Friday, July 16, 2032
Real Date: March 14, 2007
Travelling along the road, Ray suddenly called for a halt. The carts had barely stopped when he jumped off and started running towards the edge of the road. Shannon followed on horseback.
About 250 yards off we could just barely make out someone hanging from a tree. Peter and Sam jumped off the cart and followed at a trot. Robert orders the others to guard the carts.
Ray snaps the rope with his bare hands and the body falls a short distance to the ground. Ray is cursing quietly. I figure the man's been dead for about a day and a half or so.
Shannon and Ray think we've run over some of the tracks, but the crime seems to have been caused by a group that came from teh road and went back. Shannon finds some light blood splatter in the grass between the road and the crime scene. It would appear the victim was dragged from the road, already bleeding from a probable beating. There was no sign on the road, so we suspect the victim was transported by horse or cart to this location.
The victim died by slow strangulation. There was something under his fingernails. We scraped them clean and bagged the evidence. The victim was 5'9", black and in his late 20's. He weighted approximate 175 lbs and was of a relatively muscular build.
We wrap the body in a tarp and gently take him back to the cart. The nearest town is Anaston Alabama. The trip there was pretty tense. Everyone was quiet and the stress was prevalent. We'd been warned about this, that lynchings were becoming more common as the strength of the KKK grew; but warnings aren't the same as actually seeing it. Frankly, I'd rather deal with exploding cows again than this.
The town's got a population of about 10,000. It appears to be a mostly white town. The people have adjusted. The roads are taken care of, the buildings are clean and there's a few empty lots but not a lot of derilict buildings in sight and certainly no delapidated buildigns. There's a fiar amount of foot traffic and we get most of its attention.
Robert asks for directions to the police office and we head there directly. The handlers are left with the carts, but the rest of us go in. Robert identifies himself as an FBI agent and talks briefly to the desk sargent.
"Harry" takes us down to the morgue where we set the victim up for autopsy. We also log our evidence and store it with Harry (we get a reciept). The Sheriff is in his late 30's, heavy set and stand 6'2". His name is Earl and there's lots of juristicional questions. Robert's case (that it's a hate crime, that it occured near a border and there's a possibility it was done by people crossing said border) pretty much prooves that it should be an FBI case. Unfortunately we can't stop our current mission to investigate it.
We fill the Sheriff in on what we found, give him our statements and tell him all the details over a few mugs of coffee. He'll try to identify the victim's body. He didn't recognize the man, but there's a chance someone might have known him locally.
We stop at a local restaurant for lunch, but most of are no longer that hungry. The local waitress is a real hoot. The food is good and almost spicy enough for Ray. Back on the road Robert calls ahead and get a team to come from Birmingham to deal with this.