with a whirl and click
images glide by with clues
hidden in plain sight
For the second day, Meghan Bode is at the state archives, looking for clues to the murdered boy’s identity. Luckily, her class lectures for next week are finished. She rubs her eyes and picks up her glasses. Nothing is worse than sitting at a microfilm reader for hours, straining to read faded and blurry newspapers. But she forgets her discomfort when she sees the short story from June 24, 1944.
Local Boy Runs Off to Join Army
Ray Compton has gone and done it. For months friends and family have heard his talk about joining the Army. But missing the landing at Normandy must have been too much for him. Two days after his seventeenth birthday, Ray slipped away from home during the night without a word. His mother, stepfather, and younger brother woke to find him gone.
“Maybe he’ll learn how to work,” his stepfather, Sam Compton said. “The boy’s nothing but a dreamer. He was no good at nothing except baseball. The only thing a southpaw’s good for. And leaving his poor mother like that. We’ll see what the Army teaches him.”
Friends, teachers, and his brother, Chuck, all hope to hear news of Ray’s adventures soon.
That’s it. A small bit of local news for the weekly paper. A boy runs away to join the Army. A left-handed, seventeen-year-old boy from the right time period and place to match the skeleton from the park.
Meghan steps outside to make a call. “Detective Sandberg? I think I found him.”
Two hours later, she pulls into the parking lot of Tom Sandberg’s police station. He greets her at the front door.
“Nice work, Dr. Bode,” Sandberg says, leading her to his desk. “I checked the old files again for any cases with the Compton family. And look what I found.”
Sandberg pulls a brown accordion folder from a drawer. It’s easily six inches thick, stuffed with manila files.
“What’s in them?” Meghan asks.
“A long list of complaints about one Sam Compton. Disturbing the peace. Drunken fights. A lot of drunken fights. And a report from one of Ray’s teachers who was sure Sam had beaten him up one day. Ray’s six-year-old brother said he saw it. But neither Ray or his mother would admit it. The officer had a note in the file that they looked too scared to say anything.”
Meghan wipes a hand over her face. “Sorry, my eyes are sore. Wasn’t anyone suspicious about Ray running away?”
Sandberg hands her a tissue. “Probably. But if Ray and his mother were scared of Sam Compton, others were, too. Just like you suggested in your lab. The files show he was a violent man.”
“I know times were different. But I can’t understand why women marry men like that.”
“She was a young woman, I’d guess, with two young children. It might have been the only way to keep them with her. The courts didn’t look kindly on single mothers back then, even if they were widowed and not divorced.”
Meghan shakes her head. “Until the husband kills one of them. Do you know what happened to the family?”
“The files say they moved away in 1945. Do you think we can get DNA from the skeleton?”
“It’s possible. The bones are in good shape. Teeth are probably our best chance. Why?”
“Because I checked our databases for Chuck Compton, and he’s still alive in West Virginia. I talked with him just before you got here. He’ll do anything that’s needed if there’s a chance we’ve found his brother.”
I’ve scheduled this for posting on Sunday evening. Fingers crossed that I can see your comments when this goes live! If I can’t, I’ll be back as soon as the power is.
- Poetic Archaeology A.1 – And A Beta Request (jmmcdowell.com)
- Poetic Archaeology A.2 (jmmcdowell.com)
- Poetic Archaeology A.3 – Meghan’s Brush With Forensic Archaeology (jmmcdowell.com)
- Poetic Archaeology A.4 – Meghan’s Brush With Forensic Archaeology (jmmcdowell.com)
- Poetic Archaeology A.5 – Meghan’s Brush With Forensic Archaeology (jmmcdowell.com)
- Poetic Archaeology A.6 – Meghan’s Brush With Forensic Archaeology (jmmcdowell.com)
- Poetic Archaeology A.7 – Meghan’s Brush With Forensic Archaeology (jmmcdowell.com)
- Poetic Archaeology A.8 – Meghan’s Brush With Forensic Archaeology (jmmcdowell.com)