The Skinless Files

I was only told this story second hand, so I cannot confirm the details. What I do know, because it was all over the press, is that the first victim was found on the 3rd of February.

Her body was found in bedroom #414 of the “Last Love Motel.” Two details were particular about her case, the first being that the cause of death was blood loss. The second detail was that her body was perfectly skinned. At the time when the articles were printed it was only a speculation, but as there were no other wounds on her body some experts suggested that the victim must have been alive while she was skinned.

If you consult the news websites this was the end of the case. The victim had arrived alone at the motel but guests in the neighboring room had heard a male voice throughout the night. Remarkably, the room neighbors also stated that they had not heard a female voice at all.

The security tapes had disappeared and the night shift receptionist had not seen any suspicious individual enter or leave the building.

This is where the public information ends.

The case is an unsolved murder, a brutal one, but, on its own, nothing unusual.

I was told by a friend, which probably should not have talked about the issue, that this was not the end of the case.

Firstly, there was a detail that was omitted in the media reports. In the chest of the victim, right on the solar plexus, the area at the bottom and between the two sides of the rips, was a small incision.

Secondly, there were four more victims.

The second victim was found about a month later in the same motel as the first victim. Her room number was #419. The doors of room #414 and #419 are opposite to each other.

The second victim, Sam, was found on the floor right next to her bed. There were no immediate room neighbors but one other guest that had stayed on the same corridor said that he had heard a “faint scream” shortly before midnight. The guest left his room to listen for more screams and possible calls for help but, as no such signals followed, concluded that the scream might have been from a movie or “maybe from a young couple enjoying themselves.”

Witness and victim were both from outside the country and likely unaware of the first murder or at least unaware that it had occurred in the same motel.

Like the first victim Sam, a 33 year old lawyer, had been skinned.

As usual in the case of serial murders, a media blackout was imposed to avoid a panic.

In contrast to the first victim Sam was alive when she was found. Her body was stiff, likely from shock, and she tried to communicate but by the time the first aiders arrived she did not speak anymore. Her eyes still clearly showed movement and were described by the first aiders as “filled with fear.”

The motel owner claims that Sam spoke when he found her body. He claims that she repeated the same word over and over: “stinger.”

Within about 30 minutes of the initial emergency call Sam’s heart stopped beating.

An examiner concluded that Sam had suffocated rather than died of blood loss. The muscles in her upper body had stiffened or cramped and her diaphragm had not been able to move enough to provide enough movement to empty and refill the lungs. Sam died from the CO2 that had built up in her bloodstream. He suggested that a poison had been inserted in her bloodstream and suggested that a small cut in her chest was the likely insertion point of the needle.

When the police searched the room they found pieces of dried blood under the bed, only about an arm’s length away from where Sam was found.

A DNA test showed that the dried blood belonged to the first victim. Afterwards the local authorities decided to maintain the media blackout in order to avoid panic reactions among the populace.

The third victim, Bri, was last seen at the end of March and reported missing in early April by her parents. Bri’s body was found on the 17th of March on the rooftop of her apartment building.

Her body, like those of the previous victims, had been skinned. Due to days exposed to heavy rain fall her body had partially decayed and the coroner could neither determine the time nor the cause of death.

Next to the body lay the first victim’s skin. It had been tanned and stitches in black thread ran down where the first victim’s spine would have been as well as the back of the head and the back of all extremities.

At this point the investigations were handed over from the police to authorities with a larger body of resources.

The fourth and fifth victims, Sharisse and Emily, died in a tent about ten minutes away from a frequently used hiking track.

A dog led a group of hikers to the tent. By the time the hikers had caught up with the dog it had already consumed part of a “leather-like” material that was found in the entrance of the tent.

That leather-like material was the tanned skin of Sam.

Both, Sharisse and Emily, died from heart failure. They too must have been alive while their bodies were flayed.

According to my friend the main investigators have arrived at the obvious conclusion that the skin has been used as clothing or, as the shape of the skin was kept, it might have been used as a “second skin.” Additionally, the investigators concluded that whoever acquired the skins was not just using one skin at a time but rather was building a small collection. My friend’s suggestion that the number of missing skins – first one, then two – might mean that there were two rather than one perpetrator was not seriously considered.

My friend’s expertise is in genetics. He was part of the team that matched the genome of the discarded skins to those of the victims.

My friend talked to me because he had second thoughts about something. While he prepared the first DNA samples he found that they were spoiled by what was likely the result of organic matter decaying in the wild – he concluded that wasp genes might have polluted the sample.

He said that initially he hadn’t been told what cases the samples were from and so, as assigned, had only looked for human DNA. As usual with polluted samples he had filtered out the others and ended up with a partial DNA of the perpetrator and the full DNA of the victim.

The team had dismissed the partial DNA of the perpetrator as it did not even provide enough information to identify the gender.

Now that my friend learned more about the case he has second thoughts about his treatment of the initial samples. He thinks that maybe the sample was not polluted. He thinks that, instead, the perpetrator might be of a hybrid species.

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