Catherine and her team looked on as two coroners wheeled the body of the Jane Doe out of the library. It had been another setback into the investigation, just as it appeared that it was coming to an end. David trooped out of the secret passageway, carrying what appeared to be a purse with him.
"I found this with the body," he handed the purse to Vartann who opened it up looking for an ID. "Rigor has fully set, she's been dead at least eight hours but the colour of her skin suggests she's been dead less than twenty four."
"Before or after Mr Miura died?" Catherine asked him.
"I'd say before, but it's difficult to tell as of now. The body shows no signs of lividity."
"She was dumped," Sara noted. "I think our killer knew the perfect hiding place."
"Our victim's name is Peyton Adelaide, twenty-five years old," Vartann told the team standing around as he flicked through the victim's purse. "Eighty dollars or so and it looks like all her cards are still here. I think we can rule out robbery as a motive."
"Two bodies, who died on the same evening, found in the same house. They surely have to be related don't they?" Nick asked around.
"Yes, but until we can prove otherwise, we're treating them as two separate instances," Catherine informed him. "Sara, Greg, I want you investigating our female vic's death. Nick and I will carry on with the Miura case."
"And who's going to authorise our overtime?" Greg asked, slightly peeved with their excessive workload.
"Suck it up Greg, you're the one who begged me to come back today," Catherine reminded him. She heard Greg mutter something under his breath as he and Sara headed back into the bunker to process. Thankfully for him, what he said was inaudible to Catherine.
"What do you think then Catherine?" Vartann asked her softly as Nick and David headed back to the lab to continue the case.
"I'm thinking… that Mr Miura may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Sara and Greg immediately got to work processing the bunker and corridor proceeding to it. The two of them scoured the entire area looking for any clues which might lead them to their killer however evidence was proving difficult to find. David's initial examination had identified that the body had been moved, likely dumped in that area. Luminal and ALS usage failed to detect blood and other fluids in neither the bunker nor the staircase and corridor leading to it, not significantly enough to suggest that Peyton Adelaide had been killed there.
The two CSIs quickly deduced that the blanket had been involved in the transportation of the body and had absorbed up most of the blood which the body had excreted. A few smears of blood across the walls and bannister of the staircase suggested that the body had made minor contact with its surroundings, probably by brushing against them allowing a small amount of transfer to take place.
"How many hairs did you find Greg?" Sara called out to her colleague who was processing the other side of the bunker.
"None," he replied simply. "All I've managed to find was a partial print on the book on the shelf. The door came back with nothing. Why do you ask?"
"I think I've just found a couple here," she said, crouching down to pick up the minute hairs with a set of tweezers. "Unfortunately it only looks like they were shed, meaning we won't be able to get out any DNA from them."
"I've got something over here," Greg called out, picking up what looked to be the heel of a stiletto up from the floor. "Looks like a heel of some sort, was the victim wearing stilettos?"
"Yes, yes I think she was," Sara recounted, recapping her discovery of the body back in her mind. "Did anyone mention an event at the house, a dinner of some sorts? Sounds like the vic was dressed for some occasion."
"Yeah, and I don't think she had her deathbed in mind."
Nick sat alone in the break room, enjoying some much needed relaxation from the hectic and laborious case that had taken them all by surprise. He pondered about the case as he indulged in a cheese and pickle sandwich, courteous of Judy, the receptionist. Frustratingly, they knew how Goushi Miura had died and he partly stood by what Grissom had told him numerous times. It's about the how, not the why.
Nevertheless, the why was continuously pestering away at his conscience with every mouthful. Why had Goushi Miura even left the room at all? Why had he fallen into his own trap? It seemed strange for a man to burn away a huge amount of money on a security system which had no way of distinguishing between friend and foe. That was of course, assuming that the blood samples collected all belonged to Goushi Miura. Although he had always admired his former mentor however, he knew this time that there was definitely more than the how which needed to be answered, and although he personally thought the discovery of Peyton Adelaide had much to do with it, he still had to focus on his original assignment.
