May 14, 2013
Inspector Leveuf arrived the next day at the police station, and as he entered, he asked Valerie to follow him to his office room.
“Valerie” he said; “I want you to call Monsieur Lenoir and Monsieur Dubois, tell them I want to talk to them, that we have a new twist to the case. Tell one of them to come here at 10, and the other at one o’clock.”
“What new twist has come up to the case?” asked Valerie with curiosity.
“None whatsoever, but let’s see how they react.”
Just as the inspector requested, at exactly 10 o’clock, Monsieur Lenoir walked into his office with an expression of anxiety on his face. He sat down, and with haste asked the inspector to tell him what happened.
“Monsieur Lenoir, we are about to solve the case of the murder of your wife. We have found the evidence of where the killer dragged the body into the sewers. It so happens that the entrance to the sewers he used, a piece of evidence was left that is crucial to identify him. I’m afraid we could not remove that piece of evidence from the scene, but we are working on identifying the killer with that.”
“What is that piece of evidence?”
“I’m afraid that information I cannot disclose at the moment. But trust me, once we arrest the perpetrator, I will let you know all the details.”
Monsieur Lenoir left the office with a confused expression on his face.
At one o’clock, Olivier stepped into the inspector’s office as agreed. The inspector shared the same information with the young man, who also attempted to find out what piece of evidence was found, but like Monsieur Lenoir before him, Olivier left the office with a confused face.
The hours passed as the inspector and Valerie waited by the phone. The night fell and darkness took over the city. A few minutes after midnight, they got a call from one of the surveillance patrols appointed to watch the suspects. They informed the inspector that their target had left the building and that they were on his trail. Inspector Leveuf and Valerie left with the car immediately and followed the instructions of the surveillance patrol. A few minutes later, they arrived at one of the main sewer entrances of the city. In front of the large metal entrance, they waited and watched. In the darkness, a man approached the entrance with a flashlight. He slowly started looking around the entrance carefully in a desperate search to find the piece of evidence that could incriminate him. Suddenly, a strong light struck his back and illuminated the scene, a voice behind him yelled; “Monsieur Dubois, surrender yourself, you are under arrest for the murder of Amelie Lenoir!”
Back in the police station, Olivier Dubois confessed to the police for the murder. He explained how that evening, Madame Lenoir came to him as usual and after having dinner together, Olivier confessed his intense love for her and asked her to leave her husband and stay with him. She refused saying that she would never leave her husband for anybody. She told him that their affair is over, that she would never see him again, and that he should forget her and go on with his life. The situation went out of hand; as they started quarrelling harshly, and as she tried to leave, he stopped her, but she resisted. Their fight became harder and more violent, until the point where he strangled her with a belt he had laid on the couch. Realising what he had done, he decided to get rid of the body and distance himself from the crime.
Behind the window stood Inspector Leveuf, Valerie and Monsieur Lenoir, listening to the confession. Monsieur Lenoir looked down to the floor when the young man had stopped talking, he then looked up to the inspector and said; “Thank you inspector Leveuf for your help.”
The inspector put his hand over the man’s shoulder, and with a supportive smile said; “I am merely doing my job. I am very sorry for your loss.”
Monsieur Lenoir turned around and left the police station, with a heavy walk and sorrow on his face.
Inspector Leveuf and Valerie stood as they watched the man leave the station. The inspector lit a cigarette and went back to his office.
May 12, 2013
Inspector Leveuf and Valerie arrived to the building where the owner of the second number lives. They searched for the bell of a young man named Olivier Dubois. Olivier was a young man of 29 years of age; he worked as a professional dancer and a teacher at the dance school where Madame Lenoir attended. The inspector rang on the bell of the young man, a male voice answered;
The inspector answered back saying; “Hello Monsieur Dubois, this is inspector Leveuf and Mademoiselle Carion from the police. Could you please let us in, we have a few questions to ask you regarding Madame Lenoir.”
“Ah yes!” replied Olivier; “I was expecting you guys would come sooner or later, please come in, I’m on the third floor.”
The inspector and Valerie walked up the third floor, there they found a young handsome man, with shoulder long curly brown hair, an unshaved beard, perfectly fit body, white fair skin and crystal blue eyes, waiting for them at the entrance of his apartment.
