This book is a work of fiction, and I do not know of any other killer who is this evil and monstrous. You would have to go back to the late 1800s when such maniacal killers existed. One name that comes to mind would be the unsolved mysteries of Jack the Ripper, who killed prostitutes. Another great mystery was written by Robert Louis Stevenson, and that novel was called The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which dealt with the problems of a split personality. Here, I mean no harm to those that bear similar names to the criminals within my novel. I argue that such is purely coincidental and a result of both probability and chance.
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THE FREEDOM MURDERS
A Nicolas Haig Mystery
By Charles Hays
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2013 Charles Hays
All rights reserved.
DETECTIVE NICK Haig was sitting in his comfortable desk chair and staring at the office clock while wondering if and when his girlfriend secretary was ever going to arrive for her share of today's work. Admittedly, her duty involved mostly filing and waging war with the dust balls but, that is important work that has to be done by someone.
There was no way that he was going to stoop that low. Since she was his only other full-time employee, it fell upon her shoulders to do the dastardly deed of cleaning, organizing the office and fixing him several cups of Keurig coffee. Yes, he was capable of fixing his own coffee but, like any other man, he enjoyed being pampered by his lovely red-headed partner, Denise Slapovich.
Suddenly, the cell phone rang and it was Denise apologizing for her tardiness. She said, "I'm sorry for being so late but, it's your fault. If you hadn't raped me for four gorgeous times last night, then I could have slept a whole lot more and I would have been able to be at work on time.
I'm at the Jamaica Beach Wal-Mart, do you want or need anything while I am here?" He said, "I need more of my favorite coffee blend, 'Tully's Italian Roast'. Please buy me a box or two, okay?
And, for last night's fine services, be sure to get yourself some of that chocolate candy that you like so well. And, while you are there, pick up some of your favorite flowers also. Then, the phone went dead after we had exchanged our goodbye messages. God, how he appreciated that woman. She made everything run ever so smoothly.
When two people who care for each other, end their telephone conversations, there is a dismal void that occurs when they realize that they are all by themselves again. It's almost like a miniaturized version losing a loved one to the grim reaper. In any case, the offices of 'HAIG & SLAPOVICH' went completely quiet once again. He had grown to hate her shopping chores because he was miserable without her current chatter.
He made some Keurig coffee because he was tired of waiting on Denise and since, he needed some Java after that long night of exercise with his lovely sex mate, Denise. Nick sipped his coffee and tried to think of something other than his red-haired goddess. He knew that his business was in trouble so he thought about that instead of her but, that didn't last for very long.
After he got past the thoughts of how badly he needed another case, his thoughts returned to her lovely body and all of the fantastic parts thereof. After his third cup of black Java had been consumed, his telephone rang once again.
This time, it was Carlos Espinosa, Sheriff of Galveston County. Basically, there had been an unusual murder event on or near Morgan's Point just East of La Porte, Texas.
Carlos said, "Senior Haig, I have never seen anything like this. If you are available, I would like to have your participation on this case. It's weird, man. I will try and keep the body site 'as-is' until you can get here. You have to see this because it is so unbelievable." Nick left a note for Denise as he hurriedly left for the murder location. His office was on the Strand but Morgan's Point was not that far away, especially if he took his high speed motorboat, which he did.
He motored past Pelican Island which was on the starboard side of his boat and he went due North toward where Carlos was anxiously awaiting his arrival. He made terrific time by not having to deal with the tourists and all of those damned traffic lights.
On the way, all he could think about was another job. And, the timing couldn't have been better because his office rent was overdue, once again. Nick grounded the boat on the beach sand of Morgan's Point and he looked around searching for Espinosa and the coroner's vehicle.
The body scene was off to his port side, intact and still active so, it was fortunate that he had taken the boat. When Carlos says hurry, he means just that and nothing else. They exchanged their usual greetings and they approached their gruesome cadaver.
The body had been identified as a Mrs. Pearl Olinger who had been in the water for several days. She had just started to float which means that poor Pearl had been exposed to a temperature of seventy degrees for 7-to-8 days.
The strange part about this cadaver was that she had been apparently killed by long gutter nails which had been hammered into her skull. The killer had used a precise pattern that formed a semi-circle with two horizontal nails and five other nails that were equally-spaced at thirty-degree increments.
Nick asked himself, "Now, where have I seen that pattern before? Then, he said, "Of course, that's the pattern that the Statue of Liberty represents and Espinosa agreed. He said, "Detective Haig, we are facing a killer that is heavily biased by the Statue of Freedom. We have already tagged this case as 'The Freedom Murders'.
Nick said, "You are using the plural of the word 'Murder'. Does that mean that you are expecting more of the same?" Carlos said, "It's just a guess but, for some reason, my gut feeling tells me that this is the beginning of a serial event that will haunt us for several years unless we get lucky and find more clues. We need to move fast on this one before he can give us more victims containing more of those long gutter nails.
"Roger, Chief. I couldn't agree with you more. If you don't mind, I will call my associate Denise now and get her started on background information on the former Ms. Pearl Olinger. I want to know all that I can learn about this poor girl before too much time passes us by.
