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» 22 June 2021 || Hell or heaven lets you in, Tag: Finmurder investigation
Posted: Apr 2 2018, 12:09 PM
Jaz is Offline
52 years old
Bernadette had been back at the school for two days. She'd taken the train back to London to inform the seven families that their children were dead, and when that was all said and done, she'd gotten back on the train, and after several more long, quiet hours, she was back at Hogwarts. She'd had plenty of time to think, to collect the emotions that ran rampant through her chest, and she'd needed every second of that time. Every time she thought she had it under control, a new wave would strike her—alternating between sadness and anger, each one stronger than the last. It wasn't fair—none of it was. The children should never have had to go through that. Some of them had watched their friends be torn to shreds; others had watched their friends go under the water and never come back up. They were all so young—that was the worst part of this whole thing. No one should have to experience something so horrible so early in their life.
When the carnage had been cleaned up, Bernadette had to direct her attention to the MacTavish case again. Recent events had distracted her—there was no time to think about solving a murder that had happened five months ago when there were children dying now. But now that the danger had passed, she could focus. A student had been murdered—she was sure of that. A student had been murdered right under her nose, and she hadn't caught it. That was on her, and the guilt weighed heavy on her shoulders. She should've known that it wasn't an accident—she should've looked into it further as soon as she found the berries in the girl's pocket. The truth was, she hadn't wanted to think about the fact that someone would murder a child for no discernible reason. Now, she had to face that truth—there was nothing else to do about it.
She was angry—at this point, her anger didn't seem to have a specific target. In that sense, it was a rather awful sort of anger. If she knew exactly what or who it was direct at, she could confront it head on. She wasn't afraid of a fight—that was something she'd never outgrown. If someone hurt someone, especially a child, she'd do everything in her power to make sure justice was done. But she couldn't do that—not yet, not until she found out who the killer was. A good part of her anger, she realized, was directed at Morrigan. Morrigan, who was directly responsible for the deaths of fourteen children, between the train crash and the inferi attack, and indirectly responsible for the deaths of several more in between. She deserved to burn for everything she'd done, for all the pain she'd caused them.
Her notebook—with all the notes she'd written about the effects of cicuta toxicity—was right where she'd left it, still open on her desk. She sat down at her desk again, opening the book she'd found in the library to the page she'd marked by folding the corner down. She read the page again—it must've been the hundredth time. She couldn't afford to miss anything—she needed to have everything right. She added more notes—cross-referencing the symptoms, listing places where water hemlock could be found, who would know enough about plant toxicity to use it as a poison. By now, the notes she'd made—including diagrams of water hemlock and the berries she'd found in the girl's pocket—filled four pages of her notebook. And then there was the sheet of notes from her interview with the four who'd been with MacTavish. It should've been enough to make her case, and yet it didn't feel like it was.
She knew she had a strong case. She knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was water hemlock that had killed MacTavish. And water hemlock was near impossible to injest by mistake—especially in the case of a fourteen year old girl. Fourteen year olds didn't tend to put random objects in their mouth the way a toddler might've. And then there was the fact that the bezoars had been missing from the green house. That hadn't been an accident—it couldn't have been. There was too much evidence of the contrary to believe that any of this was even remotely accidental. Bernadette's suspicion rested on Emily. After all, Em knew plants better than any of them, and she had 24/7 access to the greenhouses. A part of Bernadette didn't want it to be her, but her instincts were screaming otherwise.
But Emily was gone; she'd disappeared, vanished. Bernadette had no idea what her next step was, and that angered her. Of course Emily had run; Bernadette had confronted her about the case, let her know she was onto her. Stupid, she thought, mentally kicking herself for her lack of foresight. With a sigh, she took the notes from her interview with the four children—the four witnesses—and set them out on her desk. She stood up at the sound of footsteps and voices outside the door to her office. The people from the ministry were here—that was good. Bernadette would need as much help as she could get—even if that wasn't something she would readily admit. "Come in," she said, opening the door with a flick of her wand. As the people started to file into her office, she greeted them with a nod, her expression one of stoic determination, anger flickering in the wrinkles around her eyes. Whatever it took, she was going to see to it that justice was done for the girl and her family—she owed that much to them, at least.
