tagLoving Wives48 Hours

48 Hours

byMainefiddleheads©

This is a quick flash story that explores the myriad of little details that can flesh out over a couple of days of inquiry. Most law officers will tell you that the majority of crimes are resolved within the first forty eight hours. That doesn't mean everything is all tied up in a neat bow. Somebody has to pick up all the broken pieces.

Infidelity, Retribution, Consequences


*****

Not your everyday weekend in Americana with its Rosa 'Mme Ferdinand Jamin'

I was a long way from the quiet cul-de-sac and its steadfast comfort. We have two car garages and identical mailboxes lining the street in precision; barbeque grills in every backyard. Its Americana squeezed onto repetitive 0.3 acre lots with above average cute housewives every third house, the others mostly average.

Tonight I'm down on Rainbow Row along the Battery on East Bay Street. It's a picture postcard of the peninsula of Charleston, SC and the last place in town a detective 1st class would expect to be called to on a drizzly Friday night in late October. Blue and reds were already on the scene when I arrived and a couple of uniforms were standing watch on the sidewalk in front of the pastel green Flemish gabled tourist attraction.

I hit the flashers and double parked next to a marked car the next house down and took in the scene. Several bystanders were watching from both sides of the street, curious to learn the story; the goings on along the busy pedestrian stroll. One of the uniforms was waving people along and trying his best to keep the area clear.

"Welcome to the Régimes of the Rich and Beautiful, George." The rotund big man said to me as I set to walk into the front room of the 1st floor.

The big man was the night sergeant on rotation this week, a gregarious fellow named Paul Montague who set the district record for largest meatball sub ever eaten by an officer in the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. It was twenty four inches of French bread packed with meatballs, marinara and a pound of mozzarella cheese. He did it again a week later.

All that aside, he was a crafty officer and I enjoyed working with him.

"Crime scene is upstairs, second room on the right. Not too messy this time."

I glanced at him and just grinned a bit. "That's good right?"

The last case we worked together was up in North Charleston with three Mexican illegals laid out Cartel necktie fashion in what apparently was a bad drug deal and a revenge killing. That was real bad. If this wasn't messy I'd be thankful for that.

I started up the steps and noticed a couple boards creaked noticeably. When I reached the landing and turned down the hallway nothing seemed out of place but if there was anything the crime techies would sort it out.

The door to the room was a double entryway and when I stepped in I made an assessment. There were two victims, maybe two victims; it could have been a murder-suicide. Strike that, it was a double murder. The man was laying back against the headboard, naked with two entry wounds in his chest, dead center. The woman lying across his lower torso had five entry wounds in the middle of her back and four in her buttocks. Somebody really didn't like her. The techs found twelve casings with one round through the headboard and into the wall behind it.

"George, the guy is Carlos Piña, age 28, originally from St. Lucia and runs a construction company down in Edisto. He's got a wife and based on the pics in his wallet, a couple of kids. The female is Lucy Steinman, 39 years old, a social butterfly around town and she's married to Marin Steinman, the owner of record. We are still trying to locate him."

"Thanks, Paul. The techs are saying it was a 9 mil and no weapon on the scene so somebody did them and fled. Does the house have security?"

Paul just shrugged and said he'd find out but he would need to find the husband to gain full access without an order. As I surveyed the scene again I noticed a yellow silk scarf off to the side of the room over next to a bookcase facing the bedside. Bending down to pick it up, the fragrance hit my nostrils. It was familiar and expensive but I knew what it was; it was Flowerbomb by Victor & Rolf, the eau de parfum.

I was familiar with it as I had purchased the expensive gift for Michelle's birthday several months earlier along with a silk scarf collection. Hell of a coincidence.

--------------------------

Michelle Rogin was down in Savannah visiting with her sister and had left yesterday morning so when I turned the key in the front door I knew the house would be empty except for the housekeeper, an 85 lb. bundle of temperamental joy in the form of Maxwell, our Doberman Pinscher.

He was at the door before I pushed the key in the lock, sniffing in anticipation and when the door opened he was ready on his haunches waiting for his kiss. He got it and I walked back into the kitchen tossing my keys and soft sack on the counter.

