Finally, all family members have blue lines instead of red on their covid tests. No one is coughing and they appear to have their taste buds back. It’s been an ordeal for the last couple of weeks and we thank everyone who kept us in your thoughts and prayers. We are back now, getting up to full speed ahead: Now on to the news:
I got the first half of the next cozy mystery edited. This one is the third of the Fern Valley Fur Family mysteries. Tentatively called Clem and the Burden of Leadership, it’s another frolicking tale with our dogs from Fern Valley and elsewhere finding out who did what and to whom and why and trying to get their oblivious owners to get the clues right. Here’s a short excerpt:
“Dick, maybe take lead on what’s going on with the exhumation of bodies?”
“And taking samples of cremated ashes, for Pete’s sake,” he said. “The feds think they have found a link to one of their more hush type cases, with about 18 victims thus far. They’re exhuming and sampling the dead; only 4 are not dead. Their families have been warned to watch them carefully. They can’t find any connection so far between these 14 dead old folks, but in the past three months we’ve had 14 old folks in Lyonsville and Fern Valley, and it appears two in Friedman have died of cardiac arrest. It’s not that people don’t die of cardiac arrest, in our area about 800 per 100,000 die from it per year, close to the national average. What makes these guys different is that all of them, seriously, all of them, had fentanyl in their system.”
“Wait, you mean Faith Taylor was using drugs?”
“Nothing in her medical records indicate she was prescribed anything, but traces have been found in her hair.”
“That’s crazy!” declared Erick. “What 93-year-old uses street drugs?”
“Two of the victims were retired doctors, one a retired lawyer, the others retired farmers, housewives, storekeepers, no pattern to the occupations, but they all died from a cardiac arrest brought on by an illegal substance. None of them had criminal records. The last four expected to pass have been moved to a secure facility and are being watched, with their own and their family’s permission. They’ve been tested and they have no fentanyl in their system at this point. We think there may be more coming. All of them died of cardiac arrest brought on by heart arrhythmia, brought on by drugs.”
“It’s a sorry world.”
“Sorrier if someone is deliberately profiting from their deaths.”
“Who? I know at least Alex and Claire’s mom was a poor old lady; her kids helped pay her bills, and she never did anyone harm, buzzed around on her little scooter. I don’t see looking at this list of people you have any pattern other than being in their nineties. Different socioeconomic levels, some alone, some have living families, and most were living in their own homes. Hey! Are any of the last four in nursing homes?”
“Not that I can see.”
“What if it’s the fact they are on their own, living in their own places that makes them a magnet? It’s harder to murder someone in a facility. Most of these old folks let me see, all these folks lived alone. They had visitors and they were active, but they lived alone. Their bodies were found by visitors the next morning in most cases. No signs of struggle or robbery; they’re just dead.”
“Is this a local phenomenon?” asked Dick
“So far it seems confined to three counties here in Ohio; Morrow, Knox, and Licking. There is a suspicion there may be cases in Richland as well and possibly Franklin.”
“There aren’t any Amish on the list, though there are a lot of Amish locally.”
“The Amish keep their elders at home and are constantly watching over them. Hard to get to them.”
“Who could get their thrills out of killing old folks?” questioned Gary. “That’s horrible. I’d best set some neighborhood watch folks around the elderly at-home types. Got a good bunch of folks in the watch and they can check up on them.”
“Odd enough three of the 14 were found by the local meals on wheels people who called when they came to deliver lunch.”
“Yeah. Without giving out much data, we need to enlist the help of as many people as we can that work around or with local seniors. I’m thinking of the in-home health aides and such. Maybe do a public announcement about checking on the elderly in the paper; you think Bob would cooperate?”
“He could do a special on that, maybe. Have him add a few pics of local elderly and the paper will go out to most homes,” replied Brad. “Any more people going to be exhumed for this?”
“There’s another thing. The feds are thinking these old folks may have witnessed crimes and that’s why they’re being eliminated.”
“OK, except they live in three different towns, didn’t know each other that we knew of, how could they all be witnesses to the same crimes?”
“Good question, Brad. Homeland thinks, well let’s just say they’ve been brainstorming and some of the ideas being tossed about ought to have been eliminated before being shared. At any rate, I’ve been told of two more exhumations happening in Fern Valley and one in Lyonsville, and five in Friedman.”
“Good night! How many total are they doing?” asked Gary.
“These are the last or so I’ve been told. That’s 14 so far, 8 more coming, plus at least 4 more possible victims. They are broadening the territory. They’ve done some scans of the death records in Columbus and other larger towns and have not seen any patterns. We’ll see what happens from here. They don’t need our help right now, only our cooperation.”
“So those nice letters from Homeland were to make us all warm and fuzzy and pliable?” asked Gary.
“Maybe. I am still going to put mine in our file,” replied Erick.
“Anything else?” asked Brad.
“No, but hey, is it true?”
“Ruckus is expecting?”
“What? Ruckus is a boy!” Ruckus’s ears were straight up as they could be and he looked alarmed. He looked at Goldie who shrugged. Clem laughed silently.
“Hmm. Rumor is you’re about to get a litter out here on the farm. You haven’t got cats.”
“We haven’t got house cats, there are a couple of barn cats hanging around. However, we are getting some kids.”
“Goat babies, kids, you know? Wethers are what they’re called when they’re neutered. It’s not Ruckus, it’s adding a little trio of goats to the farm for weed control and such. Annie is all enthused about them. They get here Friday from the farm. Real cute little buggers. I got told their fence won’t hold them unless it is waterproof. I thought that was funny. We’ll see. If they don’t stay put, I can always turn them into barbecue.”
I think you’re going to enjoy it!