Another 927-B
[C.H.A.R.L.I.E.] Dispatch, request for an ACRU pair of eyes on 927-B in west Central LA.

"Team One, they're asking for assistance at 6221 Drexel Ave. Reported homicide. You're up."

6221 Drexel Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90048

April 25th, 11:08 AM

—! "Don't cops ever go online?"

The Crime Scene
11:29 AM

A white bodied, red panel roofed, Spanish inspired abode like nearly every other dotted down the street. It's already been cordoned off, a couple of patrol officers keep neighbors and two bored reporters at bay.

At the entryway, detectives handing things over barely suppress their own idle sniggers. "Yeah, it's, ah— it's definitely one of yours, fellas," murmurs the LA investigator, his pot-bellied partner looking distinctly over his shoulder at a young blonde woman: a consummate California cheerleader, no less than plucking irritably at her eyelashes as she waits, sequestered at the garage end of the apartment's driveway while the house remains untouched and waiting on forensic support. "Dead lady's in there," he juts a thumb vaguely inside, a side window, and then the Homicide detectives are kicking up dust — waiting only long enough to have their shoes photographed for exemption: a small courtesy mostly to spare them a visit later.

It doesn't look like anyone's even bothered to call for CSIs yet, and it's luck of the draw whether the officer keeping the blonde woman from making her next hair appointment was the first on scene or not.

The passenger door of the dark coloured Ford something-rather flings open and a single silver-hued shoe touches the pavement. The step is silent, the shoe’s owner, however, is not, “Why do you always have to drive? I can drive, you know. Took a driver’s test and everything at sixteen. And I may or may not have driven a tank in the military. Okay, I didn’t, but that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of driving. I just can’t drive a tank. And I may have lived in New York City, but plenty of people drive in the big apple. Like cab drivers. And detectives.” He gives a solid nod to drive his point home while casting a quick glance over his shoulder towards his partner, the driver. After the point has sufficiently been made, a tug is given on his suit jacket, appearance is half the battle.

Dark aviator style sunglasses hide Detective Andrew Webber’s blue peepers as he approaches. His steel-coloured suit, perfectly tailored to his form, matches the pinstripes in his black tie which stands out against his eggshell (not white!) collared shirt. The shoes, of course, make the ensemble. The tailored suit pants hide the beautiful detailing of Andrew’s silver Adidas, making them appear like ultra shiny dress shoes rather than the silver-hued sneakers they are. The wings printed on the top are completely hidden, but Andrew knows they're there. They give him the ability to fly. Or something. That or else he could always fly and, well, he would argue to the death that they have some deeply symbolic meaning. Not that he would believe it.

Only when his colleagues offer their snickers in greeting does he remove the sunglasses and clip them to his shirt collar. And then they're retreating. His lips curve into a cheeky grin while he begins stalking after the pair of detectives. “Fellas,” he begins in an almost-too-nice tone, “how you feeling? Good?” His nose wrinkles slightly. “I’m glad to see that you can be so incredibly pleased with yourselves after screwing the pooch on this one. First, where are the CSIs? Did you even bother to call?” He pauses while his smile turns from cheeky to grim, “Second, a modicum of sensitivity seems to be called for. I have no idea what you find so funny, but someone died and someone was around to see it. And she’s not far away. I ain’t a head shrinker, but you don’t have to be evolved to be empathetic. You only have to be human.” He shrugs and then narrows his eyes at the other pair of detectives once more, “Can I assume you talked to the witness? And by talked I mean that you made a real audible connection…”

Holding up his foot obligingly to allow the officer holding the outer line to take a photo of its sole, the skinnier of the pair glances over his shoulder to flap his fingers of one hand open and closed as Andrew speaks, mimicking his yapping. Swiveling his head forward again, he shrugs casually, "Of course we spoke to the witness. How do you think we knew it was a case for the wacko squad?" Squinting pointedly at the driveway, as Archibald explores, the man mentions, "Your crime scene now. The CSIs are on you. Maybe ya shoulda been calling them instead of practicing your fancy Law and Order speech, fella."

Done, he drops his shoe and slaps his partner encouragingly on the shoulder. The larger man's eyes flash, just briefly, with a considered apology, but then he scuffles on, gamely joining in on the continued maligning of Andrew as they get to their car and slide in. The officer having taken the photos stands, proudly and sensibly neutral in expression as he saves the shots.

