|Dance With The Devil
Author: Just Another Lonely Girl PM
Forensic anthropologist Katelyn Amos doesn't know what she's in for when she and partner Ryan Carr step on the trail of a murderous serial killer.Rated: Fiction T - English - Crime/Romance - Chapters: 18 - Words: 48,592 - Reviews: 42 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 04-07-13 - Published: 09-07-12 - id: 3056509
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"Whatever the killer is or was wearing, I think can safely say it is now soaked in blood." Richard commented, looking over the blood spatter that had shot in all directions, and the pool on the floor that was beginning to coagulate. They'd brought the body back into the room, and it was lying in its plastic body bag on the floor. The smell of decomposition had begun to fill the room, making the only officers left cringe. Richard seemed to be handling it pretty well.
"That would be useful," commented Joey, "If we could find it attached to someone. Hell of a lot of good it's gonna do if he burned it or tossed it."
Richard shrugged, "Just making an observation. Like the other victims, Mr. Carriedo suffered severe haemorrhaging, which would have sent him into shock. His death would have been almost instantaneous, had this injury been inflicted by one clean slice through. Instead, a hand held reciprocating saw, as determined by Doctor Amos, tore through the nerves, tendons, and arteries. Death for Mr. Carriedo was quick, but painful. Torturously painful. But here's where it gets interesting," Richard paused, mostly for effect, "On this section of the severed head, and this area on the neck, faint bruising is visible."
Purple and black marks had indeed formed faintly on the skin Richard was pointing at.
"I was curious, so I checked to see if the victim's hyoid was broken."
Ryan raised an eyebrow, "And a hyoid is?"
"The hyoid is a bone that rests just below the mandible and aids in chewing and swallowing. In children, it is a soft, malleable bone and can break rather easily," Katelyn's voice had made the men jump – she'd made her way into the crime scene rather quietly and was snapping latex gloves onto her hands, "As age progresses, the bone becomes harder and more difficult to break. The most common cause of a broken hyoid is strangulation."
The group had turned to look at her. She paid them no mind and crouched down beside the victim. Wearing the coveralls that all Holcomb Institute staff was required to wear out in the field, she looked remarkably less professional than she usually did. No heels, no tight fitting dresses, no lab coats. It was startling, at least to Joseph and Ryan. She flipped up the flaps of skin at the bottom of the severed head and inserted two fingers. Ryan cringed. Joey cringed. Richard watched expectantly, already knowing what the status of the bone was. Eyebrows raised, the anthropologist removed her fingers from the open neck and stood.
Ryan stared vacantly at the two forensic specialists, "You're telling me that he was strangled."
"No, I'm telling you that the victim's hyoid bone is broken. Whether that was a result of strangulation, as the discoloration on the skin suggests, is for you to figure you." Katelyn said, voice rather matter-of-fact sounding.
"What if," Joey mused from his corner of the room, arms crossed over his chest, "What if the other victims didn't have to be subdued while the murder was taking place? What if they were already dead? Blunt force trauma or something?"
Ryan shook his head and crouched down where Katelyn had been only minutes before, "Rich and his team said the women were alive during decapitation. Right?"
Richard nodded, "As was the case with Carriedo. Bleeding from the tissue around the neck indicates there was blood flow present at the time of death. Dead people tend to stop bleeding after their heart stops pumping."
"So what if they were all unconscious?"
The voice was softer and quieter than any of the participating men's, and for a second Ryan, Joey, and even Richard forgot that Katelyn was in the room. Three pairs of eyes looked up at her. She looked back latex covered hands stained with old blood.
"You're thinking that the killer subdued the women before he killed them?"
She shrugged, pulling the gloves off of her hands, "There was nothing in any of the toxicity screens, and I doubt you'll find anything on this one either, but your friend already suggested it – blunt force trauma. He gives them a hit to the temple to knock them unconscious, so they can't fight back, and then he gets the saw ready."
Ryan's eyes lit up, "And Carriedo came around and tried to save himself by fighting off his attacker, so he tried to choke him."
"But didn't kill him." Richard reminded.
