You’re at a crime scene. You know that in just the last year, in the same area, another sheriff’s deputy killed his whole family (or so it would seem). You find victims related to a recent co-worker. The victims have powerful friends that you know about….
An incriminating piece of evidence shows up: a pen from the Riverside Sheriff’s Association. Right next to the wheelbarrow with the burning corpse of a deputy’s daughter! What do you do???
And so they did. For four days. Right in the middle of everything.
The pen was first discovered the night of the murders. Everything around the crime scene was bagged and tagged. The burnt debris from the entire structure was collected, sifted, analyzed, categorized. Every footprint for 200 yards (five footprints in total) was itemized and documented. Even a piece of debris tumbling out in the desert was collected and analyzed.
It wasn’t until September 22, 2006, fully four days after the event, was the pen eventually picked up and stored as evidence!
Could it have been dropped by an investigator? Somebody asked around. Nobody claimed it. Eventually, an email was sent out to every RCSD member on the site: did anybody lose a pen? Each one answered. Nope. No lost pens.
So, could it have been dropped by the perpetrator? It is certainly as likely as a business card being dropped 200 yards away. Maybe even more so.
An Unexpected Twist
So, finally, begrudgingly, the pen was collected as evidence. As such, it needed to be analyzed. Checked for fingerprints, DNA, whatever.
RCSD forensics analysts gave it the full fingerprint treatment. Cyanoacrylate fumes, just like on TV. But nothing! Not a trace of fingerprints to be found.
A Peculiar Circumstance
Now, let’s think about that for a minute: If an investigator dropped it from his pocket, it would still have his fingerprints on it, from the last time he used it.
If a killer dropped it, he wouldn’t know to wipe it down. So it would still have prints on it. It is not like he expected to drop it there. If he knew he dropped it, he would just pick it up!
So, a ‘good guy’ would have left prints, and a ‘bad guy’ would have left prints. How did it get there with no prints on it?
Protecting the Blue Line
There is only one possible, practical explanation for this pen being found, free of fingerprints, next to the wheelbarrow where the burning body was found: It was wiped clean by investigators!
It only makes sense that an RSA pen, a ‘RIVERSIDE SHERIFF’S ASSOCIATION’ pen, would have been dropped by someone related to the Riverside Sheriff’s Association.
Given the known relatives of the victims, and the influential connections of the potential suspects, it makes more sense than not that somebody didn’t want fingerprints to be found.
Who is that somebody? And who dropped the pen?
Author’s note: This article would have illustrations, but no pictures of the pen have been found in evidence. It was documented, clearly, in the evidence documentation, but it was not photographed, to our knowledge.