He travels back with a friend, a director of the Wagon Lit. Company, to Calais. During the first night of the trip, the train is forced to stop due to a snow drift that has partially obstructed the tracks. The next morning the body of one of the passengers is found, the victim having suffered multiple stab wounds. At the request of the company's director, Poirot launches an investigation into the man's death and quickly discovers that there is no shortage of suspects among the travelers.
The train is unusually crowded for the time of year. Poirot secures a berth only with the help of his friend M. Bouc, a director of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. When Mr. Harris fails to show up, Poirot takes his place. On the second night, Poirot gets a compartment to himself. That night, near Belgrade, at about twenty-three minutes before am, Poirot wakes to the sound of a loud noise.
Name That Book
It seems to come from the compartment next to his, which is occupied by Mr. Samuel Edward Ratchett. When Poirot peeks out his door, he sees the conductor knock on Mr. Ratchett's door and asks if he is all right. A man replies in French " Ce n'est rien. I made a mistake", and the conductor moves on to answer a bell down the passage.
Poirot decides to go back to bed, but he is disturbed by the fact that the train is unusually still and his mouth is dry. As he lies awake, he hears a Mrs. Hubbard ringing the bell urgently. When Poirot then rings the conductor for a bottle of mineral water, he learns that Mrs. Hubbard claimed that someone had been in her compartment. He also learns that the train has stopped due to a snowstorm. Poirot dismisses the conductor and tries to go back to sleep, only to be awakened again by a thump on his door.
This time when Poirot gets up and looks out of his compartment, the passage is completely silent, and he sees nothing except the back of a woman in a scarlet kimono retreating down the passage in the distance. The next day he awakens to find that Ratchett is dead, having been stabbed twelve times in his sleep, M.
Bouc suggesting that Poirot take the case because it is so obviously his kind of case; nothing more is required than for him to sit, think, and take in the available evidence. However, the clues and circumstances are very mysterious. Some of the stab wounds are very deep, only three are lethal, and some are glancing blows. Furthermore, some of them appear to have been inflicted by a right-handed person and some by a left-handed person. Poirot finds several more clues in the victim's cabin and on board the train, including a linen handkerchief embroidered with the initial "H", a pipe cleaner, and a button from a conductor's uniform.
All of these clues suggest that the murderer or murderers were somewhat sloppy. However, each clue seemingly points to different suspects, which suggests that some of the clues were planted. By reconstructing parts of a burned letter, Poirot discovers that Mr. Ratchett was a notorious fugitive from the U. Five years earlier, Cassetti kidnapped three-year-old American heiress Daisy Armstrong. Though the Armstrong family paid a large ransom, Cassetti murdered the little girl and fled the country with the money. Daisy's mother Sonia, was pregnant when she heard of Daisy's death.
The shock sent her into premature labor, and both she and the child died. Her husband, Colonel Armstrong, shot himself out of grief.
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Daisy's nurse-maid, Susanne, was suspected of complicity in the crime by the police, despite her protests. She threw herself out of a window and died, after which she was proved innocent. Although Casetti was caught, his resources allowed him to get himself acquitted on an unspecified technicality, although he still fled the country to escape further prosecution for the crime.
As the evidence mounts, it continues to point in wildly different directions and it appears that Poirot is being challenged by a mastermind.
A critical piece of missing evidence — the scarlet kimono worn the night of the murder by an unknown woman — turns up in Poirot's own luggage. After meditating on the evidence, Poirot assembles the twelve suspects, M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine in the restaurant car. Two weeks later the beeper went off. By midnight, Martinez was in his car, speeding north on Highway 99 through orange orchards past the lights of Fresno that glow yellow through the valley haze.