“Please come in” said Olivier with a calm voice.
They walked into the apartment; it was a small apartment with one bedroom, a living room and a separate kitchen corner with a bar opening on the living room. On the walls were hanged paintings of dancers, pictures of Paris and New York, a few old pictures of people, possibly family members, and a tribal African mask, just above the television.
“Can I offer you something to drink?” asked Olivier with a calm and stable voice.
“Thank you Monsieur Dubois, I would rather get directly to business.” Said the inspector; “You said you were expecting us. Why is that?”
Olivier smiled, and as he sat down on the couch he said; “Well, I knew that sooner or later you would find out that I have a connection with Amelie, and you would surely come to understand better this connection. It’s such a great loss; she was such an amazing woman. Whoever did this should get the worse punishment possible. Please inspector, Mademoiselle, have a seat.”
Inspector Leveuf sat down and said calmly; “Well, I suppose this makes our job easier, we can skip the introduction of the case and why we are here, since you obviously know this already. So let me get to the first question. What is your connection with Amelie Lenoir?”
Olivier smiled again and replied; “Isn’t it obvious? I was her lover.”
A silence reigned in the room. Valerie’s face had an expression of surprise; she couldn’t believe how calm and straight forward the young man was. The inspector on the other hand; seemed to appreciate this.
“Could you please tell us Monsieur Dubois how exactly you met with Madame Lenoir and how your affair started?” asked the inspector.
“It was about four months ago when I first met Amelie at the dance school. I was giving lessons at that time, at the same time slot as she had her classes. I met her one day as we left the school; she seemed to be somewhat stressed, waiting outside the building. I asked her if everything is alright, and she explained that her husband was supposed to pick her up, but he had just called saying he cannot make it as he is feeling sick, and she should find a way to get home. So I offered her a ride with my car. We met in the hallways several times after that and talked, and one day I invited her to go out for dinner after the lesson, and we did. Things then evolved from there.”
“Did you continue giving the same lessons after your affair started?” asked the inspector.
“No, I requested a change of time slot, so I could give the lessons before her class, so that way she could come to me during the time that she would normally have a class. It seemed the best way to meet and have our private time.”
“Did you have any fights or any type of disagreement in the past months since your affair started?”
“No, never. The time we spent together was for our pleasure and happiness. I loved her and she loved me. We didn’t want to spoil what we had, I wanted to get her out of the misery she had in her marriage, so I would never allow myself to argue with her about anything.”
“What makes you so sure she loved you? I mean after all, she was a happily married woman.”
“She loved me; I knew it, because she said it and I could see it in her behaviour. And she was not a happily married woman. All the feelings in her married life had gone dry; her husband didn’t care for her or what was happening in her life, so naturally she lost the love she had for him.”
“Have you ever considered that maybe she was in need of some source of affection and care, and you seemed to be the perfect candidate, but that at the end of the day, she still held on to her husband. That you basically were just a tool to fill her emotional vacuum?”
Olivier’s face lost the hidden smile, and anger seemed to rise in his eyes as he replied; “She loved me I’m telling you! She was planning to leave her husband for me! That’s why she was killed!”
“What do you mean?” asked the inspector.
“Well, isn’t it obvious? Her husband found out about us, he knew she was about to leave him for me, for her true love, for true happiness, and he couldn’t handle it. So he killed her in this horrific way!”
“That is quite a serious accusation Monsieur Dubois.” said Valerie.
“It is the truth, it makes sense and you know it!” replied Olivier with an emotional voice.
“What we know Monsieur Dubois.” Said the inspector calmly; “Is that a woman was brutally murdered. The question as to who did it, will be determined through our investigation. Now please tell us what happened between you two on the night she disappeared?”
“Nothing; she didn’t actually come to see me that night at all. I waited for her and around 9PM I tried to call her several times, but got no answer from her.”
“What did you do during that time when you waited?”
“I just stayed home. Made dinner for two, as I thought she would come, even if a bit late. I had my dinner a bit after 9PM, and then went to bed by midnight.”
“Why did you not contact the police the next day when she didn’t show up and didn’t answer your calls?”
“Well, I thought that maybe she had some issue with her husband and couldn’t come or answer me. And even if I would have wanted to contact the police, I could have never done it, otherwise I would raise the suspicion in her husband, he would wonder who I am and why I am looking for her, then she would definitely be in danger.”
“What did you have or dinner on that day Monsieur Dubois?” asked the inspector.
“Excuse me?” Reacted Olivier with a surprise.
“On the evening of Madame Le noir’s disappearance, what did you have for dinner?”
“I don’t remember, it must have been something quick and simple, pasta maybe or rice.”
“You must have made something more interesting, no? After all, you met her only once a week. I would definitely make something special then for the evening. Not to mention that you cooked for two people, so the food must have remained for the next day as well, no?” asked Inspector Leveuf with a somewhat friendly tone.
Olivier scratched his head as he struggled to remember, and in a moment of inspiration he reacted; “Ah yes, now I remember! I believe I made some rice with chicken curry and a hummus on the side.”
The inspector smiled and said; “Ah, there we go, now that sounds special.”
A few minutes later, the inspector and Valerie thanks the young man for his time as they left the apartment, and promised to inform him of any updates they will reach in the investigation.
As they walked out the building, inspector Leveuf looked at Valerie and told her; “Get me two surveillance patrols on the houses of Monsieur Lenoir and Lonsieur Dubois. I want them to watch their every single move, until I order otherwise.”
“Consider it done inspector.”
That evening, inspector Leveuf stood in his apartment by the window watching out on the city as he smoked his last cigarette of the day. He struggled with his mind to think who could be the murder of poor Madame Lenoir. He knew that one of the two men must have done it. They were the only ones who would have the motif to kill her, but both had an alibi so trivial, it must be true. Neither of them could prove he was home at the time of the murder, but no evidence was there to prove the opposite. He had to find a way to find the truth, to reach it, and there was one thing he needed for that; a mistake.
May 11, 2013
“Good morning inspector. We just received the autopsy report” said Valerie as she entered Inspector Leveuf’s office with the report in her hand. “Oh, and inspector, Monsieur Lenoir is waiting outside. Shall I let him in?”
“Yes please Valerie, show him in.” replied the inspector. “And please also get in contact with the mobile phone providers; try to find out who is the owner of the second number that was trying to call Madame Lenoir.”
“Of course, sir.”
Monsieur Lenoir walked into the room; on his face the traces of exhaustion and sorrow were visible, as if he had not slept the whole night long. His eye lids were dark and baggy, his eyes were red and watery, his footsteps slow and heavy, his back was leaning forward, his beard unshaved and his arms were hanging by his side as if he was carrying a heavy load. With a low and deep voice he said; “Good morning inspector.”
“Good morning Monsieur Lenoir. Please have a seat. Shall I get you anything to drink; tea or coffee maybe?”
“I could have a coffee, thank you inspector.”
Inspector Leveuf asked for a coffee, and while they waited for the drink, he rolled a cigarette as the silence reigned on the room.
The coffee arrived, monsieur Lenoir started sipping on his drink while the inspector lit his cigarette. He took a deep breath, and as he exhaled, he said;
“As you know Monsieur Lenoir, this case is no longer the search for a missing person, but it is now a murder case. I have here the results of the autopsy, and it shows that your wife was strangled to death, probably with the use of a belt. As nothing has been stolen from here, we are right now assuming that this murder is linked to some kind of personal vengeance between your wife and the murder. Do you know of anybody who might have a grudge against your wife, or who would have the motive to get rid of her?”
“Absolutely not! My wife had no enemies; she had no reason to have enemies. Her life was simple and peaceful, and everybody loved her!” said Monsieur Lenoir with an upset tone.
“Then who would have an interest in having your wife dead?”
“I don’t know, I cannot imagine anybody would want to kill her!”
“How did your wife go to her dance lessons? Did you drive her there?”
“No; she usually went on her own.”
“Have you proposed to drive her to or from her dance lessons in the past months?”
“I never proposed to drive her to the dance lessons, because I always got home from work either just before she left for the lesson, or after she had already left. I did however propose a few times to pick her up once she was done with the lesson and even to take her out for dinner after it.”
“What was her reaction to this proposal?”
“In the past months, she would refuse, always politely.”
“What did she say exactly?”
“She would either tell me to relax because I had a long day at work, or she would tell me that it’s her night out with the ladies, and that they would have a girl time and girl talk.”
