My grandpa, a retired homicide detective, just told me the single worst sight he saw in his career
It was, uh, 19…93, I think. Ah, you know, after a while these things start to blend together. Dates, some names. And I’m an old man now, that doesn’t help. But I remember the important things. I don’t know if it’s that I just have a good memory or if these things were just burnt into my mind. Ah well, no matter.
We drew a body in a department store, Kohl’s department store, you know, the one right up there on North Avenue? Well, this one started off weird right off the bat. Someone placed the call for the body at about 2 in the afternoon. This is a department store that opened at 9 in the morning, 8, whenever, but it had been open, people walking around the place, for hours.
So we think, okay, maybe the body was hidden somewhere in the building. Nope. The body was right inside the main entrance of the place, right by the first checkout. Someone must have dropped the body there and took off, right? These are all things we’re thinking on the drive over.
The body was posed. There was no way someone had been in a rush when they did it, and there’s no way that people just…didn’t notice someone doing it. It would’ve been impossible to miss.
Did I mention it was a kid? Yeah, he was maybe…10, 11 years old? The pose was…remember we watched The Exorcist? When the girl comes down the stairs, bent over backward walking on her hands and feet?
That’s how this boy was, but, you know, not moving. His back was arched, stomach facing up, just looking up at us upside down, his face just…pain. Just pure pain. All he had on was a pair of white briefs, this kid. God…[my grandpa was visibly distraught]…so, we get there, and the first thing we ask is “well, what’d the guy look like? Someone had to have seen him.” But no, no one could recall seeing anything, not even the lady who’d been standing at the register that this poor kid was posed in front of not 10 feet away.
Now, it’s weird enough, you know, the way this body is positioned. The position is weird enough, so we think rigor must have set in. The forensics folks get over there, they take the pictures, all that. Then, Christ. Then….
Then they, you know, they get ready to lay the body out, take a closer look at him, and…and as soon as the forensics guy, Benny, I remember his name was, as soon as Benny lays a finger on him, and I mean the moment…the second, the *microsecond*, the exact instance his finger touches this kid’s shoulder, the body just instantly crumples, like a deflated balloon.
I feel bad saying it, that poor kid, but it was just a–a puddle of a person, a puddle of skin.
We find out later that this kid’s bones, they…they were dust. I don’t mean that figuratively, either. His bones were ground to just a fine, fine powder. The only mark on his body was a handprint around his neck, and the cause of death was determined to be strangulation.
Christ…he was a goddamn kid.
So anyways, we had our work cut out for us. This was a case where there were 40, 50, 60 witnesses. We checked the security cameras, and it was the most bizarre, surreal thing. The whole thing was caught on tape. At about 10:30 that morning, a person wearing all black, who kept his head down the whole time so we couldn’t see his face, came in holding the kid’s hand.
They went over to where the body was found, and the kid gets into the position we found him in. The guy then chokes the kid for about 40 seconds, killing him. People are just walking on by, walking around them, looking at them, but ignoring what’s happened. The lady at the counter looked over a few times, didn’t do a thing, just kept checking people out, doing her job.
The guy finishes choking the kid, stands up, and…and the son of a bitch bows. And the part that really got me, people in the store gave him a round of applause. Then he just…left.
We were fuming. I remember I yelled at some of the employees and people that were in the store when we got there, “what the hell were you doing just standing there, what the hell’s the matter with you, you sons of bitches?!”, you know? But not a one of them couldn’t really explain their reaction to what had happened. They said they remembered seeing the guy, the kid, all of it, but when it was happening, it didn’t feel like anything wrong was going on. They said they all saw it, but instead of being like “what the hell”, it just seemed like a normal thing.
We asked everyone what the guy had looked like, and they were all 100% sure in the descriptions they gave of the guy’s face. By what the witnesses gave us, the guy was either white, black, hispanic, or Asian, with brown, black, blonde, red, or gray hair, blue, green, or brown eyes, perfectly smooth or extremely wrinkled skin, a big or a small nose, and he had a picture perfect set of pearly whites, or he had a mouth that looked like he ate nothing but junk food and rocks and hadn’t brushed a day in his life.
It didn’t make any sense. And with everyone having no real idea what they saw, none of what they gave us was a help, at all.
Remember I said the body was called in around 2 in the afternoon? And yeah, that means people were coming in and just ignoring…ignoring, not realizing, I don’t know, whatever the hell was happening, but no one did anything about the body for almost four hours.
We went to listen to the 9-1-1 call, and we find out it came from the payphone right across the street from the Kohl’s, at the McDonalds there, there used to be a payphone. Now, I heard a gravelly, deep voice, but Olson, he heard someone more high-pitched. Doesn’t really matter, just another weird thing about this.
Operator goes “911, yada yada yada”, guy says “did anyone call yet?”
Operator goes “I’m sorry?”
“Did anyone call about the body yet?”
Guy gets all frustrated, starts huffing and puffing. Goes “There’s a body at Kohl’s. North Avenue. Do your fucking job, your goddamn job”, whatever he said. Then he goes “I don’t have all day.”
We end up looking at the security tapes form the McDonalds there, and right after the guy…did what he did…to the, to the boy, he walked over to the McDonalds and sat at one of the tables outside, and he just sat there, staring at the Kohl’s, just waiting. Didn’t budge an inch from about 10:35 until he called around 2. Just sat there like a statue, staring. Then he got up and made the call. After he hung up, he stood at the payphone, not moving, watching the Kohl’s from there. Watched the black and whites show up, watched us show up, then finally around 4 he just…left. Took off down the street.
This was one where we didn’t really find anything. Never found out who the boy was, no one ever reported him missing. Certainly never found the guy that killed him. Get this, though. A whole mess of people that were in the store when he did what he did, they ended up killing themselves. Six or seven of them in the months immediately following that day.
Then, I found out when the case was reopened, guy who took it over, young guy named Smith, he went to reinterview some of the witnesses, and 16 more had committed suicide. Guy didn’t just kill the boy, whatever he did, whatever he was, he took a whole lot more people with him.
That boy, though. I’ll never get that sight outta my eyes. The way he was posed. I just…I thank god I never saw anything like that again. Some of the other cases might’ve affected me more overall, but that was a sight that…that was the one.
Categories: Nick Botic Original Series