Crime Scene Searches

You have responded to a crime scene at a local high school. Apparently a bomb has been detonated in the student parking lot. Two vehicles have been destroyed and burned as a result of the explosion from the bomb. As the vehicles burned, they exploded in two separate explosions, sending debris into an adjacent four-acre field utilized for football practice. You have called the local AFT office, and you were advised that there were no agents available to respond to your situation, as they are all busy fighting terrorism; you must work the crime scene on your own. You have decided to set up a search of both the parking lot, which is littered with debris, and the four-acre field. Your goal is to find fragments or remains of the original bomb. The lead investigator who is assigned to the case wants you to advise him of how you will handle the search in order to maximize the results. What instructions and search patterns will you advise the searchers to utilize for a thorough search of the entire crime scene? Types of searches Grid search. This search is a variation of the strip search, divided into strips that run at a 90 degree angle to each other. It is used mostly outdoors, and it provides a double check or a second look by a single searcher and lessens the possibility that evidence is overlooked. Zone search. There are two different types of zone searches: when dealing with small confined spaces and when a larger area is subdivided into smaller areas that can be managed easier. It depends on how large the area is as to how many zones are sectioned off. A searcher is then usually assigned to each zone, if there are multiple searchers. If there is one searcher, another search method is used within each zone, such as the strip search. (5) Point-to-point search. This is a method that is not used often, as it is not very systematic. Paths are cleared to the focal point, the area cleared around that point, and then a path is cleared to the next focal point. This continues until all the areas are cleared . The description of each basic pattern for searching a crime scenes shows the best method a crime scene investigator should use based on the type of crime scene it is. In this case there are essentially two different crime scenes and different methods should be used for each scene to gather evidence. The initial crime scene is the school parking lot and the second crime scene is that of the four-acre field where the debris from the explosion settled.