With a deft motion, Archibald Ross stuffs the aforementioned car keys into his pocket. As Andrew talks at him, all he can hear - basically - is the 'wah wah wah' of Charlie Brown cartoons. He catches key phrases, but his mind is entirely on the crime scene. Both ignoring the witness and the previous officers on the scene, the man puts up one hand in a very precise gesture. That gesture means 'shush'. Archibald knows why he's been stuck with this man that talks about his shoes and is so interested in other people, so he will play nice. However, he considers the witness questioning Andrew's job and the observing of the crime scene his. That is certainly why Shea put the two of them together and to keep his job he will play by the rules. And, as such, he has said nothing about the deplorable conditions he has to work under.

Though he and Andrew have not been partners for long, he has already assumed that Andrew will take care of the other detectives and the witness. Eyes wide open, he steps into the Spanish style adobe house waiting for comment. He'd prefer to see it without the prejudice of lesser minds.

There's a heavy pleasant scent to the whole house as Archibald steps in, like there's one too many air fresheners on the small premises. The pint-sized entryway leads straight into a living room, its island kitchen and bedroom doorway facing each other from opposite sides of the modestly decorated room. A couple of women have been doing their best on limited combined funds, and it's cozy, and vaguely clashing. A crooked line cuts between the belongings, distinctively pointing to one personality then the other, and neither the two shall mix.

Though it's warm — eighty-eight degrees out in the relentless sunshine — there's no smell of death. Just a standing, waiting, sensation from the bedroom; the master bathroom on its left the owner of the window the detective had pointed to, but even from here, a glimpse of the body on the bed is visible.

A smirk and a quip rest on the tip of Andrew Webber's tongue, but he chokes the quip back. Not the smirk. His bemusement is open. Instead, his smile brightens a little while he turns on his heel. As Andrew tromps back towards the house, his ear plants itself against his ridiculously large cell phone. Yes, it's old and heavy. It's a large black flip phone. Yes, he insists on using it. "Hey. It's Andrew calling… Detective Webber… yeah…." he nods once. "Sorry you're only just getting the call, but there's been a death at 6221 Drexel Ave, and I would really appreciate it if you could send some people ASAP." Finally reaching the house again, his teeth toy at his bottom lip while his head shakes. "You might want to come quickly. I don't think my partner could help himself from going in the house… he's kind of a clue junkie… and I'm not about to follow him to tackle him to the ground… for one, I really don't think that would do well for the team morale, and really, in tackling him I'd only make… yeah… I can stop talking…" a single eyebrow quirks. "So, in short, you really might want to make it a fast trip. Thanks. Bye." He slaps the phone shut and returns it to his pocket.

He leans forward on the balls of his feet to take a quick peek at the witness before tugging at the bottom of his suit jacket again. With a deep breath, he finally steps forward and strides towards the garage. "Sorry to have kept you waiting. I'm Detective Webber. My partner, Detective Ross, is also around here. Somewhere," he can't help but furrow his eyebrows at the comment about his partner, but he manages to relax his expression moments later. "I'm not really up to speed, and I apologize if you've already filled in my colleagues. I recognize that sharing the same story time and again is super frustrating. And I realize you probably gave my colleagues your name, but I'd really appreciate it if you could share that with me as well as exactly what happened here?"

Just in time— the round-faced blonde witness' in the middle of harassing the officer standing with her, "— who did it, so are you gonna go fix this or what?" when Andrew approaches, diverting her impatient energy to the detective. "My name's Britney and, uhhh… how about the super frustrating part of how my roommate is dead and everybody just wants to stand around and talk about it?" One of those cliche Valley girl impressions helps drive home her fervent emphasis, a distracting tactic from the quieter speaking of her eyes: the stunned glaze holding off a wisp of fear. Though standing in her own driveway, she shifts, uncomfortable, as if under bright lights less warm than the California sun. It's suddenly a foreign, violated place— her home. After a couple of harsh blinks, she shrugs, "It's easy. I know who did it." Imparted on Andrew with a hard stare, leaving her unaware of the grimace the responding officer pulls, instantly sympathetic to the detective's duties: "That website killed her."