And, as you know, Chief, Denise is a master at the computer. Let her work out the background history for our lovely victim, OK?" Carlos agreed because he did not have access to the complex super-computers that Nick and Denise owned.
Unfortunately, the Sheriff had invested more dollars in personnel as opposed to computers. As a result, he depended too much on databases and associates like Nick Haig and Denise Slapovich.
He considered using a small detective agency as being more cost attractive than hiring full-time computer analysts. And, Nick couldn't be happier because that's what paid his rent for an upstairs flat that was located just off Strand Avenue.
Nick put on his plastic gloves as he began his preliminary macro-examination of the corpse. He used his voice recorder to document his preliminary findings and notes; namely,
The deceased Pearl Olinger is a Caucasian female of medium height and build. Her identity is known to us by an ID bracelet that bears her name which is still fastened to her left wrist. Which implies that she was right handed.
She is naked except for one shoe which is still attached. That shoe is a designer shoe worth at least $1000 in US currency.
Her breasts are magnificent. First guess is a 38 C size with a pendulus pair of breasts.
There are no critical wounds are obvious other than those made by the seven gutter nails.
There are a few bruises which do suggest that she fought her killer until she was sedated and overpowered.
There is no evidence that her pubic area has been violated or abused. This suggests that the killer could have been a female. The Coroner will make a more quantitative analysis at a later date.
Unfortunately, some of the evidence has been destroyed or washed away by her exposure to sea water.
There is no evidence of any defensive wounds but she does have some unidentified material beneath her finger nails which merits an additional analyses by the Galveston County Coroner.
Her leg and arm bruises suggest that she was tightly-bound and sedated before the nails were driven in place.
The entry point for each gutter nail was precise which indicates that she was held stationary while the nails were being driven into her head.
Her toenails are painted very professionally so she is quite likely a model, a dancer or a hooker. Most women cannot afford a professional detail job like the style that she has on her toes.
PERSONAL NOTE: Search for pedicure shops that do professional toe styles using templates and designs that carry an official trademark by their original designer.
There is one needle mark under her rotator cuff which is probably related to her being partially sedated by her killer or killers.
A couple of teeth are missing which suggests that she was hit pretty hard when she was fighting for her life.
One shoe is missing. Find the missing shoe and we may know where she was murdered. First search should be on the beaches in and around La Porte, TX.
Check the missing persons files. The person that paid for those designer shoes should want to know what has happened to his lovely companion.
Canvas the area hardware stores to determine if anyone has bought a large quantity of gutter nails recently. Cross check that list with pharmacies who have sold an abnormal amount of sedative-type drugs lately.
The Coroner who had been watching Nick throughout his preliminary field examination was very impressed. He said, "You have been most thorough Detective Haig. I am enthusiastic about your field examination of the departed Ms. Olinger.
Not many detectives are as sensitive as they need to be concerning the destruction of raw evidence and making my job harder than it needs to be." I thanked him and I asked him for a final copy of his Coroner's Report when he was finished with his examination and, then, I bid everyone adieu to return to my office where Denise and I would plan our modus operandi.
She would take the more feminine topics while I would go after the more masculine ones. But, our rule was one at a time. We could never consider the second issue until the first one was finished, et cetera.
Because Nick had a foot fetish concerning the beauty of expensive shoes he decided to take that 'action item' first. He decided to comb the beaches outside of La Porte, TX. It took him about four hours to find the missing shoe.
So, that particular discovery told him that Pearl Olinger was dumped outside of La Porte, a small city of 34,000 people and the fourth largest city of Harris County. He concluded that the incoming waves had pushed her body in a Northeasterly direction where she became stranded at Morgan's Point.
Next, he visited the Galleria Stores of Houston to see if and when those shoes were sold to a customer by the name of Olinger. Those Galleria Stores are the best source where high-end merchandise is offered for sale. The stores of the Galleria Mall have no working knowledge about the word called 'cheap'.
Surprisingly, they did not carry that particular brand of an Italian shoe. But, under pressure, they did admit that they did have an active charge account for a Pearl Olinger. And, since Ms. Olinger was now dead, they agreed to tell him exactly where Pearl resided.
She lived in an upper class subdivision in Pearland called 'Golfcrest' and Nick Haig went there immediately to see if she was the only resident at that address. And, if a husband or boyfriend lived under the same roof.
It turned out that Mr. Olinger was alive and well at the Golfcrest address. His maid, an attractive blonde, answered the front doorbell and she was very courteous after he had revealed his identity as a police detective who was on the Homicide Staff at the Galveston Police Station. He added that he worked for the Sheriff, Carlos Espinosa.
In a sexy voice, she said, "I have seen Sheriff Espinoza on the evening news on many different occasions. Please sit here in the front parlor while I tell Paul that you are here to speak with him. It won't be long, be comfortable and relax, if you can. To me, you appear to be so tense and stressed-out. You might be in need of some elaborate sexual exercises. And, for whatever reason, she winked at him before she left the parlor room.
