Yesterday i attended an address to the south where an old lady had been found dead. As its bloody cold, still, its quite common for the older generation to pass away because they can’t afford heating. Its a bad state of affairs when we can’t look after our elders, especially when you think what they have done in their lives to allow us the life we enjoy today.
This lady had been found and they wanted me to examine her and the property if it looks suspicious. You know when they say that there is obviously something bugging them and you will be there for a while. After years of this job i have given up trying to interrogate the answers out of an officer before i leave the office. Its much easier just to turn up and do your job. Most of them know me and the team now and if they are calling its a good indication they need your help. Its rare for them to call and waste your time.
I arrive at the scene and there are the usual TV crew hanging around and being one who likes his privacy i drive to the rear of the property and enter that way.
The house is fairly small, from the back door you have a small kitchen that leads into the kitchen. Across from the kitchen is a lounge/dinning room and in-between are the stairs which lead to 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. Average house for the area.
There was a bit of the death odour in the air so you knew the lady wasn’t in a perfect fresh condition. The smell doesn’t bother me but i do get pissed of with the fact it stays in your smell memory bank well into the evening. Its actually the air molecules that stay stuck to the hair in your nose. Gross i know but its even worse when you get a reminder sniff when your about to tuck into a stake a few hours after leaving. This isn’t bad so imagine a floaters smell, nice and ripe.
This poor lady must have been about 80 and was lying on the floor of the kitchen with her legs protruding into the hall. There is a smallish pool of blood behind her head, consistent with falling and banging your head. I assume the neighbours saw the legs through the window when they started looking for her. She looked slightly at piece as she stared at the ceiling. No look of shock or horror on her face, just the hint of a content smile. Made me think maybe this was just natural causes. Wrong.
The usual black out material is put up around the windows to stop the TV crews and press not peaking through the windows. It helps me carry out my work but i also hate the feeling of someone watching over my shoulder. I have enough dead people looking over my shoulder making sure i do my job properly, i don’t need the living hassling me.
I got the kit out and placed it on the kitchen table. Still not knowing what we had in front of us and not wanting to guess i thought she was the best place to start. As i stepped over her again to kneel of the far side of her (more space) she let out a death rattle. At first you shit yourself, secondly you think ‘fuck she’s alive’ and thirdly your realise its just the trapped air making its way out. It’s certainly not uncommon but you still don’t expect it. It catches me out everytime and you can feel your heart race for a split second.
Heart calmed down and i kneel down to examine her for evidence of foul play, or not. She is fully dressed so the clothing is examined for anything untoward. Nothing seems out of place so i start to roll her onto her right side, examining her back. Blood starts leaking from her head but its fairly congealed so not an issue. When i look at her head, bearing in mind one hand is holding her on her side, my other hand slowly and delicately parts the blood matted hair. Yep there is a big gapping hole in the back of her skull, which unfairness looks a bit large for just falling over.
Alarm bells are ringing and after looking around where i’m kneeling i’m baffled. Why isn’t there blood spatter anywhere near the body. Its just too neat where she is lying.
After explaining to the officer that the venue is going to need a proper exam and i’d like the body kept in situ until i find an attack site. Should be today so not too much of a delay. As usual they want it done as quick as possible which isn’t them wanting corners cut, its just them wanting to start their investigation. There like rabid dogs ready to let of their leashes and start grilling people. Good, the old lady will get justice.
What to do first, look for the attack site or start at the back door and go through the house methodically. I can’t use chemicals first as they may destroy evidence found my non chemical methods. Lets start with the basics and from the backdoor forwards. Stepping plates are placed around to try and preserve the floor. As the kitchen is linoleum and the rest of the downstairs is wood maybe shoe marks can be found. Great surfaces for one technique, which is done. This technique uses electricity passed through a substrate and occasionally you get a loudish crack as the current arcs across. One was louder than normal and i heard a buzz of noise from outside straight after it. Not sure if they were genuinely concerned for me or just curious. Either way no one came to see if i was ok, charming.
After rolling this evidence up and bagging it in the appropriate evidence bags for further examination at the lab i started examining the walls for blood spatter. Its a lot easier to examine a house after the floor has been cleared, especially if its dark. At the moment i’m just using the trusty torch and magnify looking for blood. This place just seems to clean and some ghost sitting on my shoulder keep pushing me towards the far end of the lounge/dinner. Not where your meant to look as maybe i’m meant to think she fell down the stairs. There is a vey faint smell of detergent but noting too unusual as the house was clean and maybe spring cleaning had started slightly early. I’m still getting the feeling i should be here and that the smell is relevant. Quite often people will use detergents to clean crime scenes but when they do it stinks. Imaging splashing detergents around you house and walking out. With no airflow it doesn’t disperse for ages.
All my senses are telling me this is it. This is where i should be. There are doors that if opened would lead to the garden but nothing out of place. The smell is now bugging me and i’m thinking maybe clearing up has happened and then time spent venting the area. There is only one way to find out for sure. I get out my special light and in the dark stand back and look at the area. Whoopee, it looks like i’ve hit the jackpot quickly. I can see wipe marks on the wall and wash marks across the floor. Something has been spilt and cleared up. I’m not going to tell you what i do next but i can retrieve evidence from the areas that maybe people think i can’t.
All the furniture in the vicinity need special attention as the perpetrator must have touched something in this area but why did the attack happen back here. I can only assume its the furthest point the lady could escape to.
Along the floor from the attack site i then found drag marks to the body. Ok, now we have a story. The lady managed to get to the back patio doors and was then severely attacked. The body was placed near the bottom of the stairs so maybe it was assumed she fell down the stairs. Not too close to the stairs was a smart move. It explains the amount of blood where she laid.
Quite a bit of time has now passed so i finish of the examination of the body and take photos of her location.
As this isn’t like CSI on the TV and we have limited staff i agree that the body can now be removed and as the officers want to remove certain items and the undertakers will be arriving to remove her i agree to stop at a logical point and return the next day when i will have free roam of the house.
That i did and completed a full search of the house. Luckily the next day resulted in less onlookers, which is usually the case when the body has gone.
Lots of possible evidence is found around the house but at this point i don’t know how relevant it is. Its all photo’d, tagged and bagged for the lab. Some of it is even swobbed for DNA.
In no way do i believe in ghosts or spirits but it is unusual how occasionally you can be drawn to certain areas of crime scenes. I put it down to luck and experience but part of me hopes there is a way of spirits guiding you.
That could be a film , or has it been done.
On to the next one.