She looked from face to face, Nicolette's and Isaac's being the only ones she recognized. "Thank you all for coming," she said. "I'm Bernadette O'Connor, head matron and healer here at Hogwarts. I've been the one overseeing this investigation so far." She cleared her throat. She was willing to bet they already knew all that. But still, it seemed like the right thing to say. "If you have any questions—which I'm sure you do—please ask." She scanned their faces again. "I sent several copies of MacTavish's death certificate to the DMLE," She said, "Is there anyone here who doesn't have one?"
[For fodder purposes, here is the death certificate]
@Kris @Lyla @Jill @Fish
Posted: Apr 13 2018, 06:05 PM
Lyla is Offline
21 years old
After meeting with the father of the victim and oddly enough, Louis Thorpe, his husband, Gracelynn couldn’t stop thinking about the murder case of Finley MacTavish. It tugged at her heartstrings and it left her racking her brain for anything she, or anyone else, could have missed with the case. There had been a few days where she hadn’t had the chance to look through it and investigate it further because the world decided to blow up into a bunch of chaos. It was a terrifying thought to think that for a brief moment in time, the Minister of Magic had left the Ministry in her very inexperienced hands to protect from that madness that was going on within London. And somehow, she didn’t fail.
But now that the dust was settling, Gracelynn needed to resume business as usual. The DMLE could afford to spare an auror or two to investigate the death of an innocent child instead of running around on a goose chase trying to find freaking Grindelwald (of all people). Hogwarts had also faced its own troubles while the horrors of London unfolded simultaneously. There had been an Inferi attack upon the students as well, but the witch to blame was reportedly killed. The Ministry was happy to leave it at that, a case that solved itself. It didn’t need anymore unsolved problems to handle, because it couldn’t even handle its own.
The Headmistress walked with her and the others that were here as a part of the investigation as well, filling in a few of the gaps that they may have missed. Gracelynn enchanted her quill, scrawling down anything that was said so that she wouldn’t forget anything. The staff at Hogwarts was cooperating wonderfully, so that had to have been a good sign. Hopefully something would come up that would lead to an arrest, something to give the poor girl justice and her father some closure.
The entered the Hospital Wing, a place that was relatively unfamiliar to her even when she was a student five or so years before. She’d never played Quidditch and never found herself seriously injured or ill. She’d only been here once when she was in her third year, and that was because she thought she was having a heart attack while trying to do a Transfiguration essay. It was just a panic attack and she left twenty minutes later once she had calmed down. The previous Matron, the one that had helped her back when she was thirteen had left, replaced by the woman now in front of her.
”Auror Bones,” she looked over the death certificate for what felt like that thousandth time, as she introduced herself. She offered a hand to shake out of courtesy before getting down to the real questions she needed answered. ”I have a few questions, I hope you can clear some things up.” she looked over to her quill and parchment, ensuring that it was writing down everything that was being said while she monitored the body language of both O’Connor and the Headmistress. Something very fishy happened within this school and no one was safe from being considered a suspect.
”First of all, I read in the files we have that the students that witnessed the death stated that the greenhouses didn’t have bezoars. Do you happen to have a log of the ingredients located in the greenhouses for the months of January and February? I know you aren’t the Herbology professor and that isn’t your domain, but we will get to that in just a bit.” she didn’t want to unleash the barrage of questions she had onto the woman, that wouldn't’t be fair. And she didn’t want to treat her like a criminal when as of right now, there was no proof indicating she was. Would that change after this meeting? Would she return to the Ministry with a suspect in mind or better yet, a suspect in custody?
@Jaz @Kris @Jill @Fish
Posted: Apr 22 2018, 07:27 PM
Jill is Offline
41 years old
Muggle Studies Professor
Isaac was well aware that his presence at this meeting was completely and utterly useless. He had absolutely nothing to do with the investigation, and he had no knowledge of the deceased child beyond what he had gleaned from his fellow teachers and the students in his class. He'd never taught Miss MacTavish, and only one of the children who had been with her on that fateful February night was one of his own. He could offer his own observations of that particular student, but beyond that he had no involvement with anything to do with Finley MacTavish.
Yet, despite his useless to the investigation, he did have use, a reason for being present. Isaac knew his colleagues did not need him, but he wanted to be there for them. This year had not been easy on any of the staff, especially considering the lives lost just three days ago. They had only just cleaned up after the vicious attack, and now they had to deal with a murder investigation. It wasn't fair to the Bernadette and Nicolette to make them deal with this themselves. He may not be able to help them with the investigation or offer any insight into motives or suspects, but he could be there for his colleagues. They were strong women, to be sure, but everyone hit their limits and needed to crumble. Isaac had felt like he had met his three days ago when he was faced with the death of seven more children, putting the total of young lives lost this year in double digits.
