Jacob Maters, a trustee from Parchman State Prison, was picking up trash on the side of Highway 8. It was the end of May, and the summer temperatures brought heat and humidity. Garbage littered the highway. He wiped his face with a dirty rag. “Disrespectful curs! Take your garbage to the dump like normal people!”
Down the road a piece he noticed a large gunny sack with a shoe sticking out of it. He kept jabbing loose garbage with a rod with a pointed end. Jacob made his way toward the sack. Sitting in a cool van with their feet propped up on the dash was two deputies who watched Jacob work.
Jacob Maters suddenly stepped back and shouted. The deputies drove down to where Jacob stood.
“What is it now, Maters? You run up on a rat snake?” Jacob pointed at the sack, but no words came out. The deputies got out of the van. “It better not be a snake, hoss. I ain’t in the mood to play your stupid games.”
The driver escorted Jacob to the van and shackled him in. The other deputy looked around the sack before he lifted it. He began vomiting. His partner came down and looked in the sack and covered his mouth.
“Dispatch,” he croaked, “this is 1-7 Kilo. Send a meat wagon and the medical examiner to my location.”
“Roger, wilco.” He released the mic and helped his partner to the van. Jacob Maters sat in the back shackled to the floor. He was praying.
“God, bless that poor girl’s family. Give them comfort. I hope the person that committed this horrible deed burns in the hottest flames of hell.”
The deputies muttered ‘Amen’ under their breath. There would be no more litter patrol today. Stuffed inside of the gunny sack was the lifeless body of three-year-old Ana Marie Withers.
Tammy Bowen, medical examiner for the town of Fredericksburg, Mississippi, arrived with the ambulance. At 27, she had been on the job long enough to have seen the horrendous acts that humanity was capable of perpetuating on each other. This was something new though.
Detective Sergeants Thermopolis Konan and Lilly Thompson had been dispatched to the scene as well. Bowen was a huge fan of Lilly’s but hated dealing with Konan. “He’s an intelligent imbecile. I don’t like him,” she had told Lilly. Lilly grinned and shook her head in agreement with Bowen.
Bowen didn’t know if Lilly agreed with her sentiment or if she was just agreeing to get her to shut up. The pair of detectives walked up to the side of the ambulance, where the body of Ana had been placed on a stretcher.
“How bad is it,” Lilly asked.
“The worst. A trustee found the body. He is in shambles. They can’t get him to stop praying.”
“That’s great news, what else can you tell us, “Konan asked. Tammy stared at Konan until he shrugged and walked off. Tammy motioned for Lilly to follow. She lead her away from the ambulance.
“The girl was killed and tossed in the sack. Whoever killed her used a blade and pierced her heart. She died almost immediately.”
“Then, they tossed her into a sack and threw her in a ditch. “Lilly shook her head. “The killer wasn’t acting out of mercy. He murdered a three-year-old for God’s sake.”
“I know, Lilly. I wasn’t saying it was an act of mercy.”
“I know. It’s always worse when it’s a child.”
Tammy walked back to the ambulance and took a seat in the back. Lilly went in search of Konan. She found him questioning the officers who were first on the scene. Lilly waited until Konan was finished. She always showed her peers the greatest of respect.
“Well, have you found out anything?”
“No one saw anything unusual. Highway 8 does not see a lot of traffic. Besides the two deputies and the trustee, there is not a lot to go on. Forensics went through, so now it’s a waiting game.”
“Tammy said that Ana was killed almost immediately by a blade shoved into her heart.”
“At least her family will have closure.” Ana Marie Hendricks had been missing for three months. Numerous searches were conducted in hopes of finding her. Television stations posted her picture every day for the past three months. It was all in vain.
Now, they had her body and someone needed to speak to the parents.