"Blood tox panels from Mr Miura have come in," Henry chirped merrily, entering the break room where Nick had been eating. "I found trace amounts of moxifloxacin hydrochloride in his system, nothing particularly drastic, the compound is generally found in eye drops medication…"
"Check out that huge spike there though," Nick interrupted, reading the results that Henry had handed to him. "Diazepam. That must have been one hefty dosage."
"Thirty mg to be precise, taken in a single dosage. Not enough to knock you or me out cold but for a guy as frail as Miura, he shoulda slept like a baby."
"The servants said he was an insomniac, but we never found any tablets or prescribed medication which showed him being a user."
"It might be worth taking a look at what he last ate or drink," Henry suggested.
"Yeah I got Hodges taking a look at some cracker which Sara found in the living room. Have you heard anything about the blood samples I sent to Selma yet?"
"I did drop by DNA to see how she was doing with that workload you dumped on her."
"What did she say?"
"Thirty different blood samples, three backlogged cases and another twenty hour shift. Pester me some more and you'll be leaving work today in several body bags. Her words."
"Thought it would be something along those lines," he stood up and handed the results back to Henry, patting him on the back as he walked away. "Hey, thanks for taking the fall for me."
As Nick turned the corner he heard hurried footsteps approach him as another lab tech approached him frantically.
"Hey Nick," Nick turned around finding himself face to face with Hodges, who was standing alarmingly close to him. "Oh, sorry," Hodges realised, awkwardly taking two steps back to space them apart. "Anyway, the cracker-like substance Sara sound in the Japanese geezer's living room, is in fact, a cracker."
"Mind blown," Nick replied sarcastically taking the results away from him. "Anything else you might want to add with that?"
"Actually yes," Hodges began smirking. "Seeing as I saw Henry was backlogged running the tox for the victim's blood, I bestowed it upon myself to determine the chemical compounds which coagulate to form said cracker…"
"Let me guess, you found diazepam in it?" Nick butted in.
"You know, I hate it when you CSIs do that," Hodges exclaimed annoyed.
Nick simply shrugged, telling him, "you never seemed too bothered when Grissom did it."
"Look, I already spoke to you guys earlier, Mr Miura was alive and asleep when I left the house last night," Suki sat across from Brass, arms folded in defiance and annoyed that she was being held longer. "I was told that he died around three am and I was long gone by then."
"We found a nasty dose of diazepam in Mr Miura's system," Brass informed her, "in your statement to Detective Vartann you said you simply "tucked him into bed." Did you forget to mention the fact that you drugged him?"
"What do you mean?" Suki asked him, becoming increasingly uncomfortable towards what Brass was saying. "Yes, I gave him some sleeping remedy, my boss suffered from insomnia and he was supposed to have big meetings today. I was helping him out."
"Did you not give him enough of it?" Brass prompted, Suki gave him another glance of confusion. "See thirty milligrams in one dosage, pretty bad for someone like Mr Miura, but not as effective as what you had hoped."
"What are you saying I tried to kill him?"
"And when that didn't work, you lured him out of his room into his own trap…"
"Okay this is ridiculous, I didn't kill my boss, and I have no reason to."
"I'd get a little pissed off if I made my career giving sponge baths to some old geezer," Brass quipped, maintaining his trademark deadpan.
"Look," Suki replied, with a bit more firmness in her voice. She stared straight into Brass' eyes, eager to make a point. "I don't know what you're judging Mr Miura by but let me tell you this, he was a good employee. Sure, he liked tradition and hierarchy but he treated us well: long holidays, easy hours, excellent payment. Captain Brass, I earn a six-figure salary doing what I do, I'm willing to bet I earn more than most of the guys you have working for you. Why would I throw that all away?"
The two of them sat there in silence momentarily as Brass took in what she had told her. He sighed; he knew that the diazepam was not the primary cause of death and what Suki had just told him seemed legitimate. He slid a photo, the crime scene photos of Peyton Adelaide, across the table to her. "Do you know this woman?"
Suki glanced and it briefly and replied sharply, "I've never seen her before in my life. Can I go now?"
"One more question," Brass halted her. "Are you aware of a hidden bunker underneath the house? Our CSIs found an entry point in Mr Miura's library, that's where they found her." He indicated to the photo.
