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Case Studies in Drowning Forensics

By Kevin Gannon, D. Lee Gilbertson

CRC Press – 2014 – 462 pages

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    978-1-43-987664-0
    March 7th 2014

Description

When a corpse is found in a body of water, authorities generally presume that the manner of death was either an accident or a suicide. They do not treat the recovery site as a potential crime scene or homicide, so many cases remain unsolved. Case Studies in Drowning Forensics investigates the cases of 13 bodies recovered from water in similar circumstances and one survivor. The product of intensive field investigation and archival research, this is the first book that presents and explains forensic autopsy evidence associated with the "Smiley Face" murders.

Each chapter begins with background information on the victim in the case and discusses when and where the victim was last seen and how the body was recovered. This is followed by in-depth analysis of the evidence found and the peculiarities of each case. Gannon and Gilbertson challenge authorities’ determinations regarding cause and manner of death by critically examining autopsy, toxicology, and law enforcement reports and photographs. They also reveal evidence not previously made public—including search efforts, cell phone records, GPS data, and additional drug tests. Building on each successive case study, they explain relationships among postmortem artifacts in a graphic format.

Presenting the inside truth on the circumstances and the evidence, the book enables readers to determine for themselves whether the deaths of these young men were accidents or homicides.

Contents

INTRODUCTION

The Beginning

Intersecting Lives

Protocols and Models

You Decide

CHAPTER 2

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence

Recovery Location. Vehicle Plate Number. Clothing. Toxicology. Gastrointestinal System. Body Position and Lividity. Ligature Mark. Injuries. Flecks and Fibers. Burning and Charring. Fly Eggs. Respiratory System. Decomposition and Maceration.

Conclusion.

CHAPTER 3

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence. Recovery Location. Clothing. Toxicology. Body Position & Lividity. Decomposition & Maceration. Empty Systems. Flecks & Fibers.

Conclusion.

CHAPTER 4

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence

Recovery Location. Evidence Trails. Dog Searches. Water Searches. Shoe Tracks. Smokeless Tobacco Can. Clothing. Position Relationships. Witnesses. Hypothermia. Rigidity. Body Position and Lividity. Decomposition and Maceration. Facial Hair. Injuries. Neck Exam. Foreign Matter. Gastrointestinal System and Vomitus. Toxicology. A Father’s Story. Additional Autopsy Evaluations.

Conclusion.

CHAPTER 5

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence

Search Efforts. Video Recordings. Dog Searches. Side Scan Sonar. Reported Sightings. Old Photographs. Other Important Incidents. Recovery Location. Recovered Property. External Assessment. Ocular Changes. Rigidity. Body Position and Lividity. Decomposition and Maceration. Gastrointestinal System. Toxicology. Smoking Gun. Cell Phone Records. Conclusion.

CHAPTER 6

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence

Recovery Location. Diatoms and Chemicals. Toxicology. Rigidity. Body Position and Lividity. Larynx and Sand. Different Contexts. Decomposition and Maceration. Documented Mistakes. Ocular Changes. Internal Assessment. Gastrointestinal System.

Conclusion.

CHAPTER 7

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence

Dog Searches. Ground Searches. Video Recordings. Witness. Recovery Location. Body Position and Posture. Head Position. Rigidity and Lividity. Beard Stubble. Slip-On Shoes. Mud and Chemistry. Injuries. Empty Systems. Toxicology. Ocular Changes. Decomposition and Maceration. Anthropophagy. Foreign Matter.

Conclusion.

CHAPTER 8

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence

Timeline. Search Efforts. Recovered Property. Body Position and Lividity. Rigidity. Ocular Changes. Decomposition and Maceration. Internal Assessment. Injuries. Microscopic Examination. Recovery Location. Toxicology.

Conclusion.

CHAPTER 9

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence

Search Efforts. Possible Altercation. Cell Phone Records. Recovery Location. Recovered Property. Body Position and Lividity. Rigidity. Ocular Changes. Decomposition and Maceration. Gastrointestinal System. Respiratory System. Toxicology. Suspicious Material. Suspicious Events. Graffito and Spray Paint Can. Linked Events and Information. New Information.

Conclusion.

CHAPTER 10

Background

Circumstances

Analysis of Evidence

Recovery Location. Body Staging. Drag Mark and Shoe Tracks. Mud, Detritus, and Insects. Rigidity. Body Position and Lividity. Ocular Changes. Decomposition and Maceration. Fluids, Weights, and Time. Injuries. Video Recordings. Statements. Cell Phone Records. Toxicology. Potential Suspects.

Conclusion.

CHAPTER 11

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Finding Cullen. Cullen’s Interview.

Analysis of Evidence

Entry and Exit Locations. Toxicology. BAC Mathematics. Hypothermia. Suspicious Incident.

Conclusion.

CHAPTER 12

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence

Recovered Property. Video Recordings. Reported Sightings. Clothing. Vehicles. Body Position. Dog Searches. Recovery Location. Toxicology. External Assessment. Temperatures. Insects. Mud and Sand. Internal Assessment. FBI Report. Conclusion.

