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8:38am, Tuesday, January 23rd
Mid-January in Boston presented a landscape of packed, dirty snow. The sky was overcast and the air icy. At the moment, snow was coming down in a constant sheet of white. The setting, under normal circumstances, was not what most would find ideal. But this day, the conditions were perfect, for they kept the smell of decomposing human flesh at a minimum even with the body wrapped in heavy plastic and sheltered between alleyways.
Lieutenant Olivia Benson stood overseeing the forensic team’s careful investigation. She was bundled in a thick floor-length pea coat and a knit hat pulled down around her ears. Steam from her paper coffee cup mixed with the mist she blew from her nose and mouth as she breathed.
A uniformed officer approached her.
“Cyril Martin. Forty-seven years old, recently paroled, registered sex offender, did five of twenty for two counts of assault and rape.” Officer Stefanie Foster handed Olivia a clipboard. On it, the dead man’s driver’s license, sealed in an evidence bag, was clipped in place along with a printout of his rap sheet.
“How many weeks out?” Olivia asked.
“Two and a day.”
Olivia nodded her head as she watched a crime-scene photographer kneel in the snow and take a close-up of the man’s head. The rest of the body remained partly covered in plastic sheeting and snow.
“Have a wallet?” she asked.
“No,” Stef answered. “ID was rolled in his clothes tucked under his head.” She held up another evidence bag. “His phone was in the bundle, too.”
“Any idea how long he’s been here?” Olivia asked.
Stef shrugged. “Hard to tell. Garbage truck driver saw him when he lifted the bin and disturbed the snow. He’s frozen as solid as a Thanksgiving turkey, though. We’ll have to wait for the autopsy.” She turned to Olivia. “You think your rookie is up for this?” Her uniform’s heavy outer coat bunched around her shoulders and displayed the two inverted chevrons of a corporal on the sleeve. Stray bits of blond hair poked out at the corners of her winter service cap.
“She’s hardly a rookie, Stef. She’s been working vice in L.A. for the last eight years,” Olivia replied.
“You think she’s seen this sort of thing working vice?”