Archibald makes sure to enter the house perpendicularly, using his long legs so that he steps to the side. Almost everyone else moves through the center of doors. Behind him, he can hear Andrew calling the CSI and then head toward the witness. With each deliberate step, the voices grow just that much fainter. His eyes brush over the living room, the kitchen and the separate bedroom doors. While he only glances at it, he remembers the details and logs them away somewhere in the database of his mind. Relationship between roommates: possibly strained, certainly lifestyle differences. Wrinkling his nose at the scent, he decides to update the mental note: attempting to keep up appearances, or possibly hiding the scent of a dead body to not arouse suspicion.

With careful steps, the detective makes his way toward the bedroom, glancing at the floor to make sure he's not trampling any sort of evidence on his way. He also takes in the walls, the paintings, looking for anything that seems out of place in a house that was obviously well taken care of. Once he's reached one edge of the doorway, he stops and then leans forward to look at the scene without actually entering the room. There is a reason they were called to this scene and he has yet to find why that is. Perhaps the victim or the murderer exuded perfume from their pores. What an odious evolution.

A few things on the way: picture frames of the decedent, the witness from the driveway, and a couple of males around the same age. The brown carpet beneath his feet is shag. There's probably evidence dating back to the seventies trapped inside, making it no picnic for any arriving techs.

Nothing appears to be instantly out of place. Except the dead body on the bed. Unlike in the stories, no one looks as if they could be 'peacefully sleeping' when, in fact, dead; the former resident of 6221 Drexel is like any other corpse: bleached white, while the onset of rigor has twisted her jaw and curled her toes and fingers till the limbs nearly lift off the bed in an unnatural set. What the comfortably plump brunette, dressed in a dingy t-shirt and non-matching pajama shorts, doesn't have is a visible wound from here.

The floor in front of the bed tells a better story, and the ceiling the best. Shag shows very little coloring, but a heavily distinct pattern, especially where it's been summarily flattened and tromped. It's the complete lack of cast-off on the short abode ceiling that narrows down events.

The witness' response actually stands to gentle Andrew's expression. Just a stitch. His eyes soften while he allows his chin to drop to try to catch the blonde's gaze. "Listen to me, we are going to figure out what happened. The talking, while it sucks, is important for all of us to know. This is how we find who hurt your roommate and keep them from hurting anyone else." His lips press together momentarily as he studies her face further. "Can I get you to take a deep breath?" He takes a deep breath himself, almost trying to decompress along with the witness. "Alright. Can you tell me about this website? What is it?"

Eyes ricocheting around the different objects of the room, Archibald records positions of where everything is - and what seems to be missing. No splatter on the ceiling or on the walls - this, plus the absence of visible blood or wounds rules out a brutal beating or stabbing. The large indent in the carpet suggests that something heavy in front of the bed was removed. That's something to file away for when Andrew finally catches up to him. Considering the cordoned off living room, it's possible the roommate never saw inside the bedroom in question, but it's worth the annoyance if an answer can be found.

Again, he uses the side stepping in order to not step on the well trod path through the center of the doorway. He's intent on getting a closer look at the body. Hopefully there will more explanation there as so far all he can ascertain is what may very likely be a missing trunk.

The lights are off here— in the bathroom to his right— everywhere; not a one, so it's lucky that pure sunlight streams in the large, California-sized window on the left wall looking out into a partial yard and the wall of the next house over. As Archibald moves in, that sunlight finds a few specks of blood not quite visible from the doorway, easily hidden and buried in carpet, and a smear or two on the sheets before her elbow. The young woman's arms are folded demurely over her stomach, except where rigor's stiffness has ruined the sentiment, giving her a grasping, clawing look. Covers bunch near her knees with a look of hurry contrary to the faux-restful pose.

Up close, tell-tale colors show: extensive red splotches show where blood has pooled and set at the joints, on the right side of her face, and most likely on her stomach if he were to lift her carefully set t-shirt. Lividity, interrupted at her cheek, knuckles, and knees— and again, probably that stomach— by blanching.

Outside, the witness' deep breath sounds a lot like she's sucking in air to prepare to unleash hell on Andrew. But, instead, she whips her head impatiently, blonde hair flipping, and rubs her hands into the crooks of her elbows as her arms cross tighter. "Uhh… a creepy death website, clearly. You can check Callie's computer. It's right there, in her email." One arm unfolds to gesture inside.

