LA Mystery (with solution)
February 12, 2016
It was a dark night, the clouds had gone over the moon and very few stars were in the sky. Even if they were you wouldn’t be able to see them. It was storming outside, and the wind was beating strongly against the small old brown house up in Greenville MI. Thunder boomed loudly and lightning flashed across the sky, revealing for only a moment the secrets that lay hidden in the dark. But under the protection of the roof an old woman, Kathrin Eliquis, sat in her kitchen, unaware of the dangers that were just outside her door.
Another strong gust of wind blew against the house and 2 of the old windows flew open, letting in the rain that quickly soaked the rug. The old lady ran over and quickly shut the windows, then took a towel and started to dry the floor, attempting to soak up the water from the carpet. Thunder boomed again, just loud enough to mask the sound of the creaking front door opening and a strange figure quickly entering. A shadow flickered across the wall and Kathrin Eliquis turned quickly, her old eyes wide with alert. But she saw nothing wrong. The door was still closed, nothing was moved, no one was there. No, her eyes were just playing tricks on her again. She rose from her spot on the floor and made her way back to the kitchen. She poured herself a cup of tea and sat once more reading the weekly newspaper. Soon, she forgot of the shadow she had seen on the wall, her thoughts drowned out the sounds of the storm outside and the noise of the person inside, who was walking up behind her. She felt content, safe, but somewhere in the back of her mind, a voice reminded her that she wasn’t, she would never be safe, not until her old score was settled.
A bright streak of lightning flashed outside polling her away from her thoughts. She looked up at the window, and then she screamed. She fell to the floor sobbing and screaming, a wild look in her eyes, pain showed all over her face. She fell to the floor and convulsed for a while, until suddenly pain, joy, hurt, love, and even life itself left her face, and she lay still. And so hovering over her, stood a figure, wearing a mask and dressed completely in black. “It is settled” the voice said, and then walked out, leaving the sink running and the door open.
The sun rose bright and early the following morning, as if it was still just as unaware of last night’s events as everyone else. Isabel Catisty, a well known detective, rose along with it. She had a long day of work before her, and knew she had to get to the office. She swung her legs around the bed post and got up. Dizzy from whatever had happened last night, a thing she knew would be dangerous if anyone found out. She put those thoughts behind her as she dragged herself to the shower, hopping maybe the water would wash off all her worries. Isabel let the water pour down on her for a good ½ hour before reaching around the corner for a towel. She got dressed and dried her long brown hair that flowed almost down to her waist. She ate a quick breakfast with her 71 year old apartment neighbor, Patricia Eleanor, and got in the car.
At her office everyone was busier than usual. “Great,” she thought. “some new case.” Her secretary, Ellen Canton, brought in a large stack of papers. A police report, a summary, and a whole bunch of other details Isabel figured would end up being useless in the end. All the same she had to read them all. She sat down and started with the summary.
An old woman, cause of death unknown, house flooded, Greenville MI, believed to be a murder. Why couldn’t they just write that? Instead they wrote a 5 page double sided summary of every single thing that they saw and found and thought might be the slightest bit suspicious. It took Isabel forever to finish reading it, but by the end, she was intrigued. This case was loaded with mystery. They weren’t just looking for a culprit, they were looking for the cause of death, the motive, the connection. She quickly phoned the police department to speak to them about the case, she hoped they would give her the address of the house soon so that she could go up and look for herself. 2 rings, then the typical voice of Sweet, old Julia Merchan answered. They exchanged a quick conversation about Julia’s health, her obsession with drinking water, and her grandkids before Isabel asked if she could be transferred over to Officer Michel Linder, chief of their local police force. She explained the situation to him and her reasons for wanting this case and asked if she could speak to whoever reported the woman dead as well as get the address to the house so that she could go look for herself.
“Ok, so what case is this?” asked Officer Linder, obviously not having paid attention.