Michelle and I were both 33, no kids, fitness buffs and trying to make the American dream come true here in this small suburban neighborhood in north Mt. Pleasant. It was my first marriage and her second and after four years everything seemed on the up and up.

A couple years ago Michelle left her job with the Mt P planning commission and started selling real estate. On the face of it there was no big thing about that but she was working with Carole Bigsby for the Carter firm. Carole was the neighborhood bike and had a house the next street over.

Her husband left her and took their two kids three or four years ago after catching her with her boss in their bed in the middle of the afternoon. Since then, through scuttlebutt, she's fucked a score of men across a couple of neighborhoods. I know scuttlebutt isn't always a reliable thing but the whore came onto me right in my living room with Michelle in the shower; straddling me right on the couch and rubbing the Johnson into position. He has a mind of his own but fortunately I have enough fortitude to easily overrule him.

So I had concerns with Michelle working with her especially since the boss was the same one who fucked Carole precipitating her divorce. In the end she won out and now she sells high end real estate in Charleston and down into Kiawah. Her hours are almost as bad as my own.

I'm Detective 1st class George Rogin of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, better known colloquially as SLED and work out of the Charleston office Investigative Services. Foreign national suspicious deaths get us called in and that was the case with Carlos Piña who was a legal alien. That gave us courtesy involvement at this point.

The next morning I was up and out of the house early and headed downtown. We would have received the processed CSI package first thing and by the time I arrived it was ready for me. Before I could dig into it, one of the support staff stuck her head in the door.

"George, Sergeant Montague from Charleston County dropped off a DVD evidence package; said to tell you that they got ahold a judge last night and took into custody several security DVDs and a hard drive. These are copies. I just need you to sign for them."

She leaned over me with her full bosom nearly in my face and smiled as she handed me her pen. If I was a scoundrel I'd have been balls deep in that months ago. I signed in the proper place and watched the skirt covered ass swing back through the door. Some future husband is going to get very lucky.

The note on top of the stack said 'Don't watch these around kids, George, and keep some paper towels handy."

OK, he's a smartass but he's still the best sergeant in Charleston. I set them aside and turned my attention to the evidence packet. Mr. Marin Steinman had not been located yet but was considered a person of interest which could change once other persons were identified on the DVDs if they exist. In any event we all wanted to locate him. I was pretty sure George and the Charleston County folks were already on it.

The SLED lab came back with a ballistics report later that afternoon and indicated that all rounds fired came from the same 9 mill, most likely a semi-auto handgun and that each round was fired from the side of the bed near the footboard. Based on trajectories, they estimated the shooter held the weapon at approximately 5 feet from the floor making the perpetrator between 5'6" and 6'6", depending on how the weapon was held.

I had to smile at the lab's preciseness. They always said these things with absolute stone faces. For all I knew it could have been a 5'2" chick standing on a bedside step.

The evidence packet had several photos of the deceased as well as a number of photos of the Steinman couple found in the house. His ID put him at 52 but he didn't look over early mid- forties; seemed fit and attractive and add to that his obvious wealth, it would explain the eye candy of a wife albeit a deceased wife.

By any standard, Mrs. Steinman was a beautiful woman not lacking in any of the accoutrements of fine living. The size of the rock removed from her hand would nearly pay for my house or at least make a hell of a dent in the mortgage.

Carlos Piña on the other hand was just your run of the mill stocky muscle head. It looked like he did construction sub-contracting for several developments between here and Hilton Head. My guess was he was just beefcake on the side for the Mrs. Most likely we'll find their paths crossed somewhere on a property or bar and the next thing he knew he was porking some rich guy's wife and getting a regular nut. It's a story we've all run across a hundred times in our line although most don't end up shot dead down on Rainbow Row...

"Hey, baby, you doing alright?" Michelle asked me when I took her call late that afternoon after returning home.

"I'm fine. How about you and Monique? Your Mom called early yesterday trying to get ahold of you and I told her the cell coverage for TelCom sucked in Savannah and to call Monique. Well, I didn't say 'sucked' but you know."

