A surveyor makes a grisly find in the secluded countryside: Parts of a human skeleton. Forensic experts determine she was a female, and that she had been stabbed. How do they solve a crime where the victim has no name and the only clues are mere fragments of a decayed skeleton?
In Washington D.C., grimly determined investigators gather with forensic psychologists; based on few clues, they must create a personality profile and psychological history of a serial killer on the loose. How close are they likely to come to creating a description that is accurate enough to apprehend the killer?
In Los Angeles, a deadly killer stalks his prey by night. The only clues he leaves behind are bullet fragments and a shoeprint. Can these clues put investigators on the trail of a killer?
The solutions to these mysteries rely on the new science of forensics. Spanning the far-flung realms of anthropology, physiology, chemistry, entomology, psychology and computer technology, forensic scientists are solving today’s crimes. The New Detectives takes an unsensational, absorbing look at how scientists are recreating the circumstances surrounding a person’s death.
From the forensics labs at the Smithsonian Institution to the ATF bomb laboratory and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, The New Detectives profiles the work of world-renowned forensics experts and criminal investigators and the techniques they use to solve murders and other crimes. The New Detectives was the inspiration for Anthony Zuiker’s drama series “CSI“.
Episode 01 – Soldier Stories
This show profiles the work of world-renowned forensic experts as they work to tell the stories of the young men who went to war (from the French and Indian war to Vietnam) and never came back.
Episode 02 -Dead Men Do Talk
Profiles the work of world-renowned forensic experts and the procedures they use to solve murders and other mysteries in minutes or centuries after they happen.
Episode 03 – Deadly Chemistry
The show examines cases of poison and deadly chemistry and shows how forensic experts are solving mysterious deaths today and from the past.
Episode 04 – Mind Hunters
Psychological Profiling: Journey into the dark recesses and calculated madness present only in our worst nightmares…and in the minds of serial killers. Renowned FBI profiler Robert Ressler can reveal unseen clues about a killer simply by learning details about the crime. From motives to habits, social traits to taste in cards, investigative profiling discloses a killer’s hidden motives.
Episode 05 – Camera Clues
Forensic Photography: Forensic photographers are among the first people at a crime scene, capturing vital clues on film. What do the cameras capture that can’t be seen first-hand, and who are the men and women who analyze the camera’s clues?
Episode 06 – Double Helix
DNA Analysis: With the advent of DNA analysis, just a few microscopic cells found at a crime scene can be used to put a murder behind bars. Forensic scientists can analyze droplets of blood, hair fiber, or a piece of chewed gum to determine the identity of a victim or killer or to prove innocence.
Episode 07 – Web of Clues
Forensic Entomology: Bugs have roamed the earth for 250 million years, but their intimate association with death is just now coming to life. The kinds of insects on bodies, along with their stage of development, can pinpoint time of death and help identify victims.
Episode 08 – Face of Tragedy
Forensic Sculpting: Forensic sculptors retrieve people from oblivion. Using clay and an intricate knowledge of anatomy, forensic arts place a face on an unidentified skull, recreating the victim’s likeness, which often leads to his name.
Episode 09 – Without a Trace
Missing Person: Approximately 1.8 million Americans are reported missing each year. Worldwide, the number of missing persons nearly triples. In addition to pictures on milk cartons, store windows, and in mass mailings, authorities use nationwide computer databases to help locate missing persons or match them with unidentified bodies. Even so, many of the missing are never seen again.
Episode 10 – Burning Evidence
Identifying Burned Remains: It’s difficult to have a murder investigation without a body, and burning up the victim is a time-honored method of destroying physical evidence. But what happens when the charred remains are found, unrecognizable, seemingly impossible to identify? Dr. John Verano and Dr. Doug Owsley of the Smithsonian have faced these challenges, identifying the burned remains of two American journalists found in Guatemala seven years after their reported disappearance. It seems as though fire can unveil lies, as well as conceal truths.
Episode 11 – Short Fuse
Explosives Investigations: The crime lab is the place where science meets murder. In New York State, Eleanor Fowler opened a small package, which as mailed to her home. When she lifted the lid the box exploded killing her instantly. Within minutes, five other bombs exploded proving to be as fatal as the first. The investigation into this serial bombing case became one of the most massive investigations in history.
Episode 12 – Death Grip
Fingerprinting: The identification Division of the FBI relies on fingerprints as one of the most effective ways to identify criminals. Fingerprints, along with palmprints and footprints are an indisputable, time-tested method to establish someone’s ID beyond a shadow of a doubt. Computerization has all but eliminated the old inkpad, and print identification that used to take months now takes minutes.
Episode 13 – Signed In Blood
Handwriting Analysis: We’ve all heard that our handwriting tells more about our personalities than we think. Are we risk-takers, have low-esteem, fun loving, or are we capable of murder? While our handwriting may not reveal the nuances of our personalities, the dotting of the “i’s and crossing of the “t”s is an important business in criminal investigation. Apparent suicide notes, letters from suspected offenders and signatures are scrutinized down to the last dot. Handwriting comparisons can tell if the victim really did sign that new life insurance policy, or if the person who had everything to live for actually wrote the eloquent suicide note.
