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Snippet: Eyes
Staring Forward
It was a huge break in the investigation to get to the residence of one of the victims before the killer - he or she had a ritual of burning the place to the ground after dumping the body. Michael Winsworth, age 28, had been found dead alongside the river, under a bridge like the others, mere hours before. Fortunately, his soon-to-be-ex-wife had called in a private investigator to track his activities, and had noticed when Michael went missing. The Police Department was able to lay claim to his shiny new home in a distant suburban development soon after. It turned out to be too late to help Michael, but they all hoped it would help whomever would be next.

Michael fit the profile of the killer's victims. He lived alone, out in a community with few neighbors; only a quarter of all the houses in the development were occupied. He was over six feet, with a master's degree and no kids or pets. And he had heterochromia iridum - his right eye was blue, and his left was hazel. Always a right blue eye, and a left eye that didn't match. The profilers were hard at work figuring out what this could mean, while the brass was heavily debating leaking this detail to the press.

Alexa was less interested in how the killer chose victims, and more intrigued by the rest of the ritual. She had been to all the crime scenes, and read the coroner's reports. Now she was anxious to have her team combing over Michael's house, and the supposed location of his abduction. Some thought that the killer was burning places as a method of cleansing evidence, and that might be true. But Alexa's theory was that there was some reason it occurred after the killing. The killer didn't toss a match on the way out the door - they returned with intention.

At first they had left the place dark, see if the killer would walk into an ambush. But after some time of no activity, it was clear that the killer knew that it wasn't safe - that this ritual had to be interrupted if they were to continue their work. Alexa worried that this frustration could lead to an escalation of the attacks. The folks upstairs were taking that into consideration at this very moment. In the meantime, she had to find what she could from the remains of Michael's life.

There was enough blood to indicate a struggle, but not enough to suggest that the actual killing happened here. In the disarray, they could determine that Michael was in the midst of a daily routine, and was interrupted by the killer. How they got in without being spotted by the private detectives trailing Michael was a big mystery that led some to believe that the estranged wife had arranged for a hit that was meant to look like the work of the killer. But too many people vouched for the PIs, former cops who went to the private sector, and the theory was dropped quickly.