The Dark wood estate was swarming with the police and the forensic experts. The neighbours were standing some way behind the barricades set up by the police. One could say that something terrible had happened in the place, by just one look at their faces. Some were shocked and some were appalled by the extent of brutality that involved in the twin murders.
Even the authorities were confused as to why the murder had taken place. Mr. and Mrs. White seemed to be the most unlikely victims who could be murdered and that too in that particular fashion. Both were doctors of great reputation who worked in the hospital of the locality. They were known for their generosity and their charitable nature. Yet they were found on that fateful morning, dead. Killed, in their, own house.
Lily and Gerald White were both doctors. Lily was an obstetrician and Gerald was an orthopedic surgeon. They had been living in the neighbourhood for the past 5 years and were very much liked and loved by all. They had been married since 8 yrs and had no children.
The investigation was on with full strength as to the motive behind the murder and possible suspects were being looked into from every angle…
The police were interrogating the maid, who had found the victims that morning and had called them immediately. She was telling them “I came in through the side gate at 7, I always do. I was then that the door was unlocked. I entered and it was then that I saw her lying on the floor. I stood frozen not knowing what to do… after sometime I realized that I should call you people and I was still standing there when you came… I could not make myself move…I have no idea who could have been so vicious but, what I can tell you, is that, it was in between 8:30 to 8:45 in the night that they were murdered…” she said dabbing her eyes…
There was a shocked silence as everybody who heard her say that turned to look at her. The officer said his voice full of suspicion… “And how would you happen to come across such information Madame?”
She said…” well it isn’t exactly rocket science officer, I always lay out their dinner at 8:30 exact and I leave as soon as they sit down for dinner as they like to have it without anyone of us around… and when I stood there waiting for you people to arrive I saw that the food had not been touched and it lay as I had laid them out when I left….”
“Ok… Madame did you happen to see any vehicle or person around when you left the place in the night?”
“ Vehicle or a person? Well actually no… not if you don’t count the police patrol vehicle that I saw immediately after I left the place… I even waived a greeting to the officer… poor chap out on duty on such a cold night…”
“Ok Madame thank you, that will be all. If we have to ask you any more questions we will call on you again. And one more thing, please check the house and let us know if anything is found missing”
“Yes officer. I hope you catch whoever did this to them” she said and left.
The officer in charge, Agent Robert, spoke brusquely and instructed the others to carefully gather all evidence even the lilies, and to send the bodies for post mortem. He was about to leave for the HQ when he saw 2 people hurrying towards them. He stopped them and asked who they were.
“I am Jim and this is Marie. We are Lily and Gerald’s colleagues. We heard about their death and could not believe it…. we came as soon as possible”
“When was it you last saw the victims?”
“I saw her last when she finished her duty and left for home at around 7 in the evening. We had coffee together and then she left for home” said Dr. Marie. “Gerald and I left the hospital together around 8 last night. He dropped me home and went ahead.” Said Dr. Jim
“Ok…” said Agent Robert. He called out to Officer John and instructed him to ask them a few question regarding the friends and social circle of the victims. “And after that collect the call records and their appointment diaries and bring them to the HQ in another hour.”
In the bureau the agents in charge were discussing about the evidences found….
“Let’s try to reconstruct the scene of crime… the husband and wife, sit down for dinner after the maid leaves. They are about to begin and the door bell rings. One of them gets up to see who it was. Most probably it was someone they know as they let the person enter. For some reason the husband goes to the kitchen, probably to get the visitor some water, and the person follows him inside… takes the knife off the rack and cuts the husband’s throat. The wife hears the yell and comes running and the killer moves towards her… but for some reason he does not kill her immediately instead he slashes at her… there might have been a struggle as the chair had fallen down. He keeps slashing at her, 25 times to be exact, until she dies a slow painful death. The Killer then goes to their garden cuts off a few lilies and lays them on her and after leaving the murder weapon behind, leaves the house” said agent Robert. “So now let’s look at the suspects. John do you have the list with you?” “Yes sir, There is:
1) Mr. Sanders. - according to the reports he is a businessman who has been trying to buy the dark wood estate for quite some time and it is common knowledge among the colleagues of the victims about the threatening calls they had been receiving from this suspect. Lives in the neighbouring town. Currently being questioned.
2) Mr. Sean White – The brother of the victim who has been charged many times for petty charges ranging from theft to drug abuse. According to Dr. Jim he has been pestering Gerald from past few months for financial assistance claiming to have fallen prey to gang of drug dealers. On facing refusal he is claimed to have had a violent argument with the victims. Lives 200 hundred miles away. Currently trying to be contacted.
