“I’m looking through these medical records from 1969,” Det. Becker said, brushing a dry flat centipede from a page. “I’m looking for the blood type of the patient Susan Knight and the orderly that was murdered. I need to see if the karambit used in the Zimmerman murder case is the same one that was used in 1969.”
“If it is, how did McGee get it?” Det. Wanat asked, tapping computer keys.
“I don’t think McGee got it,” he said. “I have a hunch it was someone else.”
Wanat looked up from her desk. “Who?”
“I don’t know, but I’m going to speak with Doctor Suharto this afternoon,” Det. Becker said, blowing more filth from the pages. “I have Peggy checking to see if the Doctor Suharto from 1969 is the same doctor currently overseeing Ms. McGee’s case.”
“You don’t think the doctor committed the murder, do you?” Det. Wanat said.
“I highly doubt it. But if it is the same weapon, and it was hidden in the building all these years, I think Ms. McGee either found it while she was a tenant there. Or someone else found it and framed her,” he said.
“So McGee could still be guilty,” Det. Wanat said. “She found it, went nuts, and killed the superintendent.”
“It’s possible, but there’s no motive,” Det. Becker said. “Ms. McGee had no reason to murder him, other than the disease she has, schizophrenia, could have made her think he was someone else. Maybe she believed she had to protect herself—a hallucination or delusion from someone not in their right mind. On the other hand, she could have been framed as she has said, but by who and for what reason. I don’t think Doctor Suharto framed her.”
“What about the ghosts,” Det. Wanat said in jest. “Didn’t McGee talk about reincarnation and that she was one of the nurses working there in 1969. She even mentioned their names, Deborah somebody and a doctor she called Bruce. She even mentioned the little girl she called Susie, who apparently is Susan Knight. Is it possible that she got into the medical records when she lived there, found their names and the knife, and then went off the deep end and killed Mr. Zimmerman? No reincarnation. No ghosts. Besides, can ghosts even lift things?” Det. Wanat laughed.
“According to the current property manager, Tim Chandler, no one has been in that room in years,” Det. Becker said. “And by all the cobwebs, dust, and dirt in the medical records room, that appears to be the case. If Ms. McGee had been in that room, there was no evidence of it.”
“Maybe there are more medical records in the building, or maybe the psychic said something to her,” Det. Wanat said, leaning back in her chair. “Especially since that Ethel used to work there in 1969. Could she have committed the murder? Maybe she framed McGee. It would be pretty easy to frame a crazy person.”
“That is another possibility,” Det. Becker said. “Ethel doesn’t seem like the type to commit murder, but I’ve been a detective long enough to know you can’t judge a book by its cover.”
“To me, the psychic seems to be the most likely suspect,” Det. Wanat said. “She knows the history of the building. And she would know the names of the staff without having to go into the medical records room, she may have known where the karambit was hidden, and she knew Mr. Zimmerman a long time. In fact, they were the only ones in the building for quite some time. Maybe they were romantically involved and something happened, and the psychic got angry or jealous and wanted revenge and the new tenant, McGee, provided the perfect way to commit the crime. Ethel Dory could even have had a key to McGee’s apartment, especially since McGee’s apartment still used an old skeleton key. McGee would be easy to setup, especially since her husband just committed suicide and the disease of schizophrenia has apparently been progressing.” Det. Wanat clasped her hands behind her head. “This whole mission she has to save McGee could just be a ruse to keep us off track.”
Det. Becker had considered the possibility of Ethel Dory being the perpetrator of the crime, but there was no evidence. He had never gotten the sense that she was involved, other than trying to help Maggie. His gut was typically right and he trusted it, but it was not one hundred percent accurate. With Det. Wanat pointing out the obvious, suspicion was shifting from Maggie to Ethel.
“Hey, Becker,” Peggy Hernandez said, walking into the criminal investigation room. She laid some papers on his desk. “It looks like it’s the same Doctor Suharto. He had a stint of residency at the Lake Shore Sanatorium and Psychiatric Hospital in 1969. Then he moved on to the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Facility and then finally into his position as a primary psychiatrist at Port Glenn Psychiatric and Forensic Hospital.”
“Has anything come back on the DNA?” Det. Becker asked as he looked over the paperwork that Peggy had brought in.
“Not yet,” Peggy said, putting her hands on her hips.
“I’m going to see if I can get a voluntary cheek swab from Ethel Dory and Doctor Suharto,” Det. Becker said. He looked up at Peggy still standing by his desk. “I need to leave soon to speak with the doctor. I’ll catch up with Ms. Dory later. Can you go through these documents for me, Peggy?”
“Sure, what am I looking for?” Peggy said.
