Crime Scene Paper

PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

2 Securing and Searching the Crime Scene

© Douglas Keister/Corbis. All Rights Reserved

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

After studying this chapter, you should be able to:

• Discuss the responsibilities of the first police officer who arrives at the crime scene.

• Comprehend the role of the lead investigator in coordinating the crime-scene search.

• Describe the conditions at the crime scene that should be given particular notice.

• Understand the various search patterns investigators can use to systematically search the crime scene for

evidence.

• Appreciate the necessity of documenting all initial observations and evidence collected.

JONBENET RAMSEY: WHO DID IT?

Patsy and John Ramsey were in the upper crust of Boulder, Colorado, society. In the span of five short years, John had

built his computer company into a billion-dollar corporation. In addition to financial success, the Ramseys also had a

beautiful 6-year-old daughter, JonBenet.

Just after five a.m. on December 26, 1996, Patsy Ramsey awoke and walked downstairs to her kitchen. At the foot of

the staircase, she found a two-and-a-half-page note saying that JonBenet had been kidnapped. The note contained a

ransom demand of $118,000. When the police arrived to investigate, it was quite apparent that JonBenet was missing.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

1 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

In retrospect, some serious mistakes were made in securing the crime scene, the Ramsey household. Initially, the

police conducted a cursory search of the house but failed to find JonBenet. They did not seal the house off; in fact, four

of the Ramseys’ friends along with their pastor were let into the home and allowed to move about at will. John was

permitted to leave the premises unattended for one and a half hours. One hour after his return, John and two of his

friends searched the house again. This time John went down into the basement, where he discovered JonBenet’s body.

He removed a white blanket from JonBenet and carried her upstairs, placing the body on the living room floor.

The murder of JonBenet Ramsey remains as baffling a mystery today as it was on the first day of its investigation.

Ample physical evidence supports both the theory that the crime was committed by an outsider and the competing

theory that JonBenet was murdered by someone who resided in the Ramsey household. Perhaps better care at securing

and processing the crime scene would have resolved some of the crime’s outstanding questions.

Forensic science begins at the crime scene. To be useful to investigators, evidence at a crime scene must be preserved

and recorded in its original condition as much as possible. Failure to protect a crime scene properly may result in the

destruction or altering of evidence, which can hinder the search for the perpetrator by misleading investigators about

the facts of the incident.

Securing the Crime Scene

The first officer to arrive at the scene of a crime is responsible for taking steps to preserve and protect the area to the

greatest extent possible. The officer should not let his or her guard down; the scene should always be treated as though

the crime were still occurring until it is proved otherwise. Arriving officers should immediately ascertain that the

perpetrator is no longer in the immediate area of the crime scene and is not a threat to anyone at or near the crime

scene. Special note should be taken of any vehicles or people leaving the scene.

Of course, first priority should be given to obtaining medical assistance for individuals in need of it. If medical

assistance is needed, the officer should direct medical workers to approach the body by an indirect route to minimize

the possibility of disturbing evidence. This pathway should later be used by investigative personnel for the same

reason. The first responding officer must quickly evaluate the victim’s condition before the victim is taken to a medical

facility. The officer must also record any statements made by the victim and instruct the emergency medical personnel

to record any statements the victim makes on the way to the hospital. This information should later be included in

notes.

The officer should call for any backup or investigative personnel required and, as soon as possible, detain all potential

suspects or witnesses still at the scene. The officer must identify all individuals at the scene, including bystanders and

medical personnel. At the same time, he or she should exclude all unauthorized personnel from the scene. This

includes family and friends of the victim, who should be shown as much compassion as possible.

The first responder(s) are responsible for establishing the boundaries of the scene to be protected. The boundaries

should encompass the center of the scene where the crime occurred, any paths of entry or exit, and any areas where

evidence may have been discarded or moved. For indoor scenes this may include anything from a single room to an

entire house and yard. The center of the crime scene is usually apparent, and a sufficient area around this spot should

be closed off. The boundaries of an outdoor crime scene are more difficult to determine and can span miles, especially

if a vehicle is involved. The officer should initially denote the boundaries of the scene using crime-scene tape, ropes,

or traffic cones (see Figure 2-1 ). As additional officers arrive, investigators should immediately take measures to

isolate the area around the taped-off section. Police barricades, along with the strategic positioning of guards, will

prevent unauthorized access to the area. Only investigative personnel assigned to the scene should be admitted. The

responding officers must keep an accurate log of who enters and exits the scene and the time at which they do so.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

