THE BODY WAS a nude woman: five feet, five inches tall, average weight. She had long brown hair and moderate breasts. The body had been carefully placed on an expensive yoga mat. There were no visible scars or tattoos. She appeared to be somewhere near twenty-five years old. The body was covered with red rose petals and rose blossoms. The body had not been dumped in the empty field, but meticulously laid out. Whoever killed her wanted the body to be found just as he left it. The letters JS were on the yoga mat.
WHEN JEFF ARRIVED at the crime scene, the first officers on site had strung yellow police tape around the body, in a square about thirty feet by thirty feet. Neither the coroner nor a CSI unit had arrived as yet. Jeff, Sgt. Jeffery Allen, was the senior sergeant in the LAPD 77th Division Homicide Unit. He had received the call about the murder on his cell phone rather than the radio. The dispatcher wanted to keep the media in the dark as long as possible.
Jeff was tall, six feet, three inches, with light brown hair and piercing grey eyes. He was thirty-four years old, well-built and worked out at his health club three days a week. The women in his division described him as very handsome. He motioned for the patrol sergeant who had monitored the crime scene until he arrived. He knew the sergeant from their days in a patrol car.
Jeff complained mildly, “Jim, there are footprints everywhere.”
“I know. Unit One Baker Nine answered an anonymous call about a dead body in an open field. They must have walked around the body, looking for clues, before they put up the yellow tape. They called me as soon as they saw what they had.”
Jeff’s partner arrived onsite. He did not offer an explanation about why he was late. His name was Bob Reynolds. He was shorter than Jeff at five feet, ten inches. Rather than work out three days a week, he ran a mile instead; three mornings each week. The women in the division described him as adequate, and that was being generous.
Jeff returned to the patrol sergeant, “Call for another unit to block that entrance road. I don’t want any media people getting to the body.”
“And put a tent over the body. That way a TV chopper can’t get an aerial shot.”
The patrol sergeant said, “I’ll take care of it.’ He left to accomplish what he should have thought of himself.
Jeff said to his partner, “It might be a good idea to confine your love life to your off duty hours.”