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Home >Online Support Ask The Experts >Joel Price

Joel Price (Homicide Detective)

My daughter and her best friend were killed as pedestrians, walking on the edge of a two lane, one-way access road on November 29, 2000. My questions are: Why is the only time there is a pedestrian killed it is a pedestrian violation to walk on the access road? The 17-year-old that killed the girls was only charged with failing to stop and render aid. Why not charge him with vehicular manslaughter? Why was the girls tested for blood levels and not the kid that killed them? Why is he still allowed to drive a car while awaiting grand jury? How do I know since he went home (3 miles) that he didn't have anyone else in the car with him? There is such a cover up by the police department about what was really there. How do I believe anything they say? How come I was not allowed to know where my daughter's body was to inform the person that had her she was a full body donor? She laid at the scene from 8:40 pm to 11:45 pm and no one would let me go to the scene to see her, but the football coaches were allowed to go out there. (The kid that killed them was on the football team going to stateship playoffs). How can the police department the next morning release a statement to the press that the kid did nothing wrong when a full investigation has not been completed as of today?

First let me offer my condolences for your loss. I cannot imagine what you must be going through. After reading your email I am not sure whether or not I can help you much but I'll try.

I'm not sure what you mean by an access road. Is this a ramp that leads to a highway? In some cases these roads are closed to pedestrians and this could have some bearing on why the charges were filed as they were.

If this is the case and pedestrians are not permitted to walk on such access roads, it might explain why the charges were filed as they were. Generally speaking, in order to file a manslaughter charge, the prosecutor must be able to prove "gross negligence". This would require something more than just running a stop sign. While the laws vary from state to state, I do find it odd that a charge of hit and run was not filed. Even though pedestrians may not be allowed on an access road, I am sure that your state law required that a person stop, identify themselves, and render aid when involved in an accident. Anyone failing to do that in my state would be guilty of felony hit and run.

I would suggest that you do some research on your state's traffic laws and contact the prosecuting agency for an in-depth explanation.

If you would like, I might be able to assist you with this if you would provide me with the city, county, and state in which the accident took place.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My 18-year-old daughter was murdered on 3/26/00. She was shot in the head with a .12 gauge shotgun. There were 3 other people with her. The girl that was with her was covered with blood. Her clothes were so bloody, she went inside of her apartment and changed clothes and came back outside and sat in the car with my daughter. However, this girl never got in the car. It was a two-door car. One of the guys got buckshots in his face - the driver that was getting ready to get in the car and the other guy got buckshots in his hand. He was sitting in the back seat with my daughter. He told the detectives he saw this girl go inside of my daughter's purse. It was raining that night. My question to you is - Why do you think that the girl was treated as a witness instead of a suspect? She retained an attorney so she wouldn't have to take a polygraph test. They waited too long and was smacked in the face. This is what they told me also. Which you don't have to have an attorney to refuse one. The other two guys refused to come back in after they had been questioned on a couple of occasions. The detectives said that they had no reason to bring them back in because they were all witnesses. And they can't keep bringing them in for questioning. Now, after they found out that my daughter didn't deal drugs and was not in a gang, they have told me that they should have taken a different route to the investigation. You see, unfortunately, this is a black on black crime, and I have had to fight in any way I can to try and bring some closure to this. Still to not have any answers, but I am not going away nor will I give up. Also, I don't know how much you know about people who Channel, but I went to one and this spirit brought my daughter forward. My daughter told me where the gun was and something about Illinois. Several people in my family went to the murder site and I found the gun. It was not even 35 feet from where my daughter was murdered and found a set of license plates from Illinois right next to the gun. This was 4 months after the murder. It was in a shed and had rusted. One of the detectives from that jurisdiction said he deals guns and he felt that that was the gun also. You see, on one side of the street might be one municipality, and across the street is another municipality. Although they have detectives in both, they are not big enough to handle that type of murder so it goes under the county for both. After ballistics on the gun, they said that it wasn't the gun. I believe it was, and they are just trying to save face. They said it was a .16 gauge that I found instead of a .12 gauge. I honestly believe that they botched the case up and now it is considered as a cold case. The only motive that they can come up with is - it was either jealousy, or that this other girl stole something and blamed it on my daughter. Every lead that they have came from me. They know that this girl knows the guy that they suspect, but don't have any witnesses or evidence. Shouldn't they have gone back to the crime scene and investigated more? Shouldn't they have held the girl after they found bloody clothes hidden under her bed? Maybe I am missing something, but aren't some people they label witnesses, the actual murderer or know more than they are telling?

First let me say how sorry I am for your loss. I can only imagine what you must be going through in dealing with this tragedy.

After reading about the crime, I have a few questions to ask before I can provide you with answers to all of your questions. Understand that the investigation of a death is not an exact science and that we cannot always reconstruct the events exactly as they occurred.

You mentioned that there were three people that were present when your daughter was killed. Were they witnesses to the shooting? If so, I assume that they were interviewed separately by law enforcement officials. What did they have to say? One thing that an investigator must do is to compare the statements of witnesses who were known to have witnessed the same event. While their statements are not likely to be exactly the same, what an investigator looks for are inconsistencies between statements of witnesses. Any such inconsistencies might warrant additional investigation or follow up interview.

You mentioned that one of the witnesses (a female) went into your daughter's purse after she had been shot. Further in your statement you indicated that the police had cleared your daughter of involvement in drug dealing or gang membership. As hard as it is to imagine our children do not always do things that would make us proud as parents, it is possible that the girl either thought or knew that your daughter was "holding" and wanted to remove any paraphernalia from her purse so that her death would not be categorized as a drug-related homicide. It is also possible that she simply wanted to remove anything of value for herself. Without knowing the individual involved, it would be impossible for me to make a judgement about this. Either way this does not excuse the fact that someone murdered your daughter.

With respect to any ballistic examinations that may have been conducted, I have trouble with this concept. Shotguns do not produce ballistic characteristics that can be compared. There are other items that could suggest what gauge shotgun was used in the crime but as far as eliminating a particular shotgun as the murder weapon, this is not possible. Shell casings, wadding and projectiles are good indicators of the gauge but are of little use in determining if this was the actual weapon used in the crime. The only way to positively connect the weapon to the crime would be though a comparison of shell casings. You would first have to have the shell casings recovered from the scene of the crime and then compare them to shell casings fired from the "suspect" weapon. Based on your information I'm not sure that this was done.

With respect to treating people as witnesses, this is generally the case until information is developed that suggests that the person is something other than a witness. This is done for several reasons. The first is based on legal considerations. If the police have reasonable cause to believe that someone is a suspect in a case, then they must immediately advise that person of their "Miranda rights". In most cases, this causes people to invoke their rights and any questioning must cease. If the police have no evidence to suggest that the person is anything other than a witness, then there is no reason to question them as a suspect and therefore no requirement to advise them of their rights. This is generally the preferred course of action.

I hope you find some of this information helpful in resolving the issues surrounding your daughter's death. Should you have any further questions or wish to respond to my questions, please feel free.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My son was shot on April 14, 1993 in Bruce, Mississippi (a very small town). He was with a girl, Amy, when he was shot. Reports state Kell was shot at 11:50 pm and arrived DOA at 12:05 am at the local hospital (a 10 minute drive at most). The nurses who removed Kell from Amy's car stated he was dead when they got to him. His pupils were fixed and dilated and there was no sign of life. After taking him into the ER, they worked with him for 22 minutes and never got a response. He was pronounced dead and the elected Chief of Police and elected County Coroner was called to the hospital. Findings at the hospital include: dried blood on Kell's shirt, livor mortis visible on face and forehead; and a .22 caliber revolver, owned by Amy, propped up against the passenger seat at the exact spot Kell's feet had been. Both nurses gave statements that they did not see the gun when they removed Kell from the car. The Police Chief did not ask any questions about why and how the three above listed things were possible. He asked Amy what happened to Kell and she said she did not know. She claimed Kell stayed inside her car and she entered his house through the window, because he did not have his door key. She said a few minutes later, she heard the gun fire and witnessed Kell, who had staggered up on the porch, and he told her he had been shot and directed her to take him to the hospital. Kell's death certificate lists his death as accidental. Other reports list his death as suicide. We have a Second Opinion from Dr. Harry Bonnell, POMC, and he strongly urged the authorities to investigate Kells death. To date, they have refused to investigate. My questions to you are: Kell's fingerprints were not found on the gun by the Mississippi Crime Lab, despite the fact he supposedly loaded and fired the weapon. Is this common? An enormous amount of gun powder residue was found on Kell's left hand. He was right-handed. No residue was found on his right hand. At first, the Police Chief claimed Kell received all that residue by firing the gun with his left hand. Next explanation was that he was removing the gun from the glove compartment and it accidentally discharged (Crime Lab found the gun to be in satisfactory working condition with a working safety) while it was in his left hand. After Dr. Bonnell's request for an investigation, the Police changed the story and decided Kell had his left hand wrapped around the cylinder of the gun (index and middle fingers and palm of hand covered in black residue) and he triggered the gun with his right hand. I would not accept this as Kell never used two hands to do anything. He was a one-handed person and was as good with his left hand as he was with his right hand in most things. I had the Crime Lab test fire the gun to see if residue would collect on the hand that fired it. It would. I next had the Crime Lab conduct a "white glove test" to see how much residue would leak from the cylinder gap. The Crime Lab sent a photo of the white cloth and there are two small strips of "black" on the white cloth. Can you shed any light as to how Kell's left hand would have received this much residue? Kell's autopsy states that the wound is two centimeters below and four centimeters right lateral of the xyphoid process. The entrance wound is approximately 3mm in diameter. The wound is pointed 45 degrees upward in a parasagittal plane. Skin inferior to the hole is abraded becoming deeper toward the hole. Immediately above it is a round area of punctuate blackish discoloration, 8mm in diameter. The missile path perforates the cartilage of the 5th rib, 4 cm lateral to the midline, passing 45 degrees upward. The bullet hit the right lung and right lung only. He died from a Right Tension Hemothorax with a Mediastinum shift. Is there any kind of test that could be conducted to determine if Kell was standing or sitting when he was shot? Dr. Bonnell stated, "the idea of an accidental injury within the confines of the front seat, upon removing the weapon from the glove compartment, is impossible". It is a contact wound. The car was a 1989 Honda Accord and Kell was 6 foot tall and weighed 180 pounds. He was "long and lanky", with very long legs, wore a 34" inseam-length pants. There was not a lot of leg room inside the car. The police have refused to consider the photos taken of Kell as evidence of swelling, bruise to face, busted lip, etc. If the photos are not deemed important, why are photos taken? None of Kell's neighbors heard the gunfire that night, even though the houses were very close to each other. Yet, Amy stated she heard the gunfire. How far away can a .22 caliber revolver be heard? Dr. Cyril Wecht has offered to review Kell's case. Do you think someone with his name and reputation would carry enough clout to inspire the authorities to re-open Kell's case? Amy refused to answer any questions for the Police (other than the 3 or 4 that she answered at the hospital the night Kell died). She refused to take a polygraph test. This past summer the Mississippi Attorney General's office asked that she be available to answer questions. Both she and her mother refused. Does this make police feel she has something to hide? or do police believe "she has the right to remain silent" and not suspect anything? Thank you for your valuable time.

First let me extend my condolences to you and your family. I can only imagine what you must be going through.

You have provided me with a lot of information, some of which raises questions for me. I will attempt to address your questions as they were raised.

Your first question deals with the absence of Kell's fingerprints on the gun. While his may seem unusual, it is not uncommon. Any item that could have potentially been held by a number of people is less likely to have "identifiable" fingerprints on it. The operative word in this case is "identifiable". There may have been may prints on the gun but the police didn't do a very good job of communicating that fact that they could not identify any of them. Most often this is the result of overlapping prints belonging to various persons.

Your second question dealt with gunshot residue. Generally speaking, gunshot residue can be transferred not only by firing a handgun but by handling it as well. It is possible to pick up gunshot residue by handling a "dirty" gun. Gunshot residue, in my experience, has to be evaluated for it's weight based on all other available evidence. The fact that Kell was right handed and the residue was found on his left hand is, to me, inconclusive. It is entirely possible that the residue on his left hand was transferred there simply by holding the gun and that even if he did fire it, either accidentally or on purpose, he may not have gotten any residue on his right hand. There are many other factors that come into play when collecting and examining gunshot residue. Gunshot residue tends to "fall off" after a period of time and can also be affected by moisture on one's hands or movement. For these reasons, I cannot make any determination based on gunshot residue or lack thereof.

You indicated that the weapon was a revolver and that the crime lab found it to be in satisfactory working condition with a working safety. I am not aware of any revolver with a safety. Perhaps you could straighten this out.

As far as determining the position that Kell was in at the time he was shot, generally that is not difficult to determine, however it would be best left up to the coroner's office to determine based on their examination. Utilizing the trajectory of the bullet and the path of the wound, they are generally able to determine body position.

I am not familiar with Dr. Wecht, however, if he has offered to provide you with a second opinion, I think it would be wise for you to accept based on the questions that you have.

As for Amy's refusal to answer any questions, I do find that odd. What was Amy and Kell's relationship like? Did she have a motive to kill him? What did Amy tell the police originally and why was her gun in the car? Was the gunshot wound a through and through wound or was a projectile recovered from Kell's body? You mentioned that Amy has refused to submit to a polygraph exam. This is not unusual. It has been my experience that people who don't understand how a polygraph exam works are quite often reluctant to submit to them. To my knowledge, polygraphs have not been accepted as admissible evidence in any state and are only useful for investigative purposes.

You raise many interesting issues in your questions. I can certainly see why you have so many questions you want answered. I hope that some of this is helpful to you and I encourage you to continue to seek answers to all of your questions. If you care to respond to any of my questions, I would be happy to review any additional information and get back to you again.

Again, I offer my thoughts and prayers and encourage you to seek the answers that will help you understand the process and assist you with your grieving.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My brother died in September from falling off a cliff/inclined hill. There have been many rumors and suspicions about whether the fall was accidental or not. I'd like to know how I can go about and find out whether the fall caused his death, or was there something else that did it? Also I'd like to know how I can find out if where the police found his body, if that was the original place that he died? Also how can we find out if the state is doing their own investigation? Alright this is my last question. What do we do with my brother's clothes to keep any traces of evidence on them? Thank you for your time and I will be looking forward to your help!

First of all let me express my deepest sympathy for the loss of your brother. I can only imagine the pain you must be going through losing a loved one.

As far as determining the cause of your brother's death, that would be the responsibility of the coroner in the county that he died. I assume that an autopsy was conducted the results of which are public information. If you have not already please contact the coroner's office and inquire as to the cause of death. If his death was caused by something other than the fall, they would certainly be able to determine that. If the findings of the coroner were consistent with death as a result of the fall, then this would assure you that he died as a result of the fall and that he wasn't killed elsewhere and his body dumped to make it appear to something other than what it was. The medical findings of an autopsy must be consistent with the description of the hours leading up to the death. The coroner must take into consideration all of the facts, both medical and witness statements in order to determine the cause of death. If there were inconsistencies in their investigation, they would no doubt work tirelessly to resolve them.

As far as your brother's clothes, I expect that the coroner's office would have already examined them prior to returning them to you. At this point, I would doubt that they contain anything that would be of evidentiary value.

If I can be of any further assistance to you, please don't hesitate to write.

-Joel Price, Detective

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I'm not sure how to phrase this question, but I'll try. Do you think that the police are still looking for a murderer three years after a murder if he is using some else's social security number, which means they can't locate him by his own, and if the Prosecutor's Office doesn't feel that there is enough physical evidence to prosecute even if he is found? Thank you.

In most jurisdictions, a murder case is left open until such time as a suspect is arrested and prosecuted. There are several other instances where the case might be closed but based on your question, I would assume that law enforcement would still consider it an open case. The fact that the "suspect" is using some else's social security number only adds to the suspicion. While the prosecuting agency may not feel that there is enough evidence currently to prosecute a suspect, they will in all cases review any new information that comes along. Both law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies desperately want to solve homicides and prosecute those responsible. I would suggest that if you are close enough to the case that you contact the investigator/detective and ask them directly. Thank you for your question.

-Joel Price, Detective

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I am a parent of a son whom I believe with all my heart to have been murdered even though his death certificate specifies suicide. I have valid reasons for believing this is not a suicide. It happened in 1991. The kidnapping occurred in 1983. Every place I went to for help - including the Senator's of both where I lived and where the murder occurred refused to even listen to me as did the police, Human Services, and other local organizations for missing children. So I tried to contact them by letter. I received their platitudes but I was still refused any assistance. I was even more concerned because of the safety of my other children was also involved. 6 months later harm came to both of my daughters at different times. I was able to bring one of the girls to live with me. Of the other two one is in college and the other is still living with the man I believe murdered my son - his father. He will turn 18 this year and is planning to leave there. My issue is nothing I do will bring my son back but I have four other children that if I were able to press charges wold tear their hearts out and probably split us apart - I can't lose my children again! "And I now have a grandson! Is there any possible way to bring about justice or even to investigate what I believe is a murder when there is no body? I never was able to recieve any closure and was even denied the right to attend his funeral. I want to lay my son to rest. All I have been able to do is bury my grief in my mind. Can you help me with any of this?

The crime of murder can be investigated at any time that such facts become available. The fact that a death certificate reads "suicide" does not mean that a possible murder would be excused. If you or anyone else is in possession of any facts that would suggest that this is something other than a suicide then those facts would need to be discussed with local law enforcement, the county coroner, or a prosecutorial agency. There have in fact been cases that were originally categorized as suicides and later reclassified to murder. These cases are few and far between but that does not mean that your's could not be one of them.

I hope that this gives you the courage to press forward with beliefs.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My cousin was murdered on 1/21/00, leaving my birthday dinner. His parents live in Massachusetts and I am in North Carolina where the shooting occurred. The police have a weapon with fingerprints and video tapes from a nearby convenience store. Yet no murderer is found. In all honesty the police department in Charlotte, North Carolina needs improvement. It seems the only time they give a case 100% is if it is in the media. There was once a TV special on ABC discussing how incapable our departments are. They were referring to the Henry Wallace (serial killer) case. According to the special, the police department and coroner's office should have linked crimes long before so many women died. These things may offend you, but it is not meant to. What can I do to assist the police department? What can I do to make sure they are putting a serious effort in? Is there anything I can do other than wait and hope?

While I am not at all familiar with Charlotte, North Carolina police department, I cannot imagine that they would not be interested in solving a murder. The items that you refer to are certainly valuable pieces of evidence but may not make it possible to identify a suspect and make an arrest.