2 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

Sometimes the exclusion of unauthorized personnel proves to be more difficult than expected. Crimes of violence are

especially susceptible to attention by higher-level police officials and members of the media, as well as by emotionally

charged neighbors and curiosity seekers. Every individual who enters the scene has the potential to destroy physical

evidence, even if by unintentional carelessness. To exercise proper control over the crime scene, the officer charged

with the responsibility for protecting it must have the authority to exclude everyone, including fellow police officers

not directly involved in processing the site or in conducting the investigation. Seasoned criminal investigators are

always prepared to relate horror stories about crime scenes where physical evidence was rendered totally valueless by

hordes of people who, for one reason or another, tramped through the site. Securing and isolating the crime scene are

critical steps in an investigation, the accomplishment of which is the mark of a trained and professional crime-scene

investigative team. It is also important to park the crime-scene vehicle where it will not destroy evidence but also be

secure and easily accessible.

FIGURE 2–1 The first investigators to arrive must secure the crime scene

and establish a perimeter. This perimeter may be delineated by crime-

scene tape, ropes, or barricades.

Courtesy Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories, Inc., Youngsville, NC, www.sirchie.com

It is worth noting that personnel should never do anything while at the crime scene—including smoking, eating,

drinking, or littering—that might alter the scene. No aspects of the scene, including a body at a death scene, should be

moved or disturbed unless they pose a serious threat to investigating officers or bystanders. This means that no one

should open or close faucets or flush toilets at the scene. Also, officers should avoid altering temperature conditions at

the scene by adjusting windows, doors, or the heat or air-conditioning.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

3 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

Quick Review

• The first officer arriving on the scene of a crime has the responsibility to preserve and protect the area to the

greatest extent possible.

• First priority should be given to obtaining medical assistance for individuals in need of it.

• Steps must be taken by the first responder to exclude all unauthorized personnel from the scene and keep an

accurate log of who enters and exits the scene and the time at which they do so.

Surveying the Crime Scene

Once the scene has been secured, with the help of others, a lead investigator will start the process of evaluating the

area. The lead investigator will immediately gain an overview of the situation and develop a strategy for the systematic

examination and documentation of the entire crime scene.

THE WALK-THROUGH

The initial survey of the scene is typically called the walk-through . First, the perpetrator’s path of entry and exit

should be established. The investigators should then follow an indirect path to the center of the scene, possibly one

already established by the first responding officer to allow for medical attention. Some investigators attempt to follow

the path of the suspect, but this may destroy possible evidence.

walk-through

The initial survey of the crime scene carried out by the lead investigator to gain an overview of the scene in order to

formulate a plan for processing the scene.

Logic dictates that obvious items of crime-scene evidence will first come to the attention of the crime-scene

investigator. The investigator must document and photograph these items. Any fragile evidence, such as shoe and tire

impressions, may be secured by the investigator or tagged for the search team. Investigators conducting the first walk-

through should carry reflective numbered markers and place a marker near each item of evidence they locate. These

markers will alert other crime-scene personnel to the location of difficult-to-observe evidence. The investigators

should remember that the crime scene is three-dimensional; evidence may be found on the walls or ceilings as well as

on the floor and other surfaces. It may also be practical to have one or two individuals canvas the area outside the

barricaded scene.

The investigator should ask the following questions:

• Is the scene indoors or outdoors?

• What is the location of the scene (street address if applicable)?

• What are the weather or temperature conditions?

• In what type of building and neighborhood is the scene located?

• Was there any odor detected by the first responder upon arrival?

• Are doors and windows open or closed, locked or unlocked?

• Given the states of windows and doors, what are possible points of entry and exit?

• Is anything damaged, out of place, or missing? Are there objects that do not appear to belong there?

• Does an object’s condition suggest that a struggle took place?

• Are lights and electrical appliances on or off?

• Is food present? Is it in the middle of being prepared, partially eaten, etc.?

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

4 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

• Does this scene appear to involve violence?

• What are the contents of any ashtrays and trash cans at the crime site? Are there tooth marks or lipstick on

cigarette butts?

• What is the state of the bathroom? Are towels wet or dry? Is the toilet seat up or down?

• Are there any places where the suspect could have easily and quickly hidden a weapon?

• Is there a vehicle nearby? If so, is the engine hot or cold?

Investigators should take particular note of aspects of the scene that suggest the timing of the incident. For example, if

today’s newspaper is on the table, it suggests that the incident occurred after the paper was delivered. The

investigator’s notes should include answers to basic questions and descriptions of everything observed at the scene.