“First, this letter goes into evidence for the 1969 murder of an orderly named Damian Richards at Lake Shore Sanatorium and Psychiatric Hospital,” Det. Becker said. “As far as the rest of these papers, I need evidence that the murder weapon used by a ten-year-old patient named Susan Knight, was covered up. It’ll be evident when you read the letter. Also, I need information on the nurses Deborah Franklin and Margaret Austin, including pictures if you can find some. I also need information on Doctor Bruce Hancock, and of course, Doctor Aditya Suharto. And Ethel Dory, she was a receptionist there during the time of the murder. With all the similarities between these people, see if you can find anything out about Mr. Carl Zimmerman. I wouldn’t be surprised if he worked there during that time, as well.”
“Wow, two murders decades apart with possibly the same weapon and all these people with some connection between the two cases,” Peggy said. She held out her hand ready to take the smelly paperwork.
“The pile of papers is all yours,” Det. Becker said as he stood. He looked at Det. Wanat. “I’m going to the crime lab to get a couple buccal swab collection kits and then I’m going to see Doctor Suharto, first.”
Det. Wanat smiled. “Johnny, you get all the interesting cases.”
* * *
“Nice to meet you, Detective Becker,” Dr. Suharto said, motioning for the detective to step inside his office. “Please, have a seat.”
“Thank you,” Det. Becker said, sitting in the same leather chair that Ethel had sat in a couple days earlier.
“You’re here about Margaret McGee?” the doctor asked, seated at his desk.
“Yes, I am,” Det. Becker said. “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”
“Not a problem,” Dr. Suharto said. “I have to meet with a client shortly, but I have time to answer a few questions.”
“I’ll get right to the point,” Det. Becker said. “Have you ever worked at Lake Shore Sanatorium and Psychiatric Hospital?”
Dr. Suharto frowned. “I was a resident there while I was going through my medical training. It was a long time ago. Why do you ask?”
“Do you remember any of the doctors, or psychiatrists, that you trained under?” Det. Becker asked.
Dr. Suharto cleared his throat. “Like I said, it was a long time ago, Detective. I’ve trained under many doctors.”
“Does the name Doctor Young ring a bell?” Det. Becker said.
Dr. Suharto shook his head and leaned back in his cushiony desk chair. “No, can’t say as though it does.”
“How about Doctor Bruce Hancock?”
Dr. Suharto stared at Det. Becker. He leaned forward and looked down at his desk as if he were searching for something. “It sounds familiar.”
“Have you read Ms. McGee’s police report?” Det. Becker asked.
“Yes, what a sad state of affairs. Ms. McGee was living with undiagnosed schizophrenia, which was made worse by the suicide of husband, and by that . . . if you don’t mind my saying . . . that crazy women who calls herself a seer. Did you know, Detective, that she had the nerve to call me earlier today asking if I knew anything about the karambit and wondering if I had worked in her apartment building when it was a hospital? The point, Detective, is that she was insinuating that I had something to do with . . .” he shook his head, “I don’t know what. The woman is essentially conducting her own investigation. Can you do something to stop her from harassing me?”
“I’m sorry,” Det. Becker said. He strained to hold back a smile, amused that Ethel was pressuring the doctor. “I’ll have a talk with her. I didn’t realize she was . . . harassing you.”
Dr. Suharto fidgeted with the papers on his desk. “It’s just a coincidence that I happened to work at that hospital in the late sixties.”
“Did you know the murder victim, Mr. Carl Zimmerman?” Det. Becker asked, watching the doctor intently, assessing his body language and gesture clusters. He could tell the doctor was uncomfortable with the questioning.
The doctor shook his head. “No, it doesn’t ring a bell, as you say.”
“Do you remember a Mr. Zimmerman working at the hospital and at the same time as you?” Det. Becker said, trying to connect the people with the two murders.
“I don’t remember,” Dr. Suharto said. He glanced at the detective and then back down at his desk. “I don’t think I paid much attention to other staff in the facility.”
Det. Becker reached into his pocket and pulled out the photograph of the karambit. “Have you seen this before?”
Dr. Suharto took the photograph, studied it a moment, and then handed it back. “It’s a karambit. I hope you’re not suggesting that I know anything about the actual murder weapon.”
“Just routine questions,” Det. Becker said, placing it back into his pocket. “What do you know about karambits?”
“I know it’s found in Asia and has been around for hundreds of years,” Dr. Suharto said.
“What is your country of origin?” Det. Becker asked.
“Indonesia,” Dr. Suharto said, angrily. “Surely, Detective, you’re not here to lay the murder of Mr. Zimmerman on me?”
“No, I apologize,” Det. Becker said, not wanting to make the doctor defensive and refuse the cheek swab. He held up the cheek swab kit that he had brought in with him. “Would you mind if I performed a buccal swab? It’s routine and is voluntary.”
Dr. Suharto rolled his eyes. “If I don’t allow the buccal swab I’ll look guilty, so go ahead, Detective, perform the swab.”
Det. Becker had the doctor sign a consent form. Then he put the cotton-tipped applicator into Dr. Suharto’s mouth and swabbed the inside of his cheek. Then he placed it into a receptacle with a desiccant and applied the tamper-evident police evidence seals. “Thank you, Doctor Suharto. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.”