All right rookie, all this time I’ve been nurturing your little detective skills. I hope you’ve actually been paying attention because now it’s your turn to solve a case. I’ll be on the radio, but I think your britches are big enough to check the scene without me this time.
I’ll give you some background: The victim is a male, estimated 20s, reported by a girl named Diana Johnson on Nov. 24.
She’s a friend who works with him. She claims she was supposed to meet him that day, and he didn’t show up, so she went to check on him and found his body on the bed.
Well, go in when you’re ready. Make sure you look around thoroughly and see if anything pops out at you. You can do it kiddo, I believe in you.
Many cases of suicide involve a note. We’re getting a handwriting analysis of it to see if it’s forged. Authentic notes tend to be hopeless, a feeling of abandonment. Also, the pills are prescribed to Jonathan Lance, but the victim’s name is David Ross. That’s weird.
We’ve been able to get a couple of interviews: One with his friend Diana, who discovered him, and one with his boss Jonathan.
Diana Johnson, female, 37, co-worker of David, found the body. Mrs. Johnson, can you please tell me how you knew David.
“I’ve known him for awhile since he worked for the company. We’re just good friends. We check in on each other from time to time. We have the same taste in ballet. Swan Lake is both of our favorites. Nothing romantic, of course. I’m married. We’re just good friends.”
Hmm. How did you say you discovered David’s body?
“Well he was — OK, I was going to meet him for lunch. My birthday was earlier in the week. We were going to celebrate. I went to Lincoln Square restaurant where we always meet around 1:30. He wasn’t there and that’s really weird for Davi. He’s usually very punctual. I immediately got worried, so I went to his house, and that’s when I found him.”
So how did you get into the house? Do you own a key?
“Oh no, I don’t own a key to his house. It was just unlocked, I think. Yeah, it was just unlocked.”
Hmm. Did David seem depressed to you?
“He was happy around me, but he was an introverted person generally. Seemed a little like something was on his mind these last couple of months, but I don’t think he would have done this to himself, killed himself.”
Thank you, Diana, that’s all for now.
Jonathan Lance, male, 52, boss of David.
Mr. Lance, can you please tell me how you knew David?
“Well, he was an excellent employee for me. He started working for the dance company in the PR department, let’s see, I guess that was about three years ago in 1975. Quiet guy, kept to himself. He hung out with Diana occasionally, but besides that, he was just a quiet worker. I can’t say I saw this coming, but he was always a loner. Not much to share his emotions. I feel bad. Maybe there was something I should have done.”
So you wouldn’t say you noticed any abnormal behavior, especially in the last couple of months?
“You know, not that I can remember, but like I said, he wasn’t a sharer. If there was something going on, he probably wouldn’t have said anything about it anyway.”
Are you aware the pills we found by suicide note — they were prescribed to you?
“Yeah, well, I have trouble sleeping, and one day at work he mentioned he had trouble sleeping too, so I just let him have some. Sorry, I — I know that’s not allowed.”
Thank you sir, I think that’s all we need from you.
The lunch is scheduled on the calendar, so we know Diana wasn’t lying about that. That’s weird — there’s no blood found on the victim.
Well, I know you don’t have much to work with here rookie, but you’ve got to make some kind of call soon. If you need to re-examine something, you can take another look, think it over, and then make your choice.
Welcome back to the station, rookie. Glad to see you survived your first solo inspection. Suicide, huh? Looks that way.
Rookie, we overlooked something big. We got a call from Johnathan Lance’s wife. Jonathan Lance, the victim’s boss, remember?
She reported him missing, and when we looked into it, we discovered he had fled to Mexico. Something else: After analyzing the handwriting in the suicide note, we have a match. It’s Jonathan Lance. You need to get your ass back to that house, and figure this out.
Welcome back rookie, glad to see you survived your first solo inspection. We’ve got Diana here, let’s see if we can get anything from her now.
Mrs. Johnson, I hope you understand that this doesn’t look good for you. You discovered the body. You were the only person he seemed to have a regular social contact with. His journal spoke of forbidden love, and you are married. You have something to say? I sure hope so because we just need to find the right fingerprint in the right place, and your ass is rotting in County for quite some time unless you have something to admit to. I’m sure we could work out a plea deal.
“For last time, I know this doesn’t look good. I don’t know what to say. I would never do this to him.”
Rookie, we overlooked something big. The handwriting analysis reports just came back in on the suicide note. It’s Jonathan Lance, the victim’s boss. You need to get your ass back to that house and figure this out.
Welcome back to the station rookie, glad to see you survived your first solo inspection. We’ve got Jonathan here, let’s see what we can get from him.
Mr. Lance, you’re the last man most would suspect, but unfortunately for you, my partner here isn’t like most.
“OK, what do you want me to say?”
Are you really in love with him, or do you just enjoy being in a position of power over people in love?
“He was obsessed with me. Even to the point of spreading lies about me.”
“He tried to say that we were more than colleagues. Can you imagine? I’m married. I can’t help his delusions. He threatened me, really it was self-defense.”
Poisoning wine is an odd way to defend yourself. Did I mention that we have handwriting analysis reports coming back soon on that suicide note to see if it was forged or not. Why don’t you tell us what really happened, Mr. Lance, for David’s sake.
“True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys. It really was self-defense in a way. He tried to destroy me.”
Destroy, you how?
“He didn’t realize how much damage he could have done to both of us. It was so simple to him. He wanted to tell the world about us.”
And you couldn’t have that?
“No, I was trying to protect both of us.”
Protecting him by killing him?
“Look, I know it might not make sense to you, but the world wasn’t ready for us and for what we had.”
Goodbye Jonathan.Unfortunately, these cases don’t get any easier, but well done rookie.
The year is 1978, and the body of David Ross has just been discovered in his home. It’s your first ever lead case as a detective, and you must now put your skills to the test. What happened to David? Put on your Occulus headset and solve the crime.
A team of graduate students developed “The Archer” as an assignment for Interactive Storytelling and Computer Games.
Haley Hatfield: Lead Unity and Occulus developer
Josh Jordan: Unity and Occulus developer
Layn Pieratt: Writer and composer
Claire Soisson: Producer and cinematographer
Deonna Weatherly: Sound recordist and sound design
Other cast and crew
Jaeson Jackson: Actor
Katie Hodge: Actor
Katie Hauersperger: Production assistant