“How did you react to that?”
“I respected her personal space and her choice to spend time with her friends.”
Inspector Leveuf took a last breath of his cigarette and put it off in the ashtray next to him. He looked deeply towards Monsieur Lenoir and said;
“Monsieur Lenoir, did you know that your wife has not been to her dance lessons for several months?”
Monsieur Lenoir looked surprised and with a hesitant voice said; “No, I had no idea, why wouldn’t she? And where was she going all this time then?”
“That’s why I would like you to tell me.”
“As I said, I have no idea of that. I have always thought she was going to the dance lessons and after that going out with her friends from the lesson for dinner or a drink, as she always said.”
“As I mentioned previously, we’ve found out from her dance school that she hasn’t been there for several months now, not a single time. Have you ever considered or noticed any indication that she might be cheating on you with a lover?”
“No! I cannot imagine her ever doing that.” replied Monsieur Lenoir with an emotional voice.
“Was there, in any situation, the name of any guy mentioned in the past few months that you did not know, or had not heard his name before?”
“No, none; all the people she knew and talked to, I knew them and had met them at least once before on different occasions.”
“Monsieur Lenoir” said the inspector with a deep and serious voice, “where were you on the night your wife disappeared between 9PM and 11PM?”
“I was home.”
“Were you with anybody or is there anybody who could support what you say?”
Monsieur Lenoir looked shocked at the question, and with an aggressive tone replied; “I was alone at home, so no, nobody can support my words! But I did not kill my wife, if that is what you are trying to find out!”
“This is a murder case Monsieur Lenoir, and we must investigate all the possibilities. What time did you arrive home exactly on that day?”
“A bit before half past six”
“So you saw your wife before she left?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Did you talk?”
“Yes, we did.”
“Can you recall the conversation?”
“She asked me how my day was. I said it was a very busy day but productive. She then told me that dinner is ready and I can heat it up in the microwave. Then she kissed me and left.”
“What did you do after that?”
“I changed, washed, heated up the meal and sat in front of the television. I watched a movie while eating.”
“What did you have for dinner?”
“Excuse me?” replied Monsieur Lenoir with utter surprise at the question.
“What was the meal you had? Can you remember?”
Monsieur Lenoir struggled to remember and then said; “I had beans with white rice and chicken breasts. No sorry, it was green Pease, not beans”
“What did you watch?”
Monsieur Lenoir looked nervous, he stared at the inspector and said; “What has that got to do with the murder of my wife!?”
Inspector Leveuf smiled and said “I am trying to draw the evening’s events so we can understand better what happened. So, what movie did you watch?”
“I watched Kill Bill.”
“Ah, interesting movie; quite long, and bloody, no?”
Monsieur Lenoir had a sarcastic smile on his face and said; “Yes, it’s about three hours long, very bloody, but I do enjoy Tarantino movies.”
“What time did the movie end?”
“And what did you do after that?”
“I went to sleep. I worked the next day from 8AM, so I needed to rest.”
“Very well Monsieur Lenoir, thank you for coming. I will let you know if we need any further information from you.”
Monsieur Lenoir walked out the inspector’s office and Valerie walked in right after he left.
“So how did it go? You think he did it?” asked Valerie with excitement in her voice.
“Difficult to say; he seemed surprised at the fact that his wife had not been to the dance lessons in the past months. He also claimed that there was no indication that she cheated on him and he had no such suspicions.”
“You think he is saying the truth?”
“I don’t know. It’s still not clear in my mind.”
“Did he tell you where he was at the time of death?” asked Valerie.
“He was home. He arrived home before half past six, talked to his voice about his day and the dinner she made for him. She left, and he then changed, had dinner while watching Kill Bill, then went to bed after the movie, which ended around 10PM.”
“Yes, I remember that movie was on television two weeks ago, I watched it. Quite bloody I must say!” Valerie was silent for a moment, then she said; “So then he was at home.”
“No necessarily.” Said the Inspector; “he could have easily followed his wife, and killed her when she left her lover’s home. All he needs is to know what movies were on that evening, and what was prepared for dinner, and then he can make up the story to cover up his crime.”
Valerie thought for a moment about the inspector’s theory, then she handed him a paper and said; “those are the details of the owner of the second number.”
