THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY
YEAR TWO: CASE FILE NO. 02-54
AMBER LOVE 14-MAY-2018 Welcome to a new year of Adventures with Gus (and Ollie) stories. Catch up on Year One about the work done at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast.
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Where we left off:
Detective Inspector Guster Nabu has a pending Internal Affairs investigation looking into his recent brutal behavior of local wildlife. He is not suspended however and continues to work cases.
BODY OF PROOF
THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY ESTATE. INTERIOR. OFFICE.
Though Gus is technically not suspended, he does need time to sit and think about what he’s done. Meanwhile, I’ve been working closely with Professor Oliver Winchester on bone identification.
I guess I shouldn’t have expected bones to rest in one spot once they were removed from a carcass, but I was surprised at how our discoveries rolled out in waves. A week of finding three bones. Then four. Then five. Then one. I haven’t witnessed the large birds carrying around anything so noticeable. I haven’t seen the fox in a while, but I figure it’s still around somewhere, probably doing better closer to the chicken farmers.
While Oliver and I continue to question what the cause of death was, we spent weeks figuring out the bone identification and whether they came from the same corpse. As of now, I have two theories, one of which makes me profoundly sad.
One super weird discovery was finding a broken seashell in the middle of a trail. We don’t live near the ocean where a clam shell like this would have been. If it came from someone’s dinner trash, I guess they didn’t see any reason to make decorative use of the shell in some way after eating it.
As for the bones, the cleaning process comes before final identification. The bones were scrubbed with dish soap and water using an old toothbrush.
This time around Gus actually helped me with the cleaning process. Usually he doesn’t care about that part at all.
The bones sat in the solution of dish soap and water with a big splash of hydrogen peroxide for several days. If you’re doing this too, be warned, the water becomes a greasy, icky solution. If the bones are really dirty, the solution will smell pretty bad. The bones we’ve found have had all the meat and soft tissue picked clean.
Then I dumped the solution, rinsed them off, and filled the bin with only water and peroxide (50/50) for another five days or so. I kept checking on them and decided to take them out early. They seemed cleaned enough.
This batch of bones includes two long bones that I found one day and originally decided to leave behind in nature. We already had a decent collection. If the scavenger who left them was looking to gnaw on them some more, they were given the chance.
The next time Gus and I were on that particular trail, the bones were where I left them and since we had discovered a couple more, I decided to pick up those two and treat it as one big batch for cleaning.
The first two long bones were going to be the hardest to identify. The other two were still in such good condition, I was able to figure them out while Gus and I were still hiking: another humerus and another half of a pelvis.
That makes this possibly the third humerus found. The first specimen wasn’t as complete as the second and this new third one. Numbers 2 and 3 seem to be perfect matches for each other.
As for the pelvic halves, I’m not entirely sure they are from the same body. In a way, I hope they aren’t. There was a Mother Doe named Virginia, who has lived around here for many years. She had babies each year or two. She also had been maimed and walked with a hobbling limp. It was a miracle that she was able to live with any pain from that injury for so long. I feel fortunate to have gotten her on video in 2017. However, that was just before hunting season. Fall bow season began 19 days later.
Because she’s been around for so long, our family has an attachment to her. I get sad thinking that some of these bones may have been her. With the difference in the pelvic halves, I have to question whether an animal with such a limp would show these particular signs of slightly different obturator foramen. If it’s not her, then the bones are more likely from more than one victim. Since there’s possibly three humerus bones, there’s definitely more than one victim if I’ve ID’d that first one correctly on April 9th.
The two long bones are believed to be a radius and metatarsal. I’d probably have better faith in my guess about the radius identification if the ends of that long bone were more in tact. The metatarsal was identified by the long groove along the diaphysis and the shape of the distal end. Honestly, if an expert corrected me, I wouldn’t be surprised since these are my best guesses.
As noted previously in Case File No. 51, since I don’t know anything about hunting deer, when I discovered one bone with blade marks rather than broken off in fragments from something like a car impact, it brings up the question of why pieces would be cut up and left behind. Maybe because the bones add so much more weight and the hunter didn’t feel like carrying it all? I don’t know. The condition of the other bones isn’t consistent with that one particular bone with the cut marks.
Theory No. 1 on Bones Discovered:
They are not from the same corpse and we are looking at two different victims. One damaged by impact fractures or from thrashing; the other showing methodical incision marks.
Victim No. 1
Identity: White-tailed deer
Cause of Death: hit by a car who dragged itself into a nearby yard where it died.
Case Findings: Scavengers picked the carcass apart and scattered some remains.
Victim No. 2
Identity: Jersey Devil of comparable size to a deer
Cause of Death: Murder/Hunted
Case Findings: Theory includes the possibly that white-tailed deer and Jersey demons have compatible mating and have successfully been spawning hybrids of wingless Jersey demon-deer (a completely unwarranted name). The meat of the demon-deer was removed during field dressing and then sold on the exotic foods market. The hunter left behind significant hard tissue remains.
Theory No. 2 on Bones Discovered:
Most of the bones are from one victim who suffered a devastatingly painful death. Some of the bones could still belong to an unidentified victim, but not enough has been recovered for ID.
Identity: Virginia Doe, white-tailed deer
Cause of Death: Injured by arrow, ran across the road in fear for her life, hit by a car while trying to escape
Case Findings: Virginia Doe lived longer than a lot of folks expected. She was a fixture in this neighborhood. She called this spot home. She brought her babies to the Winchester-Nabu estate to frolic and learn the ways of the woods and the dangers of humans. She did her best to drag herself to her home to die on the land she loved and hoped to say goodbye to her children. Her murderer cut her into pieces and took most of the meat leaving behind her head, pelvis, and legs. This would explain why no ribs or vertebrae were ever recovered.