"Captain Brass," she started speaking, slower and more hesitant. "Nobody's been in the library since I've worked at the house. It's always been locked."
Brass raised his eyebrows as Suki read his confusion.
"Always," she repeated discernibly.
"Hey Sara," Sara turned as she saw Greg bounding excitedly out of a nearby room, intercepting her in the corridor. "Here's something interesting about our Cold War bunker. I studied the blueprints for Miura's mansion, well specifically, his security system. Guess what isn't on there."
"The secret passageway to the bunker," Sara muttered, reading the map as they walked down the corridor towards the prints lab. "Maybe Goushi Miura didn't know it existed?"
"I don't think he knew either, but, I did a little bit of research into the history of the house," Greg handed a new folder to Sara. "Builder and owner was a Mr Patrick Walliams, he built the place in the late-fifties, Cold War-era, Cuban Missile Crisis, makes sense to build a secret bunker to protect him."
"And you know that how?" Sara asked inquisitively.
"Well, I don't know about whether he actually built the bunker but it makes sense."
"What happened to the guy?"
"Nobody knows, one night in sixty-eight his housekeeper reported he picked up his bags and simply left. Nobody's seen him since, his body was never found."
"Well I'm not a believer of the supernatural, but due to how weird this case has become, I'm not going to rule out the ghost of Patrick Walliams as our killer." Greg snorted to himself as the pair rounded the corner into the prints lab. "Hey Mandy, have you got a hit on our partial?"
"Sure do," Mandy replied merrily peering up from the computer screen. "Your partial came back to a Harold Wallace; he has a pretty small rap sheet, just a DUI charge."
"Whoa, check out the date," Sara noted reading the man's record. "August twenty-sixth was this morning right?"
"Right," Greg nodded. "He's an employee of Miura's as well, meaning he'll have access to the house and probably knows all its secrets."
"I'll have Vartann bring him back to interrogation."
"Hey buddy; you want something for that hangover of yours?" Vartann asked a crippled looking Harold Wallace. The suspect lifted his head from his arms and groaned sheepishly, nodding his head. "Good, I'll have my guys send down a drink for you depending on how much you're gonna cooperate with us."
"Aw come on man, I'm dying here," Wallis complained clutching his head.
"Yeah, too bad for Peyton Adelaide she got something worse than a hangover," Sara remarked to him. She answered Harold's look of confusion by sliding photos of the crime scene across to him. "Do you know this woman, Harold?"
Wallis squinted, taking in the image before shaking his head. "No, I haven't seen that woman before. Why, what happened to her?"
"She's dead," Vartann replied bluntly.
"Look I'm really sorry about that but I don't know anything about no murder or anything," Wallis responded, notably lacking any real remorse in his answer, reserving his pity for his raging headache and dizziness.
"We never said she was murdered," Vartann responded, eyeing up the suspect suspiciously.
"And, we found her body in a secret bunker at Goushi Miura's mansion," Sara added. "You know the one behind the bookcase in the library."
"There's a secret bunker in the library? First time, I've heard of that, especially seeing as that library's been locked for, god knows how long."
"Hey," Vartann barked. "Don't play stupid with us, we found your print on the book which opens it you dumbass."
"Yours was the only print," Sara spoke. "And seeing as the library's supposedly been locked for "god knows" that makes you look even worse. You might want to start telling us some truth because we found that library opened when we got there and two bodies."
"That DUI you've racked up, a week in prison if you're lucky. Murder, twenty-five to life."
"Alright then," Wallis moaned. "You know that temptation to get behind that closed door, one night I managed to get into the library, had a snoop around as there's no security around it except for the windows. I accidentally found it but that place freaked me out, I haven't been back since."
"And that was when?" Sara asked him.
"Bout a month back."
"Did you tell anyone about it?" Vartann questioned him.
"A couple of people I guess. Look, I don't know who this girl is, or who killed her, but it wasn't me, I swear."
"Well we're still awaiting results from autopsy but for your benefit you might want to give a list of people who you told your little adventure to."
"Yeah whatever, can I have my water now?"