Fingerprint evidence is only useful if the suspect has been arrested before and has his/her prints on file. It is possible that the suspect in this case has no arrest record at all and therefore has no prints on file. Fingerprint information can be shared with neighboring police departments, states and even FBI files but this takes time.

Videotapes are something that I have had a great deal of experience with. I must add that I have been disappointed by videotape as well. The images are no always clear enough to identify potential suspects and even with the enhancing that they are now able to do, it does not always produce a recognizable image. In the event that it does, the police must then rely on the public's assistance in identifying the person whose image is captured on the tape. This does not always happen. The suspect is not always a local and could be passing through from another county or state. Perhaps you could assist the police by obtaining a copy of the suspect's image and getting it out in any manner that you can think of. Prior to doing this, it is always a good idea to obtain their permission as it could interfere with a lead that they are working on.

In closing, I encourage you to continue to seek the answers to all of your questions and to speak with the detectives assigned to the case. I am sure that you will find that they are committed to solving each and every murder regardless of its notoriety.

-Joel Price, Detective

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Yesterday we had a hearing to suppress the evidence on my son's murder. The defense attorney says the warrant should be disallowed. The questions asked were the place of residence search was not the place where the shooter lived but only stayed. The caliber of gun was not listed in the warrant or that the shooter even carried it. The police officer that testified was very upset because this was a standard form they used. I would think that based on his life experiences he was doing his job. The judge did not rule on the motion yet and has given us until court Monday to find some precedence. Can you help? We do have someone that can testify that he carried the gun but we found him later and the second party to the shooting is going to testify against the shooter. Any information would be appreciated.

I just now returned from a business trip and got your mail. I see that it was somewhat time sensitive and it would appear that a ruling has probably already been made. Based on your question, I would guess that the judge ruled in your favor, that is to say that the evidence should come in. The fact that evidence of a crime is being housed in a location other than the actual suspect's residence does not make it safe from discovery. If the affidavit prepared by the officer provided ample probable cause to search the location, then any evidence recovered at the search location must be allowed. The fact that the caliber of the gun was not listed on the search warrant is mildly interesting as well. The affidavit may have been prepared prior to the officer learning the caliber of the actual gun used in the crime. Even if it were known at the time of the issuance of the warrant, it would still not preclude the police from seizing any weapon and investigating it further.

Based on the grounds that were being argued, I would be surprised if the judge ruled against the people. Let me know how it turned out.

-Joel Price, Detective

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A few years ago my best friend's youngest brother was murdered, but at the time the police ruled it a suicide. I was told by my friend that the police did not question the woman that was living with him at that time until the next day, they told the lady to go home and sober up. For all they know she could have killed him and tried to make it look like a suicide or she could have had something to do with his death. We all feel that he was murdered; because he was straightening his life out and had plans the next day to help his brother do things to his home and was planning on trying to get his son back from his ex-wife,now I ask you does that sound like some one who wanted to kill himself? The parents tried to get a private investigator to find out what had really happened to their son but they have run out of funds and had to give up for now. If this will help any the family was told that the son in question was found lying on the floor with a gun beside of him that was supposedly used to kill himself. Question; how is this possible if the gun that was found at the scene was a gun that was not a working gun? And the gunshot to his head was made behind the ear, when we all know that that is highly unlikely considering that most suicides done by gun are between the eyes, in the temple area and by the mouth;oh yes even done under the chin. As far as I know there were no witnesses that were of any help to the investigation.

Unfortunately the circumstances that you described are all to common. It is not unusual that others may have been in the home if and when the deceased shot himself. As far as that gun being a non-functioning weapon this sounds odd as a gun that is not capable of firing obviously could not kill anyone. Some of the facts that you have given me do not make sense. As for the police not questioning the intoxicated female this is not unusual. After examining the scene and the available evidence the police must have determined that the case was more than likely a suicide. The interview of an intoxicated person rarely results in anything positive and as long as he was not a flight risk putting off an interview of her until she was sober appears to have been the reasonable thing to do. I would imagine that the police did in fact administer GSR (gunshot residue) tests on both the deceased and the female. The results of those GSR tests may or may not shed some additional light on the case.

As for your assertion that the location of the gunshot was out of the ordinary I would have to respectfully disagree. In my 22 years of law enforcement experience and review of hundreds of suicide cases I do not find the location of the gunshot wound to be unusual rather quite the contrary. Most suicides by gunshots result from wounds inflicted somewhere in the head. Had the wound been somewhere other than in the head I might agree with a portion of your statement. There are also a number of other considerations when conducting such an investigation such as, was the deceased right or left handed?, is the trajectory or path of the wound consistent with the description of the witness(es) and the position of the body?, is there other physical evidence that would suggest the distance of the muzzle from the decedents head? All of this must be taken into consideration in determining whether the would was self inflicted or whether foul play was involved. If you or the family are not satisfied with the explanation at this point I'm sure that the investigators assigned to the case would sit down and discuss their findings with the family. The coroner would also share the results of the autopsy and discuss his/her findings.

I hope that I have provided you with the answers to some of your questions or the course of action that should be taken in order to get the answers that you seek. Good luck and please give my condolences to the family of the deceased.

-Joel Price, Detective

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Mr Price, I am interested in trying to understand this whole screwed up nightmare I have been experiencing since Jan 16, 2001 when my father was murdered and his killer admitted and a grand jury handed down no charges, is there ever hope out there that she could be arrested? The investigation stinks, we have had interviews with the victim services and local dci agency to discuss why things turned out the way they did in the criminal justice system.

I can appreciate your frustration with the system and the lack of prosecution to this point of the woman who apparently killed your father. I am assuming that the case has in fact been ruled a homicide and that the woman who eluded to as the killer has in fact given what would amount to a "self defense" claim.

Assuming these facts I can tell you that what it would take in order for her to be prosecuted is some additional information, evidence or witness testimony that would discredit her claim and point to the fact that it was in fact an intentional killing. I must also point out that in some cases the lack of quick prosecution can aid in the case against the accused. Understand that if the District Attorney's office were to prosecute her now without sufficient evidence to convict, and she were to be acquitted of the charges, she could never again be prosecuted even if a videotape of the crime were to surface. Double jeopardy would have attached and she could never be tried for the same crime twice.

While I can only imagine the frustration let me assure you that no competent investigator would ever let a case go if he/she believed that the suspect were guilty. Keep me posted on the case.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My best friend's sister "went missing" 20 years ago in NY. The family always suspected the husband who claims he and his wife went went to the Dominican Republic to get a divorce and that she told him she never wanted to see him or her family or 4 siblings again. The siblings were close and talked weekly. No one has ever heard from her since and shortly after the supposed divorce, the husband threatened the family with criminal action if they didn't stop calling him. Now, 20 years later, I've found the husband and talked to him via phone. He refused to offer any information and was nervous on the phone after being contacted after so many years. I and the family think he murdered her 20 years ago in NY and there are a few family friends that thought he was capable of it and that he physically threatened his wife before. My question is: can we go to the NY police 20 years later and have them start an investigation? What should we do to ensure that at least he is investigated. Thank you very much.

I seem to always begin my responses by asking questions. In this case the question would be, Was a missing persons" report made when she disappeared and was it ever established that she left and went to the Dominican Republic?

If the answer to the first question is yes then I would assume that the investigation determined that she did not leave for the Dominican.

Your question seems to suggest that no investigation was ever conducted and I'm not sure that that is the case.

For purposes of this response I am going to assume that she was reported missing and that the investigation failed to locate her or turn up any evidence that the husband was involved in her disappearance. It is rare but not unheard of that a murder case is prosecuted without a body. In this case where the "victim" disappeared 20 years ago it is highly unlikely that, absent any significant evidence, that the police would be willing to question the husband. The mere fact that he appeared nervous on the phone would not be enough to trigger a new investigation.

I'm sorry that this is probably not what you wanted to hear but I'd rather speak the truth than give you and other family members any false hope.

If any of my assumptions are incorrect please write back and let me know. Thank you for your question.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My son died Mar. 24, 1997 from a gunshot wound to the head. The police left the scene in 80 minutes, never to return. Actually part of the 80 minutes were spent at the hospital. They determined that he had shot himself accidentally. They did not do an autopsy, or gunshot residue tests. They did not even have a medical doctor look at our son's body and decided that nothing further was needed. The chief medical examiner signed the death certificate without even having seen the body. They did not even take the fingerprints, seal off the scene, or talk with neighbors who were outside watching as my son was talking away in the ambulance. After much investigation, on our part, we now have enough evidence to prove our son did not shoot himself. We are going into a wrongful death lawsuit against two witnesses. Much of the evidence that we have come from police photo's of our son's body and the scene. Some come from his shirt and the gun which police kept in their evidence room. We have had to go to court against the city just to get to the right to have access to our records and evidence so we can get testing done. It's all too much to go into. My question is this, why do police have so much authority that they can come onto a scene, decide what their gut instinct is, and then allow everything to be destroyed without any further conformation. Our son's house was cleaned the following morning without our permission, by some well meaning person. It should have been sealed off. I'm sure that I don't need to tell you how much was lost. Officer's who are not firearms experts get to decide whether any firearms testing should be done, officers who have no medical training get to decide if a pathologist should be called in, officers who are not blood spatter experts get to decide if any of the blood spatter evidence is important. I'm shocked at what I have come to learn. Why does the system allow this? We will win our law suit, but it will be because God is on our side, not because law enforcement ever was. They have tried to block us on every move to keep us from telling the truth out. I believe that once they realized the mistake, and knew how much evidence was destroyed, they did not know how to resolve it. They have power to make misjudgement, and then put up a wall of support, to keep us out. They allow much evidence to be destroyed and then tell you that you cannot prove they are wrong. How ironic! I cannot tell you how many hurdles we have had to overcome to get where we are today. My story is to long to tell in detail.

I'm not really sure what your question is but after reading what you wrote I too have questions about the way the incident was handled. Some of what you have stated is almost impossible to believe in this day and age. I'm not sure where this took place but if all of this is true the police there should not be allowed to handle and/or investigate any crimes. There are many ways to glean information about a death even absent any eyewitnesses. You seem to be on the right track in determining the method and cause of your son's death. Keep up the good work and if there is any way that I can help you review reports please let me know.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My son was found dead in Jacksonville, Florida in June 2001. He was a beautiful young man. Twenty two years old. A straight arrow, no drinking and no drugs. I have been trying to find a detective and or private investigator to help me. I can't seem to find anyone qualified. Every P.I. I have spoken with works in insurance and or catching cheating spouses. I need someone qualified in homicide. How do I find someone qualified?

I'm sorry to hear about your son's recent death. As far as finding a detective capable of investigating such cases I do not know of any in our local area. I would be happy to assist you by reviewing any reports that you may have been able to obtain from the police and /or the coroner's office. You didn't mention how it was he died but I am assuming that he was murdered. If this the case, are you not satisfied with the investigation conducted by the local law enforcement? What they may have told you or more importantly not told you? I believe in being up front and honest with family members so long as it would not hinder an ongoing investigation. If that were the case I would, as the assigned investigator, certainly tell you so.

Please let me know If I can help you.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My son was murdered on 11/12/2000 in a case that was ruled justifiable homicide by the Memphis Police Department. The police report accused my son of breaking into the apartment because the witness (shooter and girlfriend) stories matched and there were no "unusual" signs to refute their stories the case was considered closed. No forensic evidence was obtained at the scene although there were bullet holes in the wall that did not fit the investigation officer's statement that my son's gun was not fired. These disturbing inconsistencies made me check then national POMC on review Forensic Pathologist, Harry Bonnel, M.D. considered the investigation "totally" inadequate, incomplete and embarrassing. Additionally, he said "the contact wound to the top of the head would be considered a "coupe de grace" execution wound in someone falling down or on his knees in order to get this angle". How can I get this case reopened? I would appreciate any advice you would give me.

I'm sorry to hear about your son's death as I can only imagine what it must be like to lose a child. As far as the investigation into his death it does seem odd that the police would have based their findings solely on the statements of these two witnesses. There are some rather obvious questions that immediately come to my mind one of which is, did your son know the people whose apartment he was allegedly breaking into? What if any relationship was between them? In order for me to have given their statements much weight I would first have to have the answers to these rather simple questions. Based on those answers I would have begun my investigation which would have been included, gunshot residue tests, ballistics examinations, trajectory and perhaps even polygraph exams. You mention that your son was alleged to have a gun. Was it his gun and is this the weapon that he was shot with? As far as the characteristics of the wound I'm sure Dr.Bonnell has explained to you the difference in appearance between certain gunshot wounds. Was this would consistent with the witness statements regarding how and from where the shot(s) were fired?

As far as getting the case re-opened I would assume that you have already requested that of the local police department. If they have refused then depending on your local government you may want to check with the local Sheriff's office or in the alternative State police agency. Most state have a Department of justice that is more than capable of reviewing the case.

It is difficult if not impossible for me to make an assessment based solely on this limited information but I will tell you that the questions that you raise need to be answered. If there is in any way that I can help you by reviewing reports and/or rendering an opinion please do not hesitate to call upon me. Good luck and God bless you and your family.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Please advise us. Our son was murdered 14 months ago. Although many signs point to a woman friend who even the police describe as "a psycho", she has passed a lie detector test four times. Is it possible that a person can be so psychotic that he or she actually does not believe that they were involved in the murder? Secondly, we are considering hiring a private detective. Will the police department and the detectives work with a private detective or will they resent him doing "their" work and not continue to work on the case themselves? Thank you very much for your expertise.

Thank you very much for your question. First let me say how sorry I am for your loss. I can only imagine the pain that you must be feeling. As far as polygraph tests I question why they would have subjected the same individual to four separate exams. If she were to show deceptive after initially "passing" the first that would bring into question the validity of any additional tests. Polygraph tests are primarily used as an investigative tool as they are not admissible in court. Typically if a person were to show deceptive that information would be used to "question" the suspect further.

As far as hiring a private investigator it is unlikely that this would result in anything worthwhile. Because private investigators lack law enforcement authority they may not be able to obtain information that would be critical in the investigation. One example of that might be records that indicate who the suspect associates with. This information could be critical in the investigation. Interviewing of witnesses could prove particularly difficult if the witness were the least bit reluctant to come forward. Law enforcement on the other hand can use many tools to get people to talk to them.

Depending on the circumstances of your son's death all of this may be necessary. I would hate for you to to be taken advantage of by a private investigator who suggested that they could somehow aid in the investigation. Even as a retired homicide investigator who owns and operates an investigative service company I would not be in a position to assist with this type of investigation. The only benefit you may get from such an individual is a better understanding of where the police are in the investigation and the interpretation of some of the reports and evidence.

I wish you all the luck in the world with your continued search to hold the killer of your child responsible for his/her actions.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Det. Price, my brother Calvin was murdered in Duck Hill, Miss in July of 1997 while going to visit my father. This murder happened on a dark country road. Police took pictures at the scene, the car was taken to the nearby city of Grenada and dusted for finger prints and other things. The car, which my brother was test driving because he was going to purchase it for his wife, was returned to the car lot and later destroyed. Was this right to do since the case is still open?

The police has a suspect in custody, but later released him on bond. He was since moved out of state. The case could not go to trial because of circumstantial evidence (very strong circumstantial evidence). Haven't cases been solved on this type of evidence? One person came forward as a witness, but had a previous police record (which happened years ago). Therefore they would not accept him as a witness. Can they do this? He even ID the person they brought in.

Is there anything my family and I can do to help the police solve the murder? We've been sitting for four years and there are definitely people in these two small towns that know what happened, but are just not talking. What are our rights as far as looking at the police files and pictures?

First let me apologize for the time it has taken me to respond to this enquiry. I am certainly sorry to hear about your brother's untimely death and my sympathy is with you and your family.

Based on the information that you provided it sounds as though the prosecutor in your county does not feel that the circumstantial evidence is sufficient to convict the suspect for the murder. In some cases it is better not to file the charges and risk a not guilty verdict. If that were to happen the suspect would literally get away with murder. I too have had cases where this has happened and I can tell you that as painful as it is, it is probably for a good reason. Time seems to benefit the prosecutions case in situations like these. People tend to become less fearful of testifying as time goes by and it is possible that the suspect may "brag" to someone about his crime. I have had murders as old as 8 years that I have solved based on new evidence.

As far as viewing photos I'm not sure what value that would have unless you were an eyewitness to the crime. As far as what you can do to assist the police, you may want asking your government representatives to offer a reward. This can often help in developing additional witness and stirring the conscience of some people.

If anything else develops or you have any additional questions please feel free to write again. I hope that this is helpful.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My beautiful son was murdered 7 months ago. The leader of a "party crew" ordered the shooting. The three people that did the 'drive by' are in jail and have confessed to the killing and are awaiting trial. They all confessed that their 'leader' told them to do that. The d/a's office has told me that they were going to prosecute the leader for 'conspiracy to commit murder'. I was told this several months ago, but this leader has not been arrested yet.

The detective on the case has told me this week that he just hasn't had time to work on my sons case and that he has two unsolved murders.

I don't understand if they have everything they need why this person isn't being picked up.

I a'm sorry to hear of your loss and my heart goes out to you and your family. I am glad to hear that several people have been arrested in connection with the murder but I too am puzzled by the fact that a known suspect has still not been taken into custody. It may be that while the police believe that he is the one who ordered the shooting, the district attorney's office has declined to file charges yet. It is not uncommon for the DA's office to ask for additional investigation to be done. This way they can assure themselves that they can get a conviction. Ordinarily this investigation would be done in an expeditious manner so that a "suspect" of this kind would not remain on the street. I cannot tell you why that has not happened in this case. I can however tell you that the police and the DA's office have nothing to hide from you so continue to ask questions. The last thing you would want is for the suspect to be arrested and then have him acquitted at trial because the evidence was insufficient to convict him. This would mean that he could never be tried again and would be a free man. Sometimes it is difficult to understand why the police do what they do and perhap's they haven't done an adequate job of explaining it to you. Ask again, if that doesn't get you an answer ask to speak to the supervisor.

Good luck and let me know what happens.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Our daughter was murdered in her home in February, 2000. We are still waiting for the accused person to be brought to trial (the trial has just been re-set for the 3rd time this summer). Our question concerns telephone evidence. On programs such as Law & Order there is often mention of getting a telephone log of outgoing/incoming phone calls with dates and times for either a victim's or a potential perpetrator's telephone. Does this technology really exist? Or is this creative license by the television industry? If it does exist, is it generally available to all police/investigative agencies throughput the country? The reason for this question is that we have a reasonable belief that the accused murderer of our daughter probably contacted her by telephone shortly before ( maybe within 30-60 minutes) of her murder. My wife and I are looking for any little piece of knowledge that will bolster our confidence that the person responsible for our daughter's murder will be convicted. Thank you again for your concern and compassion for parent's of murdered children.

