Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chapter Thirty-Three

Detective Jacoby decided to start by calling the Fairfax County officer in charge of the investigation of the Tyson’s death.

“This is Detective Jacoby from the D.C. 5th District. If you’ve got the time I’d like to drive out to your office and talk to you about the body your guys found at Tyson’s Galleria a few days ago. I’ve got an assistant U.S. Attorney who thinks it might be related to a case I’m working on.”

“Sure. I’ve got some time about 4:00. See you then. I could use a break on this one. I’m getting a lot of pressure. Seems folks don’t want an unsolved murder at the largest shopping center in Fairfax County with the Christmas shopping season about to start.”

“Sounds good. I’ll see you at 4:00.”

He was met by a scrawny looking uniformed detective who introduced himself as Barry Jones. After exchanging a few pleasantries, Jacoby got right down to business. “Have you had any success identifying your Jane Doe?”

“Nope. There was no ID. Her prints aren’t on file. Her description doesn’t match anything in the NamUs Missing Persons Data Base.”

“NamUs? That’s a new one for me.”

“Don’t feel bad. It’s pretty new – just launched in July 2007. In 2005 the National Institute of Justice assembled Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials, medical examiners and coroners, forensic scientists, key policymakers, and victim advocates and families from around the country for a national strategy meeting in Philadelphia. I represented Fairfax County. It was a pretty interesting meeting. It outlined the major challenges in investigating and solving missing person and unidentified decedent cases. As a result of that meeting the Deputy Attorney General created the National Missing Persons Task Force and charged the U.S. Department of Justice with identifying every available tool—and creating others—to solve these cases. One of the most significant issues identified by the National Missing Persons Task Force was the need to improve access to database information by people who can help solve missing and unidentified deceased persons cases. The main problem was that cases of missing persons 18 years old and younger must be reported, but reporting adult missing persons cases is voluntary. Only a handful of States have laws that require law enforcement agencies to prepare missing person reports on adults. The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, NamUs, was created to meet those challenges.” He stopped. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to bore you. It’s just that it’s something I’m real interested in.”

“No. Don’t apologize. I appreciate the update. Guess I missed the memo.” Jacoby smiled. Jones might look like a Barney Fife – but he was obviously a smart cop. “Barry, can I take a look at the tattoo that the Jane Doe had on her shoulder?”

“Sure. Just give me a second.” Jones punched a few button on his computer and then turned the screen so Jacoby could see it.

“You’re paperless?” Jacoby was thinking about the stacks of paper that were piled on his desk back at the 5th.

“Moving it that direction. I was actually reluctant to release the picture of the tattoo to the press, but I thought it might help us identify her. So far it hasn’t.”

Jacoby stood up to get a better look at the screen. It was the cherub that Mosby Ellis had described – complete with halo. “Barry, can you print me off a copy of that.”

“Sure. Sounds like you might have something for me.” He hit the print button. In a second the image of the tattoo came out of his printer. He handed it to Jacoby.

“Color! I’m beginning to think I should transfer to Fairfax County. Listen, this might be nothing but I had a guy in my office earlier today named Mosby Ellis. He was a friend of the woman who was found dead in her tattoo studio last night. This guy said the deceased had done a tattoo like this one for a woman matching the description of your Jane Doe a couple of weeks ago.”

“Did your guy give you a name?”

“Yeah, he gave me a name. Not of the girl. He gave me the name of the guy he says came in with her. Seems they got matching tattoos.”

“I’m waiting.”

“The name he gave me was Senator Stuart Jaffe.”



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