These simple observations may prove significant in the later investigation.

The presence or absence of certain evidence can offer key clues to the investigator. For example, objects that appear

out of place, such as a child’s toy in the house of a couple without children or relatives without children, may be very

important. It is also important to observe whether objects that should be at the scene, such as a television or computer,

are missing or displaced.

The presence or absence of evidence may also suggest whether the scene is a primary or secondary scene. A primary

scene is one at which the original incident occurred. The secondary scene is a location that became part of the crime

by activities after the initial incident, such as using a car to transport a body. If a victim suffered severe injury

involving heavy loss of blood but little or no blood is present where the body is found, it is likely to be a secondary

scene.

primary scene

A crime scene at which the original criminal act was perpetrated.

secondary scene

A crime scene separate from the primary scene that became part of the crime by its involvement in activities after the

initial criminal act was perpetrated.

ASSIGNING TASKS

Investigators must establish a center of operations or command center at the scene. Here, members of the

investigative team receive their assignments, store their equipment, and meet to discuss aspects of the case. The

command center must be located outside the taped-off boundary of the scene and contain the basic equipment needed

to photograph, sketch, process, and collect evidence. An equipped crime-scene vehicle usually serves the purpose well.

If multiple scenes are involved, the command center should also be a center for communicating with investigators at

the other scenes.

command center

A secure site outside the boundaries of a crime scene where equipment is stored, tasks are assigned, and

communication occurs.

At the command center, the lead investigator assigns tasks after the initial walk-through. Basic tasks include locating

possible evidence, assessing the evidence, processing evidence (e.g., dusting for fingerprints and casting footprints or

tire impressions), and photographing and sketching the scene. The tasks should be carried out in this exact order to

properly process the scene. The number of personnel assigned to each task depends on the scene and the discretion of

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

5 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

the lead investigator. In some cases, a single crime-scene investigator might be required to handle all these tasks.

Quick Review

• The lead investigator is responsible for developing a strategy for the systematic examination and

documentation of the entire crime scene.

• The lead investigator must gain an overview of the general setting of the scene. Of particular importance are

objects that do not appear to belong or aspects of the scene that may suggest the timing of the incident.

• The presence or absence of evidence may also suggest whether the scene is a primary or secondary scene.

• At the command center, members of the investigative team receive their assignments, store their equipment,

congregate to talk about aspects of the case, and communicate with personnel at other crime scenes.

Searching the Crime Scene

There are many methods for searching the scene in a logical and systematic fashion to locate evidence. How one

carries out a crime-scene search depends on the locale and size of the area, as well as on the actions of the suspect(s)

and victim(s) at the scene. When possible, it is advisable to have one person supervising and coordinating the

collection of evidence. Without proper control, the search may be conducted in an atmosphere of confusion with

needless duplication of effort. The areas searched must include all probable points of entry and exit used by the

criminals. The search team may want to use a simple flashlight to illuminate surfaces at an oblique angle to reveal

latent (hidden) fingerprints, handprints, footwear imprints, and other residues.

TYPES OF SEARCH PATTERNS

LINE/STRIP SEARCH PATTERN

In the line/strip search pattern , one or two investigators start at the boundary at one end of the scene and walk

straight across to the other side. They then move a little farther along the border and walk straight back to the other

side (see Figure 2-2[a] ). This method is best used in scenes where the boundaries are well established because the

boundaries dictate the beginning and end of the search lines. If the boundary is incorrectly chosen, important evidence

may remain undiscovered outside the search area.

line/strip search pattern

A search method used by one or two investigators who walk in straight lines across the crime scene.

GRID SEARCH PATTERN

The grid search pattern employs two people performing line searches that originate from adjacent corners and form

perpendicular lines (see Figure 2-2[b] ). One searcher will move in a north-south direction while a simultaneous search

is conducted in an east-west direction. Both move back and forth as in the line/strip search pattern. This method is very

thorough, but the boundaries must be well established.

grid search pattern

A search method employed by two or more people who perform overlapping line searches forming a grid.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

6 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

SPIRAL SEARCH PATTERN

The spiral search pattern usually employs one person. The investigator moves in an inward spiral from the boundary

to the center of the scene or in an outward spiral from the center to the boundary (see Figure 2-2[c] ). The inward spiral

method is helpful because the searcher is moving from an area light with evidence to an area where more evidence will

most likely be found. Either spiral approach facilitates the location of footprints leading away from the scene in any

direction. However, it is often difficult for a searcher to complete a perfect spiral, and evidence could be missed.

spiral search pattern

A search method in which the investigator moves in an inward spiral from the boundary to the center of the scene or in

an outward spiral from the center to the boundary of a scene.

