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Investigation Files of Vicki Lewis, Amateur Detective

[a manila folder, labeled in neat calligraphy using her best scrapbooking pen]

By Maureen Y. PalmerPublished 5 months ago 6 min read
Investigation Files of Vicki Lewis, Amateur Detective
Photo by Laika Notebooks on Unsplash

January 1, 2023:

Vicki Lewis is “on the case.”

To investigate: WHY???

Document 1:

Fence Jumper Tackled on White House Lawn

A man now identified as Liam Baker was tackled by Secret Service personnel after climbing over the fence onto the North Lawn of the White House.

According to witnesses, he was wearing orange pants and a t-shirt that said “I COME IN PEACE.”

The 22-year-old remains in custody and charges are pending.

Document 2: Transcript of interview with Kathy Baker

V: Please state your name for the record.

K: What?

V: [whispered] I'm trying to make everything official, okay?

K: [sighs loudly] Okay, fine. My name is Kathy Baker. My idiotic son is in jail and driving his mother crazy!

V: Do you have any idea what could be his motive for committing the crime?

K: No!

V: You’re not being very cooperative.

K: You’re not the one whose son is in jail!

V: …that’s true. I’m sorry. I got carried away. Do you want any tea?

K: Yeah. I don’t want to think about this anymore.

January 1 (night):

Incident #2: Marie has not returned home after NYE party. Missing?? Could this be related to incident #1????

Grace (party host) says she’s not sure when Marie left, but it was sometime before 2 am (when the last guests left).

Observations: Made police report at 11:39 pm tonight. Kathy is frantic. I finally convinced her to go to bed and I heard her cry herself to sleep. Also I convinced her to let me stay over to support her until Marie comes back. I have advised her not to worry but I am making plans to investigate. I fear that harm may have come to Marie. However, I must make sure Kathy doesn’t panic too much.

January 2:

Kathy Baker: “Can you not use the voice recording thing again? I can’t handle it.”

Summary of our conversation:

  • she last saw Marie around 9:30 pm, when Marie left to go to Grace’s house for the party.
  • Marie has not answered any of her calls or texts.

    *Could Kathy be lying when she says Marie didn’t come home??? no way.

where is Marie being held???

Could she be in Grace’s house? the roommates would know. they can’t ALL be in on it.

Kathy is worried that Marie may be dead. I think that’s too pessimistic, I think?

January 4:

Document 3:

Explosion in Southeast Baltimore

Witnesses report a small explosion outside the home of several Johns Hopkins medical students. Just after noon today, neighbors heard an explosion. They found that a large ceramic planter located next to the home’s front steps had been shattered and that there appeared to be blast damage to the steps and front wall of the home. No injuries have been reported.

Investigation is ongoing, but Fire Marshal Dave Plano reports that “initial evidence suggests that the explosion may have been intentional.” Police have not yet identified any suspects. However, they suspect that this may be related to the disappearance of Marie Baker, who was last seen at this address shortly before midnight on December 31. If you have any information related to this incident, please contact Baltimore City Police by calling 311 or 911.

January 5:

Document 4: Transcript of proof-of-life video

Hi, this is Marie Baker. My captors say they will release me only if you pay a ransom of 2 million dollars within the next 24 hours. This video is proof that I am still alive. Today is January 5. My captors showed me a news article that says that yesterday there was an explosion by my friend Grace Patel’s house. They said this was a warning. If you don't pay, I will be next.

Document 5: Transcript of 911 call to Greenbelt dispatchers:

Dispatcher: 911, where’s your emergency?

K: Um, I guess…I don’t know?

D: Where are you now?

K: I’m at my house. It’s [REDACTED] Crescent Road, Greenbelt, Maryland, 20770. Um, how do I pay a ransom? I need to know and she didn’t say.

D: Who is "she"?

K: My daughter. I got an email with a video where my daughter says she is being held captive and needs to be ransomed. She’s been missing since January 1 after a New Years Eve Party. Her name is Marie Baker. She’s 25 and has—

D: Alright, I will send someone there right away. [pause] Could you give me some more details about the video?

