“I’d like to accompany you as you investigate Gloria Sanchez’s background. It’ll help me make a determination faster.”
“Sure.” His phone chirped with a text from the medical examiner, and he responded back. “Dr. Ryland is ready for us.”
She took one last sip of coffee and stood. “I’m ready.”
Both tossed their cups, and she followed him to a bank of elevators at the end of the hallway. When the doors opened, they stepped inside and he pressed the button to the basement. She stood ramrod straight and made no effort at conversation. He supposed this type of antisocial quirkiness was part of a brilliant mind. Warm and fuzzy didn’t figure into the Kate Hayden equation.
The familiar antiseptic smell filled the air of the autopsy suite. He’d seen more autopsies than he could count and had developed a detachment to death until Caleb had died. Since then, he found it harder to see the body on the table as evidence.
They moved down the gray tiled hallway under the ultra-bright lights toward Dr. Grant Ryland’s office. He knocked twice on the closed door.
“Come in.” The doctor’s voice was deep and gravelly and perfectly fit the tall, broad-shouldered Texan who’d played center for the University of Texas fifteen years ago. Dr. Ryland looked up from a stack of papers and tugged off dark-rimmed glasses as he rose and came around the desk. “Detective.”
“Thanks for working us in today, Doc. I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Kate Hayden with the FBI.”
Dr. Ryland extended his hand to Kate. “Dr. Hayden.”
Her grip appeared strong, and her eye contact had laser precision. “Dr. Ryland.”
“This case is a hot one, Dr. Ryland,” Mazur said. The fact that he’d landed a high-profile case had pissed off the detectives who wanted the attention and pleased the ones who had been waiting for him to get enough rope to hang himself. “Everyone from the governor’s office down to my captain wants it solved.”
Dr. Ryland shifted to Kate. “Anything I should be looking for when I autopsy the patient?”
“The Samaritan’s bullet of choice is a 9 mm hollow point. He shoots one bullet to the heart, which does maximum damage as the bullet mushrooms on impact. My primary concern is the ballistics, which will tell me if this victim was shot with the Samaritan’s gun.”
“The Samaritan’s gun was never recovered, correct?” Mazur asked.
“It was not,” she said.
“Did all the Samaritan victims die immediately?”
“They were all shot in their cars and were dead within seconds. The medical teams estimated that each, with their catastrophic injuries, had bled out within half an hour to an hour.” She touched the middle of her breastbone. “He targets the same area every time. Even though nearly point-blank, it’s harder than you think to consistently hit the same area on a living target.”
“Has Richardson hinted to why he chose a bullet he knew would shred his victims’ hearts?” Mazur asked.
“He hasn’t confessed to the killings. He still maintains his innocence,” she said.
“I thought men like him enjoy talking about their crimes,” Mazur said.
“He’s not ready to talk,” she said. “He would like to be freed and to kill again.”
“Let’s have a look,” Dr. Ryland suggested.