There was silence around the room, presumably because that's what breakthroughs usually tended to do to people. Ryan's eyes were still scanning the room, taking in the scene and trying to decipher still what had exactly happened.
"So either our killer isn't very strong," Ryan mused, catching Joey's eye, "Or he doesn't have enough time to deal with the fighting. This is good."
He jumped up from his spot crouched on the floor and started pacing, which only drove the rest of the group mad, "Kyle's going to love this," He said, energy clearly being restored. This was excitement in its purest form and it was starting to become contagious. Joseph smiled.
"I'll head back to the department and tell him. You okay to question the landlord?"
Ryan nodded, flipping a hand towards Katelyn, "I have backup." He said, though he wasn't exactly positive that was the case. He watched Joey disappear out of the room and down the stairs, his footsteps echoing behind him. Ryan turned back to Richard and Katelyn; the only other two people in the room save for the slowly rotting body on the floor. He gestured to the main lobby of the apartment, then to Katelyn.
"I'm going to go down and see if they guy's ready to talk. Meet me there when you're done with this. And Richard? I'm hoping we can get rid of this body sometime in the next ten minutes. The smell is killing me."
When the detective had left the room, Richard turned to Katelyn and raised an eyebrow, "That was some impressive detecting back there, Doctor. I thought you weren't going to participate in his investigation? What happened?"
Katelyn shrugged. While she was able to keep her emotions locked up behind a stoic mask, she was a really horrible liar, and even she knew it, "Just figured I'd be a little friendly."
"Uh huh. Cam talked to you?"
The anthropologist rolled her eyes dramatically at her boss' name, free to be herself around the pathologist, who was actually a much better friend than many knew, "Of course she did. Lecture and everything on how I should be friendlier and open to FBI cases so my reputation as a great anthropologist can soar. She really knew what to say, I can tell you that. Sent my ego up by a mile."
"Your ego had room to grow? Impressive."
"Ouch, Rich. I have a delicate outer layer," She joked, and Richard smiled, because it was rare to see someone like Katelyn joking and laughing; he was also rather disturbed that this was all taking place over a dead body, but he didn't comment, "I suppose I should go down there then, hm?"
Richard nodded, spreading a hand out at the scene he had yet to clean up, "We both have something to do. I'll see you back at the lab?"
"Sure," She nodded, tossing her latex gloves in a trash bag CSI had left in case the police needed it, "And Richard?"
His back was turned to her at this point, but he looked over his shoulder. She wasn't facing him.
"Next time, tell me to my face, okay? You don't need to go through Camille."
Ryan was patiently waiting for two people. One of them was a material figure in the case – Pablo Carriedo's landlord, George Whitney. While Ryan knew that landlords did not generally make for remarkably sound testimony in court, particularly because they rarely bonded with their tenants, the man was the only person that could tell them anything about Carriedo. The man had no family – no wife, no children, no brothers or sisters, and two deceased parents. Choices were slim, and Whitney was one of them.
The other person was not a material witness. In fact, she was the complete opposite, and if Ryan was completely honest with himself, he would probably be better off without her. Katelyn wasn't exactly investigator material, and despite the revelations she'd just come to concerning the victims in his case (he would never admit that she'd come to any conclusions without their help), he really didn't care for her presence while he was asking a possible witness questions. She would probably screw up eleven thousand times, blame it on him, and stalk back to her little office, her operating table, her home. But Director Kyle Chaytor said that they were working together, so they were working together, and that was that.
"Richard is taking the body back to the Holcomb Institute."
Ryan wheeled around, arms crossed, to see Katelyn waiting in the doorway of the lobby. She slipped off a dirty pair of latex gloves and tossed them into a nearby trashcan, which Ryan had been presented with the opportunity of smelling while he awaited her arrival. Her hair was falling out of the messy bun it had started in, and several tendrils of dark brown floated down around her face.
"Are you performing the anthropology?" Ryan asked, stepping tentatively on reasonably safe conversational ground. She nodded, looking down at the blue coveralls she was wearing.
"The bones are mine, after the initial autopsy is performed. They'll boil them until the flesh dissolves."
