Exactly the same.
The autopsy had just begun. He thought they had already learned what they needed to know.
She was losing credibility, Whitney thought, and doing so by proving a point.
But learning how to work with Jude Crosby wasn’t going to be easy.
He was a hard-boiled cop. And the perfect vision of one. So tall, so leanly, ruggedly muscled. He had dark hair, with no signs of gray yet, neatly clipped. She estimated that he was in his mid-thirties; a man with gray eyes that had seen too much; he was weary, and yet he still seemed to have the look of a man who wanted to change the world.
Whitney thought that he must have grown up reading every old detective novel that had ever been printed. He didn’t have to speak a word; she could tell by his body language that he wasn’t happy about her being on the case.
Maybe she shouldn’t have been so pleased that she’d been the first of her team to arrive on-site, or that she should be the one to dive headfirst into the macabre killing. Perhaps it would have been better if they would have started out with Jude Crosby meeting one of the guys; Jackson Crow, Jake Mallory or Will Chan might have made a better impression. She doubted that Jude Crosby had ever worked with a female partner. He kept looking at her as if she were a little mosquito that had gotten in his way. She wasn’t out to prove anything; she and the others were a team, and each member was always glad to make use of his or her gender, color or any perceived edge when it meant getting done what needed to get done.
“Let’s move through this autopsy before leaping to any conclusions, shall we?” Jude Crosby suggested. His voice was even; his tone was cool.
Doesn’t play well with others! she thought.
Too bad. Fullbright seemed fine; he accepted her simply as an FBI agent, and he was interested in the photo of Jack the Ripper’s first canonical victim. Fullbright was intrigued by the puzzle before him, and it seemed evident that he was an armchair detective himself, fascinated by the mystery of old. The medical examiner was convinced that the killer had, at the least, studied the modus operandi of the mysterious nineteenth-century killer.
Crosby wasn’t happy. Maybe he was always that way. Maybe he felt that the federal government was encroaching upon his right as state law enforcement.
Well, that was all right. They had worked with cops who were grateful to have them around—and cops who didn’t want them at all. They were learning as they went, and so far, their odd mix of a team had done very well.
She could step back.
“Definitely,” she replied, and did step back, clearly defining her role as observer.
Whitney had seen many horrible things, but nothing like what had been done to the young woman on the gurney. She didn’t want to blink or blanch as the doctor reported his findings in a dispassionate voice; she couldn’t appear too weak to stomach it. The only thing she could do was force herself to take a huge mental step back as well. In truth, that wasn’t so hard. It couldn’t be real flesh on the table; that was too terrible to accept.
But she had known what the findings would be. Not exact, perhaps. But close. There were two grievously deep slashes across the throat, cutting the windpipe and vital veins and arteries; the woman had nearly been decapitated. There was bruising on the throat. There was a ragged gash right beneath the ribs, and followed down on the right-hand side of the body to the pelvis, displaying the kidneys. There were two cuts to the genitals, deep, and violent.
It was all so frighteningly exact.
Down to the wounds, the direction of the wounds, everything.
She felt Jude Crosby’s eyes on her, over the body of the dead woman, and she met his gaze. Steady, but not challenging, she warned herself. They’d been asked in, through Adam Harrison’s nudging, but it was still best to keep things as copacetic as possible.
“Doc, you scraped beneath her nails?”
“Of course—but we’re not going to get anything. She didn’t have a chance to fight him. She doesn’t have a single defensive wound on her.”
“Fibers? Threads? Hairs?”
“She went fast—the lab has her clothing.”
Jude nodded. “All right. We’ll leave you to close her up. Call me if anything—”
“Yes, of course, Jude. If anything, whatsoever. I’m not expecting anything on the toxicology reports, but, I promise, I’ll let you know immediately.” He hesitated, looking at Jude. “I still have your Jane Does in here,” he said. “Are we getting anywhere with them?”
“We’ve sent out the picture of the girl who died on the way to the hospital—we’ve sent it everywhere in hell, and nothing,” Jude said. “The second girl…the one from the water. Well, you saw her face. Not even a mother’s love could help her recognize that child. I just asked my lieutenant yesterday about getting a graphic artist over. I’m not great on computers, but I know that a good graphic artist can do an amazing job with a likeness.”
