“Alexa, Do You Know Anything About This Death?”

By: Joseph Giacalone Investigators have a new tool for their electronic toolbox—voice-activated home devices. Whether it is Alexa, Google or Apple, these devices may hold the key to certain facts about your investigation. Why? Because it’s voice-activated. In a struggle, there is a chance that the device activated. We have only begun to see how valuable these devices could be for investigators. A New Hampshire judge just ordered an Echo device’s recordings in the case of a double homicide.[1]Investigators should follow the outcome closely. This won’t be the last time these devices are at the forefront of an investigation. The

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Area Canvassing: What do Neighbors Know?

I will admit, conducting an area canvass can be tedious and very time-consuming. Sometimes, hundreds of contacts are made without one shred of usable information being unveiled. However, it is that one exhilarating jewel that is occasionally discovered that makes the process so rewarding. Most criminal investigation courses and books talk little about an area canvass, other than to suggest doing one. There are right and wrong ways to conduct an area canvass that will yield better results for the efforts put out. Ideally, patrol personnel and plainclothes detectives should perform separate canvasses. Some individuals respond more readily to an

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Parallels Between Death Investigators and Homicide Survivors

By Jan Lewis Canty, Ph.D Some might say this is a photo of death scene investigators and survivors of homicide – oil and water.  They’d insist the groups on either side of the yellow tape have little in common.  I beg to differ. Using my experience as a “homicide survivor” and as a psychologist, I’d like to show what I mean. To start with the obvious – we all have the same goal: an accurate, timely conviction of the perpetrator(s).  While the methods employed are different, someone is responsible for a non-accidental death and must answer for their actions. As

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Decomposition Rates Slow with Increased Blood Loss

By:  Darren Dake, D-ABMDI, CI, CCI I was recently asked a question concerning decomposition rates when the body has suffered significant blood loss. I have to admit; I didn’t completely know the answer. Throughout my career, I had seen examples of what appeared to be slower rates of decomposition when a death occurred in such a way that an extreme amount of blood had left the body at or reasonably soon after death, but with so many other environmental factors it was not much more than just an observation. However, after being asked this question, I started doing some research

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Selling Body Parts from the Dead Is Becoming a Big Business

Written by: Staff Writer Most people are familiar with writer Mary Shelley’s story of ‘Frankenstein’: A mad scientist digs up graves of the recently deceased in order to harvest various body parts to create a monster in a grotesque experiment. While unethical gravediggers looking to make a profit (or a monster, in some cases) are known to be a popular plot point in many Gothic Horror stories like Frankenstein and were quite a prevalent issue in the Victorian Era, many people are completely unaware that today, disturbing practices like these still exist. The Big Business of Body Parts The selling

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Sexual Paraphilia in Autoerotic Deaths

Hypoxyphilia is a paraphilia, which is a sub-category of sexual masochism. Also known by terms such as asphyxiophilia, autoerotic or sexual asphyxia, this potentially lethal sexual practice refers to sexual arousal that is produced while reducing the oxygen supply to the brain. To better understand the investigative process of autoerotic deaths, it is important to understand the sexual nature of these deaths and the psychology leading to the acts of the practitioner. It is important to note that only a very slim cross-section of the population practices autoerotic behavior, certainly to a degree dangerous enough to lead to death. Sexual

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