“The murder of Kathryn Eliquis, the file was delivered to me this morning.” She responded, trying to keep the annoyance out of her voice. She heard the sound of him typing on the computer and then pulling out drawers and then papers being shuffled.
“Miss Catisty, there is no file on her death, and no one from the department has delivered anything to you this morning.” Said the Officer after a while. It took a moment for her to process what the words meant.
“Thank you Officer Linder. I will talk with my Secretary and see where the mistake was made.” She said quickly. And with that, she hung up and sat down, shock and fear running through her body. Someone wanted her to have this file, someone knew.
“I don’t get it,” said Officer Linder. “Why would someone deliver you this file, and how would they possibly get all the details, plus they must have stolen some of the papers for this police report!” Isabel Catisty had been arguing with him for over an hour. She knew that she had to take this case, as dangerous, for her especially, as it may be.
“Look,” she started, just as Sandy Paterson entered and handed Officer Linder another stack of papers. “I know this is dangerous, it’s a mystery! Maybe even a murder Mystery! They’re always dangerous. But I have to take this case, even if you didn’t deliver this to me, someone did. That means that this old lady is really dead.” Isabel put as much emphasis on her words as possible, trying to make him see past the danger, this was taking too long. She had to hurry.
“The problem is,” started Officer Linder again. “we have no idea who delivered this to you.”
“I already told you, my secretary said that it was my friend Aaron Jack Stints, from up in Ottawa county! They discovered this and delivered the case to me, figuring I was better that some of their detectives. I just need your permission to take on a case for another office under your payroll! Isabel said, failing to keep the anger from showing in her voice and hoping that Officer Linder couldn’t read through her lie. She still had no idea who had delivered the papers.
“Fine, you can,” said Officer Linder at last. “But you have to be sure you stay safe, I won’t have our best detective go and get hurt.”
“I will,” promised Isabel already half out the door, dialing the number of Aaron Stints.
“No, all I need you to do is keep your mouth shut about last night and say exactly what I told you too. You delivered those papers to me.” Isabel was driving down the road headed to the address that had been written on the Report. She just had to make sure that Officer Linder didn’t get suspicious, and to do that, she had to make sure Aaron only said what she told him to. “Fine, but just say as little as possible.” Said Isabel, hoping to end this conversation soon. She was just about there. “No, she won’t risk her own safety.” Isabel said. “Ok, bye.” She hung up the phone and sat back in her seat. This was it. She pulled out a note pad and started to take inventory. The house looked smaller in the day time, and not as dreary. It wasn’t anything fancy, but Isabel knew better than to assume this old lady was poor. There were 2 doors, one in the front and 1 on the right side of the house. The whole backside of the house was covered in windows. There were also 2 windows in the front, and 1 window on the left side. The old lady had a large yard, she had a garden in the front corner of the yard, but the rest was simple, well taken care of, beautiful green grass. Well, at least it must have used to be beautiful green grass. Now, it was muddy and flooded, just like everything else. The garden was overflowing and dirty water was flowing down the street. The worst part of it all was that all the water was coming out of the front door!
There is a reason Isabel Catisty was one of the best detectives. She didn’t go rushing in through the front door to find the source of the water. No, she went over her notes again. There had to be a reason for someone to keep the water running, maybe it could lead to the reason someone did this. Isabel got out of the car and walked quickly over to the side door and opened it. She stepped inside. Everything was exactly as she had expected, soaked. She walked through the long dark hallway and into the kitchen. It was the kitchen sink that was running and causing all the flooding. Ok, she thought, think. Because of the flooding there was no fingerprints that they could identify, that could be a reason for flooding the house. But something told her that wasn’t it. Her mind raced until suddenly, it hit her. She flashed back to a day when she was a child, maybe 8 or 9. The bus had just dropped her off at the house she said was hers, and she was walking across the yard over to her real house, 2 doors down. Suddenly she saw someone running through the woods being chased by her foster mother. She remembered how angry her foster mom had looked as she dashed through the woods. Little Isabel had run on the outskirts of the woods just until she heard a woman yell, “you’ll pay for this with your life! I swear it! And when the deed is done, it will be your house that is flooded and your child who suffers, not mine.”
