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Death Investigation

We has been successful in every death investigations we have accepted.  Without exception, OHIO INTEL has produced substantive challenges to the cause of death, the ruling on the death, or discrepancies and/or flaws in the official investigation. Death investigations are generally difficult and we only accepts assignments after discussing the case, in depth, with the client.

 


About Death Investigations

Quite distinct and separate from most of our investigations, death investigation has drawn us into a field of great consequence for the client. Unsolved death investigations, disputed cases of death, improper coroner rulings and ineffective or inconclusive investigations can be almost as devastating as the death itself to the family of the decedent. We have had considerable success in re-investigating death cases.

We prefer not to initiate an in depth investigation while the family is in the grieving process. The exception would be only to conduct a brief review of available information and evidence until an appropriate time arrives for the initial consultation. Families are susceptible of clinging on to hope regardless of cost. These investigations are time consuming and generally expensive. We request the client to consider any proposals made by us objectively, not out of emotion. Conversely, if we delay the investigative process, evidence may deteriorate, witness memories begin to fade, and witnesses and suspects may relocate.

With improved training methods, advanced forensic techniques and well-educated law enforcement officers, the task of solving an unnatural death has become more successful in the past two decades. The success rate for solving homicides in many jurisdictions continues to increase. Aggressive law enforcement officials coupled with highly skilled forensic technicians and knowledgeable prosecutors create a team of personnel who are brilliant in solving these cases.

So why are you seeking additional assistance? You must have a very good reason if you are reading this web page. These are some of the common reasons why our clients are compelled to have an independent investigator re-examine the case:

The case is cold; law enforcement has suspended further investigation and the case remains unsolved. There are unanswered questions and unexplained suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. The death was quickly dismissed as a suicide, future discoveries have indicated that the decedent may have been the victim of a murder and there is no interest by the authorities to re-open the case.

Our agency has received inquiries concerning murder, suspicious circumstances involving suicide, negligent and reckless homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, fatal accident, wrongful death, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter investigation.

Our Death Investigation Services: What We Can Do to Help

• We will conduct a thorough assessment of the circumstances regarding the death and analyze the available evidence.

• We can assist in the development of new evidence, the confirmation of pertinent information and recommend specialized expert witnesses who may prove to be invaluable to the investigation.

• We can assist you with a presentation to law enforcement for their possible consideration of re-opening the case.


Prior to initiating the investigation, we conduct an interview with the client. During the interview we familiarize ourselves with the situation as we begin the process of developing an investigative strategy. We do not charge a fee for this initial interview and consultation.

We listen to you and your family. It has been our experience that law enforcement agencies do not always have sufficient personnel to spend much time with the family of the victim. Law enforcement agencies who are experiencing a high volume of calls for service must respond to each incident regardless of their pending cases or shortage of personnel. Since we are a private entity, we are in the position to limit and manage our case load very efficiently. We are interested in all of the details of the victim's life, the circumstances surrounding the death, your thoughts or additional findings regarding what may have actually occurred and any other details that you wish to share with us.

We are professional investigators who remain objective with all perspectives, opinions or conclusions that have already been made. We are detached from local politics, favoritism or other factors that could adversely affect the discovery of factual information. Any differences or discrepancies between law enforcement, the prosecutor, the crime lab, medical examiner, media or politicians will not influence or interfere with our investigation.

We find the experts for your case. Members of the victim's family occasionally hire a forensic expert to conduct an independent examination, a medical expert to review the autopsy report or another forensic professional to conduct a test. Based on our prior experiences, it has always been to the client's benefit that the available evidence, police reports, witness statements, depositions, the interview with the victim's family and witnesses and the medical and forensic test results should be evaluated prior to retaining an expert. When, and if, an expert is needed, we will provide you with the names of experts that we recommend based on their ability and credentials. We do not have any financial relationship with any expert witness and our client's are under no obligation to utilize any expert that we may recommend.

We will continually keep informed both you and law enforcement of our progress. We are diligently working for you in an effort to develop a resolution to your situation and/or to develop new evidence. Our ultimate goal is resolve for the victim's family and justice for the victim. If the investigation develops new information that is criminally exigent in nature, we communicate immediately with the designated law enforcement agency and advise them of the circumstances.

Our objective is to prepare a well-documented factual report and presentation that will not include speculation and hearsay. If there are aspects of the case that require further attention from law enforcement personnel, we present the issues including their logic and importance.

Upon completion of the death investigation, you are provided with a written report and a PowerPoint presentation. The PowerPoint presentation may contain a timeline of events, applicable charts and graphs, witness statements, video recorded interviews, photographs, other pertinent video and narration. The report and PowerPoint presentation provide you with an advanced ability to articulate and explain substantive issues to law enforcement personnel and/or legal counsel.

