Crime Scene Investigator

Nabil Sawal

Document Everything in the Murder Book

(Example) As detectives investigating the murder of 11-year-old Alan Brown (Little Boy Lost, eposide 11) discovered, keeping a detailed record of a homicide investigation is more than just a memory aid. Known as the Murder Book, it is the place where detectives record every step of an investigation, including witness statements, forensic reports and crime scene photos, and in Alan Brown’s case, it was crucial to solving the crime. Contained within the book, buried among routine interviews, was the name of a witness – tracking down that witness led detectives straight to Alan’s killers. Where murder is concerned, there’s no such thing as too much information.

Follow every lead

Keeping an open mind about the causes and possible perpetrators of a crime is essential to an investigator’s success. If Unusual Suspects has taught us anything, it’s that homicides are rarely straightforward, and following every lead – no matter how contrived they seem – is crucial. Whether it’s witness statements, or tips called in by the public, detectives never know where a lead is going to take them. For the investigators looking into Sky Alland’s (Driven to Murder, ep4) execution-style death, following leads that took them cross-country and sorting the red herrings from the real clues was exactly what it took to bring the 34-year-old businessman’s killer – an ex-employee – to justice.

Persevere

Time can be a major factor in solving murders – we all know the rule about the first 48 hours being the most important - but it’s not the only time period that can impact an investigation. Lapses in time – from months to decades – can mean that cold cases suddenly become solved ones. Technology catches up with evidence collected at a time when, for instance DNA perhaps didn’t exist, and years later can include or exclude a suspect from an investigation.