It was the weekend, the sun was setting, the weather was clear, and I was at a homicide scene. Let me clarify, at the time, I was a Crime Scene Investigator working for my local police department. Since I began that position, our sleepy, quiet town had a sudden influx in violent crime, meaning I was called out to work extra a lot. This weekend was no different.
Called To A Crime Scene
Earlier that day, I had run into a detective I worked with in town. He gave me a heads-up that I may be getting called out later as an incident occurred earlier in the day. However, at that point in time, the incident was not fatal. I was usually only called when a death was involved.
Sure enough, I got home from town and immediately received a call. The situation had become much graver as the victim died on the way to the hospital. We now had a murder scene to process.
So much for a nothing Saturday at home, I let my dog know I wouldn’t be back for a while, and of course, he was none too pleased. Going upstairs, I mentally noted what equipment I may need and what gear I should have for this particular incident.
Preparation for Surviving the Night
I was ready to go, dressed in tactical pants with plenty of pockets, duty boots that usually kept my feet happy, and a polo. It is important to be comfortable yet safe and practical in how you dress for that type of work. For instance, investigators should always wear long sleeves, even if it’s hot out. This protects the professional from contaminates and protects the scene from any of the extra DNA you may leave behind. (which is inevitable)
Every investigator needs a checklist. This list should include a pair of your most comfortable boots. You will literally be on your feet for hours, so you need support yet durability, and to keep in mind your boots will be encased in disposable booties at the scene. Take two pairs of pants, yes, two. You are bound to be in the midst of enough biohazard material to make you think twice before you brush up against any wall. Ensure you have a backpack with your immediate supplies: flashlight, gloves, buccal swabs, etc. And finally, take water! You will do no one any good if you are dehydrated.
Once I arrived at the police department, I was briefed on the situation, got my supplies, and headed toward the scene in the crime scene van. Now, this is where it begins to get interesting.
Upon arrival, I met up with our regional major crimes team. It was a pretty active and effective unit comprising a few detectives from my county and the adjoining one. Our commander was a retired FBI agent, so we had a good leader.
Anyway, I started looking around the scene, noting what I needed to collect and photograph and what evidence was relevant to what took place. Without going into gory details, a few people were hanging out in a shitty apartment when they decided to have a gun contest. Shots were fired, and the victim was left to bleed out while the others panicked, ran, or tried to clean up the scene.
I immediately noticed that aside from some drops of blood on the landing, there was not enough blood for what happened. This was when I began to suspect I would need to use a blood enhancer to determine what happened to all of that blood.
For even more No Shit There I Was Stories, click here: The Jessica Lynch Rescue
As the evening went on, the initial officer securing the scene finally had to go home after being out for several hours. When the new officer arrived on scene, I noticed it was one of the officers I knew from my department but hadn’t spoken to much. He seemed nice and good-looking, but I was there to process a crime scene, not pick up a date, or so I thought.
Since the scene involved outdoor and indoor areas, I needed a fair amount of supplies to collect samples, shell casings, and other pertinent evidence. In this particular case, photographs would be the most important evidence collected.
As I went back and forth to the crime scene van, I noticed that the securing officer would glance in my direction and then usually look again. Hmmmm… that’s weird. I went on about my business. An hour or so passes, and I notice that every time I go to the crime scene van, he gets out of his patrol car and comes to talk to me. This was new, and at first, I was more curious about why this guy talked to me so much. We had exchanged words in passing before but nothing like this. He was also carrying my equipment for me, which rarely ever happened at these scenes.
Later on, we were about to wrap up things save for our last, big task: administering BlueStar, a blue glowing chemical regent that reacts with the blood to enhance its presence. Myself and the other two investigators from State Police (who would often help me out since I was the only CSI in my county) decided to take a break for a bit before we conducted our final task.
By then, it was around 2230. The night was still pleasant as it was June in the mountains, and the stars were out. The admittedly good-looking officer came over to talk to me and asked how it was going and what we had left to do. I explained that we just needed to use the blood enhancer to see if there were additional areas we needed to photograph or collect buccal swabs.
We then began to chit-chat, and it came up that we were both off the following day. He asked if I had plans, and I said I was supposed to see a movie with friends, but they canceled. He mentioned he would go to the movie with me. Apparently, (and he didn’t tell me this until later), I had a look of utter surprise on my face. We agreed to talk more once the shift was over for both of us, and I went back into the shit-hole apartment to finish my work.
Blood Was Everywhere
While processing this last piece of evidence, it took longer than expected because there was so much “hidden” blood. I kid you not, the whole apartment was glowing, resembling a blue, glittery lake. It made for some nice photographs later, though, quite pretty if I do say so myself.
We finished up, cleared the scene, and returned to the station, where I had to secure all the evidence. The securing officer, with whom I now had a date, helped me carry everything inside the department. Little did I know what this fateful night had in store.
Crime Scene Outcome
That night I had no idea what I was in store for except for the usual routine of proceeding to a crime scene. Every investigator needs to remember to be prepared and to leave their home thinking they will be gone for at least 12 hours, if not an entire day. No joke. After all, you can’t return to the scene once you release it from police custody.
What I did not anticipate was meeting my husband. The day after working the homicide scene, we had a date and immediately hit it off. Here we are, almost four years later. Side note, none of my friends were surprised when I told them I met my husband at a crime scene. The only response I got was, “of course you did.”