Disclaimer: Still not mine.
Six hours later, the sun just rising above the horizon, the plane was on the ground at a positively tiny airstrip outside of Port Townsend, Washington.
“Why didn’t we come into Seattle?” J.J. asked Gideon, rubbing at her eyes and trying not to yawn.
“We’re going to the crime scene first, and it’s on this side of the Sound,” replied Gideon as he gathered his belongings.
Three black suburbans and a FBI tactical team were waiting for them as they exited the plane.
“Agent Hotchner, Agent Booth,” said the lead agent. “I’m Agent Rhodes, Seattle office. It’s about a ten minute drive from here, so pile in.”
Everyone loaded their equipment into the suburbans and then climbed into the cars with only a few minor squabbles about who would sit where. The lead car turned down the twisty mountain road. Soon they were pulling out of the woods into a small clearing. Waiting for them was an older woman in khaki work pants, a t-shirt, and the ubiquitous Seattle flannel button up. “I’m Dr. Nancy Rollins, the primary investigator for the site. Sheriff Warren is waiting for all of you up at the site.”
Agent Rhodes indicated he’d stay with the cars and help the unloading process while the rest of them got a first look at the scene.
“Dr. Rollins, let me introduce you to the teams. I’m Special Agent Aaron Hotchner. I’ll be running the psychological profile side of the investigation along with Special Agent Jason Gideon.”
Gideon shook Dr. Rollins’ hand. “You were the first person on the site?”
Gideon motioned the team to start walking as Rollins replied, “Carter’s been out here a few times, the Corps of Engineers guys before the project started, but yes, I was the first person out here with the field school.”
Dr. Brennan joined Gideon and Dr. Rollins, who continued, “The site is partially inundated, and the rest is swampy morass. Result of some bad development decisions in the ‘80’s. My grad student, Carter Ramirez, is working on sites with land/water interfaces and the county wanted the site excavated and the bodies re-interned after they realized that the gravesites were eroding into the Bay. The two skeletons they recovered at that point were both deceased in the 1870s,” said Rollins as she pointed to the water. “Carter got a permit to excavate and we brought the university field school down here. We were here less then a week, the first day for the undergrads, when one of the freshmen found Tiffany Davenport. You can imagine the parents’ reactions.” Brennan nodded, and Rollins continued, “We called in the sheriff’s office, but Jefferson County is sparsely populated, mostly they pick up people for marijuana possession, petty vandalism, drunken bar fights.”
Brennan nodded, “You volunteered to help with the investigation?”
“Yes,” replied Rollins, “I’ve helped with a few crime scenes previously, and I didn’t want these guys to ruin the site. Even with the bodies, we’re still responsible for the site under the permit with the Corps of Engineers. Plus, the Sheriff only has so many men, so we have four rookies straight out of the police academy and five physical anthropology grad students who are getting some extra-credit. Carter stayed, but I sent the undergrads home. We already had a physical anthropologist and an archaeological conservator lined up, so we’ve kept them abroad. Dr. Nguyen doesn’t do forensic work though, so he suggested we call you, especially since the GPR turned up so many bodies. Several of which, we think were not interred in coffins, which seems unusual for this site.”
Dr. Brennan turned to Booth and Gideon. “GPR is ground penetrating radar. I asked that the site be mapped so that we could make sure that we recovered all the bodies.”
Both Gideon and Booth nodded, and Dr. Rollins continued, “They’re waiting for you before they start removing any of the bodies we’ve exposed. We’d already disturbed so much of the crime scene that Agent Rhodes had us go ahead and basically excavate the site. We sifted all the soil that was removed, and bagged both the soil and everything we’ve found.”
Once the crowd made it to the dig site, Dr. Rollins introduced them to the sheriff. “Dr. Brennan, this is Sheriff John Warren. John, this is Dr. Temperance Brennan, she’s a forensic anthropologist. I’ll let the agents introduce themselves.”
“Thanks for coming on out here folks,” said Sheriff Warren, “Hope you can figure this one out. Once you agreed to come out here, I had Tiffany Davenport’s body sent to the morgue at Seattle Grace because none of the local hospitals can deal with criminal autopsies on this scale. We sent all the evidence there as well, as Agent Booth asked.”
Each of the BAU agents introduced themselves to the sheriff along with Dr. Brennan’s team. “While Dr. Brennan gets set up, my agents are going to take a quick look at the site, if that’s okay with you, Sheriff Warren.”
“Sounds like a plan to me, Agent Gideon, if you come with me,” replied Warren and then led the BAU team to the open gravesites. “We maybe have a murder a year, and usually they’re pretty cut and dry. Half of them happen during bar fights. We’re just not prepared to handle a crime of this magnitude.” Warren walked them to where the first body was found, “Nancy had the undergrads start digging test pits away from the main gravesites. It was just a teaching exercise until they dug a hole and brought up Tiffany Davenport’s severed hand. Nancy has a head on her shoulders, but panicking 18-year-old’s can do some damage. She got them all off the site and called 911.”
