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The RV was found fifty miles south of Marble Canyon off highway 89. The thirty-five foot class A-diesel had jumped the guardrail and rolled off the paved road into a ravine where it remained hidden from view. If it hadn’t been for Tommy Yazzie having stopped to change a flat on his Chevy in the middle of the 115 degree August afternoon, the RV might’ve remained there through the rest of the summer months, into the fall, and then the winter. But Tommy had stopped, and, while working the jack on his truck, one of those rare summer breezes brought the smell of decay and death to his nose. With one glace over the bent guard rail, he caught the glint of the shattered windshield and looked up to see the slow, easy glide of vultures circling overhead.
Something was dead. Something or someone.
“Right there,” Tommy said.
Joe Kody, the Tuba City police captain, tipped his cowboy hat back and removed his sunglasses. “Yep, you’re right. Fits the description Mary Dee’s granddaughter gave us of the RV that went missing with one of her crew along with all that expensive equipment.”
Tommy sniffed. “You smell it, don’t you?”
“I smell it.” Joe pointed to the vultures. “They smell it, too.” He took off his hat and wiped his arm across his forehead. “I think we better call in the Coconino County sheriff. They got rigging to pull it up.” He turned toward his SUV. “They’ll probably want to send up their medical examiner to ID the body.”
Tommy watched a rabbit scurry in the brush next to one of the RV’s shredded tires. It had no fear of vultures. Those birds only ate dead things.
“Tires all been chewed up, Joe.”
“I know. I saw that.” Joe began muttering into his radio, but while doing so, he looked down both sides of the highway then up at the late afternoon sun before checking the time on his watch. When he finished making the dispatch, he joined Tommy at the guardrail once more. “We need to get off the highway. It’ll be dark soon.”
“Did Mary Dee’s granddaughter say who stole her rig and that equipment?”
“One of her crew. A gal, Piezee or something like that.”