Nov 2, 2009

The Correct Avenger

A couple days ago I got called at 5am, the body of a nude female turns up in one of our alleys. I grab the camera and meet Detective Brew, who’s already placing the little number tents next to anything that looks like it does not belong in an alley. The victim, dressed only in socks, has obviously been run over by a car.

Our budget-loving Lieutenant, hoping that this is NOT our 3rd homicide in as many weeks says,
“What do you think Kellett, just a hit and run accident?”
Oh ya, I’m sure that naked women are constantly throwing themselves under cars. Some patrol guys find a stack of clothing a block away in a parking lot; a complete set of women’s clothes, minus socks… hhmmm… a clue? Two important leads: first is that there was some ID in the clothes identifying our victim, second there was security video in the parking lot. The low-quality footage shows a black, 97-98 Dodge Avenger dumping the clothes, but nothing else.

One of the other detectives recalled that there was a car matching that description in the parking lot of the half-way house where the victim lived. Sure enough, a black, 98 Avenger- and it was still warm; I’m thinking, too coincidental to be random; this was turning out to be my lucky day. I looked underneath the car and saw… dirt, oil and rust. I crawled (soiling a new pair of Van Husen slacks) under just about every square inch of that car and did not see any sign of it having run over a body. However, I am not a car-pedestrian expert, so I figure we should tow the car and have the traffic reconstruction experts look at it for what may be micro signs of our victim.

I tell the car’s owner that we will be towing the car for investigation, and he goes ballistic. He starts yelling that his car was not involved, that he would never hurt anyone, that there are cars like his all over town, blah, blah, blah. In an attempt to be conciliatory, I explain that I cannot recall the last time I saw this model car driving around; it was just not that popular. Then, exasperated, he tells me he sees them all the time, in fact, he tells me,
“There goes one right there!”

Well, I’ll be, another black Dodge Avenger. We have about 6 detectives standing around with nothing to do, so two of them decide to go pull over this second car. I get a call a minute later, one of the detectives that pulled the car over wants me to look at it, he thinks he sees blood on the rear of the car. I go to the stop, look under the car and… now remember, I’m not a car vs pedestrian expert, but when looking at a 3 inch chunk of scalp wedged in the front suspension, surrounded by an entire frame section covered in blood, I thought maybe THIS was the car I should be towing.

I guess I’m easily influenced by persuasive car owner arguments; that and bloody body parts stuck to someone else’s car.

Local News Story:

Yakima police arrest suspect in Tuesday morning homicide
Yakima Herald-Republic

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Police are sometimes stymied in crime investigations when witnesses are unwilling to come forward and speak up, but that wasn’t the case in a homicide investigation Tuesday.
Yakima detectives got their first lead from surveillance video taken by a security camera near where Shelly Kinter’s nude body was found about 5 a.m. in an alley off Chestnut Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets.
Her body had been run over, but Sgt. Scot Levno said investigators believe that happened after she had been killed.
The video showed a black Dodge Avenger, and by midday detectives were inspecting just such a car in the parking lot at Connections, an apartment complex in the 100 block of South Naches Avenue for people recovering from substance abuse. Kinter, 42, lived in a second-floor unit there.
As detectives were preparing to impound the car, some Connections residents gathered in the parking lot hollered out that another black Dodge with a cracked windshield was driving past and had been seen going by earlier.
Police located another black Avenger a few minutes later at the 7-Eleven store on Yakima Avenue and arrested the driver. The car had front-end damage above the passenger-side headlight and the windshield was shattered on the driver’s side.
Levno said that car matched what was seen on the surveillance video. “We found blood on the driver and in the passenger compartment, and on the undercarriage of the car,” he said.
The suspect, 20-year-old Aaron Leroy Briden from Tacoma, was booked into the Yakima County jail on a charge of first-degree murder, according to a police news release.
The news release said Kinter died “from apparent trauma to the head and body.” Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins said an autopsy will be done today.
Information on the Web site lists a Shelly Kinter as a 1985 graduate of Davis High School.
A man who lives at Connections, which is operated by Triumph Treatment Services, said Kinter was “just a really mellow person; she never did anybody no harm at all.”
“She was a ray of sunshine,” said a woman smoking a cigarette in the Connections parking lot.
At one point a woman drove up to the group and asked if the woman who had been killed was Shelly, and then broke into sobs.
“She was trying to get her life straightened out, and she was doing a good job,” said the woman, who declined to give her name but said she became friends with Kinter at the free weekly meals a church group provides for homeless and needy people in the neighborhood. The woman is a volunteer who helps at the Friday meals.

Apr 3, 2009

I so want global warming

It's spring here in Central Washington, however it seems more like an ice age. The passes have closed because of the snow and avalanche danger, and it's so cold here that wife Krissy had to go out and buy three new sweaters to layer on the 17 that she is wearing now.