Episode 14 – Witness to Terror
Black Boxes: Little evidence is left after an airplane takes a deadly plunge from the sky. Investigators’ best hope for an answer comes from the flight data recorder known as a “black box.” Virtually indestructible, the black box could be the only witness to the final horrifying moments of a doomed flight.
Episode 15 – Trail of the Century
Forensics in the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial: Millions watched on television as the jury rendered their verdict. Orenthal James Simpson was found not guilty of murder. The jury heard hundreds of hours of testimony and every twist and turn of the trial was played out in the media, but what was the evidence? Forensic scientists reconstructed the events that took place on the night Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered. But was their report accurate, and could the evidence be trusted? We’ll examine what forensics could and could not tell us about the trial of the century.
Episode 16 – Deadly Target
Ballistics: A corpse is found with a gunshot wound to the head; the weapon lies next to the victim. It looks like suicide, but could it be murder? It’s a question best solved by ballistics experts. Gunshot residues, the pathway of the bullet into the body, shells and the guns themselves all hold important clues. The ability to determine whether an individual has actually fired a gun is vitally important in homicide and suicide investigations.
Episode 17 – Fatal Compulsion
Forensic psychologists delve into the minds of serial killers, explaining why, most often, they can be a friendly neighbor or the tenacious co-worker – the one who hides his or her dark side better than anyone else. Detectives show us what forensic techniques, the VICAP system and clever investigating have done to bring these killers to justice.
Episode 18 – Bodies of Evidence
It is difficult to convict a murderer if the body can’t be found. But forensic science is finding ways to do it. Devious killers can think up many was to dispose of their victim’s remains, but they are often no matches for creative and devoted investigators. A speck of blood, a piece of a fingernail or a strand of hair may now be enough evidence to prove a murder and capture a killer.
Episode 19 – Shreds of Evidence
Hairs and Fibers: The tiniest filament can become a mark of distinction in the most singular and intimate of ways. Investigators have come to rely on forensic evidence as fine as a carpet fiber or as innocent as an eyelash to crack difficult cases.
Episode 20 – Seeds of Destruction
Forensic Botany & Geology: Plants help provide oxygen and nutrients for existence. Soil is the fertilizer of life. Yet both can yield clues to the time and location of a person’s death. In criminal investigations, a simple seedpod can provide the missing link by placing a suspect at a crime scene. Dirt left on shoes, tires or clothes can pinpoint a crime scene.
Episode 21 – Lethal Dosage
Toxicology: While drugs can cure disease and ease pain, they can also be agents of murder. Toxicologists can examine blood and tissue to uncover cases where death is not as natural as it may seem–from slow arsenic poisoning to quick cocaine overdoses.
Episode 22 – Tools of Death
Tool marking: A tool used to commit a crime can often be the same tool used to solve it. The pattern a machine leaves on an item, the unusual way a tool crimps a wire, and even something as innocuous as the shape of a wood chip can lead to a killer.
Episode 23 – Out of the Grave
New Forensic Techniques used to Solve Old Cases: Advancement in science and technology are encouraging people to revisit the past in hopes of answering questions that have remained unanswered, and solving crimes that seemed unsolvable. Techniques from the 20th century are applied to cases from as far back as ancient times.
Episode 24 – Infallible Witness
High Tech Forensics: Investigators are always on the cutting edge of new forensic techniques that can help them solve cases more accurately. An experimental “brain fingerprinting” technique has already won the acquittal of a police officer accused of a drug charge. Solving crimes by computer and robotic police offers provide investigators allow crime-solving to take on a new-age dimension, and provide safer and more efficient ways to capture an embezzler, a drug-dealer or a killer.
Episode 25 – From the Ashes
Arson Investigation: Insurance torchings, mob burnouts and arson murders: these crimes are designed to take all clues with them. But a solid case can be built from a heap of ashes. Arson investigators do everything from gathering physical evidence to mounting undercover and sting operations.
Episode 26 – Living in Terror
Terrorism: Thanks to new technology and, perhaps, the approaching millennium, terrorism is a growing international threat. The Oklahoma City explosion and the bombing of the World Trade Center are just two of the incidents of this growing problem. With the expertise of bomb squads, chemists and tool mark experts, bombs are deactivated and criminals are caught.
Episode 27 – Lethal Obsessions
Some people will let nothing stand between them and their goals. In their tortured minds, raw desire replaces all reason, and homicide becomes a convenient means to an end. Blinded by love, torn by jealousy, or hungry for power, the obsessive murderer justifies his crimes and is capable of almost anything. While forensic investigators follow the physical evidence, psychologists study the muddled workings of the criminal mind.
Episode 28 – Traces of Guilt
Sometimes the scales of justice are balanced by just a few milligrams of evidence – a couple of fibers, a tooth filling, or a smudge on a piece of tape. The biggest cases are often solved by the smallest clues.
Episode 29 – Electronic Witness
George Orwell’s concept of Big Brother remains in the realm of fiction. But as technology becomes more a part of our lives, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to make a move without leaving behind an electronic trace. Cell phones, surveillance cameras, and ATMs track virtually every move. When it comes to solving murders, this isn’t such a bad thing.
