It looked like a simple butcher knife. Yet, the body that lay next to the blood drenched blade, seemed to be covered in surgical incisions, not ripped and hacked by the ordinary kitchen utensil. It was his first homicide investigation and as the rookie, Lt. Walker set him to the task of counting the cut marks on the corpse. The murder was gruesome with blood pooled all around the dead body, but none splattered at the crime scene. He swallowed his disgust and counted in silence.
“How many wounds,” queried Walker, “have you got a count yet, Trask?”
Jimmy Trask gulped and answered, “I counted twice and got a total of fifty-three cuts. They just about cover the entire body.”
“Yeah, this bird was cut up real nice,” quipped Walker, “carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey. It seems appropriate; since turkey day is only two days off. Jimmy, you happen to notice the marks on the body’s wrist and ankles?”
“Yes, Lieutenant,” Trask answered, “looks like rope burns to me.”
“You’re exactly right, Jimmy-boy,” commented Walker, “This poor fellow was stripped down to his BVDs, hog-tied and carved up like the holiday bird. In short, someone took their time to administer a very slow and painful death.”
Turning to the Coroner, Walker asked; “When did our victim die?”
“I put the time of death between 10:00 and 12:00,” the Coroner responded, “approximately three to five hours ago. Rigor mortis has begun on the deceased, most noticeably about his face, yet his hands and feet have not yet gone rigid. So, I approximate that the victim passed some time before midnight, and the causes of death was either trauma from multiple wounds, or blood loss, or a combination of the two.”
“It appears that Harold J. Senot,” Walker announced after checking the name he wrote down in his notebook, “was tortured to death.”
Other personnel from the Homicide Division were busy dusting the apartment for fingerprints and searching for any clues to the crime. All six investigators at the crime scene wore surgical gloves to prevent any additional prints from being accidentally planted on site.
“Lieutenant, I found this wallet in the bedroom,” remarked an investigator as he entered the living room, where the body was sprawled out on the hardwood floor.
Walker took the wallet from the investigator, examined the contents and handed it to Trask.
“Take a look at the I.D. in that wallet,” Walker directed, “tell me what you see, Jimmy.”
“The deceased’s driver license,” Trask answered, “what about it?”
“Nothing much, Jimmy-boy,” Walker remarked, “but, did you happen to see how old Mr. Senot is?”
“I’ll be damned,” quipped Trask, “his fifty-three years old, or will be on Thanksgiving Day.”
“Would have been,” Walker corrected, “Harold would have been fifty-three in two days and he’s got fifty-three cuts on his body. Some kind of early birthday present; and somebody must have really hated Harold, to kill him off like this.”
“Harold Senot was single,” reported an investigator, “and apparently lived alone. There are no other prints in the apartment, but his and there is no sign of forced entry. There is no trace of the rope that was used to tie him up and the butcher knife seems to have come from his own kitchen utensils.”
“Well, whoever killed Harold was let in here,” Walker deduced, “so, they must have been acquainted with our murder victim. Jimmy, bag that butcher knife and I’ll collect the mail along with his address and personal telephone book.”
Walker collected the mail in the victim’s apartment with the personal telephone/address book of Harold Senot and bagged the material, handing it to Jim Trask. He looked at his wristwatch noting the time and instructed the investigators.
“You guys do a full search of this place,” Walker directed, “before the Coroner takes the body away. I mean go through here with a fine-tooth comb, than go through it again. I want a complete list of blood spatter, fibers found and prints lifted. Tag and bag any evidence you find, before anything is moved from the crime scene. Jimmy, take this stuff back to the precinct and impound it as evidence, than go home and get some sleep. I’ll see you at the office in a few hours at 9:00 in the morning.”
Lt. Walker departed the crime scene riding the elevator down to the apartment vestibule. He instructed the policeman guarding the entryway not to allow any civilians inside, especially the Press, and drove his car home for the night. The rookie Jim Trask arrived at the office of the Homicide Squad at 8:55am to find his boss Lt. Walker already at work on his computer.
“Good morning, Jimmy-boy,” Walker greeted, “grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair, I found some info about our murder victim on the pc.”
Trask poured himself a cup of coffee, fixed it with some cream and artificial sweetener and pulled up a chair next to his boss, as Walker continued; “Well Harold Senot was pretty much a solitary sort. Not too many friends, no surviving siblings and his parents are long since passed on. Not too much to go on and with CSI coming up empty, we are clueless to say the least.”
“So, with no clues,” Trask remarked, “what have we got to go on? What did you find on the computer?”