When making my schedule, The last days of March, first days of April seemed like a great time to have our bi-yearly Basic Sniper School for the State Training Commission. The problem was that the Good Lord decided that rather than judge the earth with locus, He would give "deep freeze" a try. Lucky me- I was outside all week long.

Here is where we were training all week long. It's called "Yakima Training Center" and it's actually run by the US Army. As you can see, there is not so much as a tree around. Based on how cold I was all week, I'm pretty sure it just as open all the way to the arctic circle; not so much as a barb-wire fence to keep out the cold.

Here are the students for the week. I think they are all frowning cause it takes more muscles than smiling, and they are trying to keep warm.

That's me in the chair... don't let my lounging looks fool you, being in charge is a HARD job! For one thing, when sitting it's tough to keep one's rear from being frozen to the camp chair.

Here's one of the instructors shading the student from the hail storm, you can see all the little ice pellets on the ground. The wind was so strong that it felt like eighty three delinquents were all shooting their Red Ryder BB guns at your face.

Jay (standing over the shooters yelling) is one of my partners and helped instruct this week. He is a former Marine and loves to yell at the "Girls" (what he calls the students) to do whatever they are doing faster, better or different. If he were to treat college students this way, they would all go fetal and be in therapy for years. The guys who want to be snipers just do what he is demanding and learn, then shake his hand at the end of the week... go figgure.

Heh heh heh... I don't know if this position has any real-life value, I just have everyone do this at each class cause its soooo funny to watch.

The official name for this position is the "Rice Paddy Prone." However I call it the "Turkish Toilet."

Well, everyone passed, no one got shot. I did get a pretty bad windburn, but it just made Krissy feel sorry enough for me to give me a back rub tonight...

And please, if you have ANY aerosol cans of anything in your house.... please step out your back door, direct the nozzle at the ozone and spray away. I will take any help you can give to jump-start this global warming thing.

Mar 12, 2009

Death by Weird

Yakima County is a weird place.

People don't seem to JUST die here, they have to go in weird ways and/or circumstances. Take for instance my last autopsy: healthy (other than having assumed room temperature) old guy turns up dead in his house. Pathologist opens up his stomach and finds it full of anti-freeze, which had almost disinigrated his innards. Turns out the old guy had his gardener buy him a gallon of Prestone a week before, the gardener thought it was odd cause the guy didn't have a car. Most people just shoot themselves, or at least give themselves a nice hanging... But anti-freeze??? Weird.

Not too long ago, had my 3rd auto-erotic asphyxiation death; and no, I won't explain it to you here... just Google it, but make sure your porn filter is off.

Then I was at an autopsy for a victim of a drive-by gang shooting, and the pathologist remarked on the very detailed, full sized tattoo of a nude female on this guy's back; he asked, "Why would he (the dead guy) put that where he can't see it?" I told the doc, "Cause it wasn't for him, it was for his cell mate."


I can take all the weirdness, I just can't get used to the smell.

Mar 7, 2009

The case SUCKS.... get it?

I was sitting in my little jungle U-bickle yesterday, trying to figgur out a new "Tablet" computer that they (the city fathers) decided that I needed. It is cute, and does all sorts of stuff like... well... I'm sure I'll find out when I get the darn thing to turn on.

Anywho, (wait... did I plagiarize that from Remo or Ron Paul? heh heh)

I could hear, way over in Property Crimes some heavy snickering. Thought maybe Crazy Nate had Utube on, so I sauntered over. Everyone was around Crazy Nate's L-bickle (their desks are smaller) listening to him read a theft report.

Seems some kid had just rolled into town and was going to try his hand at selling Kirby vacuums in the "Palm Springs of Washington." He was well into his pitch when he takes the mark's old vacuum and uses it on an area of carpet, then brings out the Kirby and vacuums the same area. The result is as expected; the Kirby picked up soooo much more dirt that the mark's Dyson (a decent $250.00 vacuum) that the salesman takes the Dyson, wheels it outside to the mark's front porch and says, "Let's just leave this piece of junk out here, it's such a crummy vacuum, no one would even steal it!"

You guessed it, within 5 minutes someone stole it.
Now the Kirby guy is down at the Dyson retailer buying a vacuum. It seems the mark did not want $250 off of a Kirby.

While making a report, the Kirby guy asked, "Is it unusual for this kind of thing to happen here?" Yes, as a matter of fact it was unusual for the Kirby guy to make good on replacing the vacuum, you don't see that kind of integrity every day.

Feb 27, 2009

Ah, The Memories...

Got my 30 year high school invitation today, the same day I got a stabbing case.

It seems that 30 year reunion is going to take place at the same place as where the stabbing happened:

It seems that my old Alma mater picked the town's biker bar to get together in. I should not be too surprised, it was a rough school. 30 years ago I spent a lot of time in the photography class. All of us camera nerds kept safe by convincing the rough kids that we all had hydrochloric acid from the film studio; it was believable because we all did have a chemical smell on us from the dark room, although the worse we could really do to someone was maybe to inflict a nasty photo paper cut. It was a scary place 30 years ago.

