I hadn't thought of it in years, although I remember the case.
As he spoke, his eyes were shadowed by images and memories that have haunted him for years; the kind that raise questions that stay with you 'til death and for which you pray for answers in the next life.
It was over 25 years ago that the headless, naked body of a young girl was found in the basement of an abandoned house on the South-side.
No amount of searching or forensic investigation (still in it's infancy back then) yielded any clues.
No follow up on missing child reports, no DNA testing; nothing provided this child with a name or a face.
The police involved in the discovery and investigation were profoundly affected; several left the force; those that stayed always were on the look out for the clue, the story, that might finally point them in the right direction.
All of them chipped in their own money to bury her.
Two decades later, a local Prosecutor started the Garden of Innocence, a site in a local cemetery in which children who are abandoned (dead in dumpsters and duffle bags) or unclaimed in the morgue are buried with dignity.
he wanted her not to be alone anymore.
So he received permission from the courts to have her dis-interred and re-buried.
The only thing was, he said, when they went to the site where she had been buried, there was no body and no casket to be found.
He, and colleagues, have watched the original tape of the funeral, paced off the distance and recalculated markers and space; all to no avail.
She is missing.
When I said that maybe she can't rest until she finds her head - after giving me a crooked smile which said that only someone with too many years of dealing with this kind of thing could make that kind of joke and be understood - he replied that it made as much sense to him as any other explanation that's been offered.
My faith, and his, teaches us that we are ALL named, known and loved by our Creator.
No matter how this life maims and dis-members us, He will re-member and reclaim us as His own.
I pray that, in the only sense that truly matters, she has already been found and is safe at Home.