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 The Kidnaping of R. Delton II

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PostSubject: The Kidnaping of R. Delton II   Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:43 pm

Although I had since photographed a crime scene as a favor for a friend, and retained my legal license, I had taken my photographic expertise into the world of art and at times, journalism. I was comfortable in my life, and it did not include working with the police department. However, like a determined suitor, a crisis related to me during a phone conversation interrupted my determination to put policing, and my plans for the evening behind me, and blanketed the next few days with anxious anticipation.
"David, it is Frank, Frank Sibley. I am calling to ask a favor. We have a situation and need your expertise. This favor was requested by the father of a young boy, and I agree you are the man for the job."
"Get to the point, Frank. What request? I might add that if it concerns crime scene photographs then the answer is no. All I plan for tonight is appeasing my growling stomach while I enjoy the delicious scents emanating from the kitchen."
"David, you have to stop blaming yourself for the Parker verdict! It isn’t your fault that a dirt bag is back on the streets."
"Not my fault? Of course it isn’t, it was just my picture that a money-hungry defense lawyer used to plant the seed of doubt in the minds of twelve jurors. You know and I know, and I am sure the lawyer knows too, Parker is guilty as sin. I’ve taken my photographic eye on to a better path and should not have done that last one a few months ago. No more crime scenes, Frank."
"I do know it, the evidence knows it, but I can’t let the verdict in the Parker trial consume my life. I have other murderers to catch. Right now, David, I have a child to find, and the kidnapper to catch; so get your rear out that chair and get down here to the intersection of Morgan and Seventh Street. Aren’t you even a little bit curious to know who the father is? He did say he wanted your expertise with deciphering the scene."
"No guilt trips allowed, Frank." I had barely gotten that statement out when Kate, the love of my life, changed the channel on my television to the local news station. On the left of the screen, I saw Frank sitting in his car with his cell to his right ear. He was looking tired, worried and decidedly irritated. I suspected the irritation was with me and I gave Kate my best thanks-a-lot stare.
Kate laughed softly and kissed my cheek before whispering in my left ear, "go help Frank."
"I am sure your team has done their job, so why do you and the father want my opinion of the events that occurred? I am, of course, assuming it is the father of the kidnaped victim who asks for me."
"Because you can bring it to life, David. Forensics has made some presumptive test and photographs, yes, but those photographers can’t see events through the lens as you can.” Frank let out a deep sigh that filtered through the lines and into my eardrum. "This crime scene is two hours old, David," he said, "I need you here . . . Now."
I stared at the televison and into the camera’s changing view of the area roped off with yellow crime scene tape. "Is that blood I see at the scene?"
"Yes, it is blood, just not what you’d expect. According to the test I mentioned, it isn’t human blood, and it is all over this scene in splatters and droplets.
Before Frank could say anything more, I said, "get all those cops out of the crime scene area before I arrive." The presence of that much blood at the scene of a kidnaped victim, blood that wasn’t human, had the adrenaline pumping through my veins. I was itching to see the scene close up, through my lens.
Frank slid from behind the driver’s seat of his car, walked within view of the cameras, and then saluted.
"I bet that put a frown of curiosity on the forehead of the camera operator," I said, and for a reason I refuse to divulge, I saluted back.
Kate laughed.

When I pulled up to the crime scene, television crews were still filming and spewing assumptions to their adoring public about the abduction of a child; whose name was unknown to their sources inside the Police Department. I exited my car but as I was walking toward Frank, I noticed dark spots on the road in front of my car. I walked closer and noticed an object near the dark spots and suspected it was a tooth. I motioned for Frank.
"Did anyone, other than the donor of the blood inside the roped off area, bleed at this scene?"
"No, they didn’t, David. Why?"
"Check the ground in front of my car, and then get someone to collect a sample, and collect the tooth also."
Frank’s eyes popped. He motioned for an officer, and then grabbed his cell phone. I heard him ask if the Jeffery boy was bleeding when the EMT’s loaded him inside the ambulance or if he had a tooth missing. He joined me inside the crime scene tape a couple minutes later. I was busy eyeballing the scene. They had photographed the area and chalk marks showed the position of the Jeffery boy when the responding officer arrived.
