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The Full Story

The Ice Woman Cometh


Embarrass, Minnesota, Wednesday, March 10, 2021


Captain R.J.Pinkerton gave a questioning look to Officers Alvin Bailey, Linda Wallace and Del Medina; the entire police force of Embarrass, Minnesota.  “Okay, what’s got you three so riled up? I’m hungry. Anyone else hungry?”  Pinkerton broke open a box of Triscuits, took a pocket knife from his pocket and knifed wedges of feta cheese onto a plastic plate.


Bailey, Wallace and Medina exchanged looks. No one wanted to begin.


“I understood her death was an accident. Young woman goes out for a walk in sub-zero weather, trips or gets disorientated and ends up freezing to death. You all know our town is one of the coldest places in the country. Hell, we could all have pet penguins if we wanted. Though I’ve heard they’re ornery birds.”


Pinkerton peeled a second blade from his knife and sliced triangular wedges from a Red Delicious apple.  “Most of us take a bit of pride in that. The young woman wasn’t the first to be caught in  the cold around here; won’t be the last.” Pinkerton offered the crackers, cheese and apples around the table. Officers, Bailey and Medina picked off the plate. Linda Wallace declined.


Pinkerton took a long gulp of coffee, “Do you mind if we start with you Linda?”


Medina and Bailey sighed. Wallace opened a manila folder, withdrew a stack of paper and began. “At first, I thought it was an accident too, Captain. But then I looked at it from a woman’s perspective. It wasn’t that she went outside. It was that she went outside in the middle of the night. It was fifteen below. She wasn’t going shopping.  Wasn’t like there was a Black Friday sale. No restaurants were open. Olivia Gladden was new to town, she wasn’t out visiting friends.“ Wallace turned to Bailey and Medina for confirmation and then continued.  “So I thought maybe something inside her house … drove her outside. And right away things got peculiar. There wasn’t much inside. A sofa, few chairs, no T.V. or radio, ‘frigerator had a quart of milk, a dark brown banana and an untouched cheese casserole.  But…”


“Linda,” Pinkerton interrupted. “We were all locked up for three or four days because of the lousy weather. She could have easily eaten through her food supply.”


“You know, Captain… that’s what I thought too, but then there was no garbage. Nothing in the bucket under the sink. Nothing in the bin outside. But the clincher was the bathroom.”


“The bathroom?”


“Yes, Sir. There was  hardly anything in there either. Oh, a toothbrush and toothpaste, but no bath soap, shampoo,  

razor or the cincher… there was no deodorant.  Not a woman in Minnesota who doesn’t have deodorant in her bathroom. Even if she occasionally sleeps elsewhere, she might share toothpaste and shampoo, but she won’t share deodorant.”


 “What are you getting at?”


“I don’t know why she went outside, but I do know she wasn’t living in that house, Captain… Something was way out of sync, so I asked Bailey to ask around.“


Pinkerton looked from face to face. “I think we agree people do some goofy things. Bailey why did you think the ‘Ice Woman’ deserved more attention?”


“Wallace got me thinking. So I knocked on a few doors and things got weird in a hurry.” Bailey placed a tape recorder on the conference table then opened a blue binder and flipped a few pages. “The first person I talked to was Maurice Martin, who discovered the body.  I’m going to skip the incidentals .Here’s what he told me.” Bailey hit the play button on the recorder.


“It was early morning and the dog was raisin’ hell so I took him out for a pee. But, as soon as I opened the door he took a sniff and bolted for my truck. That’s where I found her. Tucked near the wheel well.  All folded up. She was a new neighbor. Just moved in.  And… now Officer, I don’t like talking ‘bout people; especially the dead, but she was an odd one. More than quiet. Guarded.  Don’t think I ever saw her face full on. Don’t think anyone did...”  


Bailey hit the pause button… “ Mr. Martin is in his eighties. He called us and 911, but, because of the weather he couldn’t get any help until the snowplows cleared the roads the next morning.  I asked him what he did after he discovered the body…” Bailey hit the play button. 


Maurice Martin’s voice filled the room. “Not much I could do, Officer… Dog took care of his business and we went back to the house. I poured myself a shot of whiskey. Wasn’t like the poor woman was going anywhere. She looked like a human popsicle.”  Lieutenant Bailey hit the pause button and opened a binder. 


“Then I talked to Emma and Wilfred Block. They lived next door.  Mrs. Block did most of the talking.  If you don’t mind, I’ll by pass all the introductory material.“  The group shrugged as one. Medina snatched a few apple slices. Bailey hit the play button.   