“It seems that Harold Senot had a brother, a Henry Senot, who passed away some twenty years ago. Apparently, Harold and Henry were in show business together and had a club act. Oh, and get this; Henry was Harold’s identical twin.”
“Really,” quipped Trask as he examined a webpage on the computer, “our murder victim had a twin? That’s interesting.”
“Yeah, unfortunately,” Walker commented, “this webpage doesn’t say much, only that they were pretty successful for about ten years in Las Vegas until Henry died from unspecified causes. Harold retired from the limelight after that and fell into obscurity until last night. That’s about all I could find on Harold Senot, which isn’t much to go on toward solving this case.”
Trask studied the webpage on the ‘Senot Brothers’ and noticed that their specialty act in Las Vegas was celebrity female impersonators, which they called ‘Celeb Sisters’. They would string together a series of singing routines as Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson and even portray two of the Andrew sisters in a tribute to WWII circa songs. A possible reason behind Harold Senot’s murder sprang to mind upon reading the webpage.
“Lieutenant, maybe we should go back to the Senot apartment,” Trask suggested, “and take a look through the victim’s things. I think we may find some articles in his wardrobe that may shed light on his murder.”
“Sure, we can take a drive over to the crime scene,” Walker remarked, “but, I don’t think CSI missed much in their sweep.”
“Trust me,” Trask added after finishing his coffee, “I got a hunch about a second visit.”
The two detectives departed the station and drove back to the Senot flat. Lt. Walker drove and parked on the street in front of the apartment building. They entered the apartment building and rode the elevator up to the 16th floor to the apartment of Harold Senot. Walker broke the crime scene seal from the door’s lock and used a key to gain entry. They removed the tape covering the entry, opened the door and stepped inside. A chalk outline was drawn in the large blood stain left by the puddle from Senot’s cut-up body, and the rest of the apartment appeared well examined by the CSI crew.
“I’m not sure what you expect to find,” Walker complained, “this place has been thoroughly gone through.”
“I want to take a look,” remarked Trask, “at the bedroom closet.”
He walked directly into the bedroom while adjusting the latex gloves over his fingers. Walker followed behind his protégée, as Trask opened the closet door and began looking through the hanging garments. Near the back he found a flowery garment bag and unzipped it to find a woman’s evening dress; below the bag he located a pair of silver colored, high-heel pumps. On the top shelf of the closet, Trask found a woman’s wig with light ash brown curls and a soft white pillbox hat.
“Well, well, well,” exclaimed Trask, “isn’t this interesting.”
“Big deal,” quipped Walker, “you found a woman’s outfit in the closet of a female impersonator.”
“Former female impersonator,” Trask corrected, “yet, this dress is for a mature woman and has been worn recently. This flowery pattern is not typically worn by a young woman in show business. It certainly isn’t the costume of an act on the strip.”
“Big deal,” Walker remarked, “so the old queen still liked to dress up like a woman. This doesn’t lead to any motive of his murder. Unless you got some other reason to stay, I think we should beat it back to the office and sift through the mail and address book.”
Trask shrugged his shoulders and followed his boss’s lead to return to the station. Back in the office they read through the address book and found one entry with neither an address or telephone number listed, merely a name entered alphabetically with the following note. ‘Tones, Henrietta – Get Number and Address at next contact’
On the morning of Thanksgiving Day a tall, slim, mature woman checked in at the ‘Gold Coast’ Hotel in Las Vegas. She wore a soft white pillbox hat, a dress with a flower pattern and silver colored high-heel pumps. Her hair was short and curly, and ash brown in color. The clerk greeted her at the Check-in counter and asked how she would pay for her room.
“I will be staying through the weekend,” the woman guest remarked in a soft, mellow voice, “and I am paying in cash.”
She signed the Guest Register, ‘Henrietta Tones,’ and carried one small bag and her purse to her room, and let herself in. Henrietta set her luggage out on the bed and opened the piece of luggage to reveal a case for twin butcher knives with one of the pieces of cutlery missing from its place. Henrietta then hung the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the room’s doorknob, slipped out of her dress, her undergarments, removed her wig and climbed into the shower stall. With her twin brother tragically murdered, she would face her combination birthday and Thanksgiving Day celebration alone.
As Henrietta washed herself in the shower, he thought about replacing the missing butcher knife, so the set would be complete again. Maybe Henrietta would buy herself a late birthday present tomorrow at a cutlery shop in the “Fashion Show Mall’. Henrietta might get herself a new dress there as well.