Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michael Fletcher: A Simple Case of Murder

EMS on the Scene

Outside, the Hazel Park EMS vehicle had pulled up in front of the house. There were the beginnings of a crowd forming across the street, mostly children at this point. Lehman spoke to the EMS crew.

"Sorry guys, it's a 10-64. We're gonna be a while," Lehman said.

The EMS techs looked at each other with dismay. A 10-64 meant a dead body and if it was because of shots fired that meant the crime scene guys would be there for a long time. They got back in the truck and radioed their dispatch.

Lehman picked up the cell phone and dialed the mobile crime lab dispatcher. He then gave the details of the scene to his supervisor who assigned another patrol car to cover Lehman's beat. The patrol sergeant asked him what he thought.

"Well, her spouse is one cool customer, if you know what I mean," he said.

"10-4," his sergeant replied. "Well, talk to him and keep me posted."

By this time the area supervisor was on the scene. Close behind was the black Ford Econoline van that Hazel Park used for a mobile crime scene unit. It was small, but inside was everything the team would need to work over the scene in minute detail. The technicians were standing beside the open side van door, each with a large plastic envelope in their hands. They ripped open the plastic and took out the sterile white cotton coveralls. By putting on the super-clean garb over their street clothes they could be assured that no outside contamination would be introduced into the scene. They worked with quiet efficiency, each mentally preparing himself for what might lie inside. At least this one was fresh, thought the younger tech. The one thing he hated was a 10-64 that was partially decomposed. The smell and the flies gave him nightmares.

"First bedroom on the right," Lehman told them.

They each grabbed a toolbox and went into the house.

Standing at the end of the hall, the senior technician, Wally Crain, opened his toolbox and extracted the Nikon 990 digital camera. The 990 was top-of-the-line stuff, with resolution so sharp it could handle blow-ups up to 2000 percent. That meant a single pixel of a normal shot, something that took up about a pinhead on a 17-inch monitor, could be printed out on 11x17 film and still look sharp. Plus, the 50-picture magazine meant almost never having to reload.

"Ready?" he asked his partner, Jack Crim.

"Oh, yeah." came the reply. Crim took a deep breath and walked into the room. "Damn,"he said under his breath at the sight of all the blood.

Wally began snapping pictures, beginning with wide room shots. He covered the room in a methodical grid pattern, making sure every item was photographed and every inch was in several shots. Then he began taking close-ups of the area near Leann's body. He began with the pile of clothes at her feet: panties and shorts. They had been taken off in one piece, as if in a hurry.

"They were gonna do it," he said from behind the camera.

"I don't wanna think about it," said Jack. He was kneeling next to Leann's body, opening his toolkit. He extracted a plastic bag, opened it and shook out the static-free zip-lock evidence bag inside. He carefully reached down and gently took Leann's right hand and slipped the bag over it. This would preserve any gunpowder residue. He repeated the process for her other hand. Nice fingernails, he thought to himself.

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