Isabel came back to reality, and took a few steps back, willing herself not to get into the painful experiences that followed that scene. This was that exact scene played out. Kathrin Eliquis, her old cruel foster mom, had been murdered because of something she must have done. Something about making someone’s house flood and child suffer. Well, she had paid for it with her life, her house was flooded, there was only one part of the curse left. And Isabel knew that Kathrin Eliquis had only taken care of one child as her own in her entire life. The murderer would be out to make her suffer.
Isabel Catisty rushed through the front door of the Ottawa County police Department. She ran down the hall and turned sharply into an office off to the right. Aaron Stints jumped out of his chair in a hurry and ran over to her. Isabel Catisty, who was shaking and bent over sobbing on the floor, looked up. A strange look had come over her eyes, an unmistakable look of absolute terror.
“What happened?” asked Officer Stints, helping Isabel rise from the ground and sit in a chair.
“I went back,” responded Isabel, slowly calming down. That was all she needed to say for him to put together what she meant. He had known that she was taking on this mysterious case of the death of one of her old foster moms, but he never thought she would be brave enough to go back to that house. The house she swore never to return to, not after what happened the first time. Even after they heard that the crazy old lady had turned for the better, and now was a kind soft hearted person, she had vowed never to return and never to see her again.
“Did it help at all?” asked Officer Stints, hopping maybe she would be able to explain why she was so terrified.
“Yes,” started Isabel. “I know the motive, but not the person. I also know that it was a woman, who now would be just younger than her, so about 70 or so”
“Well, that’s good, but how did you find this out? What happened that has you all… shaken up?” Asked Aaron, dying to know how it was possible to figure all this out.
“I had a flashback to the last day I was there, the reason I got kicked out. I was walking back from the bus and I saw someone running, being chased by her. I followed and heard her curse her by saying ‘you’ll pay for this with your life! I swear it! And when the deed is done, it will be your house that is flooded and your child who suffers, not mine.’ That night I asked her why she was so mad. She got so mad at me for listening that she started throwing things at me, yelling at me to get out and to never come back. I ran outside, and she locked the door behind me. I never saw her again.”
Aaron Jack Stints was mute. He didn’t know what to say. He had found her on the street and brought her some food when he was little, but he never knew how it was that she ended up on the street. All he knew was that she was there and then she was picked up by the foster care program a few days later and enrolled in his school.
“Ok, but what of this made you so scared?” He asked. She looked up and stared at him and then said, “your child will suffer. Her only child was me, and while I was there, she she came for me.”
Late that night, Isabel Catisty lay wide awake, thinking over the day’s events. She couldn’t sleep as she thought back to all the horrible things and feelings she had had. She thought back to the sound of her heart beating as she realized that she wasn’t alone in the house. She remembered the panic that had entered her heart when she heard the side door slam shut behind her. She thought of how helpless she had felt as she stood there, glued to her spot in the kitchen. Finally she remembered how it felt to force her mind to clear itself and think. When she finally had pushed down the fear enough so that she could move, she had rushed into the living room trying to get to the front door. She had heard steps running down the hall and she knew she wouldn’t make it out without being caught. So she had flung open the front door and hid behind the couch. She still heard the sound of her heart pounding as a person entered the room and looked around. She still felt the horror of the moment she realized she wasn’t the only one behind that couch, and she had looked at the dead face of her old foster mom, Kathrin Eliquis. She remembered how fear had taken control of her body and it took everything in her just to bite back a scream. And finally she remembered the relief when she had seen the woman leave.
