Disclaimer: See my profile.
"Finally, as previously stated, our profiles are based on what's missing from a crime scene along with what is present at the scene."
Hotch looked out at the roomful of faces and said, "At this point Agent Morgan and I will take your questions."
"How many profilers currently work at the BAU?"
"There are currently twenty-nine members of the BAU," Hotch answered.
"Are there any female agents on your team?"
Morgan nodded to the blond woman who had asked the question. "Our team has seven members; six Special Agents plus our technical analyst. Two of our agents plus the technical analyst are female. Therefore, in the case of our team it's three out of seven, so pretty even."
"What sort of background do you need to apply to the BAU?"
Hotch smiled. "If you know anything about the history of the F.B.I. then you probably also know that in the beginning you had to be either a lawyer or an accountant." There was laughter from the assembled group. "You must first fit the requirements for the Special Agent position. Aside from the physical requirements, the age requirements and the ability to pass the background check; you must possess at least a four year college degree, three years of professional experience, a valid driver's license and be able to accept assignment anywhere in the F.B.I.'s jurisdiction. A law enforcement or military background or experience is not necessary. Special Agents with degrees or expertise in the physical sciences, computer science, engineering, architecture, law, accounting and other disciplines that require a mind trained for logical analysis and critical thinking are actively sought out. BAU members generally need additional professional experience and preferably some background in psychology." He turned toward Morgan before continuing. "Agent Morgan does have a background in law enforcement from his time with the Chicago P.D. However, it's not a requirement. I personally came to the BAU from a background as a Federal Prosecutor."
"It sounds like it takes a number of years to qualify to join the BAU. How old is your team's youngest member?"
"Our youngest team member is twenty-eight years old and has been on our team almost six years. Before that he was part of the Unit through a mentor. He is…exceptional."
"How do you decide which cases to work on? You must receive many more requests for your services than you handle."
Morgan nodded. "You're absolutely correct. Cases are generally presented to us through our liaison who is also a Special Agent and a member of our team. She reviews the cases and presents them to the team and we base our decision upon the information provided as well as the potential for further victims in addition to whatever instincts are triggered in our minds by the information we are given. As the gentleman who asked the question stated, we do unfortunately receive many more requests for our assistance than we can accommodate; even with all our agents and teams."
"Of course we would like to be able to accommodate everyone, but it simply cannot be done."
"Does politics play any part in what cases you chose?"
Hotch sighed. "I wish I could tell you politics play no role in what cases the BAU choses to work on; however, unfortunately I can't say that. I can tell you we do try to keep politics out of our decisions as much as we possibly can. We've handled small cases, large cases; we've been to big cities, small cities… It really does not matter who you are or who you know when you ask the BAU for their assistance and input."
After a couple more questions the seminar concluded and Morgan and Hotch began packing up the items they had used for their presentation. The two agents had been invited to conduct a seminar on profiling and the Behavioral Analysis Unit by the local F.B.I. Field Office in Seattle, Washington. The seminar had been conducted in a large lecture hall at the University of Washington due to the number of people who had requested to attend. Not all of the more than 150 attendees had been F.B.I. agents, however. There had also been members of a number of other law enforcement agencies present, including several members of the Alaskan State Police and local jurisdictions within Alaska who had traveled hundreds of miles to Seattle to attend. Morgan and Hotch acknowledged a number of compliments on their presentation from the departing attendees with smiles, nods, thank yous and a few handshakes. A few minutes later in the hallway outside the lecture hall they stopped and talked to some of the participants who had lingered. Both men had decided to be as accommodating as possible with answering questions and interacting with the local law enforcement officials because they were more than aware that locals didn't always appreciate what they saw as interference in their business from the Feds.
"Excuse me, Agent Hotchner, Agent Morgan? May I speak to you for a moment?"
Hotch and Morgan turned around to see the man speaking was the same person who had asked them how they decided which cases to take. "Of course," Hotch replied. "What can we do for you?"
"Well, if you don't mind… Could I maybe buy you a cup of coffee or something so we can go sit down someplace? This will take a few minutes to explain."
Morgan and Hotch looked at each other. "May I ask who we're speaking to, Sir?"
"Oh, yes! Of course!" Switching the briefcase he had been carrying to his left hand, the man extended his right hand to shake hands with Morgan and Hotch. "I'm Sheriff Jacob Reischl. I came down from Alaska." He showed his badge and identification to them both.
"Okay, I guess we can use some coffee, Sheriff. Let's go."
"Let me see if I understand what you're telling us," Morgan was saying a few minutes later as the three men sat in a local Starbucks. "You think you have a serial killer in your town?"
"I don't know if it's a serial killer. I do know I have a series of murders that are unsolved and that pisses me off." Sheriff Reischl handed Hotch some photographs before continuing. "The photo on top is the body of an unidentified female found just outside my city limits three weeks ago. The other photos are of two additional females found several miles away but still within my jurisdiction, one found six months ago, the other about three months ago. As you can see all three of them were found posed in the same way, and all three were killed in the same manner with the same caliber of weapon, in addition to being strangled."
"You're taking this personally," Hotch said as he looked through the photos.
"You're damn right I am. This is my town and I don't like this happening in my town."
"You don't know any of these girls, Sheriff?"
"No, Agent Hotchner. They're not local."
"Is it possible they could have been dumped in your jurisdiction but not killed there?"
"I don't think so, Agent Morgan. I definitely think they were all killed where they were dumped. At least I believe they were shot there. And the posing indicates the killer spent some time at these locations."
"It does indicate that, yes." Hotch looked up from the photos. "Any signs of sexual assault?"