Andrew nods in agreement. Obviously. His hands are stuffed into his pockets while he takes few leisurely steps forward. His right hand drifts from his pocket to the back of his head which he rubs idly, a motion that ironically has little effect on his hair and its stylings themselves. He'll take it at face value. "Okay. So how long had she been visiting this creepy death website? Or is this something that was hacked on her computer?"

Careful steps lead Archibald to the edge of the bed. While he doesn't touch anything, he leans over to inspect the body. Curious and determined to not miss anything, he puts his face close enough so that his nose is mere inches above her elbow and then her neck, he is careful not to actually make contact. He may be an arrogant ass, but he knows better than to touch the body before the CSIs get on the scene. Luckily, he doesn't need the CSIs to make a few observations. It doesn't take long to draw conclusions based on the lividity and blanching. The body was moved. With deft fingers, he taps out a message to Andrew.

ask witness what was at foot of victim's bed

also, when found, where was body

Satisfied, he slips the phone back into his pocket and makes a slow turn in place to observe the rest of the room.

The buzz against Andrew's pocket warrants his attention and has Webber reaching for his phone. A single eyebrow arches at the text that flashes across the screen. He punches a few buttons in response.

will do

look at the vic's computer if on

interest in 'creepy death website'

After hitting the send button, he redirects his attention to the witness once more. "Sorry about that. Also, can you tell me what was at the foot of your roommate's bed?" His tongue runs over his lips carefully.

He catches the end arc of the witness dramatically rolling her eyes over the detective's apparent distraction. Her foot tap-tap-taps on the ground, then she shifts her weight as he addresses her a second time, "I don't know," arms uncross to throw up then down, smacking her legs, "Once? Twice? Everybody's been doing it— you know," she points a perfectly manicured nail at him, "This creep's probably killed before. Fucker outright told her he was gonna kill her!" Then she pauses, glancing crossly to the side and shrugging with a scoffing drift of attention, "Nothing. She always sat at the end of her bed when changing."

The phrase that everybody's been doing it earns a quirk of Andrew's eyebrow. "Everybody's doing what exactly, Miss—? Threatening people?" He shrugs and then allows his chin to drop. "I think what you're suggesting is that she met someone online who outright threatened her." His lips straighten into a thin line. As far as nothing at the end of the bed, he nods a little while he draws his phone from his pocket and, without looking, manages to text.

vic had note ing at foot of bead

Well, maybe Archie will fill in the blanks.

Luckily, Archibald is well versed in text language. At the vibrating in his pocket, he plucks out his smartphone and reads the hastily assembled message from his partner. Looking again at the pattern on the floor and the pattern on body, he nods. The victim was moved after an hour or two of lying on the ground. If the roommate didn't do it, someone else had to have. Within moments, he fires off a reply.

did she move body

Then, he casts his gaze about for the laptop Andrew mentioned.

It's in plain view, atop a desk situated with questionable choice against the wall owning the bathroom door just feet away. Though a glimpse of the bedroom offers little other opportunity except the expansive window, tightly closed. Nothing appears to have been rifled with or nudged out of place in a struggle or search. Nothing but a dead woman, ready for bed.

"Going to this website," corrects the witness without any grace. "Don't cops ever go online?" For her, the conversation's becoming intolerable; her natural attitude melding not well with the stress of tragedy. "The creepy fortune telling website. I told her it was weird, but she wouldn't listen, and now he's killed her." Jerking her hand into her hair, she glances off to the right, staring bleakly at the abode's entryway.

Wheels hitting the end of the street mark a new car approaching the cordoned house. By the make and model, it's more than likely the CSIs ordered, pulling up beyhind the detectives' vehicle, inside the responding black-and-white's barricade.