A female voice with a tinge of a German accent filled the conference room. 


“She was a strange one. An odd little thing. Always wore one of them hoodie things. Never bothered to say hello or good-bye. I baked her a nice casserole.  A welcome to the neighborhood. Wilfred and I knocked on her door. She never even bothered to open it. Told us to leave our welcome dish on her mat. Which, in my opinion,  wasn’t very welcoming. ” 


A male voice came on the tape. “She did say thank you, Dear. She said it more than once… ”


Bailey hit the pause button. “That’s the voice of Emma’s husband, Wilfred. When we finally identified the young woman’s body we found out she’d disappeared a year ago May. About seven hundred miles from here. But now I’m stealing Medina’s thunder. He’s the techie.”


Bailey nodded to Del Medina. Who swallowed a last chunk of apple and motioned for everyone to open their lap-tops.


“Go to settings and click share. I’m going to send you some info I discovered. We’ll look at a bit now; the rest will take some time to digest.”


Medina clicked several keys and looked up at Captain Pinkerton.

“Captain, what was already weird got weirder. When I Googled

Olivia Gladden… “


Pinkerton stared blankly at his computer screen. Officer Wallace saw his vacant look, subtly moved his computer under her eye, hit settings, clicked share and nodded go-ahead to Medina.


“…turns out there were more than one Olivia Gladden, but only one fit the description of our victim. And she wasn’t from Minnesota. She was born and raised in Indiana. Check out these newspaper articles.“


The conference room went silent as a series of banner newspaper headlines began scrolling across each person’s screen. 







Saturday, May 30, 2020




Olivia Gladden the popular and gifted, student body vice president of Plainfield High was last seen leaving the city’s main  library between 4:15 and 4:30 Thursday May 28th…


Family, teammates, faculty and coaches have expressed deep concern… 


If you know something…




Sunday, May 31, 2020


Anxiety  deepens for missing high school senior, Oliva Gladden.

Plainfield Police are looking to the public for any information regarding the missing girl.


Olivia Gladden a runaway?


Parents, Ralph and Elizabeth Gladden have offered a Fifty- Thousand Dollar reward for any information leading to the return of their only daughter…




Tuesday, June 2, 2020


Missing student’s bicycle and backpack discovered behind the Plainfield library’s parking lot. Olivia Gladden, high school senior…


Plainfield, Indiana: Police, students and faculty mobilize in search of Olivia Gladden…









Although Wednesday’s rally started quietly it quickly exceeded all expectations. Car washes, auctions and raffles are planned to increase the reward money.  Student Body officers, friends and faculty spoke.


Advanced Placement English teacher Garfield Parks, “I’ve been teaching for over five years. Olivia is one the brightest students I’ve ever had… A passionate young woman bordering on genius.”


Tadieus Jamerson, tennis coach, “Olivia had an invitation to Wimbledon. Someone knows where she is. We need everyone’s help.”


First Baptist Church Reverend Theodore Cruz, “Our daughter, our child, has gone missing. My brothers, my sisters raise your voices, pray for God’s mercy and the immediate return of God’s favorite daughter …. Olivia Gladdstone…


Reverend Cruz was latter chastised for repeatedly mispronouncing  Olivia Gladden’s name, praise the lord.   


Student Body president Rachel Willis, “Olivia is one of my closest friends. I miss her… We all miss her so much. We were going to double date to the senior ball and I was finally going to meet the love of her life… Someone must have seen something. Please…I want to receive my diploma with my best friend. I want to take her arm and raise it and toss our mortar boards in the air.”


Anthony Palma, student body treasure, “Money talks. Help us  raise the reward. Olivia was loved by all of us. ”


School Principal Pauline Clucas declared Thursday June 4, ‘Olivia Gladden Day,’  “Let’s put our minds together and find Olivia. Let the Plainfield graduating class of 2020… Graduate as one.


Police Chief Frank Card added, “We need everybody’s help.

No one believes Olivia just ran away.”



Officer Del Medina looked up from his laptop. “There are only two more items, Captain Pinkerton.  And then a few bombshells.”


“Can we start with the bombshells, Medina?”


Medina pretended to ignore Pinkerton’s request. He struck the share key on computer saying, “pay attention to the dates on these final articles.”





Friday, August 21, 2020


Plainfield Police are seeking more help from the public as they enter into a homicide investigation of Olivia Gladden, missing Plainfield high school senior…  


The reward to find Oliva Gladden now exceeds three hundred thousand dollar.






