Miserable mortals who, like leaves, at one moment flame with life, eating the produce of the land, and at the next moment weakly perish.
—HOMER, CIRCA 700 B.C.
MEDICAL EXAMINER BEN Galloway had always enjoyed the contrast between his intensely focused work in the steel-and-tile autopsy suite of the Jefferson County Coroner's Office and that of his freewheeling banter with students at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, a few miles away. The latter sparked his imagination, kept him sharp. The former gave him the concrete sense of purpose that came with bringing closure to families torn apart by sudden death under violent or simply unclear circumstances. Not that Galloway could always remain as objective as his personal philosophy implied. There were faces that haunted him.
A few months before she ended up on Galloway's autopsy table in the fall of 1982, the fresh-faced young woman had graduated from a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts. She had come to Denver to intern at a local radio station. According to police trying to piece together the victim's last hours and days, the young