K: Okay. I guess. She was sitting in front of a white cement block wall and said her captors will kill her unless we pay a ransom, but she didn’t say how we’re supposed to pay the ransom!

D: Do you have the video saved?

K: I don’t know. It was in an email. Does that save it?

D: Just don’t touch your computer any more until the police arrive. They can handle it for you.

Notes from the meeting with police (Note: I was “on the scene” already):

  • Police seem nice. However, they seemed confused about the video.
  • They said there is no standard way to pay a ransom without instructions, so maybe video is some kind of prank??? (this was offensive. Kathy started crying. Marie would never pull a prank like this.)
  • They did not ask me any questions.
  • Police say they will investigate. I’m not optimistic.

January 10:

Document 6: Body of missing woman found in vehicle

The body of 25-year-old Marie Baker, reported missing on January 1, has been found in her vehicle in the Patuxent Research Refuge. Police say she has been dead at least 36 hours from an apparent stabbing.

The vehicle, a green Subaru Outback, was discovered off-road in the refuge’s North Tract by birdwatchers this morning.

Marie was last seen at a New Year’s Eve party in Baltimore. On January 5, her family received a proof of life video and ransom demand.

If you have any information relating to the disappearance, where the victim may have been held, or the circumstances of her death, please contact the Maryland State Police immediately at 410-555-0100 or by calling 911.

Important points for the investigation:

• she was kidnapped somewhere between the party and home (possibly from the party, or possibly waylaid in transit)

• she was held in an unknown location and kept alive until at least January 4. She was killed on January 8 or earlier.

No further updates from police today.

***To do: re-watch ransom video to look for clues


Document 7: Screenshot (Zoomed in) from ransom video:

"screenshot taken by Vicki Lewis"



I had no idea when I took on this case how dangerous it would become!!!

If she has killed once, I know she can kill again.

I should have recognized that wall immediately!

But I can’t tell the police yet. I need to gather more evidence and them barging in would probably ruin it!

Instead, I will keep investigating in MAXIMUM STEALTH MODE until this is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.


January 11 (3 am)

WAIT A MINUTE—I have been with Kathy nearly continuously since January 1. THERE IS NO WAY SHE COULD HAVE HAD MARIE IN HER BASEMENT ON JANUARY 5!!!

There is no way ANYONE could have had Marie in this basement on January 5!!

8 am: Report from Kathy Baker: Marie's brother Liam stands to inherit Marie's assets as a result of her death!

Document 8: Transcript of video found on laptop of Liam Baker.

Hi, this is Marie Baker. My captors say they will release me only if you pay a ransom of 2 million dollars within the next 24 hours. This video is proof that I am still alive. Today is January 5. My captors showed me a news article that says that yesterday there was an explosion by my friend Grace Patel’s house. They said this was a warning. If you don’t pay, I will be next.

[Marie pauses, then grins.]

Do you think that sounded good?

[Liam’s voice, off-screen] Yeah that should be perfect! Thanks for your help. I’ll show you the movie as soon as we finish it!

Cool, sounds good!

Verdict: LIAM DID IT!!

September 18, 2023:

Final report: Liam Baker has been convicted of one count of first-degree murder, one count of felony cocaine possession, two counts of manufacture/use of an explosive device, two counts of manufacture/use of a weapon of terrorism, and one count of trespassing on a restricted building or grounds. He has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Vicki: 1, Criminals: 0!!!!

(P.s. sorry for thinking you were a murderer, Kathy.)


About the Creator

Maureen Y. Palmer

Reading • Writing • Murder!

I'm an avid reader and aspiring author, currently working on my first mystery novel. Here, I write essays about reading and writing, as well as short mystery/thriller/horror fiction.

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Comments (2)

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  • Lea Rue4 months ago

    OMG. This is such an amazing story and I love all the mystery aspects. I love how she is an amateur detective. I hope you write more stories like this one.

  • Noel T. Cumberland5 months ago

    Maureen, I enjoyed this immensely. It started off very quirky and light, but then turned dark in a hurry! I think you should keep working in this "voice." I enjoyed the way you were able to tell the story in little bits and pieces, and the inclusion of things like "don't use the recorder" really humanized our amateur detective for me. Well done.

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