The detective looked at the dead body with the vacant eyes found in the forest and tried to evade his thoughts for the moment. Too many memories, good and bad, were racing through his mind.
The body was found by a woman living nearby walking her dog. She said she never enters the posted forest along the road where they walk, but her beagle almost dragged her to the spot. She then called 911 on her cell phone and stayed near the road until the police arrived. She was much calmer than the detective expected her to be under the circumstances or even he felt.
Forensics soon arrived and did “their thing”. He stood by but did not watch. He began to vomit. The discovery of the body unnerved him. He had not seen her for about seven years. All sorts of thoughts raced through his mind. Where had she been? Why hadn’t she contacted him? He would have helped her. Why was she here now, dead?
The coroner came and talked to him.
“Looks like a suicide. A 32 caliber semi- automatic hand gun was found in her left hand and a bullet in her left temple. Probably died immediately. I don’t blame her for committing suicide. I bet her life was horrible. Her purse was near the body. Driver’s license says she’s Marley Briggs. She once was a beautiful woman—even reminds me of you a little. I wonder how she got so badly burned.”
“She reminds you of me because she’s my twin sister. We have the same eyes. Briggs is her married name, but I don’t know why she still used it. Her bastard husband poured gasoline on her and set her on fire. He wanted a divorce, but she wouldn’t give him one. Now he is doing life in a state penitentiary. Marley spent three years in a hospital down state. When she was discharged, she disappeared. I guess she could not cope with the public looking at her.”
“This is unbelievable! I am so sorry, Joe.” The coroner put his hand on Joe’s arm. “Let me call another detective to handle this.”
“Yea, I would appreciate it. At least I know now where she is, although I don’t know why here, why now. Perhaps she wanted me to know what had happened to her, so she decided a suicide on my watch would.” Joe turned away and closed his eyes tightly to keep from crying. Now he had to notify the rest of the family.