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Practical Homicide Investigation

Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, Fourth Edition

By Vernon J. Geberth

CRC Press – 2006 – 1,072 pages

Series: Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations

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    February 8th 2006


Renowned for being THE definitive source of homicide investigation, Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques is the recognized protocol used by investigative divisions of major police departments throughout the world. It is also the text used in most police academies, including the prestigious FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. It emphasizes essential procedures, combines detailed techniques with instructive case studies, and outlines the foundation on which to build a solid, prosecutable case.

The fundamental criminal investigative techniques stressed in the Fourth Edition are crucial for effective inquiry into sudden and violent death. Eminent author, lecturer, consultant, and expert witness Vernon J. Geberth begins the book with a comprehensive discussion of homicide crime scenes. The book evolves chronologically from initial police notification, the correct police response that follows, and the subsequent steps necessary to conduct an intelligent investigation. It then delves into more technical aspects of homicide investigation, augmented with numerous pictures and full-color illustrations that involve pertinent case histories.

The book features two new chapters along with major revisions of those from the previous edition. In addition it contains 675 photos and illustrations - including 300 new entries that incorporate depictions of wound structures and procedures that portray exactly what to do and how to do it. All illustrations are presented in full color, including new medical-legal drawings for instruction and courtroom testimony.

Vernon Geberth was featured in an interview on News 14 Carolina in Fayetteville discussing his 3-day seminar on Practical Homicide Investigation.

He also discusses the book in a video on the CRC Press YouTube channel.

Vernon Geberth was recently interviewed for an article entitled, The Hunt for a Serial Killer: Revisting the Gilgo Beach Murders.


Most readers will feel the fourth edition was well worth the wait. …Updates of prior images, as well as new photographs and numerous professional medical illustrations, undoubtedly improve the quality of the book. …This book continues to be a solid and necessary resource for anyone tasked with the responsibility of investigating not only homicides, but also other manners of death.

—John P. Black, CLPE, CFWE, CSCSA, Journal of Forensic Identification, Vol. 57, No. 1, January/February 2007

Vern Geberth is the Avenging Angel of Homicide Victims… Sharing his 40 plus years of experience and diligently tapping into the expertise of others, the book is an A through Z of homicide investigation. …Practical with a capital "P"…a truly comprehensive text for the student of political science as well as a – must have – ready reference for the police practitioner. A passionate mentor as well as an effective writer, Geberth is mindful of the solemn responsibility that homicide investigators and police are entrusted with and deeply reverent in his approach to always doing things right because of it. At the end of the day, Geberth’s work should empower and motivate police investigators to remove more murderers from our communities and bring comfort to the families of homicide victims.

—Pete Gagliardi, Vice President, Corporate & Marketing Communications, Forensic Technology, Cote St-Luc, Quebec, Canada

Geberth is the real thing. He was my top homicide commander in the NYCPD. Practical Homicide Investigation is a one of a kind textbook based on real experience coupled with an extensive knowledge of the forensic sciences. The techniques he recommends and pitfalls he warns against are gleaned from years of successful investigative work. His writing glows with authenticity. It is THE recognized guide for every police officer and should be on the top shelf of every attorney, prosecutor or defense.

—Edwin T. Dreher, Deputy Chief (Retired), Office of the Chief of Detectives, New York City Police Department, March 27, 2007

It is refreshing to see an edition that is really just not a re-print of outdated material. Moreover, from my point of view you took a huge step forward with this publication by publishing the photographs in color. --- This is extremely important and I am surprised that it hasn’t been done years ago. When teaching topics which deal with evidence such as powder burns, stippling, lividity, and the hue of blood itself, to name just a few, this can only be accurately portrayed when illustrated in color!

Color is critical to differentiate physical evidence. --- Nice job! ---- Maintaining current information on the forever changing types of homicides gives the investigator the leading edge. In this most recent addition, I noted cases presented which, prior to just a few years ago, never occurred. Kudos’ Mr. Geberth! – This is an excellent resource.

--Peter A. Siekmann, Coroner, DuPage County, Illinois Coroner’s Association

This clearly is the best teaching text on homicide out there for those serious about the field of homicide investigation.

--Donna Pendergast, First Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division, Michigan Attorney Generals Office

Vernon J. Geberth is the only person in the country, that I am aware of, who has continued to incorporate the latest investigative techniques, forensic procedures, innovative theories and updated real cases illustrating these and compiled them into a book that should be in every police department library and every detective’s desk.