"Okay, tell me who and why, Frank," I said once I had taken it all in.
Frank had relayed a tragic set of events to me. And although all that had occurred had not in any way stymied my scene observations, I was wishing I had been on the scene within the first few minutes of the police notification.
It seemed that the 911 dispatchers had received a call from a cell phone, and she heard a childlike voice say, ‘help me.’ When asked for location, the dispatcher barely heard a whispered, 'Seventh Street.' She also heard a barking dog for a few seconds, but then only the sound of a dog’s moans. The dispatcher sent a call out for all officers in the vicinity to respond to Seventh Street.
The first officer on the scene called for an ambulance and had the common sense to grab a camera and photograph the child with the dog laying over his chest. The officer then called for animal control. The blood at the scene was troublesome so the officer had contacted his superior officer and they notified investigators. Since the boy was obviously breathing, and since he had not noticed any weapons nor other persons in the immediate area, he decided to check the boy. As he tried to maneuver around all the blood at the scene to reach the child, the growls of a protective pet stopped him in his tracks.
When Frank Sibley had arrived, the emergency personnel was checking the boy for signs of bleeding wounds, but none was found. They could not figure out where all the blood came from. The boy was not bleeding, the dog wasn’t bleeding, so was there a second victim possibly hiding in a nearby building? Only three businesses were in the immediate area. The street for the next two blocks was no more than empty lots waiting for someone to grab and build modern offices on them. The town had bought up the land and demolished the old deserted buildings after convincing the owners that selling would be advantageous for them since they did not meet safety standards and was a hazard to the fine citizens of this city. However, go west or head east and businesses were in plentiful supply with lawyers, CPA’s, doctors, and a plethora of other expensive, well-decorated interior offices just waiting for your latest ailment, legal trouble or money problem to send you into their plush air-conditioned offices. A few small family-owned cafes and sandwich shops dotted the landscape here and there waiting for all the hunger of those in the area to experience their fine cuisine. But the stretch north and south was barren except the back of the three buildings where the crime occurred. David found that an interesting clue, but he had no idea why the kidnappers decided to abduct the boy on this corner. The police were canvassing the area, searching buildings and inside and under parked vehicles.
It wasn’t until they noticed a paper protruding from the Jeffery boy’s jeans pocket that the protocol changed. Written on the paper was a typed note stating in uppercase lettering: WE HAVE RICHARD DELTON II. YOU, MISTER DELTON, CAN EXPECT A CALL.
The investigative ball really began rolling.
The intersection of Morgan and Seventh Street became the primary scene of criminal abduction. The police expanded the crime scene and investigators and forensics people went to work. A grid had been set and they made crime scene sketches. They had taken overlapping and progressive photographs, they tagged the blood droplets and splatters, photographed them, and they had taken swabs. They had searched for trace evidence, and known and unknown samples were collected.
The dog, a beautiful golden Lab had no apparent wounds. His paws were bloody but they assumed, and rightly so, that he had walked through the blood at the scene. It was unknown whether the kidnappers had injured another animal, but, more important, it was unknown whether they injured Richard Delton II.

An hour after I had entered the tapped-off crime scene, I walked to the middle of the four-way intersection and sat. Most of the police officers had left to continue their canvassing of the surrounding area, to ask questions of people in the neighborhood. One news reporter was still hanging around; a lady named Donna Strivers, well known for her tenacity with reporting. Donna was familiar with me, my history with the department and photographic success. She had become interested after my house burned a couple years ago, with all the publicity that surrounded it and with the man who had set fire to it also.
I’m not the normal photographer of crime scenes. When I look through the lens of a camera, I see; I see things a normal photographer doesn’t see. I put my camera in my lap and closed my eyes, blocking out all noises that could interrupt my observations.
When my eyes opened, I raised to a squatting position, took my camera and stared through the lens, viewing the scene from all angles, turning myself slowly as I did.
