Case I: Chapter 2: The Local Police Arrive
The body of the Maintenance Man was discovered early in the afternoon by an employee known as Odd Job, a large, tough-looking Hispanic man, covered in tattoos and with a surly disposition. He frequently assisted the Facility’s Maintenance Man and performed other miscellaneous duties around the complex. When he discovered the body, he went immediately to La Vida Aureo’s Executive Director who quickly called 911.
Lt. Frank Garcia of the Albuquerque Major Crime Unit arrived about the same time as an emergency medical technician who promptly called the City’s Medical Examiner.
George Hernandez, the Chief Medical Examiner, looked at Garcia and said, “Even you could probably figure this one out. It looks like the Maintenance Man died from a stab wound to the chest caused by this large screwdriver. I suspect he was killed by a strong person, as the screwdriver was thrust into the chest up to the hilt which would require a considerable amount of force. There is some bruising on the back of his head, but I imagine it occurred when he fell backwards. If I discover any additional information during the autopsy, I’ll let you know.”
“Well, George, it’s always nice to see you too and I appreciate your solving this crime for me. I think I’ll just have a look around the room to see if there are any vital clues you might have missed.”
Garcia spent a few minutes examining the scene, but had to agree that this looked pretty straight forward. All that remained was to find out who had stabbed the Maintenance Man so violently. There wasn’t much else to do and the body was promptly removed, but the Utility Room was placed off-limits by standard police yellow tape.
As Lt. Garcia was leaving the facility, he stopped by the kitchen to pay his respects to Paloma Angostura, the cook. He had known her all his life and she had been instrumental in keeping him out of trouble and setting him on a more constructive course for his life. Lt. Garcia had been friends with her son and had spent much of his youth in their home.
“Francisco, it is so nice to see you. What brings you here, mi hijo?”
“Bad things. querida Madre, a man has been killed and I’m here to investigate his murder.”
“Mi Dios, I heard about it. This is such a beautiful, peaceful place.” she said.
Garcia knew that “she had heard about it” was an understatement; there was probably very little that happened at La Vida Aureo that she didn’t know about. He knew that she would be a source of important information as his investigation proceeded.
Garcia remembered his manners and inquired about Señora Angostura’s children. “How are Antonio and Marisa?”
“They are well, but so far from here.”
As he left the dining room, Lt. Garcia was stopped by Millicent Branch, an older woman and long time resident. “I know who murdered the Maintenance Man, she said. He was an evil person, always trying to touch the young Mexican girls who work here. I saw one of those girls coming up from the utility room earlier today and she was crying.”
Garcia thanked Mrs. Branch for her comments as he thought to himself, “just what I need, help from an old biddy who thinks she’s Agatha Christy.”