The key to a successful conclusion is the art of
combining a professional and thorough investigation
with solid forensic evidence.



Death Investigations: Two Common Methods for Assembling the Case Data

METHOD ONE - DATABASE

Simply defined, a database is a collection of records or information. This data is implemented into the database where relationships between the varied information can be identified. We have various database models that we have designed and implemented. An example of one of these models would be combining known events with a sequential time element is often helpful in determining relationships between people, events and circumstances.

METHOD TWO - SPREADSHEET

Pertinent information regarding your case in inserted into a spreadsheet. A set of computations, specific for your investigation, is written for the spreadsheet and spatial relationships between and among the case data is organized.

Analysis of the Data

Databases and spreadsheets are only tools that are utilized throughout the duration of an investigation. They do not solve cases. It is the human element, the experienced investigator, who can collate the information and evidence derived from computers with the findings secured by additional investigation for the purpose of establishing new results. Computerized investigative tools speed up our investigation and allow us to discover hidden answers that would otherwise take much longer to uncover without this technology.

A Brief Synopsis of Two Independent Death Investigation Cases

CASE ONE

After a brief investigation by the police and coroner, the shooting death of young man was ruled a suicide. A single bullet had entered his left temple, powder burns were evident (indicating that the firearm was close or in contact with his head) and a suicide note was discovered at the scene of the crime. In brief, the note apologized for "what he did." However, he never mentioned killing himself. After our investigation, we determined that he had a different plan. He was angry with the abusive boyfriend of one of his female family members. He planned on killing her boyfriend and leaving town. We allege that a physical altercation occurred between the young man and the suspect (boyfriend.) The suspect took the gun from the young man and shot him in the head. Had his plan been successful, the decedent was apologizing for killing the boyfriend prior to leaving town. There were two key factors that led us to this conclusion. The victim was right handed and the bullet entered his left temple. A neighbor, whom the police failed to interview during their investigation, stated that the suspect's vehicle was at the victim's residence moments prior to the shooting.

CASE TWO

A 35 year old male died from single blast to his head with a 20-gauge shotgun. The case was ruled a suicide. A suicide note was not discovered and the victim's family was convinced that he would not have killed himself. We pursued a lengthy investigation with no initial cooperation from the authorities. Our investigation revealed:

B. The length of the victim's arm was too short to reach the trigger on the shotgun that was discovered at the scene of the crime,

C. The shotgun was discovered over 80 feet from the vehicle in which the victim's body was discovered,

D. Our client, the father of the victim, had given his (now deceased) son, a muzzle loading gun which was discovered missing after the shooting had occurred. The estranged wife of the victim stated that the missing firearm had been stolen from their residence prior to the shooting death of the victim.

E. The victim's father and our investigators conducted test firings of an identical 20 gauge shotgun which was allegedly used in the shooting of the victim, and an identical muzzleloader which the wife had claimed to have been stolen. Simulating the shooting by using freshly slaughtered hog's heads, we fired both weapons from the approximate distance that the medical examiners report indicated the lethal shot had been fired from. The tattooing, powder burn patterns from the muzzleloader were consistent with the wounds from the victim's head. The 20 gauge shot gun firings resulted in completely different patterns and increased damage to the hog's head that was not consistent with the wounds suffered by the victim.

F. After one year of requests, we were provided with the police file for review. A 3x5" piece of spiral, notebook paper was in the bottom of the file. Further investigation revealed that the notes on the paper were written by a police officer that responded to the hospital emergency department when the victim was being treated for his gunshot injury. The note stated that the attending physician had made a statement to a nurse that the gunshot wound to the victim's head was not "self inflicted."

G. The victim's parents were suspicious that their ex-daughter-in-law could be involved in their son's death. This case had generated local media coverage. In hopes that someone would telephone the victim's parents with information, a voice activated recording device was installed on their home telephone. A few weeks later the ex-wife of the victim telephoned the parents. She rambled on with complaints regarding her ex-husband. She eventually stated that if she could, she would dig him up and kill him again.

H. Finally, we received permission from the executor of the estate to have the victim's body exhumed for the purpose of conducting another autopsy. We handled all of the arrangements for the exhumation and escorted the body to a different county. A board certified medical examiner conducted a second autopsy. He ruled that the shooting death of the victim was a homicide.

I. We compiled all of the new evidence, prepared exhibits and a lengthy report for the police and prosecutor to re-open the case.


 


A Full Service Investigative Agency

Licensed Ohio Private Investigators

Serving Northeastern Ohio since 1988