Mystery Monday #1 – December 18, 2017

The Butler Didn’t Do It

By: Robin Gagnon

“What do we got?” detective Gibbs asked his young partner, while he stroked his thick greying mushtache.

“A woman by the name of Jennifer Morrow,” the young man replied, pushing his square black glasses up his nose. “She was babysitting here and was found dead on the floor from a gunshot wound.”

Turning into the living room, the scene unfolded itself. A lamp had fallen to the floor, the table was overturned and a brunette woman lay dead with her eyes open on the floor. A bloody gun shot wound was visible on her chest.

“Who found her?” Gibbs asked, taking in the scene and putting on a bright blue glove in order to not contaminate anything he touched.

“The police did after the neighbours called the cops,” the young man explained, running a hand through his dark brown hair. “It was just after two when they heard the gun shot.”

“I’m assuming there were no witnesses?”

“No sir.”

“Any suspects? Anyone who knew the woman?”

“She only lives down the street, so the neighbours knew her,” the young man informed Gibbs. “We have a man by the name of Ethan Rowe in custody for questioning. He was the woman’s ex-boyfriend.”

With his light brown detective coat flowing behind him like a cape, detective Gibbs went around the living room looking for clues. A purse lay open on the armchair with its contents spilled out on the floor and unusual scratches marked the cushions of the couch.

“You’ll also want to know that the two-year-old child was found with a mark on its head,” the young detective went on. “We are thinking that he was hit in the face with the gun. He’s being checked out at the hospital and his parents are with him now.”

Looking at the deceased woman, Gibbs turned to look in the direction she had been facing when she was shot and asked, “Did they find the murder weapon?”

“It was a standard pistol found on the ground right in front of you.”

Silently, Gibbs walked around the living room a bit longer before exploring the rest of the house. He sent the young detective to collect the statements of the neighbours and when he returned, Gibbs was in the kitchen looking down at a dog food dish.

“Did you find the dog?” Gibbs asked absentmindedly, catching the young man off guard.

“Pardon?”

“The parents were at work, right?”

“Yes, sir.”

Reaching out and opening one of the kitchen cupboards, Gibbs pulled out a bag of dog treats.

“Sir?” the young man asked in confusion, pushing his thick glasses up his nose again. “What are you doing?”

“Going to find the dog,” Gibbs replied gruffly, leaving his partner to follow him up the stairs.

After searching a couple of the rooms, they reached the parent’s bedroom and immediately heard growling upon entering. Freezing, Gibbs crouched down and shook the bag of treats before taking one out and crouching down. From underneath the nicely made up bed, a German Shepard puppy came crawling out from under it, looking slightly distressed.

Awed, the young man watched Gibbs feed the dog one of its treats while he pet it.

“Well?” Gibbs prompted. “What did the statements say? Did you learn anything else about the suspect and the victim?”

“Oh, uh, right,” the young detective stammered, scrambling to read through the written notes. “Jennifer and her ex-boyfriend didn’t have a very good relationship. Ethan was abusive to her, even after the relationship ended. The neighbors said that out of paranoia, she carried a gun wherever she went. Probably the one found at the crime scene.”

“The dog was a trained protector,” Gibbs murmured, noticing the certificate of training on the parents’ dresser. “I just have one more question; where was the child found?”

“Crying on the floor,” the young man answered. “Why?”

“That’s all I needed to know to figure out what happened here,” Gibbs replied simply, taking off his blue glove and throwing the bag of dog treats at his young companion. “I’m done here.”

“Wait,” the young detective called out. “Aren’t you going to tell me what happened?”

“You can read it in the report,” Gibbs answered as he walked away, leaving the young man alone with the dog.

————————————————————

A day later, Gibbs sat at his cluttered desk looking through evidence and sorting through old cases.

Just as he expected, his young associate came barging through the door with a specific case file in hand. He looked both distraught and furious all at the same time.

“I thought you said you had this case all sorted out,” he exclaimed, his usual tousled brown hair sticking up all over the place. “But this…this is just outrageous!”

“Is it?” Gibbs asked calmly “How about you look at this then?”

Gibbs handed the young detective an envelope and inside were the prints that had been found on the gun. The young man was in disbelief.

“But how did you figure it out?”

“It was simple,” Gibbs explained. “When I walked in, there was furniture lying all over the floor like there had been a struggle, but upon further investigation, I noticed the dog’s claw marks in the couch as though it had run around in a panic, which would of happened when the gun shot had gone off. Therefore the mess of the living room was solely from the dog. The dog was also a German Shepard with training, making a break-in unlikely. Finally, I believe the baby found the gun, which Ms. Morrow kept on her at all times in fear of her abusive ex-partner, in her purse on the chair and accidentally fired it at the babysitter. The gun would have left the mark on the baby’s head when it backfired. So to put it in short, the baby did it.”

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