Last time, our discussion on death scenes included suicides, accidental deaths, and natural deaths. In this week’s blog, we’ll take a look at questionable deaths and homicide scenes.
The questionable death scene is a difficult one. Often, there are no obvious signs of trauma on the body and no obvious mechanism of death. It might even be unclear how the body came to be where it is. These cases are treated as homicides until we find sufficient evidence to decide otherwise.
Take for example the male body we found along the Illinois River a few years ago, just before Christmas. His body showed no signs of injury. Although the river had not yet frozen over, his clothing was dry, making it unlikely that he had drowned. He was lying face down in the sand, missing a shoe and wearing a jacket that wasn’t heavy enough for the frigid temperatures. A short distance to the west of his body was a seven-foot-high concrete wall, built to keep the river away from nearby homes during floods.
Once again, we’re cross-posting some great advice from the 13Thirty Books blog. This time, Rich Devin shares some tips on how to improve your sales at book signings. Now, we realize that these are somewhat rare events at bookstores for indie authors, but they don’t have to be at bookstores. And some of Rich’s tips can be extended and applied to marketing in general with the idea of improving your chances at getting noticed. It’s all about presentation. So, we hope that our readers will find useful information here.
At the end of the previous installment, I discussed various methods for determining how long a person has been dead. This time, we’re going to take a look at the manner of death: suicide, accidental, and natural.
In a typical case of natural death, the signs are obvious. In fact, our department policy is that if the death appears completely natural to the responding officer (and to the attending emergency medical personnel), the crime scene unit doesn’t need to respond. This would include cases of terminally ill patients, especially those who are home on hospice care, waiting to die. The elderly would fall into this category for the most part, but not always. I just watched a video recapping an 80-year-old and an 81-year-old, both of whom completed an Ironman race in Hawaii. Granted, that’s an extreme example, but it serves the purpose to demonstrate that just because someone has reached their elder years, it doesn’t necessarily mean their health is fragile. If the deceased was in their 80s but was in decent health and exercised regularly, I’d definitely want to take a closer look at the situation.