Some information related to phone records is obtainable from the phone company providing you have gone through proper channels to obtain the information. The laws may differ from state to state but in California any telephone records obtained from the phone company come by way of subpoena or search warrant. Local calls do not show up on phone bills so if the call made by the suspect was made within the local calling area it would not appear on the bill.

What you are referring to in the movies does exist and is called a DNR (Dialed Number Recorder). This would need to have been up and functioning at the time of the call and unfortunately I'm sure it was not. This would be done in cases where a particular suspect is being considered by the police and requires a search warrant or court order. This is normally used for investigations where the police are attempting to connect suspects to other individuals.

I don't know wether this is helpful in your case but it is doubtful that such an instrument was working at the time of your daughter's murder.

- Joel Price, Detective

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We don't have very much information about what happened and we don't know how much the police are doing. There were no suspects, etc. We are obviously hoping they were able to get fingerprints, shoeprints and DNA. How do we know what the police have gathered? They want to keep as much as they know quiet.

I'm not sure that I received your entire e-mail as it was forwarded to me. There is not sufficient detail in what I received to be able to give you an answer to the only question that I see, and that is, "how do we know what the police have gathered?"
Not knowing anything about this case makes it impossible to determine what their investigative strategy is and why certain information might be kept confidential. If you can provide me with some more detail I may be able to provide you with an answer.

- Joel Price, Detective

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When one of our son's killers confessed in 1988 to the January, 1990 murder of our son, he and the other killer, attempted to find our son's body. They had strangled him in Portland, OR, and buried him in a pre-dug chest-deep grave in a rural, wooded section of Washington State(possibly in Skamania County). Due to the passage of time from the murder in 1990 until they looked for the site in 1998, they were unable to find our son.

We still hope that someday his remains may be found. Today when we heard about the discovery of Chandra Levy's remains, it made us think about our son's remain again. When our son first disappeared, we understood from the homicide detective assigned to his case that information about our son would be entered in the NCIC. However, in 1996 or 1997 we learned our son's information was not in this system. We were assured then that it would be re-entered.

Is there anyway for us to find out if information about our son is currently in that national file? We supplied both our son's dental records and DNA samples from my husband and me to the police.

Our son's case was widely publicized in Portland, OR. Before we learned what happened to our son, we would alert the Medical Examiner's office in Portland if we saw any reports of unidentified bodies, fearing what happened to him had indeed occurred. So if the killers misled the police and our son is actually buried in Oregon somewhere, we think the Oregon authorities would know our son's case. However, is there a state agency I should contact in Oregon to confirm this?

We also got some publicity in the small newspaper in Skamania county where our son is probably buried in Washington state. However, I don't know if the proper authorities in Washington State have all the identifying information regarding our son. Who would I contact to make sure they are aware?

Thank you very much for your help. We eventually had 3 homicide detectives working on our son's case, but they have all retired and moved from Oregon, so that is why I'm turning to you.

Sorry for the delay but I was out of town on a trip. You raise some very valid concerns and questions. The local authorities should be able to tell you if information concerning your son is still in NCIC. If not, perhaps contacting your local FBI office would help. But I'm not sure how missing persons information is maintained in the system, or how other agencies ( State, County and local) would access that information if unidentified remains are located. Perhaps the local office could answer those questions also.

You mention that the site probably may have been in Skamania County. Not knowing the county would necessitate ensuring that the surrounding counties are fully aware of the incident so that someone can be notified should any remains be found. Unfortunately, on the local level, it may be up to you to ensure that all the concern agencies are notified; but at very minimum the State Police in both Washington and Oregon should be reminded of your son's death. Typically, local agencies (police departments, sheriff's offices) would send out state-wide teletypes notifying all surrounding agencies that remains have been found and query them if there are any open investigations or missing persons. It probably would be beneficial to ask for assistance from both state agencies and ask them to review records over the past several years at least for any recovered remains.

Sorry for your loss.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My 18 year old brother was killed by what we assume as a hit and run accident almost 2 years ago. They still to this day have no leads or evidence and I have a feeling they aren't even looking. Every time a family member calls to see how the investigation is going, they always say that they are waiting for leads or evidence. Basically, they are waiting for someone else to do their job, or confess and in the mean time my family is devastated. Is there anything I can do? Please help!

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your brother and I would like to try to provide any support of other information that I can to help you deal with your loss. Unfortunately there are crimes that occur where the evidence and/or leads are scarce. This is particularly true of hit & run accidents. People involved in these types of accidents are taking advantage of the fact that the accident was not witnessed and therefore take the cowards way out and flee from the scene. At times there is evidence that is left behind but in some cases there is nothing. In this type of accident investigators would be looking for debris from the hit & run vehicle that they might later be able to connect to a particular vehicle. In the absence of such evidence or any witnesses the police are at a loss just as you are. Rewards often provide motivation for some people to come forward with information but are sometimes hard to come up with. If this case is being classified as a homicide you may want to find out if the city or county in which it occurred would offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved. I can tell you from experience that no detective that I have ever met would ignore any leads or evidence that might lead to the identification of a killer. If there are some other facts that you are aware of that might suggest that they are overlooking such evidence I would be interested in hearing about it. I wish I could offer more in the way of solutions but unfortunately there are very few answers. Please write back if you develop anything additional.

- Joel Price, Detective

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6 years ago my daughter was found with critical injuries by the side of a highway. One astute investigator called it a staged scene: made to look like a hit-and-run accident. He came to this conclusion since there was very little blood and/or viscerage at the scene. The coroner ruled it a homicide due to her injuries. The police told me they did testing on suspects' vehicles/homes for blood and found none. Is it too late to use dogs to find a location of death if it was outdoors somewhere? Can dogs still pick up her scent from her old clothes anyway to begin with?

With the passage of this much time the use of dogs to follow a scent trail would be useless. It does however sound like they at least had some good information that directed them to suspect(s) and/or a vehicle that may have been involved. I can only offer that these types of cases are never considered "closed" and that the police will continue to act up any information that they receive. I have been involved in cases where it is sometimes successful to have an article written about the crime years after it has occurred. There are people out there who develop a conscience as they age and find it difficult to keep information to them once this has re-surfaced. Perhaps you could contact a local newspaper and invite them to write a story. Good luck with your search.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Our son was murdered. He & his wife was in the process of getting a divorce. He was murdered by his wife's cousin. We believe his wife sat him up. His father was also a suspect in our son's murder. Do we as his parents have the right to know what his wife had to say when she was interviewed. Hoping to hear from you.

I apologize for the delay in this response and I hope that this helps you in some small way. If I'm reading your question correctly it sounds as though the wife's cousin may have been arrested for the murder of your son. If this was the case then I would imagine that any statement that she made to the police would have come out in court. If it did not then I would think that the reports regarding the case could be obtained through the Freedom of Discovery Act or by subpoena. It may also be possible, of no arrest was made, that the police would want to keep this information confidential. The only reason for this would be if it would jeopardize the case if it were to be disclosed. You may want to have a conversation with the investigators assigned and get an update.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My youngest sister was murdered in Turlock, CA on january 18 by a man who stalked her for over 8 months. The stalking started and continued in the state of New Mexico. As soon as she broke up with her boyfriend he started general stalking, following her to and from work, waiting for her at her gym. When we attended a family wedding in orlando he flew to my mothers house in Ohio and spray painted "PK is a WHORE" on my mothers garage door and then returned to Albuquerque to set fire to my sisters current boyfriends home. He then had them run off the road, passed out flyers with obscenities and my sisters cell phone number on it, made a death treat phone call to my mothers house saying "he knew where she is and there will be death in 2 minutes." All of this was reported to the ABQ PD as well as a restaining order filed. She finally fled to Turlock, CA and let everyone know of this mans existence. She attempted to file a restaining order put was told since no stalking had been done in turlock, they could not issue her one. He found her anyhow and shot her in the head dead! thank god he also killed himself. The problem i have is with the laws. Why do laws very from state to state? Why was there no protection given to my sister from the ABQ PD, who already has reports on this man with a pat record of violence, harassment and public vandalism? They never even pulled him in for any questioning. Every law protected him and did nothing for her. I want the word out on the serious of stalking and the lack of law enforcement. Thanks for your help.

You have raised quite a few questions and brought up many good points. The laws in each and every State are intended to protect the public from people such as this but in this case, the laws failed to do that. While there are some jurisdictional issues involved in your sister's case, they should nevertheless have been dealt with before the violence escalated to the point where she was murdered. What a horrible story! My heart goes out to you and your family. Your's is certainly not the first case in which a stalker has crossed state lines to continue the threatening behavior. I would suggest that you contact the organization known as "Justice for Homicide Victims" and ask them to support your cause. This organization is a lobbying body that promotes new laws to protect innocent people like your sister. Given the number of these cases that we hear about these days, I believe that we need a Federal statute on the books that could be used. If not then at least come to some decision within this state that we will act upon crimes carried out in other states against our citizens. I wish you luck in your efforts and encourage you to continue to press forward for changes in the laws. There are many new laws that come out as a result of these tragic circumstances and it is a great legacy for the victims who might otherwise be forgotten. Remember Megan's Law? Please feel free to contact me again if you have any additional questions or need any other help.

- Joel Price, Detective

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On July 6, 2002 my only child was murdered (shot 2x in the back by 2 males at close range w/9mm) 12/02 one suspect was arrested admitted to being there but "says" he was not the trigger man. Of course during interrogation he gave up his partners name. Im told by the PD that they know who the other guy is but still have not made an arrest. I'm told they are "building" a case on him. ??Can't they at least arrest him for questioning?? The on in custody, has a rap sheet longer than myself (4'11) and at the time of my son's murder he was a minor; Why aren't I allowed into Juvenile court while they are trying to determine him fit as an adult; after it is my son killed.

My thoughts are with you and your family. I can only imagine what you must be going through with the loss of your only child. I would like to offer you some words of encouragement with respect to your son's case. The fact that one person has been arrested is a good thing. At least one of the people responsible for your son's death will face the consequences. It is certainly not uncommon in the case of a multiple suspect murder that each will point the finger at each other. The problem with prosecuting this case is proving who actually pulled the trigger. Not that more than one person cannot be responsible for the crime, but it helps if the prosecution can show who did what during the commission of the crime. Unfortunately, the police cannot arrest someone just to question them. To do so may jeopardize the case they are building against him. Even if he were to be arrested it would not guarantee that he would talk to the investigating officers! I realize it must be hard to stand back knowing that the people responsible for the murder of your son are not all in jail but the police are acting responsibly by taking their time to develop the case. Time works in our favor in many cases. As far as being allowed to sit in the audience during the court hearings for the juvenile suspect, I can only suggest that you check with the District Attorney's office to determine your rights. In California the victims family is generally allowed into the courtroom in juvenile murder cases but your state may be different. The D.A's office may even have a victim/witness coordinator that you can consult with. Good luck and if there are any other questions that I can answer please don't hesitate to write.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Why can't detectives just force a suspect to come in with his attorney for questioning? My 11 month old sons cause of death was ruled undetermined cause and undetermined manner. His older brother told police the night it happened that his stepfather put him under a pillow. It also says in the police report that he [stepfather] stated while crying on scene, "I can't believe I did this". The medical examiner says that there is no specific medical findings in this type of suffocation, so it is "quite possible" he was suffocated. The suspect confessed to attempting to suffocate his ex-girlfriends baby on tape, yet apparently the prosecutor feels they need a confession to charge him. He got an attorney the following day and the attorney refused to return calls from the detective. The detective said this informally means they aren't going to talk. The detective "inactivated" the case and thats were it has remained since November of 2000. When I have tried to push they say I need to just move on that there is nothing they can do without a confession. Is this true? Why won't they try to get a confession?

The Constitution of the United States provides each of us with certain rights amongst which is the right against self incrimination. Even with an attorney present the suspect would simply maintain his silence and you would be no further along that you are now. Over the past many years the highest courts in our country have struggled with the rights o the accused vs. the rights of the victims. In order to avoid having innocent people convicted of crimes and sent to jail, the courts have decided that no one can be compelled to make a statement against themselves.

Even with a confession from a suspect it does not ensure that the person will be convicted of the crime. In many states the confession must be corroborated by other evidence that supports the confession. In the case of your child, the coroner doesn't seem to be able to determine a cause of death therefore even a confession may be useless.

On the issue of the cause of death it has been my experience that when suffocation is a factor there are certain things that happen that make it possible to confirm a lack of air. There is a condition known as petechial hemorrhaging that is almost always present when the body is deprived of oxygen. That condition may be more difficult, or perhaps even lacking in the case of your child.

I can only imagine how difficult it must be to suffer the loss of a child but I have to point out that the police are only capable of doing so much within the guidelines of the law.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Our son was killed by the police last December. He was taking heavy anti-psychotic drugs and had gone off of them 2 weeks before. The police were called when he shot off a shotgun at his apartment complex. Unfortunately, two of the responding police were rookies on the job only 2 months and the third had only been on the job 2 years. They tried pepper spray but if was not effective and he pulled two knives. They had no non-lethal weapons except the pepper spray so after several warnings, they shot him six times and killed him. The sergeant who was on his way had the bean bags and the taser. My question is - is there any law being proposed or under consideration which would require cops to carry non-lethal weapons? If they had had those, our beautiful 33 year old son would be alive today. Can you help me in any way????

I am so sorry to hear the tragedy that you have to endure. Unfortunately, I am unaware of any law that requires law enforcement agencies to equip each patrol unit with less-lethal weapons however, more and more agencies are doing so as a result of unfortunate incidents such as yours. There is also a cost issue that has to be recognized and dealt with by city managers before such equipment can be purchased. Perhaps lobbying your local council member, county supervisor or other such politician might result in the passage of such a law. Most agencies have a limited number of less-lethal weapons in service at any time, and have to request that they may be dispatched to scenes where they are needed. One must also understand that these weapons are characterized as "Less-Lethal." There have been a number of instances across the nation where weapons that were believed to be "Non-Lethal" have produced fatal results.

The decision to use deadly force is one that most officers never have to make, and none take lightly. Less lethal weapons are generally deployed in situations where deadly force would be warranted but because of circumstances (time, distance, surroundings, etc.) "Less-Lethal" weapons may achieve desired result. In most cases where "Less-Lethal" weapons are deployed there is also someone covering the back of the officer with a weapon capable of deadly force. Quite often in the case of mentally ill patients, the use of "Less-Lethal" weapons has little or no effect and a deadly force ends up being used. The fact that officers had limited tenure is also a tragedy but nonetheless a reality that many law enforcement agencies face.

I hope this has been helpful in some small way but I know that it can do nothing to relieve the pain you must feel at the loss of your son.

- Joel Price, Detective

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I was wondering if I can get your opinion on my sisters murder case. I still have no closure and have a hard time understanding why the Long Beach detectives did what they did. On Dec. 29 1993 two detectives picked up my sister and drove her around in an unmarked car. She had some type of involvement in a robbery with an ex boyfriend. Her ex boyfriend had been robbed by two African Americans that she introduced him to. The detectives drove her around to find out where these guys lived. (I assume) All's I know is what I've read in the newspaper article. Her neighbors seen her leave her house at 10pm and she was found at 4am behind Compton college. She had been shot in the head 3 times, her purse with $25, driver's license and car keys were with her. Her car was found parked at a park that was right around the corner from her house. It's obvious that she knew the person that killed her. The suspect was her ex boyfriend at one time. Not enough evidence to go on though. Is this normal for cops to do this with a person knowing they are putting this person in serious danger? The concern that most bothers me about the whole case is..........Can I get or is there some type of police report documented of what exactly occurred during the time that the detectives drove my sister Tina around. I hear a police report isn't written unless an arrest is made. She was not arrested that night. Don't cops have to write some type of report to protect themselves anytime they deal with a situation such as this. If I could only find out about what exactly happened that night with the detectives I might feel like i have some answers. Any information or advice you could give me would be appreciated.

I'm sorry to hear about the tragic loss of your sister's life. While I cannot speak about the procedures of the Long Beach Police Department, I can however tell you about what I believe are common practices amongst larger law enforcement agencies. If detectives from that agency were to have conducted some sort of interview with your sister in regards to a crime, I would suspect that somewhere the interview would have been documented. If not in a formal police report, I would at least expect to find some reference of the meeting in some case notes. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on whether the detectives did anything that would have jeopardized your sisters life although I can see how one might assume that the mere contact with police might have caused such a concern. What I can tell you is that the Long Beach Police Department is a fine organization and I am confident that they will do everything in their power to bring the people responsible for your sisters death to justice. Even after all this time it is possible that someone may come forward with information that will lead them to a suspect. I certainly hope that happens in this case and I encourage you to pray for that lead. I routinely encourage family members to maintain contact with investigating officers so that their lost loved one is kept in the minds of the police. Asking questions is a natural thing and as a detective I expect that it will happen. I would also expect that the investigators would share with you anything that they feel would not be detrimental to the investigation. Good luck and I wish you the best.

- Joel Price, Detective

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JULY 8,2001,JACQUES DASQUE WAS BEATEN TO DEATH BY HIS ADOPTED STEPDAUGHTER,RENEE DASQUE,IN HIS HOME IN ROSEDALE,QUEENS,N.Y. RENEE ALSO ATTEMPTED TO KILL HER SISTER,JEANINE.JEANINE ESCAPED TO A NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE,THE 105TH PCT OF N.Y.P.D. ARRIVED APROX 2:45 AM,BUT DID NOT ENTER THE HOUSE AT THAT TIME.SOMETIME AROUND 7AM N.Y.P.D. RETURNED TO THE RESIDENCE IN RESPONSE TO AN ALLEGED INTRUDER,A CALLSUPPOSEDLYY FROM RENEE'S FORMER BOSS AT RIKER'S ISLAND WHERE RENEE HAD WORKED AS A C.O.AT THAT TIME JACQUES WAS DEAD.THE EXPLAINATION I WAS GIVEN BY DET.ZAMPELLA,NOW RETIRED,WAS"THE DOOR WAS LOCKED".THE EXPLAINATION BY A.D.A.STEVEN ANTIGNANI WAS"ROOKIE MISTAKE".NEITHER EXPLAINATION SEEMS VALID TO ME,JACQUES AND I WERE IN A COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP,P.O.M.C. HAS BEEN OF GREAT HELP TO ME ,BUT I CAN NOT COME TO GRIPS THAT THIS IS PROPPER POLICE PROCEDURE.RENEE HAS BEEN IN CUSTODY SINCE 7-8-01,SHE WAS INDICTED FOR MURDER NOV.01,CASE#03311.THE NEXT COURT DATE IS 9-29-03,I HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT THE STARTING DATE OF THE TRIAL AS JEANINE RECENTLY COMMITTED SUICIDE .ANYTHING YOU CAN TELL ME ABOUT PROCEDURE AND THE IMPLICCATION OF THE 5 HOUR TIME LAPSE MAY HAVE AT TRIAL WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

I am extremely sorry sorry for your loss and extend my condolences to you and the family of Mr. Dasque. Based on your description of the events it is unclear to me why the police would have waited before entering the home. If they had been told about the beating of Mr. Dasque I would have expected that they would have forced entry into the home based on the exigent circumstances. Police and fire department personnel are allowed to enter a home if they have reason to believe that there is a life endangering situation. I can only assume that based on what they were told by Jeanine, they did not feel that a life was endangered. If this were to have happened in Los Angeles, I can tell you that the officers would have more than likely contacted a supervisor to respond to the location and the supervisor would have made the decision. This may have eliminated the "rookie" mistake. I'm not sure that this explanation answers your question as you struggle with your grief and coping with the death of your friend. The taking of the life of another is never easy to understand. I can say that you are doing the right thing in joining POMC and attempting to get the answers to your questions.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My nephew was murdered in hid home by his stepfather while he was downstairs in the basement sitting in a chair playing on his playstation game. From what we were told so far he was shot 3 times in his back and once in his leg. He was able to call 911 before he passed. This happened around 6pm.After he was shot his Mom was shot by the same person and was able to crawl out of the home from the floor she was shot on. the police arrived quickly and was able to rescue my sister and fly her to safety. She was able to tell the police that her son was in the house and that the person who killed her son had told her that he murdered him. My question is since her son was able to call the police how come they didn't go into the home and try to rescue her son. It took the police and swat team 2 hours to get the murderer out of the home and once they searched the home her 19yr old son was later found dead. could you please explain the protocol in a situation as this.

