Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Contract Murder of Kathryn Ann Martini-Lissy

Other Injuries

During the course of the autopsy, Dr. Wilson had examined Kathy's bodily orifices to see if any evidence could be extracted from the cavities. Using cotton swabs, he collected specimens of the moisture inside the victim's mouth, vagina, and rectum, and handed them over to Schuessler who would study them later at the crime lab. Collecting the specimens, Wilson noticed an injury inside Kathy's vaginal tract. It was a possible abrasion, he had pointed out to the investigators, three-sixteenths of an inch wide by one-sixteenth of an inch long on the posterior wall at the entrance to the vagina. As he removed a sample of tissue to examine under a microscope, Wilson explained that an abrasion was a superficial loss of the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin. Examining the sample microscopically, he confirmed that it was indeed an abrasion, but only a slight one.

As they wondered about the possible causes for the abrasion, Wilson told Davis, Poppe, and Schuessler that it was compatible with a forcible attempt at sexual intercourse. He did not dismiss the possibility that it could have been caused by an attempted penetration with an inanimate object such as a dildo, but there was no way to determine with any degree of certainty what had caused the injury, and he told them so. He could only make educated guesses based on the degree and nature of the injury.

Wilson discovered two other small abrasions, both on the corpse's right hip. One was a quarter-inch in size and the other an eighth of an inch. It was possible, he reasoned, that the injuries could have been sustained in a struggle with the attacker, but, as with the vaginal abrasion, he could not be certain.

During the autopsy, Davis told Wilson about the tampon in the victim's room, how they had debated its possible significance, and how they had not found any external evidence that Kathy had been menstruating. Checking, the medical examiner found no evidence of menstruation, either.

Because the detectives had developed information, primarily through suggestions that her husband had made during their initial interviews with him, that Kathy's death might have been related to a cocaine deal they shared the possibility with Wilson. Wilson suggested that people sometimes pack illegal drugs into their body orifices to avoid detection if arrested. Since they had been led to believe that Kathy may have been a potential buyer, according to her husband's intimations to Davis the previous day, they theorized that it was possible that another woman, perhaps a drug dealer herself or a drug dealer's courier, had vaginally smuggled cocaine and had held it in place with the tampon until it was time to make the delivery. But if that had been the case, where was the cocaine now? None had been found in Kathy's room, and there were no other signs, such as cocaine paraphernalia, that any had even been used there. They began to believe that Lissy had made up the story about Kathy's alleged cocaine use.