gestures‘; judging her actions against what he knew was the normal type behaviors he had learned about over the years. From what he could see her grief seemed quite genuine. "Ms. Petry" She looked up toward him her large dark brown eyes filled with tears ready to erupt any time.
"I'd like to ask you a few questions if you don't mind"
"I really don't know too much. I just seen the door open and glanced in as I walked by.... and found him there like that with all that blood" Her vivid memory made her break down. Her shoulders hunched forward Sue sobbed for a few moments and then seemed to gain her composure. Officer Handel sat patiently waiting for the moments it took for her to collect herself again.
"I'm Sorry, you know my Brother and I are... were very close" again the tears began to fall but she was ready to go on.
"This will only take a few more minutes of your time" She nodded for him to continue. Can you tell us anything about the events leading up to what happened? " He inquired of her.
"Like I said before, I really don't know too much. I was upstairs with Kathy.
"Yes, I was showing her some paint swatches and draperies in the catalogue. I am redoing my bedroom. Miles was downstairs playing with his toys and watching cartoons..."
"That’s Kathy's son. He cut her off once again for clarity. She nodded
" I heard the door slam. I figured it was Jill she was carrying some things out the garage. A few minutes later we didn't hear Miles and decided we had better check on him. You know how when you can't hear your kids the lack of noise is more worrying than lots of noise. We came downstairs he was just watching TV. Kathy noticed he had a very wet diaper over there," she pointed across the room to the loveseat where there was a diaper bag and a few more children’s toys, "...and changed his diaper. That's when I walked down the hall past the bathroom. The shower was still running and I was going to close the door I figured Bill just didn't know Kathy was here. That was when I seen him. He was as you seen him when you came. Her tears began to fall again. He was.." she sniffed back the burning feeling in her nose "..half in and out of the tub the curtain had ripped and fallen over him partially and there was blood on the floor." She finished breathing a broken breath in as again she became over whelmed by the thought of seeing him there.
"Did you see or hear anyone else in the house?"
"No, I didn't hear or see anything in the house other than the door slam. From upstairs you can't hear too much past the living room because of the way the house is set up that bathroom is too far away" I did hear Scarp's car pull up earlier but didn't hear it leave."
"How long before you came down stairs did you hear the car?"
"Five maybe ten minutes"
"How do you know it was his car, did you see it?" He questioned.
"No, I didn't see it. It has a funny whistle sound that it makes, not sure what it is but it is easy to recognize. We all know it"
"So you didn't see Scarp?"
"No" I figured he seen Jill by the garage and was out there with her"
"And you didn't hear him leave?"
"No he pulled up out front and from my bedroom you can't hear the street."
"Are you sure it was him driving the car?" Sue thought for a moment before answering.
"I guess I couldn't be positive but he never let anyone else drive his car that I know of and if he did why would they have come here, I am pretty sure it was him"
"You said you heard a door slam thinking it was Miss Landers. Was that before or after you heard the car pull up?" Sue thought for a second everything in her head was beginning to swim and spin together.
"I think it was after.. Yes, it would have had to be after because I was already in my room when I heard the door slam."
"Which door was it?"
"The back door. I didn't actually hear the door. It vibrates my window when it is slammed. That's why I thought it was Jill. She and Scarp recently broke up and I figured they probably had words again and she was upset by it"
"Thank You Ms. Petry. I may have some more questions for you a bit later but for now I think I have enough."
One more to go Officer Handle thought. He looked around for his final interviewee. He hoped that Katherine Bateman had some more information for him. But if she was with Ms Petry he had his doubts. He saw the blond girl sitting out in the back yard on the porch swing. She was watching her two and a half year old son. He was wearing only his diapers in the summer heat, happily throwing and chasing his ball in the yard undaunted by what was going on around him. She too had a very distraught look on her face though he could see she was trying to force herself to keep her face in a normal look so not to scare her son. She too seemed pale. It was obvious to him she too was quite disturbed by the events leading to this moment in time. He decided it was time to approach her and ask her some questions.