Episode 30 – Dead Wrong
Hiding a body can be difficult; it’s sometimes easier to obscure or disguise the circumstances of the death, turning murder into suicide, or pinning the blame on someone else. The truth is told through subtle clues taken from the crime scene.
Episode 31 – Lasting Impressions
No matter how chaotic or how clean a crime scene appears to be, the culprit is bound to leave something telling behind. Occasionally, it’s nothing more than a fingerprint or shoe tread. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed.
Episode 32 – Women Who Kill
Men don’t have a monopoly on murder, but it’s still extraordinary when women kill. Though female killers are as deadly as males, they choose less violent methods. They’re often more cunning, calculating; but thanks to forensics, no more likely to get away with it.
Episode 33 – Deadly Dealings
For a price, anything’s possible. Contract killings arose out of the need to establish the perfect alibi. By hiring someone else to do the dirty work, a person can deflect guilt, at least in theory. Forensics is changing that, leading investigators from the killers to their employers.
Episode 34 – Body Count
Some people do get away with murder, at least for a while. Flush with their success, serial killers murder again and again. But each time they kill, they leave behind a few more clues, which ultimately lead to their undoing.
Episode 35 – A Taste of Poison
Poisoners are the most devious of killers, relying on stealth or their victim’s trust in order to steal their lives. They’re the most dangerous creatures in the world: smart assassins. And they usually don’t stop at one kill.
Episode 36 – Grave Discoveries
Some cases simply can’t be solved with current technology or with the evidence at hand. But that doesn’t mean they’ll remain unsolved forever. Over time, a witness may be ready to talk, a new DNA technique might offer more precision, an overlooked clue might be discovered. Forensic scientists reevaluate unsolved crimes and apply new methods to solving them.
Episode 37 – Texas Rangers
Formed in the 1830s to protect settlers against Indian attack, the Rangers became part of the Texas Highway Patrol in 1935. Their role has continued to evolve to keep up with changing times; today it includes sophisticated forensics labs.
Episode 38 – Bad Medicine
Drug trafficking has spawned a violent and deadly criminal underground. It’s providing a challenge to forensic investigators devoted to cracking drug rings.
Episode 39 – Unlikely Sources
Some of the best clues come from the least likely places. Baffling crimes have been solved and criminals betrayed through evidence provided by insects, beer bottles, and other seemingly meaningless objects.
Episode 40 – True Crime
They know as much about crime as any crime fighter, or any criminal. They’re the crime writers, and through their eyes we see murder most foul. Combining perspectives of law enforcement, felons, and journalism, crime writers provide us with as near a first-person account as possible.
Episode 41 – Coroner’s Casebook
A good coroner provides what’s necessary to solve a crime. A bad one can spoil an otherwise rock-solid case. Cyril Wecht and Henry Lee, two of the country’s most respected coroners, share their cases and insights into crime solving.
Episode 42 – Remnant of Blame
The solution to the most heinous crimes often hinge on the smallest of clues. Investigators must have their eyes trained to find the full story of a murder written in a single scrap of evidence.
Episode 43 – Partner in Crime
They say that a burden shared is a burden halved, but when partners team up to commit murder, the weight of their guilt remains just as heavy. Investigators must rely on forensic science to capture partners in crime.
Episode 44 – Scattered Clues
There’s never a good reason for murder, but some killers are particularly brutal—choosing their prey at random or with no apparent motive and then cunningly covering their tracks. Even so, telltale clues remain. It’s up to forensic investigators to follow the trail of scattered clues to capture these deadly killers.
Episode 45 – Natural Witness
The Great Outdoors may offer great clues to solving brutal murders. But it takes the keen eye of the forensic entomologist and botanist to decipher the clues nature provides.
Episode 46 – Tainted Trust
Poison is the subtlest form of death, and investigators must see through unusual circumstances to bring these murders to light.
Episode 47 – Presumed Dead
What does it take to prove murder if the victim cannot be found? Investigators must go to extreme lengths to catch the killer when the victim is presumed dead.
Episode 48 – Broken Vows
When lovers turn on each other, or marriages fail, some ruthless spouses find a grisly way to gain an uncontested divorce – with no paperwork. When murder tears lovers apart, forensic science must put piece together the mystery to catch the killer.
Episode 49 – Cold Cases
These cases took a decade or more to solve. There’s no statute of limitations on murder. As a case turns cold, the clues become scarce, investigators must rely on science to close cold cases.
Episode 50 – Family Plots
Every family has its secrets, and sometimes blood relations lead to bloodshed. When murder becomes a family affair, investigators must turn to forensics to uncover family plots.
Episode 51 – Blood Money
Some people murder for love. But these killers did it for the money. When greed is the motive, investigators must make every clue pay off.
Episode 52 – Murder By Numbers
For serial killers, once is never enough. For investigators, the challenge is steep when the killers murder by numbers.
Episode 53 – A Federal Offense
When there’s a difficult case to crack – whether it involves drugs, arson, or weapons – the investigators and scientists of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have the means to crack it.
