Louis stood over the body. How had a man drowned from the second story balcony? Obviously, the body had been moved, but there was a mystery. The corpse did not appear to be relocated. There were no drag marks or even signs of a struggle. A wet spot around the body told the detective the victim could not have been there that long. A search of the corpse had turned up no i.d. Louis turned to his partner. “What do you think, Matt?”
Matt shook his head. “We could go with the Monk theory that he fell from the sky.”
Louis chuckled. “We could, except I already checked and didn’t notice any bruising. I talked to the examiner when I was walking up, and he said there are no broken bones.”
Matt looked over at Louis. “I don’t know if I am impressed or worried that you would think to check that.”
Both detectives stood there quietly.
A uniformed police officer came rushing in from the hotel’s hallway. “Detectives, you need to come and see this.”
Both men had to admit they were stumped by what they saw. “Coming,” they replied in unison. Louis noticed a pair of men’s shoes on the shelf of the open closet as they exited the room.
A few steps down the hall, a maintenance cart stood with a uniformed officer on each side. Looking inside the trashcan, Louis found several towels wholly soaked and a bucket. Louis shook his head, and a shudder ran through his body. “Gentlemen, I believe we have a robbery and murder on our hands. This act was done by two people, a woman, and a man.”
Matt looked astonished. “How do you know that?”
Louis gave a knowing smirk. “Did you notice the man’s shoes on the shelf?”
“Did you notice the watermarks?”
Matt slowly shook his head. “No, I’m afraid I missed that.”
Louis stopped himself from going further. “Please gather everyone here, and get the shoes bagged.” Two patrol officers hurried off. In a few moments, everyone gathered around the maintenance cart to hear their directions from Louis.
“If I may have everyone’s attention. I’m afraid our murdered friend is the victim of unrequited love. He loved a woman, and she only loved his money. You see, there was a woman in the hotel room with him. I know this because both sets of pillows had different sized head imprints. When he was asleep, another man of roughly the same build was let inside.
The woman and man subdued our victim before he could fully wake and defend himself. They took him to the balcony. They were likely trying to scare him into giving up something. I would guess his banking codes since they took his wallet. Evidently, our friend there did not give up his information. The evidence in this trashcan suggests they attempted some sort of waterboarding. Unfortunately, our dead man tells us they don’t have much experience at that sort of thing.”
Murmurs in the group told Louis everyone was listening. “Everyone, here are our next steps. Please get this maintenance cart processed for fingerprints and the physical evidence collected. Get our victim’s fingerprints. If we find out who he is, we can trace his credit cards and bank accounts and catch our murdering thieves.”
With that, everyone went off and got to work. A man around six feet tall and a brunette in a tight-fitting wrap around dress walked by Louis on their way to the elevator. “Stop those two!” Louis yelled. Two policemen rushed from the cart and stopped the couple.
“See here!” The man was about to complain when Louis cut him off.
“I think you should stop before you say another word. You see, I noticed you are walking a little stiff. Those shoes look a little narrow for your feet.”
The man smirked. “So, I bought the wrong size shoes, are you the fashion police?”
“No, sir. I am Detective Louis Garcia with the L.A. Police Department. I’m quite sure you already know that your shoes are on the shelf in the room just back down the hall. Matt, please check the young woman’s purse.”
Matt dug around and found a man’s wallet. He opened it up. “It appears our murder victim is Mr. Timothy Hernandez.”
Louis and Matt pulled out their handcuffs. “I’m curious, why stay the night?”
The man’s head drooped, “I figured you’d check the security cameras. If we didn’t leave until morning, nobody would suspect us.”