Read Scene 1
-by Jake Doherty
Complications set in quickly. After several tries on a cell phone, one birder reached his wife at Lion's Head, midway up the Peninsula who, in turn, reached the Ontario Provincial Police detachment in Wiarton. The OPP quickly contacted officers checking snowmobile trails in the Cabot Head area and diverted them to the old cabin hidden in the evergreens and shore rocks circling Windfield Basin.
At first sight, nothing was obvious except that the victims looked as though they had been dead for some time. That removed any suspicion that Nellie or her birder friends could possibly be suspects or even, persons of interest. Early winter storms had wiped out any tracks left by the killer – or killers for that matter. Nor did the deceased still have their wallets with them.
Except that Capt. Adams, however, still had his military dog tags around his neck under a heavy turtleneck that the killer had ignored. Only one bag of clothing for two victims, just a satchel really with a small shaving kit, and only little leftover food, barely enough to sustain them for no more than two or three days.
"Most likely just passing through," said Corporal Mike Erskine to his patrol buddy, Rob Exner. As young patrol officers, neither had any homicide experience. Clearly though, the circumstances of the two deaths suggested foul play, and not suicides or natural causes.
"But why here?" said Rob, putting aside his snowmobile helmet.
"Who knows?" said Mike, "so let's just declare this a crime scene, secure the area, and call for help from Wiarton. Back to basics rookie. Get every ones' name and then organize a quick check of the area. We'll lose daylight in a couple of hours. And, maybe, just maybe, there are more bodies out there."
Erskine stayed behind while Exner moved into the flock of birders, all anxious to leave, except Nellie, of course, who was looking for a cell phone to call the Sun Times in Owen Sound. "I'm the correspondent here, and these are my mur---well my story, and I gots a job to do, so I stay, eh?"
"Okay stay then, but don't touch anything, just look and—find some coffee, if you can."
Erskine now was much more interested in the dog tags under the victim's sweater. Just his last name with his service number and blood type. "So that's who you are...J.I. Adams from God knows where...and no clue how you got here." The second body had no tags but some nasty scars on his left shoulder.
"One of our boys, eh?" asked Nellie looking over Mike's shoulder. "Better call the Meaford Military base, they'll know."
"Madam," said Erskine brusqly, " better stand back--"
"Just Nellie please. OK, just call the tank range or whatever they call it now. My husband used to work there, and...here's the number."
"Nellie, go find the coffee!"
"Just trying to help you fine fellas. OPP and all. No reason to get pushy."
Social niceties over, Erskine made the call to the Wiarton detachment, which, in turn, called CFB Meaford with the information. The answer came back quickly.
"So corporal, who's our man Adams?"
"It appears," said Erskine checking his notes, "that Mr. Adams is not even one of ours."
"Not an enlisted man or vet? Not even our military? Are we at war or what sort of wacko was the late Mr. Adams.?
"Easy Nellie, don't jump to,...a Meaford official said try the U.S. military. It uses a different tag system."