NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Cover Reveal For My New Crime Thriller LITTLE GIRLS SLEEPING #Bookouture #PreOrder

PreOrder

It’s that time! I’m so excited to announce the cover reveal and pre-order for LITTLE GIRLS SLEEPING. It’s a crime thriller that will keep you awake at night. I had loads of fun creating this series and a terrifying new serial killer. This is the first book in a new series with a feisty ex-Army K9 handler now Police Detective Katie Scott.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

From the publisher Bookouture:

He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever.

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late?

Compulsive and gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Katie Scott’s first case will have you on the edge of your seat and gasping with shock.

CoverReveal

Grab your pre-order copy today at Amazon for 99cents!

 

 

 

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The Lockdown Generation: Active Shooter Training in America’s Schools

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Photo courtesy of stkt.hwcdsb.ca.

There’s a sad reality now existing in the United States. And that’s because the new normal in an average American school involves mandatory active shooter lockdown drills. That’s right. Our society has become so violent that these so-called active shooter exercises are as a common (and necessary) as good old-fashioned fire drills.

Teachers and students alike are on constant high-alert. And at the whiff of a threat, school officials are trained to quickly turn off the lights, lock the doors and huddle their students into closets. The reality is both frightening and encouraging, in that students are now more prepared – than ever before – to fend off deadly intrusions.

Current estimates indicate that nearly 95% of American schools conduct some form of active shooter training for students and staff. Everything from high concept, movie-like school invasions to more low-key lockdown drills are administered at academic institutions across the nation. And, according to experts, these drills are vitally important in keeping our children safe.

History

A troubling legacy of the April 1999 massacre at Colorado’s Columbine High School, active shooter drills have now entered their twentieth year of existence at schools. Prior to the Columbine tragedy, the only drills carried out at schools involved earthquakes, tornadoes and fire. But, after the deadly attack at Columbine, which killed 13 students, schools immediately began to assess their security.

The Columbine horror was the deadliest school shooting in the history of the United States up until that point. But, since that shooting, there have been much more deadly attacks, including the horrific, evil killing of 20 small children and 6 staff members in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

As a result of these tragic incidents, some schools have turned themselves into fortresses. And, in conjunction with local school districts, the US Department of Education began rolling out recommendations on both safety and fortification measures. In short, school officials were instructed to teach the kids to – run, hide, fight.

What’s the deal with lockdowns?

There are many different lockdown techniques used throughout the country. These so-called active shooter drills vary from state to state, district to district, and school to school. But the common denominator is to maintain the safety of the children. So, regardless of the mechanics of the drill, each lockdown is initiated with the sole purpose of containing the threat and saving people’s lives.

The most commonly used training is known as ALICE, which is an acronym for – alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. This approach is an alternative to the another commonly used technique, known as “shelter-in-place” which essentially advocates for securing yourself in a locked classroom or closet until the intruder has been apprehended.

The ALICE method teaches students and staff to alert the school of the violent intruder, then to lockdown the premises, followed by informing law enforcement. The final two steps involve countering the attack with an organized approach, and then evacuating as quickly as possible.

Regardless of the technique, all schools adhere to a common mantra when they are confronted with the reality that active shooter drills are the new norm. And that mantra is – save lives. And in order to fulfill the sacred duty of protecting our children, the school’s administration follows this procedure.

First, they must develop an active shooter risk assessment and management team. Then, the school must establish clear roles and responsibilities of each team member, focusing on the strengths of each member. Once the team members understand their roles, the group must implement policies and procedures. These policies are necessary so that everyone has clear guidelines as to what constitutes a threat, the degree of such threat and how that danger must be handled.

After the roles and procedures are clearly established, each member must be trained by experienced law enforcement, emergency management and security experts. And then finally, the leadership team must implement the active shooter protocol and educate the kids and staff concerning the procedures. Another important aspect is for the team to keep constantly apprised of developments in the field, which includes assessments of security techniques and any emerging tactics used by violent intruders.

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Photo courtesy of shooterdetectionsystems.com.

Incidental effects of lockdowns

Over the past ten years, lockdown drills have been mandated by several states, including Iowa, Florida and South Carolina. Many believe that within a few years, almost every state in the nation will have some sort of law on the books requiring schools to administer active shooter training for its staff and students.