And he wasn't the one that had the terrible burden of telling the parents that their children weren't coming back. He wasn't telling a father that his new graduate won't be starting a job or that a daughter hadn't even made it through a full school year before losing her life. He wasn't the headmistress informing parents he couldn't keep their children safe or the head healer telling them he couldn't save them from their injuries. He wasn't even a head of house who had a strong relationship to the children. He was just a teacher, and thankfully his classes were the same size as they had been at the beginning of the year. He felt the guilt at those facts, that maybe he should have been able to do more, but he was able to keep to himself when those feelings got too much and became overbearing. He had himself in check at the moment, and he wanted to be there in case Nicolette or Bernadette started to lose themselves as they discussed the loss of young lives.
Isaac hadn't gone down to meet the visitors to Hogwarts, and a part of him felt guilty for even letting Nicolette deal with them herself, if even for a short while. Instead, he lurked outside the hospital wing, leaning against a wall in an adjoining corridor and waiting until he heard the sound of approaching footsteps before turning the corner and making an appearance. He gave Nicolette a somber nod, as apologetic as he could make it without offending their guests, before offering a small smile to the others. "Isaac Doyle. Muggle Studies Professor," he introduced himself, letting them all into the Hospital Wing before following and shutting the door behind him.
He stood at the back of the room, trying to be a comforting presence to the women who knew him. He was well aware of how it was sometimes easier to speak to a familiar face instead of those of a strangers, and he knew Bernadette was going to have to be speaking about some horrible things. He felt so bad for her and for Nicolette, but there was nothing he could do for them except for just be there. His attention turned to Auror Bones - who looked ridiculously young (which naturally made him wonder how seriously the Ministry was taking this investigation) - when she spoke. At least her questions seemed relevant. Light blue eyes appraised the back of her head for a moment before turning back to Bernadette with a shrug yet offered, "They should be the same year-round, shouldn't they? I mean, that's the point of a greenhouse, isn't it? 'Course I haven't spent much time there since I was a student with Professor Sprout, but I can't imagine them changing that much since then." Over twenty years was a long time, to be sure, but those plants could live ages if taken care of properly. Changing things around just risked disrupting the fragile ecosystems.
"And, well, you used to be able to find bezoars there," he answered before looking to his colleagues and wondering if they had a better answer for the investigators. Of course, bezoars weren't really plants, but he couldn't see the point of moving them. Plants could be just as poisonous as potions, which was why the bezoars should be in both the greenhouses and the potion stores. "It's a safety hazard without them."
@Kris @Lyla @Jaz @Fish
Posted: Apr 24 2018, 09:32 AM
Kris is Offline
38 years old
She should have been gone already, but escape from the castle had proven as difficult as escape of any other kind of late, and Nicolette was resigned to the responsibility that kept her present, patiently escorting an Auror presence up from the grounds to the Hospital Wing to continue a discussion of death that had proven even harder to bury than the children they'd lost. Perhaps it had been a sign of lingering immaturity, that she had ever believed a soul's passing a simple matter despite all the horrors it presented--it was no small trauma to lose a loved one, after all, but was not death straightforward? Life flourished for its given time, and then, as all things were destined to do, it returned to the earth, those greatest parts of it travelling yet further to that airy plane beyond. All passed, and in memory, lived on for a time further, but this was remembrance beyond, like a refusal to allow the dead rest, and oh how exhausting its weight.
It had been different, before, when the Express had jumped its rails--for one thing, it had been Helena, then, to carry on her broad shoulders such burdens. Just as much, however, a focus on those that continued on had been a means to alleviate Nicolette's duties of death, so that each responsibility seemed less an acknowledgment of what was gone and more a fight to ensure that life remained at Hogwarts. The enemy had been clear, even in all her subterfuge, and in some strange way, that had made their loss seem all the smaller, so that even in a world overwrought by its influence, it had not conquered her. She would have to take care not to underestimate again, the impact a bit of paperwork could have.