3) The maid Ms. Kimberly – Has been working for the Whites since the past 5 yrs. No known criminal records. Is said to have left the premises just before the crime occurred.”
Agent Boyle said “Sir the killer was very cautious, he has not left behind any finger print or any evidence behind. We only hope the forensic department comes up with something… meanwhile I’ll go and check on the progress with suspects”
An assistant enters the room just as Boyle is about to leave and tells them that the maid is on the line and wants to report something strange. She is immediately put online. She reports that as instructed she searched for anything missing and found everything in its place except for one strange thing. There was one dinner plate missing!!
Agent Boyle exclaims “Sir! It is not water the husband goes in to fetch. It’s the extra plate! Most probably the killer cleared away the debris before leaving so as to not give us a clue that he was an acquaintance of the victims and that does not help as all the 3 suspects were acquaintances. But it does put Mr. Sanders out of the list as after all those threats he surely would not have been invited for dinner…”
“Yes you are right Boyle. You better get on with checking their alibi for the night.”
“Right on it sir.”
Agent Rivers who had been in deep thought till then suddenly speaks up “Sir, it seems strange that the killer put the white lilies on the wife after killing her. It must mean something. I think we should ask her colleagues about that…. I will get on that immediately” she said and left the room.
Officer John who was silent until then said “Sir I think the maid must have done it and then arranged the dinner table before leaving to make it appear as if it all occurred after she left. I will go and look into it” he said and left hurriedly.
After a few hours report came in that a partial footprint was found on the flower bed and very faint markings of the strides of the killer. By the measurements of the print and the strides the killer is said to be a tall male of about 6’ and above with long strides.
Agent Boyle enters the room with the report on the suspects “Sir Mr. Sanders was at home with his family and friends. There is no way he could have done it. It was their anniversary yesterday night and there are around 20 people to substantiate is alibi.”
“What about the other two?”
“Well sir, Ms Naomi, the maid working for the Grangers who live right opposite, said that she saw Gerald White closing the door after Ms. Kimberly left the place and they both walked home together. So it’s not her either.”
“But Mr. Sean white was found entering the house today. He says he has been on the road since yesterday morning. The alibi is pretty weak as he cannot substantiate… his behavior is very suspicious too…”
“Boyle what is his height?”
“Around 6’2’’ sir. Why?” He is shown the reports that just came in. “Looks to me as if he is our man. I will bring him in for questioning sir.”
In the mean time a call from the forensic lab brings in startling information. In the nail beds of Mrs. White bluish fibres were found. On further analysis the fibres seem to have come from the kind of material used only for the uniforms of the police department. “Well, that counts Sean White out. And we have no suspects left!!” Boyle said in an irritated voice.
“Yes” Said Roberts “But we do have a major clue. All we have to do is search the data base of the officers of the states. To think one of our own could do such a crime!! It’s disgraceful.” With that, a furious activity begins in the department, for the search of an officer of that description.
Meanwhile, Agent Rivers, reports back saying that Lily White’s best friend since childhood said that white lilies were Mrs. White’s favourite flowers. She also said that even though they were her favourite flowers she never accepted them from anybody except from her high school sweet heart John. He used to call her White lily.
“John??!!!” Robert is shocked and turns to see if Officer John is in the department. “Where is John? Find him immediately and see to it he is not to leave the building until we know for sure it’s not him. They also started looking in the data base, for officers named John among those who were found to be above 6 feet. Results indicated around more than a hundred of that description in the entire country.
Agent Robert said “The maid had told us that she saw a police car outside and that she saw the officer too… bring her in. Let’s see if she can identify from among these hundreds. And Agent Rivers go back to the friend and see if she has any of those school books so that she can show you the picture of that Mr. John. I think we will zero in on our killer within a few hours”
The maid “Yes sir I can tell you which officer it was without even looking at these pictures. He was there today morning with all of you. Poor fellow working both night and day hours. You should give him some rest you know…”
The friend “I don’t need a year book sir, he is right here working for you. You must know him, its officer John of the police department. After high school Lily went away to med school and I went on to study literature and John, he joined the police force. I don’t think he ever was able to forget Lily…”
The next day in the interrogation room Officer John confessed to the crime. When asked about the motive he said “After high school when we went to different colleges I was still in love with her. But she had found Gerald White during her med school days and they eventually got married. She had promised to marry me. The day she got married I vowed to take my revenge and I have. I used to call her white lily lovingly, but, she became Mrs. Lily white, in reality…”he said and began to laugh hysterically…
On the basis of the evidence and the confession of the accused the jury found him guilty on two counts of murder. And he was sentenced to 18 yrs of imprisonment with no scope for parole.