Once inside, they all paused and looked around. Not so much for direction but to try to figure out where to start. Since they’d overheard the conversation between Emily and Carlyle, everyone knew most likely where the evidence would be.
But, that wasn’t necessarily how they worked. For some unknown reason, Emily liked to save the obvious for last. Except for taking pictures of the minor and major possible crime scene areas.
Smiling, she noticed they all had fingerprint equipment with them, except Bret. She knew his would be outside waiting while he to take the initial set of pictures. And they’d all donned paper jumpsuits and booties. Sven even had a set in his hand for her.
This had always been their routine. As Emily once said, ‘if it works, keep it-if not, fix it’.
Emily glanced down the hallway, which extended a good twenty feet to the back of the house, terminating at the kitchen. Four, evenly spaced chandeliers cast a warming glow over dark wood floor to ceiling paneling.
Half way down the hall, a staircase traveled gracefully up to the second floor. Photographs of Annabelle as a model were interspersed with pictures of either her, her husband, both in uniform. Emily noticed several gaps where photos had been removed. In one case forcefully. Others looked like they’d been brushed against and not set to right.
On her right, a room stripped of furniture. Canvas tarps partially covered the water stained, wooden floor. On the walls, pieces of old, worn, tattered and faded wallpaper waited to be removed. A hole in the ceiling where a light once and would again hang. What did impress her, no tools were scattered about as one might find in a restoration project as huge as this one.
She refocused her attention back to the rug. With a glance to Bret, who gave her a nod that he’d finished with it. She, with the others in train headed toward the kitchen. One thing she did notice, was how the rug had been bunched, not from the direction they were walking, but from the back.
“I’m guessing the person or persons came in through the backdoor, which is probably in the kitchen or an access room,” she tossed back over her shoulder.
Wallie, who was next in line behind Emily, was concentrating on the rug and suddenly stopped when something caught her attention. “Emily, I think I see something. Scuff marks partially hidden by the runner.” She looked back to see who was closest to the door, for they all knew that person would retrieve number markers and an ‘L-square’ from the van. She turned back to Emily who gave a nod to her and Jackie, last in line, who disappeared out the door.
Less than a minute later Jackie returned with what was needed and passed them up to Wallie. With extreme care, she placed the items close to and around the mark, partially hidden under the runner.
Emily broke the comfortable working silence. “Wallie, finish here, then pull the rug back and see if you can find any other anomalies. You know what to do and see if you can get a physical sample. We can ask, not that they will, the dweebs to analyze it to see if they can identify what kind of shoe or boot made the marks.”
Everyone chuckled irreverently at the ‘dweeb’ comment about the lab techies at Fort Harrison. Ever since Emily had taken over the team and molded it into a top flight unit; now one of the best in the district. The scientists there always gave them a hard time. Their chief, not that he didn’t like Emily, always thought his investigators were better suited at gathering evidence.
She looked over to Bret. “Hey guy, since you’re the photo pro, why don’t you take the stairs.”
Emily looked over to where Jackie was just finishing up helping Wallie with the scuff marks. “Wallie, since you found that mark, you get the rest of the hall. Bag the rug but don’t take it outside, leave it by the stairs. Might be some evidence in it.”
Wallie looked over to Emily. “After I finish here, why don’t I take that room?” She pointed to a room, just past Emily, partway down the hall and opposite the stairs.
Emily looked to where Wallie pointed. But unlike the first room, this one appeared to not only be finished, but lived in. From what she could ascertain, most of the room hadn’t been ransacked, which didn’t make sense. Why just do some, not all?
In front of the fireplace, she noticed several broken statues. Similar ones, in color and size, stood peacefully guarding a map of the world hung over the mantelpiece. As her eyes scanned around the room, she spotted a leather couch, knife slashes on several seat cushions and backs. On its side, a cane seat chair lay, legs snapped off at the seat. That must be the chair she’d talked about but why not mention the couch?
Even though she didn’t want to, her inspector curiosity overtook her and she carefully walked up to the broken chair. That was when she saw why Annabelle was more worried about the chair than the couch. Even to her untrained eye, Emily knew it was an antique, possibly a family heirloom. While the leather couch, might be expensive, was easily replaceable.
Backtracking her way out, she did notice one very unusual aspect. Papers from the cherry desk were scattered on the floor. There was not much other damage. At first appearance, all the drawers and cabinets hadn’t been touched.
Once free of the room, she looked around at waiting faces. “Wallie, start with the cabinets and drawers.”