"You'll get Momma all hot and bothered if you start talking dirty to her, George Rogin!" She kidded.

That was one of our private jokes between us. Her mother told the girls she tried phone sex a few times and got addicted to it for a couple months until she realized she preferred the real thing and started going out with a couple of the other widows in her development. That was all I wanted to know.

"I'm going to stay over one more night and drive up tomorrow evening. Maybe we can do a late dinner when I get back."

"Michelle, honey, that would be great but just a caution; I might not be free. I'm working a murder case down on East Bay on the Battery. Seems a love nest on money row got shot up last night and I've got two bodies and a missing husband."

There was a long pause before she replied. For a moment I thought we had dropped the call.

"Oh that's awful. Let's hope we can make it. Listen, I love you, George. See you tomorrow."

We ended the call and I set up my laptop to view the security DVD for last night's murder scene...

Marin Steinman had spent a lot of money on video security. It wasn't your run of the mill black and white grainy crap you buy out of a discount box store. This was high end product, HD color digital with precision zoom dumping out to a monstrous multi-tetra byte storage drive. He had cameras in all the rooms downstairs and one in the master bedroom and hallway on the second floor along with a camera in each of the hallways on the next two floors.

I poured a Pale Ale and settled back with head phones on to block out any background noise. I queued up the first DVD starting at 9PM when movement and sound activated the camera in the entry way to the house on the ground floor. It was the two victims entering the home and not being particularly quiet about it. They had both been drinking from the sound of it.

They prattled on around the house fixing drinks and several minutes later Mrs. Steinman led an obviously appreciative Mr. Piña up the stairs to the master bedroom. The thing about my job is I need to pay attention to the details. That's how we solve most crimes other than through the stupidity of the perpetrators. If nothing else, Marin Steinman provided the detail in stunning HD clarity.

Lucy Steinman dropped to her knees and slowly unbuckled the trousers of her paramour and reached into his shorts and pulled out what had to be a porno sized prick that she couldn't wrap her fingers around. When the trousers and shorts dropped to his ankles they revealed a set of huge fucking bull balls. It was soon apparent that Lucy Steinman was a size queen or at least became one last night.

With both hands working his dick, her mouth pushed over the fat uncircumcised head and her lips distended outwards as he fucked what he could inside. Having seen enough porn in the frat house days I could guess the drill. I used the zoom feature on the laptop and it brought them up close and personal in HD. She was definitely into it and softly moaning all around it.

At some point he picked her up and laid her on the bed, stripping her clothes off in the process before laying back propped up on the pillows. The now naked Lucy Steinman started stroking the cock in front of her and licking and sucking his fat head into her mouth. Carlos just laid back enjoying it for the next few minutes until I saw him grab the back of Lucy's head and hold her mouth over the head of that fat prick.

Then it started; the most massive ejaculation I have ever seen. I thought we had seen it all in our college years but this was so over the top I thought for a moment it was staged. Carlos grunted several streams of milky spunk into Lucy's mouth until it started pouring out the sides of her mouth. When she couldn't take any more he pushed her back onto the pillow and continued spewing gobs of sperm all over her face and tits.

I looked at the timer for kicks. That was a forty second ejaculation and none of it was a weak stream. She looked like a Japanese bukaki victim and roared in laughter after wards.

"God, you are a fucking animal!' she shouted out with goo dripping off her nose and lips and eye brows. "It never stops amazing me." And she then fell back on the bed laughing.

"Get busy sucking it up again and I'll give you more right in that little pink pussy." Carlos replied.

Now I knew what Paul meant when he said to have some paper towels. I almost called him to tell him to stop jacking off but unfortunately I knew what was also going to happen.

Mrs. Steinman settled herself over Piña's lower torso and slowly started working on his prick. After several minutes he was back to form and before he could make a move to take her, I had to back the scene up just a bit. I heard the same thing I had heard last night; the creaking of the boards on the stairwell.