The law enforcement community owes Geberth tremendous thanks for continuing to be the country’s most highly regarded and respected authority on homicide and death investigations.

--Thomas N. Jordan, Magisterial District Judge, Past President of the Pennsylvania Homicide Investigator’s Association

The new FOURTH edition of Practical Homicide Investigation is a Must Have. This is the recognized Bible in homicide investigation. Once again, Mr. Homicide, retired N.Y.P.D. Lieutenant Commander Vernon Geberth, has hit a home run. … I strongly recommend this new edition, which has been completely revised and updated. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned investigator or a rookie officer. P.H.I. covers every aspect of homicide investigation from the first officer on the scene to the complex forensic processes involved in the investigation of murder.

--Detective Al Sheppard (Retired), NYPD-Major Case Squad, USA

… This is truly a brilliant and exhaustive presentation of the subject matter that remains absolutely faithful to its title. The color photos and life-like illustrations (over 600) provide the reader with a most realistic presentation of the homicide investigation from arrival at the crime scene through the autopsy, never losing sight of the ultimate goal of a successful court room presentation and prosecution… . Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, Fourth Edition will empower you to be faithful to your solemn obligation to speak for the deceased and their families.

--Anthony Magnetto, Captain, Troy, New York Police Department, USA

…Unquestionably, Geberth has fully succeeded in his mission to provide a comprehensive and practical resource text that will serve as an investigational guide for the homicide professional. …An important addition is the inclusion of several check-off lists that greatly simplifies an investigation with the added advantage of obtaining all the information critical to the investigation …A major feature of this new edition that is really impressive derives from his use of numerous color photographs throughout the book… .

This book is a must for anyone involved in law enforcement and forensic investigations including seasoned homicide investigators, police personnel, forensic investigators and forensic pathologists.

--Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph.D., Emeritus Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County and Emeritus Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, USA

It appears the author has revisited every chapter, but this latest revision especially provides new forensic coverage; in particular recent DNA developments. …Many new photographs and illustrations have been included and nearly all of them are in bright, graphic color. As usual with Commander Geberth's literary efforts, the faint-hearted should proceed with utmost caution… .

--Director Larry Welch, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Topeka, Kansas, USA

Vernon Geberth's Practical Homicide Investigation in its first edition has been the backbone of my research shelf for years, and I have turned to it hundreds of time. This Fourth Edition is a spectacular upgrade, the ultimate 'Bible' that every homicide investigator, criminalist, medical examiner, and those in dozens of other professions must have. It is the gold standard in advanced techniques for working crime scenes in all classifications--from fire deaths to lust murder, and everything in between … I am tremendously impressed with the scope and detail in this meticulously researched book. It is a triumph for Geberth and a bonanza for the investigator!

--Ann Rule, Ph.D., Author of The Stranger Beside Me and Green River and Running Red

Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures and Forensic Techniques should be required reading for all criminal investigators. This NEW Fourth Edition … actually makes you feel like you are in the scene and Vernon is walking you through all the steps as he is conducts the homicide investigation and answers your questions before you ask them. … The colored pictures are clear and detailed and the reader is able to visualize the homicide scene. Vernon, as usual does not take all of the credit for the contents of this professional book. Instead, he has made sure that he acknowledges all of his sources for their contributions and provides the reader with additional citations. This fantastic book is Vernon's contribution to everyone in law enforcement.

--Captain Frank Griffin, Executive Officer, Connecticut State Police, Eastern District Headquarters, USA

In this new 4th Edition Vernon Geberth presents THE cutting edge resource book for all criminal investigators and prosecutors. … takes the reader step by step, from the first officer arriving at the scene, through identification of the nature of the crime, the handling of the crime scene, expanding the investigation, through laboratory analysis of the evidence and up to the successful prosecution of the suspects… Practical Homicide Investigation provides a clear, detailed outline for investigators and prosecutors, both of whom only get one chance to do it right.

--Jim Yontz, Assistant District Attorney, Potter County, Texas, USA

…This book will take the reader where many an author dare not tread. Geberth pulls no punches, this book is the real deal and not for the squeamish or weak of heart. Its content is not meant to shock the reader, but to emphasize the cold cruel reality of murder and sexual assault, and the importance in solving these crimes. The book has been updated to include advanced techniques for working crime scenes. As criminals become more educated in their trade via the internet, television programs on Crime Scene Processing and through incarceration in jails and penitentiaries, it is compulsory for homicide investigator to keep pace with the daily advancements in crime fighting tools that are available to him or her.

