“You’re not suppose to be here.”
The whispered plea was drowned out by the soft
crashing of the surf. The predawn breeze
blowing cool and gently in rhythm with the Texas waters making their way onto shore,
pulling away anything caught in its undertow.
“You’re not suppose to be here,” the harsh tear
filled whisper kept repeating over and over.
The man made his way to the surf, clutching the
bundle in his arms close to his chest.
As the water splashed over his feet, he fell to his knees and laid the
bundle down in the water, silently begging the ocean to take this child.
The waters receded but the baby remained, crying
out for help, pleading for its life. The
man muffled the screams with his hand, waiting for the next wave to come and
wash over them.
But the waves refused to come, refusing to be a
part of this evil deed.
“You’re not suppose to be here,” the man whispered
one last time as his knife found its way to the baby’s throat, cutting clean
through in one fluid motion.
A dark calmness washes over the man as he stands
up slowly and fades away into the predawn shadows.
Devon Dasan didn’t hear the person calling his
name. He was in a haze, looking at the
wall in front of him full of photos of people he never got to give peace
to. Every time he was unable to solve a
case their picture went up on his wall.
There were not many pictures but for Devon
just one picture was one too many.
“Detective Dasan,” the soft voice repeated. “Detective?”
This time she touched his shoulder, breaking the
“What,” he asked, startled as he turned around to
see a young lady standing before him with a notebook clutched tightly against
“I didn’t mean to startle you Detective,” the
teenager with the deep green eyes said. “I’m
Amy. Amy Neal from LaPorte High. You agreed to let me interview you for the
answered. “I thought our appointment was
“It was,” Amy answered. “It’s 2 o’clock now.”
Devon looked down
at his watch. He lost time again.
“I’m so sorry Miss Neal. Please forgive me.”
“I understand,” Amy smiled. “You must be very busy getting ready for
“Sadly no,” he answered, swinging from side to
side in his chair, his open hands displaying an empty desk. “They’ve already taken all my cases away from
me. I just have to sit here and look
pretty for the next seven days.”
“What about those,” she asked, pointing toward the
few pictures on his wall.
“Those,” he said, drawing the word out slowly,
trying to think how best to answer the question. “Those, to put it bluntly, are my
failures.” Seeing the blank look on her
face he continued, “have a seat Miss Neal.
You don’t want to hear about those.”
“You can call me Amy,” she responded as she sat
down. “And I don’t mind if you
don’t. As Mrs. Gonzales always says, ‘A
good reporter doesn’t just write a story, she follows it where ever it
goes.’ There seems like there’s a story
on that wall somewhere.”
“You’re a smart girl.”
“Top five in my class,” she blurted out proudly.
“And modest,” Devon
said sarcastically. “A noble trait.”
“Excuse me,” Amy said, sounding a bit offended.
answered. “Shall we get started?”
Amy put her notebook down on top of the empty desk
and started digging to her purse.
“Where did I put that damn thing,” she mumbled to
herself. “I swear every time I need it
it hides from me. I know it’s here some…
Ah here it is.”
Amy pulled out her cell phone and started swiping
the screen to the right as she looked for the app she wanted.
“Okay I’m ready,” Amy said as she laid her phone
face down on the desk between Devon and
herself. “This is Amy Neal, interviewing
Detective Devon Dasan of the LaPorte Police Department, Homicide. Detective if you would, please speak clearly
so the recorder can pick up your voice.
It’s not the best recorder but it’s the best I have.”
I see you have this wall with four pictures on it. You just told me they are your failures. Could you elaborate on that?”
“Weellllll, they are cases I could never
solve. Even though I never promised the
families directly that I would catch the killer I always made that promise to
myself. Every case I got I worked hard
to give peace the grieving families.
These were the ones that never got it.”
“That’s impressive though, only four out of
hundreds of cases that must have come across your desk in your long career.”
“There’s nothing impressive about not finding a
killer Miss Neal,” he snapped, not realizing the venom he spat out with those
words. “I’m sorry, that didn’t come out
“No I’m sorry,” she said. “That wasn’t what I mean to say.”
“Next question,” Devon
said, trying to save them both.
“What made you want to become a Detective in the
“He did,” Devon
answered, pointing at the picture of a baby on the wall.
“Who is he?”
“My greatest nightmare,” Devon
answered, his eyes hazing over like they were when Amy first walked in. “Daryl and I were just kids when he died.”
“Yes,” Devon said
as he drew in a deep breath, blinking away the tears in his eyes and trying to
regain his composure. “Daryl was my best
friend. We did everything together.”
“What happened to Daryl?”
“He died in Vietnam,”
Devon answered coldly. “He could never get that image, that face,”
he pulled the picture off the wall gently and brought it closer to himself,
“out of his mind. It haunted his dreams
as it did mine. One night he woke up,
screaming from his nightmare and the enemy heard the screams and opened fire on
his platoon in the jungle. He died and I
“I don’t get it.
If you were a kid when this boy died then how did he affect you so
“Cause we were the ones that found him,” he
answered, tears filling his eyes again.
“We can stop if you want,” Amy said, not sure how
to react to where the story just turned.
“No,” Devon took
out a handkerchief and whipped his eyes.
“We can keep going.”
“It was Friday, April 21, 1950. The sun had just
come up and we wanted to catch some fish before school. Daryl and I went to the
beach at the end of Lover’s Lane. We
never caught anything but it was fun for us.
Mostly we would walk around the beach and look for washed up
treasure. It’s what boys did.”
“We would poke dead things with our fishing poles
to see what would happen. As we were
walking up to the water we saw something rocking back and forth in the
surf. It was as if the water was
rejecting it, not willing to carry it out off of the beach.”
“As we got closer we saw it was a bath towel
wrapped around something. There was
blood on the outside of the towel so he figured it was something a fisherman
left behind from the night before.”
“‘What do you think it is,’ Daryl asked.”
“‘Fish guts most likely,’ I answered because we
saw a lot of that around the beach.
Excited we ran up to the towel and I kicked it toward Daryl. That was the moment that changed both our
lives. The baby’s head had been
completely severed from its body and flew into Daryl’s hands.”
“We both screamed, getting the attention of a
couple on a morning stroll. They came
running over to see why we stood there motionless, screaming. Daryl dropped the head in the sand and as
soon as it hit the ground the surf pulled away.
It was like the water didn’t want to touch the baby now that it had been
“The police were called, as well as our parents,
and we were taken home and questioned about how we found the baby. We told them it was just lying there. Nothing was ever done about it. There was no DNA testing back then, no way of
identifying the baby. There was no case
and it has haunted me everyday since.”
“If there was no case how did you get the picture?”
“My father was friends with the mortician and he
gave my father the picture.”
“Do you mind if I take a picture of it for the
“Sure,” he answered, handing the picture over to
She picked up her phone and stopped the
recording. Opening the camera app she
took a picture of the baby. It looked
peaceful, like it was sleeping. The
mortician had done a good job of sewing the head back on and covering up the
“I think that’s enough for today,” Amy said as she
picked up her notebook, dropping her phone back into her purse. “If you don’t mind, I would like to make turn
this into a multi piece article. Can I
come back tomorrow to ask more questions?”
“I don’t see why not,” Devon
answered with a sigh. “I’ve got seven
more days of doing absolutely nothing.”