Detective Haig looked around the room to see if he could figure out how Paul Olinger was wired. Regretfully, this was a woman's room. There was nothing in that room which was masculine in any way. He saw a lot of ceramics and silver. And there was a lot of trinkets that were created by Thomas Kinkade, the artist.
All along the walls were portraits made by Wanda Prothro and James Dyke, local artists of the Friendswood area. This room was attractive but it was too overstuffed which indicated some theoretical suggestions about the hidden personality of the deceased wife, Pearl Olinger.
At first guess, Pearl came from a poor family which is why she wanted more material possessions. If that was not applicable, then she was a typical bimbo that didn't know the meaning of 'stop' when it came to shopping for pretty things when she already had entirely too many of them anyway.
Just then, Mr. Paul Olinger arrived at the parlor room. He was an old man of about 80-years young who bore a strange resemblance to Hugh Heffner, the owner of Playmate magazine.
Privately, Nick wondered if the resemblance between the two ended there. For example, he asked himself, does the resemblance end at that point or is he more like Hugh Heffner than Hugh is? Or, is this old man just a womanizer? Is he the type of husband who gets rid of his wives in a rather permanent sort of way when he wants a new and different replacement?
While Mr. Olinger was winding his way around all of the knick-knacks and do-dads, it was obvious that he was steering his wheel chair very carefully to avoid hitting anything of his wife's precious possessions.
He said, I hate this room because it is so crowded. Do you mind if we move to the Grand Hall way? I could have more room to move around in if we did. So we transferred our selves to an area where there were no obstacles to his path. He introduced himself as Paul Olinger and he was accompanied by his porter and by the blond maid who had answered the front door for Nick to enter.
The porter was introduced as Ned Baker and the maid was known as Bea Wadsworth. She was pretty close to the point of being exotic or exceptional but Ned was rough and tough by comparison.
He had several scars on his face so he was already a possible suspect in Nick's mind. Those scars on Ned's face appeared to have been caused by knives but he did notice some fresh scratches that were about one week old. Could these have been caused by Pearl during the fleeting moments of her life?
Nick made a mental note to perform a DNA comparison between Ned's scratches and the debris under Pearl's fingernails. But that would have to wait until later because everyone was now ready for the first interview session to begin.
After Nick had properly introduced himself, he began his basic style of questioning. First, he asked if anyone objected to his voice recorder being used and when they all said, "No." Then, he began his basic questioning that he used whenever he was investigating a possible murder.
Mr. Olinger, have you been contacted by the Galveston Police in any way recently?
* Paul Olinger replied, "No I have not. Are you here to tell me something about my missing wife, Pearl?
Mr. Olinger, I regret to inform you that your wife is dead, an apparent victim of drowning. We found her this morning near Morgan's Point and she had been in the water for about one week.
* The husband showed no typical signs of remorse other than a few tears. We gave him a few moments to recover before we pressed onward with more questions.
You said she was 'missing' yet we could not find her name on any missing persons file. Why is that?
* I didn't fill out any such file formally because she was always going somewhere to experience her new adventures. Pearl was a writer and she went boating regularly on our yacht, Grandeur. In fact, that boat was her writing office and her personal den to create her novels and organize new ideas for her next book. She wrote mysteries and romantic novels and she was very talented in that way.
When did you last see your wife?
* It was about one week ago, plus or minus a day or so.
Can you account for your whereabouts during the last ten days?
* I was here where I always am. As you can see, I am unable to walk and all of my movements are highly restricted. Ask Ned and Bea. They can vouch for my presence during the past week or two. They keep excellent daily records on my behalf because that's how they get paid, by the day.
Tell me about your yacht. What was her name again and where is she berthed?
* My yacht is named 'Grandeur' and she was anchored in open water about one-quarter mile out from Galveston Bay.
So, anyone could have boarded 'Grandeur' at any time while she was anchored, is that not correct?
* Yes, Detective, they could have if they had been so inclined. But, Pearl always carried heat so she would have shot any intruder or boat invader and without any hesitation whatsoever. She was a former farm girl and she knew all about handling brute force.
Mr. Olinger, you chose the words 'was anchored' Why did you use those two words and, especially, why did you use the past tense of 'is'?
* Because 'Grandeur' is now missing, that's why. Three days ago, Ned went out to do some maintenance on my ship and he couldn't find her. Some bastard has already stolen my sixty-foot yacht!
Did you report the absence of Grandeur to the authorities of the Coast Guard?
Excerpted from THE FREEDOM MURDERS by Charles Hays. Copyright © 2013 by Charles Hays. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Discovery.................... 1
Chapter 2 Session One.................... 15
Chapter 3 Session Two.................... 33
Chapter 4 Grandeur.................... 43
Chapter 5 Mildred.................... 54
Chapter 6 Data.................... 65
Chapter 7 Sally.................... 80
Chapter 8 Depositions.................... 90
Chapter 9 Voyage.................... 99
Chapter 10 St. Kitts.................... 113
Chapter 11 Engagement.................... 125
Chapter 12 Puerto Rico.................... 137
Chapter 13 Apia.................... 149
Chapter 14 Futures.................... 161