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Jenifer
11-17-2008, 07:58 PM
The villain in my WIP is a man who has worked in maintenance in his small town for many years. He works as the school janitor and also drives the bus... in the winter, he runs the snow plows and salt trucks. He is toeing into elderly territory, but has worked all of his life and is fairly strong. The town trusts him implicitly (he's a trustworthy guy, y'know, other than the killing thing).

When his wife becomes sick, he throws himself into nursing her through the illness. The part of his mind that didn't believe she was sick to begin with (he'd convinced himself she was finally pregnant in her late fifties, as she had always dreamed of having children- it turned out to be ovarian cancer, big hairy deal) refuses to believe that these kinds of things just happen at all, let alone to good people like his wife... as she struggles, actually nearing death at two points, the foundation of his mind begins to creak. He develops Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the second mind comes to believe that the children of the town have organized against his wife and planned the cancer to rob her of the chance to have a child of her own.

He begins to abduct them, using their love and trust to get close to them without suspicion. He takes each child out to his family farm, installs them in a shed that he has rigged to be all but soundproof, and interrogates them about the plan to sabotage his wife and marriage. The meat of the questioning springs largely from his old army experiences, and when they can't tell him what he wants, he tortures them. Because this separate mind is so convinced that what he's doing is right and justified, he videotapes the interrogations- and eventually the murderers- for later reference.

He buries the first two bodies on the farm, but then the first hard frost comes, and it's impossible even to use the backhoe. He needs another way to dispose of the bodies. In the end he takes the other bodies into town and burns them in the town's incinerator. He then mixes the ashes into the salt reservoir of the salt truck, and the remains are scattered in to the street as he rolls through, looking like so much dirty snow and salt.

Now I need to catch him. http://www.smiley-channel.de/grafiken/smiley/zunge/smiley-channel.de_zunge024.gif

Obviously he's broken the camera on the school bus and several others all over the town- key areas that his second mind uses for evil, if you will. ;) But he hasn't gotten them all; he still floats back and forth between minds, and at one point he "wakes up" in the middle of breaking a camera, finds it broken in his hands and goes on to fix it as if that were the original task. He is not concious enough of what he is doing to report himself or save the children, but he IS interested in the case... he has known most of these children since they were old enough to start kindergarten, and cries for each as they are torn away from their parents unjustly. He becomes very involved in helping his next door neighbor, my MC (a low-ranking police officer), sort out some details and pound out ideas relating to the investigation. He leads her to himself in some small ways.

The first three victims are boys. Then there is a lapse, and the town relaxes a little. Then two sets of parents come forward to report their children missing- another boy and a little girl. The girl's parents are classic abusive parents- disinterested most of the time, and when they are paying attention, it's only so that they can clout the poor kid. The police chief rejects their story, saying that they probably killed her themselves and are looking for a way to pin it on someone else... after all, the time between abductions has been pretty regular, and two children at once would not fit his profile. The boy does, especially because the killer has taken all boys to date. My MC dives in on her own and discovers that the girl has actually been missing for two weeks, and due to that DOES actually fit the profile.

Now, my villain has been a bit erratic with his bus routes since the abductions started. He's been making note of the days that some children's parents aren't at their homes to meet them when they get off the bus... then he rearranges his route so that they are the last on the bus. Usually he lets them off... but not all. A few of them make it to the shed.

There are complaints (which my MC finds out about) here and there about kids being early or late off the bus, but my villain has access to the entire school (perk of being a maintence guy). He knows about the complaints and makes sure that those children get off on time thereafter. Keeps the waters a little calmer. Most parents really trust good old Mr. Will, and they let the little changes slide by.

When my MC is investigating the little girl's disappearance, she speaks to a teacher who confirms that the girl has been out of school for two weeks, and that on the last afternoon she saw her, she was climbing onto the school bus to go home. MC goes to neighbors- one of which saw the bus go rumbling by that day... without stopping at the girl's house. MC checks the tapes on the bus and finds the camera broken.

The camera is fixed (and the truancy officer is fired), and the villain feels the pressure- his bus is being watched, not so much because he is suspected but because the police chief knows he needs to make it look like he's covering all areas (police chief's a whole 'nother story)- and his access point to new victims is effectively cut off. He could break the camera again, but that would really put the spotlight on him. He also knows that the broken camera on the bus is going to prompt checks of other cameras across the town... but when? Will there be a gap? Will they simply fix them all, or has he forgotten one somewhere? Maybe more than one? They're going to catch him, he thinks, but he wants a chance to question one more child before they do. For his wife. Maybe this time he'll get answers.