"Right. A website." The witness's question causes Andrew's lips to hitch up on the right side. "Some cops spend ample time online. I just am not one of them. Not much of techie myself." He nods briefly at the mention of the creepy fortune telling website. And then things begin to become clearer. "So your roommate was on some fortune telling website, the fortune teller said she'd die? Is that — what happened? Have you ever been on the website?" And then as a quick afterthought he asks, "And you were the one that found her right? Did you move the body at all when you found her in the room?" He follows her gaze as he motions for one of the officers on scene to come closer. "Do you want a coffee or something? We'll get you set up with something." To the colleague he asks, "Can you run to the corner store and get her something — "

Behind Britney's shoulder, the officer shoots Andrew a look: what does he look like, a rookie? But, under the double glare of sun and the witness, he treks off, shoulders high. "Eww," rounds Britney on the detective, eyes beady, "She was dead. These perfect nails," splayed in showing to him, "have and will never be touching anything like that." So much for the compassion for fellow men— even those sharing the same square footage as you. "And didn't I say that I'm the one who told her it was weird? She found internet culture fascinating or something. When it's really just a bunch of homicidal nerds." Lower lip pulling up, she lifts her eyebrows mercilessly, "Guess we found out who was right."

A racket of car doors are a few CSIs entering the territory— the shock of unique blonde hair definitely Stephens— and an additional car arriving brings the coroner on scene.

Plucking a rubber glove from his back pocket, Archibald takes long-strided steps toward the laptop in question. Snapping the gloves on, he places a finger on the trackpad to see if the computer is off or merely sleeping. Once Stephens and the coroner arrive, he'll point to the floor, attention still on the screen. He's already seen much of what he needs to see there already - they can take their samples and as soon as the coroner has cleared the body, he will be able to look more closely at the wounds.

"The body was lying on the carpet for at least two hours before being moved to the bed. Apparently there is something about a death website on this computer. I entered the scene caddy corner, to preserve any footprints and I didn't touch anything other than to see if this computer was still on." He speaks rather rapidly, as if he just wants to get that part done with so he can get back to more important matters - namely, what is this death site Andrew mentioned?

A two-man team squares off with the house— fortunately not splattered with a heavy amount of blood— and as her companion dictates himself to the left-hand portion, Stephens snaps on her second pair of gloves as Archibald speaks, feet coddled in protective booties. "It's physically im-possible not to leave or take material with you," she scolds, gesturing a double-gloved finger about the brown-carpeted housing, "You better get a confession, cause I won't be the one explaining this to the DA come the fun game of 'let's name the inadmissible evidence'." A soft clucking of her tongue as the bright-haired intern hefts a hardy camera, resting it briefly on her shoulder to roll her lower lip out at him, "Detective, I know you know better." Playfulness tempers scathing remarks, concluded with her little shooing noises, hissed out around her tongue, as she bends to begin the extensive and time-consuming process of capturing every angle of the scene.

Andrew manages to keep his expression even while Britney. "Right. My mistake, nails are very important." He manages to text again, once more without looking at the screen:

note ing was at foot of bed; didn't move body

"So is all internet culture full of homicidal nerds, or just this particular website?" the question is punctuated by a raise of Andrew's eyebrow. It's not humour, exactly. But it's not ridiculously serious either. "Was there anything else out of the ordinary with your roommate? Obviously this creepy death website had its effect, but was there anything else going on that might be useful to us in our investigation?"

The CSIs receive a nod in greeting. But Andrew won't talk to them quite yet. Not until he's done chatting with the witness.

Leveling lowered eyebrows seriously at him, Britney responds, "All of it." Duh. "But Callie couldn't stay off that stuff. She'd freak out about fortune cookies and forward Facebook sob stories." Passing her hand through her hair, fluffing an already substantial wave of side-parted hair, she asks with morbid curiosity, "Is it harsh to say somebody brought something on themselves the same day it happened?"

Archibald listens to Stephens blather on, his own gloves clicking on the laptop very briefly. As his phone buzzes again, he barely seems to acknowledge what he's read. Not even looking at Stephens, he replies without the warmth and humor that she attempted to use to disguise his scathing remarks. "Yes, I'm sure my shoes took the very important evidence that the shag carpet was well cared for, but fighting a losing battle. Much like the previous homicide detectives' did, I'm sure. They were the ones that refused to call for you when they had already trampled the scene. Much like they did, I'll make sure to send a print of my shoes and a sample of my hair so I can be omitted from the suspect's list. Everything is exactly where I left it and I used gloves." He holds up a light blue hand for her to see. "Now, let me think."

Without waiting for her response, his mind is already moving on to more important things. The body was moved and the roommate did not do it. She'd been lying there for an hour or two before being moved, so there had to be someone else who did it. He'll, at least, wait till someone else goes through that since it doesn't seem to be responding.

With a practiced obliviousness to both her and the detectives' blather, Stephens shrugs his arguments off like drops of water hitting her streamlined tech's coat. "Did you hear that just last month a judge allowed the 'well how could we know it wasn't a shapeshifter?' defense? The world's going batshit about evidence these days, and who could blame 'em. You know, I work in this other office, where a scientist is trying to send through his proposal about this drug that'll supposedly bridge the gap between us and y'alls… Steroids have bad enough side-effects. Can you imagine superpowered ones? Well, of course you can…" All the while, expertly photographing every step of the way; she barely flinches walking past the body, leaning over it to catch the woman's last, inglorious, moments.

When Stephens doesn't notice Archibald's pointed lack of interest in her blather, he rolls his eyes and starts backing away from her.

There's no grimace, and an easy neutrality about Andrew's expression as Britney asks her question. "Considering what you've seen in the last little while, I think you feel however you feel about it." He manages to avoid the question. "Thank you for all of your help, Britney." He reaches into his jacket pocket and extracts a business card. "If you think of anything else that might help us, please don't hesitate to call me. And likewise I'll be in touch if we have any other questions. Have you filled out a formal statement yet? If not, I'm going to get you to talk to Officer Wilson over there —"

"Yuh huh…" it's more general acknowledgment, as her fingernails clench to the card, than affirmation, and Britney allows an officer to step her aside for formal documentation.

It's another few minutes before Stephens' partner announces, "Found the reason for all the air freshener…" as he eyeballs a half-full litterbox in the bathroom, cuing Stephens to glance all around her feet. Fifteen minutes later, it's determined that there's no animal on the premises.

With pictures taken, the CSIs move onto evidence collection, allowing a few more feet to pass through now that comparisons can be made. This brings the coroner onto the scene; despite the easy assumption of homicide, the M.E.'s full-up, so there'll be no on-sight specifications. Callie Higgins can look forward to cold storage in the morgue while she's queued in line for autopsy. Before removing the body, Josh Young, the elected civilian coroner, turns the corpse to point out the entry wound in her back: a single stab wound, he surmises, from a smooth blade such as could easily be found on the street. The look suggests she died almost instantly, leaving little blood to pump, especially once it had settled after the two hours. He confirms that she'd been lying on the floor through patterning.

No windows or doors are found open in the small residence, and no cat-door neither, points out Stephens, while her colleague collects the laptop. From outside, Officer Wilson knocks his fist on the outside of the door, glancing in without stepping. "Detectives…" he's left Britney with his partner, who's issued her a coffee and a distraction. "She says the cat was the decedent's. Not an out-door animal."

"So…" Andrew strolls up towards the officer at the door. "The cat is missing, the vic was on a creepy fortune-telling death website reflective of the rest of the internet which is full of murderous individuals, nothing was at the foot of her bed, and the body was never moved." His lips press together as he cants his head to get a better look inside the room without actually entering. "Find anything else of note?"

"Wrong." Archibald, not able to handle any more of Stephens' pointless chatter, has wandered toward the front door. "The body was moved. Just not by the roommate. If she's telling the truth." He thinks for a moment and looks toward the doors and windows. "The computer was off…" he trails off. It's easy to tell he wishes he was able to turn it on himself and start rooting about, but he was scolded before and he's not setting himself up for another. "If she was on a website when she was killed, someone else shut it down. She was also moved after two hours. A door or a window could have been left open for the cat to escape through and whoever moved her shut it on their way out. Was the cat microchipped?"

Andrew's lips twitch to the side as he nods and considers something briefly. "Riiiight," he answers slowly allowing his gaze to turn downwards for a moment. "I think we should head back to the station and document everything." Plus it'll give the CSIs time to check out the scene without Archibald's ever watching eye. "Besides, I don't think we'll be getting anything else out of the roommate. Not sure whether she's trying to make herself believe she's safe or she genuinely didn't like her roommate — " he shrugs. "And I'm almost positive she wouldn't know anything about the cat." His slow steps begin to backtrack carefully. "Let's head out, Archie — " and then, he adds rather dramatically, "I'll drive." Sunglasses are returned to his nose.

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