Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 7) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 1) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 2) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 3) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 4) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 5) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 6) by F.M. Scott
- Serial Killers: The Child of Hyacinth Road (Part 7) by F.M. Scott
“Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?”
“There’s something going on in the house across the street,” Carolyn Weston said. “There’s a car in the driveway, I’m not sure whose it is, and there’s…” She trailed off.
“There’s what, ma’am?”
“I just got up for a drink of water, and now there’s lights going on and off in the—oh, now I think I can see a person or something, a shadow, a moving shadow in the curtains…it’s going so fast…my God, what on earth is happening in that house?”
“Okay, ma’am, I need you to focus. You say there’s a strange car and maybe a strange person there?”
“Yes! I—no! I mean, there’s…Oh, my God, now there’s light coming from all the windows over there. I’ve never seen anything like it! There’s nobody living in—the house is for sale, and, uh—”
“Okay, ma’am, please stay on track. You see someone in the house?”
“Yes,” Carolyn said. “Yes, I just told you there’s someone in the house! A young man has been showing it lately. A real estate guy.”
“Okay. Has this man spoken to you?”
“Uh, no, I—well, actually yes, I met him outside a while back. If he’s the same one.”
“Well, ma’am, I can send police out if you think there’s—”
“Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!…Wh-what IS that!?”
“What are you seeing now, ma’am?”
“I can’t…the light, it’s a tall yellowish thing, and it’s…it’s not human! It’s getting bigger and closer, and now it’s right outside my window! And oh my dear Jesus, IT SEES ME! IT’S STARING RIGHT AT ME!” Carolyn gave a sharp, prolonged gasp and reeled backward into her kitchen.
“Ma’am?…Ma’am, are you okay? Are you conscious? Is anyone with you? Stay with me, please.…Okay, I’m sending medical and police to your house right now.”
But Carolyn Weston had hit the floor, her solitary life seeping from her with each second her faulty heart failed to pump oxygenated blood to her brain. The legacy of the house across the street—its new progeny in pale yellow—stood outside, staring at her dead, open eyes through the window of her own living room.
The first responders busted down her front door. Paramedics worked on her for fifteen minutes before they gave each other The Look, placed her under a sheet on a gurney, and loaded her into the ambulance for the slow ride to the morgue.
The beautiful cul-de-sac with the skyline view began to jam with TPD squad cars, soon joined by another firetruck and ambulance. Neighbors came out in their robes and pajamas to bathe in a gathering sea of red and blue lights set to the squawk of radios and barked orders. Police would push them back more than once, and for a long time they would learn very little.
Parkside Psychiatric Hospital
Office of Chelsea Corcoran, Ph.D.
Excerpts from Intake Assessment of Detective Lt. Gavin Helm, TPD:
The patient is a 51-year-old Caucasian male. He is a Detective Lieutenant with the Tulsa Police Department. He is a 26-year veteran of the force.
No pertinent history on record.
Previous psychiatric diagnoses: none on record.
History of violence to self: none reported.
History of violence to others: none reported.
The patient currently reports sudden onset of both suicidal and homicidal ideation. These are reported by him to be “intense” and “pretty often”.
The patient denies any history of violent behavior, outside of the use of force demanded on occasion by his work as a police officer.
The patient arrived at Assessment & Referral on October 11 in a state of profound agitation; he was cursing and swatting at the air. The agitation subsided quickly. When asked how he got to the building, he told me that he did not remember. A minute or so later, he said “Oh, I guess I drove here”. He then stated that “I’m being jerked back and forth between worlds”.
The patient became upset once again, talking about being in a house where he found “a guy upstairs with his face torn completely off, flesh and brain tissue everywhere, and sharp ends of his face bones sticking out”.
I observed the patient for a few moments; he continued a pattern of swinging between agitated terror and calm, rational conversation.
The patient was admitted to the Adult Psychiatric Unit later that day.
ADDENDUM TO INTAKE ASSESSMENT, OCTOBER 12:
The patient’s wife visited me after his admission. She confirmed that the patient was the detective called onto the scene of a very gruesome killing last month of a real estate agent at a vacant house in north Tulsa, a house the agent had been showing. The wife stated that her husband became “aloof, then aggressive”, toward her and their teenaged son. She stated that he had become violent on more than one occasion, striking both her and their son. The wife added that on another occasion, the patient threatened them both with a fire poker, which he then used to smash a lamp. She added that she and her son left home late on the night of October 10, to go to an undisclosed location for safety. The patient’s wife then broke down in tears. She said she loved her husband “with all of my heart, as always, but I’m scared for him, scared for us, and for everyone else involved…I do not know what is happening to him”.
