By Trent Unruh, Edwin Tran, Kaitie Christensen, Ana Santana, and Melissa Waters
The Finale: Crime Scenes, Criminals and Cops
The detectives and police squad gathered around the office pin board. Photos of crime scenes and copies of notes were connected with red thread, creating a picturesque map of the serial comma killer’s history.
“It looks like a riddle,” remarked Phillips.
“That’s absurd,” said Charles.
“Why? Look at the evidence…it almost looks like a shape I should recognize. Maybe each of the locations of the murders gives us a clue to the killer’s name. Plenty of serial killers use code to taunt authorities. We can’t let this guy become another Zodiac.”
“That’s it!” Charles exclaimed. “It’s a comma. Look at the first letter of each of the cross streets from the murders. They were telling us their name the whole time!”
Charles and Phillips approached the suspect’s house. A back-up team stood behind them holding shields and batons. Phillips clenched his teeth as he gave three loud knocks on the door and shouted, “Police Department! Open up!”
When there was no response, Charles motioned for two SWAT members to ram the door. The team filed through the doors half expecting to find the remains of another gruesome murder. Instead, it was just a tidy living room, so tidy that it looked out of place compared with the door splints scattered on the floor. As they looked around the room, they noticed a note on the coffee table, the familiar handwriting scrawled across the page.
Charles picked up the note. “Working downstairs with the tools, the books and the crimes.” He looked at Phillips who nodded. The team quietly headed downstairs.
Sitting in a large armchair sandwiched between ceiling-high stacks of books was an older woman. She seemed unfazed by the interruption, only moving to push her square glasses back up her nose and turn the page of the magazine in her lap.
“Put the magazine down,” said Charles. “And put your hands up.”
The woman tucked her pen into the magazine as a place marker, folded the cover, and raised her hands. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Are you the Oxford Comma Serial Killer?”
“Is that a confession?”
“You are under arrest for the murder of four people. Anything you say can and will be used against you.” Charles rambled the list of Miranda rights as Phillips and the team handcuffed the woman. “Do you have any last words?”
The woman began to explain. “I have put up with unclear writing and poor comma usage for far too long. I can’t understand what these people are saying! Do they want to eat their dog? Do they want to cook their family? I just wanted to make a point.”
“You certainly have made a point. You will have plenty of time reflect on your guilt, proper comma usage and murders while you’re in prison.”