In addition to the public sector dealing with the aftermath of the modern school shooting epidemic, private enterprise is reaping the benefits. For example, the company that conducts ALICE Training has recently opened a new headquarters in Ohio and for around $600, this company puts individuals through two days of training. Then, these trained individuals head back to their respective school districts and train the school officials and students. ALICE Training currently has over 5,000 schools as customers, and that number continues to climb.

The warranted concern of students’ safety and the incidental mass hysteria has created a flourishing cottage industry of tactical gear. Some items include stand-alone safe rooms built within classrooms, bullet proof whiteboards, laptops that serve as shields, gun detection systems and survival gear that allows students to remain locked inside classrooms for days at a time. Meanwhile, the US Department of Education is mulling over the idea of potentially arming teachers.

Final Thoughts

While it is necessary to keep our children safe, many experts continue to ask themselves – do these active shooter drills and increased security measures work? To that end, the killer from the recent Stoneman Douglas shooting used his knowledge of the school’s lockdown procedure to murder more people.

Also, experts believe that these drills are extremely traumatizing for kids, who are constantly reminded that their life could end at any moment. That’s a lot to handle for a 7-year old.

But, on the flip side, we must live in reality, and prepare for the worst – especially when these shootings seem to happen more frequently in recent years.

Regardless of these drills, a more holistic approach is necessary, which includes realistic security measures coupled with addressing the mental health of an increasingly agitated generation of kids.

I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic?

***

SceneoftheCrime

Read the latest in the Forensic Mystery Award-winning Series.

2018 Bronze Medal for Mystery from Readers’ Favorite

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SCENE OF THE CRIME, A Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery

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From Love to Murder: 2 High-Profile Valentine’s Day Killings

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Photo courtesy of themanual.com.

For most of us, Valentine’s Day is a time of romantic gestures, flowers and those heart-shaped candies that taste like chalk. Unfortunately, though, this lovey-dovey atmosphere has the opposite effect on some. So, instead of a romantic candlelight dinner, psychopathic disgruntled lovers release their inner demon and take things to the extreme level. And by that, I mean – murder.

Here are two high-profile killings that occurred on a day dedicated to love.

Dr. John Hamilton – Wife Killer

Susan Hamilton had a seemingly perfect life in her beautiful Oklahoma City home. Married to John Hamilton, a well-respected surgeon, Susan was showered with expensive gifts and whisked away on vacations to exotic locales.

Starting with a brand-new Porsche on their wedding day, Dr. Hamilton never relented in showing his adoration for his wife of 14 years. And everyone who knew the couple described them as a loving, affectionate and well-adjusted pair.

But, that façade of a fairytale marriage, all came crashing down in 2001 on Valentine’s Day.  Dr. Hamilton arranged for an expensive bouquet of orchids to be delivered to Susan. Unfortunately, though, Susan never had the opportunity to enjoy her new flowers. And that’s because, she was violently murdered.

According to Dr. Hamilton, he had forgotten his appointment book at their house that day. So, he came home in between scheduled surgeries to retrieve his agenda. Upon his arrival, Dr. Hamilton discovered his wife lying dead in a pool of blood on their bathroom floor. Strangled with two of Dr. Hamilton’s neckties, and bleeding from the head from a massive wound that exposed part of her brain, Susan’s death was a brutal display of evil.

During the murder investigation, detectives had discovered a few enemies of the Hamilton’s, most notably a militant anti-abortion group known as the Army of God. They had received threats from that group in the past. Even though the Hamiltons had received credible, menacing threats from this group, investigators quickly came to realize that Dr. Hamilton was the primary suspect.

Even though their marriage was seemingly perfect, it was revealed that a few weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, Susan had discovered her husband was having an affair with a stripper. And that she threatened to divorce Dr. Hamilton. So, in a fit of rage on the morning of Valentine’s Day, Susan’s husband beat her to death.

At trial, the defense argued that – yes, Susan’s blood was all over her husband, but that’s because, he tried to save her life by using CPR. And, despite no hard evidence definitively pointing to Dr. Hamilton to the murder, the prosecution knew he was the killer. Surprisingly, Dr. Hamilton’s guilt was confirmed by the crime scene expert hired by the defense. That’s right – Dr. Hamilton’s own expert put the nail in the coffin.

