A hypothetical case regarding the discovery of a female decedents body.
One Saturday morning at approximately 0900 hrs, a man walking his dog in a public park discovered the body of a white female lying in some bushes. Between the pathway and the bushes was a strip of grass, approximately 2 yards wide. The grass appeared to have been freshly cut and there were what appeared to be drag marks between the path and the body, across the grass and across the earth. The bushes were bordered by a brick wall approximately 5-6 yards from the pathway.
Within the bushes the body of a woman lay so that the torso was fully exposed but the head and lower legs were partially covered by the bushes. The woman was lying on her back. Hanging over the bushes, approximately five feet from the body was a white T-shirt adjacent to which was a handbag or purse. Other garments were apparent towards the feet of the body within the bushes. On closer examination of the body, a pair of blue denim jeans were observed to be partly pulled off with the left leg turned inside out and covering the left foot. The body was otherwise naked apart from a wrist watch on the left wrist.
Fragments of cut grass were adherent to the anterior aspects of the thighs and abdomen. Fragments of grass were present in the pubic hair. There was dirt soiling of the left thigh and both buttocks. There was blood smearing of the left arm and left breast. Further blood was smeared around the nose and mouth. Within the hair of the body were a number of twigs and leaves. There was prominent dirt soiling, but no blood-staining, of the hands and clumps of dirt were embedded beneath some of the fingernails.
Autopsy disclosed that she died of manual strangulation. There was no natural disease. No trauma was identified to the vagina or external genitalia. Toxicological analysis disclosed a blood alcohol level of 300 mg% and a urinary alcohol level of 380 mg%.
- What evidence and/or samples would you collect at the crime scene? How would the examination of this evidence assist in the investigation of the crime?
- Discuss the importance of attending the crime scene where the body was located?
- What physical evidence samples would you request from the pathologist in order to determine whether a sexual battery occurred?
- What control samples would you require in this case?
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