In her clerical duties as Headmistress, in cleaning up after the devastation of Hogwarts' latest attack and the quite literal stain it had left on the lawns beyond the castle's walls--lakeside strewn with a lingering dead that would not simply fade away, for it was flesh and bone and rot and the faces of a hundred men and women who did not belong there on the shore--Nicolette had found herself overwhelmed. Morrigan's final plummet into the waters had seemed such a conclusion to the horror that had stretched from September on, but still there was so much left to gather and piece back together that she could imagine making another year of it alone--and perhaps she would. She'd wanted only a bit of relief from it all, a moment to rest and relax and imagine it was not all so exhausting, to escape in her mind where her limbs could not--for how could she leave her castle just yet when still it had such need of her--but comfort had not been so forthcoming. She would not cast blame on Levi, for grief and solitude were his right, but perhaps she'd begun to want him there beside her, to look for him when days grew dark. That was just as much her fault as anything, and it was a lesson to her now, to be without him as she climbed the stairs to the Hospital Wing and met Isaac's solemn nod.
The matter of investigation was Bernadette's, in the end, but any affair of Hogwarts belonged to Nicolette, now it had been made hers, and so the meeting would not pass without her presence. Since the fall of the barrier and the removal of Helena from her post, she'd made it her business to oversee the entry of an visitor to Hogwarts' grounds, and that was hardly about to change even after the departure of their students. With an air of sobriety, she returned Isaac's greeting, resisting a frown for the sensation near pity he seemed to exude and passing through the doorway as he stood aside. Whatever his inspiration for attending, she would not look deep enough into his motivations to grow critical, and his aura of worry would be better ignored. There were matters of the mundane to hold her attentions now, and a hunger for justice that seemed to cling low to the room as if Bernadette's need for order had grown outward from her like a sedge garden. In deference, Nicolette stood to the side as the meeting began, hands folded against her skirts as she listened.
"Isaac is correct," she added as the other professor finished his musings, glancing toward her colleague. "I would consider it an oversight bordering on extreme neglect, to allow our supply of antidotes dwindle entirely. To answer your question as best I am able... One moment. I 'ave arranged for some assistance." With a curious glance toward the door, Nicolette lifted her wand to coax it open once more, revealing a rather nervous looking House Elf waiting just beyond. With a gentle smile and a gesture of her hand, she beckoned it inside, kneeling as it approached for a short, whispered conversation. After a moment, it nodded, and with a sharp snap, disappeared from the room.
"My assistant will return shortly," Nicolette said, standing and straightening her robes as she faced Auror Bones. "To elaborate, I am not certain an exact inventory is a requirement of our professors. You will forgive, I 'ope, any gaps in my knowledge. My role as 'Eadmistress did not come about in ze most conventional of manners, and I am still adjusting. I would assume at ze very least, 'owever, zat a record of some type exists, whether Emily kept one for 'erself or we are left only with 'er purchase receipts from ze semester. Most supplies, with ze exception, perhaps, of personal additions, would 'ave been obtained t'rough ze school's accounts. I 'ave- ah..." Nicolette looked down as the House Elf reappeared, accepting the small collection of papers it handed out to her. "...a list of for you 'ere of Mademoiselle Dawson's request for supplies as submitted at ze beginning of ze year, pulled from my records, and..." She shuffled through the papers, a faint frown creasing her brow. A look back toward the House Elf seemed to confirm her thoughts as it responded with a simple shake of its head. "...unfortunately, it would appear zat whatever records our professor kept for 'erself are...missing. Or otherwise displaced. You are, of course, free to search ze Greenhouses for yourselves, officers...but I am not optimistic you will find what you are looking for in zis regard." Nicolette held out her lists anyway, offering the request for supplies, complete with number of bezoars allotted for the year, to Auror Bones.
@Jaz @Jill @Lyla @Fish
Posted: May 3 2018, 05:16 PM
Fish is Offline
35 years old
It may have seemed a little silly to some to be spending time on investigating the murder of a single teenager so soon after the multiple disasters of the final day of term, but that was half the reason Vicky had volunteered for this job. The rest of the DMLE could work on the aftermath of all of that high profile carnage, someone had to ensure justice was served here as well. She'd read as much information as they had on the case before coming up to Hogwarts, and though she couldn't help feeling angry at the way the wizarding world conducted this kind of investigation and the delay in getting someone up here before the trail went cold, it was time to go to work.
She was not an auror, but in her experience the people who spent all their time dealing with dark wizards directly were not the kind of logical, patient investigators something like this would need. No grasp of the kind of awful, almost tar like coffee true coppers ran on either.