During his forensic blood spatter analysis of the crime, the defense expert discovered blood spatter on Dr. Hamilton’s shirt that was not reflective of a person administering CPR, but rather, of a person who attacked another.

So, while on the stand, the defense’s expert – under oath – was forced to reveal this finding. Within two hours, the jury convicted Dr. Hamilton of first-degree murder. He is currently serving a life sentence.

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Photo courtesy of mirror.co.uk.

Stacy Schoeck – Husband Killer

Some true-life stories are sometimes too despicable to believe. Yet, the facts and circumstances are all too true. And all too disturbing. One such instance is the story behind the murder of Atlanta resident Richard Shoeck.

Friends and colleagues describe Richard as a kind man, who loved his wife Stacy and her three children (whom he legally adopted). Yet, despite this man’s virtuous nature, his sinister wife had him murdered by an amateur hitman – on Valentine’s Day in 2010.

Richard was Stacy’s fifth husband. Yeah, that’s right. This 38-year old woman had already been married four times prior to meeting Richard. She came into the marriage with three children from prior relationships. Knowing all of this, Richard fell in love and married Stacy. Then, in an act of true love, he adopted her three children so that they would know what it was like to have a stable family life.

With no regard for Richard’s well-being, Stacy quickly had an affair and decided that Richard needed to go. But, not a divorce this time. No. Stacy wanted Richard dead.

Stacy discussed her macabre plans with a co-worker, Lynitra Ross, who referred Stacy to Reginald Coleman, a personal trainer. The referral did involve squats and push-ups, but rather, it involved hiring amateur hitman Reginald to kill Richard.

Stacy lured Richard to a romantic wooded area on Valentine’s Day under the guise of exchanging gifts. Lying in wait, the killer ambushed the couple while they were giving one another sweet Valentine’s cards.  Reginald immediately opened fire and shot Richard dead.

The investigation didn’t take long. Stacy was an immediate suspect, and one of her claims was that Richard was sexually molesting her children. An assertion later to be found completely untrue. The real motive? Richard’s $500,000 life insurance policy.

All three were arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Stacy avoided Georgia’s death penalty by testifying against her murderous co-conspirators.

*

Valentine’s Day can certainly ignite passion, but as you can see, this desire is not always the virtuous kind. Do you know of any creepy high-profile Valentine’s Day murders that belong on the same page as these killings?

***

SceneoftheCrime

Read the latest in the Forensic Mystery Award-winning Series.

2018 Bronze Medal for Mystery from Readers’ Favorite

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SCENE OF THE CRIME, A Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery

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Murder by Poison: Two High-Profile Forensic Toxicology Cases

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Photo courtesy of ozy.com.

Forensic toxicology is one of the many fields of science that populates the intriguing world of investigative forensics. The main purpose of forensic toxicology is to aid law enforcement in understanding the extent to which ingested substances contributed to a person’s impairment or death.

Combining biology with pharmacology, forensic toxicologists play vital roles in murder investigations in which the suspected cause of death is poison. To that end, here are two high-profile murder cases that were solved using the expertise of skilled forensic toxicologists.

Angel of Death

We hand over a lot of trust to those who work in the medical field. Vulnerable and sick, hospital patients assume that while under the care of nurses, they are in good hands.  But, unfortunately for the people of a small Indiana community in the mid-1990s, their trust was misplaced.

Between 1993 and 1995, a nurse named Orville Lynn Majors was linked to 130 of the 147 deaths at the Intensive Care Unit of Vermillion County Hospital in rural Indiana. Of course, while acting as a nurse in an I.C.U. will certainly expose one to death, this nurse was no ordinary health care provider.

Dubbed the “Angel of Death,” Nurse Majors was convicted in 1999 for injecting six patients with heart-stopping, lethal doses of epinephrine and potassium chloride. Although he is not officially blamed for 130 deaths, there is a great deal of suspicion surrounding these deaths due to Majors’ exposure to these patients.

His serial killing spree lasted for a couple of years in the mid-1990s, and the only reason his actions were brought to light was due to a routine study conducted by the hospital. The results of the study revealed that by 1994, the intensive care unit had a death rate of 120, despite the number being only 31 during years’ prior.

Law enforcement was notified by the hospital of this spike in deaths. An investigation was opened, and 15 bodies were immediately exhumed for autopsies. Forensic toxicologists conducted tests, which revealed the lethal doses of the substances injected by Majors.

