Deland, FloridaMy phone rang and I answered it on the second ring. I said, “Hello? Hello?” but there was nobody there, so I hung up.

I called the number that displayed on called ID and got the voice mail box of Detective Whittier at the Deland Police Department. While I was leaving him a message, my phone clicked to let me know he was calling me on the other line, so I hung up and started talking to him.

He said, “I’ve got that case,” and told me he was trying to touch base with me, and that he just got back from the hospital. I started telling him about my mom, but he had to put me on hold. 1 When he returned he asked me if I had received a call from the livery service. I told him I hadn’t and he said that they were based in Deland but had an Orange City phone number and he didn’t want me to be confused. 2 He said, “They have your mother now.”

Detective Whittier 3 told me to write his number down so I could call him. He said he was, “trying to tie up some loose ends,” and that I should call him tomorrow, in the morning if I could.

He said he was going to try to find out from the chief medical examinerDr. Herman? — why he won’t take this case. He noted the fact that mom had only been under the care of Dr. Peele for a few weeks, and that the medical examiner is the only one who can do an autopsy.

Detective Whittier said that the livery service was not going to do anything with her, and that Dr. Herman doesn’t work nights. He said that the medical examiner’s office has a list of criteria which determines if they’ll come get a body, and for some reason they were refusing to get mom. He said that they, “can wait 72 hours before they need to do anything,” but I wasn’t sure who he meant by that. He expressed frustration in that the medical examiner’s office doesn’t have to do anything that he tells them to do, and that I can still have an autopsy done, but I will have to pay for it. 4

He told me that I can call the medical examiner’s office and have a biopsy done, and he said that a biopsy was the same thing as an autopsy except it meant that I was paying for it instead of the state.

“They will do it,” he said. “They will charge you, but they will do it.”

I asked him, “Okay, but I have to wait for them to deny it first?” and he said that was right. He said that once Dr. Herman calls him to officially decline to do an autopsy, I should put the wheels in motion to get a biopsy done.

I thanked him and agreed to talk to him in the morning.

1 When he returned he told me it was his sergeant calling him because, “We’ve got another dead body.”
2 I’ve been away from Florida for far too long to recognize phone numbers, but it was nice of him and an early example of how thoughtful and thorough he is.
3 Added to my “to do” list: Find the proper abbreviation for “Detective”.
4 I said, “Yes. We will do that.”