Before I share with you Ethan's 5th case log, I should tell you about a friend of mine who directly inspired this story. This case is a collaboration, of sorts, with my buddy. He wrote a short story which featured my character Ethan McCormick. When you're finished reading this case log, head over to his Facebook page here and read his short story Rub-A-Dub-Dub.
The bizarre facts of this case are disturbing. If you're offended easily, I suggest skipping this post. Had I known it would have been unsolved and horrifyingly gruesome, I would have turned it down immediately. Unfortunately, I did not turn it down. So here, I present to you my case.
After the missing child case, I've seen an increase in my business. I guess word travels fast. One woman in particular came to my door and explained how her husband vanished, seemingly into thin air. As I always do with these cases, I advised her to seek the help of the Miami Police Department but she said they had already dropped the case.
"They claim he ran off with some woman at his office." She told me.
"It's often the case with these matters."
"My husband didn't run off with some slut. We had a good marriage."
"I've seen it many times before. One spouse is unhappy but the other is completely unaware. I'm sorry to say, but the police are most likely right in this case. It's hard to hear-"
"Mr. McCormick, something is seriously wrong. I need your help."
I agreed to help her but I kept my assumptions. Loved ones never want to believe they weren't considered loved ones anymore. Sometimes the truth is hard to hear. Regardless of my feelings, I began investigating the facts.
Cory, the missing husband, was last seen at work. I checked at his office and did learn one vital clue. A woman named Pam had stopped coming to work the day after Cory disappeared. I figured the police had already looked into her as a suspect during their investigation and had probably come to the same conclusion I already had. Cory ran off with Pam.
Next, I tried to find this Pam woman. But that's where things began to get strange. Pam couldn't have been her real name as I found nothing about her. The social security number and driver's license number her employer had on file were both fake. The address on her license led me to an empty home for sale. I checked with the owner of the property but she was clean.
After hitting what seemed like a dead end, I turned to social media. Maybe Pam was using a fake name and identity but if she had contacted Cory on social media, I'd have some sort of trail. Unfortunately, there was nothing on his page from anyone out of the ordinary. Certainly no one named Pam on his friends list.
A whole week went by without any leads. I apologized to Cory's wife and explained it might be a case I would not be able to solve. But before I could give up, I decided to try one last thing. I checked Cory's phone records. All of the numbers he had been in contact with were explainable, wife, mother, job, etc. But there was one that didn't check out.
He had received the call during work hours on the last day before his disappearance. The call was extremely short, only about ten seconds long. Whatever Cory was talking about with this mystery caller couldn't have been much. I wondered if the police had found this clue or if they had even bothered to check his phone records.
When I looked up the number, I learned why the police didn't bother with the lead. It was a burner phone. No way to track down who it belonged to. But I wasn't finished there. Instead, I headed down to the police station and sat down with my new friend Detective Winchester.
"Can you trace a phone number for me?" I asked him.
"Normally I'd say no, but with your help on the Wilson case, I'm in. What's the number?"
I handed him the phone number and told him when the call was received by Cory's phone. Winchester was then able to trace the signal to the nearest cell tower and gave me an approximate location to check. Unfortunately, that was the best he could do.
"Wait," I stopped. "What about the GPS?"
"It's a pay as you go phone. People leave those features off. Kind of the point of a burner, you know?"
"Can we try it?"
"If you want to waste the time, sure."
I watched him run a GPS location trace and his jaw fell open. It seemed as if the GPS was switched on during the time of the phone call.
"This makes no sense," Winchester explained. "Why use a burner if you're going to use the GPS function?"
"Maybe they wanted to be found. Thanks Winchester, I'll call you if I need anything else."
With that, I left his office and headed off down the road. I had to keep myself from calling Cory's wife and informing her of my new lead. I didn't want to get her hopes up. Instead, I drove towards the location Winchester had given me.
Luckily, it was a home in the suburbs. Easy enough to find. I knocked several times and called out for Cory to no avail. Slipping my lock pick from my right shoe, I let myself in. A nauseating smell hit me in the face like a brick and I nearly doubled over. I had smelled rotting flesh before but somehow this was worse.
Covering my face with my arm, I proceeded down the hallway. The smell grew in intensity and I held back bile in my throat. When I reached the bathroom, I knew I had found the source. Pulling back the shower curtain, I could no longer hold down my lunch.
Sticking out of a blood filled bathtub, which looked more like sludge, were human appendages. A few arms and legs from different people. The smell was nearly toxic. My eyes burned. Coughing, I left the house and dialed Detective Winchester.
The crime scene investigation unit cleaned up the mess and bagged anything that could be considered a clue. Unfortunately, there wasn't a single piece of usable evidence. They found no finger prints, no fibers, nothing. They were, however, able to identify one of the bodies in the tub as Cory. It was my sad duty to share this depressing news with his widow.
For now, this case remains open. I have no clue who committed the murders or why. My instincts tell me the mystery woman known only as Pam has something to do with it. I'll update my findings if the case ever makes any motion.
Evan Bond, author of To the Wolves and Death Can Wait, is a thriller/suspense author. When not writing, he can be found hiking or camping in the beautiful state of Florida.