Episode 54 – Flames of Justice
Arson fires are set for their own sake, or to cover a different crime, such as murder. Think fire consumes all vital clues? Think again. Arson investigators can glean important clues from scorched rubble and ignite the unquenchable flames of justice.
Episode 55 – False Witness
When a murder is committed and deceit clouds the evidence, investigators turn to science and technology to uncover the truth and expose a murderous lie and capture the killer.
Episode 56 – Trails of Evidence
In criminal investigations, a simple clue can provide the missing link by placing a suspect at a crime scene. Dirt left on shoes, tires or clothes, or even a tiny piece of plastic can pinpoint a crime scene. But it takes the keen eye of the forensic investigator to follow the trail of evidence that leads to the killer.
Episode 57 – Missing
Approximately 1.8 million Americans are reported missing each year. Some are runaways who find their way home, but others simply disappear. When foul play is suspected, investigators turn to forensics to find the missing.
Episode 58 – In the Line of Fire
Bombers, snipers, spree killers: some people don’t care who they kill, they just want to hurt innocent people. These killers are the hardest to catch because they have no connection with their victims, who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But even random bloodshed leaves traces at the scene that can direct an investigation and stop the killer before he can strike again.
Episode 59 – For Love or Money
Every family has its secrets, and sometimes blood relations lead to bloodshed. When money is the motive, murder can rip at the very foundation of marriage and family. When murder becomes a family affair, investigators must turn to forensics to uncover a death in the family when the motive is for love or money.
Episode 60 – Left at the Scene
The tiniest residue left at the scene can become a mark of distinction in the most singular and intimate of ways. Investigators have come to rely on forensic evidence as simple as a smudge on a piece of tape or a faint impression left in the dirt. Investigators must have their eyes trained to find the full story of a murder etched in clues left at the scene.
Episode 61 – Invisible Death
Poison is an almost invisible form of death, and toxicologists must look for hidden clues in blood and tissue to bring these murders to light.
Episode 62 – To Kill Again
Some people do get away with murder…at least for a while. Flush with their success, serial killers murder again and again. But each time they kill, they leave behind a few more clues, which ultimately lead to their capture.
Episode 63 – Written in Bone
At the scene of a murder, sometimes the victim provides the only clues to their killer. Forensic anthropologists use skeletal remains to decipher the clues written in the bones.
Episode 64 – Cold Blooded
Time of death is an important consideration in a murder investigation, but when a killer freezes, burns, or grinds his victim, even the most skilled medical examiner would be at a loss about how to calculate it. Forensics has its own techniques to foil a killer’s plans to halt an investigation.
Episode 65 – Fatal Error
Accidental deaths, suicides, disappearances, and fires; they’re an everyday part of an insurance investigator’s life. But cases shouldn’t be taken at face value. Forensics has become a tool for exposing insurance fraud.
Episode 66 – Dead in the Water
Drowning deaths often look like accidents and water can destroy the scant clues the killer may have left behind. Investigators must turn to forensic science to solve cases where the victim is found dead in the water.
Episode 67 – Scent of the Kill
A dog can be a dead man’s best friend. Dogs have been trained to sniff out corpses, drugs, explosives, and missing persons. They’re often the first to find the essential clue that sets an investigation in motion.
Episode 68 – Bloodlust
For homicide investigators, it’s a race against time as they track their deadliest foe: a serial killer for whom killing is the only way to feel alive.
Episode 69 – Deadly Aim
Ballistic analysis is the key to finding killers who turn guns on their victims. Each shot fired leaves its own “fingerprint”, allowing scientists to target murderers with deadly aim.
Episode 70 – Stolen Identity
When a theft is committed, something valuable is stolen. But when a criminal needs a new identity, theft becomes a matter of life and death.
Episode 71 – Silent Witness
Three hairs… microscopic fibers… a common trash bag ripped from a roll. Seemingly small and insignificant clues become a victim’s silent witness.
Episode 72 – Deadly Intentions
When abduction turns to murder, forensic science is the only key to finding justice for the victims of a kidnapper’s deadly intentions.
Episode 73 – Patterns of Guilt
The tread of a tire, a single shoe print and even the shape of a bruise help investigators track down killers, based solely on their patterns of guilt.
Episode 74 – A Deadly Smile
Investigators rely on forensic odontology to identify a body from a single tooth and to catch two brutal killers from their bite marks.
Episode 75 – Military Justice
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service uses forensic science to solve three perplexing murders and fulfill their motto: “To the living we owe respect; to the dead, we owe the truth”.
Episode 76 – The Unforgotten
Years after a murder has been committed, investigators use advanced DNA analysis to shed new light on crimes that have gone unpunished for far too long.
Episode 77 – Tainted Blood
Forensic scientists find clues written in blood as they investigate the deaths of three women killed by the men who once loved them.
Episode 78 – Buried Secrets
The forces of nature can reduce a body to bones in a matter of weeks. Using a unique combination of art and science, forensic anthropologists give victims a face long after they have been forgotten.
Episode 79 – Proof Of innocence
DNA analysis overturns the convictions of three men who have spent years behind bars, paying for crimes they did not commit.
Episode 80 – Drawing Conclusions
A teenager is abducted on a shopping trip. Two hikers disappear from the Appalachian Trail. A grandmother never returns home from work. Forensic artists turn witness statements into pictures as they try to recreate the face of their killers.
