Leonard Scoffield, head of forensics, pulled out the chair opposite Collier and sat at the table with his cup of tea. Except for the two of them, the nurses’ lunchroom, which was little more than a cubbyhole, was empty of people. Two other tables with chairs were squeezed together in the limited floor space. The window behind Collier was ajar and riding in on the breeze was the sweet smell of freshly baked bread. On one side of the entrance to the room was a counter with a small sink, hotplate, kettle and tea canister, on the other side, an icebox refrigerator which made the strangest gurgling, clingety-clang sounds.
“A missing child case is the worst to work,” Leonard said. “All too often they turn-up—”
“No need to say it, Leonard. Just tell me what you found.” He had enough morbid images scooting around in his head without adding to them.
“The site, are you sure it wasn’t compromised in anyway before our arrival?”
“Sure?” He shrugged. “I can only relate what I was told by the head nurse. Her statement was backed up by my niece who knows her well. The room was cordoned-off once it became apparent that Rebecca was likely abducted. Well?! Is that enough to get us started here?! What did you and your team find out?”
“Actually, two significant clues. An empty Winchester bottle was found under her bed with several fingerprints on it. It had in all probability been filled with chloroform. The fact that Rebecca was alone made it easy for the abductor to sedate her, but it also made it easier for us, too, to gather evidence.”
“And the second clue?”
“This one is more interesting. On the highly polished floor, we found the stocking-foot impressions of an adult male.”
“There’s no doubt they were male footprints?”
“None, whatsoever. I’m surprised you would question me on that.
“I don’t mean anything by it, Leonard. Just checking the boxes, nothing else.” He recalled Klaus Becker’s odd sock combination. “We’ve got a long day ahead of us. And, those stocking-foot impressions intrigue me. I want you to begin with the hospital administrator, Klaus Becker. Check his foot size against those impressions and his fingerprints. Your team is finished?” He nodded. “Good. I would like to see her room, provided it’s alright with you.”
“I am. Provided Becker can wait.”
“Then we’ll go together.”
Collier entered Rebecca’s room, a short distance behind Scoffield. There wasn’t very much to see that he didn’t already know except for a framed photo of Rebecca with her family on the bedside table. “Leonard, do you mind if I take this?” After a shrug and nod from his friend, he slipped the photo from its frame and placed it in his pocket.
“Anything else?” Leonard asked.
“It’s time to see about Becker.” He noticed Sergeant Snowden at the door. “Is the solarium ready, Sergeant?&rdq...