Catherine sat alone in her office, catching up on some unfinished paperwork for her coffee break. The various papers consisted of a variety of important forms which she needed done a while back and with Ecklie breathing down her neck for them. She sighed as she signed her name of approval for Greg returning to the field after his prolonged absence following his near brush with death. A second form was laid in front of her depicting a handful of cases to be signed off.
"Hey Cath, you got a second," Nick popped his head from round the corner. "Think I've found something interesting which might benefit both cases."
"Let's have a look," Catherine ushered him over to her desk. Nick walked over and laid out his findings on Catherine's desk.
"Right we know that Miura's TOD was around three am," Nick began to explain his findings, Catherine nodding as he went through it with her. "I fished out the data from the security system; it automatically makes a note of when the door is unlocked at the start of the day and at the end of the day."
"Do we have anything which stands out?"
"Yeah, at two-forty-seven the system notes the front door was unlocked. At two-forty-nine the system went from 'aware' mode to 'active' mode…"
"Which is when the house turns into a killer."
"Right, now for some strange reason it's reported that the house was locked up again at three-eighteen am before being unlocked again at four-forty-five. Nine-one-one call came at four-fifty-five."
"Right, we need to find out what happened in those thirty-one minutes the house was first unlocked."
"I have a theory, after speaking to Sara and Greg about their case" Nick exclaimed, a hint of excitement apparent in his voice. "Peyton Adelaide, our dead bunker woman, was dumped by an unknown suspect. In doing so, the perp activates the system and leaves. Meanwhile, Miura is awoken by the system, goes out to see what's going on and in doing so gets whacked by his henchmen of gravel."
"Okay that makes sense, but why would Miura leave his room knowing he was gonna get whacked as soon as he stepped foot outside?" Catherine asked him.
"That's what I'm still stuck on," Nick hesitated. After a few moments of thought he perked up, realising something that may have been glossed over. "Hold on a mo," he began frantically flicking through the system handbook which Young had given them. "Brass mentioned that the system needed to be manually switched off by a panel in Miura's room."
"And what does that require?"
"Says in here that it's deactivated by a four-figure code, the code is Miura's birthday, zero-four, thirteen, so it says here anyway," Nick continued reading the handbook. "Catherine, what if something went wrong with the deactivating? Or he didn't even remember to?"
"He still had a ton of diazepam kicking around his system," Catherine noted. "I guess his judgements could have been off."
"I'm going to go back to that house and have a look at this system with my own eyes. There's something dodgy about this in my eyes, I don't think we're looking at an accident here."
"That's what I'd do. Be careful Nick; don't accidentally switch it on again."
"Oh don't worry about that, I'm not like you… Daphne," he teased strolling out of her office leaving her to get back to her paperwork. "Hey Raymundo, how you doing man?"
Catherine abruptly looked up from her desk, missing Ray's reply as he passed Nick into her office. "Hey boss, is this a bad time?" He asked her.
"Ray?" She asked in surprise, "I thought you were meant to be pulling a sickie?"
"Actually, I needed to come and tell you something," Ray answered her inquiry, hesistating slightly. "In person."
"What's up?" Catherine queried, concerned at Ray's charismatic demeanour. Whilst Ray wasn't more serious than other members of the team, his body language and facial expression seemed even more sombre than usual.
"I don't know the easiest way to say this, but it's urrm, been on my mind for a while," Ray began explaining to her. "I think I'm gonna need some time off."
"How much?" Catherine replied anxiously, almost immediately.
"I don't know," Ray slumped himself onto a chair, intertwining his fingers as he thought. "But I think I might need a permanent leave of absence."
A/N: [Insert I'm slow at updating comment here] ;)
Hmm… maybe something for you to start thinking about here, the story's not over yet though. I'm currently in the process of writing Part four due out sometime in the next millennia.
Hope you're enjoying the story anyway, I'm sorry updates have been far and few but the upcoming Christmas break might give me some time to try and get ahead of myself. Thanks for your patience and thanks for all the reviews and alerts so far, it means a lot to me. :)
Check back soon for the fourth and final part of the story!