Episode 81 – Stranger Than Fiction
A millionaire is found dead, murdered for a stash of buried silver. A young woman dates violent men, only to be killed by her best friend. A decomposed body is found, but the victim’s organs look as if he died the day before. When real crimes are stranger than fiction, forensic science can sort fact from fantasy.
Episode 82 – Predators and Parasites
For the forensic entomologist, the insects that nest in dead bodies are like tiny witnesses to a crime. By studying their behavior, scientists learn everything from when a murder was committed to the weapon used in a stabbing death.
Episode 83 – In the Camera’s Eye
Photography has long been a vital tool in homicide investigations. A single image captures enough information to identify a suspect, and to preserve a vital clue long after a witness’ memory fades.
Episode 84 – Wasted Youth
When teenagers are driven to kill, their victims are but the first to fall. In three such cases, the families of the killers, as well as their communities, become the victims of violent crime.
Episode 85 – Collective Justice
Philadelphia’s Vidocq Society, named after an 18th Century French detective, is one of the world’s most unusual crime-solving organizations. These prominent sleuths solve a murder case from a missing shoe, and successfully prove homicide without a body.
Episode 86 – Murder For Hire
For some killers, murder can be a profitable business. And the scene of the crime can be both a source for clues, and puzzling questions. When a victim has been targeted for death, investigators must look beyond the obvious to uncover a murder for hire.
Episode 87 – Toxic Death
Sometimes, the cause of death does not match the scene of the crime. When an untraceable poison is used to commit murder, homicide detectives turn to forensic toxicologists to follow a killer’s tracks and expose a toxic death.
Episode 88 – Material Witness
Lies and deceit can often throw investigators off the trail of justice. But when hard evidence contradicts a killer’s story, police must use the clues to piece together the truth. Follow investigators as they unravel a web of lies to track down and catch the killers.
Episode 89 – Betrayed
Sometimes when a death seems to be accidental or the result of a tragic accident, it is up to forensic scientists to reveal the deception lying just below the surface. Watch as law enforcement officials uncover the hidden betrayals that reclassify cases from accidents to homicides.
Episode 90 – Elements of Murder
There are several things that can suggest murder; jealousy, anger, poison…When everyday substances reveal hidden clues that break a homicide case, those substances become the elements of murder.
Episode 91 – Random Targets
Most victims of multiple murderers are meticulously chosen because of a mutual connection with the killer or because they match an intricate set of criteria that fits the killer’s MO. The most frightening cases of murder occur when the killer appears to choose victims at random, without an apparent connection.
Episode 92 – Grave Secrets
Killers often attempt to deflect attention away from their crimes by hiding the remains of their victims. Bodies may lay hidden for years before they are discovered. That’s when forensic scientists are called upon to reveal hidden clues that lead investigators to the killers.
Episode 93 – Gunned Down
When a victim is gunned down at point-blank range, police often assume that a friend or acquaintance is to blame. After all, it is difficult for a stranger to commit an assault at such close range. Follow investigators as they use clues to track down the most unlikely of killers.
Episode 94 – Lethal Encounter
In most homicides, police rely on motive to pursue a murderer.
But when the killer is a stranger…the crime may go unsolved for years.
It takes a full arsenal of forensic techniques…to trace… a lethal encounter.
Episode 95 – Crimes of Passion
When killers are driven by jealousy and desire, their desperation is evident in both the crime and their efforts to avoid detection. But forensic science can reveal even the slightest mistake to solve crimes of passion.
Episode 96 – Absent Witness
When killers hide or destroy the remains of their victims, it becomes the mission of forensic scientists to reconstruct the scenes and prove murder for an absent witness.
Episode 97 – Marked for Death
Sometimes killers are careful to leave no fingerprints behind. But methods of the murder itself can leave a lasting impression on police, especially when the tools (or weapons) of a killer’s trade leave an innocent victim marked for death.
Episode 98 – Fatal Abductions
Anytime, anywhere, people disappear – kidnapped from their daily routines. Predators always leave clues behind, but chasing them takes time, hampering investigators’ attempts to solve these fatal abductions.
Episode 99 – Medical Examiner’s Casebook
Some killers choose to hide their victims – And investigators must then rely on forensic examiners to uncover proof of murder – These are just two extraordinary crimes that have made their way into the medical examiner’s casebook.
Episode 100 – Trial By Fire
At a crime scene, anything left behind or seemingly out of place is considered a clue. But a fire can extinguish everything in its path –challenging forensic investigators at every turn and making each arson a trial by fire.
Episode 101 – Undaunted
Solving crimes may begin with gut intuition, but advanced science provides investigators with irrefutable proof. When criminals go to great lengths to mask their crimes, Investigators must step up the challenge and remain forever …undaunted.
Episode 102 – Forsaken Trust
When victims of murder know their killers, they are often caught off guard.
But even the best-laid plans leave traces of the forsaken trust.
Episode 103 – Coroner Investigator
CI: Coroner Investigator will reveal the most in-depth look to date into the science of death. Go behind the yellow tape with Julie Wilson to experience first hand the techniques and methodology used by coroner investigators. Witness her discover clues and piece together the final moments of someone’s life.