The MC's son, whom he and his wife have always been very close to, is the closest target- and the villain's second mind focuses on him as the ringleader. He nabs him very easily- the boy is scheduled to have dinner with he and his wife that night. He abducts the boy while the MC is buried in surveillance tapes, about to see some things she does not expect.

Thoughts? Too easy, too convoluted? I'm not completely sold on how we make the catch... still ironing out the wrinkles, ect. but could definitely use some feedback on how it all feels.

NeuroFizz
11-17-2008, 08:05 PM
You may want to check into the triggers for DID. They typically involve rather intense reasons for adopting an alternate personality, and frequently (but not always) involve childhood abuse (sexual or otherwise). And the whole DID thing is controversial with some researchers believing that in many cases it is therapy-induced. If you are going to use a mental condition like this, a little more research may help.

Jenifer
11-17-2008, 08:12 PM
Actually, I've researched it extensively. :) The triggers are in place, and so are some of the smaller-scale symptoms. Not an issue- it just didn't have anything to do with how the guy gets caught, so I didn't put it in this post.

smcc360
11-18-2008, 05:41 AM
In the end he takes the other bodies into town and burns them in the town's incinerator. He then mixes the ashes into the salt reservoir of the salt truck, and the remains are scattered in to the street as he rolls through, looking like so much dirty snow and salt.


A crematorium doesn't actually reduce an entire body to ash. What it does is break a body down into charred bone fragments, which are then pulverized into the 'ashes' that the family receives.

The typical municipal incinerator burns quite a bit cooler than a cremation furnace does, and for much less time (it takes about two hours to cremate a 200 pound male). These are facts of which your murderer may be unaware, given his mental state.

The bottom line is he's leaving a lot of human remains in the incinerator, remains which could be discovered by maintenance personnel. If they find a chunk that's big enough to be recognizable, that could lead to a call to the police, which would get the investigation started. And this could be what gets him caught.

Jenifer
11-18-2008, 06:05 AM
Ooh, okay. So I could legitimately leave a large bone fragment- a jawbone, say, or a chunk of one- in there to be mixed in with the salt and thrown out into the street (he's not leaving it in there). That someone's dog could bring into the house. I like this a lot. :D

Now, this is all taking place in the north, so I suppose the crematoriums would get a lot of business in the winter... but I like the idea of the bone fragment. That dog thing has been in the back of my mind from day one, but I didn't think it'd work. This works in that the other more solid chunks- large fragments that might have been more noticeable earlier on, and without the help of Rover- could conceivably get caught up in the salt reservoir and left. He's the one doing the bulk of the maintenance on it, anyway (incinerator too).

Does anyone know how a standard municipal incinerator operates? How the ash/left over chunks are removed, and so on?

Thanks!

smcc360
11-18-2008, 06:07 PM
Does anyone know how a standard municipal incinerator operates? How the ash/left over chunks are removed, and so on?

Thanks!

The ones I've seen have an endless chain link which scrapes it out. It's either turned into aggregate and used in concrete or asphalt, used as fertilizer, or buried in a landfill.

Your killer would have to torch a body for an extended period of time in a municipal incinerator to get rid of it (like, six to eight hours). If he's the town maintenance guy, he might have the access to get in there and do it overnight, and then use the scraper system to pull out the remains and grind 'em into 'road salt'.

Of course, some bean-counter might notice that the incinerator sure has been using a lot more propane, lately... :Huh:

c2ckim
11-18-2008, 06:19 PM
You could have your MC find a tiny fragment of bone in the street. DNA testing could reviel that its a bones from one of the missing kids. You could point out that the bone fragment has been burned and that would lead your MC to the town's incinerator thus pointing the finger at the maintenaince man. It could happen that way

Jenifer
11-18-2008, 07:00 PM
The ones I've seen have an endless chain link which scrapes it out. It's either turned into aggregate and used in concrete or asphalt, used as fertilizer, or buried in a landfill.

Your killer would have to torch a body for an extended period of time in a municipal incinerator to get rid of it (like, six to eight hours). If he's the town maintenance guy, he might have the access to get in there and do it overnight, and then use the scraper system to pull out the remains and grind 'em into 'road salt'.

Of course, some bean-counter might notice that the incinerator sure has been using a lot more propane, lately... :Huh:

He could definitely do that... :D By virtue of his position in the town (and the respect and trust he's earned through his many years of dedicated service), he has access to a lot of things that one man really shouldn't. The propane bit would be worth mentioning in passing- one of those little moments where someone SHOULD realize what's going on and doesn't. It's winter, after all, and people are producing a lot more garbage this year...