The following is another excerpt from my work in progress, The Throuple Private Eye—Business is Booming, a Jen McDowell Series. This is the second draft. I’m at 52k words now. If you want to catch up, order the novella The Throuple Private Eye—Hate Crimes, on Amazon ($2.99). The link is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084LTTHGN. Enjoy.
Jen was stumped. She knew Jimmy was cheating on his wife and living two separate lives. She felt that Biyu was probably dead, but she had no proof and no leads. Jen decide to turn to her boyfriend Jonah. He worked in homicide and could advise her. Jen was up early as Jonah popped into her office for a cup of coffee. He walked over to Jen for a quick kiss before coffee. Jen said, “I need your help on this case I’m working on.”
Jonah smiled. “Does that mean pot roast for dinner tonight?”
Jen shook her head. “I’m a little busy. Would you settle for just sex?”
Jonah tried to act serious. “Pot roast or sex. Hmmm, that’s a tough one.”
Jen was getting impatient. “Are you going to help me or not?”
“Okay,” Jonah replied, “No pot roast.”
“Fine,” Jen shot back. “Here it is. I need a list of all the Jane Does found in the county.”
Jonah chuckled. “You don’t need me to find that for you. It’s all online. Here, I’ll write down the website.”
“Damn,” Jen said. “I knew that.”
Jonah straightened up. Does that mean no sex and no pot roast?” When Jen ignored the remark. Jonah wrote down the website for Jen; Unidentified Remains.
Jen was surprised to see that the police had used DNA-based sketches based on skull reconstruction. She was also surprised at how few unknown murder victims there were. With modern DNA techniques, the police were able to track down just about everyone’s family. Of course, that only helped to identify the remains. The murderers still had to be caught. Several of the cases were still unsolved. Of the ones that Jen reviewed going back ten years, she managed to find three Asian females whose remains were not identified. The forensic lab was able to identify where the victims lived: one was from Malawi, one from Indonesia and one from South Africa.
Jen was convinced that some of these victims were killed by Jimmy. The police had their DNA on file, so if Jen could track down a family member, she might be able to identify some of the victims, at least Biyu.
She decided to try and determine which agency Biyu had used in Hong Kong to link her with Richardson. She thought it would be simple, but when she did a search, she discovered there were dozens of agencies. She would have to contact each one. She sent an email to each agency with a picture of Biyu and Jimmy. She said he may have used the name Richards.
The next couple of days, Jen heard from more than half of the agencies she sent emails. Most said that Jimmy and Biyu weren’t clients. However, one agency said that the picture of Biyu was a not good picture, but Jimmy Richards had been a client. Jen proposed a meeting using a social meeting app.
There’s a 12-hour difference between Hong Kong and Atlanta, so Jen set up the meeting for 9 pm, Atlanta time. When the meeting started, a pleasant looking Asian man filled Jen’s screen. She explained how Biyu had disappeared and may be dead.
The man was concerned. “Call me Mr. Zhang, please. How can I help?”
“I’ve identified three Asian females whose bodies were found in Fulton County. The police have DNA profiles on all three. If you could help get DNA from a member of Biyu’s family, we can determine if any of the remains are hers.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of this procedure,” Mr. Zhang replied. “I would need the DNA from her mother or father.”
“Correct,” Jen said. “If not them, then a brother or other family member will do.”
“Seem like a lot of work,” Mr. Zhang said. “As you Americans like to say, what’s in it for me?”
Mr. Zhang cuts right to the chase, Jen thought. “Of course, I will reimburse you for your time at whatever your rate is. Also, the FBI is offering a reward of $10,000 US dollars. If your help leads to an arrest, I’m willing to split the reward with you.”
“My time is valuable, Ms. Jen,” Mr. Zhang replied. “I’m a very busy man. I’ll have to charge you time and a half. Plus, I want our agreement to split the reward in writing. I’ll need a hundred dollars to start. I’ll find a family member for the DNA. I know how. Meanwhile, you send me the agreement in writing. Deal?”
Jen was getting pissed. “Deal,” she said. She put together a letter of agreement and emailed to Mr. Zhang. She found it hard to believe that he wouldn’t help pro bono. Afterall, Biyu was one of his clients. Then again, it wasn’t so hard to believe. Much to Jen’s surprise, Mr. Zhang responded two days later.
“I have the DNA from Biyu’s mother,” Mr. Zhang said in their next meeting. “How do you want to handle this? I can send the DNA to you, or I can contact a local lab to work up a profile and send it to you.”