Page 53 of Detective


"I suppose it isn't likely," Ruby queried, "that you'll find fingerprints or blood after all these years."


"Highly unlikely," the sergeant answered. "But..." He glanced toward Yanis.

"Yesterday," Yanis said, "I went to look at the Ikeis' clothing nightclothes they were wearing when they were killed; we still have it all in Property. What it showed was that they were stabbed through their clothing, which means there may be threads from the clothing still on that knife. If the threads and the clothing match..." He raised his hands, leaving the sentence unfinished.

Ruby said admiringly, "You just taught me something I didn't know."

"He does that to all of us," Jasmund echoed. "All the time."

"So we found what you were looking for," Andy Vosko said. "Do we quit or go on?"

"We go on," Yanis answered, and so they did for another hour, but nothing more was found.

* * *

Ruby Bowe booked a late-evening flight back to Miami. Shirley Jasmund drove Ruby to the airport; Sandy Yanis came along. As they parted at the terminal entrance and Ruby said good-bye, she reached out impulsively and hugged them both.

12

"So what's the verdict?" Malcolm Ainslie asked.

"The verdict," Ruby Bowe responded, "is that when Elroy Doil told you he murdered the Esperanzas and the Ikeis, he was telling the truth. Oh sure, a few details were different, and he left out one item entirely, but none of it changes the basic facts." She paused. "Shall I go back to the beginning?"

"Do that." It was the morning following Ruby's return from Tampa, and both were at Ainslie's desk in Homicide.

Ainslie listened while Ruby described what she had learned, first at Metro-Dade, then Tampa. At the end she added, "I had a phone call at home early this morning. The lab people in Tampa have identified threads on the bowie knife that match the Ikeis' clothing, so for sure it's the knife that killed them, just as Doil said. And the brooch we found in the grave . . ." Ruby consulted her notes. "It's been identified as cloisonne very old, very valuable, and Japanese. Sandy Yanis figures the old lady had the brooch somewhere close to her when she was killed, and Elroy Doil fancied it."

''Then got scared of having it found on him, and left it in the grave, too," Ainslie finished.

"Exactly. So Doil didn't tell the complete truth after all."

"But what he did tell me has checked out, and you've proved it to be true.

"Oh, there's something else." From among the papers Ruby had brought back, she produced copies of the envelope that, according to Shirley Jasmund, was found beside the Ikeis' bodies the envelope with seven seals in a circle on the rear and, inside, a page from Revelation. Ainslie studied both.

"It's chapter five," he said, looking at the torn page. "Three verses are marked." He read them aloud:

" 'And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

" 'And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

"'And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, bath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals . . .'

"It's Doil's handiwork." Ainslie remembered his conversation with Father Kevin O'Brien of Gesu Church, who had described Doil's obsession at age twelve with as the priest expressed it "God's wrath, pursuit, revenge, and killing."

Ainslie added, "It matches everything he did much later."

"Why that page beside the bodies?" Ruby asked.

"Only Doil knew that. My guess is he saw himself as the Lion of Judah, which led him to the serial killings." Ainslie shook his head ruefully, then, touching the envelope and the page, said, "If we'd had this sooner, and known about the Ikeis, we'd have nailed Doil long before we did."

There was a silence which Ruby broke. "You just said 'serial killings.' How does the Ernst case stand now?"

"It stands alone." In his mind Ainslie could hear Elroy Doil's desperate, frantic words: I done them others, but I don't wanna die blamed for what I never done.

"There were doubts that Doil was telling the truth," Ainslie said. "But now it looks very much as if he was, so I guess the Ernst case will be reopened."

* * *

"The Ernst case is reopened, as of now," Leo Newbold said. "And it's looking very much as if you were right all along, Malcolm."

Ainslie shook his head. "That doesn't matter. The question is, where do you suggest we start?" The two were in Newbold's office, with the outer door closed.

"We'll start by keeping everything very quiet, and for as long as possible." Newbold hesitated before adding, "That means even in Homicide, and tell Ruby not to discuss this with anyone else."

"I already have." Ainslie regarded his superior curiously.as he asked, "What are you thinking?"

The lieutenant shook his head uncertainly. "I'm not sure. Except, if the Ernst murder was a copycat killing the way it now looks then whoever did it set it up deliberately to look like another serial. And that same person knew a helluva lot about Doil's other murders stuff that was never in the newspapers or on TV."

Ainslie chose his words carefully. "You're suggesting someone had inside information, or there were deliberate leaks to the outside?"

"Goddam, I don't know what I'm suggesting! All I know is, I'm nervous as hell wondering if someone in the PD, even in this department, knows something about the Ernst case that you and I don't." Newbold rose from his chair, paced his office, and returned. "Don't tell me you're not thinking the same thing, because I know damn well you are."