CHAPTER 13

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery

Analysis of Evidence

Dog Searches. Recovery Location. Lividity and Rigidity. Internal Assessment. Decomposition and Maceration. Toxicology. Ocular Changes. FBI Report. Graffiti.

Conclusion.

CHAPTER 14

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence

Recovery Location. Recovered Property. Evidence Trails. Witnesses. Rigidity. Body Position and Lividity. Ocular Changes. Injuries. Decomposition and Maceration. Gastrointestinal System. Respiratory System. Toxicology. FBI Report. Conclusion.

CHAPTER 15

Background

Circumstances

Last Seen. Recovery.

Analysis of Evidence

Vehicle Search. Tracking Luke. Tracking Allen. Wrong Suspect. Recovery Location. Decomposition and Maceration. Rigidity. Body Position and Lividity. Tepidity. Gastrointestinal System. Respiratory System. Toxicology. Injuries. Blood. Flecks and Fibers. Video Recordings. Cell Phone Records. Computer. Clothing.

Conclusion.

EPILOGUE

Differences

Assertions . Experts .

Methodology

Patterns. Profiling. Analysis.

Similarities

Among Victims. Among Records. Among Drugs. Among Cases. Among Evidence.

Commonalities

One Town. Two Bars. Three Paths. Four Locations. Conclusions

Closing Remarks

The Group. The Graffiti. The Deaths.

APPENDICES

INDEX

Author Bio

Kevin Gannon retired as a Sergeant in the Detective Bureau from the New York City Police Department after 20 years of service, which included more than 14 years as a supervisor. He has diversified training and experience in personal and physical security, investigation and surveillance, and disaster response. His background includes leadership positions responsible for the personal protection of numerous international dignitaries and personalities. He was an NYPD representative on Giuliani’s 1997 "Operation ICE" (Interagency Chemical Exercise) task force, which planned and coordinated for an emergency response to a major chemical disaster in lower Manhattan. Participation included Department of Defense training related to biological and chemical warfare. Gannon has supervised plainclothes personnel in anti-crime, narcotics and robbery units, and was second in charge of the NYPD's Missing Persons Squad. He was in charge of the Bronx Homicide Task Force (Nightwatch) from 1999 until his retirement in 2001. Gannon has made over 1,000 felony apprehensions for crimes involving narcotics, burglaries, robberies, and homicides. During his distinguished career, Gannon was awarded almost 100 medals for bravery. He was the most decorated member of the Special Investigation Division of the Detective Bureau and one of the most highly decorated Sergeants in the NYPD before his retirement. He was a two-time recipient of the Medal of Valor (1994 & 1996) from Mayor Giuliani for heroism in the line of duty. For his investigative work on gang crime, Gannon received the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award (2008) from the National Gang Crime Research Center. This is his first book. It is the culmination of investigative work that started in 1997 and has continued until this day.

D. Lee Gilbertson holds a doctorate (Ph.D.) in Sociology (2002; with a concentration in gangs and substance abuse) and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice (1996; focusing on criminology and victimology). His background includes 16 years of exemplary military service (infantry and signals intelligence) from 1976 to 1992. In addition to his regular duties, he also received training in and served as the unit Alcohol and Drug Coordination Officer (responsible for substance abuse prevention training and supervising urinalysis collections), and as the unit Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare Defense Officer. He currently teaches at Saint Cloud State University and has consulted with law enforcement and provided training in the areas of forensic victimology, crime analysis, and gangs. He has studied gangs, militias, and extremist groups since 1995 and is a certified gang specialist. Gilbertson has presented and taught at numerous national and international conferences and academic institutions, and is a European polyglot. He is a staff member of the National Gang Crime Research Center and has participated in every iteration of its International Gang Specialist Training Conference. Gilbertson is a three-time recipient of the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award (2002, 2005, and 2008), and is an Executive Editor for the Journal of Gang Research.

Anthony Duarte currently works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Transportation Security Manager. He supervises airport screening checkpoints, monitors operations using various performance metrics, and coordinates crisis management and incident response protocols. Previously, he was a TSA Expert Behavior Detection Officer and was trained to detect individuals exhibiting behaviors that indicate they may be a threat to aviation and/or transportation security. He is a retired Detective 2nd Grade with the New York City Police Department, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His background includes almost twenty-one years in law enforcement honing his skills investigating homicide, robbery, burglary, and other high profile crimes. Duarte served on two major federal task forces involving organized crime, receiving two awards from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York. He is proficient using state of the art computer technology for data research, and in employing electronic audio-video recording devices. Due to his demonstrated investigative capability, as well as the quality and results of his casework, he received ten Excellence in Police Duty Awards, and five Commendations for Meritorious Service. Duarte was a recipient of the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award (2008) from the National Gang Crime Research Center for his work in gang crime investigation.

Related Subjects

  1. Forensic Science - Law

Name: Case Studies in Drowning Forensics (Hardback)CRC Press 
Description: By Kevin Gannon, D. Lee Gilbertson. When a corpse is found in a body of water, authorities generally presume that the manner of death was either an accident or a suicide. They do not treat the recovery site as a potential crime scene or homicide, so many cases remain unsolved. Case Studies...
Categories: Forensic Science - Law