Prosecutors were able to definitively tie Majors to six deaths, even though the killer had been alone with many more of the patients who passed away. Experts believe Majors was responsible for the death of more people, but his skill in mixing poison cocktails allowed him to use the defense of ‘death by natural causes.’

Majors was sentenced to a staggering 360-year prison sentence but passed away in 2017 due to – ironically – heart issues.

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Photo courtesy of fanphobia.net. (Janie Lou Gibbs)

Killer Mom

In one of the most disturbing poison cases of the last century, Janie Lou Gibbs was responsible for the deaths of her husband, three sons and grandson. That’s right, she killed her own children and grandchild. And how did she do it?  Rat poison and arsenic.

Born on Christmas in 1932, Gibbs was an active member of her local church, and a dedicated home daycare operator. Then, one day, something changed. After 18 years of marriage to her husband, Marvin, she decided one evening to kill him by putting rat poison in his dinner.

Gibbs’ plan did not immediately work. Marvin didn’t die, but instead was admitted to the local hospital after falling ill from what the doctors believed to be – naturally occurring liver issues. As the sweet wife she was, Gibbs decided to bring homemade soup to the hospital so that Marvin could enjoy a home cooked meal. The problem was, the soup was laced with arsenic. He soon died of “liver disease.”

In a surprising twist, Gibbs donated a significant amount of Marvin’s life insurance proceeds to her church. Less than a year later, this wife and mother from hell poisoned her youngest son, Marvin, Jr. Authorities chalked up his death to his unfortunate inheritance of his father’s liver disease. Gibbs escaped without any suspicion. And, she donated some of her son’s life insurance proceeds to her church – again.

Like a macabre broken record, Gibbs once again killed a year later. This time, she poisoned another one of her sons. His death, like the others before, was attributed to a natural cause. With only one living child remaining, the sadistic killer struck yet again. But, this time, Gibbs skipped a generation and killed her newborn grandson, Raymond.

Less than a month later, Gibbs poisoned her son, Robert, who was the father of the murdered baby. Finally, Gibbs’ “luck” had run out. A family physician grew suspicious after the back-to-back deaths of a healthy newborn and his equally healthy father. An autopsy was immediately conducted on Robert, who was found to have ingested a lethal amount of arsenic.

Forensic toxicologists worked with investigators in exhuming and testing the bodies of Gibbs’ other deceased family members. All five victims had their causes of death changed from natural to homicide by poison.

Gibbs was initially found mentally unfit to stand trial and was confined to a mental institution. Years later, she was successfully prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to five life terms. In her elder years, Gibbs was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and released to the custody of her sister. In 1999, the killer died of natural causes.

 

There’s something so disturbing about poison cases. Maybe it’s the deliberate premeditation. Or the slow painful death. Most likely it’s a combo of both. Are you aware of any poison cases as troubling as those above?

***

SceneoftheCrime

Read the latest in the Forensic Mystery Award-winning Series.

2018 Bronze Medal for Mystery from Readers’ Favorite

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SCENE OF THE CRIME, A Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery

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Gruesome Mysteries: Forensics Cracks the Case Once Again

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For many of us, the area in which we live is filled with relative peace and tranquility. But, sometimes, a gruesome and brutal crime will occur in our community. And then suddenly, that harmony is turned upside down.

Fortunately, modern forensic science has enabled law enforcement to uncover the mysteries surrounding these horrific crimes. And, in turn, this has led to the extensive hunt and swift arrest of the inhumane monsters who commit these vicious attacks.

Here are a few cases in which the miracle of modern forensic science helped restore peace to anxious and terrified communities.

A Murder in Holland

Situated between the North Sea and Germany, the small nation of Holland is known to be a generally safe place to live. This quiet image, however, was shattered in 1999 after the brutal murder of a 17-year old girl in small northern town.

Despite a widespread manhunt, involving numerous arrests and an extensive DNA search, the perp’s identity was never determined. After thirteen years of an unsuccessful investigation, the case went cold. Then, one day, a member of the police department decided that the case needed to be solved, and that the killer of Marianne Vaastra be brought to justice.

The police aimed to take DNA samples from every man living within a 5-mile radius of the murder scene. Within a short period of time, the killer was identified – a 45-year-old man who resided only a few miles from where the murder occurred.

