By Andy Betz
Report Date: January 01, 2008
The last couple entered from the dining room to the grand ballroom of the Excelsior Hotel just as the employees denied further entrance due to fire code occupancy restrictions. Even as the main doors closed and the many television screens began broadcasting, she was still nowhere to be found. I felt her presence. She was close. I was positive.
The entire guest list of patrons began their countdown in perfect synchronicity with the television display of Times Square. If you were not yet with that special one, then you were never going to be in time to make a memory. I was dancing with Audrey so both of us could scan the room for her. I did not believe it would so easy to find her in this crowd, but I knew we had to try.
The countdown began at 60 and the crowd joined in at 10. With each number, the intensity rose. Audrey kept surveying the crowd as did I. Just as the ball fell and just before the band began playing Auld Lang Syne, the lights went out for no more than two seconds.
When they returned, only the scream of a single woman’s voice competed against the orchestra in volume. She had good reason to scream. The most recently widowed Mrs. Jerry Daniels found herself bringing in the New Year by kissing the most recently deceased Mr. Jerry Daniels. His last act was to break the kiss and fall immediately to the floor. She could not hold his weight or remain calm. Her scream seemed almost rehearsed, not in volume, but in its timing.
With the lights out, not a single guest saw how Mr. Daniels died. With the lights on, not a single guest could miss such a display.
That is, except Audrey. True to her training, she kept her focus away from the victim.
True to her training, her focus garnered a reward.
Only one window opened when the light returned.
But two women exited that means of egress.
The chase was on.
Journal Entry: January 24, 2007
Location: Thomson Project, North Slope Point, 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Purpose: High pressure natural gas condensate cycling process
Subject: Robert Craig, welder, fisherman, single, 42 years old, contract welder
Autopsy Report (Condensed):
Official Cause of Death: Freezing to death by severe hypothermia. Patient was found two hours after checkout exhibiting signs of salt water immersion, near drowning, prolonged exposure to minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and paradoxical undressing. No autopsy performed for previous 21 days.
Suspected Cause of Death: Binary poisoning via ingestion. I performed a preliminary autopsy (at the site) and a secondary autopsy (Fairbanks Memorial Hospital) both in search of drug, alcohol, substance abuse, metallic and organic poisoning.
Upon finishing my secondary autopsy, I cataloged tissue, blood, urine, stomach content, and other samples from Robert Craig. My conclusion is that Mr. Craig died of binary poisoning with extreme synergistic effects.
Another company welder indicated that Mr. Craig was “fond of a local woman” almost as much as he was fond of ice fishing. Every Wednesday at noon, Mr. Craig would ingest a dose of Viagra prior to a scheduled meeting with this local woman. He would also bring his fishing pole and small tackle box. On Wednesday, January 03, 2017, Mr. Robert Craig exited the Thomas Project habitat modules to meet with a local woman and take in some fishing. Polar bear lookouts state, Mr. Craig found his contact already fishing on the edge of the ice. The arm waving indicated a small fight after which she departed leaving the impromptu campsite and Mr. Craig in her wake. The last know sighting of Mr. Craig was that of him attempting to cook a fish previously discarded by the woman. The next sighting off him showed Mr. Craig discarding his wet clothing and freezing to death prior to rescuers arriving.
I went out to the area and found the fish Mr. Craig was cleaning. I identified the species as Pterois volitans, otherwise known as the Lion fish; a highly venomous species NEVER found outside of tropical waters. Ironically, the fish died of freezing temperatures after Mr. Craig died from the same. Before that, Mr. Craig encountered a few of the venomous spiky rays. Having been injected with a large dose of Pterois venom, combined with a 100mg dose of sildenafil citrate (Viagra), Mr. Craig experienced inotropic and chronotropic effects mimicking a heart attack. His drop then sudden rise in blood pressure caused him to slip and fall into the salt water. Those on polar bear watch did not witness Mr. Craig recover and extract himself from the water. They all reported seeing no one else at the site during or after the woman departed. Being wet and experiencing a systemic poisoning, Mr. Craig (ill advised) removed his clothing (a symptom of extreme hypothermia – see paradoxical undressing) and died at the campsite.
