Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

"Maternal Instinct"

From the Chateau to the Desert

The body was female, mid-40s. She had been bound with coaxial cable and a pair of jumper cables, then wrapped in a bed sheet. From the ligature marks it was obvious she had been strangled.

She carried no ID. Her fingerprints weren't on file locally or in the state system. Identification from the FBI would take weeks, maybe months, and that would be only if her prints were on file with them. The only real clue was the motel register, but even that was not considered a sure help: not everyone who checks into a motel known for drugs and prostitution uses a real name.

The discovery of the woman's body made the local news, and soon the police got a call from Dean MacGuigan, who identified the dead woman as his girlfriend, 45-year-old Pati Margello, late of south Philadelphia. He said he had last seen her the night of August 1 when she had left for the Del Mar Motel. She had a history of drug addiction and prostitution, he said.

When detectives interviewed MacGuigan, they took him exactly for what he appeared to be a barely-functioning, middle-aged junkie, a loser with no money and no home and a big monkey on his back. Vegas attracted them by the thousands.

Delaware's chateau country
Delaware's chateau country

Then MacGuigan told them where he was from: the Brandywine Valley outside Wilmington, Del. Specifically the area known as Chateau Country; he had grown up on a 200-acre estate known as Serendip. Then he told them of the family fortune to which his mother, and ultimately he, was heir: the wealth of the du Ponts.

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