“Well, I’ll get with you as soon as I have…anything,” Wally Fullbright assured him grimly. “Miss Tremont—a pleasure, even if we’re meeting under sad circumstances.”
“You, too, Dr. Fullbright,” Whitney said. “Thank you. Except…would it be possible for me to see the two girls who died last week?”
She thought that Jake would step in and proprietarily inform her that they had nothing to do with this case, and that he had it covered.
Fullbright did look to Jake.
“My assistant will escort you,” Fullbright said.
“Thank you,” she told him.
They followed a fellow in scrubs out and down the hall. In another room, there were rows and rows of steel drawers. Apparently, despite the number of deaths that came through the morgue, the murders of the two unknown girls were remembered. The assistant knew right where he was going. He glanced at Jake apologetically. “We’re calling them Jane Doe wet and Jane Doe dry. The more recent body was pulled from the river,” he explained to Whitney, something she already knew. Jackson Crow was thorough when he briefed his team.
He pulled out the drawer and pulled back the shroud-like sheet covering the corpse.
Whitney locked her jaw.
The flesh on the girl’s face had met with the elements and any number of hungry river carnivores. The skull peeked through in many places. The skin that remained was a mottled gray-blue color, where it wasn’t pulpy-red.
She glanced at Jake. “I’d like to take some photos. One of my teammates is a true whiz on a computer. He can work any graphics program invented, and I think he can get us a likeness of this girl’s face by tonight. He’s flying in tomorrow, but if he can get something right away, you can have the image by morning.”
He was still wearing a mask over his mouth; maybe that made his eyes seem all the more intense. He nodded.
She looked at the M.E.’s assistant. “I need a tape measure or a ruler,” she told him.
“We have excellent photos at the station,” Crosby told her.
“I can email these straight from my phone,” she told him.
He obliged her with a nod, and she drew out her little high-megapixel phone/camera, and began shooting from every conceivable angle. Both men waited for her, and she worked quickly. On the one hand, she felt as if, in this steel and sterile environment, nothing was real. On the other hand, the girl in the drawer was far too real. Eventually, the police would find out who she was, because although Whitney hadn’t known Jude long at all, she was certain that he would never give up. She had to keep snapping pictures; the police could find out who she was. Her work was to find out who had done this to her and why.
And hopefully before more died.
When Whitney was done, she nodded grimly. The assistant gently covered the dead girl’s face again, and closed the drawer while Whitney prayed that she had a signal, so she could email the photos to Jake Mallory efficiently—and quickly.
Jude thanked the attendant and started walking on. Still hitting the send key, Whitney followed in his wake.
All the drawers were numbered. That seemed incredibly sad to Whitney. They were people in the drawers, not numbers.
In contrast, the second victim looked serene, as if she were sleeping. She might have been, if it weren’t for the deep gashes on her body, visible when the sheet was pulled back.
“We’ve had her picture out everywhere,” Jude said quietly. “And no one has claimed her body yet. She’ll stay here a few more days, and then they’ll house her in the morgue in the basement—and then she’ll go to a potter’s grave at City Cemetery,” he told her.
Whitney took just one picture. The assistant covered the body and shut the drawer.
As it closed, Whitney felt as if she was surrounded by steel, the scent of formaldehyde and other chemicals, and realized just how cold she was.
“Well, I have a witness to find, Miss Tremont,” Jude told her.
“Of course. I’m here to follow in your footsteps,” she said.
He paused. She knew he really just wanted to tell her to go away. He didn’t. He shrugged. She’d been assigned to him; he’d been told to accept the team’s help. “All right, fine.”
He turned and walked quickly. She hurried to keep up with him. He was tall. She was—not.
Outside, horns were blaring, pedestrians moved about the street and it seemed that everything in the world was small and slow next to the size and speed of the city. Jude Crosby, however, knew his city well. He maneuvered the sidewalk in a long stride; he’d parked his car on the street. That in itself was quite a feat—she was a good driver, but she’d never figure out how he parked his car in the tiny space where it was wedged. He started to walk around to the driver’s side, but then remembered her. He turned and opened the passenger-side door.
She slid in quickly. She had the feeling that if she didn’t move fast enough, she was going to be left behind.
“Who are we looking for?” she asked him.
“Captain Tyler,” he said briefly.