"Yes, I have been." After a pause Ainslie said, "What I thought I might do to begin is study all the files on every case, sort out what facts were made public and what we kept under wraps. Then we can see how it all compares with what happened at the Ernsts'."

Newbold nodded. "A good idea, but don't do it in the office. If anyone sees those files spread around, they could guess what's happening. Take them home and stay there for a couple of days. I'll cover for you."

Ainslie was startled. He had intended to be cautious, but not to the extent of mistrusting his colleagues. Yet he supposed Newbold was right. Also, lots of people, including outsiders, came and went from Homicide, and there was always curiosity about what was going on.

That evening, therefore, having discreetly transferred five bulging files to his car one each for the double murders of the Frosts, Larsens, Hennenfelds, Urbinas, and Ernsts Ainslie drove home, prepared for an intensive, probing study.

* * *

"I don't know why you're working at home," Karen said the next day, "but just having you here with all that stuff spread out is great. Is there any way I can help?"

Malcolm looked up gratefully. "Could you print some of my notes on your computer?"

Jason, returning from school, was equally pleased. Joining his father at the dining room table, he shoved some Homicide files aside to clear space for his homework, and the two worked side by side, interrupted only when Jason had questions like, "Dad, did you know that when you multiply by ten, all you have to do is add a zero? Isn't that neat?" . . . "Dad, did you know the moon is only two hundred and forty thousand miles away? Do you think I'll ever go there?" . . . And finally, "Dad, why don't we do this all the time?"

* * *

It took Ainslie two full days to pore over the files he had brought home, extract details, make notes, and finally create a crime-by-crime chart, but at the end he had drawn some important conclusions.

He began by reviewing the crime-scene details that were kept from the media withheld in hopes that a suspect might incriminate himself by volunteering such knowledge. Included in those facts were the series of bizarre objects left beside the victims, beginning with the four dead cats. Something else not disclosed was the radio that police found playing loudly at all the crime scenes. Yet another detail was that each couple, while bound and gagged, was positioned facing each other. The fact that all of the victims' money had been taken was disclosed, but there was never any mention that valuable jewelry, which could have been removed, had consistently been left.

Some reporters, however, had private sources of information within the Police Department, and whatever they learned unofficially was broadcast or printed, restricted or otherwise. Which left two questions: First, had the news media managed to publicize everything about the four double killings preceding the Ernsts'? Almost certainly not, Ainslie thought. And, second, was there a possibility as Leo Newbold had implied of a leak within the Police Department, either accidental or deliberate? In Ainslie's opinion, that answer was yes.

Ainslie considered next: Were there any differences between the murders of Gustav Ernst and his wife and the other Doil killings? Yes, he discovered, there were several.

One concerned the radios left playing at every murder scene. At the Frost murders at the Royal Colonial Hotel, the radio had been tuned to HOT 105 and was playing hard rock, that station's staple fare. The Clearwater murders of Hal and Mabel Larsen were next and, because no radio was referred to in the report, Ainslie phoned Detective Nelson Abreu, the senior investigator. "No," Abreu reported, "as far as I know, no radio was on, but I'll check and call you." He did so an hour later.

"I just talked to the uniform who was first on the scene, and yes, there was a radio on, he tells me now, says he remembers it was loud rock and roll, and the idiot turned it off and didn't report it. He was a new kid, and I've reamed him out good. Was it important?"

"I'm not sure," Ainslie said, "but I appreciate your checking."

Abreu was curious about the query's background. "The Larsens' next of kin have asked whether Doil definitely did those killings here. Do you have anything on that?"

"Not at this moment, but I'll tell my lieutenant you'd like to know if anything breaks."

Abreu chuckled. "I get it. You know something but can't tell me."

"You're in this business," Ainslie said. "You know the way things are."

He knew that Doil's Raiford confession had not been circulated so far, and for the time being he hoped it would not be. Eventually, though, for the peace of mind of the victims' survivors, the full story would undoubtedly be released.

After the Larsens came the Fort Lauderdale slayings of Irving and Rachel Hennenfeld. During a liaison visit to Miami, Sheriff-Detective Benito Montes reported that when the bodies were found, a radio was "playing hot rock, so goddam loud you couldn't hear yourself speak."

Then there were Lazaro and Luisa Urbina, killed in Miami. A neighbor turned off a loud-playing radio while he called 911, but left the dial setting unchanged at HOT 105.

A radio was also playing loudly when the bodies of Gustav and Eleanor Ernst were discovered by Theo Palacio, their majordomo. Palacio, too, turned off the radio, but remembered it was FM 93.1, WTMI, "a favorite station of Mrs. Ernst," he'd said, because it played classical music and show tunes. WTMI never played hard rock.

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