After I get home from releasing the suicide, I tackle some PI work that has started to pile up when I was gone. Several hours of travel requests, investigator phone calls, and case reviews later, I'm eating my cat curry when my beeper goes off again. I look at the display. It says: "Please call Droi..." That's it.
Errg. I hate it when they try to text messages to me. They never come through all the way. I've told them 400 times to just send the phone number and I'll call them back. I call dispatch.
"Yes, this is Polly from the ME's office. Did you guys paged me? I couldn't tell because the text didn't come thr..." She cuts me off.
"Oh. Yeah. Hold on."
Several cuss words and a short conversation with the supervisor later, I am calling the emergency room at one of the local hospitals. The ER nurse tells me she's got a 65-year-old male who collapsed after going for a jog this afternoon. The nurse said the decedent was in the garage and fell on the corner of a set of concrete stairs. The fall was not witnessed. "Polly, I've never seen a face split open like this. It looks like somebody took an axe to this guy's face... Right down the midline. I can't imagine anybody sustaining an injury like this from a simple fall."
Oh, great. Now I have images of the wife taking a frying pan to his face. But I'll come back to that later. First thing's first.
"Does he have a medical history?"
"Not recent. The last time he saw his doctor was 2 years ago. He was diagnosed with hypertension, but he refused to take medication for it. I already talked to Doctor Morris and he refuses to sign the death certificate."
I sigh. Doesn't look like I'm getting out of bringing this one in. Besides, I want to check out that facial laceration. It's got my spidey sense tingling.
"Is the family still there?"
"Yes. The wife is here and a son."
"Okay. Please ask them to stay. I want to question the wife. Oh...and how big is this guy?"
"Big. Maybe 6'5" and 375 lbs."
I pick up the van at the ME's office and drive around to the back of the hospital...where the morgue is located. I am concerned enough about the facial injuries that I shove several paper sacks in my satchel...just in case I'm suspicious enough of foul play that I need to bag the hands for trace. I hop out of the truck and two security guards are waiting for me in black dress pants and red blazers with gold embroidered lettering on the breast pocket. I love this hospital that way. They are so accommodating. I feel like the bellhop just met me at the door of a fancy hotel. One of them takes the cot to the morgue while the other escorts me to the ER.
There are several nurses and doctors gathered around the nurses station when I get there. They are listening intently to a cop who is telling them a story in hushed tones. I wait for a moment, but when it becomes clear that nobody is going to help me, I walk closer to get the nearest nurse's attention. The cop who is talking looks at me just then and stops his story. He gives me a big smile. "Polly! I haven't seen you since we moved that decomp the other day!" It's Officer Wink. I greet him and we chat for a few minutes while the nurses and doctors dispurse... Story time is over, I guess.
One of Wink's partners comes over and chats with us. After the introductions he says, "Yeah. Wink told me how you caught him trying to take a picture of your butt at that decomp scene." They giggle like a couple of 12-year-olds. I roll my eyes. Cops. We are interrupted by Charles, the nurse assigned to my Dead Guy's case. He tells me that the body is in Room 5 and the family has all had a chance to see him.
I ask Charles to take me to the body first. I want to examine that wound before talking to the wife.
I walk into the room. Dead Guy is covered in a sheet from head to toe. A small wooden cross has been laid on his chest. The chaplain must have been here. I glove up, remove the cross, and pull back the sheet. Oh, for crying out loud. The way that nurse was talking, I was expecting the man's face to have been practically cloven in two. This is a nasty laceration, but it certainly is within the realm of possiblity if he hit a concrete stair at just the right angle. I can feel myself relax. No spousal homicide today. That's good.