[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 086
Chapter 17 (2 of 11): Interviews
She was pleased to see the large manila envelope with return address from the Pathology Department at the university. The autopsy. She split the envelope open and read the cover report:
Department of Pathology
From the office of Dr. Steven Wendell, MD, FACP
DATE: 14 January 2004
DECEDENT: Trinh Cao
ADDRESS: 366 Hyacinth Land
IDENTIFIED BY: Mr. and Mrs. Gia-Phuoc Cao
RELATION TO DECEASED: Parents
ATTENDING PATHOLOGIST: Dr. Wayne Szreny, M.D.
PRIMARY CAUSE(S) OF DEATH: Blunt force trauma to the parietal region of the head (see FINDINGS below).
CONTRIBUTORY CAUSE(S): Indeterminate
SIGNATURE OF PATHOLOGIST: Steven Wendell, MD, FCAP
The body is that of an otherwise healthy female Asian, aged 24, five feet six inches, 109 pounds. Old cicatrix appendicis is visible, as well as gross trauma consequent on blunt force blow to left parietal region of head.
Victim frozen when received in Pathology; thawed. Lividity pattern suggests victim lay supine for several hours after death and before freezing. Given information from next of kin, police and conclusions of this autopsy, death is placed at some time between approximately 15:00 Friday 9 January and before 4:00 Monday 12 January 2004.
Immediate cause of death was massive intracranial exsanguination as result of epidural hematoma and subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Anatomical and histological examinations of oral and perineal cavities suggest no consensual or forced sexual activity prior to death. No semen found.
Stomach contents indicate the victim had ingested rice and raw fish a few hours before death.
Hair samples recovered from the victim’s clothing have been labeled and forwarded to the forensics laboratory. [See enclosed attachment]
A tox screen was performed after body thawed. No positives for proscribed catabolites were found; trace amounts of ethanol were present.
Phoebe roots around in the envelope and extracts the report enclosed from the forensics lab.
City Police Headquarters
DATE: Wednesday 14 January 2004
DECEDENT: Trinh Cao
CASE #: 2004-01-09f
LAB TECH: Joey Sung
The pathologist’s office forwarded hairs found on the external clothing of the body. These are all human. They are from individuals of Caucasian and Asian ethnicity. Comparisons were made between these unidentified hairs and samples collected from the victim and from Fabian Darling. Although it is impossible to tell how many different individuals left hair on the clothing of the corpse, some of these hairs are consistent with samples gathered from Fabian Darling. Others cannot be identified. Detailed comments will be found on the following pages.
Phoebe makes some notes on a yellow block and in her head maps out an agenda for the meeting she has called. They’ll go over the autopsy report and the lab’s conclusions, and discuss the upcoming interview with Fabian Darling. The D.A., Jeff Kerzy, has been pestering her for something concrete for several days now, and it looks as though by the end of the day the police may be able to recommend an arrest to him.
Phoebe has asked Tanya to see to it that the coffee is freshly brewed and some donuts and bear claws be sent up from the bakery around the corner on Edgewater. Phoebe pays for this out of pocket. Shortly before eleven the crew begins to gather in the War Room. In addition to Phoebe and her coördinator, Bev, there are the on-site techs from last Monday – Barb Purcell, Henry Freund, and Pete Anders. The two detectives, Rickie Aronson and Willard Garrett, are just coming in the door. Ulla Sundelius enters last, humming a bar from, perhaps not inaptly, Phoebe notes, ‘Anything Goes’.
“People,” she begins brightly after they have helped themselves to coffee and eats, “let’s get started. I’m happy to report we’ve made a lot of progress, thanks to everybody really hustling on this one. The autopsy and lab reports,” she continues, waving the thick documents in the air, “are in, and we now have something definite to go on. In addition, we have a formal identification of the body from Mr. and Mrs. Cao. It is, unhappily, their daughter, Trinh. Ulla,” she turned to the young detective, “want to take it from there?”
“Sure,” Ulla said, holding a hand under the last bite of a crumbling donut she was leveraging into her mouth. She washed it down with coffee. “I brought the Caos in yesterday to look at personnel files. When Phoebe and I interviewed them Monday evening, they indicated Trinh had been seeing a policeman, and the mother, Mrs. Cao, in fact seemed to think this guy may have had something to do with what happened to their daughter.”
“They obviously weren’t thrilled that her daughter was seeing him,” Phoebe interjected. “I don’t know if that was a racial or cultural thing or, more likely, a function of the fact that he was married.”
“The Caos both identified the man without any hesitation from his personnel photo. Somebody named Fabian Darling. Anybody know anything about him?”
Phoebe, swallowing a chunk of bear claw and wiping her mouth with a paper napkin, wagged a hand.
Before she could speak up, Barb perked up. “Yes, that name is familiar to me. Wasn’t he involved in something a few years back?”
“Yes, he was,” Phoebe confirmed.
Henry and Pete were whispering hurriedly to each other and shaking their heads.
“He used to be part of the homicide squad,” Phoebe announced. “He was part of my squad.”
The others all looked at each other.
“So what happened?” Henry asked.
“To be honest, I’m not really sure,” Phoebe said slowly. “It was all kind of hush-hush, and they pretty much handled it all up on the tenth floor,” she raised her head and eyes to the ceiling. “One day he was a homicide detective, and the next he was walking a beat near the university. This was about three years ago or so. I never did get the skinny on that one, and Fabian wasn’t willing to talk to me when I approached him. ‘Part of the arrangement,’ is all he’d say.”
“Did he go the union about a demotion like that?” Barb asked. “I would have!”
“That’s the odd thing,” Phoebe answered. “He never did. In fact, I suggested it to him. He wasn’t a bad guy, and a pretty good detective. I thought he’d be a waste of good talent on patrol. But, no, he just shook his head and said he ‘wouldn’t go there.’
“And that’s about all I know. And from his personnel file,” she said, leafing through some papers in the blue folder in front of her, “it seems he’s still walking a beat.”
There was a buzz of puzzled comments around the table. Some of them got up to refill their cups.
“This means he’s our primary suspect at this time?” Ulla asked.
“It does. In fact, he’s the only one at this point. I think we have to take a very close look at him.”
“How does that note with the name … what was it? … ‘Mazarine’ come into play here?”
“We don’t know that at all. It’s something I plan to take up with Fabian. For sure.”
“By the way, did the lab ever get any prints off that paper?”
“Unfortunately, no. And they couldn’t get the number either, if that’s what the blurred writing was.” Phoebe turned her mouth down.
“What about the parents?” Rickie asked.
TO BE CONTINUED