Shockingly, the killer was not even asked to produce a DNA sample; he voluntarily gave it to the police.

A California Killer

In the mid-1980s, Southern California endured a year-long killing spree by the so-called Night Stalker, who would break into people’s homes during their midnight slumber. He would then brutally attack, and murder his victims.

Claiming 13 lives, the Night Stalker was no closer to being caught until one fateful evening: August 24, 1985. With the entire community on high-alert, a teenager noticed a strange car cruising through the neighborhood. The teenager recorded the license plate, and notified the police. That night, the killer’s latest murder occurred just minutes from where the teenager noticed the car.

Law enforcement subsequently tracked down the vehicle, which had been abandoned. But inside, the police discovered a crucial piece of evidence – a fingerprint. Utilizing a new computer system, the police were able to match the fingerprint to Richard Ramirez, a local 25-year old man.

Within only a few days, Ramirez was hunted down, arrested and sentenced to death.

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The Mysterious Shoes of British Columbia

Over a five year span, beginning in 2007, a total of 11 shoes mysteriously washed ashore in British Columbia’s Georgia Strait. Theories abound, the local police had no idea where these shoes were coming from. One of the main theories was that the shoes were the result of a serial killer with a foot fetish.

Then a breakthrough occurred; one of the shoes contained bones. After forensic analysis, it was determined the remains belonged to Stefan Zahorujko, a man whose boat had capsized in the area over 20 years prior. The coroner determined the cause of death was accidental. The rest of shoes were attributed to the incident.

Mother Nature was apparently the culprit, and the mystery was solved. The question lingered though – why did only the shoes make it ashore?

***

SceneoftheCrime

Read the latest in the Forensic Mystery Award-winning Series.

2018 Bronze Medal for Mystery from Readers’ Favorite

2018 Finalist from BookViral Millennium Book Award

SCENE OF THE CRIME, A Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery

 

***

 

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May You Have a Merry Christmas!

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It’s been an amazing year! Yes, there’s been some ups and downs, but there are always things that we can be thankful for. I cannot believe that it’s that holiday time once again. For me, it’s a time of reflection, thankfulness, and joy. I’m particularly thankful for those of you who have supported me and my books–and for that I’m truly grateful.

A couple of highlights this year has been three book awards I received for my two series: Emily Stone Thrillers & Chip Palmer Forensic Mysteries. Here’s my trusty German shepherd Odin_Awardcompanion, Odin, wearing one of my book medals.

The other big announcement for 2018 is that I signed with Bookouture for a three book deal! I still have to pinch myself that it’s real. 20180915_172015The first book will be out May 31, 2019. I’ve been sworn to secrecy until the cover reveal, which will be in a couple of months. But, what I can tell you, is that it is a forensic crime series with a police detective who is a former military K9 veteran. I will be updating about the first book in the weeks/months to come.

There will be many new things coming up in 2019. A new book series with some fun events, more from Emily Stone, forensics, series of first-hand accounts of police ride alongs, and video blogs! 2019 here I come!

 

May you be blessed with a joyous Christmas, and peace and happiness in the coming New Year 2019.

 

 

 

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Forensic Justice: 4 High-Profile Cold Murder Cases Solved by DNA

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The continuing development of highly-accurate forensic science techniques is a fascinating study into the evolution of crime fighting and justice. Over the past decade, there’s been an explosion of cold cases being solved through the use of various forensic analysis methods. Most notably, the precision now used in analyzing DNA crime-scene evidence has led to the resolution of cases that have sometimes remained unsolved for over 50 years.

When a 30-year old murder case is solved, it not only shows that science has come a long way, but it also demonstrates the pure dedication of the generations of investigators assigned to the case.

Here are four high-profile murder cases that were once ‘cold,’ but through the magic of DNA analysis, the killers were held accountable for their horrific deeds.

The Killing of Krystal Beslanowitch

In 1995, the body of Krystal Beslanowitch was found dumped along the banks of Utah’s Provo River. It was evident that her death was caused by a crushing blow to the head. Sheriff Todd Bonner was the lead investigator on the case, and his desire for justice was insatiable.

Despite running into dead-end leads for years, Sheriff Bonner did not relent. And although the case technically went cold, the team of investigators assigned to the matter always kept the image of Krystal’s lifeless body ingrained in their subconscious.

