9:14 a.m. This is the continuation of the story I started last night. I encourage you read the warning I posted there and decide for yourself if you want to read any further. It gets a lot worse.
The next morning I walk into the office and see two NCIS agents from the Navy base. The baby's father was a yeoman on a ship and NCIS was directly involved in what happened to the baby. Apparently, the father was skimming money out of the ship's coffers. NCIS got wind of it and these two agents showed up at the father's house with a warrant for his arrest.
The father let the agents into his house. He was home alone with his little boy. The mother was at work. The agents sat down on the couch and watched the baby toddling around the room while the father confessed.
After several minutes, the father picked up his son and asked the NCIS agents if he could go out on the porch for some air. They didn't see any harm in it and so let him go. But when he got outside, the father bolted.
The agents followed him in foot pursuit and called for backup. They ran several blocks down the street. The agent telling me the story, Agent Gray, looks pained. He says he could hear the little boy crying as they gave chase.
At this point, the ME walks in and tells us she's ready. We all walk over to the autopsy suite as the agents recount, again, what had happened...this time for the benefit of the doc. I see the little boy across the room. The autopsy tech had taken his blankets and his diaper off and was taking photographs.
The ME takes the IV out of the baby's arm. She cuts the bandages off his little head. More pictures. She feels the back of his skull and winces. She says she is shocked that he lived 12 hours after such a traumatic head injury. "He was a fighter," she says quietly.
As the doc works, Agent Gray continues his story. He tells us that the father stopped running when two cop cars blocked the road in front of him. He was surrounded. At this point the little boy was screaming. His father held him up above his head and told the agents not to come any closer or he'd throw the boy down on the concrete.
Agent Gray has a haunted look in his eye. "We stopped," he said. "We stopped but he still did it."
I watch the ME take out a scalpal and reflect the skin off the little boy's head. I suddenly feel nauseous and dizzy. I excuse myself and run to the lady's room down the hall. I sit on the toilet with my head between my legs. Get a grip, Polly. Do your job. I squeeze my eyes shut and will the tears away. There will be time for that later.
I return to the autopsy suite and am shocked to see the baby's skull. Hematomas and fractures all over. I am dizzy again and I have just enough time to say, "I'm going to faint." The two agents run up and grab me just as the world turns mercifully black around me.
I wake up on the cold floor. Several faces are circling above me. Brunhilda is there and makes a joke that I must have had too much to drink last night. I am mortified.
A few minutes later Brunhilda walks me over to the investigative section. I sit in a chair and put my feet up on my desk. Brunhilda brings me a cold glass of water before heading back to the other side. I take a sip and stare out the window for a long time before the telephone rings and I'm pulled back into life.