Sheriff Reischl nodded. "All three women appear to have been sexually assaulted. However, as you can see they were also all fully dressed. I don't have the means for a proper autopsy within my jurisdiction so the autopsies were all conducted by the medical examiner in Fairbanks. I did observe all three autopsies, though. There was DNA recovered from the first victim, and the State Police ran it through all the databases but they didn't get any hits on it. The M.E. believes all three of the women had been killed within seventy-two hours of when they were found."
"What's the name of your town, Sheriff?"
Sheriff Reischl smiled without humor. "It's Weird."
"It's Weird, Agent Morgan. I am the Sheriff of a town called Weird, Alaska."
"What is this, some kind of a joke?"
"I assure you I am not kidding."
"Sheriff, have you spoken to the Alaska State Police about this?"
"Agent Morgan, I am the Sheriff of a nowhere town with a ridiculous name that no one has ever heard of. You ask most people if they've ever heard of Weird, Alaska and they'll look at you like you're a nutcase. We're ten miles off the nearest major highway. I have one deputy and he's not even full time. I have less than 750 permanent residents within my jurisdiction, and several of those residents are what many people might consider loony. I fought and complained for months just to get one cell phone tower close enough to pick up a damn signal. We don't have our own fire department or a public library. Now just how seriously do you think I am being taken up there?" He snatched the photos from Hotch and put them back inside the file he had pulled them out of, slipped it into his briefcase and stood up. "Thank you for your time Agents."
"Hold on a second, Sheriff," Hotch said, standing up. "I think you may have misunderstood Agent Morgan's question."
"I have? How so?"
"Please sit back down." Once Sheriff Reischl was seated again Hotch continued. "It doesn't matter how big your town is, or how small your department is, you are the ranking law enforcement official in your jurisdiction. That means that you have the legal right to request our assistance. You don't need permission from the Alaska State Police or from anyone else, for that matter."
"Yes. You attended the seminar, Sheriff. You heard what we said."
"Tell us some more about your town," Morgan said. "Tell us how these women might have been killed in your jurisdiction if they're not local."
Sheriff Reischl sighed. "Well, as I said, Weird is ten miles off the nearest major highway. In this case that would be the Parks Highway, which is the main route between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Anyone traveling between Anchorage and Fairbanks in either direction could easily leave the Parks Hwy and wander into my jurisdiction. We do have a two lane paved highway leading from the town out to the Parks Hwy, and my jurisdiction extends for a twenty mile radius in all directions encompassing a number of residents of outlying homes and line cabins used for hunting and so on."
"So this could be someone who regularly travels between the two cities?"
"Yes, definitely. A lot of goods come in through Anchorage and are shipped inland to Fairbanks via the Parks Highway. We could be talking a truck driver, a businessman, a salesman… There are a lot of possibilities."
Hotch was silent for a moment. "Sheriff, if you will give us back the photos and your other information, I assure you we will take a serious look at your case. We will get back to you one way or the other as soon as possible."
Sheriff Reischl looked from Hotch to Morgan and back. He reached into his briefcase, pulled out the file and handed it to Hotch. "I'm catching a flight to Anchorage in a little over three hours. I'm sure I'll be long gone before you've made a decision. How soon will you let me know?"
"We'll contact you as soon as possible."
"Okay." He reached into his briefcase again and pulled out two business cards, handing one to Morgan and the other to Hotch. "Phone number at the station, cell phone, and email is on there. Unless, of course, the satellite dish goes wacko, at which point I won't have email or Internet access. Or anything decent to watch on television." He stood up once more, shook hands with both Hotch and Morgan, thanked them and was gone.
"Okay Garcia, what can you tell us about Sheriff Jacob Reischl?"
"Well Hot Stuff, aside from the fact the photos tell me this guy is a major hottie…"
"Focus, Baby Girl!" Morgan teased. He looked over at Hotch to see he was shaking his head.
"Okay, Jacob Markus Reischl was born on Christmas Day 1960 in Los Angeles, California. He joined the military in 1979 where he later became an Army Ranger. He left the army in 2000 after twenty-one years of service. He has a degree in mathematics from UCLA. He is divorced with one son named David, who is now twenty-two years old and serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He took the job as Sheriff up in Alaska after leaving the army even though he had no law enforcement experience at the time. He raised his son as a single parent in Weird, Alaska, which is actually a real place." She paused for a moment. "Hmm…you know, I can't help but wonder what his son looks like since I haven't come across a picture of him yet."
"Well, a girl can wonder, can't she?"
"Were you able to find anything on the murders?" Hotch asked.
"Other than what he's already told you, no. From what I can tell no one else seems to think there's a connection there."
"Thank you, Garcia."
"Are you going to look into this, Sir?"
"We don't know yet," Hotch replied.
"Just in case you do, I'd like to point out that I'm not averse to travelling to Alaska. Garcia out."
Morgan was chuckling and Hotch shaking his head when Garcia signed off and her image disappeared from the laptop. "What do you think, Hotch?"
"I don't know. Three murders, same M.O., same caliber weapon, all in the same jurisdiction. It probably should be handled by the Alaska State Police, who unfortunately, aren't taking Sheriff Reischl's suspicions seriously."
"It's a long way to travel."
"That shouldn't matter." Hotch thought for a moment. "I say we run it past Rossi and the others for their input before we make a decision."
"You're leaning toward going, aren't you?"
Hotch nodded. "Yes. I think I am."
A/N: I already knew most of the job requirements to become an F.B.I. Special Agent, but I lifted most of what I put in off of the page.