I arrived as the ambulance pulled away. Mike already had Moonbeam Willows, a former student and now director of the Armstrong University crime lab, and several of his criminology students, combing the place for clues. Mike was in his element. Me, not so much.
“Oh, good, there you are. It’s the same as before. Rose, pricked finger, lights out. But this time we have a fresh crime scene with all our techs here. She was found right there in the doorway.”
I looked at the door knob and noticed something. “Moonbeam, do you have a magnifier?”
“Sure do, Dr. M.” She took one long glide across the room to her crime scene kit and then another to where I stood. I took the magnifier and adjusted the power to 500X. The screen flicked and then focused on the white powder. The grains were perfectly spherical. It reminded me of something from my days with the FBI.
“Moonbeam, does your handheld have a frequency scanner?”
“Of course, Dr. M.”
“Check the door knob.”
She tapped the screen a few times. I heard the faint ticking which grew louder as she brought the scanner closer.
“Tracking powder. Made up of hundreds of thousands of nanotransmitters. Now, how did that get on a doorknob.”
“This case just keeps getting weirder.”
“Hey, look at this?”
“Crater, you dust brain hug the walls or leap over, don’t walk through the crime scene.”
Crater Johnson was one of Mike’s students who had a tendency to get carried away and forget about trampling on evidence. He stopped abruptly and walked all the way around the unprocessed area.
“It’s one of those little candy hearts. It says ‘Be Mine.’” As he handed it to me, the scanner began ticking again.
“Moonbeam, get that over to the lab. I want a report within the hour.” It may be Moonbeam’s lab, but her old professor was still the boss.
“There is one similarity among all our victims. They all recently bought Valentine candy. One for a dorm party, one for her kids, one was given a box of it by her boss and the last for a school party. Maybe this is about the candy.”
Mike glanced around the room as I thought out loud. “Diana STOP!!!” One of Mike’s students was reaching down with an ungloved hand toward the rose.
“Dustbrain, Do you want to end up knocked out on the floor. Use tongs to pick that up.”
“It’s almost impossible to pick up a rose without pricking yourself.”
“I know, and that kid was going at it with a bare hand.”
“If it is almost impossible for us, it must have been for the perp.”
“Of course, Diana, catch Moonbeam if you can. She needs to process that rose immediately.”
What's on the rose? What's the significance of a piece of candy with tracking powder on it?And what does this have to do with women being drugged by a flower? Check back with us later this afternoon for the conclusion of this story.