"Are you Katherine Bateman?"
"Yes please call me Kathy, Kell we have known each other too long for the formalities"
"Alright. Kathy could you tell me what happened here today." She closed her eyes for a second and took a deep breath. She was the most controlled of the women within reason, because of her son.
"I really don't know anything. I have been sitting here racking my brain trying to think of anything ... anything that could help. I just can't. Sue and I were upstairs looking at some decorating ideas she wanted my opinion on. Miles was watching a Scooby Doo cartoon on TV at the foot of the stairs. The window vibrated and Sue said something about Jill slamming the door so hard and her fighting with her boyfriend Scarb again I don't remember the exact words. Didn't really matter too much at the time."
She looked to him as if to make sure that was okay that she could not remember. He nodded and quickly noted something on his clipboard. "I noticed I hadn't heard anything from Miles in a little while and we went down to make sure he wasn't into any mischief. He was sitting on the couch playing with is blocks he had brought with him. He had a wet diaper I was finishing up changing him when I heard Sue scream at the back of the house." Kathy closed her eyes hard and swallowed. "That was when she had found Bill" Jill came running in from outside and we called 911. I brought Miles out here so he wouldn't see anything he shouldn't or get in the way. I knew you would want to talk to me"
"Did you hear any vehicles on the street pulling in or out?"
"No, I was pretty much listening for familiar children sounds. Kind of a mother thing I guess. I wish I could be of more help"
"How old is your son?"
"He's 2 and a half"
"Is he talking yet?"
She smiled "He says a few things but he is not a big talker yet. He lets me know what he wants and when he wants it though" Kathy's stress level lessoned a little when talking about her son.
"Do you mind if I try talk to him?"
"You can try but I wouldn't expect too much." Officer Kelly Handel walked up to the little boy,
"CATCH!" Miles said suddenly as he threw the ball at the officer. Officer Handle caught it barely as it barreled towards him.
"Wow you got a good arm you gonna be a baseball player when you grow up?"
"No, doggy" Officer Handle had to laugh a little at the unexpected response"
"Your mom says you like Scooby Doo"
"ooobuy oooby ooo wah r ooou..." Miles sang
"Did you watch Scooby on TV today? Officer Handel asked
"YEAH oooby aaagy .." Miles continued his story in the famous kid babble language that to the child seems to have great important meaning. He gathered he was telling him about today’s show."
"Did anyone watch it with you?"
"Arp no wike oooby ooo"
"Did you see Scarp"?
"Yeah. Arp don't wike oooby oo .. CATCH!" Again he threw the ball to Officer Handel who was only a foot away from him. The ball went flying over his head and Miles ran off to fetch it.
"Miles, did you see Scarp today? His mother tried to help him get the answer Kelly was wanting.
"Yeah Arp seeeeee yaa.. No oooby ooo" That was the last they could get from Miles he was off in the land of balls where catch and throw were the only thing of importance.
"He seen him" Kathy said looking directly at him. "He knows those words and understands them. He always calls him Arp.
He watched Miles run off in another direction after throwing his ball. "He sure has the energy,” He said to his mother smiling in the direction of the child at play.
"That he does." She smiled for a split second with motherly pride.
"Thanks for your time. Bye Miles!" He called back to the boy.
"Seeee ya'' He said waving back at the nice police man. CATCH!! He called out and threw the ball in the totally different direction scampering off toward it." In Kelly's mind it seemed that the best witness yet was little Miles.
Officer Kelly Handel walked back in the house. He stopped to look in one last time at the scene. The crime scene investigators were still there. "Joe did you get anything."
"Several prints on the door and handle a couple partials on the tub and sink area. and on the shower curtain. Luckily it is vinyl. We will have to check them against people known to use this room. We will have to finish the investigation before we know anything certain." Kelly looked as best as he could at the bathroom scene from the hallway. As far as they could tell it seemed that the death occurred with a blow to the back of the head with an unknown object by the location of the blood and the location of the wound. They had to treat it as a crime scene until proved different under the circumstances of the strange wound.