Based on the scenario presented below I can see why it may have taken some time to get to your nephew. It appears the police believed that the suspect posed a threat to their safety and for that reason they did not rush into the home. In situations like this SWAT team leaders are always aware of the potential threat that the suspect presents to their own officers. The suspect in this case had already shot two people and could have therefore been willing to shoot additional people, including the police, or may have been despondent and threatening to take his own life. The preservation of life is of the utmost importance in law enforcement. Reacting too quickly in this situation may have cost the life of another innocent person and it appears to me that the police did what can be reasonably expected of them under the circumstances. Unfortunately, in this case, the person who took your nephews life, prevented those who may have been able to save it, from entering the residence and administering medical treatment.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My 34 yr. old son was murdered in his condo on 3/31/02, Easter Sunday, Miami, FL Head trauma, hit by a blunt object while sleeping. No obvious signs of a break in. CSI spent about 12 hours in his condo. The last person to see him Sat. night was a female friend. I feel they suspect her but she passed the polygraph. Couldn't they have searched her car & home? Duane was going to stop seeing her & could have told her that evening. She is an extremely jealous & possessive person. The detectives are the best in the area and we relied on their expertise. Later we wondered why they did not push media/TV and put flyers up at the gates. This is a 24 hr. community, especially on a Sat. night. Few things were taken out of the apartment (was not robbery) along with the suspected murder weapon. They are convinced it was done by a person known to him. When I asked about profiling...I was told "no"...I did express my feelings to the detective & he said he has "lost sleep" over the case. My son had so many friends, had a great job & was well liked by all who knew him. I guess I am looking for answers any where I can...was there anything else they could have done...that his family could or can do? We are second guessing ourselves over our loss. Only 4 more months & his name will be taken off their wall....

Sorry for the delay but I was away for the holidays and recently returned to a barrage of e-mail. I'm terribly sorry to hear about the loss of your son and I can only imagine the pain you must be feeling with the loss of a child. I will tell you this, it has been my experience that folks who work homicide cases do so because they have a genuine interest in seeing this particular breed of criminal to justice. I do believe that the detective has lost sleep over your son's case as I know I have from time to time.
It sounds like they have followed the traditional course of any investigation by conducting a polygraph of the female friend. Without knowing all of the facts it is impossible for me to reach any conclusions or develop any opinions but I'm certain that during their interview with her they covered all of the bases. As for whether or not they could have searched her car or home again it's difficult to tell. Had they obtained her permission for the searches I doubt that there would be any problem. The alternative would have been to obtain a search warrant, for which they would need to articulate probable cause and obtain a judge's signature. Perhaps they came up a little short in the area of probable cause, particularly given the fact she passed their polygraph.
The media generally marches to their own beat and decides which cases they are going to give attention to. It's not always possible for detectives to "use" the media as you are suggesting. One manipulation technique that I sometimes use is to get the City or County government to offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible for the crime. You may want to suggest this if it hasn't been done. Sometimes the offer of a cash reward is all that is needed to get someone to come forward. Over time some people become more likely to talk about things for a variety of reasons. As far as she may have committed the murder, it sounds quite likely that the suspect was someone who was known to him, this is all too often the case. Have they developed any "potential" suspects? If so, there may sometimes be other ways to develop additional information which I'm sure those detectives are aware of and will work on. As far as profiling, I don't have much experience in that myself but I would suggest that this is done more in serial cases where there are multiple crimes with information and evidence that connects them. In a single victim case it might be hard to develop a profile.
In the end you need to be strong and continue to be the advocate for you son. Keep him "alive" in your minds and continue to maintain communication with the detectives in the case. You never know when something might break the case wide open.
Good luck to you and if I can be of any further assistance please don't hesitate to contact me.

- Joel Price, Detective

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I am a close relative of a recently deceased family member. I am trying to find positive ways to vent my frustration as well as help my family in this great time of grief.

Kenneth Ray Suggs, Jr. died this past Sunday at Pitt Memorial Hospital due to injuries he received while in the custody of the Greenville NC police dept. on January 22, '04. He was taken in to custody and arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges and later released. During the arrest he ran when approached by police and when they caught him he was beaten. Too be honest, I doubt that he put up more than a that as a "fight" because he was a small fellow, and by that I mean he was short around 5' 5" and about maybe 150 lbs. maybe. Anyway, the police beat him at the scene in what me describe as "because he ran". He had no weapon. He has had a previous history with the police dating back to 1997.

The police dept. had to transport him to the hospital immediately after the incident because he began complaining of chest pains, which the hospital emergency room may have treated as "just an asthma attack" and nothing any more serious. I feel because he was being arrested that he didn't get the proper service and attention he needed.

The same night he was taken to jail and he managed to bond out that night. He couldn't even walk to the car to leave the detention center unassisted. That night he was really bad and the next day he went back to the same hospital where he basically began to die because his injuries were so severe.

My family didn't report back to the police until this past Sunday but unfortunately it was too late for my cousin. Now the police dept. will not accept responsibility for this and are saying that why did the family wait until the day he died. The family members that were there at the time were concerned for him and stayed by his side. Everyone was trying to sort out what happened because it was so chaotic. The dept. wants to know why we waited almost 9 days to file a report but to me and the rest of the community it was obvious. Why go back to the same people for help that we feel killed someone in our family.

That's what we are faced with at this time. The local chapter of the NAACP has stepped in but I am afraid because they are a local chapter that they may not get all the answers needed. Everyone is waiting for the Autopsy report to come back to go any further. I strongly believe that lines have been drawn and that things will get no better there.

I live in Trenton, NJ and I am going down for my cousins funeral which will be held on this saturday (2-7-04) the same day which was supposed to be his wedding reception has now turned into his burial.

Please help in giving me answers and/or directions into where to turn please. My cousin was African-American, age 23 and he and I as well as my brother and his uncle grew up together as little kids and this has hit terribly close to home. I will always remember him as "Jr." my little cousin no matter how much trouble he may have been in that day he didn't deserve to die. I have dedicated my self to finding answers and getting resolutions and justice. Homicide is homicide whether accidental or intentional and should be investigated. Please help me help my family. The family doesn't know which way to turn at this point and we are looking for answers as well as outside help into this matter.

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your family member but I'm not sure that I can help you much. In order to form any opinion or give any advice one would have to know that the death was the direct result of the police action. I'm not sure anybody can answer that question without knowing what the cause of death was.

I also not in a position to pass judgement on the actions of the officers as I don't know what happened during the arrest. I can assure you that in this day and age it is highly unlikely that any misconduct by members of the police department would be overlooked. If, after all the facts are in, you still believe that the officers acted improperly and unnecessarily caused the death of you relative, then I would suggest that you take your concerns to the next level of government, either the State Police or the FBI.

Your next step would be guided by the results of the autopsy. If the Medical Examiner lists the death as a criminal homicide then by all means pursue any and all action that you can. You must know that they could also determine that the death is a justifiable homicide which would mean that while the death was the result of the actions of another, that it isn't criminal in nature.

I hope this gives you some direction and if there are any other questions that I can answer after the autopsy results are known, please feel free to contact me again.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My son died from an undetermined cause at his friend's house on December 31, 2003 or January 1, 2004. The Illinois State Police are investigating and trying to determine the cause of death and the facts of the case. A coroner's inquest will be held March 31, 2004 to determine if the death was suicide, homicide or accidental. The problem is this: the coroner of Marion County, Illinois is the father of the mother of my son's friend who was present at the time of his death, as was her husband. My son was a 20 year old college student. I am not satisfied with the explanation the State Police investigator has given me so far. I plan to contact the FBI in the morning. Please advise me. Thank you.

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your son. As far as the inquest, I would say that it needs to take its course before anyone else is going to get involved. One suggestion I would make is to contact a private pathologist to review the autopsy findings of the coroner's office. If your pathologist has some questions about the findings they can be addressed at that point. If he concurs with the coroner's office and the cause of death is not in dispute I'm not sure there is much more that can be done.

- Joel Price, Detective

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MY SON WAS MURDERED JAN 31, 2003. I LAST SPOKE TO HIM APPROX. @ 10:00 PM. WE SPOKE APPROX. 30 MIN. HE SAID HE HAD FRIENDS COMING OVER. STUPID ME DIDN'T ASK NAME.(BIG MISTAKE. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN THE CLUE TO FIND THE KILLERS. MY FAULT AND I REGRET IT EVERYDAY) HE KNEW WHO THEY WERE. I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT IT WAS HIS GIRLFRIEND AND SOMEONE ELSE.THE LAST INCOMING CALL CAME IN AT 11:37. THE LAST CALL GOING OUT WAS TO 911. BECAUSE THIS WAS ALL DONE ON A CELL PHONE, HIS CALL WAS NOT RECORDABLE. NOW I HAVE NOT SEEN THE PHONE RECORDS TO SEE IF THE NUMBER APPEARED ON THE BILL AS A NUMBER OR INCOMING. THE 911 CALL ONLY LASTED 1-2 MIN. WE DON'T KNOW IF THE PHONE WAS HUNG UP, OR WHAT. WE KNOW THE CALL WENT DEAD.HIS ROOMMATES WERE OUT OF TOWN FOR THE HOLIDAYS.HE WAS MURDERED WED. BUT HIS BODY WAS NOT DISCOVERED UNTIL SUN BY HIS ROOMMATES. THEY CALLED THE POLICE. NOW HERE IS QUESTION 1. WHEN THE POLICE CAME AND LOOKED AT THE BODY, THEY COULDN'T FIND WHAT CAUSED HIS DEATH. I DO UNDERSTAND THAT HIS BODY WAS BADLY DECOMPOSED. (HE LIVED IN MIAMI, FLA.) BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T FIND ANYTHING THING, THEY ASSUMED IT WAS NATURAL CAUSES (HE WAS 27) OR FROM A DRUG OVER DOSE. THE POLICE SAID TO "CLEAN UP THE AREA."tHEY IMMEDIATELY CLOSED THE CASE. IS THIS PROPER PROCEDURES? HIS ROOMMATES WERE REALLY SHOCKED TO HEAR THIS. THEY GOT BLOODY PRINTS TO ANALYZE. THEY SAID THEY IT WAS HIS AND THE PRINTS WHICH HAVE NOT COME BACK YET. NOW COMES THE PART THAT JUST DOESN'T FOLLOW THE RULES. MONDAY NIGHT ONE OF HIS FRIENDS CALL TO GIVE ME THEIR CONDOLENCES. THE POLICE NEVER CONTACTED ME. HE DID NOT KNOW THAT WE DIDN'T KNOW. I CAN'T IMAGINE WHAT WENT THRU HIS MIND HAVING TO TELL US THIS.THE POLICE NEVER NOTIFIED US. IN ADDITION, THE FOLLOWING DAY WHICH WAS TUESDAY THEY PUBLISHED AN ARTICLE IN THE MIAMI HERALD OF MY SON'S DEATH. THEY HAD PUBLISHED HIS NAME WITHOUT NOTIFYING ME. QUESTION 2: BEFORE THEY RUN AN ARTICLE TO THE PAPER OR NEWSCAST, AREN'T THEY supposed TO CONCEAL THEIR NAME BEFORE BEING RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC? I LIVE IN VIRGINIA. CAN'T BEGIN TO TELL YOU WHAT WENT THRU MY MIND AND BODY TO READ OF YOUR SON'S MURDER. ON TUESDAY MORNING I CALLED THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND TOLD THEM THEY NEVER CONTACTED ME. THEIR REPLY WAS "NO WE DIDN'T" NO APOLOGIES, NO SYMPATHY, NOTHING. NO REASON WHY EITHER.HOW MUCH COLDER COULD THEY HAVE GOTTEN? I THEN CALLED THE MEDICAL EXAMINER IN FLA. HARD CALL. REALLY HARD. I SPOKE TO HER IN THE MORNING. SHE TOLD ME THE AUTOPSY WOULDN'T BE DONE UNTIL THE AFTERNOON. AFTERNOON CAME AND AUTOPSY DONE. HE HAD BEEN SHOT IN THE CHEST. GUESS WHAT? SURPRISE! THEY HAD TO REOPEN THE CASE.NOW THE CASE GOES TO HOMICIDE. NOW THEY INVESTIGATE. HMMM.. LET'S GO TO WHERE HE WAS FOUND. NO EVIDENCE !!!!!!!! THE POLICE SAID TO CLEAN UP THE AREA. THEY DID.QUESTION 3: UNTIL THEY DETERMINE THE CAUSE OF DEATH, AREN'T THEY supposed TO SEAL OFF THE AREA IN CASE THE NEED EVIDENCE? THERE WAS NO BLOOD AROUND HIM. I AM ASSUMING THAT HE MAY HAVE BEEN KILLED OUTSIDE HIS APARTMENT AND THEN DRUGGED IN AND SET IN THE AREA WHERE HIS BODY WAS FOUND.NOT DONE YET. HANG IN THERE WITH ME. I AND OTHERS HAVE TRIED TO PIECE THIS TOGETHER AND WE HAVE A STRONG SUSPICION ON WHO KNOWS WHO DID THIS TO MY SON. MY SON HAD A GIRLFRIEND. SHE HAS A HORRIBLE BIO AT WWW.MYSPACE.COM WHERE MY SON MET HER. MY SON HAD TATTOOS, PIERCING JUST LIKE MOST KIDS THEIR AGE. HE LIKED TO LIVE LIFE ON THE EDGE. HE WASN'T PERFECT. I WAS TOLD HE DID DRUGS. yes, ITS WRONG. BUT ACCORDING TO HIS FRIENDS IT WAS OCCASIONALLY. HE COULDN'T DO IT a lot BECAUSE HE DIDN'T HAVE A JOB.IRREGARDLESS THE FACT THAT HE DID IT, HE DEFINITELY DIDN'T OWE ANYONE MONEY FOR DRUGS OR WHATEVER.YOU CAN TALK TO THE DETECTIVE WHO IS WORKING THE CASE AND HE CAN TELL YOU HE CANT FIND ANYONE TO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT MY SON. HE WAS SOFT-SPOKEN, READY TO HELP YOU OUT, BE YOUR FRIEND FOR LIFE, NOT ARGUMENTATIVE, NOT CONFRONTATIONAL, HE WAS A GOOD BOY. CHECK OUT HIS WEBSITE. IT'S WWW.RJLOCKWOOD.COM. HIS FORMER BOSS DID THAT IN MEMORY OF MY SON. TALK TO HIM. HE CAN TELL YOU ABOUT MY SON AND THE TYPE OF PERSON HE WAS. OK BACK TO THE THE ISSUE. OK THIS GIRL IS BIPOLAR, DRUG USER, STABBED HER DAD AND ALMOST KILLED HIM (DON'T KNOW IF MY SON KNEW THAT) HAD 3 CHILDREN 2 DIED BUT ONLY SPEAKS OF 2 OF THEM, RUNS AN ESCORT SERVICE AND THE LIST GOES ON. I HAVE SPOKEN TO HER 2 TIMES SINCE THE DEATH OF MY SON. BOTH TIMES SHE TOLD ME ME THAT MY SON WAS THE LOVE OF HER LIFE. HE WAS HER WORLD. THEY WERE GOING TO MOVE IN TOGETHER. HE WAS HER SOULMATE. HE WAS HER EVERYTHING. HE EVEN MET HER DAUGHTER. MY SON DID LOVE HER. HE TOLD ME HE WAS MOVING IN WITH HER. THEY DIDN'T MEET BUT 2 TIMES IN PERSON. THEY BURNED THE PHONE LINES AND THE INTERNET UP. THEY WERE IN CONSTANT CONTACT WITH EACH OTHER. MY SON REALLY MUST HAVE LOVED HER BECAUSE HE HAD STRUCK OUT IN LOVE 3 TIMES AND WOULDN'T ALLOW HIMSELF TO MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN. IT REALLY HURT HIM WHEN HE BROKE UP WITH A GIRL. ANYWAY, THEY WERE supposed TO SPEND NEW YEARS DAY TOGETHER. HE WAS TO LEAVE THE NEXT DAY TO GO TO DC FOR A JOB FOR 2 MONTHS. WITH THIS MONEY HE WAS GOING TO USE THAT SO THEY COULD GET A PLACE TOGETHER.SHE WAS TO TAKE HIM TO THE AIRPORT. Well, FROM WHAT I, AM, SHE WAS AT A BIRTHDAY PARTY WITH HER FIANCE. THEY HAVE THAT ON TAPE. EVERYONE VERIFIES SHE WAS THERE.NEW YEARS DAY COMES. SHE E-MAILS MY SON. SHE DOES CALL AND GETS HIS ANSWERING MACHINE. HMMMMMMMMM ACCORDING TO 911 THE CALL WENT DEAD. SOMEONE HUNG UP THE PHONE WHILE MY SON WAS CALLING 911, HOW ELSE COULD MESSAGES GET THRU HIS PHONE. THE BATTERY DIDN'T GO DEAD. IF HE DIED WHILE HE WAS ON THE PHONE, THEN ANYONE THAT WOULD HAVE CALLED WOULD HAVE GOTTEN A BUSY SIGNAL. RIGHT? SHE LIVES ONLY 30 MIN FROM MY SON. SHE WAS TO SPEND NEW YEARS DAY WITH HIM. SHE DOESN'T DRIVE UP TO MEET HIM AS PLANNED. LEAVES NO REASON WHY SHE DIDN'T VISIT. SHE SAID SHE DIDN'T GET AN ANSWER FROM HIM. SHE WAS TO TAKE HIM TO THE AIRPORT. HE DIDN'T HAVE ANY MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. DAYS GO BY. TODAY IS THE 6TH OF JANUARY. I ASSUME SHE HAS CALLED JUST A FEW TIMES BEFORE THIS DATE. SHE HAS LEFT MESSAGES THAT SHE ASSUMED IT WAS OVER BETWEEN THE 2 OF THEM. THE CALLS STOP FROM HER. HAD SHE CALLED ON THE 6TH SHE WOULD HAVE HEARD ON HIS MACHINE THAT HE HAD PASSED AWAY. GUESS SHE DOESN'T READ THE PAPER OR WATCH THE TV. I KNOW IT MADE THE NEWS THAT DAY.HIS NAME WAS EVEN GIVEN. THAT SUNDAY SHE CALLS AND TELLS ME SHE JUST FOUND OUT. IT JUST FEEL RIGHT. SHE HAS CHANGED HER CELL PHONE, SHE MOVED IN WITH HER MOTHER. IT DOESN'T FIT. THEY DID A FOLLOW UP STORY IN THE MIAMI HERALD. THEY TALKED TO EVERYONE THEY COULD POSSIBLY GET THEIR HANDS ON. WHEN IT CAME TO HER, SHE STATED SHE HAD TO TALK TO ME FIRST.NOW I, AM, SPECIAL.SHE DID NOT NEED TO TALK TO ME TO TALK TO THE NEWS.THEY CONTACTED HER A COUPLE OF TIMES AND SHE REFUSED TO SPEAK. TO THEM. no, SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO SPEAK, BUT IF I THOUGHT 1 PERSON THOUGHT I MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS AND I KNOW I DIDN'T, THEN I WOULD SPEAK TO CLEAR MY NAME. I DO KNOW THAT SHE HAD A MAN THAT SHE WAS WORRIED ABOUT BECAUSE MY SON TOLD ME. HE WASN'T WORRIED BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IF HIS CELL PHONE NUMBER CAME UP IT WOULD HAVE A DC NUMBER NOT FLORIDA. MY PERSONAL OPINION IS THAT TYPICAL REASON WHY I DON'T KNOW, THE ANGRY BOYFRIEND "HIT" MY SUSPICIONS ARE THAT SHE NOR HIM(MAYBE) DIDN'T ACTUALLY SHOOT HIM BUT THEY KNOW WHO DID. I BELIEVE HE WAS SET UP. SOMEONE KNEW HE WOULD BE ALONE THAT NIGHT. NOW HOW MANY PEOPLE TAPE A NEWS YEAR EVE PARTY? HOW MANY PEOPLE WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW IS YOUR FIANCE IS IN THE PICTURE? BUT REMEMBER MY SON WAS YOUR EVERYTHING AND YOU WERE TO SPEND THE NEXT DAY TOGETHER.DID YOU THINK HE WOULNT SEE THE TAPE? NOW MY SON HAD ONLY BEEN AT HIS APARTMENT BUT A COUPLE OF WEEKS. I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE HIS ADDRESS. HE HAD NO BILLS, NOTHING TO FORWARD TO HIM.HIS ROOMMATES KNEW WHERE HE LIVED, BUT SO DID SHE. MY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS ARE DO I HAVE ENOUGH TO SUE THE POLICE FOR ALL THE WRONG PROCEDURES THAT THEY BOTCH. THE DETECTIVE DID STATE THAT BY CLEANING UP THE CRIME SCENE, THEY LOST A LOT. THEY HAVE STATED THAT NEITHER HE OR SHE IS A SUSPECT. BUT WE HAVE HEARD THAT BEFORE(IE, PETERSON, BLAKE, SIMPSON) THEY MAY HAVE NOT BEEN CONVICTED BUT THEY WERE NOT A SUSPECT AT FIRST. THE POLICE PUT THAT IN THE PAPER. THEY SAID THEY WOULD GIVE HER A LIE DETECTOR TEST BUT THAT'S A LONG WAY OFF. WHY CAN'T THEY DO IT NOW AND IF SHE'S TELLING THE TRUTH THEY CAN MOVE ON TO HIM. THEY BELIEVE EVERYTHING SHE SAYS. THIS JUST DOESN'T FIT. WHAT DO I DO? WHERE DO I GO?HELP!!!!!!!!!!MY SON WASNT PERFECT. HE HAD HIS FAULTS BUT HE SURE DIDNT DESERVE TO DIE LIKE THIS NOR ANYONES ELSES CHILD OR FAMILY MEMBER. I DONT REMEMBER US BEING GIVEN THE RIGHT TO KILL SOMEONE FOR HIS OWN GAIN. NOT ONLY DID THEY KILL MY SON BUT THEY KILLED A PART OF ALOT OF PEOPLE. OUR LIVES HAVE CHANGED FOREVER. Need to know if I have enough to sue the police department and or if you may know any attorneys that could help me out. Thank you for your time and patience.

You have asked many questions in your e-mail and I will attempt to answer them in the order they were posed. While it is human nature to blame oneself for what you could have done, I hope you can talk with professionals who can help you understand that this was in no way your fault. Your first question dealt with the cause of death. While it appears that several days passed between his death and the discovery I cannot imagine why the mode of death could not be determined. The decomposition of the body should not have been a factor in determining that he died of a gunshot wound. Our climate here in Los Angeles is not that dissimilar to that in Florida and I'd like to think that even the newest of rookie cops would have made that observation. Obviously, that would have changed the entire direction of the investigation but it did not. What occurred after that seems to be moot. You raised a question about notification of next of kin. In Los Angeles County, the Coroner's Office is responsible for making notification to surviving family members. There is an order in which that is accomplished and once the first family member is notified their obligation is fulfilled. As far as any article that was placed into the paper I'm sure that it was done by the paper and not by the police. It is generally pretty difficult to get any news agency to run an article when we want them to but they are all to willing when they think it will grab headlines and attention. Typically what will happen is that they pick the information up on a scanner or over the wire service. They will then make a phone call to the agency that is handling the event and develop a story from there. I don't think that the police are to blame here! Your third question deals with the securing of a crime scene. Obviously, the best results will be gathered from a "fresh" crime scene. The fact that they police did not secure the scene leaves it open to all sorts of contamination and degradation. It would also make it far more difficult to prosecute a suspect if one were to ever be developed. Had the mode of death been determined initially the crime should have been secured and processed by professionals. This may have been helpful in determining the sequence of events and perhaps identifying potential suspects. If you feel that this investigation is not being handled properly by the local police I would suggest that you try to make contact with the State Department of Justice or its equivalent. Perhaps they can assist you in getting some of the answers and turning this investigation around.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My 18 year old son was murdered on New Years Eve of this year by a young man he had never before, and there are some things we can't seem to understand. My son had arrived to our house with some of his friends, and one of them double parked her vehicle in the street .Another vehicle came up behind it and started honking ,and my son went to the drivers side of the vehicle and informed them that the car would be moved ,and to please stop honking. The driver jumped out and assaulted my son,and a fight began. Very quickly the passenger jumped out and joined in the beating, kicking my son. The passenger then[by his own admission during the preliminary hearing] summoned the shooter from down the street to join in the beating, and he was shot to death by the third boy. When the initial physical confrontation erupted ,the driver shouted out to my son that tonight was the night he was going to die. The driver admitted to this in court.After the killing was done, all three young men jumped into the car and backed out quickly as they could and fled the neighborhood.The police had their licence plate,and pulled the car within a half of an hour of the murder.The shooter jumped out and ran immediately, and police did not go after him.They questioned the driver and passenger,and charged the driver with murder[the .357 was left in the vehicle that shooter used] The passenger is being used as a chief witness of the murder, and his story on all events of that confrontation differ wildly from the other eye witnesses to the murder.The driver was convicted as an accessory after the fact, a misdemeanor--he'll be out in October of this year. Why would they not charge the passenger with an accessory as well? He has admitted to assaulting my son and also going to great effort to get the shooter to the scene. Many witnesses also say that he also made death threats against my son.Is this normal procedure for a suspect [we think he is a suspect] to be trusted after he was caught with the shooter, witnessed the murder and left the scene willingly with a killer? We are devastated by this loss, my son was a successful college student. The boys who murdered him are high school dropouts, with no jobs.The driver and the shooter [the shooter was caught 5 days later after we offered a reward] announced expensive, extremely competent attorniys after their arrests. They have been respresented very well so far, and we are stumped. Thank you in advance for your reply.I appreciate your answer, whatever it may be.

First let me extend my heartfelt sympathies at the loss of your son. Another young life taken through the acts of cowards. In response to your question I can only assume that some sort of "deal" was made with the passenger suspect in order to get him to testify against the others. Unfortunately, our justice system must sometimes do this in order to convict the more serious and culpable suspects. I too have experienced this same sort of disappointment in some of the cases that I have handled. In California (I don't know if it is the same in your state) the prosecution must prove that the other parties involved in the beating knew that the third person had the intent to kill. That is very often difficult or impossible to do. The prosecution would have had to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the people in the car and involved in the beating, knew that the person that they summoned intended to kill your son. Again, and unfortunately, sometimes we have to make deals with the devil in order to convict those most responsible for the death. I hope this answers your question and if not please let me know. I am also available to answer any other questions you might have as you try to make some sense out of this tragic loss.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Until my sister-in-law was found dead of a gunshot wound last month my husband and I were avid watchers of true life series such as Forensic Files. My husband is a former Army Medic and knows the basics of what he calls hamburger surgery for lack of a better phrase. But outside of what he already knows about guns in general and anatomy, we have been left with dozens of questions. As a professional that has dealt with the investigative side of homicide, can you give us a general idea of what the police can and cannot tell us about the investigation. We have so little information and no one from the local authorities seems in a hurry to share any information. Who should we be asking for when we have questions? What should we be asking? Is a copy of the autopsy usually made available to the family? (My sister-in-law's is expected to be finished in about a week from now.) According to my husband's other sister nothing was removed from the apartment by investigators other than the body and a handgun. (We already know who the owner of the handgun is.) On television everything is bagged and catalogued. What should families expect as a general rule? I know that CSI is fictional, but what other frame of reference does the general public have? If we knew more about what to expect in "the real world" it would be helpful.

I'm sorry to hear of your family's loss. I can only imagine the grief you must be feeling. In response to your question I can give you my own personal experiences in dealing with those left behind. I completely understand the family's desire and need to know every detail of the investigation. What I do as an investigator is to let the family know right up front that I will answer any questions that will not compromise the ongoing criminal investigation. The last thing any of us would want is to give away clues that would make finding a killer more difficult. Unfortunately, many of the questions that family's have are those that would, or could cause a compromise. All of your questions should be directed to the person in charge of the investigation. He (or she) is best equipped to answer them and you will get truthful information. The autopsy results are most likely public record and should be available to you when they are complete. You would need to check with your County Sheriff or Coroner's office to confirm that. What you haven't told me in your e-mail is whether her death is being categorized as a homicide. Generally, in homicide cases there would be all sorts of evidence recovered from the scene. Some of it you may not have missed because it can come in forms you wouldn't miss. Fingerprints, blood, hair, biological specimens and fibers are just a few things that you probably wouldn't notice were taken. These are very often the most critical pieces of evidence in a case. I hope that I've answered your questions and please feel free to ask again if I haven't, or you have others.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My friend was the victim of an assault and robbery in 2001. I recently found out that the case has been closed with no suspects. I am quite upset. What does this mean? He lived in Minnesota, so the laws might be different. Is his case just forgotten now? If so, all I can say is we surely live in a horrid world. I am not blood to him, so I am not included in much of the info. I was told by family members that a woman had confessed to hitting him with a 2x4, but nothing more was told about it because of confidentiality. If it is closed, does that mean information can be made public? I really have thought all along that because he was no important person, they didn't really work on his case. I was even told that because of 9-11 happening a couple of months later, they wouldn't be concentrating as much. Also, the police have my last letter he wrote to me a few days before he was assaulted. Do you think I can get that back? I have never had a loved one have this happen before, so I am really confused and upset again. He never deserved this, and he doesn't deserve to be disrespected by the cops either. Any guidance or suggestions you have will be most appreciated. Thanks so much.

I'm not sure by the language in your letter whether the friend you refer to was killed or the victim of a robbery. I am assuming that he died as a result of injuries sustained in the attack and will answer your questions based on that assumption. While the laws may be slightly different from state to state, the unlawful killing of a human being is vigorously enforced in all states. You say that the case is shown as "closed," this could have several meanings. I'm not sure whether the case is closed because the perpetrator has been charged with the crime, is unable to be charged due to lack of sufficient admissible evidence or may have even died themself. All of these may be possible. I have a difficult time with the premise that they gave the case little attention because of who the victim was or wasn't. Detectives and investigators working in homicide are generally there because they want to be. Our main focus is to identify suspects, charge them criminally and to give the family and other loved ones some measure of justice and/or closure. You must keep in mind that while investigating crimes we have to follow the rules and abide by the law in order to obtain evidence that can be used in court. We cannot risk violating the rights of suspects in order to get the information that we want. To do so would do more harm than good. While I can understand your frustration with our system, it is the best justice system in the free world. It sounds as though you may be close with some of his family members. I would suggest that you speak directly with them to see if they have the answers to your questions. If not, I'm sure they share some of your same questions and I would encourage them to contact the investigators and get answers to the questions.
In the meantime I offer my condolences and encourage you to remember your friend as he lived.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My brother Raymond Weed, was murdered in his own home on Dec 23, 2003 in Wilton Maine. The person/persons who had done this have not been caught. The state police have this listed as an open investigation yet I do not feel that they are doing much with it. They basically are at a loss. I would like to know what rights as a family member I have to the police records, and such. I am looking into the second opinion services through POMC yet I do not have very much to give them. The state police have yet to give us a list of the items taken from the crime scene. We have asked for this several times. One of my concerns is that one of the suspects was/is a local police officer in the town of Wilton, whom also was reported to the first police on the scene. Other reports (rumors) were that items had been moved, taken or tempered with on the scene prior to the state police being called. What rights do we the family have in order to get some assistance to solve this horrific crime. I do not know where to turn or who to contact for help Thank you again..

I am sorry to hear about your loss. Investigators assigned to homicides cases generally like to keep much of the information they have developed to themselves. This ensures that the investigation is not compromised by media leaks and misinformation. Keeping certain aspects of the crime confidential can only help investigators as they continue to go about investigating clues and developing suspects. The list of evidence taken from the crime scene may be the sort of information they want to keep to themselves. I understand your concern if one of the main usspect is, or was, in fact a police officer. If you feel that the investigating agency is not acting appropriately I would suggest that you go to your State Department of Justice or Bureau of Investigation and make them aware of the case and your concerns.

The taking of a human life by another is a crime that demands that it be solved regardless of who committed the crime. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

- Joel Price, Detective

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My son was murdered on May 1/04. The one they have in custody was a friend of my son. He has plead guilty to 2nd degree. A very quick plea..I have always said someone else had to help him..they kept telling me no. After his plea was entered in court..now he is running his mouth in jail which has them following these leads and they know there is a great possibilty that this other guy is involved. The Det. told me the other day that when he returns from vacation that they are going to run a nic or something on his car and try to catch him this way. He has a APB and the FBI helping and this guy is from Alabama and a drifter. Now do I understand now that if this turns up premeditated that Jasper's plea has to stand?? Very confused with our systems.

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I am sure that there is little comfort knowing that only one of the people responsible for his death is in jail while the other(s) remain free.

I'm not sure what a "nic" is but it sounds like the police are doing everything they can to located this individual. Unfortunately, the plea made by the other individual will stand despite any new information. The people are prevented from bring him to trial because of the earlier plea agreement. I'm not sure what State you are writing from but even 2nd degree murder must carry a fairly lengthy prison sentence. I wish you luck with the continuation of your case.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Unfortunately I to am a parent of a murdered child. I was a single parent of a beautiful little boy named Devon Justice. 3 weeks shy of having his much anticipated Spiderman party for his 3rd birthday, a man that I had dated broke into my apartment, took my sleeping child, led him to the pool and ended both of our lives forever. The next day the man was arrested after admitting in horrific detail how he killed my angel. But no, he did not stop there. 17 hours after taking my childs life he went on live television and said that he killed Devon because I told him to. Anybody that knew Devon and I or even had any sort of a brain, knows that the accusations that he made could never be farther from the truth. The question that I have is this... WHY MUST DETECTIVES TREAT ME LIKE THE CULPRIT! Don't they know what I am going through? Don't they see that I lost the ONLY thing EVER worth living for? They REFUSE to tell me ANYTHING, the treat me like a MURDERER! They tell the news EVERYTHING BEFORE THEY TELL ME! I AM HIS MOTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM DEAD! My son was my breath of life, and he is GONE! Why are they doing this to me? Losing my son is unbearable, but NOT knowing ANYTHING about the case is KILLING ME! I want to know everything, I want to be a part of putting this sick thing to death!!!!!! This is MY son and I WANT REVENGE! He took my life now I want to help take his! (I mean death penalty only, not doing it myself) Do you know how torturous it is to have ANYONE look at you as a MURDERER! How can I prove to them that the only one that did anything wrong is in jail awaiting trial. How can I change their attitudes towards me? How do I help my son get justice? Why wont they tell me what the coroners report said, why wont they treat me like a person!!!!!!!!!!! When do I get my sons Spiderman toy back and his pajama's and my laptop computer? They wont tell me ANYTHING! I cant be in the dark anymore, I deserve to know, I am the only voice that Devon has! Please help me understand if you can...

Wow, what a horrific story! I can only imagine your pain. I'm not sure anything I can say will make it any easier for you but I'll try. It sounds to me like the police are stuck in the middle on this one. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. As investigators responsible for investigating the most egregious of crimes it is our responsibility to look at all possible suspects so as not to allow a responsible party to go free. The manner in which this is done, if handled delicately, may have a bearing on how you feel about being investigated as a possible suspect in your child's death. It sounds to me like they're choosing to ignore your pain and grief in their efforts. While I haven't had the misfortune of handling a case such as yours I have had to go through the elimination process of ruling out loved ones as suspects. This has included taking gunshot residue tests and administering polygraph examinations to loved ones. While this process is necessary it is nevertheless painful. To think that someone would suspect you of having anything to do with your child's death is to you, unthinkable. For the police on the other hand, if they were to ignore this possibility, it could be raised as a possible defense or used as a mitigating factor at the real killers trial. While I hesitate to suggest it, you may want to consider contacting an attorney. Not because you have anything to hide but because he/she might be able to act as a go-between and lessen some of the grief caused by this process. I hope that in some small way I have been able to help you with my words. Keep remembering your wonderful child as he lived and be strong for him.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My son was murdered on May 1st. I have always felt that there was someone else involved besides just the one. They have one in custody. I have had people to tell them of another and they have questioned him and he said he was there but left and when pressed, he said he wanted an attorney. They tell me they don't have enough evidence to charge him. What right do I have as a parent to look at what they have? Thank you

I am sorry to hear of your loss and can only imagine your grief. Your instincts and information may be very accurate in regards to another suspect who may have been involved. I'm not sure where you live but you can rest assurred that if evidence exists that connects this person to the crime, the police will continue to pursue evidence that will allow them to prosecute him in the future. Unfortunately, we in law enforcement have to work within the law while conducting our investigations and gathering information in order to charge people with crimes. This system, although not perfect, protects the rights of the innocent and is the best system in the free world. Detectives like to keep certain information confidential in order that they not compromise the investigation. Generally speaking, Detectives are willing to share most information with family members so long as it will not impede their investigation. I suggest you approach the detectives with your concerns and ask questions. Good luck!

- Joel Price, Detective

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Three years ago my 22 yr old son was murdered as he entered his home, returning from work, by a friend of his room mate. His room mate was present during his murder and I have always believed her to be involved in some manner. Without going into too much detail here, I would like to ask a couple of questions, even though the police and D.A. were suspicious of the room mate, there was no doubt who had actually murdered him, (he was able to run out of the house to the home next door, lived long enough to name his murderer), could the D.A. have elected to not persue her suspicions so as not to weaken her case against the person who stabbed my son? 2) How would a person go about finding if someone had taken out an insurance policy on another person, especially if this may have been done in another State?

I am sorry it has taken so long to respond to your questions. I have been working on a case of my own for the past several weeks. I am sorry to hear of your loss and my heart goes out to you and your family. I would suggest that you ask the D.A. directly why they chose not to charge the roommate. IT may be that they didn't feel they had sufficient evidence to convict her. Personally I like having several people charged with a murder. It's been my experience that often times the truth comes out when one suspect speaks out against another. Care must be used in this case to ensure that any information obtained is corroborated. In response to your question about insurance I can only say that the insurance companies check into any death before paying out a death benefit. In the case of a homicide I cannot imagine that they would pay out without checking with the investigators to see if the beneficiary has been eliminated as a suspect. I hope this helps and please feel free to contact me with any additional questions.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My nephew was murdered in his home while sitting in a chair. He was shot in the back of his neck and the lower part of his back and his leg. he was able to call the police before he died. The police were there within 5 minutes of the phone call. his mother was also shot on another level of the home and was able to get crawl out of the home once the police arrived she also told home that the person who shot her told her that he had killed her son. can you tell me why the police did not go into the home and administer medical help to my nephew, the person who killed him was still in the home and gave himself up 2 hours after the swat team arrived.

I’m sorry to hear of you loss. This sounds like one of those situations where the police had their hands tied. Given what you’ve told me I would have to imagine that the reason that the police did not go into the house to render aid was for fear that they too would be shot. The fact that the suspect was still inside the location and had to be persuaded to come out by a SWAT team certainly supports that theory. While I am sure that it pained the officers to have to stand by and wait they could also not just charge into the house and make themselves targets of this killer. This suspect had already demonstrated his willingness to kill by shooting your nephew and his mother. The prudent thing to do in these situations is to minimize the potential loss of life by keeping others out and letting those who are specially trained with situations to take over.

While this may be painful to hear it is however reality.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My brother was murdered in Houston, Texas 20 years ago, Dec. 26, 1985. My parents are deceased and I am the ONLY living sibling. I have been trying to stay on top of this murder case, but after 20 years it has NOT been solved.
I have spoken to the detective at least once a year, the last time was 2 weeks ago. When I spoke to him I asked him if I could look at the file and the pictures and the evidence, which he told me NO. So I asked him what was the next step, he told me NOTHING, that he was going to put the file back in the "file13" or the filing cabinet. And he told me that unless someone confesses to the crime there is nothing else to be done.
Can you PLEASE HELP ME OR GUIDE me in what do to next????? I have been living with this for 20 years, and I know if the shoe was on the other foot my brother would be pushing this for me.
PLEASE HELP!! I NEED HELP!!!

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your brother and I think its great that you still keep him alive in your memories. Believe it or not, old cases do sometimes get solved, and other than by confessions. New technology is being refined at an incredible rate and cases are being solved as a result. Not to give you false hope but I just received a letter from someone who provided me with the name of a suspect in a 1965 murder! Knowledge of this magnitude causes people, particularly as they age, to become more willing to share information with law enforcement.
Your desire for knowledge about your brother’s death is not unusual and is likely made more difficult by the fact that you live out of state. I have to believe, that if you were to find yourself in Houston, and you were to visit the police department, that you would come away with some of what you are seeking. As a homicide investigator I believe that one of my responsibilities is to assist the family in coping with their loss. As long as the information does not jeopardize the case I see no reason you could not be given an update on what was done.
I hope that this helps and that you get the answers that you need from the police department involved.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My daughter was murdered on July 30, 2003. She was murdered in E. Gillespie, IL. She was 22 years old. It was daylight, she was killed in her own home as her four year old son witnessed this horrible crime. To date, this person has not been caught yet. I can't tell you or explain to anyone what it feels like. Everyone's pain is different. I can tell you that the agony that I am experiencing, along with my youngest daughter is almost unbearable. It is a day-to-day struggle. I held a candlelight vigil on Feb. 26th of this year in honor of my daughter. I got great community support. I had local newspaper, outlying newspaper, and Television News coverage before and after. I tried to raise awareness within this community that they do have a support group to go to if need be. I found it difficult to find one so I thought in honor of my daughter, I would do the vigil and raise awareness here that others do have a place to go. That they are not alone. Whether it be a loss through natural causes, an accident, or anything. I will be attending the gathering for National Crimes Victim Week which is held in Montgomery, AL which is very close to where I am. Didn't mean to get off track, my question is this, what more can I do to help our investigators find justice for my daughter?

I'm sory to hear about your loss. I can only imagine the pain you must be experiencing with the loss of your daughter. You are doing the right thing to keep her alive in yur memories. I think that every time you share your story it impacts others and you can only help. While it pains me to say this, I think you should try to start a chapter of POMC in your area. I'm sure you're not the only one who is suffering from a tragic loss and the support system that POMC can provide to those in your situation can only help with the healing.

As far as what you can do, I'am not sure. I would imagine that the police have followed up on all the leads and that thus far they have led to dead ends. Just know that these cases continue to be worked on until they are resolved. I would encourage you to speak with the investigators personally if you haven't already and let them know that you will do whatever it takes to see this case brought to justice. I also think that this will help you understanding what has, and being done to try to solve the case.

I also want to impress upon you that seemingly unsolvable cases are solved every day. Witnesses come forward, technology advances and additional evidence is brought to light. I believe that good triumphs over evil and that some day justice will be served. Until then keep the faith and continue to keep your daughter alive through whatever means possible.

- Joel Price, Detective

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I have a question in regard to a parents right when you feel not enough is being done on a murder case. Time period a year, leads are few but dribbling in. Detectives will not allow or release any case file information or photos until they consider it a Cold case. There meaning of Cold Case is when no more information comes in. How long of a period? They will not respond.
Our detectives appear to be against any "other" involvement attempt we would want to bring forth. We have kept in touch with them constantly. Now every two weeks, meetings etc. I am going to go back and register with your organization but wanted more information as I see in the S.O.S forms you have to supply what information the Detectives have (and won't release.) Is there something I should know on how to go about this?

My Son was murdered on March 24th, 2004. He is from Chicago. Openly Gay with our full support and love. He was stabbed 42 times in the back. We have contacted America's Most Wanted three times. Just recently they called the Detectives but it appears that it is not a high profile case, enough to warrant them to air the information. Unfortunately, I guess it all boils down to publicity and exposure. If they(America's Most Wanted) have a good possibility of solving and adding to there credits, I guess they go that route from what I'm told. Thank You for any help or guidance you can furnish me.

Homicide investigations are complex and as such require that certain information be kept confidential as long as leads continue to surface. To release certain information could jeopardize the investigation and could hinder prosecution of those responsible. In reviewing your website I see that the police have a person of interest that they are looking for. This is certainly a good sign. While it is difficult to sit by assume that nothing is being done I can assure you that behind the scenes the police are doing everything they can. Sometimes, time helps solve murders. In several cases that I’ve handled information has come to the surface when people have had falling outs our find themselves struggling with information that they know might help ease a suffering victim’s family.

My experience with America’s Most Wanted is that they want a named suspect before they produce a segment. They rarely do episodes where the suspect is unknown. I happen to have a case myself that I am trying to get them to profile but am having a difficult time as I only have an picture of the suspect and do not yet know his identity.

Obviously I can’t render an opinion as to the solvability of your son’s case having not been involved in the investigation. I hope that you can continue to keep Kevin alive in your thoughts and remember him for the wonderful person that he was. It is clear from the sight that he was loved by all of you!

- Joel Price, Detective

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What kind of evidence is considered significant? What is considered "evidence" in a murder trial?

I am writing in response to your question about what constitutes “significant” evidence. Evidence comes in a variety of forms as indicated below:

#1 Testimonial - evidence presented by a witness through testimony on the stand.
#2 Direct evidence - that which is supported by some tangible item (fingerprints, DNA, etc.)
#3 Circumstantial – evidence that tends to support a theory offered by the prosecution.

Each one of the above types of evidence can prove powerful in a criminal case. Many cases are based on a combination of all or some of these different types of evidence. Evidence is to be considered by the jurors and the weight given to certain evidence, is sometimes supported by other types of evidence. An example might be……a witness testifies that he saw a particular person commit a crime. This type of evidence is testimonial. It would be supported by fingerprints or DNA left behind at the scene and testified to by an expert in the form of direct evidence. Testimonial evidence is also often supported by circumstantial evidence as is the case in many recent high profile cases.

Any of these types of evidence can be considered substantial. They are all building blocks which when put together help to make the puzzle. It is up to the jurors to decide the guilt or innocence after being presented with all of the pieces.

- Joel Price, Detective

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I'm the father of a slain daughter in Savannah Georgia. My daughter did not live with me but with her sister, mother and mothers live-in boyfriend. My daughter was reported missing April 18,2003 last seen with the boyfriend. I later found out he was a convicted child molester. The Savannah Police has drop the ball in several areas and now I feel are playing cover up. I also feel they are not aggressively pursuing this case because they have the mothers boyfriend in jail on probation violation. Granted the evidence is weak due to the body being badly decomposed. The reason I'm contacting you is this weekend marks the 2 year anniversary of her body discovery, the local new wants to do a story. Should I use this opportunity to blast them in the media for there lack of aggressiveness, flawed detective work and unwillingness to communicate with us?

I’m sorry to hear of your daughter’s tragic death. I can only imagine how difficult it must be. In answer to your question I think a story about your daughter would not only be timely but could potentially be helpful. As far as the police handling of the case, that’s a little more difficult to respond to. I assume, based on the comment that the possible suspect is a convicted child molester, that your daughter was young. As a homicide investigator I try hard not to jump to conclusions. I can’t tell you why the police are doing things the way they are but I want to believe that they have a reason for it.
Having a potential suspect in jail on another charge is a good thing. I’m sure the police are doing some “behind the scenes” things in hopes of getting some incriminating evidence against this guy. I would imagine that the police have already discussed the evidence with the prosecuting agency and that they’ve been told that more evidence is needed before they will file the case. The best chance of that happening is with the guy in jail, for two reasons. One, he won’t be able to hurt anyone else’s child and two, he’s in a control environment where he has far fewer constitutional rights as he does when he is walking the streets. What I mean by that is that he can be monitored. Mail, visits, phone calls etc.
Newspaper stories can help stimulate people to talk about their crimes particularly if the story is written with the suggestion that the police are hot on the trail of the suspect. I’ve used this several times with success. I would caution you about blasting the police and instead talk to them about the possibility of working together to get this story in the papers. They should be prepared to monitor his phone calls, visits and mail immediately after the story runs if they aren’t doing that already. The laws are different in each state but I’m sure they are able to do it. The only question is how much red tape is there to get it done.
In the end you and the detectives assigned to your daughters case all have the same goal……find the person responsible for her death and bring him/her to justice. Let me know what happens.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My brother was murdered in Milford New Hampshire.
My Mom passed away a few years ago without knowing who murdered my brother.
This week my sister had contacted the Milford Police to see if by any chance there was any information about my brother Mike's murder. She was told that in fact there was. In 2002 a psychiatrist from California had contacted them and said that she had been treating a patient there that had confessed to the murder and he has passed away. The police said that they tried to contact the family, however they were not able to find anyone on their contact list. My Mom had passed, me and my sisters had moved. The issue is that the police cannot give us any information about the person who murdered my bother. They are bound by confidentiality? Is there a way that this information can be released to my family? I am having a hard time grasping this whole confidentiality thing. Is the family not allowed to have some type of closure?

I can well imagine your confusion because I too am confused by this. If the murder of your brother was solved and the person responsible is now dead I don’t see who would be harmed by the release of this information to the family of the victim. If this were a case of mine you can rest assured that I’d release the name to you. I don’t see any confidentiality issues here at all, the suspect is dead. The person who holds the confidential privilege would be the psychiatrist and she has obviously determined that the privilege no longer needs to be upheld given her patients death!

If they’ve closed this case and cleared the murder with the death of this individual who confessed, then the results of the investigation are most likely public information discoverable through the Freedom of Information Act. There is no way they could argue that disclosure of this information would jeopardize the investigation if they’ve already closed it.

I would try a personal visit to the police department and ask to speak with whoever is in charge of the homicide unit and/or detective operations. If they still try to hide behind the confidentiality issue I would advise you to contact an attorney. I would hate to see it come to that but I can understand your desire to know some of the answers to questions you’ve no doubt had since 1986.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My son has been missing since February 16, 2005, and is presumed murdered. There are eyewitnesses who have stated that they know where his body is but it has not been found. I have heard that psychics have been used to aid in locating bodies and am seeking information on this. I have spoken with one of the local detectives about this and have been told that the police would not be the ones to persue this method of help. Can you help me with this?

While I understand your need to know the whereabouts of your son this is not an area that I, as a detective, have ever gone. I can tell you that from my perspective I don't feel that the use of a psychic will have the results that you so desperately seek. If there are in fact witnesses who know where your sons body is I would imagine that the police would pursue that avenue.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Tina is my sister, I do not know who to turn to, I do not know my rights or should I say what I can and should do ........Maryland detectives have answered my questions, but I am not sure what I am entitled to...Can I get autopsy reports, her belongings from when she was found, police records of her case, photos from the crime seen ? What can I do to help? How much should I contact the detectives and how ? Should I go to where she was found ? I do know that the detectives had found hair in my sister's hand and till this day they have no DNA reports done on it...Do I have any way to get them to run DNA sooner? Time is running out and she could have been holding the answers in her hand for 2 years, I was told if there is no suspect then DNA can not be run, Now I am told it takes months to get DNA run, 9/14/05 it has been 2 years why has it not been run yet? I would think you run the DNA and try to find a suspect, would you know what I can do to get the DNA run faster?

First, let me say how sorry I am for your loss and that I am certain that law enforcement is doing everything in their power to find her killer. As a homicide investigator this is what I tell the families of my victims…...they can ask me anything they would like. If I know and am able to answer the questions, I will. If the answer would jeopardize the investigation I will tell them that, while I know the answer to the question, I cannot give the answer because it would jeopardize the investigation. That said, go ahead and ask any questions that you have.

The DNA question is a little more difficult. Without getting too technical, there are two types of DNA tests that can be done with hair but it depends on whether you have pieces of hair or the entire hair, root and all. One is much more difficult, takes longer, and the results don’t produce the numbers that the other one does. When I say numbers I am referring to the chances that the hair belongs to a particular subject. I hope this is clear. In order for any of this to be relevant you would need a known subject to compare the results to or a database containing known subjects to search. I don’t know what your state has. I do know that the Federal government is working on a Nationwide DNA database that, at some point, will be able to search through all states looking for a match. These databases are continually updated with new subjects and this is why some of the old murders are being solved. In other words, assuming that the hair in your sister’s case does produce a DNA profile, it would need to be compared to a known subject or against a database of known subjects. If the killers DNA profile is not in the database obviously there would be no match. The DNA profile from that hair would remain in the database and if in the future someone were to try to input the same profile, it would reveal a match and point back to your sister’s murder.

I hope this explanation makes sense and that it provides some of the answers that you are looking for. DNA is relatively new to law enforcement and is being improved upon constantly. If your state does not currently have a DNA database you might want to become active in pushing through some legislation to get one. In California all persons convicted of most felony crimes are sampled and entered into our state’s database. This has resulted in many old murder cases being solved.

- Joel Price, Detective

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I am turning to you as a last resort. My son supposedly committed suicide Oct28, 2005. He was found with some contraption that held 20 guage shotgun and shot himself in the heart. The problem is he was living with ex wife, she had beaten him many times in the past and had beaten him with a baseball bat about 1 1/2 wks before this happened. She has told police that she knew about gun and shells evening before and even threw them at him and said whatever. She has told several different stories to diffrent people, and says she was not there when he did this , but she was one that found him. She has told police that she and him watched a movie on suicide the night before, and he did it just like guy in movie. I don't believe that he watched that movie (if there even is a movie) due to I know they were arguing night before because he went home and found she had lfet children alone again and she was off with some ex boyfriend. Investigators have told me that the day it happened they thought she was one of emt members due to she was not upset at all. And they have even said its obvious she just didn't care, and is a cold hearted person. My son has told me in the past that if anything happens to him be sure they look at her cause she has threatened him more than once to kill him. I told police I wanted this investigated that day, and his body was removed before investigators arrived and she had things picked up. She left house that night with several black garbrage bags on back of truck, and made it a point to be seen going to library to return something the very eve of his death. She came to me about a month afterwards, and stated to me , my husband nad my mother, that she pulled trigger that morning before she left, and they never found her prints on gun and investigation was closed so i can't do a thing about it. I went to state police and filed a supporting deposition, and they questioned her and she said she said it to make me made because I accused her of killing him. I have never said that to her, I have said it to police investigators. So anyway nothing was done, she in turn went to a local domestic violence organization, told viciouse lies and got order of protection against me and stopped my visitation with my grandchildren. She had told me that night," hes dead, grow up and get over it and you will not be seeing my children anymore, I have already spoken with attorney."The order was thrown out in family court, but I have to go back for visitaion now. She also went to a tatto parlor the day after his death and had a broken heart tombstone with his name, date of birth, and date of death tattoed on her upper chest, and enjoys flaunting it in front of us. The police believe it was a suicide, but I have a strong instinct it was not, but made to look like it. My son and I was very close and had a bond, psycic you could call I guess. I know something is not right. Police have told me investigation is closed, but yet autopsy report is not even in yet. When askked why they closed it without investigating like I requested they told me because coroner ruled it a suicide. So tell what was the point of sending his body away for an autopsy then, and how can a coroner rule that with out knowing all the facts? Please telll me what I have to do, to get these police to open there eyes and see someting is just not right. I have considered going to to the local DA's office with this, should I?

I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I’m not sure that there is anything that I can say that will make this situation any easier for you. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for me to reach any conclusion as to whether you son’s death was a suicide or a homicide. I simply don’t have enough information to make that determination and quite frankly I’m not sure that without having been at the scene that I could ever reach a conclusion. What I can tell you is that, based on what you have written, it would be difficult to prove that this woman had any part in the death of your son. You have told your suspicions to the police but aside to speaking with her there isn’t much else they can do. I’m not sure what it is you want them to investigate.

I’m sure that the scene was treated as any death scene would have been under the circumstances. The police have no doubt looked at everything before making any determination. Without an eyewitness to the incident it would be impossible to prove in court that the woman had anything to do with the death. Even with her alleged statement to you about having shot him, this would have to be corroborated by some other physical evidence. Her prints on the weapon might not even be enough since she lives in the house and had access to the gun. The fact that there was “some contraption” tends to support the finding of suicide rather than refute it.

In the end I can only offer this. The questions that you ask are the normal reaction of someone who has lost a loved one. The answers to those questions sometimes don’t make sense to you at this point because of your loss. I can only suggest to you that if the death had been anything other than a suicide that the police would have pursued it to the end.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My daughter was murdered on August 5, 2005. The man who shot her had been at the scene a total of three times. The second time he was there he pulled the shotgun from the car and held a friend of my daughter at gunpoint, on the ground and he hit another man that was there with the weapon. When he saw other people coming out of the apartment, he fled. The police were notified and two street officers came to take statements. While taking the statements there was a second call of shots fired two blocks away. They assumed that this was the same man and left my daughter and her four friends at the parking lot of the residence. They did not secure them inside or call for back up. It turned out that the shooting two blocks away was not the same man and the killer came back. My daughter and her friends tried to run back to get in the apartment but my daughter was shot at the entrance of the doorway.

My question is, should the police have had another officer stay with them, secured them in the residence, and/or called for back up? There were four city officers on duty and county and state police available. I am the county medical examiner and I know many police officers. They have all told me that the kids should not have been left. I can only blame the initial two officers that left them. The rest of the police force did everything by the book after my daughter was shot. I have asked the Chief of Police to please explain this situation to me but he states he cannot speak for the officers involved. Is there not a policy in place that should cover this? I live in West Virginia. The Chief of police will not allow me to talk to the initial officers. I am sure their attorney has informed them not to. I am not out to sue anyone at the police department. I just want an answer on policy and procedure. If there is none I would like to make sure this never happens to anyone else's child. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

First off I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. I can only imagine the pain you must feel. I would also like to apologize for the delay in my response. Unfortunately, I have been busy handling several new cases myself. As for your question regarding procedure I cannot really answer whether or not the particular police department involved has any such stated procedure. I can tell you that in Los Angeles there is no procedure that would have prevented this tragedy. It sounds to me as though the officers could have reasonably assumed that the shots they heard were from the same suspect and responded to that scene to prevent a tragedy. I'm certain that if these same officers had it to do all over again they would have opted to remain with your daughter and allow other units to handle the shots fired. This is a difficult job and not everything is black & white. Officers are faced with immediate decisions which, on occasion, are sometimes based on instincts and later turn out not to be the best decisions. These decisions do not always violate policy or the law. If they did I would encourage you to contact an attorney and discuss it.

Unfortunately, these officers and the Chief are between the proverbial "rock-and-a-hard-place" in that by speaking with you they might subject the City to civil liability. I would imagine that the policy and procedure manual of the department is public record and I would encourage you to obtain a copy to review. You may find the answer to your question there.

In the meantime, please use POMC as a resource for your grief and continue to remember your daughter as the bright young woman she was!

- Joel Price, Detective

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On the morning of November 25,2004 , I was awoke by my live in boyfriend at the time and told there was something wrong with one of my twin sons. I ran to his room and knew immediately that something was very wrong. I yelled to my boyfriend to call 911 which he did. My son had the flu the day before and so I thought after finding out when the police paramedics and the medical examiner arrived that my son had already passed I was histerical and when asked what could have happened the only thing I could think of was that he may have puked during the night and choked. To my astonishment after nothing being preserved or my house being placed as a crime scene or anything the following day I was contacted and told that my son had been murdered he was only 2 1/2 years old and they said he died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen and had multiple bruises I was shocked. They proceeded to get a search warrant for my home on Friday by this time my family had stripped my childs bed cleaned my house and my boyfriend had the whole entire previous day to remove anything that could have caused the injuries. To try to make a long story short I was a drug user at the time my other two children were placed in foster care with family and I proceeded for the next 11 months trying to get my children back. I am a single mother as you may have figured out. As soon as I was told that they thought my boyfriend did this on Friday I kicked him out. I offered while I was being interrogated to take a polygraph which approximatly a week later I took, and passed with flying colors. My boyfriend however failed his miserably. I played the devils advocate for the police with my boyfriend to try to get him to confess to me which finally approximately three weeks after my sons death he told me on the phone how he had been wrestling with the boys and his elbow went into my sons stomach and it knocked the wind out of him but then he seemed fine. So after that I brought my boyfriend in two more times to meet with the police so that he could give his statement which changed each time he went in. Yet hear I am it will be two years in November we are no closer to charging anybody. Just two weeks ago I hired an attorney and we went in and met with the investigator and the DA and at the end all I got was dissapointment, my lawyer says he feels that without a direct confession they will not be doing anything. My question is if this person even admitting to hurting my son in any way why can he not be charged with a lesser crime? I have spent my entire retirement and everything I have on legal fees to get my children back and then to hire a criminal attorney to find out nothing. Isn't there anything I can do? My son was murdered and my family has been shattered!!!!! All along the police have maintained they have mountains of evidence are they just stringing me along? I mean they said my son had 27 bruises and bled to death from the inside out and this man walks among us, WHERE IS THE JUSTICE

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your child. After reading your e-mail I think I can see where the difficulty in prosecuting your former boyfriend lies. Clearly your son sustained injuries that cannot be explained by a simple wrestling match. For him to have sustained 27 separate bruises that led to internal bleeding he was clearly beaten. The problem, as I see it, is witht he evidence of his guilt. Since there isn't anyone who can testify to the beating of your son, the only evidence that could be offerred in trial would be his admission that he was wrestling and accidentally elbowed him in the stomach. It sounds as though the prosecutors office doesn't believe that this would be enough to convict him. Any competent defense attorney would be able to sew the seeds of doubt to a jury and get him acquitted. The fact that his "story" seems to have changed each time he was questioned by the police may never even come out in court. Again, this would depend on the rules of evidence in your state and even if allowed would likely not convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. The fact that he failed a polygraph would also not come out in court as it is not admissible as evidence. I hate to say this but it does sound that, absent a complete confession, he is not likely to be charged.

This is a difficult situation and one where I am sure that everyone knows he is responsible for the crime but the admissable evidence just isn't there. These cases eat away at those of us who investigate them but as I am sure you have heard before, our's justice system may not be perfect, but it's the best one in the world. I can only hope that this secret being kept by him eats away at him and that someday he will confess his crime and be punished for it. The only thing I can offer in closing is that if he were tried and acquitted of the crime now, he could never be tried again; so by waiting, the evidence against him could only get better.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My nephew was murdered on December 04.2003, in West Point, Mississippi. He was only 28 years old with a wife and baby daughter. Also, after his death, I found out that he was an informant for the police and was due to testify against a well-known drug dealer in January 04, before he was ambushed and assassinated with a high power rifle that December night.
Along with this, it seems as if the town isn't really talking or coming forth with the information investigators need to take this case to the grand jury. I have been trying to keep in touch with the prosecutor to find out if there have been any new developments, but he is always very vague and not willing to give out much information. Inspite all my effort, such as offering a $25,000 reward, consulting a psychic, keeping all the newspaper clippings regarding his case, writing a letter to America's Most Wanted, which resulted in them putting his story on their website called "My Story," and calling periodically to let them know, I'm still concern and want justice for my nephew, because he didn't deserve to die. If this had happened to your nephew, or family member, then what would you do? Next, I planning to offer the reward again, on the third year of his death with a toll free number and my personal cell number. I vow to do everything that I can to get justice for my nephew, and some sense of closure in knowing that the qulity ones will be punished. I also want to know, what else would you advise me to do? Do you know the name of a good private investigator, or attorney who will work on my behave, because it seems as if I 'm not getting the answers and hope I need to reassure me that this case will soon be solved. Last, the information that I do know is that prosecutor do suspect the drug dealer in my nephew 's murder and they are trying to get leads as to where the rifle might be in order to build a stronger case against the suspect who is already serving time for drug distribution. So, what else can I do, because I get more upset and more angry each year that this case goes unsolved. Any advice would greatly be appreciated.

I am sorry to hear of the senseless death of your nephew. I admire you for your resolve and encourage you to continue to ask questions and keep his memory alive. It's difficult for me to know what steps to take without knowing anything about the investigation that was conducted by law enforcement. Unfortunately, there are murders that are never solved. I know this is not what you want to hear but it is the truth. What I can tell you is that unsolved murder cases are never closed and any new information would result in the case being re-examined. Such is the case in your nephews murder. Sometimes while people are in prison they make the mistake of talking about their various crimes. This is done for various reasons but typically it is done to build oneself up in the eyes of the other inmates. Occasionally when this happens, law enforcement receives a call from an inmate with information relating to the murder. I have personally been the recipient of several of these calls that have led to the solving of a cold-case murder. Keep hoping and praying that this might happen in your case.
It is also possible that the weapon will turn up someday and they will be able to tie it through ballistics to your nephews murder. If that happens it opens up a whole other list of possibilities. Reward offers are a double edged sword. While they can sometimes lead to information, they can also bring out folks whose sole motivation is money and therefore their credibility is greatly suspect. They would have to have some significant information that could be corroborated by other facts in order for it to be useful in court.

In closing, I would encourage you to become involved with your chapter of POMC and rely on others who have suffered a similar tragedy to help you get through this. Your nephew wouldn't want his untimely death to ruin your life!

- Joel Price, Detective

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I would like to know if a call recieved on a cell-phone, can be traced to show the location and time, where the call was recieved ? It was a land-line to cell-phone call, and it took place 2 1/2 yrs. ago.

Unfortunately I think the answer to your question is yes, and no. For purposes of your illustration I am assuming that you know both the landline and the cellular phone numbers. That being the case, yes it is possible to determine the time and approximate location where the call was received. While you could not pin down the exact location of the cellular phone, you would be able to tell which cell tower the call went through and narrow down the vicinity to a relatively short distance. Now, whether or not the phone company would still have this information is doubtful. Having dealt with situations such as this I have found that their record keeping doesn't usually go back that far. If it did, they would no doubt require a subpoena or a search warrant to obtain the info.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My brother was murdered on December 18, 2004 at around 1am. It is an unsolved case in Prince Georges County Maryland. The police have no suspects, witnesses or motives in his case. The police are undetermined whether he was murdered in a wooded area, inside of a vehicle and dumped on the side of a wooded area. The autopsy report states he was intoxicated when he was murdered. His activity may have involved numerous assumptions: drugs, anger, robbery, jealousy, and revenge. He was shot more than 5 times including a bullet in the forehead and side temple. My family has not been able to digest the fact that he is gone. He was only 29 years old. How do you solve a murder as such?

Generally, when working on a case of this nature, it is important to learn everything possible about the victim. Often times this leads to the motive for the death. Sadly, I must also point out that some cases never get solved but its certainly not for lack of desire on the part of the investigators. They can only work with what they have. I understand the frustration you must feel but the police can only go by what witnesses tell them and where physical evidence leads them. In the case you describe it doesn't sound like there is much to go on. Do you know if there were any shell casings cound at the crime scene? If so, I would ask if they have been entered into the NIBIN database. This is a database where images from the casings are entered and compared against all other entries. If similar casings have been entered prior or subsequently, the database will connect the cases and provide the information to the investigators. This may be one hope that you have.

- Joel Price, Detective

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I am in need of some advice. The police have stated that there is little evidence to bring the killer/s to justice. I totally disagree. I thought it was the police's job to do that and I need to find ways to highlight that the police have failed to do so.
The post mortem report does not state the length of the knife accept it was a Sharp cutting edge knife, and there are a few inconsistency with the investigation. How can I prove that the police have not done Statement Analysis which will prove the inconsistencies. and what else can I do.
Your advice would be be very much appreciated.

I'm not sure I entirely understand your questions here but I'll attempt to answer what I think you are asking. The job of the police investigators is to gather the evidence, they cannot create it. There are times during investigations where evidence is scarce and doesn't allow investigators to identify a suspect or, does not provide sufficient admissible facts to convince the prosecutorial agency to file criminal charges. The police are "fact finders" and can only go by what witnesses tell them and where physical evidence points them.

Generally speaking, unless the knife is in custody, a post mortem report will not state how long the cutting instrument was. To do so is not possible. There is no way for the pathologist to know whether the knife (if that is what was used) was thrust completely into the body, or just part of the blade actually entered the body. What is generally the practice is that the report will indicate that the instrument had a minimum length of ?? inches.

As far as analyzing the statements of witnesses, I have to assume that any inconsistencies or contradictions in witness statements have been explored. The problem here is that witnesses cannot be compelled to talk to the police and even if they do, they sometimes aren't truthful. Again, the police can only report on what is known to them and is consistent with other facts or evidence they have discovered. A good investigator will always attempt to point out inconsistencies to witnesses and attempt to illicit the truth. The trouble in this is that if a witness is lying about something, there is usually a compelling reason for their lie and it is generally because they are somehow peripherally involved. This may only be because the suspect is a friend or family member or in some extreme cases they may be directly involved as a suspect themselves.

This process is not easy and can sometimes take time. I can only imagine the frustration loved ones must feel as they sit back and watch the police conducting the investigation. You must know that the people who choose to work homicide generally do so because they have a burning desire to see these suspects brought to justice. I've never met one who believes otherwise.
I hope these answers have been somewhat helpful.

- Joel Price, Detective

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I live in Mpls,Minnesota
I have a few questions. during a homicide case the murdered victims vehicle was taking into custody. now whom is the vehicle supposed to be released to?
2.) If the crime is not released and somebody crosses the police tape and enters the apt and removes the belongings of the murderer. Should that person be charged with something?
3)If their was no will of the person that died or executor of the estate, who should the apt be released to? And does any one else have a right to enter the apt and remove items? If your answer is no,what could they be charged with?
4). what happens to the personal items(rings,watch,necklaces) that are on the victims self when they are brought in for an autopsy.
5) who is supposed to notify the family of the tragedy? and how soon after?

In the event a person dies without a will or trust, anything belonging to the victim of a homicide would be left to the legal next of kin. In most states that would follow this order: spouse, children, parents, siblings.In the event that are none of these a public administrator would likely be assigned. The estate would enter probate and the courts would likely decide who gets what. Any property, including the vehicle, belonging to the victim or on his/her person at the time of his death would also become property of the next of kin and subject to the contents of his/her will or trust.
Generally speaking either the police or the Coroner/Medical Examiner would be responsible for making notification to the next of kin. This is generally done as soon as reasonably practical. I have seen cases where the victim's identity cannot be confirmed and therefore the notification can take longer.
As far as anyone entering the crime scene, the answer to that question would depend on your state's laws. I can tell you that in California they would be charged with interfering in a police investigation at a minimum.
Should you have any additional questions please contact me.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Thanks for getting back to me in a timely manner. I do have a few more questions you may be able to answer. If unable to answer the following questions,perhaps you can lead me in the right direction to who would be able to answer them.

1). What files,reports or documents are available to them. If requested by the next of kin(Adult child),or victims of a homicide? Who would be best to contact to request them,and would there be a charge for them?
2). Are the court dockets accessible to the general public? Are they available to the victims of the crime.
3). Who can get get a copy of the autopsy report? Is their ever a autopsy report automatically sent to anyone, without requesting it.

1). Different law enforcement agencies have different policies regarding the release of reports. Generally speaking, certain information is protected in order to preserve any ongoing police investigation. Other states have laws regarding the "right to know" and "need to know". Families members would likely have access to preliminary reports but they would contain just that, preliminary information. The results of the investigation would not be included. If the case is unsolved you are likely to have less information released. This again is done to protect the integrity of the investigation. Either way, you should contact the involved law enforcement agencies records unit and inquire. I would also assume that there would be some minimal charge involved.

2). In my experience court dockets are accessible to the public. Once someone is charged with a crime, the ensuing court proceedings are open to the public and therefore the records are public information. If you have the name of the defendant and/or a case number you should be able to co to the Clerk of the court and review and request copies. Again, there would likely be a charge if you were to want copies but in my experience you can read the entire file for free!

3). This too, may be different in other states. Actually I'm not even certain who is entitled to a copy of an autopsy report in my own state of California. I would suggest that you contact the Medical Examiner - Coroner of whatever county is involved and ask this question. I can't imagine where a copy would be sent automatically to anyone, other than maybe the involved law enforcement agency, with out a specific request.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My sister married an abusive police officer. She made numerous complaints about him, he even put a loaded gun to her head. The Township did nothing. She did divorce him, but starting dating a married detective on the same force as her ex-husband. He also was a problem. She tried so many times in the past to get help from the police that this time she knew no help was available. My sister told us that she was done with him and was breaking up with him, she was to move to another state to live near me. My sister was found shot in the chest in her car by her boyfriend. He claims he found her that way, but other law enforcement officers told me that she was murdered by him.

