Criminal Investigation Review Example

In this paper, I will be looking at three crime scenes from the book Green River Running Red. Gary Leon Ridgway convicted of 48 murders of prostitutes in the Seattle-Tacoma, Washington area, was a serial killer who eluded detectives for almost 20 years. I will be approaching these crime scenes as the primary investigator, using all the systems and technology available today and were not available at the time of the crime. The evidence will include soil sample analysis, fingerprints, DNA analysis, fiber and paint analysis.

I will be able to match fingerprints more rapidly because of the availability of the FBI’s fingerprint analysis database. I will be able to utilize the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) and the Violent-Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP), to cross-reference other crimes of a similar nature, where they occurred, regardless of when they occurred. I will also be able to submit DNA, dental, and fingerprinting for a possible match of the victims and possibly the killer. STUDY DISCUSSION: Crime Scene #1 On August 12, 1982, I received a call that a female body had been found in the Green River.

I met with the patrol officer at the scene and talked to the worker from PD&J Meat Company who noticed there was something trapped in a net of tree branches and logs. He appeared to be in shock so I recorded the details he could give me and arranged to have him come in for an interview later. The police officer who was first on scene and I started to evaluate the area, including where the body had been discovered. We proceeded to set up inner and outer perimeters and entry and exit points at the scene. We walked the area, videotaped where the body was found, noted the placement of the body, and how she was dressed.

Strangulation appeared to the cause of death as she had what appeared to be ligature marks on her neck. We would order an autopsy to confirm the cause of death. After videotaping all the details, we tagged and recorded all the evidence and then released the body to the coroner to determine cause of death, any DNA evidence and any prints on the bodies. We will also use dental records to try to identify the victim with missing person reports. We collected samples from underneath and around where we found the body. We took soil samples, and secured all evidence collected from the scene.

We sent these to the lab for testing of possible prints. We began looking for tire tracks and footprints at the possible entry and exit points and made casts of all footprint and tire tracks we found. We also tagged, bagged, and recorded all clothing that was on or around the body and sent them to forensics for analysis. In my interview with the witness, I confirmed that he did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he appeared not to suffer from any visual impairment, and he had sufficient mental capacity to be a competent witness.

During the interview, I asked him how often he had been to the river where the bodies were found and he said he went there often in his boat looking for old bottles on the riverbed and this is what he was doing when he discovered the body. Crime Scene #2 On Friday, October 12, 1984, I responded to a site off highway 410 where a man had come across a skull and some bones. The bones were scattered over a large area and separated from the skull so that it was difficult to ascertain if they belonged to just one or multiple victims.

Upon arrival, I interviewed the witness and inquired as to how he came upon the site, had he been there before, and whether he touched or moved any of the bones. He did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the discovery and he had not seen anyone else in the area at the time. After interviewing the witness, I secured the area, created inner and outer perimeters and possible entry and exit points. The inner perimeter was located around the area where we found the bones and skull, a much larger outer perimeter was established taking into account the possibility of the remains being moved by animals.

We were unable to get any footprints or tire tracks because the weather had washed them away. An officer who responded to the scene and I documented the scene by videotaping the area, remains of the body, and making notes. Once complete, we documented, recorded and tagged each bone and packaged it for forensic analysis, including DNA and possible cause of death. We took samples of the soil for analysis where the bones had been located and took elimination samples. Search and Rescue then arrived at the area and performed a thorough search of the area.

The accomplished this by searching shoulder to shoulder, then recording and bagging any evidence that appeared as though it could have belonged to the victim or the killer(s). Crime Scene 3 May 30, 1988, I was called to an apartment complex where workers had been trying to erect a fence around the parking lot, had come upon some remains that were either human or animal. Since most of the surrounding area was blacktop and the apartments built recently, we determined that the inner and outer perimeter did not need to be very large.

Among the remains was a skull that was still intact and had teeth which we could use to make a possible identification. The body although decomposed, had some clothing on it and upon closer inspection revealed fibers and paint chips. We recorded these and then sent them to analysis to determine if they could reveal characteristics peculiar to certain paints or textiles. We then had the remains removed, and took soil samples from around the site. Construction of the site started in 1981 then halted in 1982 due to bankruptcy.

Work began again in 1987 and recently completed, so it was likely that the body was placed there during construction and had been there for many years. Due to the nature of the site, we made checks into all the contractors employed to identify any links with the other victims. READING IMPLICATIONS Through the reading implications that were derived from the book of Rule, it could be observed that solving crimes is really a serious task that needs outmost attention as well as concentration from the authorities involved in solving the said issues of crime and violence.

The accounts that were featured through the reading that Rule has authored obviously affect the social view of crime and on how the authorities particularly address the said issues of chaos in the society today. With regards the issue on arson, the book of Rule discussed a few points that could be applied in the actualization of the reading for the sake of applying them in actual situations. According to her, the motive is collecting insurance, and behind it is organized crime.

They deliver the complete package—hiring the “torch” and often buying off the insurance adjusters. So, many individuals, property owners, turn to arson for easy money. Some claim the insurance companies don’t care about the fires. More fires increase the demand for insurance and make the rates rise. If the insurance company refuses to honor a claim it can be sued, and defense in court costs money. Unless the claim is big, the companies find it cheaper to pay the claim. The people ultimately pay all the bills.

