When it comes to Forensic Investigations, nothing can be assumed. A court will not consider a claim based merely on its being obvious. Everything has to be backed up by empirical data. As for this case, after all preliminary precautions, recording and documentations have been done; the investigators can now proceed to collecting and analyzing data. Given the case facts, there appears to be two areas for preliminary investigation, the shallow grave site and the car. However, as had been mentioned, nothing in forensics can simply be obvious, everything has to be verified.
The car tracks may have originated from the shallow grave, but it still has to be confirmed. It is possible that the car may have just coincidentally passed through the shallow grave thus leaving its tracks there. A mold or at least a photograph of the tracks on the ground must be taken and then compared side by side with the treads of the tires of the car. Once the link between the car and the grave has been established, what must now be established is the link between the car and the dead body. According to the case, there are maggots and a rotting smell coming from the truck of the car.
Those would indicate the presence of something decomposing in that trunk. The Trunk would have to be thoroughly examined. If there are traces of something decomposing in the truck, a chemical analysis to determine what it is is in place. If it is found to be human flesh, its DNA would have to be compared and matched to that of the body found at the grave. And if traces of the duvet and the black plastic bags are also found inside the trunk, those too would have to be matched and compared to those used to wrap the dead body.
Naturally, the car’s plates and registrations need to be checked too in order to know if the car has previous records and reports with the police. It could have been used in previous crimes or could have been reported stolen. It would also be to determine who the owner of the car is and if that person also has records with the police and lastly, to know the connection of the registered owner of the car to the victim. The car interiors should also be examined for possible traces that would lead to whoever was in it.
Strands of hair, finger nail clippings, traces of saliva, drops of blood; these are some if the traces and substances that could be found there. As for the dead body, the cause and time of death has to be established. The time of death can easily be identified immediately at the scene through liver temperature analysis. For this case however, there is already a partial decomposition in the corpse indicating that it has been dead for a few days. The estimated time of death therefore can be determined through analyzing the level of decomposition of the corpse. As for the cause of death, the obvious isn’t always the real cause.
There are cases where a dead body may have bullet wounds but may actually have died from asphyxiation. Though these initial evaluations may sometimes be wrong, it would still be instrumental in the recreation of the crime. The true cause of death can be determined by the coroner at the morgue. The outside, or at least exposed, parts of the cadaver can be examined by the investigators while the insides would be for the coroner. It can also be determines in this process if the victim was even killed or killed by someone else at all. She could have died of natural causes or could have inflicted her death upon herself.