He could have cringed, but he didn't, "Won't that get rid of any evidence on the body?"
Katelyn shrugged, "Samples are taken. Most injuries that a body incurs are more visible on the skeleton – an anthropological autopsy of the bones can sometimes show injuries that weren't visible on the body beforehand. Cranial traumas, fractures; any injuries that occur ante-mortem can help in identification, as well."
Feeling like he'd just come out of a science lecture given at a university, Ryan nodded. It was the best he could do, "When the landlord arrives, I'll be questioning him. Are you joining me?"
"I'm not sure how my being here will help with the case," She said tentatively, not exactly sure whether she should agree to join him or not.
There were several things that were wrong with the interpersonal relationship that Special Agent Ryan Carr and Doctor Katelyn Amos shared. Examining them at a psychological level would reveal that all of the small issues – the arguments, the lack of cooperation, etc. – were most probably related to the fact that they didn't communicate well. At all. And whilst they were forced to try to sort things out (partner's therapy was extensive and still classified as ongoing, though the two hadn't attended in a little over a year), it wasn't exactly going well. Ryan, who was coming to terms with the fact that sometimes in life you have to do things you don't particularly want to, was a lot more open to the idea of becoming at least some sort of friends with the anthropologist.
"Another set of ears can't hurt," He shrugged, "I'm not going to make you if you want to get back to the lab and look at your skeleton. It doesn't really matter. You don't even have to come out into the field for this case if you're not comfortable. I'm capable of detecting."
She frowned, "Your boss doesn't want you to work alone on this murder investigation. I'm fairly certain that has something to do with Mar-"
"Don't." Ryan warned, and Katelyn could tell that she'd hit a nerve and that her mouth should probably be on the way to shutting before she really got herself into trouble, "Let's just not talk about that. Are you in?"
Katelyn checked her watch. There was plenty of time to kill before she'd actually have a chance to examine the body, and while she wasn't thrilled about being out in the field with a person that she wasn't incredibly fond of, she was grateful for the distraction, and she'd already been told by her own boss that she was to be friendly to the police officer or face the consequences.
Ryan offered her a half smile, crossing his arms back over his chest and walking forward a little, pacing. Katelyn sat down in one of the small chairs in the apartment complex's front lobby. It was small, but it was still a lobby – many apartment complexes in the city were not fortunate enough to have one. There was a small desk pushed into a corner, where Katelyn was fairly certain the landlord must have done his accounting. Three chairs, one of which she was sitting in, lined the wall directly opposite. Ryan stood between the desk and the chairs, walking back and forth in the makeshift aisle.
"Are you the police?"
Katelyn and Ryan both lifted their heads at the voice and glanced in the direction it had come from. The doorway of the building had opened while they'd been lost in their own thoughts, and a tall man with what appeared to Katelyn to be rather dirty brown hair had stepped inside the door way. Ryan uncrossed his arms, went for his badge, and showed the man.
"Special Agent Ryan Carr, FBI," He said, the introduction rehearsed and definitely practiced. He'd said it enough times in his life, "This is Doctor Katelyn Amos of the Holcomb Institute of Forensic Sciences. She'll be conducting the forensic investigation on the body of Mr. Carriedo. You're the landlord of this building, correct?"
He nodded. Man of few words.
"Is it all right if I ask you some questions regarding your tenant, Mr…?" Ryan asked, as though by some mysterious force of nature the man was going to deny the police and they were going to have to get him into an interrogation room to get him to talk.
"Whitney," The man supplied helpfully, when he realized that the police officer had no idea what his name was and that he was probably going to need it for when he started filling out paperwork, "George Whitney. You know what happened to the guy?"
Ryan gestured for Whitney to take a seat beside Katelyn. He did, and Ryan remained standing, sliding a small spiral notebook from one of the inside pockets of his suit jacket. Katelyn rolled her eye with great force – was it possible for the man to stereotype is profession even more? What an accomplishment.
"We aren't really at liberty to share the details of the investigation right now, Mr. Whitney," Ryan sounded overly polite, and Katelyn wished he'd just act like he normally did, "But I assure you it was messy and violent."
