Developing an Investigation Plan
CRJ 430 – Advanced Law Enforcement
A child was playing in a local park with his brother. A car pulled up as they were leaving the playground. A man inside the car motioned for the two (2) boys to come over. The man asked the two (2) boys where the nearest convenience store was located. He then stated that he was not familiar with the area and asked the boys to show him the way and he would take them home afterward. He also stated that he would buy them whatever` they wanted if they agreed to show him. The youngest brother got into the car with the man, and they drove away. The older sibling ran home and told his mother what had happened. The younger brother was not heard from that night, and a report was made to the police. The next day a body was found in a dumpster behind a local garage. It was the younger brother, who had been strangled to death and was nude.
As the lead investigator, in this case, I will develop a two to three-page investigation plan that outlines the main steps that I would take immediately as it relates to the investigation of this case. I will propose my methods for evidence collection and predict the primary evidence that I would expect to find regarding the study of the death of the boy and the arrest of the suspect. I will also propose the main investigative techniques that I would use to investigate the murder in this case.
Immediate Main Steps
The first step, before an investigation occurs is to ensure you have a qualified and trained force of personnel and equipment to investigate hand. The people doing the investigation may be a specific time of crime scene analyst, police officers, investigators, forensic specialists, trace evidence analyst, medical doctors, and specialist that deal with everything from the weather, to human flesh decay, to entomology. The seven stages of the Investigative process as taught in our text are Initial Report; Initial Investigation/Police Contact; Incident Review; Follow up Investigations; Case Preparation and Approval; Prosecution and Charging of the Crime; and finally, the Conclusion . The main steps that I would take immediately as it relates to the investigation of this case would be to assess where we are in the Investigative process and pick up from there. In this case, we are at step one with a young body found in the dumpster who appear to be strangled to death and nude. I would begin the seven steps from the beginning and proceed through the process as described above.
I would propose multiple methods of evidence collection and utilize all of them in the most expedient means available while protecting evidence and ensuring appropriate crime scene protection, processing, and chain of custody measures are followed. “Evidence found at crime scenes may include fingerprints; blood, hair, and other DNA-rich substances such as semen, skin, and fingernails; digital/electronic evidence; bite marks; shoe and tire impressions; soil; tool fragments; glass; paint; safe insulation; fibers; insects; documents; and firearms”.
In this case the crime scene (garage) and location of the body, along with all locations the two boys had traveled from the park and its neighborhood to the garage and its neighborhood and everywhere in between canvassing for people who are witnesses or who have cameras that could have been recording the boy getting into a vehicle at the park and its route of travel along with subject and subject vehicle identification. I would also get statements immediately from the sibling and the family, neighbors, friends, and associates of the family who are in the neighborhood that use the park or the garage on the last day.
I would concurrently have the crime scene processed for any evidence not limited to trace, prints, DNA, and any other clues found. I would also ask if the child had a phone that could be traced for the location from the cell phone provider. In this evidence collection, I would expect to find some sort of trace evidence, print, DNA or all three. As stated in Locard’s exchange principle, “(1) “With contact between two items, there will be an exchange.” (2) Applied to crime scenes in which the perpetrators of crimes come into contact with the scene, so they both bring something into the scene and leave with something from the scene. Every contact leaves a trace” . I would collect all evidence using proper chain of custody with only authorized and trained personnel handling the crime scene mapping, processing, and evidence collection and testing to ensure all evidence would be held up in court. I would expect to find DNA and trace evidence on the boy showing where he had been up to and before death and being left in a dumpster. With the arrest of the suspect, I would expect to find trace evidence on the subject, in his vehicle and possibly in other locations the subject and the boy had been. This evidence would tie the two together and may even prove or disprove criminal activity up to the murder.
The main investigative techniques that I would use to investigate the possible murder, in this case, would be the techniques mention above along with witness testimony and video footage. Fingerprints, DNA, and trace evidence transferred from the Subject to the boy and from the boy to the subject can be used to prove collocation, contact, sexual activity, and violence up to and including the cause of death. Collection of this evidence, testimony and witness statement will all assist in the solving of the crime. The FBI reports the importance of Evidence Collection as, “FBI Crime Scene Forensic Documentation Guidelines should be routinely applied to every crime scene regardless of size or complexity. The narrative reviews each crime scene guideline and identifies the documentation that the prosecutor should anticipate being present. Omitted guideline citations should be questioned because they may imply a defect in the forensic evidence acquisition process. These omissions may provide points of attack by the defense and, consequently, present a reasonable strategy.”
As the lead investigator, in this case, I developed a two to three-page investigation plan that outlined the main steps that I would take immediately as it related to the investigation of this case. I proposed my methods for evidence collection and predicted the main evidence that I would have expected to find regarding the study of the death of the boy and the arrest of the suspect. I also proposed the main investigative techniques that I would have used to investigate the murder in this case.