Forensic Investigation Report
Description of a crime scene
Crime scene under investigation is boarded off and located indoors. From the first glance it seems to be some kind of a storage room because it is surrounded by shelves with carton and plastic boxes with scratched tiled floor of black and grey colors. It is boarded off using metal shelving unit and a beige stool typically used for bar counters. The length and width of the crime scene is measured by the meter which remains on the floor in its primary position. The crime scene is 46 inches X 75 inches. The crime scene is virtually divided into six square sectors identical in size – 23×25 inches each. In order to proceed with description we have to assign numbers to them in order to avoid confusion. So, upper left is #1, upper right is #2, middle left is #3, middle right is #4, lower left is #5 and lower right is #6.
In the square #1 of the crime scene we detect a gun lying on the tiled floor pointing to the north. It appears to be semi-automatic pistol which typically uses energy of cartridge in order to trigger action of firearm. We can also observe a thin cigarette butt lying on the sackcloth with what seems to be a stain from a pink lips gloss on it. On this very cloth we can also see skeletal remains of the right foot – tarsal bone – of an adult individual. Right femur bone is laying pointed to the north between squares #1 and #2. In the square #2 we can observe another part of the right femur bone and left femur bone pointed to the east. Next to the right femur bone we can see fibula, patella and tibia – all lying within several inches from each other and pointing to the north.
In square #3 we can observe cranium with dislocated mandible lying just near it. Several inches below to the south we can see right and left clavicles, and further below it – right scapula. In the square #4 we can see right humerus. 7 out of 24 vertebrae that are to be present in a human being are lying between square #4 and #6. From north to south these are: 2 cervical vertebrae, 2 thoracal vertebrae, 2 transverse vertebrae and sacrum. They are all laying in one line directed to the north. Closer to the outer corner of square #4 we can see right radius and ulna bones directed to north-east. In the square #5 we can see left humerus directed to the south west and left radius and ulna bones directed to the north. In the square #5 we can see several vertebrae and a sacrum bone. Bones that are absent but are normally to be present in a human being are: right scapula, right femur and right tarsal bones, all ribs and sternum, most pelvis bones.
In the square #5 of the crime scene we can observe a child lying on its back with arms and legs stretched to the sides and head pointing in the north east direction. Infant’s face, arms and legs are covered in grey dirt of unknown origin. The child is dressed in a striped pink and white bodysuit and white blouse. All clothes are also covered with grey dirt of unknown origin. Infant has widely opened mouth and there is a sign of an exit wound to the chest on his clothes – bodysuit is ripped in the middle and there is red color spot all over the ripped cloth. There is a spatter of red substance, potentially blood, under and around the upper part of child’s body. There is also a red color trail from a shoe with a tip of the shoe directing towards the remains of the skeletonized remains. Remnants of an adult person are semi-clothed in a checkered unbuttoned shirt with rolled sleeves. There is a hat on what seems to be a fractured skull with black hair. The remains are lying on rectangular sackcloth of light brown color which seems to have no explicit spots or stains of any substance or other fluids.
Description of human remains of skull and broken bones
Several factors during investigation of cranium have pointed to the fact that skull belonged to a female individual. In particular, it has more round nuchal crest and mastoid process is short and roundish, not very explicitly seen. Its supraorbital margin is sharper, glabella is flatter and mental eminence is rounder. These conclusions about the sex of the skeletonized remains were made based on Walker scoring method. Scores assigned are the following: nuchal crest –1, mastoid process – 2, supra-orbital margin – 1, glabella – 1, mental eminence – 2. After careful examination the conclusion may be made that the skeletonized individual is between 16 and 20 years old. This is due to the fact that humerus head is completely ossificated and this happens between the age of 16 and 20 Such inference is drawn based on the theory of Scheun and Black about bone ossification, which finishes completely from around 16 to 20 years of age.
Skull trauma and defect were presumably caused by a blunt object because bones in the cranium are shattered and the place of cranium’s contact with the object in question has a significantly large surface. Thus, the conclusion may be drawn that trauma was presumably afflicted peri-mortem with an object of blunt force. This inference was made due to the fact that injury doesn’t seem to show any signs of healing. Humerus trauma is a complicated fracture type of unknown origin. It doesn’t show any signs of healing thus it may be presumed that it was afflicted peri-mortem. Kerf and radiating features on femur trauma were supposedly afflicted by a sharp chopping object with a high velocity of impact due to the deepness of the cut.
Forensic entomology investigation
Insects found in a hat and shirt of skeletonized individual are dermestid beetles and fly pupa castings. Insects found in the eye orbits of the subadult individual are female blowfly and larvae. The presence of dermestid beetles or skin beetles as they are more commonly known is usually associated with decaying carcasses. They typically appear in the cadaver starting from the 5th till 11th day after death. Fly pupa castings are the third stage of blow flies development. It means that previously body was infested by female blow flies that invade body within minutes after death and deposit eggs there. Larvae and maggots started feeding on the body and their activity raises body temperature. This fact possibly attracted even more blow flies and the process continued. They attacked the skull because primarily they were attracted by body openings or open wounds with blood flow. Further into investigation, blowflies are to be collected in order to identify minimum PMI – time of body colonization by the first arrived insects.