She didn’t know it, but I was aware that Donna had shut down live reporting and was filming me, much to the chagrin of her camera operator. To him it was a waste of film, and of time. It was to me also.
After I had completed my initial analysis, I looked over to where Frank was standing with the local Police Chief and Sheriff. It surprised me that the Sheriff had arrived; this was a PD matter, not his. But then it dawned on me that the Sheriff was personally acquainted with Richard Delton, and he’d want an update. The Chief of Police was wanting an update also; apparently the mayor was already on his case, demanding thorough investigative procedures. He was also wanting the crime scene reopened to traffic; they were holding up his officers to divert traffic at all four intersections when they needed them elsewhere. I walked over to the three and advised Frank that I was finished.
"Good. Can we please open these streets to traffic now?" The Chief barked.
"Well, Sir, I think you can. I can also say that you have two perpetrators, and the boy bleed. He left us his blood. The kidnappers staged the rest, deliberately staged it to throw off police."
"And you detected all that wisdom just by taking a few pictures! How awesome you are! We held this crime scene closed to public traffic so you could tell us what we already knew, most of the blood isn’t human!" The Chief was near an explosion and the crime wasn’t but a few hours old. Obviously, he was really catching higher-up flak early in the investigation from more than just the mayor. And he was contemplating how much more he’d have to endure before they solved the case, if they solved it.
"Their mistake was that they used too much blood, even as they were attempting to send a message, they told us which direction they took." I said, trying to remain calm and not take what he said as a personal attack.
"How would you know that? Do you know the kidnappers personally?" The Chief’s tone was accusing and I silently fumed. Chief Carter's cousin was the one who set fire to my house a couple years back and it didn’t go over well with the voters in the last election. Carter’s opponent made sure their biological relationship stayed in the minds of the voters. I voted for Chief Carter. For a second, I considered reminding him of that fact. Then I thought better of it. I didn’t want to be responsible for the next day’s headlines, one saying, Chief Carter rushed to the hospital with heart palpitations!
"They went back the way they came, Sir. If they had not, the blood splatters and droplets would have tread marks in it. They simply backed their car and did a quick U-turn."
"Whose to say that they didn’t leave one person behind to stage the scene, and move the car before they splattered and dropped the blood?" Sheriff Taylor had decided to butt in, with hope of calming the tense atmosphere building between myself and Chief Carter.
"Good question, Sheriff, but I would be willing to say that it was done before, that both kidnappers left together in the same car, with Richard Delton II lying unconscious in the back seat."
Frank smiled over at me and spewed a few expletives. "David, I have stared at this freaking scene ever since I arrived, wondering where they have Richard, which direction did they go to take him there, but more than that, who are they? So tell me where they went after they did their U-turn."
"I wish I knew, Frank." I pulled the strap of my camera over my shoulder and walked a couple blocks south, turned back toward the crime scene, and stared through the camera lens. Donna had joined Frank and the others, and they were shaking their heads, negative. She wasn’t getting any personal scoops today. I watched as she went to her car, nodded to the camera operator and slid behind the driver’s wheel.
Donna had tired of the scene.
Several minutes later I, too, had tired of the scene and began loading my camera into its case. Frank walked over and I shook my head. “I am headed to Delton’s house. I need to talk with him.”
“Watch for media following you, we don’t want them getting a hint who the missing child is yet.”
“The media have left Frank,” I said. But that didn’t stop me from keeping an eye on the rearview
mirror. I did see a suspicious car but soon lost it, at least I hoped I had.
When I pulled up at Richard Delton’s drive, I noticed a familiar car parked on the side of the road half a block from entrance of his drive. Somehow Donna had concluded the kidnaped child was Delton’s son. Perhaps because of my presence at the scene, but I quickly dismissed that self-grandiose assumption. I was giving myself too much importance. I stopped at the gate and announced myself. The guard allowed me entry and I drove to the home. When I went into Richard’s sitting room he was pacing like a caged animal. I understood his fears, after all a few years ago I was pacing my friend Tony’s home fearing arrest for murder of my ex wife and it was Delton who figured it all out and got Tony to admit his part in my house burning. Tony had a huge crush on Kate but Kate preferred me and Tony was jealous. “Richard, talk to me, why was your son on that street with his friend?”
