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New York City -Capt. Lincoln Henry Rhyme (Ret.), internationally known forensic scientist, died yesterday of gunshot wounds following an attack by a murder suspect he had been pursuing for more than a year.

The assailant, whose name is unknown but who goes by the nickname the Watchmaker, gained entrance to Capt. Rhymes Central Park West town house, shot him twice, and escaped. The assailants condition is unknown. He was believed to have been wounded by NYPD detective Amelia Sachs, who was present at the time. An extensive manhunt is under way in the metropolitan area.

Capt. Rhyme was pronounced dead at the scene.

This is a terrible loss, said Police Commissioner Harold T. Stanton, one that will be felt throughout the department, indeed throughout the entire city. Capt. Rhyme has been instrumental in bringing to justice many criminals who would not have been apprehended if not for his brilliance. The security of our city is now diminished due to this heinous crime.

For years Capt. Rhyme had been commanding officer of the unit that supervised the NYPD crime scene operation.

It was, in fact, while he was searching a scene in a subway tunnel undergoing construction work that he was struck by a falling beam, which broke his spine. He was rendered a C-4 quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down, able to move only one finger of his left hand and his shoulders and head. Though he was initially on a ventilator, his condition stabilized and he was able to breathe without assistance.

He retired on disability but continued to consult as a private criminalist, or forensic scientist, working primarily for the NYPD, though also for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Central Intelligence Agency, among others, as well as many international law-enforcement agencies.

Lincoln Rhyme was born in the suburbs of Chicago. His father was a research scientist who held various positions with manufacturing corporations and at Argonne National Laboratory. His mother was a homemaker and occasional teacher. The family lived in various towns in the northern Illinois area. In high school, Capt. Rhyme was on the varsity track-and-field team and president of the science club and the classics club. He was valedictorian of his high school graduating class. Capt. Rhyme was graduated from the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana, receiving dual degrees in chemistry and history. He went on to study geology, mechanical engineering, and forensic science at the graduate level.

Capt. Rhyme turned down lucrative offers to work in the private sector or in academia and chose instead to specialize in crime scene work.

He said in an interview that theoretical science had no interest for him. He wanted to put his talents to practical use. I couldnt be a karate expert who spends all his time in the monastery or practice hall. Id be itching to get out on the street.

Some friends believed an incident in his past, possibly a crime of some sort, steered him to law enforcement, but none was able to say what that might have been.

Capt. Rhyme attended the NYPD Police Academy in Manhattan and joined the force as an officer in the crime scene unit. He quickly rose through the division and was eventually named commanding officer of the division overseeing the unit while still a captain, usually a position held by an officer with the higher rank of deputy inspector.

Capt. Rhyme took forensic science in New York City to a new level. He fought for budget increases to buy state-of-the-art equipment, evidence-collection gear, and computers. He personally created a number of databases of samples, such as motor oils, gasoline, dirt, insects, animal droppings, and construction materials, against which his officers could compare trace evidence from crime scenes and thus identify and locate the perpetrator with unprecedented speed. He would wander through the streets of the city at all hours, collecting such materials.

He developed new approaches to searching crime scenes (for which he coined the now-common term walking the grid). He instituted the practice of using a single officer to examine scenes, believing that a solo searcher could achieve a better understanding of the crime and the perpetrator than a group of officers could.

FBI Special Agent Frederick Dellray, who worked with Capt. Rhyme frequently, said, When it came to physical evidence, there was not a soul in the country who was better. No, make that the world. I mean, he was the one we brought in to set up our Physical Evidence Response Team. Nobody from Washington or Quantico, nope. We picked him. I mean, thiss a guy solved a case cause he found a fleck of cow manure from the eighteen hundreds. He couldnt tell you who Britney Spears is or who won American Idol, but, it came to evidence, that man knew f***ing everything.

Although most senior crime scene officers are content to leave the actual searches and lab work to underlings, Capt. Rhyme would have none of that. Even as a captain, he searched scenes, gathered samples, and did much of the analysis himself.

When we were partnered, said Lt. Lon Sellitto, he was a lot of times first officer at the scene and would insist on searching it himself, even if it was hot.

A hot crime scene is one at which an armed and dangerous perpetrator might still be present.

I remember one time, Lt. Sellitto recalled, he was running a scene and the perp comes back with a gun, starts shooting. Lincoln dives under cover and returns fire, but he was mad about the whole thing-every time he fired, he said, he was contaminating the scene. I told him later, Geez, Linc, you shoot the guy, youre not gonna have to worry about the scene. He didnt laugh.

