We all had them.
Perched unattended on the corner of our desk.
Often left like discarded flotsam. To be picked at and poured over when time and work allowed; which was not that often.
That is a thought that sometimes bugged me when the frustration of their existence got to me. I had at one stage, four such cases. Now dwindled to a lonely two.
'Unsolves' we call them here in the Murder Squad Room.
Cases that get bogged down and failed to continue due to lack of leads, lack of evidence or little or non-existent forensic evidence.
I do how-ever, tend to view them as a personal affront. A continual reminder that I needed to lift my game. That I had a lot to learn in this Section.
The two that remained were two young victims of a 'drive-by' shooting.
Two young runaways sheltering in one of those large Charity Clothing bins from an awful mid-winter's night. Running away from a drunken and abusive family. Killed by at least half a dozen shots fired by persons unknown in a fusillade of bullets. Spraying a squat, sheet steel-sided recycle clothing bin that threatened the very existence of the brave assailants!
I would have never thought to seek refuge in such a receptacle. But then, I had never needed to seek a cosy spot out of the weather in a place that I had never been before. Or needed to be in for no sane reason or of my doing. Away from my family at such an age with no money, no food. Nothing!
The Murder Squad, meaning myself and a partner whom I barely learnt his first name from before he voluntarily transferred to another Division, were called onto the case some several weeks after the bodies were discovered. Which apparently was some 5 days after the shooting in any case. By then the Crime Scene had been hosed down, rained upon and trampled over by the town's populace doing their shopping. The Bin replaced and repaired for duties elsewhere. Several bullets could not be accounted for. The number of bullet holes in the steel siding did not match the number of casings or bullets retrieved. Very amateurish photographs taken of the scene were barely helpful. And the most irresponsible act was that the young teens' bodies had been returned to the mid-western town from whence they had fled before our appearance at the scene.
The local Station Sergeant was dutifully 'dressed down' and demoted.
He waited some months then took voluntary retirement. Moving his family to his holiday cottage on the coast. His three teen-age sons accompanied him. That had an immediate effect on the small border town. Petty crime, wilful damage to public and private property, drunken fights and graffiti, radically diminished.
So too did the number of road signs being shot out.
Neither the former Police Sergeant or his three sons, or the other known members of the 'gang' led by one of the sons, offer any co-operation or insight into the shootings. Instead choosing to remain tight-lipped during any interviews that I or my partner of so brief a period, conducted.
You get a fair idea of who, how and why. How-ever, for a case to go before the Court, you need more than a gut feeling!
Thus the Case Book sat on the corner of my desk gathering dust. Keeping the other three 'Unsolves' company up until two of them were solved by a fluke of evidence suddenly appearing.
I was confident that one day, a rare piece of evidence would come sailing through the window that I looked out of every day when-ever I was in the office.
The window sealed to create that comfortable air-conditioned office atmosphere.
But I knew some day, that is what would happen.
Just a small piece of evidence that would solve the murders of two young kids trying to escape from an awful existence.
Clem 'Lofty' Hills Series:
Murder Squad Series: