|All photos by: Dave Haworth: davesphotoexploration.wordpress.com|
Where the body was found.
Welcome back everybody to installment number ten of Devil at Dusk!
The next day was Friday and I did another night of surveillance on Lenny, everything was just like before. He went to have dinner at Lings, played pool, socialized in the lounge and flirted with the waitresses. I was only going to do surveillance on Lenny a couple more times and if nothing transpired I was going to chalk it up to basically this; he is not having an affair and that he just loves to hang out at this local joint and have fun without his wife knowing about it for some reason. Soon I planned on having dinner at Lings then stepping into the lounge for the full Ling’s experience. After watching this vicariously through someone else it was time that I went and enjoyed the food and went to partake in some drink, who knows it may just happened to be on a night when Lenny was there even!
I went home and went to sleep; I woke up at 10am and got ready for the day. It was Saturday February 28th and a lady by the name of Mrs. Wheaton called in to the sheriff office reporting that she saw a body in the stream along Main Street (that part of Main Street is a wooded area with small trees and a stream and across from it are houses). Mrs. Wheaton called the sheriff’s office shortly after 11:30 am and the Sheriff Holifield called me right after that, letting me know the scoop. The sheriff asked me if I would meet him and the coroner at the stream on the mound of grass over the drainage ditch as soon as I could get there. I got into my car and the sheriff was already there, we were waiting for the coroner.The coroner arrived while I was in the middle of taking notes and pictures.
The sheriff and the coroner got the body out, it was tangled up in a black plastic garbage sack and it was female. So far it looked as though our killer has struck again! The coroner said he would take the body back to the lab and let us know what he found as soon as possible. Next the sheriff asked me if I would talk to Mrs. Wheaton to get more of her story, why she happened to be there at that moment, because it is not along a path or anything. Also to find out if she knows anything at all about what happened.
I then realized the address that the sheriff had for Mrs. Wheaton was just across the street from where the body was dumped. I went over to the house it appeared to be nice and neat. I rang the bell and a little old grandmotherly looking lady came to the door. I asked for Mrs. Wheaton she told me to call her Mable and I explained to her who I was then I asked her if she minded if I asked her a few questions right now. She told me to come inside and asked if I wanted coffee, I told her no thank you. I asked her to tell me how she happened upon a body that morning? She said her cat got loose after dark (her cat does not go outdoors) she went to take some trash out around 9pm and that was when her cat made his escape; she had a look around after that. She said when her cat gets out he always heads for the woods across the street. So she went calling for her cat over there at that time she did not see anything in the stream. She went home and figured she would have a look in the morning but she had been up very late that night so she woke up a lot later than usual. She said at that time after she woke up she went to look for the cat and happened upon the body, it was so horrible she said! She seemed visibly shaken. I asked her why she had been up so late. She said that her husband was bed ridden and that he had cancer. Last night he had not been doing well, he had just started receiving his cancer treatments, they were making him very sick and he had to throw up several times in the night.
I asked her if he was doing okay at the moment, she said he was doing much better finally. He got some sleep, when he woke up she gave him some broth, tea and crackers. I asked her if I could speak with him and she said she would check to see if he was awake. She came back out of the room and said yes that he would talk to me. I came into the room and he said thank you Ms. van Pelt for helping out with this investigation and for trying to make our community a safer place. He explained that his pa was a sheriff in Alabama for many, many years and has nothing but respect for the law. I asked him if they had a cat and he said yes, he said he likes to escape and go across the street. I asked him how he was and that I heard he had been sick in the night and his wife had been taking care of him and he said yes, she is a good one. He said she is a good lady and that he loves her dearly. I asked him what he knew about the investigation and/or the killer that was on the loose. He said he really did not know too much just that there was someone on the loose killing young women. I told him that was all I needed to know for know and I thanked him for his time. He said to me to come back anytime if I had any other questions at all.
I stepped out into the hall for Mabel and she came and got me. She asked me if I had any other questions and I said yes, did you finally get your cat back? She said yes and then I asked what she knew about this case I was investigating. Her answer was pretty much the same as her husband’s. I thanked her very much for her time and she said for me to stop by if I had any other questions. I thanked her again and went out to my car.
I got to the office and dropped off my notes, after that I went home. I ate some lunch and listened to some music. Then the phone rang and it was the coroner, he said our victim was Iris Lynne Bennett, she was 20 years old, and she lived at home with her mom and dad and was not employed. He said she had a giant stab wound in the back and everything else was consistent with the prior murders except they did not find any fibers on the black plastic garbage bag due to the fact that the body was dumped off into the water. I made notes of all of these facts and I would take them to my office and put them in the file the next time I was there.
To be continued…
This concludes this week’s installment of Devil at Dusk; please join us next week for installment number eleven!