--Detective Mark J. Czworniak, Area Three Homicide Sex Crimes Unit Evidence Response Team, Chicago Police Department, Illinois, USA

Vernon Geberth has provided the definitive roadmap for those who wish to successfully investigate homicides … . [He] was the Commanding Officer of the Bronx Homicide Task Force when murder in New York City was at an all time high and has an uncanny understanding of what is essential for the investigation of murder or suicide. … Geberth has seen it all and is more than willing to share his own personal experiences and case histories, which he utilizes to instruct the reader and make a point relating to the dynamics of conducting death investigations. If you follow the procedures and tactics in this book, you will be able to sleep well, knowing no murderer has escaped justice because of a poor investigation.

--Thomas P. Fahey, Assistant Chief (Retired), Chief of Manhattan Detectives, NYPD, USA

…a tremendous aid to homicide and crime scene investigators, prosecutors and serious students of forensic identification procedures and abnormal human behavior. ..His methodical approach provides the seasoned and less experienced investigator every opportunity to, ‘Get it right the first time.’ …This publication is an invaluable asset to law enforcement and will be considered the Bible of homicide investigation.

--Raymond M. Pierce, Criminal Profiler, Detective 1st Grade, Ret., NYPD

…thanks to professionals around the country who share their information with Geberth, there are several new cases in this new edition. As well, he offers the latest DNA technology and more information (much needed) about equivocal death analysis, as well as a revised checklist for homicide investigators. The bibliography, too, includes more resources and the glossary more terms.

But actually the best thing about this new edition is the replacement of black-and-white with color photos and illustrations – 675 of them…a number of new ones that refined my understanding of wounds, manner of death and investigative analysis…the full-color crime scene sketches and reconstructions are particularly instructive. …This book now stands out even more clearly as the definitive guidebook for homicide investigators. It will be difficult for anyone to top it.

--Katherine Ramsland, professor of forensic psychology, Desales University, reporting for Court TV’s Crime Laboratory

During my tenure as Homicide Bureau Chief, I had the great pleasure of working closely with Vernon J. Geberth. …Commander Geberth’s extensive knowledge, unmatched expertise, and boundless creativity…was responsible for the successful prosecution of countless homicides in Bronx County. …In my opinion, it is essential that the professional involved with the investigation and prosecution of a homicide have a copy of Vernon J. Geberth’s Practical Homicide Investigation, 4th Edition.

-- Philip G. Schnelwar, former Prosecutor and Homicide Bureau Chief, Bronx County, New York.

…the New Testament in The Bible of homicide investigation.

--Larry Welch, director, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Topeka

This edition is one of the finest books on homicide investigation. It is filled with practical tips, interesting cases, numerous photos and all basic topics from tactics to provedures and forensic techniques. 3 Stars.

Journal of American Association of Forensic Dentists

This volume, the latest rendition of what has become the classic homicide investigators’ manual, is the next best thing to having a mentor with the understanding of the author. … It is, like the earlier volumes, the seminal work on this topic. There is not a better one on the market.

—Frank Horvath, Ph.D., writing in Journal of Forensic Science, May 2009, vol. 54, no. 3


The Homicide Crime Scene

The Five Components of Practical Homicide Investigation

The Crime Scene

At the Crime Scene

The Homicide Investigation Starts at the Crime Scene Determining the Dimensions of the Homicide Crime Scene Protecting the Crime Scene

The Homicide Crime Scene Sign-In Sheet

The Preliminary Investigation at the Primary Crime Scene Victimology

Equivocal Death Investigations

The Staged Crime Scene


Types of Crime Scene Staging

Example of Homicide Made to Appear an Accident

Example of a Homicide Made to Appear Sex Related Conclusion Investigative Strategies

