Cpl. Chris Newel
Sunday morning began with another briefing; remember in this case we all lost an hour (because of the switch to Daylight Savings Times).
All day Sunday investigators followed up with tips, conducted interviews and gathered evidence. The scene examiners are still at the house.
The second scene was examined late Saturday night; the officer guarding the scene was relieved of his duty.
A report to Crown Counsel is being drafted. A subject is in custody, and will appear in court on Tuesday. Crown needs the information so they can prepare.
At the next briefing at 7 p.m., again every officer involved went over what they had done. Tasks were assigned, some officers continued to work, others called it a day.
Monday morning, another briefing. Investigators begin to conclude a lot of the investigations, witness statements have been done. The preliminary report to Crown Counsel is delivered, the lead investigator meets with them to go over the evidence.
An autopsy is scheduled and completed Monday afternoon. The same persons doing the scene examination attend. They gather evidence and work with the pathologist. They go back to the house; there are still measurements to be taken.
As part of the scene examination a scale drawing of the house and property is completed. In court they need to show where certain items were found.
By Tuesday investigators are beginning to wrap things up in Kimberley. This does not mean the paper work and preparation is done. A lot more time will be dedicated to the file over the weeks ahead as a complete package is prepared for court.
Over the course of four days (this does not include the Friday it happened), 10-15 investigators worked 10-18 hour days, following up on information and gathering evidence. In addition to the information gained directly from the scene, investigators interviewed a number of people who had information about the subjects involved. A timeline prior to the death is important.
The forensic team, along with members involved in the seizing of evidence, begin the long process of examining what they seized. A number of exhibits are sent to the lab where qualified experts conduct tests and prepare reports. This is not TV: tests and examinations are not conducted by a select few. Nor is it done in an hour – this can take weeks if not months. The tests have to be very thorough and stand up in court.
As with any major investigation a number of items are seized and held as exhibits. Each item has to be individually marked, processed and catalogued. In addition, the movement of every exhibit is tracked, e.g. sent to the lab for analysis etc. In this case there are well over 150 exhibits.
In the first week it’s likely that more than 1,000 man-hours went into the investigation. In terms of homicide investigations this one was relatively straightforward. There was only one major crime scene, the suspect was apprehended relatively early and witnesses were cooperative.
A gang related shooting would take months if not years of investigation – huge compared to our recent one.
As you can see, more than one person or even two or three work on these investigations. Each person has a role; everything is done in detail. Scene investigations are slow, time consuming and meticulous. You only have one chance. Rushing into a scene, declaring the person has been deceased for 7.5 hours and moving on does not happen. Computers don’t magically produce important information about suspects or victims.
At the same time, Kimberley detachment continues to operate, responding to calls for service. Adjustments are made but crime does not stop with one homicide.