by PB Curtis
Suspicious Sunday Challenge on the Community Page
George Freud pulled into the lot at Horseneck Beach, in his hometown of Westport, Massachusetts. After a long week at work, he finally got to do what he loved best. Combing the sand of beaches. Over the years, he had visited many different ones, across the map. He had been to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York, and Virginia Beach in Sandbridge, Virginia and he had even traveled to Champagne Beach on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu. Over the years, he's come across and collected coins, bottle caps, sea shells, and other useless items, that were just tossed on the beach or in the ocean, and eventually washed up and buried in the sand. Today would be different.
George always tried to stay out of people's way, or he would go early in the morning when there were little to no people. On this particular Sunday morning, there were only two people. A laid-back surfing instructor who was over yonder teaching a boy to surf on the sand. He thought laid-back, due to him sitting in a beach chair, pointing and directing the student.
A few minutes in, he combed up the most beautiful seashell he had ever seen. It had the colors of blue, and green, and also some shades of purple, which sparkled in the sun. He placed it in his fanny pack, wondering if there could be more. He continued combing. Suddenly, his rake was caught on something. He yanked the rake back hard, and when he did, he discovered what he was caught on. It was a human skeleton hand, which seemed to be attached to an arm, yet the arm was buried further down. It was a decayed brownish-white, with two fingers out of the five, missing. George dropped the rake, put a hand over his mouth, and jumped back around four feet, yelling out, "Woooohh! What in the world?"
Both the instructor and the boy overheard this. They ran over to see what was going on.
"What did you find there, friend?", asked the instructor. "Are you okay?" Then both he and the boy saw what it was. "Damn", said the instructor.
The boy knelt down, examining it closer, his eyes widened, and he blurted out, "Cool." The instructor put a hand on the boy's shoulder and told him to back away from it. "But why?", he asked.
While reaching for his cell, he said, "Because that's not cool. It's human remains and soon-to-be evidence for the police."
Thirty minutes later, the two men heard the sirens in the distance. The instructor had sent the boy home. This was nothing for him to watch.
Finally, two cruisers, followed by a Forensic truck, flew into the lot. One officer walked over with two CSIs, the other officer began taping off the beach. "Please back away from the scene", ordered one of the forensics.
"Hi there, I'm Officer Andrews. Who found these remains?" The instructor pointed at George, in an L shape, with his thumb and index finger.
"I did sir., after combing the sand."
"Okay, and your name is?"
"George. George Freud."
"Alright", Andrews said. "Please stand by, we may have more questions." George nodded.
The forensic team began doing their job, digging around the skull hand until they dug far enough to retrieve the whole arm. It was carefully handled and bagged up. "Steve, should we dig around the area to see if there's more?"
"Absolutely", said his teammate. They spent around an hour digging, but to no avail, they found nothing more.
It was now seven o'clock PM, the scene was cleared, and twenty miles away, Mary Schaeffer was watching News Center 5, while her mother-in-law was fixing a snack in the kitchen. They came back from a commercial and newscaster John McMichael began announcing that
human remains had been found, buried in the sand at Horseneck Beach. Mary gasped, placing a palm on her chest. "Mom, get in here", she shouted. Her Mother in law rushed in while stuffing her mouth with popcorn. In a hum speech, she asked, "What is it?", as she dropped in her recliner. Mary pointed at the tv. "Just listen."
"To whom the skeleton arm belongs, nobody knows. We will follow up, as we learn more."
"I don't get it", her Mom said. Mary's face began to lose color, her nostrils were flared, she was clenching her fists, and her jaw and lips were tense.
"They found remains at Horseneck Beach." Mom thought about it for a moment, then it dawned on her. She placed her hand over her mouth and uttered a cry. "Oh my God, you don't think?"-
"I don't know what to think right now, should I call the police?"
"Uh, yeah, absolutely. They'll see you reported Jerry missing a month ago."
The following morning, Mary and her Mom were at the Westport Police Department. They met with Officer Andrews, and also The Captain, Thomas Wolf. "Please have a seat", said The Captain. "Would you like coffee or a soda?" They both shook their heads no.
"Okay", he said. I see you reported your husband missing recently?"
"Yes, a month ago, do you think it could be him?" He sipped at his own coffee, while Andrews shrugged his shoulders.
"We don't know right now, who it is. It's gonna take a couple of weeks for any test results to come back, but because it's a skull hand, and arm, with no skin attached, it's going to be nearly impossible." Mary lowered her head, put a hand over her eyes, and began to weep.
"Miss Schaeffer? I didn't say it was totally impossible. These forensics are really good nowadays. It's amazing what they're able to find, okay?" With her head still hung low, she said, "Okay."