“They were taking the dog to the vet and his office is on the side street where all the businesses are located. Where is my son David? What did you see through your camera lens?”
“A setup, I said. “Do you have any idea who could kidnap him? Do you have any disgruntled clients?”
“Not that I am aware of but anything is possible. Do you think it could be related to the Parker case? He is free because of me.”
“How well I know,” I said. “Not one of your best defense strategies.”
“I know it was your picture David but the complaint wasn’t aimed at you but prosecution’s attempt to cover it up.”
“You know as well as I do that they weren’t trying to cover up any damn thing. But that isn’t why I am here. We need to find your son. Are you going to tape your calls?”
“Yes I am going to do that but I’m doing what I have to do to insure my son comes home safe.”
“Agreeing to pay them could lead to your son’s death. Especially if he has seen their face.”
“I know that!” Delton yelled.
Delton’s tirade had barely ended when Frank came into the room. “The tooth is from Richard Jr.,” he said. The kidnaper must have hit him in the mouth and he spit the tooth out at the car. Smart child.”
It was at that moment Delton’s phone rang. He plugged it into the recorder and punched a button so we could hear the caller. The caller, with voiced disguised, said, “Hello Mr. Delton, are you worried about your son? No. I don’t think you are, if you were then you wouldn’t have let Parker walk. We don’t like that he is free, Mr. Delton, so you have a job to do. First you are going to put two million dollars in unmarked bills in a bag and have David Henderson deliver it to a location that would be named later. “He is there with you, right Mr. Delton? Put him on the phone.”
My eyes rounded and I glanced around the room. I took the phone from Delton.
“Henderson here,” I said.
“Hello David, enjoying yourself are you.”
“I suppose if having a conversation with an old friend could be enjoyment, then yes.”
“How could you! How could you help a man who used your picture to set a killer of girls free to kill again?’
“Help him?” I said.
“Don’t try that coy bull shit with me David! How would you feel if your son was killed. How would you feel if he’d died in your house fire?”
“To whom am I speaking?” I was pissed now and wanted this person, I felt it was a woman, to just get to the point.
“One day you may find out,” the caller said, “but not today. All I am going to say is when Mr. Delton gets the money together, you will deliver it as ordered. If not then maybe your son won’t be the next one taken.”
“Let me tell you something, if you go anywhere near my son, I will hunt you down and kill you myself.”
“Now now David don’t get all brave on us. I bet you have your phone in your hand now, itching to hang up with me and call your son. Good, a father needs to keep in touch with his children. You’d be surprised how many don’t bother with that. Take your friend Mr. Delton as example. He puts his murdering clients interest above his son’s safety. Today was one of the times he did just that. That is why little Richard II was all alone on that empty street with his little friend.”
She was right, I did want to hang up and check on my son. I looked around the room again and for a fleeting second saw something blink.
I handed the phone back to Delton. He spoke but the line went dead. I made a few paces of nervous thoughts in Delton’s sitting room. Kate was taking her time. I walked out the room and went outside, looking out at the gates and then over where Donna was still parked. “Kate, I want you to call David and make sure he is all right.”
“My God David what is going on?”
I will explain later, just check on him and make sure he knows you will pick him up, no one else.”
“Okay David. Is he in danger?”
“I really don’t think so but I want to air on the side of caution.”
I hung up with Kate and went back inside. I stood in the doorway to the sitting room and motioned Frank to come over to where I was. When he reached me, I put my finger on my lip and pointed over to where I had see the blink. We slowly made our way over and I moved the branches of a tall plant. We were behind the camera lens so it couldn’t see us. Frank’s eyes widened and he motioned with finger to lips for Delton to come over. The three of us walked through his house and went out back led by me. After we got outside I told them I’d come to the back so we wouldn’t be in view of Donna’s camera lens. Frank asked Delton who all had been in his home the past few weeks then told him he had a camera in his plant. The kidnaper had watched him but for how long we didn’t know.