Selected Reading

First Officer’s Duties: General

Notification of a Possible Homicide: the Official Notification to the Police

First Notification of Homicide Received in Person by Patrol Officer

First Officer’s Duties on Arrival at the Scene

Protection of Life

Safeguarding the Scene and Detaining Witnesses or Suspects

The First Officer Initiates the Homicide Investigation

Dealing with Emergencies at the Scene Conclusion

Selected Reading

First Officer’s Duties: Specific

The Suspect in Custody

Transporting the Suspect

Examination of the Suspect for Evidence

The Dying Declaration

The Victim Removed to the Hospital

The Victim Pronounced DOA at the Hospital

The Officer’s Duties at the Hospital

The Victim Confirmed DOA at the Scene

Handling Witnesses at the Scene

Additional Officers at the Scene

Handling News Media Personnel at the Scene

The Documentation of Events by the First Officer

The Changing Sequence of Command

Patrol Officer’s Checklist

Initial Call/Receipt of Information

Arrival at the Homicide Crime Scene

Protection of the Crime Scene


Preliminary Investigation

Suspect in Custody

Suicide and Accidental Death

The Preliminary Investigation at the Scene:

The Detectives

Initial Receipt of Information

Arrival at the Scene

Preliminary Steps to Be Taken by Detectives upon Arrival — Checklist

Describing the Scene

Implementing Crime Scene Procedures

Direction of Uniformed Personnel at the Scene

The Teamwork Approach

Directing the Investigation at the Scene

Duties of the Detective Supervisor on Arrival at the Scene Preliminary Interview of the First Officer

Interview of Ambulance Personnel

Handling Curious Onlookers

Handling Witnesses at the Scene

The Canvass

The Preliminary Medical Examination at the Scene

Special Procedure to Follow in Specific Cases

Case Examples Conclusion


Specific Investigative Duties at the Scene

The Suspect in Custody

Interview and Interrogation of the Suspect in Custody

Examination of a Suspect for Evidence

Evaluation of the Suspect’s Demeanor and Mental Capacity Obtaining a Dying Declaration

Questions to Be Asked in a Dying Declaration

Documentation of the Dying Declaration

Handling Buried-Body Cases

The Discovery of the Buried Body

Initial Response

The Excavation

The Body

Search for a Buried Body

The Investigative Checklist

Documentation of the Initial Report

Initial Receipt of Information

Arrival at the Homicide — Death Scene

Preliminary Inspection of the Body at the Crime Scene Implement Crime Scene Control Procedures

Initiate a Crime Scene Log

Establish a Policy for Crime Scene Integrity

Establish a Command Post or Temporary Headquarters

Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and Ambulance Personnel Initiate a Canvass Weapons

The Suspect in Custody

Suspect in Custody: Interrogation at the Scene A.D.A.P.T. Crime Scene Photographs

Documentation of Crime Scene Photographs

Recommended Crime Scene Photographs

The Crime Scene Sketch

The Crime Scene Search

Dust for Fingerprints

Description of the Deceased

Preliminary Medical Examination at the Scene

Victim — Hospital Information

Evidence Process and Control Procedures

Release of the Homicide Crime Scene

Suicide Investigation — Investigative Considerations

Evaluation of the Wounds

Psychological State of the Victim

Any Prior Mental Disease or Defect

Recognized Warning Signs in Suicides

Extreme Danger Signs in Suicides

Autoerotic Fatalities (Accidental Asphyxia): Investigative Considerations

Investigating Fatal Fires

The Investigative Considerations

The Fire Incident

Suspicious Designation: General Determination Factors

Maintenance of the Fire Crime Scene

Investigation at the Scene

Determination of Arson

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Investigative Checklist Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) Warning Signs References

Selected Reading

The Crime Scene Photographs

The Value of Crime Scene Photographs

Crime Scene Photography and the Investigator

Admissibility of Photographic Evidence

Photographing the Homicide Crime Scene

Outdoor Locations

Indoor Locations

The Body Suspects

Type of Film

Recommended Crime Scene Photographs

Practical Application of Crime Scene Photography

The World Trade Center Attack

The Polaroid Macro 5 SLR Camera

The Panoscan MK-3 Digital Panoramic Camera System Examples Videotaping

Advantages of Videotaping

Purpose of Videotaping the Crime Scene

Recommended Procedure Videotape Protocol

Arrival at Scene

Taping Protocol

Videotaping Suspect Statements Conclusion


Selected Reading

The Crime Scene Sketch

The Sketch

Preparing the Crime Scene Sketch

Utilizing Aerial Photographs for Mapping Outdoor Crime Scenes

The "Total Station" Crime Scene Reconstruction Program

Definition Operation

Practical Application


Selected Reading

The Homicide Crime Scene Search

Legal Considerations

Warrantless Searches Where Suspect Shares Possessory Right to Premises

Practical Examples of Reasonableness: Officers Arriving at Scene of

Violent Crime

Physical Evidence

Types of Physical Evidence

The Concept of Linkage

Methods of Crime Scene Search

Formulating the Search

The Homicide Kit

Crime Scene Integrity Kit

Evidence Collection Tools

Fingerprint Kit

Photography Kit

Sketching and Mapping Kit

Casting Kit

Evidence Collection Containers

Lasers and Alternate Light Sources (ALS)