Episode 104 – Hidden Obsessions
In Hamilton, Ohio, two bike riders discover a human torso on the East bank of the Great Miami River. The Butler County Sheriff’s office and the Butler County Coroner respond to the scene and begin an investigation.
In San Diego, California, a transient rummaging through a dumpster behind a pet store finds a human finger and calls 911. Officers respond and find an additional 8 finger tips that appeared to be burned, as well as bolt cutters, a used roll of duct tape, cigarette lighters, bloodstained rubber gloves, and numerous other telling evidence of a murder.
In both cases, the murderer went out of his way in an attempt to hide any evidence the victim’s body might carry to lead investigators to them. In the end, community participation and cutting edge forensic technology leads authorities to the guilty parties.
Episode 105 – Blind Trust
In 1998, a New Mexico college student is reported missing by her roommate. When investigators recover blood samples, the two boys last seen with the missing woman are questioned, and blame each other for her disappearance. The 18-year-old’s body is found in the desert with multiple stab wounds, and evidence points to the two boys.
A woman is spotted lying in the road off Interstate 81in Washington County, and appears to have been run over. Upon inspection by police, the woman has also been strangled. Investigators conclude the tire tracks are from a large truck, and begin a massive search for clues at several truck stops.
Sometimes, the people you have come to trust can turn out to be your worst enemy.
Episode 106 – Shattered Vows
A frantic husband calls 911, claiming his wife is dead, bleeding profusely from the head upon his return to their home. The husband of the recently deceased, claims his wife tripped and fell down the stairs. The autopsy report says the victim suffered 7 blows to the head. Forensics experts are employed to link the woman’s husband to her violent murder.
A traffic accident leaves a woman dead, and her husband badly shaken. Upon further investigation, the woman’s injuries are not consistent with those sustained from a vehicle accident. Authorities examine the victim’s home and find traces of the woman’s blood after receiving a tip from a man who aided the victim’s husband in the attempted cover-up.
Marriage is one of the tightest bonds two people can have with one another, until lies and deceit drive one of those people to kill.
Episode 107 – Fatal Impressions
A former Fort Worth Police Officer calls 911 late one evening. Emergency personnel respond to find his wife on their bed, dead from a gunshot wound to the chest, which her husband claims was self inflicted. Ballistic tests, fingerprint analysis and polygraph tests are inconclusive, finally blood splatter experts must be used before accusing the ex-cop with the death of his wife.
In a cornfield in Columbus, Ohio, a woman’s body is found, she is half dressed and has been strangled. Two weeks later, another woman’s body is found at a construction site, not far from the cornfield, she has suffered the same fate, but appears to have a handprint on her body. When a third woman is found dead in the same manner and area, authorities are certain they have a serial killer on their hands.
Sometimes, the faintest fingerprint or most obscure tire track is all investigators need to solve a horrible crime.
Episode 108 – Hands of Death
The Berkeley, California Fire Department responds to a house fire in the early morning hours of June 25, 1994. Firefighters discover the body of a 59-year-old woman near the fireplace. Her body had been badly burned and investigators speculated her death was accidental, though an autopsy suggested otherwise. Also discovered, was the fact that the deceased’s best friend and personal manager had recently cleaned out her bank account, suggesting investigators now had a homicide on their hands.
Episode 109 – Killing Time
A motel clerk is found dead, lying on the lobby floor. Police arrive to find the body partially burned, as well as a bloody palm print and most of a fingerprint. Surveillance tapes from surrounding businesses are collected, as well as fingerprints of over a hundred people for elimination purposes. Police are finally led to an ex-motel employee.
Human remains, including teeth and bones, are found in a garbage bag. Authorities recall a missing person’s case from several years earlier. Reverse DNA testing of the remains proves the body was in fact that of a man’s missing wife. A toxicologist is brought in to prove the cause of the woman’s death was not drugs, as the man suggested, and her husband is charged with her grizzly murder.
In both cases, the killer tried to disguise the victim’s body in an attempt to hide the actual cause of death; however, forensic science cannot be fooled.
Episode 110 – Silent Killers
A young man goes missing, and his live in girlfriend reveals she had last seen him after the two had an argument concerning money. Soon after, a human torso is found; the arms, legs and head had been removed. Toxicology testing showed evidence of a potentially fatal amount of morphine present in the body. Investigators question the girlfriend, and find she had just taken out a $150,000 life insurance policy on her boyfriend.
An insurance investigator meets with an Indian man who is the beneficiary of his recently deceased friend’s insurance policy. Suspecting he’s met the man before, the investigator goes through his files and finds he had in fact interviewed the man a year earlier on another claim, this time over the death of the man’s first wife. The investigator contacted the Coroner’s Office and an investigation was launched.
When money is the motive, there is no limit to what a killer will do to get away with their fortune.
Episode 111 – Out To Kill
Blood was found on the ground in front of an abandoned vehicle that police learn was driven by a college woman. The victim’s body was found in a neighborhood away from the vehicle. Tire impressions are taken, as well as other evidence. Investigators receive a tip about a man with a history of impersonating police officers. Investigators take tire samples of the man’s car, and find blood matching that of the dead woman. DNA samples from the man also match those found in the victim.