Officer Andrews chimed in. "Miss-"
"Mary. Call me Mary." He held both palms out while nodding.
"Alright, Mary. You said your husband was at Horseneck Beach a month ago?"
"Can you tell me what he was doing there, I don't have the report in front of me."
"I have it", Captain Wolf said. He was, where is it here? Cliff diving, is that correct?"
"Yes, he loves diving off cliffs, he also dives off bridges and rocky landings. But on that day, yes it was the cliff there at the beach."
"Now you weren't with him. Is it possible he could have gone somewhere else that day?"
"No", she answered without delay. He even sent me a picture he took of himself that day, at Horseneck Beach." She pulled it up and handed him her cell. He saw a man with a big smile, giving a thumbs up. He was wearing navy blue swim trunks, and a white Nike t-shirt with the arms of the shirt cut off. He handed the cell to Andrews.
"Yup, that's definitely the cliff at Horseneck", he confirmed. He then handed the phone back to her.
"Now Miss-, I'm sorry, Mary. It doesn't mean those remains belong to him. It could be somebody else's." She looked at him with disdain.
"Officer Andrews, what are the odds, my husband was there, he ended up missing, and that not be him?"
He sighed with pity. "I'm just saying, we shouldn't jump to conclusions until we know more."
"Fine", she said. "Call me when you do know more. Let's go, Mom."
They were just about at the exit door when Andrews called out to them.
"Listen", he said. "We're going to send divers to investigate the surrounding area, below the cliff, later on today. Normally, we wouldn't even think of doing that, but because we know he was on the cliff, it's possible he may have slipped and fallen. It's very rocky up there. I will call you no matter what is or isn't found." She hesitantly nodded. "Okay."
Two Police divers hit the water at twelve-thirty. At twelve-forty, they resurfaced. One of them yelled up. "Call the CSI team, we got something." Two hours later, a partial body of a man, was carefully pulled out, wrapped in a sheet, and placed in a body bag. The only part of his legs that were left were his thighs. There were chunks bitten out of his face, and the Nike t-shirt was ripped a bit, but the majority of it was still intact. Also, there was a knife sticking in his torso.
Officer Andrews was holding his cell in his hand and he was pacing back and forth in the station. Making this call to Mary was haunting him, but he stepped outside into the glistering sun and did what he had to.
"Mary, I know this is gonna be hard, but we need you to come down and identify the body." He decided not to tell her about the knife until she got there. She was hysterical on the phone, buried in tears, as was her Mom. She finally calmed down the best she could. "I'll be there."
She entered the police morgue, and the stench in there nearly gagged her. As soon as they removed the sheet, she screamed. She knew, even though the head was beginning to decay, it was Jerry. The final confirmation was that Nike T. Andrews quickly escorted her out of the morgue and upstairs. He got a bottle of water for her, without even asking if she wanted one, and handed it to her. She removed the cap, and took a long swig, downing about half of it. Captain Wolf joined the two of them and sat down at the interrogation table.
"Hi, Mary. I am so sorry for your loss, the whole station is, believe me. If there's anything you need, anything at all, just ask or you can call me or Officer Andrews personally. She took another sip of her water, then lowered her head in silence. No tears, no crying, just silence.
"There is only one thing I want from you." Wolf glanced over to Andrews, who nodded in agreement when he said, "Anything."
Mary slowly lifted her head, her eyes swollen and bloodshot. Her forehead was crinkled. She pointed at each of them. "You find the sonofabitch who killed my husband. They attempted to say they would do their best and she stopped them cold. If her eyes could shoot lasers, they'd both be dead too.
"NO!, I don't want your best, I want results, do you understand what I'm saying?" They both nodded immediately. "We will."
Detective Kyle Sanders was sifting through his mail at the kitchen table when his phone buzzed. Captain Wolf explained as much as he could to him, and he headed to the station. On the way, he bought a coffee at D&D through the drive-thru and was in deep thought, on what his first steps would be.
"My first step is getting the results back on that damn knife.", he told Wolf. "I've already called over to the forensic lab and told them to make it a priority. They agreed and they're on it."
"Okay, good start. What else?"
"I'm heading over to talk to Mrs. Schaeffer, right now. I want to know if he had enemies."
Wolf glanced over to his right, looking at nothing. He then turned back and looked up at the detective.
"Well, one thing is for sure. He had at least one."
Mary opened the door, the detective flashed his badge, and she welcomed him into the living room. "Please, take a seat on the recliner.", she said. Her Mother-in-law joined her on the sofa. "Have you found out anything, detective?" He reached into an inner pocket of his jacket, pulled out a mini pad and pen, and flipped it open. "Mrs. Sch-"
"Mary. Call me Mary."