The Search

Examination of the Body at the Scene

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Release of the Body

The Scene

Processing a Vehicle (See Chapter 17)

Examining the Outdoor Scene

Examples of Evidence Found Outdoors

Examination of an Outdoor Scene at Night

Physical Examination of a Suspect in Custody

Gunshot Residue Testing

Release of the Scene

Crime Scene Process Protective Equipment and Clothing

Antiputrefaction Masks

Crime Scene Protocol for Protection from Airborne Pathogens and Other Biohazards

Communicable Diseases

Required Precautions

Decontamination of Equipment

Decontamination of Clothing

Precautions Prevention

Exposure of First Responders

Exposure to Blood-Borne Diseases

Infection Control Techniques

Universal Precautions

Body Substance Isolation

Exposure Treatment



Selected Reading

Estimating Time of Death

The Process of Dying

Body Changes after Death

External Agents of Change Insects



Bodies in Water

Information Derived from the Scene


Selected Reading

The Identity of the Deceased

The Identification

Identification at the Scene

Personal Identification Clothing and Possessions

Identification by Photographs

Description of the Body


Jewelry and Watches


Obtaining Fingerprints from Dead Bodies

Mass Fatality Events

The World Trade Center Attack

Mass Fatality Considerations

DNA Testing in the Identification of WTC Victims

The Iceman Case

Dr. Zugibe’s Medical Evaluation

Forensic Evaluation

The Teeth Age

General Facial Characteristics


Socioeconomic Group

Occupation or Habits

Positive Identification

Bite-Mark Identification

Inquiries Relative to Forensic Odontology

The Bones Age



Height and Other Individual Characteristics

Determination of Cause of Death

Determination of Whether Bones Are Human or Animal

Examination of Bones

Facial Reconstruction

Forensic Art

Introduction to Forensic Art

Four Categories of Forensic Art

Forensic Art in Identification of Human Remains

Postmortem Drawing

Two-Dimensional Facial Reconstruction from the Skull

Three-Dimensional Facial Reconstruction on the Skull

Methods of Superimposition Conclusion


Selected Reading

Death Notifications: The Surviving Family as

Secondary Victims

Psychological Reactions to Death

The Normal Grieving Process

The Stages of Grief

Psychological Reactions to Murder

Psychological Reactions to Murdered Children

Psychological Reactions to the Murder of Police Officers Notifications of Death by the Homicide Detective Recommendations and Guidelines for Proper Death Notifications to Surviving Family Members