A young boy is reported missing. His friends reported having seen him speaking to an unknown man, and later they recalled seeing the boy in the man’s car. Police distribute a sketch of the man based on the boys’ accounts. A hotel clerk alerts authorities after a man checks into her hotel who she feels fits the description. The man is questioned, and investigators find blood and hair samples in the man’s car that match the missing boy’s DNA.
Sometimes, cooperation from people who are not associated with a crime in any way are the only link between a criminal, and the telling clues left behind for forensic experts.
Episode 112 – Raw Greed
Two men are found dead, beaten to death in the bar where they work. They had both sustained multiple blows to the head. A safe from the bar was missing, as well as the money from a cigarette machine that had been pried open. A local television station received an anonymous letter about the murders, though no fingerprints are obtained from it. Witnesses tell police of a man who frequents the bar, and investigators arrest him on unrelated charges. A search of his home and vehicle turn up several objects, including a tire iron, which lab tests conclude was the same object used to pry open the cigarette machine. Handwriting analysis also links the man to the letter. He is sentenced to consecutive life terms for the murders.
A wealthy man is found beaten to death in his own home. A broken glass door suggests a forced entry. An autopsy reveals the man was struck numerous times in the head. Investigation reveals that the heir to the man’s will has been misappropriating funds. Divers search a pond behind the house and find a faucet pipe with the man’s blood on it. Though the heir denies the murder, her fingerprints match those found on the victim’s belt, and impressions from her shoes match those from the murder scene. The heir is convicted of first-degree murder.
Even ordinary objects, when used to kill, carry enough evidence for forensic scientists to piece together even the most complicated murders.
Episode 113 – Murderous Attraction
A woman is rushed to the hospital due to a massive seizure that caused her heart to stop beating. Once stabilized, doctors are mystified, as the seizure has left the woman paralyzed and unable to speak. The woman’s husband, who regularly visited his wife, attracted the suspicions of the woman’s nurse. Those suspicions were realized after a doctor ordered several tests of the woman, one finding six times the lethal amount of arsenic in the woman’s system. Upon questioning, the woman’s husband, who had recently increased the amount of life insurance he had on his wife, admitted to poisoning her.
A frantic man calls 911, claiming his wife has shot herself in the head. Police respond to find the woman dead. Her husband and neighbors are questioned, but there seems to be no foul play involved. It seems she had been suffering from depression for quite some time. Though the initial cause of death was listed as a gunshot wound to the head (suicide), when a forensic scientist specializing in bloodstain interpretation is brought in, all signs begin to point to the woman’s husband as the murderer.
The most sacred of vows are sometimes not even enough to stop people who are intent on getting what they want, no matter what the consequences.
Episode 114 – Broken Trust
A family moving into a new home opens a large drum on the property and find the mummified remains of a woman dead for nearly 25 years. Forensics experts take samples of both the drum, and the remains of the woman inside, who was pregnant at the time of her death. Samples extracted lead investigators to the owner of an old plastics factory, the deceased’s former employer, who chooses to commit suicide in order to avoid police.
The Supervising Nurse at a hospital noticed the number of deaths in the small ICU unit had more than doubled from the previous year with no increase in admissions. She found that a particular nurse was on duty during 80% of those deaths, and brought her findings to hospital administrators. A medical task force was formed, and the nurse in question’s home was searched. Investigators found drugs that, witnesses would corroborate, the nurse injected into patients just before they died. The nurse was convicted of several deaths.
Sometimes those we trust and would never suspect of misdeeds, misuse that trust in the worst possible ways.
Episode 115 – Price of Murder
A security guard finds a man dead in the driver’s seat of his car, shot once in the back of the head. Authorities believe it may have been an accident, as illegal hunters frequented the area the man’s car was found. Police later receive a tip, linking the man’s wife and a friend to the murder; the motive was a large life insurance policy.
A woman calls 911 claiming 3 men burglarized her home, beat her husband to death and bound their hands with tape. Investigators begin to examine the home, and determine the woman’s husband was beaten to death with a blunt object. Neighbors report having seen a van speed away from the home around the time of the murder. Police find a fingerprint and question the man to whom it belongs. He tells police the victim’s wife promised the men a share of his life insurance policy if they aided in his murder.
When the amount of money is substantial enough, even those we love can be motivated to do terrible things.
Episode 116 – Stolen Youth
A man calls 911 and reports that his 9-year-old daughter has disappeared from their front yard. Police search the neighborhood and surrounding area, but find no trace of the little girl. Searching the house for clues, police grow suspicious when they discover small amounts of the girl’s blood on her bed sheets. Investigators also come to find that the girl’s mother also disappeared without a trace several years earlier. Additional clues are found, all pointing to the young girl’s father as her killer, until finally, the child’s body is found, wrapped in a bag with her father’s prints all over it.