Blowflies, larvae, pupa casting and dermestid beetles may be helpful in identification of the manner of death – they appear in open wounds, and some of the injuries may have eventually led to death of the individuals. They are also of assistance in identification of place of death since distribution of certain types differs in various areas. Insects may also point to post mortem movement of body – the presence of flies not particular for certain region may point to the possibility of changing body location. Blowflies and dermestid beetles are to be further checked for chemicals and drugs and all information gathered has to be included in the toxicology report. In our case body tissues are too degraded for analysis and larvae may serve as reservoir for drugs in tissues they infested.
Taking into consideration the fact that all soft tissues are absent on the cadaver and all bones are exposed we can refer to it as to a completely skeletonized body. In order to clearly determine PMI stage, blowfly activity in the remains has to be analyzed and conclusive inferences have to be drawn.
Dental remains investigation
Dental radiograph of the skeletonized individual taken post-mortem serves an important role in identification of the deceased individual. Adult victim obviously suffered from a violent crime and is disfigured to such an extent that family members may not be able to recognize him or her. In order to confirm identity of the person in question postmortem dental remains are examined in comparison with ante mortem dental records of two female missing persons: Anna Little and Suzie Wayne. Similarities may be noticed between dental radiograph of the skeletonized individual from the crime scene taken post mortem with the dental radiograph of Anna Little. This is inferred from the shape and quantity of teeth as well as presence of fillings in certain teeth. Dentist may further proceed with producing postmortem record by charting and describing dental structures on radiograph. Comparison has to be made between the teeth and surrounding structures of both females; similarities and discrepancies are to be noted. DNA should be extracted from teeth and compared to ante mortem sample which may be found in stored blood, hairbrush, clothing, smear, and biopsy or in parent or sibling. Genomic DNA may supposedly remain in enamel, dentine and pulp. In case if genomic DNA can’t be analyzed because it is too degraded dentist may consider analyzing mitochondrial DNA which may be present in sufficient quantity.
Blood and fingerprints from the crime scene
The body of a child in the square #5 was found on a white carton with the head pointing to the east. The infant is laying on the back with hands and legs to the sides, open mouth and closed eyes. Red substance spatter, presumably blood, under the corps seems to have resulted from a gunshot wound to the area of chest. The immense quantity of blood may point to the fact that the gunshot wounded heart. Most probably at the time of death the child was either laying on the back or somebody was holding it in the hands. The fact that spatter is not prolonged may serve as a proof of this theory. There is blood on infant’s clothes in the area of chest that once more points to the fact that there has been a gunshot into the heart. Red trail from the boot of seemingly adult individual may have resulted from the fact that an unidentified subject stepped into the blood of one of the victims at the crime scene. Red stains found on a baseball bat found in an apartment of the two possible suspects may supposedly be blood from the skeletonized body at the crime scene. The bat has two types of stains on it. First type completely covers the tip of the bat which may point to the fact that the victim received several strong strikes to the area of skull. Second type of stains which is found all over the bat points to the fact that blood dabbled or sprinkled to the sides of the bat when an unidentified subject was hitting the bleeding wound with it.
Fingerprints found on the baseball bat are consistent with the fingerprints of Mike Patterson, one of the suspects. He was supposedly the one who was hitting an adult victim into the head with a bat. In particular, right index finger and right middle finger from the object are the same as corresponding fingers on man’s right hand. Fingertips found on the gun from crime scene are consistent with fingertips of Vera Patterson. Presumably she was holding the gun when the gunshot was fired at the child. Right index finger and right thumb prints from the gun are the same as corresponding fingers on woman’s right hand.
Moving forward with investigation and evidence collection
There are two categories of evidence suggested for further collection. The first type is associative evidence – the one that can link suspect to the crime scene. It includes fingerprints from semi-automatic pistol, blood and bodily fluids from the carton under the child and cigarette butt. The very weapon possibly used at the crime scene has to be collected as well. Hair and fibers collected may also be very helpful in identifying the suspect and the deceased. Other category of evidence suggested for collection is reconstructive evidence – the one that may help in understanding better the actions that took place at the scene. In the given crime scene these would be blood spatter patterns for analysis, bullet paths identification, bloody shoe print – all of them may aid in understanding how did the crime happen. Control samples – fibers from the sackcloth, possible soil and vegetation, as well as skin flies from the bodies – are to be collected as well (Simplified guide for crime scene investigation).
Next step suggested for proceeding with the investigation is the analysis of the DNA found in the blood on the carton in square #5 and its comparison with the DNA of red substance from the red trail in the square #5. I would also suggest comparing DNA found in the hair from the skull of skeletonized individual to the DNA found on the baseball bat in order to identify murder weapon. Further I would also test the hair from the crime scene on toxins and drugs in order to find out whether the victim was under the influence of any additional substances. I would also search the apartment of the suspect for the clothes they supposedly wore during the crime in order to find some blood drops of victims from the gunshot or beating with the bat. There could be also some other pieces of DNA found that would assist in further investigation. Another step that I would take would be search of a crime scene for possible gunshot residue or bullet remains. I would also recommend analyzing the DNA found on the lip gloss or lipstick from the cigarette butt in order to determine who it belongs to. It may be consistent with the DNA samples of suspects or it may belong to a different third party. DNA from child’s mouth may also be compared to mitochondrial DNA of skeletonized body because it is maternally inherited and may point to familial relation of the two bodies