There was only one more person he needed to talk to. It would be the main suspect of the death of Bill Petry. Scarp.
Scarp was the nickname for Daniel Jones. He had gotten the nickname from a scar he had received on his forehead as a kid. He had been fishing with his friends and nearly caught a 3-foot carp. He had reeled it all the way in before his line snapped and he fell backwards hitting his head on a rock that was sticking up leaving a jagged scar. It wasn't much of a scar these days but though the scar faded the nickname didn't.
Scarp was well known by the local police. He had been in many bar brawls over one thing or another. He had quite a record of trouble when he was a kid. Bullying and some minor shoplifting were common for him. He had recently done some time for a breaking and entering. He and another guy had got caught when breaking into the other guys parents house. The parents of the guy pressed charges against him saying he had influenced their son into breaking into their house. Nothing had been stolen only the broken window in the door. But it was enough to put him in jail for 3 months with his good behavior. He had gotten out only 2 months ago and was still on probation. Though he had an extensive juvenile record he really didn't seem to have the personality of a killer though he did have a temper. Things do sometimes get out of hand. Officer Handel. and another officer, John Johnson, was off to find him.
It was easier than they thought. He was at the first place they looked. It was his usual hangout. He had been there a little over an hour and had a bit of a buzz going now. He seemed to be more the broken hearted man than a murderer. They asked him to join them for a ride down to the precinct for questioning. He didn't give them much problem except for his drunken mouth.
"I don't know what I did. The Bitch told me to leave I did" Scarp yelled from the back of the squad car in his nearly drunk, angry fashion. He really didn't seem to have a clue. "What the hell I haven't done anything wrong."
"Where were you at 4:30 PM today." Johnson asked
"You know where I was I was at Jill's place. She's the reason I am here ain't she" his speech seemed slightly slurred.
"You want to tell us what happened while you were there?”
"Damn it, I'm on parole I been doing it right.”
"You broke your parole drinking in the bar there, Scarp ole buddy”
"I ain't your buddy."
"No I guess your not...."
"You are here because of the questionable death of Bill Petry"
"You think I killed him? I'm not a murderer,” Scarp shouted out not only with anger but surprise in the thought.
"We're not saying you are or you would have been arrested you are only here to answer a few questions. We're not interested in your having a few drinks at the local bar. Though we could be if you want to keep this up"
"No way dude. What you want to know." The thought of being accused of murder seemed to have a sobering effect on him.
When he found out there was a chance of walking away from this he decided to co-operate with the cops. You never know when you could get lucky.
"Tell us what happened when you went to Jill Landers' house."
"I went to ask my girl out. She said no she had other plans, told me to leave and I did"
"That’s funny that is not exactly what she told us." Handel piped in.
"Oh and what did she tell you?"
"She claimed she was your 'ex-girl' she had a date with Bill, you got angry when she told you to leave you threw a fit breaking some stuff and told her you were going to 'Take care of the problem' and get rid of him. Not in those exact words but close"
"All right, I was mad. I was real-ly mad. But I didn't kill anyone. You guys know me I always say stuff like that when I am mad."
"Yeah we do know you, and we also know that sometimes things go too far and you get into altercations with those you have threatened. Death is only one step away"
"Altercations pffffft I may punch a guy a couple times but not kill him."
"So what did you do when you left the garage with Jill?"
"I was pissed I went into the e house and was planning on having an altercation, as you call it, with Petry"
"Hell no, I wasn't gonna fight with some naked guy in the shower. I could get him later. So I left."
"Your telling us, you just left?"
"Yeah, I just left" he mocked back at them sarcastically.
"How did you know he was naked and in the shower"
"What do you think, I opened the bathroom door and looked in. How many people you know shower with their clothes on?"
"Easy there tough guy... So you just left"
"Yep I walked out the door got in my car and left. He was definitely alive when I left. Standing there singing to himself"
"Did you see anyone else there?"
"Just Kathy's kid Miles he was watching some dumb cartoon."
