The Victim: Meet the Characters of Magnolia Bluff

Death comes to the shoreline of Burnet Reservoir, and a Conservation Officer vows to find the truth behind  the brutal murder of a young girl 

She’s just a child.

Lost?

Abandoned?

Stolen?

No one knows.

But she’s found in the wooded terrain around Burnet Reservoir.

It’s not a pretty sight.

She’s been raped.

She’s been murdered.

She was thrown away.

In Justice, book 8 of the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles, Conservation Officer Madison Jackson is determined to find the killer even if she has to journey into the feared Cartel country of Mexico.

She will not let the girl’s death go unavenged even though her own life may be hanging in the balance.

*

Kelly Marshall, the author of Justice

As the boy got closer, my instinct and the look on the kid’s face told me something was very wrong. His brown eyes were huge, his mahogany face appeared to have blanched several shades lighter. He gasped for breath and collapsed in front of me.

I crouched. “What’s wrong?”

He attempted to squeeze words out of his mouth but dissolved into fits of coughing instead.

“Take it easy. Catch your breath.” I reached out and touched his shaking shoulder. What could possibly have frightened him so much?

He dropped his head down on his chest and sucked in several more breaths. When he looked up at me, tears had made a muddy path from his eyes to his chin. “La chica esta muerta.” The girl is dead.

I stood and reached out my hand to help him up. “Donde esta ella? Take me to her.

He staggered up and leaned against me for support. How quickly he morphed from a tough teen into a frightened youth.

We threaded our way through red cedars and bald cypress trees. The teen pointed to a spot approximately twenty yards ahead. His voice quavered. “She’s over there.”

Blow flies buzzed and circled a slender, pubescent body. She lay facedown, her brown legs and arms outstretched. She wore one frayed tennis shoe and no clothing. Heavy bruising and welts dotted her legs and arms. I checked for a pulse, but it was clear the child was dead. I noticed a blue band secured around her wrist like those attached when someone enters the hospital. Odd. There was no identifying information on the band. The lack of putrefaction and rigor on the corpse told me this girl died very recently. I carefully stepped away from the body to preserve the scene. Her ripped clothes lay in a pile next to her corpse. Bloody cotton panties hung from a nearby tree.

Behind me, I heard the teen gag, and turned to find him bent over, hands on his knees, vomiting.

I keyed my shoulder mic. “10-79. 10-79. Body of female juvenile found at Ink Lake. Request CSI stat at 3630 Park Rd 4 W, Burnet. Repeat. Request CSI at 3630 Park Rd 4. I’m a quarter mile in the tree line from dock. Notify Wylie Garrison to contact the Medical Examiner stat.”

My teenage companion barfed until all that was left were dry heaves. He insisted he wanted to leave. “What’s your name?”

“Julio Mendez.”

“Julio. You found the body and that makes you very important to this investigation. I’m gonna let you slide on not having a license. But make my job easier by sticking around. Otherwise, I’ll have to come find you and that wastes my time and may embarrass you in front of your friends. You’re a hero.”

He stood up taller. “Estas seguro?”

“Yes, I’m sure. You’re a key person. We need your help.”

He nodded toward the body. “I don’t want to see that. Those flies are eating her.”

Please click HERE to find Justice on Amazon.

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