Providing Information to the Surviving Family

Guiding the Surviving Family through the Criminal Justice System


Victim’s Assistance Organizations


Selected Reading

Modes of Death

Gunshot Wounds

The Projectile Striking the Body

The Nature and Extent of Gunshot Wounds

Smudging or Smoke


Tattooing or Stippling Reentry


Shotgun Wounds

Contact Wounds

Bullet Track

Cutting Wounds

Stabbing Wounds

Blunt Force Injuries Lacerations

Chopping Wounds

Deaths by Asphyxia


Investigative Considerations Hanging Drowning

Inhalation of Poison Gases Suffocation

General Forms of Suffocation

Deaths by Fire

Severity of Burn Injuries

Investigative Considerations

Scalding Burns



Deaths Caused by Injection

Sexual Asphyxia: The Phenomenon of Autoerotic Fatalities Introduction

Preliminary Investigation at the Scene

Atypical Autoerotic Deaths

Asphyxial Deaths — The Pathology of Autoerotic Death

The Reality of Asphyxial Death — Videotaped Cases

Equivocal Death Investigations

Sexual Asphyxia — the Psychosexual Aspects of Autoerotic Activity

Female Victims of Autoerotic Fatality

Equivocal Death Investigation

Crime Scene

The Victim

Investigative Considerations Opinion


Notifying and Advising the Surviving Family of the Mode of Death

Investigative Considerations

Determining the Involvement of Sexual Asphyxia: Autoerotic Checklist



Selected Reading

Suicide Investigation

Risk Factors

Depression: A Clinical Perspective

Emotional Symptoms

Cognitive Symptoms

Motivational Symptoms

Somatic Symptoms

Clinical Scenario

Other Motives for Suicide

The Investigation

Staging a Scene

Investigative Considerations

The Weapon


Medicolegal Analysis


Bizarre Suicides

Suicide by Blasting Cap

Suicide by Fireplace

Attempted Suicide — Self-Mutilation

Barrel of Gun in Suicide Victim’s Head

Equivocal Death Investigations

Motives and Intent

Suicide Notes

Background Information

Psychological Autopsy

Warning Signs

Extreme Danger Signs

Investigative Considerations

Evaluation of the Wounds

Psychological State of the Victim

Any Prior Mental Disease or Defect

Final Exit Suicide Investigations


Synopsis of Contents

Investigative Considerations

Letters to Be Written

Police Investigation

Self-Deliverance via the Plastic Bag

Police Investigation

The Final Act

Police Investigation

Investigative Checklist for Final Exit Cases

Recommendations Conclusion

Staged Crime Scenes Involving Final Exit




Early Example

Clinical Interpretations

The Psychopathology of Suicide-by-Cop Scenarios

Hostage Situations

Psychological Ramifications for Police Officers Involved in Suicide-by-Cop Incidents

The Racial Component in Police-Related Shooting Incidents

Investigative Considerations


Selected Reading

The Investigation of Sex-Related Homicides


The Crime Scene Investigation

Sex-Related Crime Scene Checklist

Method for Diagnosing Abrasions, Lacerations, and Other Skin Disruptions in the Perineum and Perianal Areas

Human Sexuality and Sexual Deviance

Determining Motivation

Significance of Fantasy in Sex-Related Incidents

Organized and Disorganized Offenders

The Organized Offender

The Disorganized Offender


Interpersonal Violence-Oriented Disputes and Assaults

Rape- and/or Sodomy-Oriented Assault

Investigative Strategy

Categories of Rapists

Deviant-Oriented Assault — the Lust Murder

Anatomy of Lust Murder


The Serial Murder

The Serial Killer Profile

Organized Serial Killer Activities

Disorganized Serial Killer Activities

Serial Murder Investigation

Command Responsibilty

Linkage Blindnesss

Typical Serial Murder Task Force

The Typical Serial Killer

Three Main Methods Used to Link Murders

Investigative Considerations

A Clinical Perspective



Selected Reading

Homosexual Homicides


Homosexual Relationships

Homosexual Lifestyles — Investigative Considerations

Interpersonal Violence-Oriented Disputes and Assaults

Murders Involving Forced Anal Rape and/or Sodomy

Lust Murders and Other Acts of Sexual Perversion

Homosexual Serial Murders

Investigative Significance

Psychological Considerations

Robbery/Homicide of Homosexuals

Homophobic Assault and "Gay-Bashing" Incidents Conclusion References

Selected Reading

Forensic Application of DNA Analysis


Deoxyribonucleic Acid — DNA.

The Cell

Molecular Biology of the Cell

Structure and Function of DNA

Nuclear DNA

Y-Chromosomal DNA

Mitochondrial DNA

Techniques and Procedures in Forensic DNA Analysis

Collection and Preservation of Biological Evidence

Scheduling Analysis

DNA Extraction

Differential DNA Extraction

DNA Quantification

DNA Amplification (Polymerase Chain Reaction)

Multiplex PCR Analysis

STR Multiplex PCR Analysis

Amplification of mtDNA

DNA Detection and Analysis

STR DNA Analysis

mtDNA Analysis

STR DNA Databases

Population Statistics CODIS

National Missing Persons DNA Database

The Choice of Analysis

Admissibility of DNA Evidence

Laboratory Accreditation

Forensic DNA Case Studies

Victim Identification Conclusion References

Selected Reading

Collection of Evidence

Procedures for Collection of Evidence

General Types of Evidence

Classifications of Physical Evidence

Class Evidence

Individualistic Evidence

Collection of Specific Types of Evidence

Body Materials

Blood (Wet)

Blood Stains (Dry)

Field Test Reagents



Saliva or Spittle





Objects Bullets

Discharged Casings or Cartridges

Shotgun Shells

Live Cartridges or Rounds of Ammunition

Shotgun Wadding





Cigarette/Cigar Butts

Displaced Furniture


Tools Vehicles


Documents (Letters, Notes, Papers)



