Hello, all! Thank you for joining me for my first “limited series,” Forensic Fridays. I hope you’ll continue to check in at my blog as I share news about this Tuesday’s publication of my new Morgan Family novel, I‘LL NEVER LET YOU GO, Alex’s story, and April’s VULNERABLE, in which Georgia takes over the tale.
We know it from novels and countless television shows and true crime accounts. How a body is handled at the crime scene is hugely important. Not only is this the time when critical evidence can be lost or saved, but when chain of custody is established. If evidence leads to an arrest and trial, the detectives and technicians must prove that it was always in their control and there was no opportunity for tampering.
Here’s an excerpt from BE AFRAID with Nashville PD’s detective Rick Morgan and forensic expert Georgia Morgan taking lead on retrieving a body from a park pond emptied for maintenance–
“When can you remove the body?” Rick . . . couldn’t think of the victim as a living, breathing child. Cases like this required a step back. Distance from the victim kept the emotions in check and heads clear.
“Any minute. The medical examiner should be here any moment. I’ve all the photos and sketches I need so I’ll wade in now and pull the body free.”
. . . [They] arrived at the center of the pond . . . the sun had burned away the morning mists and heat beat down directly onto the site.
He glanced beyond the threads of pink to the small skull cradled inside. “Have you examined the skull?”
“No. I’m afraid to handle the bones too much. They could be very fragile. I want to pull it all out as one unit and let the medical examiner do her thing.”
“Let’s see if we can dig her out. Start at least a foot away from the remains. If we can loosen the bag we might be able to get her out easily.”
. . . The two began digging a couple of feet out from the body. With the first shovelful of dirt, the muck and mire sunk in on itself, filling the hole quickly . . . Finally, they got ahead of the mud. It took them another twenty minutes to dig deep enough that the plastic bag cold be lifted out of the mire.
The medical examiner technician arrived with a body bag. While Georgia cradled the plastic bag cocooning the pink blanket and bone, Rick wen to shore and took the bag. When he returned she laid the body into the bag and he zipped it up. Georgia and Rick carried the body out together.