The Killers Amongst Us:Chimera Dawn Chronicles(4)By: Declan Conner
“Got a new case for me?” Shaw asked, hoping for something to take his mind off events at home.
“Sort of. Missing persons.”
Shaw’s shoulders sagged. Missing person cases to him were like being given the role of the ass end of a donkey, and being led blind up an alley. Most of those reported missing were usually runaways who didn’t want to be found. Only one in ten ever turned out interesting.
“Who is it?”
Logan handed Shaw a file.
“It’s not a question of who it is. There are five of them in our area, all from this morning.”
Shaw raised a brow. The odds had just swung in his favor of the cases being interesting. He opened the file and flicked through the uniformed officers’ reports, speed reading each one in turn.
“I say five. That’s all we have,” said Logan. “There are nineteen reports in all come through to the Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit, over at the Department of Justice. There are two similar clusters to ours up north.”
“What... nineteen? You’re kidding, right? Are you saying they’re all from this morning, and all eighteen, the same age as these here?”
“I wish I was joshing. But, yeah, that’s right. Probably they’ve all met up somewhere without telling their parents. Pity we don‘t have the twenty-four-hour rule here in California, what with the way our personnel are stretched. A dispatch operator noticed the trend on our missing girls, reported it to her supervisor, and she alerted MUPU. I’ve just come off of the phone with them, but I’ve not had time to read the reports.”
Shaw flipped through the reports again. His level of intrigue topped the scale.
“It seems none of these are answering their cell phones, but no mention in the reports of social media interaction between the five girls. I’ll give the parents a call and see if they can access their accounts.”
“You do that, and then head over to a briefing at MUPU at one o’clock. If we don‘t do anything, we’ll probably get our pants sued if something is untoward. Pity we can’t sue them if they’re all partying. I’m betting they’ll be at Venice beach.”
“Probably. With a bit of luck, one of them will have phoned home when I contact the parents,” said Shaw.
“Let’s hope so.”
Shaw hauled his six-foot-two frame out of the chair, and made his way back to his desk. He picked up the handset and dialed his home number. His daughter answered.
“Hi, Amy, how’s my little, birthday girl?”
“Fine, Daddy. But I’m not little now. I’m twelve today.”
“I know, sweetheart, but to me you’ll always be my little girl. How’s Mom?”
“Sleeping, Aunt Mary’s here. Do you want her?” Her voice had radiated down the line, raising a smile.
“Put her on, sweetheart.”
Mary took the call.
“Hi, Mary, thanks again for coming at short notice. I’ll try to get away early for Amy’s party. Just don’t let Cath take any more headache pills. I forgot to tell you, she took the maximum this morning.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll see to her, and get everything ready for Amy’s party. Just make sure you get here in time, never mind ‘try.’”
Shaw closed the call. An image of his daughter crying at the door, with Cath standing behind her and displaying a sour face, passed through his mind. He’d missed Amy acting at her drama-school play the week before. Much as he didn’t want her to end up as one of the rest of the LA star wannabes, he’d not missed her moment of glory on purpose. It came with the job. Guilt struck him for the many times he’d missed special family occasions. All he hoped for was that he wouldn’t become embroiled in a race against time to catch a criminal. The hurt and sometimes frustration on the faces of his wife and daughter when he arrived home late was a high price to swallow for job satisfaction. He shook his head. Shaw opened the file and studied each report in detail, then he ran through each of the officer’s reports in turn.
The first girl, Rachael Hines, hadn’t returned home from her vacation job at an all-night gas station. She’d phoned her mom as usual to say she was leaving for home at six in the morning. Her mom was due to take her for a hospital checkup. She usually arrived home at six twenty. One hour later she had not returned. Her mother had scoured the route she always took, but there was no sign of her, and her cell phone was dead.