Fingerprint Examination

Protein Enhancement Reagents

Fatty Acid, Elements, and Compounds Enhancement Reagents Tire Tracks and Footprints

Tool Marks

Bite Marks

Bullet Holes

Newly Damaged Areas


Selected Reading

The Autopsy

The Medical Examiner/Coroner

Investigation of Death

Cause, Mechanism, and Manner of Death

Practical Application of Terminology

Purpose of the Autopsy

Investigative Information Provided by the Autopsy

The Medicolegal Autopsy

Examination of the Crime Scene

Identification of the Body

External Examination of the Body

Preliminary Procedure

The External Examination

Internal Examination of the Body

The Head

The Chest

The Abdomen

The Pelvic Cavity

The Protocol Summary

Human Anatomy

Directional Terms

Body Cavities

Dorsal Cavity

Ventral Cavity


The Skeletal System

The Heart


Selected Reading

The News Media in Homicide Investigations

Establishing a News Media Policy

Building a Relationship with the News Media

Homicide News Release Policy

Offering Rewards

Handling the News Media at the Scene

Preparing the News Release

Handling Questions During News Conferences


Selected Reading

Identification of Suspects

Bite-Mark Identification

The Bite Mark.

Collection of Bite-Mark Evidence at the Scene

Photographs of the Bite-Mark Wound

Saliva Washings

Interpretation of the Bite-Mark Evidence

Examination of the Bite Mark



What Is Hypnosis?


Value to the Investigator

Shortcomings of Hypnosis Summary

Latent Prints on Human Skin

General Considerations


Fingerprint from Human Skin Using the Magna-Brush Technique

Polygraph Examinations

The Examination

Possible Subjects for Polygraph Examinations

Subjects That Cannot Be Tested

Investigator’s Duties prior to the Examination

Polygraph Procedures Summary


What Is Psycholinguistic Analysis? Methodology Psycholinguistics as an Investigative Tool

Utilizing Psycholinguistic Analysis



What Is a Psychic?

Police and Psychics Summary

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP)


Munchausen Syndrome — History and Application

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) — History and Application

The Investigative Response

Team Approach

Collection of Evidence

Interviewing the Munchausen Syndrome-Related Offender


Homicides Involving Theft of a Fetus


Infant Abductions — Infant Cut from Mother’s Womb

Case 1

Case 2

Case 3

Case 4

Case 5

Case 6

Case 7

Attempted Theft of Fetus Offender Killed by Victim Mother Case 8

Investigative Assessment and Analysis

The Offender Profiles

Offender Motive

Investigative Strategies


Police Response

Detective Response

Additional Information Summary




Orders of Protection

Anti-Stalker Legislation

Types of Stalkers

The Psychopathic Personality Stalker

The Psychotic Personality Stalker

Erotomania Involving Obsessed Fans and Stalkers

Law Enforcement Response to Stalker Incidents


VICAP, Statewide and Regional Information Systems

The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program — VICAP

Profiling and Consultation Program

The Regional Organized Crime Information Center

Submission of Cases

The Homicide Investigation and Tracking System (HITS)



Selected Reading

Bite Mark Identification


Latent Prints on Human Skin



Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy


VI-CAP, State-Wide and Regional Information Systems

Investigative Assessment: Criminal Personality Profiling


History of Profiling

Application of Abnormal Psychology

Criminal Personality Profile

The Purpose of the Profile

When Profiling Can Be Productive

Factors That Can Be Determined by a Criminal Personality


The Investigative Approach to Profiling

Investigative Assessment — The Profiling Process

Clinical Considerations and Descriptions of Behavior

The Psychopathic Personality

Psychotic Personality (The Psychosis)

Sexual Sadism (302.84 DSM-IV)