FIGURE 2–2 (a) Line/strip search pattern; (b) grid search pattern; (c)

spiral search pattern; (d) wheel/ray search pattern; (e) quadrant/zone

search pattern.

WHEEL/RAY SEARCH PATTERN

The wheel/ray search pattern employs several people moving from the boundary straight toward the center of the

scene (inward) or from the center straight to the boundary (outward). This method is not preferred because the areas

between the “rays” are not searched (see Figure 2-2[d] ).

wheel/ray search pattern

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

7 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

A search method employed by several people who move from the boundary straight toward the center of the scene

(inward) or from the center straight to the boundary (outward).

QUADRANT/ZONE SEARCH PATTERN

The quadrant/zone search pattern involves dividing the scene into zones or quadrants, and team members are

assigned to search each section. Each of these sections can be subdivided into smaller sections for smaller teams to

search thoroughly (see Figure 2-2[e] ). This method is best suited for scenes that cover a large area.

quadrant/zone search pattern

A search method in which the crime scene is divided into smaller sections (zones or quadrants) and team members are

assigned to search each section. Each of these sections can be subdivided into smaller sections for smaller teams to

search thoroughly.

VEHICLE SEARCHES

If the scene includes a vehicle, the vehicle search must be carefully planned and systematically carried out. The nature

of the case determines how detailed the search must be. At all times investigators must be careful to avoid contact with

surfaces that may contain fingerprints such as a steering wheel or door handle. In hit-and-run cases, the outside and

undercarriage of the car must be examined with care. In this case the vehicle itself is the “weapon.” Particular attention

is paid to looking for any evidence resulting from a cross-transfer of evidence between the car and the victim; this

includes blood, tissue, hair, fibers, and fabric impressions. Traces of paint or broken glass may be located on the victim

or roadway. In a vehicle burglary or theft, the search focuses on the place of entry. Tool marks and fingerprints usually

are important in these cases. If the car was used for transportation, more attention may be given to the interior of the

car. However, all areas of the vehicle, inside and outside, should be searched with equal care for physical evidence at

the scene, or the vehicle may be towed to a police department garage.

NIGHT SEARCHES

Searches during the night are especially difficult. Indoors, artificial lights frequently can be used. However, it can be

very difficult outdoors even to determine the boundaries of the scene. When possible, the scene should be taped off,

left undisturbed, and guarded until daylight. If impending weather or other circumstances do not allow for waiting until

daylight, a perimeter must be estimated and floodlights should be set up for the search.

LOCATING EVIDENCE

The purpose of the crime-scene search is to locate physical evidence. What to search for will be determined by the

particular circumstances of the crime. This may include footprints, weapons, blood spatter, objects possibly touched by

the suspect, trace fibers, or hairs. For example, in the case of homicide, the search will be centered on the weapon and

any type of evidence left as a result of contact between the victim and the assailant. The cross-transfer of evidence,

such as hairs, fibers, and blood, between individuals involved in the crime is particularly useful for linking suspects to

the crime site and for corroborating events that transpired during the commission of the crime. Special attention should

be paid to the body and the area surrounding it. During the investigation of a burglary, officers should attempt to locate

tool marks at the point of entry. In most crimes, a thorough and systematic search for latent fingerprints is required.

When an investigator finds an object of possible evidentiary value, he or she should record its location in notes,

sketches, and photographs and then mark its location with an evidence marker (see Figure 2-3 ).

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

8 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

The search ends when the team or lead investigator determines that all pertinent evidence has been located to the best

of the team’s ability. When this determination is made, the team carries out a final survey of the scene. This should

include a visual overview of all parts of the scene. Investigators should take an inventory of all evidence collected so

nothing is lost or left behind. The team members should be sure to retrieve all equipment. They should also verify that

any threats to health or safety at the scene have been or will be dealt with properly. Once all of these measures have

been taken, the scene can be released to the proper authorities.

FIGURE 2–3 Numbered evidence markers are used to show the location of

(1) a firearm, (2) a beverage can, and (3) another beverage can at a crime

scene.