Several moments later a trim figure dressed in black with a hood over the head came into view and fired two shots quickly into Carlos Piña, dead center with no hesitation. The next shot went into the headboard and the shooter motioned for Lucy Steinman to lay flat across the first victim. A moment later there were five shots in quick succession into the middle of her back. Then the perpetrator kicked the heel of Mrs. Steinman and went over to the side of the bed before firing four shots into her buttocks, clearly in anger.

I backed up the scene again to look at the wrist of the perpetrator. When the shooter fired in anger, the black sleeve on the right arm rose up enough to make out what appeared to be a silver bracelet with what I assumed to be Indian designs; I wasn't sure. I snapped a picture of it to disk and started the video again.

"You won't be nailing any other whores now; that's for sure, motherfucker." She said with an accent.

Now I knew she was south of the border, around 5'7" or so and knew Piña. Steinman was a collateral 'whore'...

"Paul, I'm guessing you've watched the perp shooting. Talked with Mrs. Piña yet?"

"One of deputies drove down this morning with a Charleston PD fellow but she wasn't there. Based on what I saw on the video we issued an APB-POI for her and alerted the TSA but I don't know if we will get to her in time. She took her kids out of school yesterday morning."

She might be completely innocent but her actions before and after the shooting cause the alerts and we would want to bring her in for questioning. Charleston County will get a warrant for a full premises search in her absence.

"Oh by the way, we located Marin Steinman earlier this evening. He's at a Doubletree Hotel down in Savannah and was on his way back as of an hour ago. It's pretty clear he's not the perp; claimed his phone had been off without realizing it. He had been holed up with some chick who wasn't there when the officers talked with him. They just noted the sexy lavender underwear and a pair of leopard print high heels they were pretty sure weren't his size. "

Paul was chuckling when he finished and we concluded the call...

What was the likelihood they would both be in Savannah at the same time? Of course it could all be a coincidence; I've seen enough of those over the course of my moderate career. The closet door still stuck a bit when I opened it and I reminded myself I needed to fix that. She keeps all her things so fastidiously with everything in a row and in the same place. I was looking for them and didn't see them. In their place was a vacancy in the row.

They were high heels I guess. Actually they were a pair of Gomma Pony Chelsea Boots her mom gave her for Christmas a couple years ago; over $500 at Harrods online. With a pair of skin tight yoga pants and her killer legs she looked outstanding in them and they weren't there.

Suspicion can work strange things in a man's mind and if there's one mantra drilled into us more than any other it is to 'set your emotions aside'. I've been trained to recognize when I'm acting or reacting with emotion rather than fact. I was doing just that, allowing emotional suspicion to guide my actions. It was 11PM, twenty four hours after I walked onto the scene down on Rainbow Row. I would have to log through the remaining DVDs but that could wait until tomorrow.

Maxwell announced his need for a late walk and the two of us headed out into the neighborhood with flashlight and dog baggie in hand. It was quiet for the most part and a few minutes later I found myself coming up on Carole Bigsby's home and saw she had company for the evening; nothing changes. Maxwell did his thing next to her mailbox and we moved on.

It was past midnight when I hit the sack and didn't move until nearly eight in the morning. After a quick run and a light breakfast I set up the other DVDs intending to start reviewing them for evidence purposes. Paul Montague called me before I could begin.

"George, we found out where Mrs. Piña took off to. Mrs. Castelda Portalla Piña is a Belize national and she flew into Belize City late last night after arriving in the Dominican Republic by boat. She also took a sizable amount of cash out of their bank accounts and accessed the couple's bank security box sometime Friday afternoon. She's got a lot of walking around money in a place like that, for certain.

"The U.S. and Belize have an extradition treaty to try to bring her back but after talking with the U.S. Attorney last evening it's likely to be a long haul if ever. They don't send their own nationals back easily and when they do they generally require witnesses for anything that could result in capital or a life sentence."

"I'll keep that in mind if I need to whack somebody, Paul. Do you have any more good news?" He just laughed at me.

"We are going to talk to Marin Steinman later if you want to join us."

I did and made arrangements to join them at the Steinman house at 1PM...

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