So, in 2013, when the idea was posited that DNA evidence could possibly be extracted from the granite rocks on which Krystal’s body was found, Sheriff Bonner seized the opportunity. Utilizing a forensic vacuum, an entire day was dedicated to the extraction of DNA evidence from the solid granite.

After careful analysis, the DNA found in the rocks led to a match – Joseph Michael Simpson, a resort bus driver who lived in the area at the time of the killing.  Finally, after 18 years, an arrest was made in Florida. Simpson was charged with murder and was swiftly convicted. He is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

The Sexual Assault and Death of Patricia Beard

In March of 1981, a 32-year old Denver resident named Patricia Beard was sexually assaulted and strangled to death in her room at a facility that housed mentally challenged adults. Patricia’s lifeless body was found partially clothed, face down on a bed. Her killer had entered the facility through a partially ajar window.

The initial investigation led nowhere. And in 1994, most of the evidence obtained in the case was discarded. All hope for finding justice for Patricia seemed lost. But then, in 2011 – exactly 30 years after the murder – a Denver cold case detective crossed paths with the misfiled rape kit from Patricia’s murder investigation.

DNA evidence found on a vaginal swab was submitted to the national DNA database. The analysis yielded no positive hits for over 2 years. Then, in 2013, a positive match occurred. And it revealed that a 53-year old Pennsylvania man named Hector Bencomo-Hinojos had sexual contact with Patricia within hours of her death.

The perp denied he knew Patricia. But Bencomo-Hinojos’ lies were eventually brought to light. Within two years of the positive DNA match, the rapist and killer pled guilty to murder.

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Photo courtesy of TED.com.

Austin Newlywed Murder

Debra Reiding was an 18-year old newlywed who had just moved to Austin, Texas from a small town in rural Montana. Living in a small home with her husband and working a steady job at a popular restaurant, things looked bright for young Debra.

Then, one night, after returning from work, Debra’s husband found her dead body lying in their home. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled. Although the police had several suspects on their radar, no arrests were made. And the case went cold for 34 years. Then, in 2013, the case was reopened by the cold case unit at the Austin Police Department.

After reviewing notes from the case file, detectives zeroed in on Michael Anthony Galvan, who was Debra’s co-worker at the time of the killing. Although he denied knowing Debra, there was ample evidence to show that he drove her home from work several times and had been present in her home on at least two prior occasions.

Police eventually obtained a search warrant to retrieve DNA samples from Galvan. Detectives conducted surveillance on the suspect while he was eating at a restaurant, and after he left, they grabbed his toothpicks. And those toothpicks were damning, because they resulted in a positive DNA match.

Galvan was eventually sentenced and indicted on capital murder charges.

The Killing of Anna Palmer

In 1998, the brutal murder of a 10-year old Utah girl sent shockwaves through a normally quiet neighborhood in Salt Lake City. Killed just outside her front door, Anna Palmer’s body was found with multiple stab wounds.

Anna’s horrific attack left police baffled. No witnesses. No apparent suspects. And very little evidence. The case eventually went cold. But then, in 2009, the matter was reopened. At that time, the SLC Police Department summoned the help of outside forensic experts. Utilizing visible and alternative light sources, the investigators focused on the victim’s fingernails. Specifically, they were looking for any DNA under Anna’s nails that did not belong to her.

The idea worked. Within a very short time of conducting the forensic analysis, investigators discovered DNA – that didn’t belong to Anna – under her fingernails. The culprit was Matthew Brock, a then-teenager who had lived a block away from Anna’s home. Already serving a 10-year prison sentence for a sexual crime against a child, Brock pled guilty to murdering Anna.

Justice was served when the killer was sentenced to life in prison for the tragic death of 10-year old Anna Palmer.

Although not perfect, DNA analysis has proven itself as a valuable tool in securing convictions of killers. Cases that were once forgotten are brought to the forefront thanks to the amazing work of investigators who never relent in their pursuit of justice. Do you know of any interesting cold cases solved by DNA?

***

Read the latest in the Forensic Mystery Award-winning Series.

2018 Bronze Medal for Mystery from Readers’ Favorite

2018 Finalist from BookViral Millennium Book Award

SCENE OF THE CRIME, A Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery

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