The Orange Hair Murders

The Orange Hair Murders

A Mexican national of Mennonite descent has become the drug cartel kingpin for Northern Mexico. For sport he has men kidnapped so he can hunt them.


Action / Adventure


Duke Posey (United States)

Shortly Before Dawn

Saturday, October 26, 1985

Chesler’s Ridge

Cullman County, Alabama

Billy Sherman made his way up the old logging road that ran from the pasture behind Floyd Kelso’s barn to the top of Chesler's Ridge. He paused and looked up at the full moon. The full moon shining through the gap in the trees provides enough light for him to easily see his way. His destination is an old oak tree that sits at the eastern edge of the ten acre clearing covering the top of the ridge. It is a trek he has made dozens of times.

Scrub brush and small trees grow in the middle of the logging road but it will be many more years before anything will be able to grow in the hard packed ruts made by the heavily loaded trucks that hauled pulpwood off the top of Chesler's Ridge more than thirty years ago.

At the oak he took his backpack off and sat it on the ground. From it he took a two decade old oilcloth tablecloth and shook it all around the tree to scare away any animals that might be in the area. Once as a teenager he had come up to the old oak in the predawn darkness, threw the tablecloth on the ground and sat down. He immediately felt something moving beneath him. He stood and picked up the tablecloth, a small animal scampered into the woods. Now he always made sure he wasn’t going to scare the living daylights out of anything before placing the tablecloth on the ground. Billy has been watching the sunrise sitting on the tablecloth and leaning back against the oak tree since he was twelve years old. He sat down, stretched out his legs, leaned back against the old oak and waited for the sun to rise. Facing west he couldn't see the streak of light just starting to show on the eastern horizon.

He poured a cup of steaming coffee from a thermos and took out one of the two egg sandwiches he had prepared before leaving home. There was a slight chill in the air. The aroma from the coffee blended perfectly with the autumn smell of the woods. He had just about finished his second sandwich and coffee when the tops of the treetops across the clearing started reflecting the sun's rays. He inhaled the aroma of the strong coffee, cleared his mind and watched the sunlight climb down the trees across the clearing.

When the sun reached the bottom tree limbs he was satisfied he had the start of a perfect day. He packed everything back into his backpack.

He spotted the body as soon as he stood up. It was a man in a 'Vitruvian Man' poise with his arms at shoulder height and his legs spread shoulder width apart. The thing that caught Billy’s attention was the man's hair. It was bright orange. Billy ran toward the man but stopped twenty feet away when he was able to determine the man was dead. The eyes were open but unseeing. He made mental notes of the body and its immediate surroundings then took off at a trot to Floyd Kelso's farmhouse and the telephone it held.

He let himself in with a key on his keyring. He found Floyd in the kitchen standing at the stove. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and fried bacon filled the room. Floyd spoke without turning around.

“Morning Billy. Saw your Bronco outside. Figured you were up at that old oak. Just frying some eggs, would you like a couple.”

“Not this morning Floyd, thanks. I need to use your telephone.” Billy replied as he lifted the handset from the phone on the wall.

Floyd put the two eggs he had fried on a plate, added bacon, fried potatoes, two of his homemade biscuits, some apple butter then sat down at the counter facing Billy.

Billy opened the phone book to the blue pages, found the number he wanted and dialed.

“Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Bates speaking.”

“Deputy Bates, this is Billy Sherman. I’d like to report finding a dead body.”

“Did you say a dead body sir?”

“Yes I did.”

“Your full name sir.”

“William Lee Sherman.”

“Where is the body located?”

“On Chesler’s Ridge.”

“That would be on Floyd Kelso's place.”

“That's correct.”

“Where are you calling from, sir?”

“From Floyd's house.”

“Mr. Sherman, please standby, and remain on the telephone. I need to notify the Sheriff but I have some additional questions to ask.”

“Of course.”

Deputy Jacob Bates placed Billy on hold, pressed the button for line two and dialed a number from memory.

“Hello.” a female voice said.

“Hi Louise, this is Jake, could I speak to Jack please?”

Louise Prescott held the phone toward her husband.

“Jake.” She said.

“Morning Jake. What’s up?”

“Morning Jack. I’ve got a Mr. Sherman on line one. Says he’s found a dead body on Chesler’s Ridge.”

“Where is Mr. Sherman now?”

“He's calling from Floyd Kelso's house.”

“Okay, roll whoever is in the western part of the county to his location. I’ll be there as quick as I can get there.”

“That would be James Seagrove.” said Bates

With nothing else that needed to be said the sheriff hung up.

“Uniform or jeans?” asked Louise.

“Jeans, I may be walking around in the woods.”

Ten minutes later he was walking out the door dressed in soft denim jeans, a flannel shirt and hiking boots. His Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Mag revolver holster was clipped to his belt on his left side, butt forward, cross-draw style. This allowed the eight inch barrel to fit down the edge of the seat when he sat in his patrol car and at his desk. His badge was clipped to his left shirt pocket. Fourteen minutes after backing out of his driveway he pulled in beside a county patrol car at the Kelso farmhouse.

“Morning Sheriff.” greeted Deputy James Seagrove as the sheriff got out of his car.

“Morning Jim.” replied the sheriff.

“Mr. Sherman?” asked the sheriff approaching Billy.

“Yes sir, I’m Billy Sherman.” replied Billy, taking the sheriff’s offered hand.

“I understand you’ve found a body?”

“Yes sir.” replied Billy

“Start at when you got here this morning and give me as detailed account of everything you can remember.” said Sheriff Jack Prescott.

Billy spent the next ten minutes giving the sheriff a detailed account of his actions that morning. Describing in detail the man and his immediate surroundings. Answering several questions the sheriff asked.

“Mr. Sherman, how far is it to the body?” asked Sheriff Prescott.

“Just over a mile.” replied Billy.

“Jim, I’d like for you to stay here and help Dr. Steinhardt with her equipment. I'm going on up with Mr. Sherman. Mr. Sherman could you give Deputy Seagrove directions to the body and could an ATV four-wheeler get up there?” asked Sheriff Prescott.

“It's straight through the barn. An old logging road comes out of the woods across the pasture directly behind the barn. There's a gate in the fence. Make sure you close it after going through. Just follow the logging road to the top of the hill. I don't think you'll be able to get an ATV up there. The ruts of the logging road are too deep in places. The woods are too thick and anywhere off the old logging road the slope is too steep.” answered Billy.

“I agree.” said Floyd Kelso.

The sheriff walked back to his car, opened the driver's door, leaned in and picked up the microphone to his car radio.

“Dispatch, County One.”

“Dispatch, go ahead Sheriff.”

“Jake, call Dr. Steinhardt at home and patch her in.”

“Calling now.”


“Hello” he heard on the car speakers.

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