Sam looked back up at the bridge and measured the drop with her eyes.
“You think it was tossed?”
“I don’t think so. Check out this print,” T-Bone gestured to a large print in the sand near the arm. It looked dog like, but it was missing something. The tech took a picture. T-Bone moved off through the scrub, toward the far wall of the riverbed.
“Do you think coyotes got it from somewhere else?”
The tech, a small guy named Oswald, shrugged.
There didn’t seem to be enough blood soaked into the ground to fit a whole body.
“Where’s the rest?”
“Over here,” T-Bone called. Sam made her way over, carefully placing her feet so as not to disturb more of those odd dog prints, which she pointed out to Oswald.
At the bottom of a slide of dirt, the torso of the victim lay in pieces, making it hard to tell at first glance whether the body was on its back or front.
“Head’s missing,” T-Bone commented, and then pointed, “And there are more of those prints and some smaller ones.”
“Those are coyote,” Oswald noted, placing more yellow signs around.
“Coyotes won’t go far from such a feast,” Dr. Rausch, the Medical Examiner, said as he joined them.
“Yuck, Doc. Just yuck,” Sam commented.
He gave her a lopsided grin and shrugged.
“These tooth marks, however, seem to have been made by a much larger carnivore.”
“Mountain lion?” she asked, hopefully.
“Perhaps. I’ll have to measure them and get in touch with the Desert Museum to be sure.” He waved to the ambulance folks to bring down a stretcher. A screech of tires made the group look back over at the park. Their section chief appeared at the edge and looked down at them, hands on his hips. Sam could see his busy mustache quivering.
She exchanged a wary look with T-Bone.
“If you could find the head,” the doctor suggested, “It might make identification easier.”
T-Bone nodded, acknowledging both the doctor and her silent request to run interference. He headed back up to the bank while she started poking around in the bushes for the head – hoping that all of the snakes in the area had been washed away or were still sleeping.

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