Page 52 of Detective



"Any objection to us checking first, to find if there is such a grave?"

"I guess not, as part of an official investigation. But be careful. People are touchy about graves; it's like invading someone's privacy, or worse."

Afterward Clemson told Yanis, "Sandy, find out if there's a grave in that cemetery for someone named Doil. If there is, you can swear an affidavit, then ask a judge to sign an order letting us dig there." He added for Ruby, "This is going to take a couple of days, maybe more, but we'll move as fast as we can."

* * *

Ruby accompanied Yanis to City Hall and the Real Estate Division to meet an assistant property manager, Ralph Medina, whose responsibilities included Marti Cemetery. Medina, a small, middle-aged civil servant with a friendly attitude, explained, "Mart) doesn't need much managing, takes maybe four, five percent of my working time. One good thing once our tenants are inside, they never complain." He smiled at his own joke. "But if I can help, I will."


It was Ruby who described the purpose of their visit, Elroy Doil's pre-execution statement, and what they were seeking. She then inquired how many people were buried in the cemetery who had had that same last name.

"How do you spell that?"

"D-o-i-l."

Medina produced a file, ran a finger down several lists, then shook his head. "There's no such name. No one with that name's ever been buried at Marti."

"What about similar names?" Yanis asked.

"There are some spelled D-o-y-l-e."

"How many of those?"

Medina checked his lists again. "Three."

Yanis turned to Ruby. "What do you think?"

"I'm not sure. Doil's words were 'same last name as mine,' and the idea of disturbing three graves without real reason . . ." She shook her head.

"Yeah, know what you mean. Mr. Medina, when were the people in those Doyle graves buried?"

The answers took several minutes to find. At length: "One was in 1903, another in 1971, the last in 1986."

"Forget the third; that's six years after the Ikei murders. About the other two are you still in touch with the families?"

Again, more searching through registers, files, and yellowed pages, then the pronouncement, "The answer's no. The 1903 burial shows no contact at all; it was so long ago. After the 1971, there was an exchange of letters, then nothing."

"So you couldn't contact relatives of those dead people, even if you wanted?" Yanis queried.

"No, probably not."

"And if we obtained a judge's order to search those two graves just a foot or so below the surface, you'd cooperate?"

"With a judge's order, of course."

* * *

As Ruby and Yanis left City Hall together, she said, "So you decided to go ahead anyway."

"We have to," he answered tersely, adding, "It's a long shot with those different names, and maybe we'll waste our time. But it's a bigger risk to pass up a chance of finding the truth about how those old people died."

She regarded him curiously. "You really care about the answer, don't you? Even though it's all those years ago."

"For me," he told her, "those old cases never go away, no matter how many years you wait. So you tried to solve a case ten, fifteen years ago, but couldn't. Then something new comes up like now and you try again, every bit as hard as before."

"Not everyone does," Ruby said. "It's good that you care."

As if he had not heard, Yanis tapped his forehead, then continued, "I have a list in there that won't go away. Right up top is a little girl named Juanita Montalvo. She was ten years old; fifteen years ago, here in Tampa, she disappeared. A lot of us worked hard on that case. We got nowhere, but somehow, someday, before I finish, I want to know what happened to Juanita, and where she is, even if it's buried in the woods and we have to dig to find her."

"Did you know her?"

"Not before she disappeared. But afterward I learned so much about her she was a nice kid, everybody said so I have a feeling I really did." Yanis glanced at Ruby. "You think I'm spooked, don't you? That maybe I've been in Homicide too long?"

"Absolutely not," she told him. "Though I think you're hard on yourself."

"Maybe so. But I'll still go to the limit, along with you, to learn what happened to the Ikeis."

* * *

The preliminary arrangements took two full days.

The assistant state attorney prepared an affidavit and a judicial order allowing the police to open two graves, which Detective Yanis and Ruby Bowe took for a judge to sign.

Initially the judge, who clearly knew Yanis well, demurred at the notion of disturbing two graves, asking, "Why don't I authorize just one, Sandy? Then, if you don't find what you want there, I'll consider a second order."

The veteran detective pleaded persuasively, "I promise, Judge, that if we find what we're looking for at the first grave, we won't go near the second. But if we do have to search the second, having your okay in advance will save the city a lot of money not to mention your own valuable time."

"Your bullshit, I see, is as deep as ever," the judge commented. He turned from Yanis to Ruby. "Pardon my language, Detective, but what's your thinking on this?"

"Sometimes, Your Honor, I think bullshit makes sense."

"I'm an old fox who's outfoxed," the judge remarked as he scribbled a signature.

* * *

The workforce that assembled at 7:00 A.M. the next day at Marti Cemetery comprised four detectives Yanis, Jasmund, Bowe, and an Andy Vosko, borrowed from Robbery and three uniform officers from the ID Department. The City Real Estate Division's Ralph Medina also arrived "Just to keep an eye on my turf," he commented and a police photographer was taking pictures of the two designated graves.