Scarp didn't know what to think as he professed his innocence. He didn't know if even he would believe his story. He knew what was important was that they believed him.
"Did you notice any strange cars or anyone else hanging outside the house?"
"Nope, no one. I figure the kid's mother wasn't too far away, though didn't think to much about it"
"Sit here a minute, we'll be right back." Johnson told him. Handle and Johnson stepped out and joined a couple of other cops that were in the next room. "Well. What do you think?" Johnson asked
"I almost hate to say it but I believe him. I have known this kid his whole life. He's a smart mouthed punk but I don't think he is a killer" Handel stated. The sergeant and the other observing officer agreed that they really didn't have enough yet to hold him on they needed to wait and see what forensics had to say. So they released him. As he left the room he turned to Kelly Handel.
"Kell I may be a lot of things but I ain't no killer. You believe me don't you?"
"At this point Scarp. I am not sure what to believe, someone killed him.”
A few hours later he went down to the forensics’ lab to see what they had come up with.
"Well it is definitely blunt force trauma to the back of the skull. We did not find a weapon of any sort” We did however find a sliver of some sort of brown hard plastic substance in the wound. We checked out the fingerprints and they belonged to Susan Petry Jill Landers and the victim basically just the occupants of the house. A couple partial little kid’s hand and fingerprints along the edge of the tub and one on the shower curtain." We got a print off the door handle and cross-matched it with Daniel Jones.
"Was there anything he could have hit his head on in the tub area if he fell.
"Not totally for that type of wound. Problem is this part here." On the photo he showed him a wound that was about the size and shape of the top of a thumb. Hmm, it does say here we found a small ball about and inch in diameter in the drain of the tub. The kind you get out of those quarter vending machines for kids. But other than that, didn’t find any other toys.
Kelly went back to his office and thought about it decided to go back and talk to Kathy Bateman again. Perhaps she had been the most important witness after all.
Kelly Handel arrived at Kathy Bateman's house a little after 10 the next morning. She opened the door and invited him in. "I have a few more questions I would like to ask you if you don't mind?"
"Sure no problem won't you sit down? Can I get you a drink coffee soda?"
"No Thanks... I'd like to get right too if if you don't mind." She nodded
"Does Miles ever go into the bathroom at Sue's place?" Kathy looked puzzled.
"No. Not that I can think of why do you ask?"
"They found a little ball in the bathtub drain and some children's finger prints in the bathroom at Sue's. I just thought that perhaps they belonged to Miles."
"Well with all the balls he has it is possible the ball is his" He throws them all over the place everywhere he goes. I think he leaves a trail. What are you getting at?"
"I'm not really sure yet, just trying to figure things out. It's probably nothing."
"Sue's upstairs resting we can ask her if you think it will help."
"Yes, if you don't mind"
"She went up stairs to wake Sue. Sue and Jill had spent the night at her house due to the crime scene investigation and not really wanting to be in the house right then.
Miles came nonchalantly walking into the room holding one of his treasured balls. Upon seeing Kelly sitting on the couch he threw the ball. "CATCH!" he called out after throwing the ball. Kelly smiled.
"Oooby ooo on, Oooby ooo on" Miles said pulling on Kelly's hand to coax him into coming and watching with him. Oooby Ooo On... He said again more agitated that Kelly wouldn't move to go watch it with him.
"Kelly doesn't want to watch Scooby Doo with you right now Miles. You go watch it." Miles reluctantly went in to watch it by himself pouting as he looked back over his shoulder at "He is really gonna miss Bill" Sue added. "They always watched that show together."
"Ms Petry I have been working on your case and have a couple questions to ask you."
"Hopefully I have an answer. And just because you are on duty doesn't mean you have to be so formal, com'on we've known each other all out lives.
"I know but it helps to keep my job and my personal life separate"
"If you say so Officer Handel" Sue teased in an almost forced way.
"First off has there been any children in your bathroom lately"
"No the bathroom door is always closed when Miles is over and he is the only kid that comes to my house. Why?"