Mr. Craig leaves no family or children. His remains (and those of the Lion fish) remain interned at the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for further inquiry.
The red lion fish, native to the Indo-Pacific oceans and (recently) invasive to the Caribbean Sea, appears in the Arctic Ocean at a campsite, ingested by a man who takes a medicine incompatible to the venom of the fish, and only ingested by the intended target, makes for an interesting investigation for the layman.
For me, it indicates the presence of Tigist.
Dr. Anthony Seiral, MD
Report Date: August 12, 2006
The lower ranks of society still hunt with poisons.
The upper ranks of society still murder with those same poisons. In the northeastern section of Ethiopia, among the Afar, many visitors arrive for the sole purpose of visiting Erta Ale. A basalt shield volcano housing a continuous lava lake best described by Westerners as the “Gateway to Hell” is known the world over as the easiest way to separate you and your money on a vacation. In this region, nearest to the volcano, life depends on the volcano. It brings the tourists. It brings the money. It also brings those looking to acquire something equally as toxic, but easier to transport.
In the central market of Semera, located in Administrative Zone 1, lies the last of the traditional markets in which one could purchase, without much ado, the bark, wood, and roots of the Acokanthera schimperi in which to concoct a variety of various arrow poison strengths. Each part contains acovenoside A and ouabaine (from the French, ouabaïo). Hunters today still argue the dose of this poison required to bring a small primate from the tree top to the ground. Murderers do not argue this point. They simply marvel at the chemical definition of the toxin:
cardiac glycosides – organic compounds designed to increase the heart’s output force and decrease the contraction rate by acting on the cellular sodium-potassium ATPase pump and primarily used (at the prescribed dose) for treating cardiac arrhythmias. Incorrectly used (at elevated, dangerous levels) as a stimulant for heart failure. The dose makes the poison and dictates the severity of the heart attack.
They also marvel at the ease of acquisition of some of the world’s finest specimens of the arrow poison.
In Semera, such people have always sought one chemist. Known only by his given Arab name of Hakim the Adoyahmara (one of the White Ones), he provided to those who could afford the arrow poison without judgement. For nearly 40 years, the one called Hakim lived in the shadows between warring factions and desperate, but ambitious politicians. Always turning a profit. Always on the correct side of a dispute.
That ended in 1975 when the Afar Liberation Front came to “recruit” Hakim. Not wishing to leave his family, he refused. Whether it was an officer or an enlisted man who gave the order to shoot Hakim, it arrived instantly.
Hakim’s youngest daughter of five, the only child not yet married or having endured infibrilation, witnessed the murder of her father at the hands of the soldiers. Not caring one iota about politics or reason, she acted in the only manner she knew. The four soldiers received four arrows, each with the largest dose of arrow poison before any could fire their rifles in retaliation.
By the age of nine, Tigist murdered and witnessed murder.
No known photograph exists of Tigist although birth records indicate her having blue eyes.
“I am sorry Doctor Seiral that I cannot supply you with more information than this one report.” I paid the official three times what we agreed upon and another double payment to remain quiet as to my inquiries. In all, he received nearly two year’s pay for barely thirty minutes work.
It was worth as much to me as it was to him.
09 August, 2005
Avenue de l’Europe, 57600 Forbach, France
Insurance Concern: Death of three employees and one customer
The grocery store chain Cora opens at 8:30am every morning. It prides itself on its cleanliness and consistency. On the morning of 15 Aug at 8am, the night manager noticed his floor cleaning crew of one woman (suspected Ethiopian) and one man (Algerian French) were running behind in their duties. The floor cleaning machine (what the American’s refer to as a Zamboni) was parked in one spot to intensely scrub a persistent floor stain. Similar decisions have never been a problem, except that the floor scrubber was filled with both bleach and ammonia cleaners. This resulted in an invisible cloud of chloramine gas moving throughout the store. This toxic gas overcame the cleaning woman, cleaning man, the night manager, and the first customer in the store. Exterior witnesses reported all four died within quickly and horribly, unable to escape the fumes. First arriving police quarantined the store until hazardous materials teams of the fire department could enter and begin safely ventilating.