May 9, 2013
The inspector sat at his desk, checking the dead woman’s phone as Monseir Lenoir walked into his office.
“Hello inspector” said Monsieur Lenoir as he walked in accompanied by Valerie.
“Hello Monsieur Lenoir, please have a seat, this will not be easy to hear” said the inspector with a serious tone.
“What happened? Have you found my wife?” asked Monsieur Lenoir with a worried voice.
“We may have” replied the inspector, “Tell me sir, is this your wife’s phone? Can you recognise it?” asked Inspector Leveuf as he handed the phone to the husband.
“Yes, it is hers. I recognise it from the picture on the background. It’s an old picture from the time we first met, 17 years ago.”
“Very well! Your wife received 31 missed calls, all within less than 24 hours, during the time when you came and notified she had gone missing. All these calls were from two numbers and two numbers only. Are any of them yours sir?” asked the inspector as he handed Monsieur Lenoir a paper with two mobile numbers written upon it.
“This one is mine.” replied Monsieur Lenoir as he pointed out the first number listed.
“Do you recognise the other number?”
“Not at all. Could you please explain to me what happened?” demanded Monsieur Lenoir.
Inspector Leveuf took a deep breath as he prepared himself to explain to the man the events that led to this meeting.
“Monsieur Lenoir, when you first came to us with your notification that your wife had gone missing, we assumed it would be another case of a partner who had left their spouse to run away with their lover. This theory became even stronger when we discovered that your wife had not attended any of her dance classes for the past three months!”
“What? How is that possible!” interrupted Monsieur Lenoir with an air of utter surprise.
“Please Monsieur Lenoir” said the inspector, “allow me to continue my explanation of the situation.” Inspector Leveuf lit a cigarette and took a deep breath, as he exhaled, he continued with his explanation; “As I was saying, the dance school confirmed that your wife had not attended any of her classes for the past three months. This strengthened our belief that she had a lover, taking into consideration that she continued to lie to you about her classes, and managed to be gone for many consecutive hours. The dance classes and the friends she had their seemed to be the perfect escape route to allow her to meet her lover, without raising your suspicion.” The inspector took another puff of his cigarette and went on to reveal the truth to the husband. “This morning sir, I was about to pay you a visit to explain to you that your wife had run away with another man, but just as I prepared to leave, my colleague Miss Carion, ran hastily into my office, calling me to join her immediately. We went to the scene of a supposed crime that would change our theory in this case entirely. There we found the body of a woman, dropped into the sewers and left to decompose by the elements of nature. The body was already in a state of decomposition with rats and worms devouring its flesh. The hand bag that you see in front of you here is the one we found next to the body. While searching it, we found the phone that I handed you to check, and an ID card indicating the owner as Amelie Lenoir.”
With a shaken voice, the man looked at the inspector and asked; “Are you saying that my wife has been dead for two weeks and was left in the sewer like a dead rat!?”
Inspector Leveuf saw the tears in the man’s eyes and couldn’t react. He never was skilled with social behaviours, manners or any form of affectionate expressions. A straight forward man, he could only say the things as they were. Valerie approached the weeping husband and with a soft touch on his shoulder and her comforting voice said; “Please do calm down Monsieur Lenoir. I understand this must be difficult for you, but the task we need to ask you to do is very important to determine whether or not the body we found is that of your wife.”
“Yes!” said the inspector with a firm voice. “We need you to identify the body for us Monsieur Lenoir.”
Monsieur Lenoir turned his face towards the inspector, and with a helpless look in his eyes and a weakened voice replied; “I will do whatever is needed of me inspector.”
The three stood by the side of the table where the body of the woman laid. The inspector waited for a reaction from the husband, but all he could do was nod his head as he stared at the dead woman.
“Is this your wife?” asked the inspector.
“Yes.” said Monsieur Lenoir in a low and weak voice.
“I am sorry sir, I can barely hear you. What did you say?”
“Yes, yes! This is my wife. This is my beloved Amelie. Oh God!” monsieur Lenoir burst into tears.
“Monsieur Lenoir, you can go home now. I advise you to try to get some rest tonight, as I will need you tomorrow morning to continue the investigation. Can you be here by 10AM?” asked the inspector.
“Yes sir. I will be here.”
