Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: The Keystone Diamond

Picking up the Clues

Emma Duke, LAPD Criminalist
Emma Duke, LAPD Criminalist

A growling Dante greeted Detective Ramsdell as he arrived at William's home with LAPD criminalists. Roommate Dennis corralled the animal so the investigators could begin the arduous task of collecting evidence.

The bedroom was fairly small and didn't appear to be ransacked. In fact, it was pretty orderly, which led detectives to surmise that William probably didn't put up much of a struggle. He was lying on the floor wearing just a pair of swimming trunks, his head on top of gray sweatpants. Three bullet casings were found near his body. And when the coroner took William away, detectives found a bullet under his head. This meant that William was already on the floor when he was shot; otherwise, the bullet would have ricocheted.

Michele Kestler, LAPD Criminalist
Michele Kestler, LAPD Criminalist

Ramsdell continued to look around the room and videotaped everything. Blood appeared to be contained to the area where William collapsed. A bullet hole was evident in a ceiling corner. Hundreds of hairs were in the room: they could belong to William, the dog, Dennis, or any family member. Criminalists collected a good sampling of hairs and some bloody carpet samples. A jewelry box filled with costume jewelry was on the dresser, but it didn't contain William's ring, watch or chain. In fact, those items weren't found anywhere.

Detectives opened a drawer in a nightstand next to the bed. It contained an empty holster and .32 caliber ammunition, but no gun. The bullet casings on the floor matched the ammunition so it was likely that William was shot with his own gun, which was nowhere to be found.

Duke Examines Flashlight
Duke Examines Flashlight

Criminalists didn't find any fingerprints on the sliding glass door, but they did lift some from the front door. A shoeprint on the patio just outside the patio door was photographed for comparison to a future suspect.

The best clue of all was a red flashlight, with a bloody fingerprint, lying on the floor in the closet. It was still turned on. Whoever had done this had left a calling card, but detectives would learn that making an arrest was going to be quite another matter.

 

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