Case I: Chapter 3: Initial Murder Investigation

Case I: Chapter 3: Initial Murder Investigation

Based on the Medical Examiner’s initial assessment, Lt. Garcia felt that he was looking for a male as the prime suspect for this murder. He initiated a process of collecting fingerprints from delivery people and other service people for the facility such as gardeners etc. In the back of his mind, Garcia felt that Odd Job was the most likely candidate for the crime. He had known many people like this in Albuquerque and was familiar with many of the gangs and unsavory characters who roamed the city. He decided that he would go back to the retirement home to go through the utility room once more looking for additional evidence and clues. He would also visit with the Executive Director to inquire about Odd Job in greater detail as well as trying to understand the recent activities of the Maintenance Man.

But, Garcia was a thorough investigator and could not ignore Mrs. Branch’s comments, however unreasonable. The Medical Examiner had said that the murderer had to be a very strong person in order to drive the screwdriver so deeply into the Maintenance Man’s chest. He was able to remove some fingerprints from the screwdriver but found no other evidence or forensic information at the scene.

La Vida Aureo’s Executive Director, Isabella Duncan, told Lt. Garcia that there had been problems with the heating and air-conditioning system and a number of residents had complained about the temperature in their in their rooms and in the common areas. She had asked the Maintenance Man to check this out.

“What can you tell me about Odd Job and his role at the facility?”

“The man’s name is Orlando Juan Torreon and people call him OJ. This quickly became “Odd Job” because of his various activities around the facility. I personally hired him and can vouch for his integrity. He made some bad choices earlier in his life but is trying to live a clean and law-abiding life. I am his sponsor in his local support group and am trying to help him gain the skills necessary for a more permanent job. It seems unlikely that he would attack the Maintenance Man since they seemed to get along reasonably well.”

As Lt. Garcia was leaving the building, Millicent Branch stopped him once again and insisted that he talked to “Maria”, a young girl who worked in the kitchen. This is the same person that she had mentioned and accused earlier, but had referred to her simply as “that Mexican girl”. “I think she knows something about the murder and you should talk to her. Maybe she even did it!”

Garcia went back into the kitchen and asked Señora Angostura specifically about Maria. “Maria is a hard worker and a conscientious young woman. She has only been at La Vida Aureo a short time and is struggling to improve her English. I noticed today that Maria seemed upset and was crying quite a bit.”

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