A 10-year-old girl walking to her friend’s house after school never makes it there, and her mother contacts the police. A neighborhood search is undertaken, and objects the girl was carrying in are found in the area. Investigators take print samples from the girl’s bedroom for identification purposes. All the neighbors are questioned, including one who says she was not home during the abduction, but her son may have been. Later, two people walking in an alley discover the body of a young girl. Investigators take samples of the body and tire samples from the scene. All clues lead back to the woman’s son as the kidnapper and killer.
No matter how defenseless a killer believes a young child to be, there is no hiding from the clues left behind by every murder.
Episode 117 – Loved To Death
A Russian woman is found nude and dead in the bathtub in her Toronto apartment. Homicide detectives process the apartment, and transport the woman to the Medical Examiner’s office. An autopsy is performed, and a forensic odontologist is brought in, as teeth marks were discovered on the woman’s body. The teeth marks were analyzed, and samples were taken. The woman appeared to have several boyfriends, all of whom were questioned, and had teeth molds made to attempt to match to the bite marks on the woman’s body. A perfect match was found, the only evidence linking the man to the murder.
In 1980, a group of Indiana highway workers discovered the skeletonized remains of a woman in a box, whose legs were missing from the knees down. For years, the woman’s identity remained a mystery. Twenty years later, the Sheriff’s Department in Ohio contacted the highway patrol, requesting their help in locating a Jane Doe. The Indiana Sheriff remembered the “woman in the box,” and made sure the cold case investigators were made aware of the woman’s remains. DNA samples were extracted, and compared to those of the woman reported missing in Ohio. A perfect match. All investigators had to do now, was find her killer…
Forensic science has advanced so much, that even the oldest remains still share the clues necessary to convict a killer.
Episode 118 – Written In Blood
A man calls 911 claiming his wife fell down the stairs and died. Rescue workers respond, and do indeed find the woman dead at the base of the stairs. There is a large amount of blood on and around the body. The Medical Examiner concludes the woman died as a result of a blunt force trauma, and begins the search for a murder weapon. Blood spatter also proves the woman was beaten before she fell, or was placed at the base of the stairs. The man’s prints are found on a champagne bottle, but not the glasses, leading investigators to believe he beat his wife with the bottle. Blood spatter is found on most of the man’s clothing, proving he beat his wife to death.
A man notifies police that his wife is missing. He says she had a large amount of cash on her, and was on her way to make a bank deposit. The woman’s car is found outside the bank, but no evidence of the woman is extracted. A nearby dumpster is searched, revealing bloody bath towels and some other items. The woman’s body is found in a ravine the next day, and samples are taken. Her husband’s home is searched, and investigators find many of the same objects that they found in the dumpster, as well as the same type of ammunition that the woman was shot with. The woman’s blood is found in the bathtub and on the walls of the man’s home. Blood spatter suggests the woman was shot in the back of the head. Her husband is arrested and convicted of killing his wife.
Blood can be the most telling evidence of a murder, and often is the only thing investigators have to link a killer to his victim.
Episode 119 – Critical Evidence
A man discovers skeletal remains lying just outside the African Lion Safari section of an Ontario zoo. An anthropologist assisted forensics professionals in the autopsy to help determine cause of death. The team searching for the victim’s identity employed a bizarre technique of re-hydration to attempt to lift a fingerprint. Once the victim had a name, authorities would have to piece together the cause of death.
A woman finds the body of a 76-year-old man, who had been shot. Several footprints were found at the scene, and some items from the victim’s home had been stolen. Authorities began looking for known burglars in the area, and compared shoe samples with those from the victim’s home. Detectives would also have to use ingenious techniques to find the bullet that killed the man.
Whether it is a fingerprint or a single bullet, sometimes it is the smallest pieces of evidence that are needed to crack the biggest cases.
Episode 120 – Fatal Twist
A real estate agent is found beaten and strangled in the basement of a home that was for sale. Police and crime techs find boot and finger prints on the woman’s body. The agent’s car is searched; a pad with her name on it reveals a fingerprint. Some of the agent’s jewelry had been pawned, and investigators link fingerprints from the jewelry to those found on the victim, and a massive search is undertaken for the murderers.
A pregnant woman is found dead in her bathtub, at first glance appearing to be the victim of a robber gone bad. The victim’s husband is contacted and says he was not at the house the night of the apparent murder. An autopsy reveals the woman died of asphyxiation and trauma to the head. Investigators uncover blood that belongs to the victim, and the husband as well, concluding that the man killed his pregnant wife.
Relying on murder to get what you want is often the quickest way behind bars.
Episode 121 – Vanished
An 18-year-old girl is found raped and strangled in a Harlem stairwell. DNA is collected from the victim’s body and is compared to that of other rape suspects being held in jail; it doesn’t match. Another girl with a similar description is found dead, and police feel they have a serial killer on their hands. A man’s name is found from the phone records of one of the victims, and authorities would have to attempt to obtain DNA sample from the man to prove his guilt.
Several missing women all linked to a man offering them jobs or money, sparked a search of the man’s hotel room. Authorities found remains of several women in large drum barrels. The medical examiner and authorities would have to determine the identity of each of the victims, as well as attempt to locate other missing women linked the killer.
Murderers will often go to great lengths to keep their crimes concealed, but forensic evidence is often impossible to cover up.