When asked once about his fastidious approach to forensic work, Capt. Rhyme cited Locards Principle, which was named after the early French criminalist Edmond Locard, who stated that in every crime there is some exchange between the criminal and the victim, or the criminal and the scene, though the trace might be extremely difficult to find.

As Capt. Rhyme put it: Often the only thing that will stop a vicious killer is a microscopic bit of dust, a hair, a fiber, a sloughed-off skin cell, a coffee stain. If youre lazy or stupid and miss that cell or fiber, well, howre you going to explain that to the family of the next victim?

Capt. Rhyme insisted on employees total devotion to their job, and once fired an officer for using the toilet beside the bedroom where a murder had occurred.

Still, he rewarded hard work and loyalty. A former prot'eg'e reported that on more than one occasion, Capt. Rhyme would berate senior police officials to secure raises or promotions for his people. Or he would adamantly, and loudly, defend his teams judgments about handling cases.

In several instances Capt. Rhyme himself ordered senior police officials, reporters, and even a deputy mayor arrested when their presence threatened to contaminate or interfere with a crime scene

In addition to gathering and analyzing evidence, Capt. Rhyme enjoyed testifying in court against those whose arrests he had participated in.

Bernard Rothstein, a well-known criminal-defense lawyer who has represented many organized-crime figures, recalled several cases in which Capt. Rhyme testified. If I saw that Rhyme had done the forensic work in a case against one of my clients, Id think, brother, I am not looking forward to that cross-examination. You can punch holes in the testimony of most crime scene cops when they get up on the stand. But Lincoln Rhyme? Hed punch holes in you.

After his accident at the subway crime scene, Rhyme converted a parlor in his Central Park West town house into a forensic lab, one that was as well equipped as those in many small cities.

Det. Melvin Cooper, an NYPD crime scene officer who often worked with Capt. Rhyme and did much of his laboratory work for him, recalled one of the first cases run out of his town house. It was a big homicide, and we had a bunch of evidence. We cranked up the gas chromatograph, the scanning electron microscope, and the mass spectrometer. Some other instruments too. Then I turned on a table lamp, and that was the last straw. It blew out the electricity. I dont mean just his town house. I mean the entire block and a lot of Central Park too. Took us nearly an hour to get back on line.

Despite his injury, Capt. Rhyme was not active in disability rights organizations. He once told a reporter, Im a white male who lives in New York City, is six feet tall, weighs 182 pounds, has dark hair, and is disabled. Those are all conditions that have, to a greater or lesser degree, affected my career as a criminalist. I dont focus on any of them. My purpose in life is to find the truth behind crimes. Everything else is secondary. In other words, Im a criminalist who, by the way, happens to be disabled.

Ironically, largely because of this attitude, Capt. Rhyme has been held out by many advocates as an example of the new disabled movement, in which individuals are given neither to self-pity nor to exploiting or obsessing over their condition.

Lincoln Rhyme stood for the proposition that the disabled are human beings first, with the same talents and passions-and shortcomings-as everyone else, said Sonja Wente, director of the Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Center. He avoided both the pedestal and the soapbox.

Capt. Rhyme himself observed in a recent interview, The line between the disabled and the nondisabled is shrinking. Computers, video cameras, high-definition monitors, biometric devices, and voice-recognition software have moved my life closer to that of somebody whos fully able-bodied, while the same technology is creating a more sedentary, housebound life for those who have no disability whatsoever. From what Ive read, I lead a more active life than a lot of people nowadays.

Nonetheless, Capt. Rhyme did not simply accept his disability; he fought hard to maintain his ability to live as normal a life as he could and, in fact, to improve his condition.

Lincoln engaged in a daily regimen of exercises on various machinery, including a stationary bike and a treadmill, said Thom Reston, his personal aide and caregiver for a number of years. I was always saying slow down, take it easy, watch your blood pressure. The aide added, laughing, He ignored me.

In fact, in recent years, Reston said, the exercise paid off, and Capt. Rhyme was able to regain some use of his extremities and some sensation, a feat that spinal-cord doctors described as a rare achievement.

Capt. Rhyme was not only a practicing criminalist; throughout his tenure at the NYPD, he was in demand as a teacher and lecturer. After his accident, when traveling became more difficult, he continued to lecture on occasion at John Jay School of Criminal Justice and Fordham University in New York City. He wrote about forensic issues, and his articles have appeared in, among others, Forensic Science Review, The New Scotland Yard Forensic Investigation Annual, American College of Forensic Examiners Journal, Report of the American Society of Crime Lab Directors, and The Journal of the International Institute of Forensic Science.