There have been no new developments in the disappearance of Olivia Gladden. Plainfield high school senior missing since May…     


“Okay, last November, Medina,” Captain Pinkerton said with growing frustration. “I’m waiting for the bombshell. Or was it bombshells?”


Medina smiled and gestured to his left, “I return the conversation back to Ms. Wallace.” 


“Here’s what we’ve got so far…Olivia Gladden disappeared last May in Plainfield, Indiana.  She’s loved by everyone.  The reward for her return grew daily. Plainfield is a small community. People and businesses dug into their own pockets. People loved and admired this young woman.”


Linda paused and took a sip of tea. “Olivia either chose to disappear two weeks before her senior prom and graduation. Highly unlikely.  Or someone wanted her gone. More likely.  And now, I turn this over to Bailey for the local angle.”




Officer Bailey didn’t miss a beat. “Yet, she turns up here in Embarrass eight months later. And the gregarious, magnanimous, outgoing teen, hides in a hoodie. Never extends a hand or talks to anybody.  Never attempts to meet a neighbor or make new friends and then one, night… when the temperature reaches fifteen degrees below zero she decides to go for a midnight stroll. She was a Mensa candidate. Voted most likely to whatever by her peers. As the facts came in I thought maybe it was suicide…”


“Suicide?” Pinkerton asked. “Why in the hell would she commit suicide?”


Bailey turned back to Wallace. “She was pregnant, Captain…”


“Oh, sweet Jesus. Pregnant.”


“But only two months pregnant.”


“And that’s important?” Pinkerton asked.


“Only if we all believe in miracles, because this was going to be the second virgin birth or somehow she got pregnant in a town where she didn’t know anyone and never socialized.”


“Or she was pregnant before she got here.”


“Bingo, Captain. And the last bomb shell. Do remember Emma and Wilfred Block?”


“The couple who lived next door… The folks with the cheese casserole?”


“That’s them. Three weeks ago they were up in Hibbing, shopping at the Mesabi Mall and guess who they saw?”


“Jezzes, Bailey get on with it.”



“They saw their dead next door neighbor walking around the mall. They weren’t sure at first. But then, last week they were up there shopping again and guess who was working at the check-out stand at the Walmart Super Center.”


Pinkerton let out a long sigh.


“Oops, sorry, Captain. Anyway Emma even snuck around and snapped a picture with her cell phone. Take a look on your Ipad.”


“That’s her.”


“Or Olivia’s twin sister.”


“Except she didn’t have a twin,” Medina offered.     


“How come we didn’t know any of this until now? “ Pinkerton asked.


Bailey led the conversation. “It  turns out you can't just warm up a frozen body and proceed with the autopsy. It had to be defrosted slowly in a refrigeration unit. It took more than a week.  Go any faster and the outside of the body will start to decompose while the inner organs are still frozen.”


“And in Olivia’s case a fetus.” Wallace added.


Bailey turned to Wallace with an admiring glance. “Linda’s intuition prompted most of the action. And when we finally got the report from the forensic pathologist they hinted that Olivia’s body may have been partially thawed at one point and moved.”


“Like on a seven hundred mile road trip from Plainfield, Indiana to Embarrass, Minnesota.”  Pinkerton grinned. “Great work all of you. I very proud. Let’s get everything on paper and make an official statement. We’ve got a murder on our hands.”




On Thursday, March 25, 2021 Officers Bailey, Wallace and Medina presented an official crime report to Captain R.J. Pinkerton.


The report included a lengthy interview with Loretta Reynolds and though she was found to be complicit, she was not arrested.


Pinkerton forwarded the report to Chief Frank Card of the Plainfield, Indiana police department.


On Wednesday, April 14, 2021 Chief Card sent a confidential e-mail to the Embarrass Police Department.


Included with the accolades on their police work were the following comments:


Olivia was here in town almost all of the time….


Plainfield is a small town, I thought we’d covered all the bases.

I should have figured out there would be a body as soon as the reward money kept growing and the murderer got greedy.  


Questions for the sharp minded:


1. Who was Loretta Reynolds and how was she complicit?


The murderer had inherited one of the most popular shops on the main street of Plainfield. He had known Olivia since they were children. DNA evidence proved that he was also the father of Olivia’s unborn child.


3. How was it so easy for him to hide Olivia’s body?


4. Why did he wait until January to bring Olivia’s body to Embarrass?  And why Embarrass?  Answers to all of the above supplied upon request.

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