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Criminal Investigation

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As a crime scene investigator, upon the arrival at the scene, i should first take a thorough look at the scene and take steps into protecting the crime scene like in our case, the scenario is the store/gas station.  Once the officer informs me that there was an additional employee present during the entire incident as well as a mother and a small child who witnessed the crime. I would first of all take them for murder witnesses or witnesses to a murder case until proven otherwise. I would hold them for further questioning so that I can get to hear their part of the story as we await the laboratory reports on the forensic findings on finger prints which would proof their innocence. I would also take a sample of their fingerprints to be used to counter check with those found on the scene.

I would then isolate and secure the crime scene using barricades and ropes to keep away unauthorized people from the crime area since people roaming around the crime scene can have the potential to alter and destroy evidence by contaminating them. The next step is to know the officer who is in charge of the investigation. I should then document the scene which can be done using sketches, written notes, photos and videos of the whole scene. This documentation serves a record for the scene after all the evidence has been taken to the laboratories for forensic examiners and you should also bear in mind that the crime scene has to be cleaned up.

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Collection of evidence is very important to any crime scene. The evidence we got from the scene included the following: A Lottery Ticket on counter with a bloody, smeared print on it, A black 9mm semi-automatic gun under ice cream cooler, a pack of cigarettes removed from a carton as well as the ripped open carton on the floor in front of counter, a casing by the glass store entry door, a six pack of cold beer on the floor near the beer cooler, a spent bullet embedded in the wall behind the counter, a spilled cigar box of cash on the floor next to the deceased and a fresh cigarette butt only half smoked outside the store in the parking lot. All of these were to be used as evidence.  All of these evidences collected in the scene will be used in the laboratories to carry out forensic fingerprint details and DNA residues.

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There is a continuous chain of custody that must and should be maintained  so that the evidence must be accepted in a court of law. A log is usually created which includes the date, name, description, handling and the actual location, etc. the forensic examiners signature is also required and the times and dates are also recorded for reference.

In the collecting of the finger prints, you should first scan the whole scene for any fingerprints on all contact surfaces like the door, window frames, and counters by using a black or gray powder that is dusted on areas for prints. Then lift them with adhesive tape over a white piece of white card, then use a black and white  camera to photograph the finger print evidence that cannot be lifted then package the evidence in envelopes and paper bags and label them and then sent them to the laboratory for analysis (Herschel, 1916).

Once you get the finger prints from the surfaces you can also compare them manually with those of the employee and mother and child to find out if they match by comparing the joins, splits, end and the start in order to know if they are suspects or witnesses. The main reason for getting the finger prints on the surfaces of contact is to find out a match which shows the murderer.

The deceased victim found in the scene with a through and through gunshot to the chest showed that the murder weapon must have been a gun and that explained the bullet embedded on the wall behind the counter, by using the used bullet, we can determine from which gun it was fired from whether it was for the black 9mm semi-automatic gun found in the scene (Waldren, 2007).

You should maintain all the evidence on the body by ensuring that the body is free from further contamination (Fletcher, 1998). Wrap the hands and feet with paper bags, and then try to identify the victim and notify the next of kin and retrieve any samples like blood and make sure that they are also labeled and finally you secure the transportation of the remains.

If the evidence from the homicide scene is left out to be damaged or contaminated, then it becomes useless. All the evidence collected should be taken intact to the laboratories. Wet evidence like the Lottery Ticket which had blood stains must be dried first since it can grow molds causing the evidence to be contaminated, it can be sealed in an envelope then after it is completely dry, it can then be packaged in a plastic bag then it is sealed and marked properly.

The Black 9mm semi-automatic gun found under ice cream cooler must have been the murder weapon and should be packaged in a metal paint can and properly sealed. The Spent bullet embedded in the wall behind the counter should be packaged in a cardboard box. The Pack of cigarettes removed from a carton as well as the ripped open carton on the floor in front of counter, the Casing by the glass store entry door, the Six pack of cold beer on the floor near the beer cooler, the Spilled cigar box of cash on the floor next to the deceased, the Fresh cigarette butt only half smoked outside the store in the parking lot must each be packaged in an envelope then paper bag, properly sealed and carefully labeled. Each item should be packaged separately in different and separate bags to avoid cross contamination.

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