As morning rose, Martinez found the debtor and brought him to an empty garage. You have two hours to come up with the money. This kind of collection, according to both Martinez and police, was the bulk of his business, along with smuggling. In both endeavors, his steady nerves were his best asset. He recalled a time he was pulled over en route to Chicago. The officer said he was going to bring dogs to search his car. Martinez said he smiled and offered to help. Seeing Martinez so at ease, the officer decided to skip the search. If the dogs had come, Martinez said, they would have found 10 kilos of cocaine.
His work brought in a vast amount of cash. If smuggling and collecting paid the bills, murder was what set him apart. Martinez said he taught himself to be an assassin in part by watching movies. Be patient. If the killings weighed on Martinez, he gave little sign of it. During the Ayon shooting, bullets also hit a teenage bystander, a high school student who worked on a ranch each morning before classes. Martinez barely shrugged.
Martinez sometimes combined acts of violence with small gestures of empathy. The caller offered some remarkably specific guidance about the killing, which he said was revenge for a stabbing during a card game. The caller also said that Bedolla may not have been the intended target.
Diaz made a plan to meet the caller for a personal interview. The file does not say whether the meeting took place. Years later, Martinez confessed to the murder but denied making that call. Still, the name Jose Martinez weaves through this and other case files like a bright thread. His name turns up as a source in one murder. As a figure in the events leading up to another. On several occasions, police thought he could be the killer. Even then, they never charged him with murder. They found a woman who said Martinez had attempted to hire her to lure Barragan to an isolated place.
They arrested Martinez on the parole violation, but, he said, he managed to swallow the SIM card from one of his phones before officers could see his text messages. They tried to interrogate him but got nowhere. Martinez did a few months in jail for the parole violation. The murder remained unsolved. Some recall him as a dedicated family man who helped his mother take care of her peach-colored house on a windswept cul-de-sac.
Some say he was a friendly figure, offering a neighbor a cold soda at the end of a hot day. And some will confide they heard whispers that he was a killer, that he went by the name El Mano Negra. Martinez had been killing people with a strong voice in the community, he would have been caught much earlier, because resources would have been dedicated to solving these crimes. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into the cases.
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At the same time, the prevalence of the drug trade here, and its attendant violence, sometimes overwhelms police. According to the most recent state statistics, Kern County had the second-highest homicide rate among mid-sized or large counties, and Tulare County came in at number seven out of 58 counties.
Though little noticed by the outside world, these small, sleepy towns play a key distribution role in the movement of drugs into the United States, and the transit of guns and money that accompany the trade. In many cases, law enforcement officials said, drugs coming from Mexico bypass Los Angeles or San Diego entirely and arrive in stash houses in the Central Valley before heading to points north and east. Guns, which are harder to buy in Mexico than in the US, flow in the opposite direction.
Not far away, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas that rise up east of Tulare County, officials are also waging a battle over marijuana being grown on public lands — often, officials said, by armed work crews that occasionally shoot one another, pollute national parks , or spark huge wildfires. The lucrative trade has infiltrated law enforcement. As officers patrolled the flatlands of Tulare and Kern counties, some heard the gossip that El Mano Negra was a contract killer. But there was so much other crime.
So much other violence. Witnesses, when there were any, had a way of turning frightened and forgetful. You can only do what you can do. And yet, sometimes it was almost as if Martinez were daring the Tulare sheriffs to catch him. Martinez said he wanted his Chevy Suburban back. He offered to talk to them again about what he knew. This time, Martinez went so far as to suggest to police that he was a collector for a drug cartel, which he said was based in Guadalajara. Detective Cesar Fernandez decided to seize the moment.
He asked Martinez if he would be willing to submit to a lie detector test on the question of who killed Barragan. Lie detector results are generally not admissible in court in California, but police often use them while conducting investigations. Martinez agreed to the test. The examiner asked to do a second test, which would be focused more on whether Martinez had carried out the killing. A second investigator did his own analysis of the results.
Javier Huerta, a masonry contractor with an apparent side business in cocaine, had been accused of stealing 10 kilos from another drug distributor. Martinez, hired to collect the debt, flew into town in November and discovered his target was 20 years old. So he posed as a homeowner in need of masonry work. Then Martinez shot him four times.