Gideon listened to the sheriff with half an ear, paying more attention to the surroundings as they walked. Morgan and Hotch followed. “There may not be a lot of physical evidence left,” said Morgan, surveying the site. “Normally a site this damp would have preserved the killer’s footprints, but with the archaeology crew tramping over everything for several days before anyone realized it was a crime scene, we’re not going to find any.”
“You’ll be surprised at what Dr. Brennan’s team can do,” said Hotch, as they knelt down by the hole in which Tiffany Davenport’s remains had been deposited.
On the far side of the site, Dr. Brennan assembled her team. “Hodgins, you’re on soil samples, water samples, anything that you think might help. Zack and I are going to split up, and each take a set of remains. We need as much preliminary data as possible before the sheriff’s men and the grad students can bag and tag.” She split up the rookies and the grad students into two teams. “Booth, you go with Zack and supervise his team. Make sure they don’t miss anything. Dr. Reid, can I draft you into supervising my team?” Zack and Dr. Reid had seemed to have made up on the plane, but splitting up the pair seemed like a better move for now.
“Sure,” said Reid, snapping on a pair of nitrile gloves.
“Agent Gideon,” called Dr. Brennan. “We’re ready.”
“You can start on this one, Dr. Brennan. Just let us know if we get in your way,” said Gideon.
“Okay,” said Brennan, “I’m going to start in on the first grave. Want to watch, Agent Gideon?”
“Sure,” replied Gideon squatting down beside the grave.
Brennan climbed down to the body. She hit the record button on her tape recorder. “The pronounced brow ridge and the jaw both suggest that the subject is male, buried recently, maybe six months ago.” She moved deftly in the hole, careful not to step on bones or other evidence. “The pelvis also suggests that the victim was male.” Brennan continued her examination. “Alright, that’s all we’re going to get from this one at the moment.”
One of the grad students gave Brennan a hand out of the grave and then dropped into the grave himself. One of the girls handed him down a body bag and then joined him in the grave. “They’ll pack up the bones, and the bones will be transported to the morgue in Seattle,” said Brennan. All in all, the process had taken about thirty minutes.
“This is going to take a while,” said Gideon.
“Well, we’ve got a couple hundred more graves to go,” replied Dr. Rollins.
“Okay then, J.J. should go to the Sheriff’s office to set up a base of operations for us.”
Gideon motioned to the blonde agent, who promptly joined them
“Angela should go with her,” said Brennan.
“Officer Terrance can take them back to the station. It’s in Port Hadlock, about twenty minutes back up the road,” added Sheriff Warren, motioning on of his men over. “Pete, take these people back up the office and let them set up.”
Pete nodded, and the group piled back in one of the suburbans and was gone.
Zack was down in a grave, and Booth was trying to make sure that his two grad student and three rookies didn’t step on a vital piece of evidence. Which would have been fine, but one of the grad students, Rona, a African-American girl with hundreds of braids, kept staring at him. At first he though it was the same look her fellow grad student, a white girl who looked like even Washington’s pale sun was going to turn her into a lobster, was giving him. A look that said, yes, Seeley Booth is still attractive to the ladies. The look Rona was giving him was part confusion, part recognition, and part fear, and it was freaking Booth out. Thankfully, she joined Zack down in the pit with the body and Booth was safe from her stares for a moment.
Morgan walked the site as Dr. Brennan’s team examined and excavated the bodies. “I’m the unsub,” he said to Gideon, “Why do I pick a graveyard? Is it just because the site is inconspicuous, or is there something symbolic? Am I burying them for a purpose?” Morgan walked away from the noise of the forensics team and back towards where Davenport had been found. “She wasn’t buried among the original graves, or in a coffin.”
“She was buried deeper then we normally see in this sort of case,” replied Gideon, “The unsub had time. He didn’t feel rushed and was confident that no one was going to see him.”
“We don’t have enough evidence yet,” replied Morgan, frustrated.
“Try it again after the bodies are removed and we know more about them,” replied Gideon. He looked up as Reid approached them. “Anything?”
“Dr. Brennan is going to send the first set of bodies to the hospital with Agent Booth. She thinks that it will take several more hours before they’re done here. So far, they’ve exposed two bodies that may have also been victims. Both were sewn into cotton bags, which indicates that the burial were recent. Cotton doesn’t hold up well in these conditions,” replied Reid, barely pausing to take a breath. “One,” he said, slower this time, “One of the bodies found sewn into a cotton bag was an infant.” Reid paused again, “Less then six months old.”
“We’re not getting anything here,” said Gideon, reigning in his anger. “You can stick with Dr. Brennan. Morgan and I are going to go back to the station with Sheriff Warren. Let us know if you find any new information.”