Ample equipment had been stockpiled, too. There were wooden boards, an assortment of spades and hand trowels, coils of light rope, two sifting screens, and the ID crew had brought technical gear in boxes and leather cases. Also lined up were a dozen gallon-size bottles of drinking water. "By the end of this day we'll have finished those," Yanis declared. "It's gonna be a hot one." Although it was still officially winter, the sky was clear, the sun already climbing, the humidity high.

As instructed, everyone had dressed in old clothes, mainly jumpsuits and rubber boots, and had brought gloves. Ruby had borrowed baggy jeans from Shirley Jasmund, though they were pinching Ruby at her waistline and crotch.

The first grave to be opened was the older of the two, the burial place of a Eustace Maldon Doyle, who, according to a crumbling but still readable gravestone, died in 1903. "Hey, that's the year the Wright brothers flew the first airplane," someone said.

"It's the oldest part of the cemetery," Yanis acknowledged. "And closest to the house where the Ikeis were killed."

The first procedure, supervised by the ID sergeant, was to nail four boards together, forming a rectangular enclosure six feet by four. This was lowered over the grave and marked the limit of the dig. Next, several lengths of light rope were secured on top of the wooden frame by the ID crew, creating a grid a total of twenty-four twelve-inch squares. The purpose was to explore one square at a time, and also to keep a record of exactly where anything was found.

But would anything be found, Ruby Bowe wondered. Despite the activity, since arriving here today her doubts had grown. The name on this grave, she was reminded, was not what Elroy Doil had claimed it to be. In any case he was a notorious liar, so was Doil ever here at all? Her thoughts were interrupted by the ID sergeant's voice.

"Your turn now, Sandy," he told Yanis. "We're the gurus here. You guys are the chain gang."

"At your service, bossman." Taking a spade himself, Yanis instructed the other detectives, "Okay, let's play tictac-toe," and began digging carefully in one of the twelveinch squares. The other three Tampa detectives, along with Ruby, followed suit, choosing squares some distance from Yanis and each other.

"We'll go down six inches to begin," Yanis ordered. "Then, if we need to, another six."

The ground was hard, and only small amounts of earth could be lifted at one time. Gradually and carefully the dirt was transferred to a bucket, then as each bucket was filled, its contents were shaken into sifting screens.

The process was painstaking and tedious, and after a while they were all perspiring. At the end of an hour only twelve squares had been excavated to a six-inch depth, and, following a brief water break, work continued on the remaining twelve. At the end of two hours only three objects had been found an old leather dog collar, a fivecent coin dated 1921, and an empty bottle. The dog collar and bottle were discarded. The nickel, Yanis announced amid mild amusement, would go to the city treasury. Then they all began to dig another six inches down.

Finally, at the end of four hours and no results, Yanis declared, "That's it, everyone. Take a break and a drink, then we'll work on the other grave."

A chorus of weary sighs arose from the crew as they contemplated another four hours of back-straining labor.

Work started on the second grave at 11:40 A.M., with the temperature at eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit. It continued for an hour and a half, then Shirley Jasmund said quietly, "I think I have something."

They all stopped and looked up.

With her spade, Detective Jasmund gently probed downward in the square she was working on and said, "It's quite small. Solid, though. Maybe a stone."

Ruby's heart sank. Whether a stone or something else, it was clearly not a knife.

"May we take over?" the ID sergeant asked.

Jasmund shrugged as she handed him her spade. "I do the work, you get the glory."

''Them's the breaks, kid!" The sergeant passed the spade clear of the grave, then, kneeling, loosened the object in the ground with his fingers.

It was not a stone. Even with some earth still clinging to it, the object was revealed as a gold and enamel brooch clearly valuable.

The ID sergeant dropped the discovery into a plastic bag. "We'll look at it more closely in the lab."

"Okay, gang," Yanis echoed. "Let's keep digging."

Another hour and ten minutes passed and, along with the time, Ruby's spirits drooped. She had decided that this portion of her quest was close to ending in failure when Robbery's Andy Vosko spoke up.

"Got something here," he said, then added, "This time it's bigger."

Again everyone stopped work to watch, and again the ID sergeant moved in and took charge. Using a hand trowel, he carefully loosened the largish object and, as earth fell away, the vague shape became clear it was a knife. Producing tongs, the sergeant used them to hold the knife while one of the ID crew women brushed the remaining earth away.

"It's a bowie knife," Ruby said breathlessly, viewing the sturdy wooden handle and long single-edged blade straight, then curving concavely to a single sharp cutting point. "It's what Doil used in his killings." Her mood turned upbeat and she felt gratitude to Sandy Yanis for his persistence despite Ruby's own doubts.

The knife was now in another plastic bag. "We'll look at this in the lab, too," the ID sergeant said. "Nice going Sandy!"

Source: www.StudyNovels.com