The insurance company prospers. The businessman paying for the insurance passes his costs on to customers. Moreover, the United States, says Senator John Glenn, is in an arson epidemic that is “virtually unchecked and unnoticed. ” At a hearing to alert the public to the danger, he stated that arson has increased over 400 percent over the past decade and that “an estimated 1,000 people, including 45 fire fighters, die each year in arson fires and 10,000 people are injured annually.

Annual damage estimates are as high as $15 billion. Insurance losses exceed $3 billion. ” At the hearing one authority on arson testified that, in some places, arson is responsible for 50 to 55 percent of fire insurance premiums. Arson is the deliberate burning of a building. The National Fire Protection association says that arson cases make up about 30 percent of all fires in the United States. In a ten-year period, the number of arsons rose from 64,800 to 258,000; property damage rose from $142 million to $1. 2 billion.

A large number of the fires are set to collect fire insurance, with organized crime being heavily involved. Obviously, through observations, it has been noted that arson primarily costs so much damages that are further implied on the prices that are asked from the consumers of the products that are offered to them by the companies who are guilty of arson. What is said to be the fastest-growing major crime in the U. S.? Not rape or murder—but arson. Known losses from the crime, it is thought, will exceed one billion dollars in 1975.

And losses are rising 10 to 15 percent every year. Reasons for the rise vary, but the most familiar form of arson is called “insure-and-burn,” where property is burned for the sake of getting insurance payment007Ase3wes; the recession is said to contribute to this increase. “Arson is the nation’s fastest-growing crime,” the “Newsweek” of January 8, 1979, reports. “According to the National Fire Prevention Association, losses in arson-caused fires jumped from $74 million in 1965 to $634 million a decade later—and they have tripled since then.

In 1977, arson killed 700 people and caused an estimated $1. 6 billion in property damage plus millions in hidden damages from lost jobs and destruction of the tax base. ” In the book of Rule, it could be observed that the increased matter of seriousness that arson is placing on the security of the entire human society; there is indeed a need for readjusting the systems of dealing with the issue to be able to prevent fraud arson as well as accidental arson from occurring.

The further applications of better procedures of investigations on such cases should be implicated to action. The importance of improving the systems should be well recognized by the authorities involved. Obviously, the development of investigatory procedures shall also increase the competencies of the authorities who are expected to solve the issues mentioned about arson thus making the society more secure from fraud and the insurance companies from being fooled by the business owners deliberately implying arson for the sake of collecting their due insurances.

The regulation of the system is indeed a key factor that needs consideration in the cases involving arson. CONCLUSION In each investigation, not only was the traditional task of compiling a paper trail on suspects performed, but they also went to great lengths to search for any trace of physical evidence. We collected birds’ nests, animal droppings, and searched on our hands and knees with magnifying glasses and tweezers to ensure we got all the evidence.

I realized the entire case might hinge on a microscopic fragment that we might otherwise overlook. One of the largest sites searched was approximately 5 miles in size. Detectives along with volunteers worked their way through dense blackberry bushes, small trees and undergrowth using machetes and chain saws. An area was cleared first to insure that nothing of evidentiary value was there and then the cleared vegetation, trees and bushes were placed on top. Rakes were used to overturn the soil, looking for bones, bone fragments, etc.

During the course of the investigation, numerous law enforcement agencies were involved with the Green River Task Force, including the Port of Seattle Police Department, Seattle Police Department, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, the FBI and the Washington State Attorney’s Office. Serial killers are one of the most difficult to apprehend as the kill indiscriminately and randomly. They do not usually know their victims therefore; there is no relationship link to the killer.

Although the investigators did their best to catch Gary Ridgway, he was careful not to leave a anything behind that could identify him. This then makes trace evidence more vital since even the smallest particle or fiber can provide a wealth of information that can be very helpful in narrowing down a seemingly impossible search. It took almost twenty years to apprehend Ridgway, and a real turning point in the later part of the investigation was the discovery of paint chips at crime scene number three.

After they were analyzed, they were found to be unique, in that is was an expensive paint that was used mostly on commercial vehicles and helped to narrow down the search to the manufacturers in the area. Gary Ridgway had a job painting commercial vehicles. The development of computerized databases makes fingerprint identification more accurate and less time consuming. Another invaluable database is the crime report databases, which are helpful to investigators trying to establish whether a crime is isolated or part of a larger pattern.

It also mitigates previous problems when it comes to communication between jurisdictions. On June 13, 2003, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Gary Ridgway entered into an agreement in which the Prosecutor would not seek the death penalty if Ridgway agreed to plead guilty to all the murders he committed in King County. He agreed to disclose the existence and precise location of all undiscovered remains of the victims. On November 5, 2003, Gary Ridgway pled guilty to 48 counts of Aggravated Murder in the First Degree.

I found this book very hard to read because the details of the murders continued for so long. I was almost three-fourths of the way into the book before they made an arrest. I believe Ann Rule could have written this in a shorter version by doing a summary of the murders. Eventually reading this started to play with my psyche and I found it very hard to continue at the pace that I started out. I have read other books by Ann Rule and found them to be more interesting, but also easier to read and stay involved.

Understandably though, the author may have wanted the readers to have a deeper comprehension of the situations through the capability of each individual to be mentally involved in the process of investigation through the utilization of imagination. Most often than not, readers are able to comprehend with the plots of the story presented to them better through detailed accounts of the situation being treated in the stories.


Rule, A. (2004) Green River, Running Red. Pocket Star Books. Swanson, et al (2006). Criminal Investigation. McGraw Hill