Psychopathic Sexual Sadists

Crime Scene and Profile: Characteristics of Organized and Disorganized Murderers

The Organized Offender

General Behavior Characteristics

Overland Park Police Information

Missing Persons’ Cases

Lenexa Police Investigation


Background Information

Investigative Information

Internet Information

Additional Information

Robinson, the "Slave Master" Vickie


Investigative Break

Second Investigative Break

Investigative Status in May 2001

Tactical Decision

The Arrest and Execution of Search Warrants

Search of the Kansas Storage Locker

The Linn County Search

Raymore, Missouri, Storage Unit

Sheila and Debbie Beverly

Task Force Investigation Revelations

Bizarre Twist in the Case Disposition


The Disorganized Offender

General Behavior Characteristics

Ted Bundy: Serial Killer — Offender Profile

Offender Profile Program Background

Investigative Analysis

Postcrime Behavior Conclusion

Additional Information on Ted Bundy

Investigative Considerations

Criminal Personality Profiling — The Signature Aspect in Criminal


Clinical Perspective

Investigative Perspective

Linkage Blindness

Investigative Application of the "Signature" Aspect

Signature Aspect

Signature Aspect

Signature Aspect

The Suspect


Signature Aspect of the Crimes

Practical Examples of Signature Activity21 Conclusion Geographic Profiling

Investigative Elements to Consider in Geographic Profiling

Investigative Elements in the Criminal Case Assessment Process Types of Crime Locations

Investigative Considerations

The Police Investigation

A Psychology of Evil

A Model for a Psychology of Evil Conclusion


Selected Reading

Equivocal Death Investigation

Equivocal Death Investigations

Initiating the Investigation

Case Number 1: An Equivocal Death and Staged Crime Scene — Making a Homicide Appear to Be a Suicide Introduction

The Crime Scene

The Police Investigation

The Autopsy

Consultative Analysis

Investigative Considerations


Investigative Issues

Critique of Police Investigation

Forensic Pathologist Report

Evaluation of the Weapon and the Wound Structure

Response to Insurance Company Medical Expert Opinion

Case Number 2: An Equivocal Death Investigation with Staged Crime Scene

Death Classified as Undetermined Manner


The Initial Police Investigation

Initial Detective Investigation

Initial Medical Examiner Investigation

Autopsy Findings

The Follow-Up Medical Examiner Investigation

The Follow-Up Police Investigation

Investigative Assessment and Analysis

Initial Response

Review of the Police and Medical Examiner Investigators’ Reports

The Ligature

Victimology Conclusion

Case Number 3: An Equivocal Death — Homicide or Suicide? Introduction

Case Facts

U.S. Army Autopsy Report Case# ME98-006

USACID Position

Second Medicolegal Examination Requested by Family

Investigative Assessment and Analysis

NYS Medicolegal Analysis Conducted for the National Guard

Preliminary Consultative Reports

USACID Follow-Up

Medical Significance of the Wound Structures

Review of Medicolegal Findings

Final Report

Conclusion Opinion

Case Number 4: Staged Crime Scene — Homicide or Suicide?


Selected Reading

Narcotic-Related Homicides


The Drug-Related Murder: The Investigative Dilemma

The Drug-Related Murder and the Investigative Reality

The Three-Phase Strategy

Phase 1 — The Homicide Crime Scene

Phase 2 — The Application of Drug Intelligence

Phase 3 — Crime Clearance Procedures



Practical Homicide Investigation: Supervision and Management of the Homicide Investigation

Management Policy

Police Department Policy

Criminal Investigation Management

Major Pitfalls to Practical Homicide Case Management

Procedures for Effective Management and Supervision of Homicide


Supervisor’s Homicide Checklist

Supervising the Preliminary Investigation at the Scene

Directing Specific Investigative Duties

Supervising Homicide Crime Scene Search

Providing for the Effective Documentation of Events

Case Management


Note Keeping

Official Reports

First Day of Investigation

Indexing the Homicide Investigation

News Clipping File

Conducting the Investigative Conference

Investigation of Police-Related Shootings (OIS/Use of Deadly Force Incidents) Protocol1


Assigning Investigative Responsibility

Investigation of OIS/Use of Deadly Force Incident

IV. Interview of Employees Involved

V. Taped Interview of Employees Involved

VI. Follow-Up Investigation

VII. Background Investigation

VIII. Preparation of Investigative Report

IX. Conclusion


Apprehension of Homicide Fugitives

Use of Wanted Posters

Distribution of Photographs and Information Flyers to Patrol

Cell Phones


Planning the Apprehension

Assessment of Physical Hazards

The Tactical Plan

The Tactical Operation

Notification to Central Communications by Land Line





Cold Case Investigations






Name: Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, Fourth Edition (Hardback)CRC Press 
Description: By Vernon J. Geberth. Renowned for being THE definitive source of homicide investigation, Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques is the recognized protocol used by investigative divisions of major police departments throughout the...
Categories: Forensic Science