(If today was 33 A D, a first-hand account might go something like this:)
I was the desk sergeant down at precinct headquarters early that Sunday morning when the earthquake happened. It was significant enough, probably a 5.5, but hardly devastating. True to form the board lit up with callers wanting to know the magnitude and epicenter, and of course I simply had to refer them to local television and radio stations.
But then the call came that I will never forget. It was a woman crying hysterically and screaming, “He’s gone! He’s gone! They’ve stolen his body!” I tried without much success to get her to calm down. It took several minutes, but I finally managed to obtain her location. She was calling from the northwest corner of the Memorial Gardens Cemetery, apparently at the site of a family vault.
Then I found out that it was his body that was missing, Javier Cruz.; the internationally known spiritual philosopher who had managed in a few short years to start a religious revolution with his unorthodox ideas. While he had growing popularity among nonreligious people, who packed out auditoriums to hear him speak, most religious leaders considered him a heretic and took every opportunity to slam him in the press.
Over time sides became more polarized and then the inevitable finally happened. A group of religious extremists took it upon themselves to rid society of his dangerous new ideas. They raided Javier’s headquarters, overpowering his top associates who apparently managed to flee the building through a rear exit. They beat Javier beyond recognition and hung him from a tree in front of the building.
Some friends and family members who witnessed the event immediately called police, but told reporters that they took their time getting to the scene. Whatever the case, Javier was dead by the time they arrived. A private funeral was held three days ago. I’m not particularly religious or philosophical, so I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the publicity he attracted. The way things go these days I’m sure he’ll soon be forgotten.
I dispatched a CSI unit to the crime scene and waited for their report. A few hours later they returned looking stunned. Several things at the scene did not make sense. For one, his clothes were neatly folded and set on a slab in the vault. Why would anyone want to undress a dead body before stealing it? The heavy steel-reinforced gate at the entrance to the family vault was swung open, but still locked, and there were no signs of forcible entry. Although the grass was damp from a slight shower, there were no footprints leading into or out of the family vault. No fingerprints were found on the gate, anywhere inside the vault or even on his clothes.
Investigators were struggling to come up with plausible explanations for the evidence gathered this far, or should I say the lack of evidence. Not even the flowers or memorabilia left by admirers appeared to be disturbed in any way. This had to be the work of pros. But how did they pull it off? And why?
While we were still wondering about this, a police lieutenant called from the field. He had been approached by a woman, who identified herself as a friend of the family, and stated that she had conversed with Javier earlier in the day. He informed me, he was bringing her down to the precinct for questioning. I told him he should take her to County General and admit her to the psych ward. This was all we needed, a crazy on the loose! She must be traumatized and hallucinating. What type of useful information could we possibly get from her?
Imagine that you are this desk sergeant, and this is all the information you have. What would you think happened to the body? Who might have a motive to steal it? Who would you want to bring in for questioning? (Join us next week as this R-CSI continues to uncover more evidence.)
I invite you to our 9 AM or 11:00 AM services this Sunday where I will speak on the “The Overcoming Church.”