Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Kevin Neal, Convicted of Murder by Forensic Entomology

Working the Crime Scene

Aerial view of the cemetery.
Aerial view of the cemetery.

Hall later testified that it would not have been possible to properly extricate the bodies until a deputy used a machete to chop down some of the high weeds around them. After she took photographs of the crime scene and some of the weeds had been cleared, Hall began the process of recovering the bodies. She noted how India's body had been deliberately posed in a sexual pose.

View of the weeds surrounding the bodies
View of the weeds surrounding the bodies

"The larger of the two bodies was lying on its back on top of some discarded fencing," she said. "The one leg was lying straight across the fence post straight out, and the other leg — the left leg is bent at an angle laying on its side so the pelvic region would be exposed at that point."

After donning coveralls to avoid contaminating the crime scene, Hall and two other BCI agents began the process of recovering the bodies. Using garden trowels, they loosened the dirt surrounding the remains, taking samples of the soil for examination purposes later.

"When a body decomposes," Hall told the court, "fluids tend to seep down and that is why it was necessary to loosen the bodies from the dirt. We tried not to disturb the bones in the way the bodies were found ... during our retrieval, so we were able to lift the bodies with the shovels and also a lot of dirt."

Agents removing the bodies form the scene
Agents removing the bodies form the scene

The agents lifted the bodies and laid them out on the body bag. At the same time, they collected other biological evidence at the scene, including some of the many insects the investigators encountered.

"There was quite a bit of insect activity, and at the time we also collected a sampling of the different bugs and made sure when we moved the body we tried not to disturb the bugs at that time."  

The bodies were taken to the regional crime lab, where a forensic pathologist would conduct autopsies.

 

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