Even recent events can cause one to pause for thought. Apparently, one evening last week, two shots and an explosion were heard at Cap Estate. The police were contacted around nine o’clock and arrived on the scene some time later. According to some reports, they did not arrive until several hours later, but these should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt.
The following morning, at 5.30 am, when my friends were taking their usually walk, they came across a patch of burned grass—it looked as if someone had been burning rubbish—and they were appalled, but not, of course, as appalled as they became when they discovered what and who had been burning there. The reported crime was horrendous, and now is not the moment to be discussing it, but something has to be said about the way the police apparently handled the crime scene.
There are reports of police activity around 1.30 am when, obviously, the night was black and nothing could really be done, at least nothing comparable to a real crime scene investigation. Apparently, a vehicle from a funeral parlor was spotted, which, if true, might indicate that the body had been removed from the vehicle for transportation to the morgue. With all due respect to the feelings of those close to the deceased, the rights of the victim might have been better served had his charred remains been allowed to remain in the vehicle until a proper daylight investigation of the crime scene had been carried out. Even more remarkably, the vehicle was collected and dispatched before dawn and the crime scene left unattended for all and sundry to tramp around on.
In identifying criminals, identifying the modus operandi is often key to solving a problem. In this particular case, the actions of the police were anything but typical. Without knowing the identity of the victim—at least according to the police—the body and the car, which was the immediate scene of the crime, were removed, and the immediate area surrounding the
crime was left unattended. It is impossible to accept that a reasonable search of the area was made during the hours of darkness.
Here, for the sake of those who apparently do not know how to secure a crime scene are excerpts from internationally accepted guidelines for protecting evidence.
“Protecting the crime scene to keep the pertinent evidence uncontaminated until it can be recorded and collected is the most important aspect of evidence collection; protection begins with the arrival of the first police officer at the scene and ends when the scene is released from police custody. Every effort must be made to disturb things as little as possible in assessing the crime scene. Particular attention should be paid to the ground around the scene since this is the most common repository for evidence and it poses the greatest potential for contamination.
“Once the scene has been stabilized, the scene and any other areas that may yield valuable evidence should be roped off to prevent unauthorized people from entering the area and potentially contaminating it. Only those responsible for the immediate investigation of the crime, the securing of the crime scene, and the processing of the crime scene should be present. Non-essential police officers, district attorney investigators, federal agents, politicians, etc. should never be allowed into a secured crime scene unless they can add something to the crime scene investigation. People entering the crime scene may need to supply fingerprints, shoes, fibers, blood, saliva, pulled head hair, and/or pulled pubic hair for the purpose of elimination.
“Protection of the crime scene also includes protection of the crime scene investigators. This is especially true if a suspect has not been apprehended. There are many stories of suspects still hiding at or near their area of misdeed.”
Many questions remain. How many people were involved? How did they flee the scene of the crime? How did they lure or force the victim to that remote spot? Why was the victim in the passenger seat? If the body was doused in petrol, where did it come from? If the doors of the vehicle were locked, where are the keys? Were there any shell casings, tire tracks from another vehicle, or scraps of evidence lying around? Who ordered the body removed? Who ordered the vehicle removed, and why? And why did all of this occur under the protective blanket of darkness?
If, by the time this a-musing appears in print, the killer has been arrested, then it will, in all probability, have been due to dumb luck, and not a proper investigation of the crime scene.