He authored two books: a text on forensic science used by thousands of police departments and law-enforcement agencies around the world, and a popular nonfiction book, The Scenes of the Crime, about sites in New York City where unsolved murders occurred. The book is still in print.

Capt. Rhyme was himself the subject of a series of bestselling popular novels, which recounted some of his better-known cases, including The Bone Collector, about a serial kidnapper; The Stone Monkey, recounting the hunt for a Chinese snakehead, or human smuggler; and The Twelfth Card, in which he and Det. Amelia Sachs, who worked with him often, investigated a crime that occurred just after the Civil War.

Publicly dismissive of the novels, he stated in interviews that he thought the books merely trivial entertainments, good for reading on airplanes or at the beach, but little else.

Privately, though, he was delighted to be the subject of the series, keeping an autographed set on his shelves. Visitors reported that he would often make them sit silently and listen to passages he particularly liked on CD.

Lincoln and his ego were never far apart, joked Mr. Reston.

Capt. Rhyme was divorced from his wife, Blaine Chapman Rhyme, twelve years ago. They had no children. He is survived by his partner, Det. Sachs; his aunt, Jeanette Hanson; and four cousins, Arthur Rhyme, Marie Rhyme-Sloane, Richard Hanson, and Margaret Hanson.

A memorial service for Capt. Rhyme will be held at 7:00 p.m., Monday, at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street, at Central Park West, New York, NY. Det. Sachs has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a charitable organization for the benefit of children with spinal-cord injuries or disease.

The Lineup: The World`s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives

The first floor of the town house on Central Park West was quiet, dark. The lights were off, and little of the dusk light from outside penetrated the curtains in the east-facing room.

What had once been a quaint Victorian parlor was now filled with laboratory equipment, shelves, cabinets, office chairs, electronic devices. On examining tables were plastic and paper bags, and tubes and boxes containing evidence. They were in no particular order.

The atmosphere here was of a workplace whose otherwise busy pulse had been stopped cold.

Tall, red-haired Amelia Sachs stood in the corner, beside frumpy Lon Sellitto. They both wore black suits.

Her eyes gazed down at Lincoln Rhymes obituary.

Sellitto glanced down at it. Weird, hm?

She gave a faint, unhappy laugh, then shook her head.

I felt exactly the same way. Hard enough to think about the idea, you know, without seeing it in black-and-white.

Yeah, I guess thats it.

Sellitto looked at his watch. Well, its about time.

The hour was close to seven p.m., Monday, when the obit announced the memorial service was about to start.

Ready?

As Ill ever be.

The two shared a glance, left the town house. Sachs locked the door. She glanced up at Lincoln Rhymes darkened bedroom, outside of which falcons nested on the ledge. She and Sellitto started down the street toward the Society for Ethical Culture, which was just a short walk away.

The Lineup: The World`s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives

Amelia Sachs returned to the town house, accompanied by a group of other officers.

Casual observers might have thought that the cops were returning from the memorial service for a reception at the home of the deceased.

But theyd have been wrong. The hour was merely 7:20, which wouldnt have allowed nearly enough time for a proper service, even for someone as unspiritual as Lincoln Rhyme. And a closer look at the officers would have revealed that they had their weapons drawn and were whispering into microphones held in hands or protruding from headsets.

The dozen officers split into two groups, and on word from Lon Sellitto at a nearby command post, one sped through the front door, another jogged around back.

Amelia Sachs, not surprisingly, was the first one through the front door.

The lights flashed on and she crouched in the doorway, ignoring the painful griping of arthritic joints as she trained her Glock on an astonished man in a suit and dark blue shirt, bending over an evidence table. He was surprised in the act of picking up a plastic bag in his latex-gloved fingers.

Freeze, Sachs barked, and he did, noting undoubtedly the steadiness of her hand holding the pistol and the look in her eye that explained she was more than prepared to fire it.

I-

Hands on your head.

The solidly built middle-aged man sighed in disgust, dropped the bag, and complied. Look, I can explain.

Sachs wondered how often shed heard that in her years as a cop, at moments just like this.

Cuff him, search him, she barked to young, spiky-haired Ron Pulaski and the other officers on the takedown team. Hes a cop. Remember, he might have two weapons.

They relieved the man of his service Glock and, yep, a backup in an ankle holster, then cuffed him.

You dont understand.

Sachs had heard that quite a bit too.

