Langston was smiling as he entered the lab and walked over to join Gavin and Niles in Gavin’s office. After taking a seat, he said, “The information you got was valid. There was a mugging of an elderly man behind that club. He died. It happened just a couple of days before Hawkins moved into the apartment.”
“Ergo the mugging victim was Hawkins’ lover. You’ll need more than that coincidence to tie the two together Lang.”
“Telling me my job Gavin? I know that. Grab you kits and you team and let’s get moving. We have an address for the house. Once the the police determined who the man was, which took a couple of days because the mugger took his wallet; they paid a visit to the house. There was no one there, but according to the reports it was evident that the man hadn’t been living alone. Unfortunately they did only a cursory search before deciding that whoever had been living there was long gone and untraceable. Since the old man’s death was the result of a mugging they let that drop.”
As Gavin got ready to accompany Langston he said, “I take it the house belonged to him.”
“Yes, so unless it’s been vandalized it should be in the same condition it was when he died, other than accumulated dust and what have you.”
Gavin nodded, waiting for his team to collect what was needed, and then he and Niles followed Langston to his car while the others took the van.
Fifteen minutes later Niles said, “Not too shabby,” as he looked at the house. It was two stories with dormer windows on the second floor, set on at least a quarter acre of what had once undoubtedly been well kept lawns. It was apparent that it had been vacant for a while but from the look of it no one had broken in which given the neighborhood was unsurprising.
Langston pulled into the long driveway and parked, waiting for the van to come up behind him before getting out. He took out the keys to the house, the only thing the mugger hadn’t taken from his victim other than a handful of loose change, and led them to the side entrance.
“OK,” Gavin said once everyone was inside. “We need to find anything that will link Hawkins to this place. You heard what Lang said, the cops who checked it out the first time around did a cursory job of it. We need to get any and all trace evidence, items that don’t look as if they’d belonged to the owner, the whole nine yards. As usual,” he added with a tight smile.
Niles and Nadine led the way, each taking a floor and photographing everything for the record. Then the rest of the team spread out and the search began.
* * * *
“We have enough trace evidence to place Hawkins at the house as a resident,” Gavin told Langston the day following their search of the place. “One room was quite obviously his just from the amount of hairs, and minute skin particles we found, even though he’d cleared it out and taken everything that was his with him when he left. There’s no doubt the master bedroom was the old man’s. Everything there appears to be just the way he left it the night he went to that club, except for one thing.”
“The proverbial hiding place behind a drawer in his desk.” Langston shook his head. “When will people learn?”
“Never I’m afraid. We can presume that the money Hawkins deposited in the various bank accounts was stashed there. His fingerprints are all over that drawer and the cubbyhole behind it so we know he took something.”
“Now the question becomes did Hawkins kill his lover and then make it look like a mugging or was it a real mugging and he just took advantage of it.”
“If we’re right about his being blackmailed,” Niles said, “then we should probably assume he’s the killer. The man Gavin talked to did say he thought he saw Hawkins at the club that night. Maybe someone saw him murder his lover.”
“And the second set of bones we found quite possibly are his, or hers if the blackmailer was a woman.”
“What’s to say there weren’t two people working together to blackmail him?” Niles asked.
“Nothing,” Langston replied.
Gavin picked up a pen and began listing their suppositions. “First we have Hawkins and his older lover. Then we have Hawkins and the man he shared the apartment with. Finally we have the two other sets of bones at the dumpsite in the bayou one or both of whom could belong to the presumed blackmailer, singular or plural.”
Langston picked it up from there. “Hawkins, for whatever reason, kills the old man. Someone sees him and starts to blackmail him. I’m sure that didn’t sit well with him or the dark-haired man he was living with at the apartment. I think we’re probably alright with saying those two were lovers rather than just roommates.”
“I agree. Now, considering the forensics books we found there it’s logical to presume that they decided they’d had enough of the blackmailer and decided to eliminate him, or them.”
“Point of interest,” Niles interjected. “One body was stripped naked before it was put into the bayou, the other two weren’t. Could that mean that they thought they’d found the blackmailer and killed him and then someone else, the woman, continued where her partner had left off?”
“That is an interesting point.” Gavin made note of it on his list.
“Given the scenario we’re developing I’d say the boyfriend killed Hawkins for some reason while they were in the process of, or after, they murdered the woman,” Langston said.
Gavin nodded. “Logical. Now all we have to do is prove it, and to do that we have to find out who the other man and the woman were.”
“Which means I go back to that club and start asking questions,” Langston said, getting up. “And there’s no time like the present to do it.”