30 years later. The captain comes by my desk and tosses a report on my desk. Seems that "Spooky" (gang name) had been sleeping with "Jokers" baby-mama while Joker was in the County lock up; and, it seems that all these cartoon-character wannabees hang out at the one place the reunion committee thought would most reflect the A.C. Davis class of '79. So, Spooky sees Joker and his buddies (probably Grumpy, Doc and Sneezy) at the dart boards, then walks up and sucker punches Joker. Now Joker has had his pride hurt (pretty tough when you are named after the playing card no one wants), so Joker pulls out his pocket knife and runs after Spooky. He catches up to him and stabs him three times in the back, then runs out of the bar before anyone can see him.

As he flees, he decides to further enhance the covert nature of his escape, so he cleverly tosses off his shirt, evidently wanting to change his appearance. The only problem for Joker is that on his back, tattooed in 4 inch-high letters, is his real name. I am sometimes offended at how easy some of these guys make it.

I think Joker would have really been a great Davis student. He would have probably believed I had acid and left me alone.

Feb 19, 2009

Observation skills are tanking...

Went to the airport yesterday to pick up a couple of Homicide Detectives from LAPD. They are here to (sorry, can't talk about it now... maybe later). I only knew their names, something that sounded Latin, and something that sounded Irish... So I was at the airport, staring at the exit gate looking for a Hispanic guy and a White guy that had a 'Cop" look. The "Cop" look is pretty universal, I was in Eastern Turkey and could recognised undercover cops; so I was pretty confidant about my abilities.

First out of the gate were two guys that fit the bill exactly. Cheap Sears suits, military haircuts, a body shape that comes from lifting weights and eating donuts, and a smug sort of "I'm still cooler than people who make lots more money" look. I focused on them, trying to see if I could spot a gun bulge (I knew they were traveling armed). I started moving in behind one of them, twisting and turning, trying to find and eliminate possible pistol locations: belt, armpit, ankle... The guy turned and caught me checking him out just when my cell phone rang. I answered it and just then noticed a couple of short guys 40 feet away, one of them on the phone and waving at me. It was then I noted the subtle clue I had missed that may have tipped me off that they were the guys I was looking for:

Both of them had jackets with "LOS ANGLES POLICE HOMICIDE UNIT" blazoned on their chests. I introduced myself to them and led them out of the airport before the guy in the cheap suit could ask me for a date.

I gotta work on my skills...

Feb 6, 2009

Shot Three Times

Got called out to a dead guy today. Everything appeared to the responding officers to be a suicide, western single-action revolver still in stiff's hand, entry wound to the chin, locked up house, nothing disturbed or missing; all pretty straight forward. That was until (tension building music: dum dum DUM) the Sargent noticed that there were THREE exit wounds around this guy's head. I get there and Sarge points this out to me, sure enough... three exit holes, and three holes in the ceiling and wall. Now I was never good at mathematics in school, but it seemed that was a bit more than one suicidal shot could produce.

Just before I pulled the "Calling All Detectives" bell, I looked at the injuries again reeeel close.....

Suicide it was.

When a 45 Colt revolver (a BIG round) slug travels upward through the jaw, and you happen to have some complex dental work, the slug can turn some of that dental work into projectiles, causing then to accelerate to about the same speed as the slug.

I dug into the sheetrock, found a bullet and two gold teeth.

Feb 5, 2009

I No Wanna Hear Complaints

Just got back from a fun time of laying in the snow for about 4 hours during some training we had. It involved my partner and I walking about 2 miles through the snow (we were very close to Mt. Rainer, WA) and setting up a sniper position about 100 yards from a cabin. Inside the cabin were other cops, sitting by the fire, drinking hot cocoa and trying to spot our position. We then, after observing the location for about 2 hours, call into our command post and direct the entry element of the SWAT team to the best location to do a dynamic entry.

After the scenario was over (again, my partner and I were out for 4 hours, 1 stalking up and 3 in the snow), we all had a cup of hot cocoa in our hands and I overheard a couple of the 20'ish (age) entry guys complaining. They lamented about how horrible the training was 'cause their toes all got cold while standing around outside the cabin for about 70 minutes.

I then pointed out that I (age late 40's) had been in the snow more than twice as long, and I thought it was great training. Many (not all) of the youngsters looked at me like I was some sort of Neanderthal throw back- as if I was somehow not "sophisticated" enough to appreciate that I should be whining about the cold.

I got online today and ordered a hat which reads, "EMBRACE THE SUCK." Next time I will just put that on and smile at them. Stupid kids probably won't even get that I'm making fun of them... whats an old guy to do?

Me in the snow... I did have time to take this with my new Blackberry (proof that I'm hip, or just an OLD nerd... don't know which).