Murder and a Movie: The Jeffrey Lamb Case
A Date with Death
A 911 call came late in the day on June 15, 2004, sending the Palm Beach County Police to Silver Beach Road in Lake Park, the home of Jeffrey Lamb. Lamb had been the caller, claiming through tears that his wife Cathy had been murdered. He'd come home from his job as a tow truck driver and found her on the kitchen floor, apparently bludgeoned to death. He stated that when he had tried to find a pulse, she had been unresponsive.
Emergency personnel found Lamb hysterical and hyperventilating, crying over his wife's body. There were bruises on both her face and head, and part of her brain protruded through a vicious fracture in her skull. They were unable to detect any sign of life, so they transported Cathy to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy was ordered, and her body went to the morgue for further examination.
Although Lamb, 31, said he thought the house had been burglarized, the fierce bludgeoning of Cathy raised red flags. Someone intending burglary does not typically beat a homeowner so viciously. The police wanted to eliminate possible enemies who might have staged a false burglary to cover the murder. The place had been ransacked, certainly, and it appeared that items had been taken. In fact, Lamb told them, his wife had a pair of diamond earrings, one of which was missing.
There was no apparent murder weapon on the scene, but Lamb had blood on his pants. He had an explanation: When he found Cathy, he'd tried to help her, getting blood on his thumb, which he'd wiped off on his pants. As a routine precaution, detectives requested his clothing.
But there was another odd aspect to the crime: Police noticed that whoever had killed Cathy had also clobbered two of three dogs in the home. One was a mixed-breed pit bull, the other a German shepherd — guard dogs. Both had been beaten badly in the head, but had survived. Closed into a bedroom, the third dog, which belonged to Jeffrey Lamb, was unharmed. He said that when he came home, the dogs had seemed spooked and refused to come near him.
Police were familiar with one of the dogs, because they'd been called into a neighborhood incident in which the dog bit someone. Detectives believed one of these dogs might have bitten the intruder, which meant they might get DNA from inside their mouths. A crime scene processor carefully took swabs for testing. Then it was time to ask Lamb more questions.