Detective Peter Antonini, youre under arrest for murder. She offered up the mantra of the Miranda warning, then asked, Do you wish to waive your right to remain silent?

No, I sure as hell dont.

Theres not much he needs to say anyway, said a new voice in the room. Lincoln Rhyme wheeled his TDX wheelchair out of the small elevator that connected the lab with the upstairs bedroom. He nodded at the examination table. Looks like the evidence tells it all.

The Lineup: The World`s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives

You? Antonini gasped. Youre you were dead.

I thought you wanted to remain silent, Rhyme reminded him, enjoying the look of absolute astonishment on the guilty mans face.

The criminalist wheeled to the evidence table and looked over what the officers had pulled from Antoninis pocket-Baggies of hair and dirt and other trace evidence, which he had intended to substitute for the evidence sitting on the table, evidence the officer believed would convict him of murder.

You son of a bitch.

He keeps talking, Rhyme said, amused. Whats the point of Miranda?

At which point detective second-class Peter Antonini, attached to Major Cases, did indeed fall silent as Sachs called Sellitto in the command van and told him about the successful takedown. Sellitto would in turn relay the news to the brass at One Police Plaza.

You were dead.

Rhymes phony death and the obituary had been a last-ditch effort to solve a series of crimes that cut to the heart of the NYPD, crimes that might have gone unnoticed if not for an offhand observation made by Ron Pulaski a week before.

The young officer was in the lab helping Sellitto and Rhyme on a murder investigation in Lower Manhattan, when a supervisor called with the news that the suspect had shot himself. Rhyme found the death troubling; he wanted closure in his cases, sure, but resolution by suicide was inelegant. It didnt allow for complete explanations, and Lincoln Rhyme detested unanswered questions.

It was then that Pulaski had frowned and said, Another one?

Whatta you mean? Sellitto had barked.

One of our suspects dying before he gets collared. Thats happened before. Those two others. Remember, sir?

No, I dont.

Tell us, Pulaski, Rhyme had encouraged.

About two months, that Hidalgo woman, she was killed in a mugging.

Rhyme remembered. A woman being investigated for attempted murder-beating her young child nearly to death-was found dead, killed during an apparent robbery. The evidence had initially suggested that Maria Hidalgo was guilty of beating the child, but after her death it was found that she was innocent. Her ex-husband had had some kind of psychotic break and attacked the child. Sadly, shed died before she could be vindicated.

The other case, Pulaski had reminded them, involved an Arab American whod gotten into a fight with some non-Muslim men and killed one of them. Rhyme and Sellitto were looking into the politically charged case, when the suspect had fallen in his bathtub and drowned. Rhyme later determined that the Muslim had killed the victim, but under circumstances that suggested manslaughter or even negligent homicide, not murder.

He, too, died before the facts had come out.

Kinda strange, Sellitto had said, then nodded at Pulaski. Good thinking, kid.

Rhyme had said, Yeah, too strange. Pulaski, do me favor and check out if therere any other cases like those-where suspects under investigation got offed or committed suicide.

A few days later, Pulaski came back with the results: There were seven cases in which suspects had died while out on bail or before theyd been officially arrested. The means of death were suicide, accident, and random mugging.

Sellitto and Rhyme wondered if maybe a rogue cop was taking justice into his own hands-getting details on the progress of cases, deciding the suspects were guilty, and executing them himself, avoiding the risk that the suspects might get off at trial.

The detective and Rhyme understood the terrible damage this could cause the department if true-a murderer in their midst using NYPD resources to facilitate his crimes. They talked to Chief of Department McNulty and were given carte blanche to get to the truth.

Amelia Sachs, Pulaski, and Sellitto interviewed friends and family of the suspects and witnesses nearby at the time they had died. From these accounts, it appeared that a middle-aged white man had been seen with many of the suspects just before their deaths. Several witnesses thought the man had displayed a gold shield; he was therefore a detective. The killer clearly knew Rhyme, since three of the victims were apparently murdered while the criminalist was running their cases. He and Sachs came up with a list of white detectives, aged thirty-five to fifty-five, hed worked with over the past six months.

They surreptitiously checked the detectives whereabouts at the times of the killings, eventually clearing all but twelve.

Rhyme opened an official investigation into the most recent case-the fake suicide that Pulaski had commented on. The scene was pretty cold and hadnt been well preserved-being only a suicide-but Amelia Sachs came up with a few clues that gave some hope of finding the killer. A few clothing fibers that didnt match anything in the victims apartment, tool marks that might have come from jimmying a window, and traces of unusual cooking oil. Those werent helpful in finding the killers identity, but something else she found suggested where he might live: traces of loam-rich soil that turned out to be unique to the banks of the Hudson River, some of which contained white gas, kerosene used in boats.

