This three day death investigation course instructs & consults fellow members of law enforcement at each level in the successful investigation and prosecution of violent offenders. Because of its unique presentation and course content, this continues to be one of the most requested and popular death investigation training courses available today.
Those who attend will learn to develop successful crime scene strategies that will afford them the best opportunity to properly document a violent crime scene and have analyzed the very probative evidence that will eventually lead them down that path of truth. Concentration is on the crime scene and the ability for the homicide detective to recognize various crime scene indicators coupled with victimology that will make it much easier to establish a proper motive.
Crime Scene Management & Individual Perception
The underlying theme of this course is to stress how important that a properly managed crime scene is to the presentation of the evidence to a judge or a jury. Circumstantial evidence presented to a jury to support any direct evidence is only as credible as the crime scene was managed. A properly managed scene is one where an in place SOP outlines individual duties and responsibilities which will make accountability and documentation much easier.
Analysis of the 911 Call
As part of a homicide investigation, any and all 911 calls should be obtained and reviewed. Often time’s statements made by the 911 caller may offer insight to their possible involvement in a suspicious death or homicide. Several cases will be reviewed along with the analysis of the 911 call that will assist the investigator in developing a strategy to approach and interview the caller. Tracey Harpster’s words should never be overlooked when first responding to the homicide scene. The caller may be the killer.
Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (Pattern Evidence Category)
Blood has three characteristics which will cause it to behave according to the laws of physics once it leaves the body. This allows the investigator to testify to its reliability and consistency as it is found and documented at the crime scene. Patterns covered are to include:·
Crime Scene Reconstruction
A crime scene reconstruction model is presented which allows the investigator to take and examine all categories of physical evidence and review the analysis along with the autopsy protocol, and place into a logical sequence the most likely order of events at the scene of a violent crime. The initial and final detailed reconstruction phases are covered in detail, and will explain the overall importance and objectives of having a detailed reconstruction completed. Actual case reviews are also incorporated in this phase to give a practical example as to how this reconstruction model can be used to not only make sense of a dynamic and confusing scene(s), but also place the order of events in a proper sequence supported by the physical evidence.
Specific Types of Crime Scenes
Several different types of crime scenes regarding settings and motives will be discussed along with the various forensic applications appropriate to each type of investigation. Types of scenes reviewed are to include:
Arson scenes and fire deaths
Autoerotic Death Scenes
Outdoor scenes and the buried and partially buried body
Sex related scenes to include rape
Domestic homicide scenes
Homosexually motivated scenes
Suicide & Equivocal Death Investigation
This block of instruction shows the investigator what crime scene indicators are normally present at suicides vs. homicides, and how to recognize and distinguish between the two. Victimology is always key to equivocal death investigation. Several case examples are shown to illustrate the difference in injuries and patterns.
SIDS & Infant Homicide
Several cases are reviewed in order to enable the investigator to recognize injuries associated with infant abuse and infant homicide. The investigator will also be taught how to manage SIDS and Infant Homicide Deaths. Other topics covered include:
Cold Case Investigation
Strategies will be discussed that are important when a homicide or equivocal death investigation is to be re-examined in the hopes of bringing it to a successful conclusion. From evidence initially gathered, the crime scene and re-interviewing of witnesses a step by step approach is laid out that will enable the homicide detective to have guidance when working through these cases. The results of a long passage of time and possible DNA implications are also reviewed and attending agencies are encouraged to bring cold cases to the course for examination and review.