Courtesy Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories, Inc., Youngsville, NC, www.sirchie.com

Obviously, the skill of crime-scene investigators at recognizing evidence and searching relevant locations is paramount

to successfully processing the crime scene. Although training can impart general knowledge about conducting a proper

crime-scene investigation, ultimately the investigator must rely on experience gained from numerous investigations to

formulate a successful strategy for recovering relevant physical evidence at crime scenes. If the investigator cannot

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

9 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

recognize physical evidence or cannot properly preserve it for laboratory examination, no amount of sophisticated

laboratory instrumentation or technical expertise can salvage the situation.

The know-how for conducting a proper crime-scene search for physical evidence is not beyond the grasp of any police

department, regardless of its size. With proper training, police agencies can ensure they competently process crime

scenes. In many jurisdictions, however, police agencies have delegated this task to a specialized team of technicians

known as crime-scene investigators.

WebExtra 2.1

Autopsy of a Murder Search for clues at the scene of a murder. Once you’ve located the relevant evidence, you will

need to collect the evidence for laboratory testing.

www.mycrimekit.com

Quick Review

• How one carries out a crime-scene search will depend on the locale and size of the area, as well as on the

actions of the suspect(s) and victim(s) at the scene.

• The purpose of the crime-scene search is to locate physical evidence. The particular circumstances of the crime

determine what to search for first.

• When evidence is found, the location is documented in notes, photographs, and sketches.

• When the search is deemed complete, the investigating team conducts a final survey that includes a visual

overview of all parts of the scene, an inventory of all evidence collected, the retrieval of all equipment, and the

neutralization of all health or safety threats. Once all of these measures have been taken, the scene can be

released to the proper authorities.

CHAPTER REVIEW

• The first officer arriving on the scene of a crime has the responsibility to preserve and protect the area to the

greatest extent possible.

• First priority should be given to obtaining medical assistance for individuals in need of it.

• Steps must be taken by the first responder to exclude all unauthorized personnel from the scene and keep an

accurate log of who enters and exits the scene and the time at which they do so.

• The lead investigator is responsible for developing a strategy for the systematic examination and

documentation of the entire crime scene.

• The lead investigator must gain an overview of the general setting of the scene. Of particular importance are

objects that do not appear to belong or aspects of the scene that may suggest the timing of the incident.

• The presence or absence of evidence may also suggest whether the scene is a primary or secondary scene.

• At the command center, members of the investigative team receive their assignments, store their equipment,

congregate to talk about aspects of the case, and communicate with personnel at other crime scenes.

• How one carries out a crime-scene search will depend on the locale and size of the area, as well as on the

actions of the suspect(s) and victim(s) at the scene.

• The purpose of the crime-scene search is to locate physical evidence. The particular circumstances of the crime

determine what to search for first.

• When evidence is found, the location is documented in notes, photographs, and sketches.

• When the search is deemed complete, the investigating team conducts a final survey that includes a visual

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

10 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

overview of all parts of the scene, an inventory of all evidence collected, the retrieval of all equipment, and the

neutralization of all health or safety threats. Once all of these measures have been taken, the scene can be

released to the proper authorities.

KEY TERMS

command center, 37

grid search pattern, 38

line/strip search pattern, 38

primary scene, 37

quadrant/zone search pattern, 39

secondary scene, 37

spiral search pattern, 38

walk-through, 36

wheel/ray search pattern, 39

REVIEW QUESTIONS

1.

True or False: Failure to protect a crime scene properly may result in the destruction or altering of evidence.

______________

2.

The ______________ arriving on the scene of a crime is responsible for taking steps to preserve and protect the area to

the greatest extent possible, and he or she must rely on his or her training to deal with any violent or hazardous

circumstances.

3.

At a crime scene, first priority should be given to obtaining ______________ for individuals in need of it and

attempting to minimize the disturbance of evidence.

4.

All unauthorized personnel must be ______________ from crime scenes.

5.

True or False: The boundaries of the crime scene, denoted by crime-scene tape, rope, or traffic cones, should

encompass only the center of the scene where the crime occurred. ______________

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

11 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

6.

Even though all unauthorized personnel are not admitted to the scene, a very accurate ______________ must be kept

of those who do enter and exit the scene and the time at which they do so.

7.

True or False: The lead investigator immediately proceeds to gain an overview of the situation and develop a strategy

for the systematic examination of the crime scene during the final survey.____________

8.

A(n) ______________ crime scene is one at which the original incident, such as a beating or rape, occurred. A(n)

______________ crime scene became part of the crime as a result of activities that occurred after the initial incident.

9.

The investigative team receives assignments, stores equipment, and congregates to talk about aspects of the case at the

______________.

10.

A detailed search of the crime scene must be conducted in a(n) ______________ fashion.

11.

The crime-scene search is undertaken to locate _____________.

12.

True or False: The search patterns that may be used to search a crime scene for evidence include the line pattern, grid

pattern, polar coordinate pattern, and spiral pattern. ____________

13.

When carrying out vehicle searches, investigators must be careful to avoid contact with surfaces that may contain

__________________ such as steering wheels or door handles.

14.

True or False: During nighttime, outdoor scenes should be taped off, left undisturbed, and guarded until daylight.

____________

15.

True or False: The search is concluded when the district attorney determines that all pertinent evidence has been

located to the best of the team’s ability. ____________

16.

Once a(n) ______________ of the scene has been carried out, the scene can be released to the proper authorities.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

12 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

17.

True or False: If the investigator does not recognize physical evidence or does not properly preserve it for laboratory

examination, sophisticated laboratory instrumentation or technical expertise can salvage the situation and attain the

desired results. _________

APPLICATION AND CRITICAL THINKING

1.

You are the first officer at the scene of an outdoor assault. You find the victim bleeding but conscious, with two of the

victim’s friends and several onlookers standing nearby. You call for backup and quickly glance around but see no one

fleeing the scene. Describe the steps you would take while you wait for backup to arrive.

2.

What kind of search pattern(s) would investigators be most likely to employ in each of the following situations:

a) Two people searching a small area with well-defined boundaries

b) Several people searching a large area

c) A single person searching a large area

3.

Officer Bill Walter arrives at the scene of an apparent murder: a body bearing several gunshot wounds lies on the floor

of a small, un-air-conditioned house in late July. A pungent odor almost overwhelms him when he enters the house, so

he opens a window to allow him to breathe so he can investigate the scene. While airing out the house, he secures the

scene and interviews bystanders. When he inspects the scene, he discovers very little blood in the room and little

evidence of a struggle. What mistake did Officer Walter make in his investigation? What conclusion did he draw about

the scene from his observations?

CASE ANALYSIS

Investigators looking into the kidnapping and murder of DEA special agent Enrique Camarena and DEA source

Alfredo Zavala faced several hurdles that threatened to derail their efforts to collect evidence in the case. These hurdles

almost prevented forensics experts from determining the facts of the case and threatened to undermine the

investigation of the crime. However, despite these obstacles, use of standard forensic techniques eventually enabled

investigators to solve the case. Read about the Camarena case in the following Case Reading, then answer the

following questions:

1.

What were the main challenges facing investigators who were collecting evidence in the case? Give specific examples.

2.

Explain how investigators used reference samples to determine that the victims had been held at the residence located

at 881 Lope De Vega.

3.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

13 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

Explain how investigators used soil evidence to determine that the victims’ bodies had been buried and later moved to

the site where they were discovered.

CASE READING THE ENRIQUE CAMARENA CASE: A FORENSIC

NIGHTMARE

MICHAEL P. MALONE

SPECIAL AGENT, LABORATORY DIVISION FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, WASHINGTON,

D.C.

On February 7, 1985, US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Special Agent (SA) Enrique Camarena was abducted near

the US Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico. A short time later, Capt. Alfredo Zavala, a DEA source, was also abducted

from a car near the Guadalajara Airport. These two abductions would trigger a series of events leading to one of the

largest investigations ever conducted by the DEA and would result in one of the most extensive cases ever received by

the FBI Laboratory …

THE ABDUCTION

On February 7, 1985, SA Camarena left the DEA resident office to meet his wife for lunch. On this day, a witness

observed a man being forced into the rear seat of a light-colored compact car in front of the Camelot Restaurant and

provided descriptions of several of the assailants. After some initial reluctance, Primer Comandante Pavon-Reyes of

the Mexican Federal Judicial Police (MFJP) was put in charge of the investigation, and Mexican investigators were

assigned to the case. Two known drug traffickers, Rafael Caro-Quintero and Ernesto Fonseca, were quickly developed

as suspects…

THE INVESTIGATION

During February 1985, searches of several residences and ranches throughout Mexico proved fruitless, despite the

efforts of the DEA task force assigned to investigate this matter and the tremendous pressure being applied by the US

government to accelerate the investigation. High-level US government officials, as well as their Mexican counterparts,

were becoming directly involved in the case. It is believed that, because of this “heat,” the Mexican drug traffickers

and certain Mexican law enforcement officials fabricated a plan. According to the plan, the MFJP would receive an

anonymous letter indicating that SA Camarena and Captain Zavala were being held at the Bravo drug gang’s ranch in

La Angostura, Michoacan, approximately 60 miles southeast of Guadalajara. The MFJP was supposed to raid the

ranch, eliminate the drug gang, and eventually discover the bodies of SA Camarena and Captain Zavala buried on the

ranch. The DEA would then be notified and the case would be closed. Thus, the Bravo gang would make an easy

scapegoat.

During early March, MFJP officers raided the Bravo ranch before the DEA agents arrived. In the resulting shootout, all

of the gang members, as well as one MFJP officer, were killed. However, due to a mix-up, the bodies of SA Camarena

and Captain Zavala were not buried on the Bravo ranch in time to be discovered as planned. Shortly after this shootout,

a passerby on a road near the Bravo ranch found two partially decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic bags. The bodies

were removed and transported to a local morgue, where they were autopsied. The DEA was then advised of the

discovery of the bodies and their subsequent removal to another morgue in Guadalajara, where a second autopsy was

performed.

Cadaver number 1 was quickly identified by the fingerprint expert as SA Camarena. Although Mexican officials would

not allow the second body to be identified at this time, it was later identified through dental records as Captain Zavala.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

14 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

Reprinted in part from FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin , September 1989.

Undated photo of Enrique Camarena. AP Wide World Photos

The FBI forensic team requested permission to process the clothing, cordage, and burial sheet found with the bodies,

but the request was denied. However, they were allowed to cut small, “known” samples from these items and obtain

hair samples from both bodies. Soil samples were also removed from the bodies and the clothing items. FBI and DEA

personnel proceeded to the Bravo ranch, where the bodies were initially found. Because this site had been a completely

uncontrolled crime scene, contaminated by both police personnel and onlookers, only a limited crime scene search was

conducted. It was immediately noted that there was no gravesite in the area and that the color of the soil where the

bodies had been deposited differed from the soil that had been removed from the bodies. Therefore, “known” soil

samples from the drop site were taken to compare with soil removed from the victims. It was also noted that there were

no significant body fluids at the “burial” site. This led the forensic team to conclude that the bodies had been buried

elsewhere, exhumed, and transported to this site.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

15 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

In late March 1985, DEA agents located a black Mercury Grand Marquis that they believed was used in the

kidnapping or transportation of SA Camarena. The vehicle had been stored in a garage in Guadalajara, and a brick wall

had been constructed at the entrance to conceal it. The vehicle was traced to a Ford dealership owned by Caro-

Quintero. Under the watchful eye of the MFJP at the Guadalajara Airport, the FBI forensic team processed the vehicle

for any hair, fiber, blood, and/or fingerprint evidence it might contain.

During April 1985, the MFJP informed the DEA that they believed they had located the residence where SA Camarena

and Captain Zavala had been held. The FBI forensic team was immediately dispatched to Guadalajara; however, they

were not allowed to proceed to the residence, located at 881 Lope De Vega, until an MFJP forensic team had processed

the residence and had removed all of the obvious evidence.

On the first day after their arrival, the FBI forensic team surveyed and began a crime-scene search of the residence and

surrounding grounds (see Figure 1 ). The residence consisted of a large, two-story structure with a swimming pool,

covered patio, aviary, and tennis court surrounded by a common wall. The most logical place to hold a prisoner at this

location would be in the small outbuilding located to the rear of the main residence. This outbuilding, designated as the

“guest house” by investigators, consisted of a small room with a beige rug and an adjoining bathroom. The entire room

and bathroom were processed for hairs, fibers, and latent fingerprints. The single door into this room was made of steel

and reinforced by iron bars. It was ultimately determined by means of testimony and forensic evidence that several

individuals interrogated and tortured SA Camarena in this room. In addition, a locked bedroom, located on the second

floor of the main house, was also processed, and the bed linens were removed from a single bed. Known carpet

samples were taken from every room in the residence.

A beige Volkswagen Atlantic parked under a carport at the rear of the residence fit the general description of the

smaller vehicle noted by the witness to SA Camarena’s abduction. The VW Atlantic was also processed for hairs,

fibers, and fingerprints.

On the second day, a thorough grounds search was conducted. As FBI forensic team members were walking around

the tennis court, they caught a glimpse of something blue in one of the drains. On closer inspection, there appeared to

be a folded license plate at the bottom of the drain. The license plate was retrieved, unfolded, and photographed. The

MFJP officers, all of whom were now at the tennis court, became upset at this discovery, and one of them immediately

contacted his superior at MFJP headquarters, who ordered them to secure the license plate until the assistant primer

comandante arrived on the scene. Upon his arrival approximately 20 minutes later, he seized the license plate and

would not allow the Americans to conduct any further searches.

In September 1985, DEA personnel went to La Primavera Park and recovered a soil sample. This sample matched the

soil samples from SA Camarena and Captain Zavala’s cadavers almost grain for grain, which indicated that this site

was almost certainly their burial site before they were relocated to the Bravo ranch.

Later that fall, after further negotiations between the US and the Mexican governments, permission was finally granted

for an FBI forensic team to process the evidence seized by the MFJP forensic team from 881 Lope De Vega the

previous April. The evidence consisted of small samples the MFJP had taken of SA Camarena’s burial sheet, a piece of

rope used to bind SA Camarena, a portion of a pillowcase removed from bedroom number 3, a piece of unsoiled rope

removed from the covered patio, and a laboratory report prepared by the MFJP Crime Laboratory. The remainder of

the evidence had been destroyed for “health reasons.”

In January 1986, a drug trafficker named Rene Verdugo, who was considered to be a high-ranking member of the

Caro-Quintero gang, was apprehended and taken to San Diego, where he was arrested by the DEA. He was then

transported to Washington, D.C., where samples of his hair were taken. He refused to testify before the federal grand

jury investigating the Camarena case. Later that year, DEA personnel obtained hair samples in Mexico City from

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

16 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

Sergio Espino-Verdin, a former federal comandante who is believed to have been SA Camarena’s primary interrogator

during his ordeal at 881 Lope De Vega.

FIGURE 1 A diagram of the 881 Lope De Vega grounds. Camarena was

held prisoner in the guest house.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

17 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, September, 1989.

THE TRIAL

In July 1988, the main trial for the murder, interrogation, and abduction of SA Camarena began in US District Court in

Los Angeles, California. The forensic evidence presented in this trial identified 881 Lope De Vega as the site where

SA Camarena had been held. The evidence also strongly associated two Mexican citizens, Rene Verdugo and Sergio

Espino-Verdin, with the “guest house” at 881 Lope De Vega. Several types of forensic evidence were used to associate

SA Camarena with 881 Lope De Vega: forcibly removed head hairs found in the “guest house” and bedroom number

4, in the VW Atlantic, and in the Mercury Grand Marquis, and two types of polyester rug fibers: a dark, rose-colored

fiber and a light-colored fiber (see Figures 2 and 3 ). Fabric evidence was also presented, which demonstrated the

similarities of color, composition, construction, and design between SA Camarena’s burial sheet and the two

pillowcases recovered from bedrooms number 3 and 5.

FIGURE 2 A trial chart showing hair comparisons between known

Camarena hairs and hairs recovered from 881 Lope De Vega.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

18 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, September, 1989.

FIGURE 3 A trial chart showing hair comparisons between known

Camarena hairs and hairs recovered from the Mercury Grand Marquis.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

19 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, September, 1989.

Based on this evidence associating SA Camarena and 881 Lope De Vega, the FBI Laboratory examiner was able to

testify that SA Camarena was at this residence, as well as in the VW Atlantic and the Mercury Grand Marquis, and that

he had been in a position such that his head hairs were forcibly removed. Captain Alfredo Zavala was also found to be

associated with the “guest house” at 881 Lope De Vega. Light-colored nylon rug fibers found on samples of his

clothing taken at the second autopsy matched the fibers from the “guest house” carpet.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

20 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

A detailed model of the residence at 881 Lope De Vega was prepared by the Special Projects Section of the FBI

Laboratory for the trial (see Figure 4 ). Over twenty trial charts were also prepared to explain the various types of

forensic evidence. These charts proved invaluable in clarifying the complicated techniques and characteristics used in

the examination of the hair, fiber, fabric, and cordage evidence (see Figure 5 ).

CONCLUSION

After an eight-week trial, conducted under tight security and involving hundreds of witnesses, all of the defendants

were found guilty and convicted on all counts, and are currently serving lengthy sentences.

FIGURE 4 A model of 881 Lope De Vega prepared as a trial exhibit.

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, September, 1989.

FIGURE 5 A trial chart used to show the association of Camarena and

Zavala with various locations.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

21 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM PRINTED BY: [email protected] Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this

book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted.

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, September, 1989.

Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/api/v0/books/9781323284162/print?from...

22 of 22 7/1/17, 12:16 AM