Staying quiet for the moment she walked with her colleagues and the Hogwarts staff across the grounds, doing her best to avoid looking at the lake. That mess, however well cleared up it had been, was not (directly at least) a part of this investigation and there was no sense in dwelling on it. Likewise, she walked in silence through the school to the hospital wing, and was even content to listen while the colourful auror started asking questions.
These people just didn't know how to organise. Honestly, she wouldn't trust wizards to arrange a pissup in a brewery, not if the shoddy record keeping around here was the norm. Bureaucracy would have made an investigation like this an awful lot easier, but she wasn't going to change the world on that point. "Aye, we'll be doin' tha' later." she replied to the headmistress's offer, nodding slightly. "An' anywhere else she may o' stashed things." Not that she expected to find anything either, but it paid to be thorough.
"What's yer thoughts on motive?" she asked the matron. Something so obviously, if sloppily planned seemed unlikely to be targeting students at random, but if it was all a part of whatever madness had consumed the country just a few days ago? There was no telling just how insane dark magic users could get sometimes.
@Kris @Lyla @Jill @Jaz
Posted: May 22 2018, 12:41 PM
Jaz is Offline
52 years old
The notion that someone would want to end a life before it even had the change to truly begin was, unfortunately, not unfamiliar to Bernadette. She knew just how evil people could be; she'd experienced such evil firsthand. But there was nothing she could do about that. Her duty was in the aftermath, repairing the damage the evil had done. She listened to the visitors speak, understanding that she herself was a person of interest, if not an outright suspect—she'd known she would be. In cases like these, where leads were few and far between, and the best evidence they had were written records and word of mouth, anyone could be considered suspect. Truthfully, she felt better knowing that the ministry was being thorough. They were just doing their jobs—nothing less, nothing more—and Bernadette had to appreciate that. At the end of the day, the pieces would fit together, one way or another.
Auror Bones—who, as far as Bernadette knew, had been the one to inform Mr. MacTavish that his daughter's death hadn't been an accident like they'd previously thought—was the first to speak up, asking about the records they kept. "That's up to the individuals on staff. As far as I know, it's not mandatory" Bernadette said, looking to Nicolette for either confirmation or correction before turning her attention back to Bones. "I don't believe Professor Dawson ever kept such records." She hadn't found any, at least. It was entirely possible that there could've been something she'd missed, or maybe Dawson had taken the records with her when she'd fallen off the face of the earth. As hard as she tried, she wasn't infallible—in fact, she was anything but infallible. To think otherwise would've been nothing short of delusional, and it was important to admit that.
Isaac responded to Auror Bones as well, asserting that a stock of bezoars was always supposed to be in the greenhouses. Bernadette nodded, glancing at him appreciatively. "He's right," She said, "There are three separate stocks of bezoars throughout the school: one in the hospital wing, one in the potions classroom, and one in the herbology professor's office. They're there in case of emergency, but they aren't something that get used up very quickly. Accidental poisoning isn't too common at this age." Bernadette was glad she worked with kids who were old enough not to try and eat everything in sight. She couldn't imagine working at a nursery school; tiny humans had a dreadful habit of sticking things into their mouths that really shouldn't be there. How many times had Maeve tried to eat an ant she'd found in the grass? The students were all old enough to know what the difference between edible and inedible.
"Professor Delaney, Professor Dawson, and I have—em, had, if you will—a sort of professional, mutual cooperation with one another," Bernadette said, addressing Bones, Nicolette, and Isaac all at once—the last two probably already knew this. "If one of us needs something, another provides." Working together was how they kept from falling into chaos entirely. "I can't say for certain how often Professor Dawson went shopping for anything she needed, but I agree, that is absolutely something to look into." She nodded, opening the top drawer of her desk and taking out several sheets of parchment, spreading them out for them to see. "I kept a record of everything I've given to or received from Professors Dawson and Delaney, if you think that'll help. It might be worth looking into some shops' records, too." She offered, "Just for the sake of certainty."
Aitken's question caught Bernadette off guard. She hadn't given much thought to that at all. Her focus had been on the technical, the questions of 'who' and 'how', not 'why'. "I've a few very vague theories—maybe there was an old grudge, maybe a lack of regard for human life—but nothing more than that," she admitted. How could she know the motive if she didn't know who'd done it. "I don't know."
@Lyla @Jill @Kris @Fish
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