“Good. You can go now sir. I am very sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you. Goodnight inspector, goodnight Miss Carion.” The man turned around and walked away.
“Goodnight Monsieur Lenoir.” said Valerie.
“Goodnight sir.” said the inspector. “Oh, Monsieur Lenoir!” the man turned around and looked at the inspector; “Do not leave the country, or the city, for any reason. I will need you here, close by.”
Monsieur Lenoir walked away with his head bent down.
“Valerie, close the missing person case. It is now a murder case. And send an undercover 24/7 patrol immediately to Monsieur Lenoir’s residence. If he tries to escape, have him arrested.” said the inspector to his assistant.
“Do you think he did it?” asked Valerie.
“I do not know, but I will take no risk.”
May 8, 2013
Inspector Jacques Leveuf sat sipping on his early morning coffee and enjoying his rolled cigarette as he did at the start of each day, when he heard a knock at his office door. Miss Valerie Carion walked in with her usual grace and beauty, but her face had an expression of extreme boredom as she brought a paper to the inspector’s desk.
“What is this?” asked the inspector as he examined the paper she handed him.
Valerie explained; “We received this morning a notification from a citizen named François Lenoir. He claims that his wife has gone missing last night. She left home at 7PM as usual, to attend her weekly dance class. She had the habit of going out with her friends from the class once done, as per the husband’s explanation, and would usually be home by 10 or 11PM latest, however last night, she never got home, and until this morning there was no sign of her. He tried calling her several times on her mobile phone, but without any answer.”
“Hmmm…she probably ran off with her lover” replied the inspector. “Send a search team. Check at her dancing school where they saw her last, and who was the last person to talk to her. Find out if they know in which direction she left. Print out a picture of her and send it to the main newspapers, let’s see if anybody will react.”
The hours passed and days passed; while the search team desperately tried to find any trace of Madame Lenoir. The investigation at the dance school brought back an interesting new twist to the case, as it turned out that Madame Lenoir had not attended any of the classes for the past three months. Where had she been going? Why did she stay out late? What was she doing? At this point, the inspector was almost certain that Madame Lenoir had a lover. Could she have truly run away with him?
After two weeks of failed attempts to solve the case of the missing wife, Inspector Leveuf sat at his desk, preparing himself for the confrontation with the husband; during which he would have to explain to him that his beloved wife most probably ran away with her lover, and will not be coming back, when suddenly Valerie ran into his office speaking breathlessly; “Inspector Leveuf, you have to come with me! It’s horrible!” Inspector Leveuf didn’t bother to ask for an explanation. He followed Valerie to the car and they drove off to one of the ghettos of Paris. As they arrived on the main market, they found a huge crowd gathered within one circle. The inspector and Valerie made their way walking in between the crowd until they reach the police cars and ambulance that surrounded an opening of the sewer system. The stench that came out of that hole was beyond description! The inspector and Valerie had to cover their noses and mouth to be able to remain standing in the area. Around them, all the people had expressions of disgust and pain on their faces; some were even vomiting on the side of the street. As the inspector approached the opening of the sewer, he laid his eyes on a terrible sight. In the sewers laid the dead body of a woman; in state of decomposition, surrounded by rats and covered by worms eating its flesh. Valerie turned around and vomited on the spot. The inspector ordered that the body be taken out and taken to the forensics immediately.
As the forensics examined the body, the inspector and Valerie searched the hand bag that was found by the side of the woman. In the bag they found her make up kit, a set of keys, migraine pills, a hand cream, a mobile phone and a purse. “This mobile phone is dead” said the inspector, “find me a compatible charger, I want to see what activities were done on it and when.” As Valerie searched for a charger, the inspector examined the purse and noticed a picture of a man that seemed vaguely familiar. It was an old picture in black and white of a young man, not more than 20 years of age, but the features of the face seemed so familiar to the inspector, he could have sworn he had met the man before. As he examined the purse further, this familiarity became clear when he found the ID card of the woman and read the name; Amelie Lenoir. Valerie walked in with the charger, the inspector looked up to her and said; “Seems that we found the missing wife.” The inspector handed the ID card to Valerie, “Oh God! It’s Monsieur Lenoir’s wife!” she said with her eyes wide open. “Call him please” said the inspector, “and tell him to come to the police station immediately.”