So it was possible that the rogue cop lived near the river in Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester, or New Jersey.

This narrowed the list to four detectives: from the Bronx, Diego Sanchez; from New Jersey, Carl Sibiewski; from Westchester, Peter Antonini and Eddie Yu.

But there the case stalled. The evidence wasnt strong enough to get a warrant to search their houses for the clothing fibers, tools, cooking oil, and guns.

They needed to flush him out. And Rhyme had an idea how.

The killer would know that Rhyme was investigating the suicide-it was an official case-and would know that the criminalist had some evidence. They decided to give him the perfect opportunity to steal it or replace it with something implicating someone else.

So Rhyme arranged his own death and had the chief send out the memo about it to a number of officers, including the four suspects (the others were told of the ploy, and they agreed to play along). The memo would mention the memorial service, implying that at that time the lab would be unoccupied.

Sellitto set up a search-and-surveillance team outside the town house, and while Rhyme remained in his bedroom, Sachs and Sellitto played the good mourners and left, giving the perp a chance to break in and show himself.

Which he oh so courteously had done, using a screwdriver that appeared to be the same one that had left marks on the windows of prior victims residences.

Rhyme now ordered, Get a warrant. I want all the clothes in his house, cooking oils and soil samples, other tools too. And any guns. Send em to ballistics.

As he was led to the door, Peter Antonini pulled away roughly from one of the officers holding him and spun to face Rhyme and Sachs. You think the system works. You think justice is served. His eyes were mad with rage. But it doesnt. Ive been a cop long enough to know how screwed up it all is. You know how many guilty people get off every day? Murderers, child abusers, wife beaters Im sick of it!

Amelia Sachs responded. And what about those innocent ones you killed? Our system would have worked for them. Yours didnt.

Acceptable losses, he said coolly. Sacrifices have to be made.

Rhyme sighed. He found rants tedious. Its time you left, Detective Antonini. Get him downtown.

The escorts led him out the door.

Thom, if you dont mind, its cocktail hour. Well past it, in fact.

A few moments later, as Thom was fastening a cup of single-malt scotch to Rhymes chair, Lon Sellitto walked into the room. He squinted at Rhyme. You dont even look sick. Let alone dead.

Funny. Have a drink.

The chunky detective pursed his lips, then said, You know how many caloriesre in whiskey?

Less than a doughnut, Ill bet.

Sellitto cocked his head, meaning good point, and took the glass Thom offered. Sachs declined, as did Pulaski.

The rumpled detective sipped the whiskey. Chief of departments on his way. Wants to thank you. Press officer too.

Oh, great, Rhyme muttered. Just what I need. A bunch of sappy-eyed grateful visitors. Hell. I liked being dead better.

Linc, got a question. Whyd you pick the Watchmaker to do the deed?

Because hes the only credible perp I could think of. Rhyme had recently foiled an elaborate murder plot by the professional killer, whod threatened Rhymes life before disappearing. Everybody on the force knows he wants to kill me. The criminalist took a long sip of the smoky liquor. And hes probably one of the few men in the world who could.

An uneasy silence followed that sobering comment, and Pulaski apparently felt the need to fill it. Hey, Detective Rhyme, is this all accurate? A nod at the memo that contained his obituary.

Of course it is, Rhyme said, as if the comment were absurd. It had to be-in case the killer knew something about me. Otherwise he might think something was up.

Oh, sure. I guess.

And by the way, do you always get your superior officers attention with hey?

Sorry. I-

Relax, rookie. Im a civilian, not your superior. But its something to ponder.

Ill keep it in mind, sir.

Sachs sat next to Rhyme and put her hand on his-the right one, which had some motion and sensation. She squeezed his fingers. Gave me kind of a pause. Looking down at the sheet. Lon and I were talking about it.

It had given Rhyme some pause too. He felt the breeze from deaths wings nearly every day, closer than to most people. Hed learned to ignore the presence. But seeing the account in black-and-white had been a bit startling.

Whatta you gonna do with it? Sellitto asked, glancing down at the paper.

Save it, of course. Such beautiful prose, such pithy journalism Besides, its going to come in handy someday.

Sellitto barked a laugh. Hell, Linc, youre gonna live forever. You know what they say. Only the good die young.


LINCOLN RHYME BY JEFFERY DEAVER | The Lineup: The World`s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives | COLIN DEXTER