First Homicide of 2017

New year, new commitment to blog and fiction. Becoming involved in the election was in hindsight a terrible idea.

This poor as-yet-anonymous man marks Atlanta’s first murder of the new year. Few details are given:

A person walking down the street found a man shot to death Monday morning.

The man’s body was discovered on the sidewalk at 96 Broad Street Southwest around 6:30 a.m.

Investigators said the man was found with a gunshot wound to the head.

Authorities are working to identify the victim and to see if there were any cameras in the area.

This lack of detail makes it the hardest type of murder to solve, though of course the cops likely have more information than the media. Imagine a story where it’s just some guy, dead on the street, no ID, no witnesses, no cameras. The kind of perfect tabula rasa for a crime story: Diana and Mustapha grit their teeth running down pseudo-leads that turn out to be useless, while the brass bears down on them because dammit, we ought to solve the first murder of the year. But other murders, ones with actual named victims and motives, come along, and the ball gets… well, maybe not “dropped”, but at least placed in a cold case file.

Only much later does a series of encounters and internet posts lead to the victim’s identity. He’s from Texas or someplace equally far away; he’s mostly estranged from his family; they can’t for the life of them think why he might have gone to Atlanta. Nothing helps; there’s no closure.

At the end of the year, the very last homicide has a clear suspect, but they’ve no leverage on him. Someone else comes forward and gives a plausible narrative about how that suspect killed the first victim, as well. But in the end, this narrative proves to be false: the storyteller has a preëxisting beef with the suspect and made it up. They manage to patch up enough evidence to nail the suspect for the end-of-year murder, but the first one still remains open. There’s no closure.

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