Coroner reports (see attached) confirmed the poisoning of the three (cleaning man, night manager, and first customer) by chloramine exposure. The body of the cleaning woman was never found. No paperwork exists in the store or in the district offices for the cleaning woman.
The negative press for Superstore Cora jeopardized the stock price of the retail giant making it impossible for a leveraged buyout of two smaller grocery store chains. Losing 27% of market value forced Monsieur François Gorman to retract his hostile takeover bid. Superstore Cora settled all insurance claims and burial expenses immediately.
Police Concerns :
No one ever found the body of the Ethiopian woman. She is considered a person of interest.
Report Date: September 07, 2006
The Americans refer to it as a “Copy Cat” killing. Across the same river, the Thames, just four bridges north of Waterloo Bridge, laid a walking stick unlike any walking stick commercially sold. The top of the stick has a spring load actuator (a button), that when pressed expels a sharpened needle capable of delivering a small dose of a lethal substance, sub-cutaneously. Should the owner of the walking stick be confronted by the target, there need be exchanged only a sincere apology for mishandling the walking stick and “bumping” into the victim who at this time does not yet know he is a victim.
I refer to a copy-cat killing. On 7 September, 1978, Georgi Markov received such an injection from a similar device. He died four days later from ricin poisoning for his BBC World Service broadcasts against the Communist regime of Zhivkov of Bulgaria. Code name, “Piccadilly”, this became one of the most intriguing cases of the Cold War. Today, under nearly identical terms, 7 September 2004, Branford Huston, importer of rare African artifacts died from a sub-cutaneous injection of dimethyl mercury. What makes this case interesting (Scotland Yard term) is the velocity in which Mr. Huston died. In 1997, Dartmouth Professor Karen Wetterhahn (a heavy metal poisoning expert) died in 10 months from exposure to 2 drops of dimethyl mercury after a minute permeation through her latex gloves. The neurotoxin affects are cumulative and few treatments are available. Witnesses testify that Mr. Houston died within a few minutes of contact with the frail man carrying the walking stick. The attached autopsy report indicates complete neurological degradation of the cerebral cortex and associated central nervous system (CNS) at an exponential rate.
Exposure to dimethyl mercury at any level cannot produce this result in this time frame.
However, dimethyl mercury could accelerate this cerebral collapse if paired with a few binary (or trinary) poisons already present in Mr. Huston’s system.
Note: The official policy of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) speculates the use of a catalyst and urges a secondary autopsy to discover its presence with Mr. Huston’s remains.
Financial records of Mr. Branford Huston indicate a severe cash flow problem and the denial of several loans from local financial institutions. Currently, nearly 12 million British Pounds are not available for accounting purposes (Reference – Scotland Yard).
Personal Note: Tigist.
Report Date: March 01, 2008
Audrey left the ballroom so fast; her shoes didn’t keep up with her. Fortunately for me, neither did those of Tigist. The boys in the crime lab did not require an engraved invitation to scrub each for every molecule of DNA. If these low heels, size 7 flats were owned, wore, or even touched by Tigist, I wanted to know.
Her last report, dictated to me directly, read as follows.
“I ran as if it was my high school track team cheering me on. I kicked off me heels, hiked up my skirt, and jumped where Tigist jumped. Her Interpol dossier notes her speed. My file lacks that information. Besides, I have a pistol and this is my home turf. She is in my sights.