Isabel fell asleep to these thoughts, and her dreams were only worse because of it. But all the same she woke up the next morning and was off to work, same as always. On her way there she mentally made a list of everyone she knew who could fit the description and might do it. She thought of her new part time worker, Alexi Vanheck. She was about the right age and she always came off as a bit rougher person. Plus she hated the job. Another person she thought of was Sandy Paterson, Officer Linder’s secretary. The old lady always seemed to be at the right place at the right time, and she had lost some of the officers trust a few weeks ago when she had delivered papers to a customer without order. Patricia Eleanor, Isabel’s neighbor, also would fit the age, however, the kind old lady didn’t have as much opportunity as the others, but it wouldn’t have been impossible. A final person, though Isabel hated to think of it, was Ellen Canton. Her wonderful, happy secretary. Just like the other 2 suspects, the old woman was the right age and had opportunity. But her sweet nature led Isabel to think it one of the other three. And everyone was a suspect when it came to motive. But by the time that Isabel reached the office, she was almost completely convinced of the woman Alexi Vanheck, because of her hatred and recency to the job. When she got to work she was greeted by the warm smile of her secretary Ellen Canton. Ellen Canton had been working for Isabel for only 2 years, but Isabel couldn’t imagine what she would do without her. She just always seemed to lift Isabel’s spirits, it couldn’t be her. Isabel walked down the hall, passing the offices of multiple of her employees, waving and smiling as she walked by. She was filled with dread upon the awful thought that it could be anyone from that office.
Isabel Catisty was just about to her office when she heard an awful scream come from the lobby. She ran back as fast as she could, beating everyone else by only a few seconds. Everyone stopped, frozen as they saw what had scared Alexi Vanheck, the part time employee of the office. In the middle of the lobby lay the body of Kathrin Eliquis.
Who is the Murderer?
Who was the Murderer?
The Murderer is the Sweet old Julia Merchan. Her motive is obvious the old “score” that she had to settle in which Kathrin Eliquis had accidentally blown a major underground water line and flooded her whole top floor. Julia had been away on business over the weekend, so when Julia’s 12 year old daughter had come home after school to a flooded house, she had asked if she could stay with Mrs. Eliquis, her neighbor. Mean old Kathrin Eliquis had said no, forcing the young girl to sleep in a soaked home, unable to stop the flooding. Upon coming home, Julia Merchan had been furious and threatened Kathrin with a lawsuit. Kathrin had also become furious and she had grabbed a knife and chased Julia away. That had only worsened the situation so that Julia took it as a major insult and promised to kill Kathrin and make her daughter suffer just as Kathrin had made her’s.
Was she ever found out?
Mrs. Julia Merchan never became a suspect of Isabel Catisty, but when Alexi Vanheck was put on trial, her Criminal-Defence attorney had discovered Julia Merchan and proved Alexi innocent by showing Julia guilty.
What suspicious thing had Isabel and Aaron done the night before?
Isabel and Aaron had simply been taking a walk through the woods near the home of Kathrin Eliquis. They had been discussing a case that the Police Force had taken on, but was illegal to speak of. When they heard a scream, Isabel had clumsily walked into a tree and passed out. Aaron had been too busy making sure she would be ok to notice the strange person running past. The reason it would be so dangerous was because they A) Heard the scream of the old woman, which would make them prime suspects for being there. B) They were talking about top secrets that could bring them both down and make them lose their jobs if anyone found out they had been talking.
What clues pointed to Julia Merchan?
It all came down to the major clue of the water. The first is that the running water in the house of Kathrin Eliquis triggered the buried memory of the curse. This therefore pointed to an older woman. All other clues came in the few things that were mentioned about the conversation between Isabel and Julia. 1) Julia had such a marvelous plan that she got cocky and tried to rub it in through talking about water with Isabel. Who talks about water over the phone? 2) The fact that Julia has grandkids points at her by proving that she has kids, and it marks her as about the right age. 3) The Ottawa County Police Department has 2 secretaries working, since Mrs. Sandy Patterson is also mentioned as being a secretary. This would give Julia plenty of opportunity. Also, we know that Sandy Patterson was working at the time when Isabel Catisty saw the killer at the home of Kathrin Eliquis.