Apr 5, 2010

Where all the Bodies are Buried...

A couple weeks ago I was given information that there was a woman who knew where a dead body was buried. I called her and got the information; she started out by telling me she "...used to run with a wild crowd." Translation: She hasn't been able to afford meth for a week. And now that her head is somewhat cleared of the drug, she starts processing what had been happening for the past year.

She claimed some drug dealer she was shacking up with told her that he had killed a guy several years ago in my fine city. I suspect that he was trying to impress, or scare her, but she believed him enough to call the police and report it, albeit 3 months later. She alleged that he gave her a detailed description of what he did, and where he had buried the body.

Well, I'm a sucker for a good buried body, so I obtained as much of the description as I could, and thought that perhaps I could find this place. I got Detective Robertson, and we followed the directions to an abandoned area in the woods. It was very remote, and I saw it as a great place to spend some time digging a grave. Hasty graves have a particular look to them; when you first bury a body, you have too much soil. The reason is 1) you've loosened the compact dirt and 2) you now have a bodies worth of volume you are putting in the hole. So, you end up with a mound of fresh dirt- for a while. As the body dehydrates, is consumed by natural processes (bugs and bacteria), and the soil compacts itself through rain, the mound falls in on itself, leaving what appears to be a ring of slightly raised ground surrounding a small depression. After some years, hard objects like bones tend to work their way up and can expose themselves, if they are not carried off by critters, who enjoy a little calcium in their diet. As I'm thinking about all of this, I see some bones.

Kind of jumped started my heart for awhile, but on closer inspection, it was some bones from a goat. The reports of dumped dead bodies coming into the PD are fairly common in an area where fresh goat is often on the fiesta menu, and you get fined if you put the goat remains in your own garbage can; chalk up another dumb law with it's unintended consequences.

Then, in a secluded area (among the already secluded area), I saw a fresh mound; not more than a week or two old. This was NOT the reported grave site, but another one. There was no question about it, someone went to a great deal of trouble to bury a body in a uniquely remote area. The following day, we got a crew together, led by my new supervisor, Sargent Mike. We went back to the gravesite and Mike started digging. After a few shovel fulls, we started getting the dead body smell; but there was something a bit different, it was not quite like the dead bodies I have smelled in the past. Mike continued digging and came upon it. Suddenly, we all knew why someone had gone to this much trouble to conceal a dead body. It was a the dead body of a huge skunk.

One of the detectives theorized that perhaps a murderer would place a skunk on TOP of the victim to throw off detectives... well, it worked. Mr (or Mrs) Murderer, if you did bury a body a month or so ago, and you placed a dead skunk on top; you got away with murder.