Whitney looked to the floor. Ryan watched him closely, "Were you close to your tenant, Mr. Whitney? Did you know him well?"
The landlord shrugged, and Ryan internally sighed because he hadn't been expecting that much good would come from a lead like this – but in his profession, it was your job to chase dead ends. That's how investigations work.
"He didn't really come out much for me to talk to him. He stayed in that room and if he ever left, which was rare, he didn't leave until the night time and wasn't back until the early morning."
Ryan scribbled the words down on his notepad, "So you're saying Mr. Carriedo was a reclusive character?"
"That's more words than I'd use." He muttered. Katelyn bit her lip and tried to fight off a smile.
"How long had he been living here?" Ryan's voice had dropped its enthusiasm considerably, but he continued with the questions.
Whitney considered it, "It should be in the records, but I think he was here maybe five or six months? I remember when he first came here looking to rent. He asked for the biggest apartment I had, and he sure as hell got it. You have any idea how many people in this area have little kids? You'd think all their families would need big places, space for everyone, and here I end up selling my biggest place to an old guy from Mexico. Can you believe it?"
Ryan smiled rather blithely, and it showed, "Crazy how things work out. Do you have any idea why he wanted or needed the biggest apartment?"
"I don't know," Whitney shrugged. Katelyn watched his body movements. His limbs were thin and lanky, and he looked almost malnourished to her. She could see the lines of his collarbones through the opening in the neck of his shirt, "Space, I guess? He had a lot of books. There were about six boxes when he moved in. More came later, I guess."
The books had been present when the apartment had been searched. Instead of the perfectly organized, clean, alphabetized rows they'd certainly been in before Carried was violently murdered, they now were strewn about from some sort of struggle between victim and murderer, covered in blood.
"He sounds like a rather normal person." Katelyn said. Her voice, again, was unexpected, because the room had been filled with the sounds of only the men, "People who read books aren't always murderers, if that's what you're getting at, Agent Carr. Nor are they always accomplices."
Ryan shot her a look that could probably have been designed as rude, had she not seen it hundreds of times before. He didn't comment on her snappy words. He'd had started off being nice, but her attitude was driving his mood into a ditch.
"Was his rent always on time? Did he ever deliver it late?"
Whitney shook his head. "He was on time every month. Paid in cash, hand delivered it, end of story. He was a good tenant, just creepy."
Ryan gave Whitney his best 'I'm-not-exactly-sure-how-to-end-this-politely' smile, "Thank you for your help, Mr. Whitney. If we need anything, or if you remember anything that you think may assist us in our case, feel free to call us at the department. They'll put you through to me."
Whitney nodded, and neither man said goodbye. Ryan headed for the door, not bothering to alert Katelyn. She followed soon after, feeling the landlord's eyes on her back. Outside, Ryan turned to her.
"Do you have any idea what you're doing at all?"
She raised her eyebrow at him, mostly because his tone and the volume of his voice were not particularly impressing her.
"I'd like it if you didn't use that tone with me."
Ryan breathed deeply, pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. He shook his head and met her eyes again.
"Do you have a ride back to the lab?" He asked, looking around for her car. She nodded.
"Yes. I'll give you my report when I'm through with the body. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
Ryan stared at her. She was wearing the coveralls, which were hardly flattering, but her hair was framing her face in such a way that she almost looked like Melanie, and he didn't want his work partner to look like his ex-girlfriend and it was driving him crazy—
"Are you alright?"
He shook his head and looked up, "Yeah. Yeah, sorry," He said, looking at her, "Do you want to go for coffee, or something? Discuss the case?"
Katelyn's face remained a stoic wall, "I have to get back to the lab. Another time." She said, though she and Ryan both knew that there would be no other time, and that she was simply just being polite.
Please review. I'm going to bed and I'm in a really bad mood so your wonderful words will just make me smile and possibly cry tears of happiness because FC Barcelona's captain dislocated his elbow and that made me cry tears of sad, but that's not why I'm in a bad mood. Anyway, review.