Death Cleanup – Wedding Plans End in Tragedy in Brevard, NC: Part 1

Early Saturday morning, just as the sun rose, Justin decided to go for a run to get some exercise and, at the same time, recon the perfect spot to surprise his girlfriend of five years. It had to be perfect because he was only going to do this once.

He parked in a gravel lot right off NC 151 and headed toward the Mountains-to-Sea trailhead, which would lead to the top of Mt. Pisgah, near Brevard, North Carolina, and a breathtaking view. Justin had run and hiked here often during college, but since the main trail had several spurs easy to mistake for the main trail itself, he wanted to make sure he remembered the way before he brought Anna Grace back here later that day for a scenic hike and the big moment. After a quick warm up, off he ran in search of the perfect spot to ask Anna Grace to become his wife.

This would be Justin’s last run.


“I’m sorry, ma’am, but we can’t do anything until he’s been missing for 24 hours. Technically, a person isn’t missing until 24 hours passes, especially adults. He’s probably out with his friends, had a little too much to drink, and forgot to call.” The police officer glanced uneasily but steadfastly at the distraught woman on the other side of the window.

“No way! He doesn’t even drink! You don’t understand,” cried Anna Grace. “This isn’t like him at all. He has never even been late for a date, much less failed to show up at all! He’s a marine – well, an ex-marine. He served two tours in Iraq. He’s a fanatic about being on time and checking in! He’s always on my case about letting him or a friend know where I am every time I leave my apartment by myself!”

It was 10 PM. Justin was supposed to pick her up at 1 PM to spend the day together hiking.

“Have you called–?”

“Yes! Of course! 100 times! His cell phone goes straight to voice mail! Something’s happened to him!” She buried her face in her cupped hands and trembled and cried silently.

“When was the last time you talked to him?”

Anna Grace lifted her face and wiped tears from her right cheek. “He called me last night around 9 and said he’d be at my apartment at 1 today. That was the last time I heard from him.”

“OK. I’ll see what I can do.” Officer Kaminski escorted Anna Grace to his desk, took a report, and promised to try to start an investigation within the next couple of hours.

“Thank you. Please, please, do whatever you can.”

As she walked toward the door, Officer Kaminski stood up and called after her. “Wait – do you have tracking apps turned on for each other on your cell phones?”

Anna Grace turned abruptly toward the officer, visibly startled. “Oh my God! I forgot about that completely! Justin installed something like that on both our phones awhile back, but I never used mine!” She fumbled with her purse, pulled out her phone, dropped it nervously, and scrambled to pick it up from the floor. After turning the phone on and entering her code, she handed it to the officer.

“I have no idea what the app is or how to use it,” she said. “I just remember Justin putting it on there. He’s way more paranoid about safety than I am, I guess.”

Officer Kaminski took the phone, immediately found and opened the “Find My Friends” app, and clicked Justin’s name, which was the only name in the list.

Anna Grace held tightly clenched fists against her face, hiding everything below her nose, nervously waiting for the officer to tell her what he saw.

Officer Kaminski frowned deeply and glanced at his watch.

“This tracker says he’s in Pisgah National Forest, or at least that’s where his cell phone is.”

Anna Grace’s eyes widened and filled with fear. “Then that’s where HE is.”

“Well, now, slow down. Maybe he lost it while he was out there hiking around. Easy enough to do,” Officer Kaminski said.

She was shaking her head resolutely.

“No. No way. He keeps it in this clip-case holster thing that practically dead-bolts to his belt so he won’t lose it. But – it’s 10 o’clock at night. Why would he be out there – this late?”

Deep inside, both she and the officer knew the answer, or at least part of it.


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Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment