This particular scene would be one of the most gruesome crime scenes I had ever investigated and processed. It also entailed not only one crime scene but three. The following is a true account of a dismembered body triple crime scene I worked as a CSI.
It was just a typical day at work, and I was playing catch up on paperwork and reports. My work hours were from 0800 to 1600, barring any incident that came up last minute, such as crime scenes, search warrants, etc. At the time, I was a Crime Scene Investigator for my local police department. Since our county was small, I was the only CSI around and would assist others departments when they had a large case or crime scene.
I was at my desk going through my office to-do list when I heard an officer discussing a case another agency had. I heard the words “barrel,” “body,” and “dismemberment.” What the hell? Nothing like that happened in our area, or at least not often. At first, I thought I had misheard, but later I found out I had heard that conversation loud and clear.
At around 1400, my supervisor called me and told me about the neighboring agency’s crime scene or scenes. He mentioned an individual had killed someone and then dismembered them with a circular saw. Though not our case, he mentioned the incident involved three separate crime scenes, and it would be helpful if I assisted them. He then directed me to go home, try to nap, and return to work at 1600 since the investigation would undoubtedly take all night.
I did what I was told and went home for those two hours but did not rest. My mind couldn’t compute what I had been told. Not only that it had happened, but this gruesome murder happened in our county. It didn’t seem real.
When I arrived at the other agency’s department, I was given a rundown of the case and what to look for at the scenes potentially. At every crime scene, you are given a briefing to know what you are getting into and have an idea of what to look for. Of course, on the scene as a CSI, it is your job to determine if there are more evidentiary values to collect besides what you are supposed to look for. This case would be very different from any I had ever worked on.
Thankfully, they had caught the suspect. He turned himself in. But that meant that the investigation had just begun. We still had to collect evidence, find some of it, and assemble the pieces for a future court case.
I was told I would be attending two of the three crime scenes. As I mentioned, there were three scenes:
I was told to go to the barn and the scene where the initial murder occurred. When I arrived at the old barn, it resembled that of a horror movie. It was dilapidated, and a bunch of junk and some metal barrels were inside.
One of them had a horrible stench. I need to interject that it was August, and it had been unusually high, about 100 degrees that week. I put on my PPE and Personal Protective Equipment and began to look around. Leading to the barn were shoe prints, so I had to be careful to walk around them, so I did not disturb them. When I got to the barrel, several officers had to help pull it out of the barn. My first task was to collect fingerprints. Though I dusted the entire barrel, smell and all, there were no usable prints.
Finally, the moment of truth came, and the barrel lid was removed. As it was, most of the officers scattered due to the smell. We peeked inside and saw an opened garbage bag with household items such as blankets and torn-up family pictures in it. Around that bag were human legs and another bag at the bottom. The entire barrel was filled with a bodily fluids that looked like soup. We did not see the head but assumed it was in the other bag in the barrel. We were right. Next, maggots were collected to help establish the time of death. The barrel was secured into evidence, and I was off to the next scene.
The next scene was the location where the murder had taken place. Upon first inspection, there did not appear to be much in the way of evidence. The only noticeable points of interest were some slight disarray and there were more family photos cut up and thrown in a trash can. At that point, it was apparent family feuding was the screwed-up reason for this homicide.
As we looked around, it was apparent we were looking for hidden evidence. Soon we were all on the floor looking as closely as we could until we found it…..blood. There was the smallest, trace amount of it on the floor. Soon we got out the luminol and began to use it to detect hidden blood. There still wasn’t much. We then realized the suspect had replaced entire floorboards!
We then looked for any other indicators of foul play and found a bullet deflection in the wall. Eventually, that wall portion was cut out and booked into evidence along with a .22 shell casing.
The final piece of large evidence was the circular saw. It was placed within view in a truck on the property…with bits of body parts still stuck to it.
Needless to say, that scene was by far the most gruesome I have ever worked on. I would not mind if I never worked another dismembered body case again. By the way, the suspect was convicted and will spend his life in prison.