Dangerous Attraction:Part TwoBy: Sidney Bristol
Travis’ boots crunched with each step. The Nevada desert was rough terrain at the best of times. Today was not one of those.
The trail had deep ruts on either side just wide enough for an ATV to fit through. Acrid smoke hung low in the air from the house fire not even a mile away. The smoke mixed with the repugnant scent of death, decay, and animal feces, setting the tone for his foul mood.
He held his breath as he topped the hill and the crime scene unfolded in the small valley along the Muddy Mountain. A dozen or more forensics personnel from the Las Vegas police department clustered here and there around yellow markers.
Was this Bliss’ fate?
Would the serial killer treat her like he had these bodies? Or would he do worse?
Daniel Campbell might be the most dangerous serial killer on the loose in decades. And Travis had put Bliss squarely in the man’s crosshairs. This was his fault. The knowledge made him sick.
He should have told Bliss no when she insisted on going with him to rescue her sister, Wendy. If he’d known then that Daniel had Wendy’s entire family under surveillance, he’d have made a different call.
It should have been Travis Daniel went after, not Bliss.
“Travis, thanks for joining us.” Supervisory Special Agent Ryan Brooks strode toward him, arm extended. He breathed federal officer, from the close-cropped hair to the no-nonsense suit. He seemed a little out of place in the middle of the desert, but Travis wasn’t about to underestimate the man. He led the FBI’s Behavior Analysis Unit that specialized in serial killers.
Travis shook the agent’s hand and nodded at the man and woman at his back.
“I’m sorry to meet like this.” Somehow Ryan was able to cram sympathy and briskness into those few words. “This is SSR Connor Mullins and Jade Perez. The rest of our team is at the police station and Bliss’ apartment.”
“They find where the cameras are transmitting to?” Travis asked.
“Not yet, but our tech is working on that remotely,” Ryan replied.
After calling in Bliss’ abduction, it had only taken the cops thirty minutes to locate half a dozen cameras in Bliss’ home and five times that many at her sister’s residence.
The bastard had watched them make love, and then he’d taken her.
“Think you could walk us through what happened yesterday?” Connor’s voice rolled and lilted. Wherever the man was from, it wasn’t America, that was for sure. Travis’s money was on Ireland.
“Sure. Where do you want to start?”
“The beginning. Right now you are our only inside view into David Campbell’s life,” Jade said. The chilly December breeze blew her long, red ponytail over her shoulder.
“What about family? Co-workers?” Travis glanced between them. Someone had to know David better than him.
“Family is deceased, and he worked remotely from home the last two years. To our knowledge, you’re the only person that’s seen him,” Jade replied.
Travis might not be an FBI agent with all the training, but he could read between the lines. This was not good news for Bliss. He glanced over Ryan’s shoulder to watch a forensics guy dusting sand off a small mound.
“How many do you think are out there?” Travis nodded at the dump site.
“No telling. They’ve found remains starting at that stone,” Connor gestured at a large rock and then flung his arm wide, “to about fifty yards that way.”
“It will take a while to match all the bodies,” Jade said.
“Wendy said there were three men with her. Even if he kept three men between his kidnapping and dumping of the women that’s...twenty-four possible victims.” Travis’ stomach knotted further.
“They’ve already identified thirty-two skulls,” Jade volunteered.
“Christ.” Travis shook his head. At the least, Daniel Campbell was responsible for forty lives lost once they factored in the women, and probably more.
“I hate to push, man, but we need to know what you know.” Connor took a step closer, standing between him and the scene.
“Yeah, yeah.” Travis nodded and dredged up that first memory of Bliss. “I went to records yesterday morning to pull the case files on the other women, look for similarities. Bliss walked in to report that her sister was missing. I figured, it’s the right time frame, the sister fits the profile, why not follow up on it? So we got some coffee, she told me what happened, that she saw her sister the night before, but yesterday she was gone. We went to Wendy’s house, and that’s when I found the security system had been tempered with. Digging back into the other cases, I was able to find out a few of them had security systems that were monitored by the same company. Between that, and the make and model of the car Wendy left in, we were able to track down David Campbell.”