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The Case of the Christmas Sleighing
Case No: 1225-2413119
Investigating Officer: Lt. Christopher K. Ringel
Name: Mildred Shropshire
Aliases: "Grandma", "Meemaw", "Miss Blue-hair"
Weight: 95 lbs
Hair Color: Silver and Blue
Miss Shropshire was found along the side of the road on Evergreen Lane. Her body was discovered face down, and covered with a heavy layer of snow. No witnesses to the actual event have been located.
Miss Shropshire was discovered to have a blood alcohol content of 0.08. No other toxins, drugs, or medications were found in her system. Stomach content analysis revealed the victim had consumed a considerable quantity of eggnog and rum fruitcake in the hours prior to her death.
Animal hoof prints were discovered on the victim's forehead, belonging to an even-toed ungulate, perhaps a large goat or a small cow. The suggestion that this is the hoofprint of a small caribou, while possible, is unsubstantiated.
Further, a large boot print was found on the victim's back, midline and just below the shoulder blades. The print was clear enough to make out the tread pattern, which includes the brand name, Klahs. Unfortunately, this brand is common in the area, so no immediate help is provided by this evidence.
Abrasions and contusions on the victim's knees indicate a fall, or indeed several falls. These falls did not occur perimortem, as there was time for bruising to occur.
Cause of death for the victim was a broken neck. The skull was also fractured by the animal hoof, and this would likely have led to death if it had not been pre-empted. Cause of the broken neck was likely also the impact of the animal hoof.
WITNESS INTERVIEW SUMMARIES:
Robert "Grampaw" Shropshire: Claims to have last seen his wife as she "staggered out the door" around ten o'clock the previous evening. He states that, though the family tried to convince her to stay, she insisted on returning home due to the fact that she had forgotten her medication.
Mel Shropshire: States that he last saw his grandmother leaving the home in an inebriated condition. Claims to have begged her not to go. Claims no knowledge of what happened to her beyond this point.
Elmo Shropshire: States that, after seeing his grandmother off over his objection, he headed upstairs with his wife for some sort of "gift exchange". Claims no knowledge of the events leading to his grandmother's death.
Patsy Shropshire: Corraborated her husband's account of events.
Walter "The Grinch" Hamdun: Saw the victim leave the Shropshire home at 10:08pm. He knows the time because he was on his way to the Shropshire home to complain about the noise of their Christmas music, and the fact that their Christmas lights were shining in his bedroom window, preventing him from sleeping. States that the victim was very unsteady as she left the home. Also says that, as he was leaving the front door after making his complaint, he saw footprints in the snow that could not be accounted for by either himself or the victim.
* Robert's claim concerning the victim's need for her medication doesn't seem believable. The victim's only medication was for vertigo. This is hardly a life-threatening condition... unless you decide to wander around in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve.
* During their interviews, both Robert and Mel continued to play poker. The interview was repeatedly interrupted by betting and asking for cards. Robert, in particular, seemed to be quite inebriated. Several empty beer cans were visible on the table near him.
* In the mud room, an inspection of the family's snow boots revealed several pairs of Klahs boots. One pair, belonging to Mel, was still damp. All other boots present were fully dry.
* When the family began to discuss what to do with the victim's presents, Robert was adamant that they all be returned. An inspection by angry family members discovered that the wrapped gift boxes were all empty.
* The family's calf, Rudy, was missing from the barn.
The victim, Mildred Shropshire, was murdered by her grandson, Mel Shropshire, most likely with the approval and assistance of her husband, Robert Shropshire. Possible motivation for this killing would be the victim's life insurance policy, her Social Security survivor's benefits, and the value of her jewelry and her antique Pez dispenser collection.
It is unclear whether the victim was aware of how much alcohol she ingested, but it is likely that she was talked into walking home "to get her medication", despite not really needing it.
After the victim had departed, and with Elmo and Patsy otherwise engaged, Robert Shropshire kept Walter Hamdun busy at the front door while Mel Shropshire slipped out of the house. He either moved to the barn at that point to retrieve the calf, Rudy, or he had previously positioned Rudy at a convenient location.
Mel led Rudy through the woods, and caught up with the victim just over the river. At this point, he either found the victim had already stumbled to the ground, or he simply pushed her. In her inebriated and possibly vertiginous state, she would not have been able to put up any resistance.
Once the victim was down, Mel Shropshire stomped on her back. This had the effect of knocking the wind out of her, preventing her from any possible defense. He then rolled her over, and proceeded to lead Rudy across her body. One of Rudy's hooves impacted her skull just above the left eye. The weight of the creature, plus the frailty of the victim, assured her almost-instant death.
Perhaps out of a sudden sense of guilt, Mel Shropshire then rolled the body face-down. He left the body where it fell, and in some manner disposed of Rudy so that a hoof print matchup could not be made.
There is, unfortunately, not enough evidence to indict either Mel or Robert Shropshire. It is this investigator's considered opinion, however, that both of these men have been very naughty this year.
Story idea by Keeshaba. Story by Eric Storm
That is a funny interpretation.