Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

"Maternal Instinct"

LAS VEGAS — August 5, 1998

Las Vagas Skyline
Las Vagas Skyline
The Del Mar Motel on Las Vegas Boulevard had surely seen better days. Perhaps in its heyday the owners didn't advertise hourly room rates, free porn, and 25-inch television screens. Maybe tourists and traveling salesmen and conventioneers once chose to stay at the Del Mar on the north end of the Las Vegas strip because of its clean and inexpensive rooms, hospitable service, and close proximity to downtown.


But if so, it had been a long time.

On this hot August night, a guest in Room 6 was disturbed by a foul odor emanating from somewhere inside the room. Cheap lodgings in dive motels often come with funky smells but this was downright putrid.

Eventually, the guest called the front desk, and the night clerk sent a maintenance man around to check it out. The handyman discovered that the foul smell was coming from the air conditioner. When he pulled off the vent, a nauseating stench spewed out, gagging him like a punch to the throat. Jammed inside the air conditioning duct was a plastic trash bag. When he pulled on the bag, a partially decomposed hand flopped out.


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