“It’s stuck at 9:03 am. Can we assume that’s the time of death?” Evelyn, with latex gloves on her hands, tapped the face of the wrist watch with the tip of her finger.
“Maybe, though it also could have already stopped working beforehand.” Michael watched as his partner examined the victim’s wrist from the driver’s seat of the car. “Something doesn’t quite add up though. If that’s when the time of death was, then we would have gotten a call much sooner.”
Evelyn stood up. “What time was it called in?”
“About 10:30 am.”
Evelyn brought her hand up to her mouth. “The caller said they had just heard a car crash into the lake across from their house, right?”
Michael nodded. He looked over his shoulder and pointed to a young woman across the way. “That’s her house over there. She’s standing in the front yard speaking to one of our officers.”
“If the watch stopped because it got submerged in water at 9:03 this morning but the neighbor, who lives directly across the street from the lake, didn’t hear anything crash until 10:30 this morning… I’m confused.” Evelyn shook her head.
“You should be because she not only heard the splash but she saw the car drive into the lake,” Michael clarified. “Supposedly she was in the kitchen pouring herself another cup of coffee when she looked out the window – which is above the kitchen sink right next to the coffee pot – and saw the car drive into the lake.” He pointed behind him to a small window a few feet to the left of the woman’s front door.
Evelyn sighed. “It’s early in the morning on a Friday. I’m not sure if my brain can handle this much inconsistency right now. What are you trying to tell me right now? Do you have suspicions?”
Michael raised his shoulders into a shrug. “If the clock stopped because of the water than that means the victim drove into the lake at about 9:03 this morning. But how can that be if they didn’t drive into the lake until 10:30 this morning? Or so our witness claims.”
“Do you think the witness has any involvement in this?”
“Maybe. Or maybe whoever the real culprit is put on a show for the neighbor so as to create a witness with a false lead.”
Evelyn breathed deeply and let out a long sigh. “We need to figure out who our victim is. Maybe we can ask around and figure out where he was headed and what time he left his house or where ever he was coming from. Maybe that will be a clue to as to what time he should have been driving down this road. Still, I think the watch will be our biggest clue to this case.”
“Unless the watch was already busted before he put it on this morning and that, in a way, is a false lead as well.”
Evelyn narrowed her eyes at her partner. “Why would the victim put on a broken watch before leaving the house?”
“Maybe he didn’t realize it was broken. Maybe he had put on the wrong watch. Maybe the battery died while he was driving in the car,” Michael rattled off a few possibilities.
“Maybe,” Evenlyn joined in with a point of her finger, “he knew the watch was busted and was on his way to the watch shop to get it fixed.”
Michael stared at her with a deadpanned expression.
“It’s a joke, Detective,” Evelyn said with a frustrated sigh. “I know the investigation has barely begun, but my head already hurts.”
“Mine too. We had to skip our morning coffee because of this call. We’ll pick something up when we’re done with this scene.”
“That’s not why my head hurts, but alright. I won’t say no to coffee.”
“Let’s make a list.” Michael pulled out a notepad and clicked his pen open. “We need to figure out who the victim is, where he was coming from and where he was going.”
“Who the neighbor is, check out her kitchen to get her perspective of the incident, and figure out what exactly she saw at 10:30 am. Also, what she was doing at 9:03 am,” Evelyn added.
“We have our work cut out for us this time,” Michael said. He clicked his pen closed.
“Also, the watch. When did it stop and why,” Evelyn stated.
“That may not be a priority just yet.”
“I think it should be the number one priority. The time on the clock and the witness’s statement and call-in to the police don’t add up. If she saw the whole thing happen, then she should have called the police right away,” Evelyn said.
“She did,” Michael nodded. “She saw it happen at 10:30 this morning and called it in right away.”
“But the watch stopped at 9:03 this morning. What if the witness saw a fake killing for the purpose of creating a witness?”
“I gave you that idea, remember. I don’t know how plausible that is though.”
“I think,” Evelyn suggested, “we should search this whole lake and look for another car.”
Michael sighed. He clicked his pen open again and wrote that down. “If it would make you feel better. I guess we should cover all our bases. But again, I don’t think we need to. A proper autopsy on the victim will tell us the time of death.”
“It may not be accurate though.”
Evelyn squatted down beside the victim again. Her hand hung out of the driver’s side with the car door wide open. With her gloves still on, she took the watch off his wrist.
“What are you doing?” Michael asked.
Evelyn stood, prying the back of the watch open. She smiled, turning the watch around for her partner to see. “No battery.”
Michael groaned. “Great. Now we definitely have a homicide on our hands.”