I still have the receiver in my ear, but dropped the microphone early in the chase. I see her with a 40 yard lead. It is all I can do to keep pace. With each step, Tigist can grab a hostage (not her style), blend into the crowd (definitely her style), or simply leave a trail of carnage and surprises for me to encounter. I expect the last until the helicopter found her with the spotlight. My job suddenly became so much easier.
She never looked back once to see me pursue her. She kept the same pace that an 800m sprinter would envy. Her floor length dress had to be held with both hands to keep this speed. Mine required only one. It was only a matter of time before she became desperate. No file documented this occurrence. I was good for another half mile at this pace. Was she?
All I remember is awakening in post-op. Each of my limbs was secured to a bed rail to prevent me from moving. I was screaming. The room was darker than normal. I kept screaming. I know of these rooms. I had to be in a burn ward to be treated as such. The pain that must have always been there since whatever happened to finally greet my brain and slapped it awake.
All I could do was keep screaming for I knew she beat me. That bitch beat me. No one was coming to assist me again. If I survive, there is no possibility of a full recovery. They have me here for whatever time I have remaining. Now I begin remembering all I have left, my screams.” I reviewed the first and the final report on Miss Audrey Humphries. She crossed the tripwire and received the full body exposure to the home-made phosgene gas. It is a miracle she survived the attack. Arriving first responders could only deluge the area with water to dilute the toxin to safer levels to remove her. The attending physician reported four successive days of sedation and then a one month long induced coma to prevent systemic failure from the massive central nervous system and respiratory damage. If and when Miss Humphries awakes, she will most likely die of the shock from her injuries.
This last repost was now seven weeks old. I attended her funeral yesterday.
It always rains at funerals.
The lab report is inconclusive whether the DNA in the shoes belongs to Tigist. I know it does and as such, will call this her baseline.
This is one hell of a price to pay for this information. Audrey Humphries is the last assistant I will ever see die chasing Tigist for now it is beyond professional. This Tigist is personal.
Dr. Anthony Seiral, MD
Report Date: July 15, 2018
My only response from Tigist:
You will never know the why, only the where, and only retroactive to the when. My work has purpose, known only to me. Search your databases. Create your profiles. And wonder why you are lost. Can you keep pace with my purpose? Is it your purpose to do so? With each passing day, I become stronger, I become smarter, and all you can do is hope I fail. What I do will not last forever. My drive is limited, but my ambition is not.
ولكي تنجح، ليس لدي إلا أن أكون صحيحا مرة واحدة. عليك أن تكون صحيحة في كل مرة. الاحتمالات هي في صالح بلدي.
Digitalis, commonly known as Foxglove, grows (almost) everywhere it is planted. It provides a white to bright purple spectrum of color with sufficient duration to delude its owners it will always be so. A small harvest of the second year’s leaf growth, an insignificant quantity by mass, imparts a dedicated chemist the opportunity to synthesize an antiarrhythmic agent physicians use to control irregular and rapid atrial fibrillation. In the proper dose, digitalis is a regulated medicine. In all other doses,
Mrs. Janet Beavens, of Portland Oregon, owner of an 8 acre field of foxglove, in every conceivable variety, reported to the local police department the presence of an aged woman, not of this neighborhood, stealing her plants from her fields, during six separate incidents this week.
Local police did not find any clues of the woman’s crime.
Two weeks later, three patients in the local Seattle area all died of heart failure from digitalis poisoning. All three were DOA. The oldest, a father of 36, the youngest, twins of age 12. None of the three had any previous heart conditions. None of the three ever would.
I never gave up trying to capture Tigist. She only gave up trying to be caught.
Dr. Anthony Seiral, MD (retired)
Bio: Andy Betz has tutored and taught in excess of 40 years. He lives in 1974, and has been married for 29 years. His works are found everywhere a search engine operates. Andy has written many great things that have been posted to The Yard: Crime Blog. He has written “The Less You Have, The More It Hurts To Lose It“, and “Water“, which was written by Jaysa Brown, in collaboration with Andy.