From Unsolved and Unhinged, Episode 19
…And with the strange and sudden incapacitation of Lt. Helm, it was up to his colleagues at the Tulsa Police Department to take the case from there. They had already searched every square inch of the house on Hyacinth Road the night they found Brian Best. Quickly, the dots of history began to connect—and the name Vandewater, all but forgotten over four decades, came back like a flash fire. The TPD forensics team found a set of outside DNA in the cavity that had once been Brian Best’s face. But what about the bones that investigators dug from the dirt space off the tiny basement of the house—dirt that had already been disturbed? The bones lay among shreds of deteriorated plastic. They included a skull—whose facial bones had been all but obliterated—that appeared to have belonged to a small child. The DNA taken from the skull had, of course, degraded somewhat but still contained enough useful information.
Science, with its capacity for solving mysteries and hushing the mouths of those who attempt to defy it with the workings of dogma and superstition, has another gift altogether: It can open deeper mysteries. It can also strike terror in the most jaded of hearts. Two more exhumations and two more DNA samples linked Will and Chris Vandewater to their three-year-old son, Corey. Ballistics tests confirmed that the massive damage to the child’s skull was consistent with multiple .38 caliber bullets fired at close range.
But this tragic family reunion, though it made headlines, would hardly stack up to what arose from the actions of one forensics team member, who, for security reasons, asked to be referred to as Party X. After running the DNA sample found on Brian Best, Party X engaged something that came, in her own words, “from a part of my mind that reaches into spaces not occupied by those who live only to satisfy those above them”. She viewed the results from the DNA found on Best next to those taken from the skull of Corey Vandewater…
…and got a precise match.
When Party X shared her chilling discovery with her colleagues in the TPD Forensics Laboratory, most of them reacted with ridicule, claiming she had simply duplicated the skull DNA in error. At first, she herself could not believe her findings but she insisted that the DNA was the same, from two unique sources. Her boss questioned her as to what would lead her to view those particular DNA samples side by side in the first place. Her reply was that she had grown “powerfully curious”, and since no additional resources were expended in the process, there was no harm done. Nonetheless, the TPD handed Party X her walking papers, citing insubordination and straying from protocol. The Tulsa Police Department bumped the 1977 Vandewater case up to a double murder-suicide but left the Brian Best case unsolved. Needless to say, Party X’s story went viral. The TPD, however, refused to answer questions.
But you and I know the score. Two Corey Vandewaters occupied the house on Hyacinth Road: one a long-dead three-year-old whose merciful slumber had been coldly and cruelly disturbed, the other a murderous and destructive monster spawned in the wake of this transgression. One lived a short life in that house; the other awakened and grew to rule its domain—which extended well beyond those confines. In its wrath two died, another lost all grip on reality, and still another lost her job. Each was innocent but got too close to something that didn’t care.
The remains of three-year-old Corey Vandewater were laid to rest in Tulsa’s Rolling Oaks Cemetery, next to those of his parents. His murderous other form hasn’t appeared since. Plans to destroy the big stone house on Hyacinth Road hit a snag when two Oklahoma demolition contractors backed out of their bids upon learning of the house’s history. Finally, a New York-based firm accepted the job and did the honors. As of this episode, the lot sits vacant and has filled in with grasses and wildflowers. The only action that neighbors see for the time being involves running off kids who want to party there, and others just looking to grab Hyacinth Road selfies for their social pages.
We will note that this particular episode gave us fits as to whether to call it unsolved or half-solved. That distinction may well rest with the man we know only from official documents and associates as Brian Best. After rounds of lively (and often loud!) debate, most of it happening around a table groaning with potluck alcohol offerings, we decided it wasn’t really necessary. The drinking got a bit happier.
Coming soon on Unsolved and Unhinged, we’ll look at a rare Depression-era glass bird that brought one woman an incredible run of good luck—until she said one wrong word. Until then, keep looking everywhere. Except behind you.
F.M. Scott is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he lives and writes. His stories have appeared in The Killer Collection, Sirius Science Fiction, The Horror Tree, The Tulsa Voice, and The Rock N’ Roll Horror Zine. A few of his drabbles were collected in Trembling with Fear: Year 2 Anthology.
Facebook and Twitter @fmscottauthor