Dr. Mell Steve is a Forensic Anthropologist. She writes about the cases she gets to play a role in.
It was raining outside my phone rang “hey Mell, got a scene, I’ll text you the location please be there” said Inspector Jack. It was midnight, I was about sleep but this call got a smile on my face. I grabbed my coat and left.
I reached the crime scene. Obviously, I knew that it would be a skeleton that is why I was called. Yes, I am a forensic anthropologist. However I saw the pathologist there and I was surprised, if I am called for the examination at this hour why is the pathologist here, I thought. I got closer and saw a fresh body lying beside a skeleton in a grave. The body had no marks on it however the clothing condition was weird providing specific information. The body was taken out and I was left alone with the skeleton. “Female, Caucasian,25 – 30 years,” I said about this skeleton judging from the skull, pelvis, and other body features. We packed the bones and other samples like soil, hair, nails, and a piece of bottom wear and sent them to the lab through an inspector. I reached the lab and started to work on it. I would never wait for the morning to start my work. I am in love with my work. I found a blunt force trauma on the head and took a few soil samples from different regions of the skeleton. While arranging the bone after cleaning I found the humeri of both the arms fractured identically, but the cause of death was uncertain. The skull was sent for facial reconstruction. My work was done for now and I left.
The next day I contacted the pathologist and he had not ascertained the cause of death yet. In the late evening, he confirmed the cause of death to be vagal inhibition which could be a possibility in this case as well.
The soil samples obtained had different origins confirming that the skeleton was moved from some other place. Also, the clothing had tear marks at specific positions like those of knees, back, and elbows indicating a particular posture of sitting for a prolonged time. Similar tears were found in the bottom wear found near The skeleton stuck in one of its legs. The material analysis of the lower and its look confirmed it to be a lady’s type. The isotopic analysis and another test of the soil confirmed a range of areas near the earlier location which was a garden. The search team found a suspicious dug-out soil in another garden. They worked on it and boom! we have two more bodies; one partially skeletonized and the other fully skeletonized.
All the bodies we had were those of females. The time of death proved to be astonishing with a year gap of 5 each. What we had was a pattern, a skeletonized body with a fleshy one. The newly found bodies were also found to have some blunt force trauma and fracture pattern. Most importantly the cause of death ascertained by the corroborative evidence is most likely vagal inhibition. So, a pattern, a common modus operandi, means a serial killer.
The facial reconstruction do not being perfect but still gives a lead and that is what we got and DNA profiling is something conclusive.
“Jennifer Louis” is the first found victim. Getting a background check on her we come to know that Jennifer was a school teacher and lived with her husband David and daughter Mia. Her husband had reported her missing 15 years ago. David was taken for questioning. Nothing came up from his answers that would suggest his involvement in the case but his daughter stated that David wood abused Jennifer very often. The police got the records of David. David’s parents had moved from Derby to London when he was 3 and got separated a year later. David stayed with his mother. To cope with the demand she used to work in a church. He eventually left his mother and got married.
The other three victims are; “Freddy James, 28” an NGO worker, “Callie Lawrence, 25”, child caretaker and “Grace Stuart, 29”, a school teacher.
Freddy was seen last time with her boyfriend Sam, who had a history of drug abuse and the people around verified that they fought.
Callie was reported missing by her boss. She had last visited her ex-husband John who had denied paying her after the divorce. Her husband was earlier caught in a case of counterfeiting.
Grace was reported missing by David a few hours earlier before the body was found. They were supposed to get married. The police investigated Sam and John’s acquaintances and got to know about their ties with David. David got involved in all four cases. During questioning, he refused every allegation. The authorities searched his house and found a knife and another weapon. The weapon matched the object that could have caused the blunt force trauma on the skull of the woman. The knife on analysis was found to have a fiber on it which later matched the clothing put on my Grace.
All evidence proved to be against David and he was convicted for all the murders. Later during his psychiatric evaluation, the motive of his killing was known. It was to get over the feeling of neglect that he faced during his childhood from his mother, later from his wife, and at the end from his fiancé. The other two murders were triggered by a feeling of jealousy and neglect which he associated with himself. Moreover, the Gardens were chosen to bury the bodies as he had an affection for all the women and somewhere he had always had his mother in his mind.
About The Author
This story is written by Saqifa Yaseen Khan, BSc III Forensic science student of Yashavantrao Chavan Institute of Science, Satara.