"My apologies", he said. "Mary. Did your husband have any enemies you know of, someone he may have pissed off, anything like that?"
She sat back, looked at her M-I-L, and said, "No, I don't think so. No, everybody liked him, he's funny. Well, he was." She lowered her head and began to cry. Her M-I-L placed an arm around her, and Mary rested her head on her shoulder.
"Okay, I don't have any more questions right now, that I can think of, but I'll be in touch."
It took about three days for the results of the knife to come back. Mike Delaney, the forensic who tested it, told Detective Sanders to come to see him. "What did you find?", he asked.
"It's better you come and see me." Sanders sighed. "Fine, I'm on my way."
Traffic was jammed on James Boulevard for about twenty minutes, due to a car accident. He had a lot of thoughts run through his mind while sitting there. "What did they find?", he said out loud to himself. "Maybe it's nothing?" Suddenly, he slammed a fist on the dash. One, he didn't know the answer, and two-his patience was running low, due to the standstill. Finally, traffic began to move and he was on his way.
"Alright, Mike, what do you got?" Mike Delaney's back was turned. He spun his swivel chair around, and placed a tan folder on the counter, and opened it.
"You're not gonna believe this one."
"God damn, Mike, just spill it."
"Okay, okay", he said. "I performed a test using my lightning black powder. I took the latent print on one side of the handle. It belongs to Norman Lesner. He's in the system for theft and another time, he beat a guy almost to death.
"Well, I'm gonna go arrest him, then."
Mike put up a hand. "Hang on. That's not all. There was a different print on the other side of the handle." He paused.
"AND!" the detective shouted.
"It belongs to Mrs. Schaeffer."
Officer Andrews made the arrest of Norman Lesner, at his job at the Jameson factory, where he was loading a truck with goods.
"What's this all about?", he yelled. As Andrews was cuffing him, he gave him the, you have the right to remain silent spiel. "For the murder of Jerry Schaeffer." Meanwhile, Detective Sanders made his way over to Mrs. Schaeffers to arrest her. He went alone, so it didn't make her nervous. At that point, he didn't care how nervous she got, he just wanted her locked up.
Back in the interrogation room, she was sitting alone, hands cuffed to the table. Both Andrews and Sanders walked in, with looks of disgust on their faces. They had already spoken with Norman Lesner, but she didn't know that. Matter of fact, she didn't even know they arrested him.
"Why am I here like this, how could you think I'd kill my husband?" Andrews scoffed. "Because you did. You weren't alone though were you?"
She sat back, using an arrogant look. "I have no idea what you're tal"- Sanders slammed his palm on the table. "Stop lying! You've done enough of that.. Not to mention everything you've put your Mother -In-Law through." She yelled back, "I didn't do it!" Andrews was about to say something, and Sanders put up a hand, which silenced him. The detective took in a breath to calm himself. Then, he looked her in the eyes.
"How do you know Norman Lesner?" As soon as he said the name, her facial expression changed from arrogance to fear, leading to tears.
"Oh, enough of the fake tears", Andrews said.
"I don't know anyone by that name." He and Andrews smiled at one another.
Sanders said, "Oh, but you do. You know him very well, especially when he's been in your bed. Here's what I know. You and Norman began an affair. You met at the Stop N Shop down the road." As he continued talking, her jaw hung open, in disbelief that they knew so much. She interrupted. "Did you guys arrest Norman?" Sanders and Andrews looked at each other.
"I thought you didn't know him?", Sanders asked.
"What did he tell you?"
Andrews said, "he told us the whole truth, in order to not get the needle, and just rot in prison." Sanders continued.
"Long story short, you gave Norman the knife to use. It came right out of your kitchen drawer. While handing it to him, you left a thumbprint on the handle. Then, when Norman stabbed him, before pushing him to his final death, he stabbed him with the knife upside down, which left his thumbprint on the opposite side of the knife. . Norman, after pushing him, jumped in the water himself and jammed one of his legs between two rocks to hold his body down, so it wouldn't rise to the top, after a couple of days. You both never thought his body would be found, and even if it was found, you figured Norman would be the one to go down, and that's why you had no problem telling us that that's where your husband was last, but the fatal mistake you made was touching the handle of the knife. Norman filled us in on the rest. Now, you didn't do the killing, that part is true, but you are an accomplice and you're going to jail, Mrs. Schaeffer."
She began to form a crooked smile, as they stood up to bring her to her cell, where she would remain until her arraignment the following Monday morning. After uncuffing her, Officer Andrews said, "Let's go, Mrs. Schaeffer."
She glanced up at him. "Mary. You can call me Mary."