He put another four bullets into one of his coworkers.
Letters of Love
Their bodies, wrists bound with zip ties, were left to rot in a Nissan truck parked on a swampy stretch of road at the edge of the Ocala National Forest. Police figured out fairly quickly that they were dealing with a drug hit. They heard about the stolen cocaine and the money. But they got nowhere on who had ordered the hit and who had carried it out. They emptied it and found a cigarette butt, which they bagged and tagged into evidence and sent off to the crime lab for testing. It should have hit. And, overwhelmed with mountains of evidence that all seemed to be leading them nowhere, no one seems to have noticed.
For six years. They soon came across something startling: Some of the evidence, including the cigarette butt, had not been fully analyzed. In the intervening years, Martinez had killed at least four — and as many as six — more people. Unaware of what was happening in Florida, Martinez arrived in Alabama in the winter of for an extended visit with his daughter and granddaughters.
When one was sick, he kept vigil at her bedside all night. And he threw himself into helping his daughter, who was divorced and working on building her own roofing business. Eventually he found an opportunity to contribute. Martinez figured he could lend his expertise, and in the process get Ruiz to tell him a little bit more about the man his daughter was dating.
Instead, Ruiz, according to police and Martinez, made a fateful mistake. Martinez was enraged. Ruiz, he decided, would have to die. But he said nothing at the time. He knew that he and Ruiz had been seen together. Revenge would have to wait. So he went home to California to be with his mother. On Feb. Watts, of Marion County, Florida — six years late — finally got the crime lab report on the forgotten cigarette butt. It revealed that Evidence Item 28, a cigarette butt from a Mountain Dew can, had hit a match against a man once held in prison in California: Jose Manuel Martinez, of Richgrove, California.
The victim had frequently driven workers and clients to job sites. The cigarette butt could belong to any one of those people. There was no reason to assume that one DNA match would solve the case — much less that the suspect was a serial murderer and that acting quickly could save other lives. When they stopped next to a hayfield to stretch their legs, Martinez pulled out a gun. He fired his gun, shooting Ruiz twice in the head. He got back in the car and glared at the startled Romero. But as it happened, nearby hunters heard the shots and came upon it in less than an hour. Martinez was back in California, at the Earlimart home where his sons lived, when local police showed up at his door on April With the murder he had committed in Alabama fresh in his mind, Martinez took one look at them and bolted out the back.
But Martinez had run for nothing.
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She was part of a task force investigating a series of violent, drug-related robberies, one of which involved an allegation of attempted sexual assault. Martinez was not a suspect, but he was a felon in possession of ammunition. As cops were cuffing him, a colleague whispered to Derington that he was El Mano Negra, the man who was rumored to be a hired assassin, the man who had been suspected of involvement in at least four local murders.
During the drive to the station, Derington told Martinez about the string of stash-house robberies. Hearing the part about a young woman threatened with gang rape, Martinez appeared almost on the verge of tears. Derington said she was not naive. She knew the man in the back of her car was a criminal, likely a violent, manipulative one. But he was also fascinating to talk to. Authorities could have locked Martinez up for the ammunition they found, but they let him walk free with a promise that he would help them.
Martinez was not a prime suspect in the murder Watts was investigating. He was just curious about why a cigarette butt with the DNA of a California man had been all the way in Florida. But it also left Watts with questions. What had Martinez been doing in Florida? Figuring Tulare and Kern officials would keep him in their sights, Watts flagged Martinez as a person of interest and went back to trying to find other leads.
In May, Martinez got antsy. He was in Mexico, a country that rarely extradites people accused of murder to the United States, particularly if there is a chance they will face life in prison or death. Company Corporate Trends Deals. Politics and Nation. International Business World News. National International Industry. Post a Comment. Copy URL. For the latest videos, follow us on twitter Follow EconomicTimes. Read more on Indian Army.
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