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Death Scene Investigation PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Death Scene Investigation. Homicide: Case #021858T Unidentified Hispanic Male. Daytime Scene Photograph. Homeless Shelters. Housing Projects. Crime Scene. Liquor Store. April 5, 2002 2210 hrs. A Fort Worth PD officer is flagged down by a witness who states that there is a fight nearby.

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Death Scene Investigation

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Death scene investigation l.jpg

Death Scene Investigation

Homicide: Case #021858T

Unidentified Hispanic Male


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Daytime Scene Photograph

Homeless Shelters

Housing Projects

Crime Scene

Liquor Store


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April 5, 2002 2210 hrs

  • A Fort Worth PD officer is flagged down by a witness who states that there is a fight nearby.

  • The witness advises that one of the subjects involved was left lying on the ground and the other participant fled the scene.

  • Fort Worth PD officers and EMS respond to the scene.


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The Scene

  • 700 E. 17th St, Fort Worth, TX

  • Vacant field next to freeway

  • Directly under the edge of a 70 foot high freeway overpass

  • Next to a freeway and railroad tracks

  • Near the homeless shelters and low-income housing projects


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Initial Police Observations & Actions

  • EMS pronounces the decedent at the scene

  • The area is secured as a crime scene

  • No witnesses or suspects found at the scene

  • The cause of death is unknown and no obvious weapon is found

  • Homicide detectives, crime scene officers and Tarrant County ME are notified of the death and respond to the scene


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Tarrant County ME Forensic Death Investigator arrival and initial contact

  • The death investigator meets with officers and is briefed on the circumstances of discovery

  • The witness described to officers that the decedent was involved in a fight but additional theories of a “body dump” or jumper from the freeway are suggested


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Scene Observations

  • The body is face down (prone)

  • There is a large area of blood on the ground around the decedent’s head

  • There appears to be trauma to the back of the head

  • The decedent’s right rear pants pocket is turned inside out

  • The decedent has what appear to be wood fragments on his clothing


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Scene Observations Continued

  • There are beer bottles lying on the ground nearby

  • There is blood spatter on the ground around the decedent

  • There is no weapon initially visible


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Body Examination

  • The rear of the head has what appear to be linear type fractures

  • Blood spatter on the body and clothing suggests assault type injuries

  • The back of the shirt and head have dirt or soil on them

  • Several possible wood fragments are found on the body

  • Rigor, lividity and body temperature are consistent with the position observed and death at this scene


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Body Examination Continued

  • The body is rolled over onto a clean sheet to preserve trace evidence

  • The decedent’s face has extensive trauma

  • There are multiple abrasions and contusions about the body

  • There is blood spatter on the decedent’s clothing

  • The hands are placed in paper bags to preserve trace evidence

  • A possible wood fragment is secured as evidence from the decedent’s pants to preserve it prior to transport and protect it from the rain


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Wound Interpretation and Weapon Description

  • The wounds on the posterior (back) of the head are linear, long and well defined

  • Consistent with an injury from a blunt force object with a possible defined edge

  • The wounds on the anterior (front) of the head have deformed the face into a flattened appearance

  • Consistent with an injury from a blunt force object that is flat, wide and possibly heavy


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Jumper from the freeway overpass above the scene is excluded

No other serious injuries apparent other than head trauma

No leg/feet trauma

Blood spatter at scene not consistent with a fall

Possible soil and wood fragments on clothing not consistent with a fall

“Body Dump” is excluded

No apparent drag marks

Blood spatter consistent with injuries occurring at this scene

No blood trail found

Rigor and lividity are consistent with death at this scene

Excluding Theories


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Locating the Weapon

  • Crime Scene officers are informed of the Death Investigator’s interpretation of the wounds

  • An expanded crime scene search begins

  • A large debris pile is located approximately 20 yards from the body

  • The debris pile includes broken and discarded railroad cross ties

  • A possible weapon is located


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Approximate 4 foot long railroad cross tie with blood and possible hair fiber evidence


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Scene Conclusion

  • The decedent appears to be the victim of an assault consistent with the original witness statement about a fight occurring

  • The decedent has no personal property on him and the pants pocket turned out suggests theft or robbery

  • Alcohol containers at the scene suggests the participants and/or decedent had been drinking

  • The incident occurred at this location


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Police Department Interviews and Investigation

  • Detectives locate a witness at a nearby liquor store that saw the decedent and suspect

  • Beer bottles found at the scene are possibly from the subjects involved

  • The witness at the liquor store identifies the suspect and his possible home address

  • Officers respond to the suspect’s home address across the highway at the housing projects


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Police Department Interviews and Investigation Continued

  • A witness at that location states the suspect had just come to the house and told her that he had killed a Hispanic male

  • The suspect discards his bloody clothes at the home which are located by the police

  • The suspect later returns to the home and is arrested

  • Both the suspect and decedent are transients

  • The suspect is charged with Capital Murder


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Examination Details

  • The decedent arrives at the Medical Examiner Office for examination

  • The body is processed by the trace evidence collection team

  • The examining physician identifies 18 different sets of wounds on the decedent

  • Cause and Manner of death are finalized: Blunt Force Trauma of Head – Homicide

  • All attempts to identify the decedent and locate his family are unsuccessful

  • The decedent’s fingerprints, dental chart, DNA and photographs are kept on file for future identification. The decedent is entered into the NCIC unidentified person database.

  • The decedent is given a county burial


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