Smoke and a Dusty being


"It's a simple game of logic, chance, and elementary mathematics." We were back at the station. Jason had reprimanded me for that magic act and Sarah had been nagging me with the question of how the trick was done.

But at the moment an ethereal being of light and dust particles had floated from the window and onto my lap. She scolded me softly and teased me with playful, dusty eyes. She scolded me for teasing my comrades from a different world. And so I began to tell my story of the method behind my madness.

"When we found Allison her body was still intact. This means that she was killed in the early hours of the morning. If she had been killed early on in the night we would have found scattered remains from wolf or jackal activity. It was a cold morning like most fall mornings are. And so when we arrived we did not witness too many insects preying on the body. Some carrion birds had begun to gather but none had begun to feast on the carcass. This along with the cold would place Allison's death at around 4 or 5 a.m.

Our victim was also shot in the back. This means that she must have known her attacker or was too drunk to notice a shady character. Either way she was likely driven in a vehicle to the abandoned parking lot. It's a long walk from any bar in high-heels.

There's a high chance that our killer was new at murder because they left the body in plain sight. There was no attempt to destroy the evidence of the body indicating that the killer panicked after the act and fled the crime scene to put some distance between them and the misdeed."

I paused as the ethereal being shifted her position and began to pull bells and whistles out of her hair. I stared at her distracted as my audience shuffled in impatience. She urged me on with a tiny dusty bell that did not make a sound.

"It is likely that our victim left her purse in the vehicle. Otherwise the killer would have left the purse along with the victim for us to find in his panicked state. The killer must have calmed down some before noticing that the purse was still in their possession. They must have realized that they needed to get rid of the purse quickly as daylight began to dawn.

The tire tracks show that the vehicle sped north-east from the parking lot onto a road called Silver Lane. The road heads straight toward a bridge across Turtle River without and detours. It must have seemed like a golden opportunity then to toss the last of the evidence out of the window. Fortunately Turtle River only has rapids under that bridge and has earned its name by crawling around two miles-per-hour downstream.

The last piece of the puzzle is a speed equals distance over time problem. We just need to ballpark how far the purse has drifted after the toss, how fast on average a car can go and how far we need to drive in order to intercept an object moving at fairly constant speed. I overestimated the distance of the purse and underestimated the speed of the car for a greater chance at interception.

We then had to wait for some time and I decided to distract you with some smoke and mirrors... well maybe just smoke."

And I waited for the understanding to set in. My dusty friend clapped in glee. The bells in her hair clanged together but no one noticed because a phone was clanging in the distance. She asked me what the next step was with a questioning look.

"We now know the name of the victim, but not who she was. We must now talk to her family and inform them of their loss. We will then ask who her friends were, and if she had any enemies.
We will share their grief briefly; only to cast it aside in favor of closure."