"Well we found a little ball like he carries in the bathtub drain yesterday. And forensics found several children’s finger prints on the tub and shower curtain." Both women looked puzzled by his line of questions.
"I am always over there with him when he is at my house and I have never seen him in the bathroom. How strange. Are you sure they are his?"
"Only one way of finding out is comparing his prints to the ones forensics got off the tub."
"I have one of those lost kid cards around here somewhere that has his hand print on it if you want to use it." Kathy offered
"That might help solve that mystery." He said. Kathy got up and went to find the card she had put away for safekeeping.
Miles came back in the room holding his Shaggy action figure. "Where's Scooby?" Kelly inquired, "Do you have a Scooby"
"ill oke it aaaaall goooone" he said in his childish voice.
"Bill broke it" Sue quizzed "Where'd it go?"
"oh it in duh twass" he answered.
"You threw Scooby in the trash" Sue quizzed again
"Ooooby aaaaal gone, oh it in duh twass " Ear CATCH!" and he threw his ball.
And like a light bulb went off in Kelly's head he knew what happened. He only had to prove it.
Once he got back to the office he took the lost child card down to forensics so they could check the fingerprints. Sure enough they matched. Now he knew they were definitely Mile's prints. But how did they get in the bathroom if he never went in there. He had Joe show him where he found the finger and hand prints. It helped confirm his suspicions. There were only a couple more things he needed to find.
Kelly went back to Sue and Jill's house. He stood thinking of what everyone had said and tried to walk through it in his mind. He attempted to put it all together.
Kathy and Sue are upstairs looking at decorating samples. Miles is watching TV downstairs playing with his toys. Jill and Scarp have a fight in the garage. Scarp comes in slamming the door behind him. He opens the bathroom door and sees Bill showering deciding to beat him up later he goes to leave. He goes through the front door because he sees Miles watching cartoons. Wait back up.... The bathroom door, Did Scarp leave the bathroom door open while Bill was showering?
Miles is watching Scooby Doo and Bill who usually watches it with him is taking a shower. Kathy changes wet diaper. Kelly walked to the kitchen looking in the garbage can and sure enough there is the wet diaper. It was not only wet it was very wet. He undid the dirty diaper to have a closer look as he was beginning to suspect it was clean, only wet. He sniffed it and it didn't smell like a typical dirty diaper. He closed it back up and decided to take it back with him to have forensics check it out. Then he remembered what Miles had said "ill oke it... aaaaall goooone"... "oh it in duh twass"... "Ooooby aaaaall gone, ...oh it in duh twass ..... " Ear CATCH!"
Kelly took one more look in the trash and sure enough there was a broken Scooby Doo in the trash. He radioed in for Joe in Forensics to come back out to the house. He didn't want to mess this up any more than he already may have.
Ten minutes later Joe pulled up. He pulled on his gloves and took the broken toy from the garbage. Joe looked at Kelly, “I think we have found what created our wound.” With a quick spray of his fluorescein mixture is was easy to see the blood residue still on part of Scooby's nose.
Joe determined that Miles had probably put the toy down on the edge of the tub climbed on the back of the tub while the showering man had his eyes closed and in his usually playful way said "CATCH!" startling him he slipped on the ball fell back hitting his head on the edge of the tub where Scooby was thus the strange shape of the fatal injury The brown plastic sliver in his wound came from Scooby. Miles not realizing anything was wrong because of his age picked up his broken toy from in the tub where he got the wet diaper. The water would have washed away any blood that would have obviously been seen on it and he ' threw it in the trash‘, ’it was broken‘. Being at the back of the tub there would not have been that much water to get his entire body wet and going back to the couch where he was watching TV the bit that he was wet other than his absorbent diaper dried quickly in the summer heat. His mother simply thinking he had just really wet himself and with the commotion of the scream didn't notice color or smell just instinctively wrapped it up and threw it away without thinking.
Kelly wondered how he would ever tell the boy’s mother the part he had played in the accidental death of her friend. He got into his squad car and headed down the longest two blocks of his life.