I was anxious to get home and see my son. I had a decision to make to keep him safe. The three of us discussed whether Delton should remove the camera but Frank felt it should stay, perhaps we could get a hacker and trace it back to the listener and watcher. I stayed a few more minutes then advised I was leaving. I’d be back in a flash if Delton got the call to deliver the money.
Donna tried to wave me over as I left Delton’s drive but I ignored her and turned left bypassing her. My thoughts weren’t on media or her chance of a news breaking story; they were on my son and his safety. I didn’t really think my family was in immediate danger but wasn’t willing to take chances. The court had been reluctant at first to grant me custody after my ex wife’s death because I travel with my job so much and they felt he needed a parent who could be there for him while he dealt with the grief process. Kate had stepped up and said a parent would be with him, she would. The judge handed me full custody much to his grandparent’s dismay. I wasn’t about to lose him again. Kate and I had to find a way to protect him from the woman on the phone’s threat. I was out my car the second I hit the brake when I reached my house. David was sitting on a bar stool regaling Kate with the wonderful story of the fun he’d had with his friend and how we had messed up his planned overnighter there by making him come home. I sat down beside him and laid my hand on his shoulder.
“Son, we were concerned about you. Something has happened and we need you to be safe.” I looked up at Kate, “I think you and David need to go away for a few days. I need to know you’re both in a safe place.”
“David,” Kate said, “just explain what has happen.”
“The call I got earlier was about Richard Delton; his son has been kidnaped. I was at his house when the kidnapers called him and they insisted on talking to me. The caller made comments about me and how I’d feel if David was taken too. I want you to take David and go to a safe house. The police will pick you up and take you there and stay with you guys. Do this for me Kate, they have demanded I be a delivery boy for the ransom.”
“Okay David, make the arrangements, you,” she said turning to my son, “go pack a few things in a bag.”


After a meal of sandwiches and fruit, because the meal Kate had prepared earlier had gone limp, Kate and David left with two plainclothes officers and I was left alone to delve on my sadness and frustrations. I paced my livingroom with a fork in my hand and a bowl of fruit on the table beside my chair; stopping only a second to poke my fork into a piece of sliced apple or orange and pop it in my mouth as I pondered on whom the caller was and why I felt it was a woman. To say I was a bit wary of being involved with anything criminal was a given. Two years ago my house was burned by Kate’s neighbor, Tony, and I was chief suspect of arson and the murder of my ex wife after setting the fire. A few months prior to that, I’d allowed myself to be talked into doing crime scene pictures for an ongoing investigation at that time. Eventually a man named Chris Parker was arrested and charged in that case. My pictures had helped in his arrest, but more importantly a few weeks ago, those same pictures were used to get him off the murder charge and he was set free. Jennifer Simpson’s murderer was free to live his life but she was in the grave and I felt was resting uncomfortably. As I paced I wondered of Jennifer’s father was responsible for kidnaping Richard Delton II. He had not seemed to be the type to go to such drastic lengths during the trial but one never knows for sure how far a parent would go to revenge their child’s murder. Her mother had appeared kind and genteel but was that an allusion or was she involved. After more consideration, I decided they weren’t the culprits. Both were nearing the 60s in age and the voice on phone was younger. And I knew of no one else who could have a grudge. I plopped down in my chair and sulked, I was already missing Kate and David and I wanted them back home.
An hour later I was stretched out on my sofa, unwilling to sleep in our nice comfortable bed upstairs without Kate by my side. I had slept their before without her but not under these circumstances so I figured it was worry over her and David’s safety that kept me rooted to the sofa more than her not being beside me. My sleep was interrupted by dreams of being surrounded by hot flames of fire and faceless demons chasing me. I woke several times with fear dripping from my inner self. Life wasn’t good.
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