Welcome back to the continuation of last week's post from Homicide Detective Hussey. If you missed it, you'll want to read it first to refresh your memory about Billy, the practical joker and the rest of the players And perhaps it's a fitting post for a Friday the 13th--the second in two months.
Where we left off ... Also in November, Sergeant Andy Yatchesky was working internal affairs out of the office of the Chief of Police. Andy was growing accustomed to the chief's daily tirades and was always looking for a way to get on his good side. Officer Billy Hyatt knew that the Sergeant would love some information that no one else had. Billy formulated a plan.....
"Mornin Sarge," Billy said as he met Yatchesky in the lobby.
"Officer Hyatt, how are you?"
"Okay," Billy replied, "but did you hear about Inspector Thileson?"
"No." The Sergeant looked interested.
"He died this morning." Billy's voice trailed off and he tried to look sad.
"Who told you?"
"His wife called me early this morning. He just fell asleep and didn't wake up. We were really close." Billy's face was stone sober as he laid it on.
"I'd better tell the Chief," Andy said and walked briskly away.
Billy found some paperwork to keep busy until the Sergeant returned.
"Thank you for the information, Billy," Andy said. "The Chief hadn't heard the news. He called the City Manager and funeral arrangements are being made."
"Holy shit." Billy jumped up out of his chair. "You didn't tell the Chief that shit did you?"
Andy turned ghost white. "What are you saying? Oh my God Billy, I'm not taking the fall for this. If this is another one of your sick jokes, you're through. I'll kill you."
Billy didn't hear the rest. He was running out the back door and getting into his car. The sergeant was still screaming when Billy squealed out of the parking lot at 9:05 am.
A number of calls were left with Billy's wife that day with instructions to call as soon as he returned. An APB was broadcast to all units with orders to bring Officer Hyatt to the station immediately upon contact (DEAD OR ALIVE). But Billy Hyatt was nowhere to be found. He had just disappeared.
That afternoon at 3:28 PM, in the oncology ward of the Lakeland General Hospital, Inspector Jim Thileson "succumbed to a prolonged illness," or so the obituary read.
Andy Yatchesky will tell you, though he has no proof, he believes Officer Hyatt, who has no alibi to this day for his activities of that fateful afternoon, had a hand in the coincidental death of the much maligned Inspector.
Andy wasn't too upset though, because the Chief and the City Manager had the funeral plans already in the works and came off like the heads up guys that they were. Although the Chief saw the time on the death certificate and remarked to his secretary that it must be a mistake, he never questioned it. Sergeant Andy Yatchesky became Lieutenant Andy Yatchesky and decided to keep his mouth shut too.
The men of the Lakeland Police Department especially the midnight shift got their revenge also. After taking a ten-eight, they would drive to the Spur gas station, where they would consume copious amounts of black coffee. Between two and three AM, when their bladders could stand the pressure no longer, they would make their way to the city cemetery.
As they drove through the large wrought iron gates, they would kill the lights to their cruisers and stealthily coast to the rear of the cemetery and find the final resting place of Inspector Thileson. Each night without fail, several of the faithful would gather there to relieve themselves on the grass and headstone, which bore the inspector's name. Sometimes there would be a line. It became a ritual among those who had known him well.
As one patrolman said, "It is a fitting tribute."