The story is that he arrived at her vehicle to find her "unresponsive". He walked a 1/2 mile away to get help from the fire station to break her window. He had a cell phone, gun, and his vehicle with him. My sister had a bad heart , and he knew this..but took his time to "walk" to get help. He never even called 911. Upon arriving at the fire station, witnesses said that his arm was cut. He arrived back at the scene with the fire department and the fireman broke out the back window. Her boyfriend reached in the unlock the door..he claims that is when he cut his arm. Witness say otherwise. He removed my sister's body from the vehicle and started to perform CPR, when he realizes she had been shot. My sister's handgun was found on the passengers side floor. She did have a license to carry, but the gun had not been in her possession for 4 weeks. Her boyfriend ask to borrow the gun because he liked it.

Because my sister had been married to a cop and dating a detective the township was not to be involved in the investigation what so ever. This also took place at a county park, which is not in their jurisdiction. They bought in a doctor from another area to perform the autopsy. This doctor states that the cause of death was from a gunshot wound to the chest. He never mentioned suicide. The township stepped in after the autopsy and ruled it a suicide and close the case.

No GSR tests were done on him or on my sister. My sister's nails were never checked for his skin. The township said that my sister shot herself with her left hand, but she was right handed. Her right hand had a burn mark on the palm and a cut from the slide of the gun, which is consistent with pushing the gun down and away from her. The gun was on the passenger side floor which is also consist with her pushing the gun away from her. My sister had numerous bruising on her thighs, which I believe is from the steering wheel when she was kick up her legs to keep from getting shot.

My sister was very good with a hand gun. My father collects guns and we always were taught to fire them. My sister was also a kick boxer and took Tae kwondo for several years. I know my sister and I know she tired to fight him. The boyfriend was asked to retire early, so he did. He is currently walking the streets free.

Most of the township is corrupt, but a select few. I need to found out how I can prove she was murdered when the whole township is trying to protect one another. I was told by one police officer that it will open a can of worms, such as wife swapping, rape, and others things that these cops don't want the public to know of. I was recently told that my sister was hated because she would not have sex with other officers. The DA investigated the case for about a week then closed it. I asked the DA to reopen the case, they refused. They also shut the case so tight that a private investigator that we hired can't even get information or pictures. Even the investigator is confused.

Please, if you can help point me in the right direction. I need to get justice for my family and her 6 year old son she left behind.

What a tragic and puzzling story. My heart goes out to you and your family. While I cannot agree with a number of your assumptions, if this case was handled in the way that you stated it does appear that they were not at all objective in answering the many questions that should have been asked. Clearly, for many reasons, this case should have been handled by someone other than the department for whom this officer worked. Your e-mail does not indicate who conducted the investigation but I would think that it should have been a local Sheriff's department or a State law enforcement agency given the circumstances.

To clear up one point, autopsies are used to determine the manner and mode of death. In some cases they cannot determine either. In other cases the manner of death is clear (eg. gunshot wound) but the mode is not. By mode I mean whether it was a homicide, suicide or accidental death. This is sometimes determined by the statements of witnesses and physical evidence. Regardless of the determination, if at a later time it is discovered that the death was a homicide, the case can be re-investigated and a suspect, if identified, can be prosecuted.

The presence or absence of gunshot residue on either parties hands in this case is not what I see as the most important factor. I would be more curious to know the approximate distance from which the shot was fired, the trajectory and path of the round and whether or not the gun and it's components were printed.

In the end it still may not be able to be proven that the boyfriend was the one who fired the shot. There are other investigative tools that could be used to try to develop evidence against him but I would leave that up to the investigating agency to decide whether of not they would be practical. I don't know how your county or state works but here, in California, the DA's office prosecutes cases, they don't investigate them. That job is up to law enforcement. I would suggest that you contact someone on a State level and perhaps even on a Federal level if you believe that the level of corruption is clouding their investigative objectivity.

- Joel Price, Detective

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I am a Law Enforcement Officer like yourself. My 19 year old daughter was murdered on August 14, 2006 by a wanna be gang member in Fontana, CA. She was on her way to work from what we gather with her two friends. The driver of the suspect vehicle, a 25 year old female has pleaded guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 year's prison in exchange for her testimony against the shooter and accomplice. Their bail was set at 1 million, she was released on OR recently until she has to report to prison, is this normal in a murder case?

Sorry it's taken so long to respond to your question but unfortunately, we are busy here in Los Angeles. I'm not sure what agency you work for or in what state but this does not seem unusual for a case here in California. What it does sound like is that they had to make a deal with the devil in order to prosecute the person who pulled the trigger and killed your daughter. I'm guessing that the identification of the shooter was weak and that in order to bolster the State's case they needed the testimony of the female driver.

As far as the bail and the O.R. status, this too sounds typical of a Califronia case. In our state the statutory bail for murder is $1 million dollars unless there are some extenuating circumstances that would warrant a deviation. The O.R. was likely the result of a plea agreement made with the District Attorney's office although I'm actually surprised that she would agree to a 12 year sentence. Typically we would get a low term sentence against a driver in exchange for their testimony. accessory cases the plea would be to a charge of being an acessory to the crime which would carry a 3-6 year sentence.

That's just the way it works in this state. Please accept my condolences for your loss and know that you are not alone in your grief. There are many people just like you within the POMC organizations throughout this country.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My son was murdered in a teen club in New Orleans, LA in February 2005, six months before hurricane Katrina. I was told that the detective assigned to my sons case would not be able to talk to me about his case because the detective was facing surgery for a brain tumer. This was told to me on August 24, 2005. I want to know is there a cold case unit in New Orleans and what can I do to help find and get attention to my sons murder? I believe if detective had such a personal life changing issue or crisis himself, that he could not have devoted his strongest attentions to solving my sons murder.

I'm sorry to hear about the senseless death of your son. My heart goes out to anyone who loses a loved one, particularly in such a tragic manner. In answer to your question I think that your situation is somewhat unique given the magnitude of what the folks in New Orleans experienced with Katrina. This would include the police department. It is my understanding that a number of officers lost their homes and probably left the area without ever returning to work. That said, I'm sure by now they have had time to recover and take a look at cases that still needed their attention. Have you tried calling the New Orleans Police Department to find out who is assigned to the case now? It may not be the same detective who had the case originally. Often times cases get re-assigned for a variety of reasons. Something as serious as brain surgery may have caused this detective to no longer be available.

My suggestion is that you attempt to set up a face to face meeting (if possible) with someone in charge of their homicide unit. Have them bring you up to date on the status of the case. Not knowing the circumstances of the case I'm not able to tell you whether or not they will share everything with you or not. As a matter of practice, I tend to withhold certain information regarding an open murder case so that it doesn't contaminate the case. This is sometimes hard for families to understand because they naturally want to know everything but; it is done with a purpose and design.

If you can't meet personally because of distance, set up a telephone conversation and establish a relationship with the investigator whereby you can contact him/her periodically and get updates. There is also the possibility that the case has progressed to the point where there are no workable clues and therefore nothing is being done. This is also difficult for survivors to understand but is sometimes a reality.

In closing, you must trust in your faith and believe that fate will catch up with the perpetrator at some point in their lives. I'm a firm believer in the premise that what goes around-come around and I can only hope that it happens in your case.

I hope that some of this information is helpful and healing and I encourage you to contact me again in the future should you have any other questions.

- Joel Price, Detective

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I live in CA My 16 yr old daughter was murdered on Sept 16, 5 months ago. The autoposy said it was from asphyxiation. She was found on the side of the road in a patch of sunflowers about 3pm. The det. told us she was not out there that morning. Just three weeks ago our det. received a promotion so our case has been given to a new det. There is a suspect we have been told they are 90% sure it is this guy. The det. questioned him once and he lied about being here (he lives up north) they confirmed that by his phone records he also sold his truck why he was down here the same day my daughter eas killed he lied to them about where he sold the truck. The det. have not been able to locate the truck. The det. told us they did get tire tracks where my daughter was found. The first reports from any dna just came back we was told they founf semen and was just now going to start comparing it to the suspects and that could take just as long to get any results. The first det. we had would contact me atleast once a week letting me know what was going on with the case. The new det. has never once contacted me the two times I have spoken with him it has taken me three days to get ahold of him. Do you think they should go and question this suspect again or should they wait for more evidence.

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers are with you and your family. This process is a difficult one and one of the best things that you can possibly do is connect yourselves with people who have been through this experience themselves. POMC is a great opportunity for you to connect with people who have suffered through what you all are going through now.
In answer to your question, No, I don't think they should go talk to him again. While it may be hard to sit back and wait, this is what you must do. Let them develop a DNA profile that may allow them to connect the suspect to the crime. Once they have done that they will have mountains more evidence against this suspect, or an entirely different suspect that may arise out of the DNA evidence.
As far as communication with the detectives, I would encourage you to continue calling. You may want to stop by to have a face to face conversation with them. What you are describing is not unusual. The initial handling detectives had much more contact with you in part because they had to. It was important that they learn everything they could about your daughter and who better to tell them but her parent(s). As the investigation progresses that communication becomes less important to the investigation. Don't take that to mean that they've lost interest in the case, they haven't. In my 30 years of law enforcement I have ever seen a more committed group of investigators that those who choose to work homicide cases. The only joy greater than solving a case is making notification to the family that the killer has been identified and charged with the crime. Trust me on this one!

Please let me know when this crime is solved. It will make my day as well.

- Joel Price, Detective

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I AM THE SURVIVOR OF A UNSOLVED MURDER VICTIM AND THAT VICTIM WAS MY FATHER. ALBERT JOHN HARGROVE AND HE WAS MURDERED ON 12/23/83 IN ALEXANDRIA, LA. THIS DECEMBER WILL BE THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF MY FATHER'S MURDER AND I HAVE BEEN BEATING MY HEAD AGAINST A BRICKWALL TRYING TO GET THE ALEXANDRIA POLICE DEPARTMENT TO CO-OPERATE WITH ME IN THE LAST 7 YEARS TO SHINE LIGHT ON MY FATHER'S UNSOLVED MURDER THAT HAPPENED IN THEIR GRAND TOWN. THE DETECTIVES AND THE POLICE DEPARTMENT HAVE BEEN GROSSLY NEGLIGENT WITH MY FATHER'S CASE FROM THE BEGINNING. THEY DID NOT FILL OUT THE PAPER WORK THAT THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO FILL OUT AT THE TIME OF THE MURDER. WHICH IS WHY NO ONE CAN SEEM TO DO ANYTHING WITH MY FATHER'S CASE BECAUSE THEY DID NOT DO THEIR JOBS 25 YEARS AGO . THEY ALSO NEGLIGENTLY LEFT WHAT EVIDENCE THERE WAS OF THE MURDER SCENE IN AN EVIDENCE ROOM THAT HAD A LEAKY ROOF AND SUPPOSEDLY ALL THE EVIDENCE WAS DISTROYED BY MOLD. I FEEL THIS CASE WOULD HAVE NEVER BECAME A COLD CASE IF THE ALEXANDRIA POLICE DEPARTMENT WOULD HAVE DONE THEIR JOBS RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING AND THEY KNEW MY FATHER WAS NOT AN UP STANDING PERSON OF THE COMMUNITY AND THEY DID NOT LIKE MY FATHER'S LIFESTYLE AND THE ATTITUDES THAT THEY GAVE US WAS THEY WERE NOT GOING TO WASTE THE TAX PAYERS MONEY ON SOME "OLE DRUNK" . YES, HE WAS INTOXICATED WHEN HE WAS WALKING HOME FROM A PARTY WHEN HE WAS SHOVED DOWN IN A MUD PUDDLE AND THEY FORCED HIS FACE DOWN INTO THE WATER AND DROWNED HIM. THEY RANDOMLY SPREAD HIS WALLET AROUND HIM AND STRIPPED HIS CLOTHES OF FROM THE WASTE DOWN TO TRY AND MAKE IT LOOK LIKE EITHER ROBBERY GONE BAD , WHICH HE COULD HAVE ONLY HAD $10 AT THE MOST ON HIM OR THEY TRIED TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A SEX CRIME . THE ADULT MEMBERS(BECAUSE I WAS ONLY 16 ) OF MY FAMILY TRIED TO GET THE ALEXANDRIA POLICE TO TEST THE WATER THAT WAS IN HIS LUNGS WITH THE WATER HE WAS LAYING IN AND ALSO THE MUD THAT WAS IN HIS HANDS WITH THE MUD HE WAS LAYING BECAUSE THE MURDER SCENE LOOKED LIKE IT WAS STAGED BUT THEY WOULD NOT WASTE THE TAX PAYERS MONEY ON SOME "OLE DRUNK".
IT TOOK ME 4 YEARS TO GET THEM TO REOPEN THE CASE AND IT TOOK ME AN ADDITIONAL YEAR TO GET THEM TO PUT IT ON THEIR ""CRIMESTOPPERS"" COLD CASE WEBSITE WHICH IS AT RPSO.ORG BUT THEY HAVE JUST LEFT IT AT THAT AND I HAVE SENT THE STORY TO "UNSOLVED MYSTERIES" AND THEY TURNED ME DOWN FLAT BECAUSE THEY SAY THERE IS NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE AND THAT IS BECAUSE THE ALEXANDRIA POLICE DEPARTMENT DID NOT DO THEIR JOBS. I ALSO SENT IT TO "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED" AND THEY HAVE HAD IT FOR OVER 4 YEARS AND HAVE DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WITH IT. I HAVE EVEN STARTED A WEBPAGE FOR MY FATHER , SO I HAVE DONE ALL THAT I CAN ON MY OWN AND I AM NOT FINACIALLY ABLE TO HIRE ANYONE TO HELP ME BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN DISABLED FOR THE PAST 16 YEARS OF MY LIFE .
WHAT I NEED TO KNOW IS WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AGAINST THE ALEXANDRIA , LA. POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR BEING SO NEGLIGENT ON MY FATHER CASE AND HOW ELSE CAN I GET HELP TO AT LEAST BRING MY FATHER'S CASE OUT TO THE PUBLIC. I EVEN GOT THEM TO RUN ONE STUPID ARTICLE IN THE "ALEXANDRIA TOWN TALK" BUT THEY WILL NOT RUN IT ANY MORE AND I LIVE IN TEXAS SO I HAVE NO WAY TO STAY ON TOP OF THEM TO KEEP THEM RUNNING ANY MORE ARTICLES. BEINGS THAT THEY DESTROYED ALL EVIDENCE IN THIS CASE AND THEY DID NOT FILL OUT THE PROPER PAPERS IN THE BEGINNING , I FEEL THE ONLY WAY TO GET THIS CASE SOLVED IS TO GET IT OUT IN THE PUBLIC EYE AND SHAKE UP SOME PEOPLE'S MEMORIES AND THERE JUST HAS TO BE SOMEONE OUT THERE WHO KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED THE NIGHT MY FATHER WAS SO BRUTELY MURDERED. I AM REACHING OUT TO ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN TO ME AND TELL WHAT MY RIGHTS ARE AND WHAT ACTIONS I AM ALLOWED TO TAKE.
YOU KNOW WHEN I WAS GROWING UP ALL MY FATHER USED TO TELL ME WAS " ALL I WANT YOU TO DO IS GROW UP AND HAVE ME REDHEADED GRANDSONS. WELL, MY FATHER HAS TWO REDHEADED GRANDSONS , CHRISTOPHER 21 AND TRISTAN 12 AND ALL THEY KNOW ABOUT THEIR GRANDFATHER IS THAT HE WAS MURDERED AND SWEPT UNDER THE RUG BY THE STATE OF LA. MY FAMILY NEED CLOSURE AND WE NEED YOUR HELP IN GUIDING US IN HOW TO DO THAT. I PRAY THAT RETIREMENT IS BEING GOOD TO YOU AND I THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME . LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU .

What a tragic loss you suffered so many years ago. Your father would no doubt be proud to see the handsome grandchildren you had for him. Let me start by saying that much has changed in the 25 years since your father was murdered. There are many scientific advances that have resulted in many a murderer being caught even after 25 years. I can only hope that not all the evidence in connection with this case has been forever lost. I'm not sure what paperwork you are referring to when you say that the police didn't complete everything necessary but it appears that they recognized it as a murder and not just an accidental death. I can't speak for all homicide investigators but from my perspective it doesn't matter who the victim is, it's still a human being whose deserved to live and therefore their death deserves my best effort at solving the case.

You are taking all the right steps in trying to get this murder back into the public's view. Even after all these years there is likely someone out there who knows something about this crime. I also understand that it may be difficult to get the media to become excited about such an old case that appears to have no remaining evidence or current clues to follow up on. What I would encourage you to do is find a local media outlet that people listen to and respect and approach them with the idea of doing a story on tragedy of your father's death and how it impacts a family even 25 years after. Where I'm from (Los Angeles) the media would jump at an opportunity to embarass the police department and get them to act. In this case, re-open the investigation. If I were you I would also arrange a trip back there so that I could take a look at the investigation that was done with my own eyes. If there were people who were possible suspects back then, they could likely be re-interviewed to see if their conscience has gotten the better of them and they now want to provide additional information. In some cases the perpetrator has been taken into custody for another crime and, depending on how much time they are sentenced to, they may admit to another killing so long as it doesn't add to their sentence. This may not sound appealing to you but sometimes it's all that can be done. This would also allow you to know the who and why answers that you have sought for so many years.

I would not expect America's Most Wanted to become interested in a case like this. They only take on cases where a suspect has been identified in connection with a case, Rarely they will take on a case where there is video of a suspect but I have never seen them take on a who-dunit case if you will. I've worked with them a number of times and know this to be true.
Your best bet is to continue doing what you are doing and pressing whoever you can to get the story out in the hopes of one day finding someone who knows something about your father's death. I hope this helps on some level and if you think there is anything else that I can advise you on please don't hesitate to write back again.
Just so you know, I did retire in 1999 but after 2 years I missed the job so much I returned and have been once again working homicide and plan to until I retire again in another 5 or 6 years.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My best friend Ashley was raped and murdered on December 16, 2008. She was found behind a bar in San Rafael, CA the next morning. We know she went to the bar alone after work that night, but she was friends with a few regulars and the bar tender. She was on the phone with a friend when she arrived around 9 pm and told the friend that the bar was not busy. She also called another friend, Eric multiple times that night after arriving at the bar because she wanted him to come meet her (he was in San Francisco, just across the Golden Gate Bridge, about 20 min drive). The first time she called was from her cell phone. Another time she called from a private number, during this call she was at the/ or / a house with some "gay" guys and that he should come. Eric said that during this call there was some on in the background that was clearly irritating her and being loud but he could not hear what he was saying. The last call Eric received from Ashley was at 12:36am, again from her cell phone. At this time Eric was ready to go meet her. Ashley started to give him directions but he is not familiar with San Rafael so they decided to meet at her house. Eric arrived at her house shortly after, no lights were on so he waited a little bit then left. He stopped to get gas then headed back to San Francisco. This has been verified by police and gas station cameras, and Eric has also submitted DNA and been cleared.

Newspapers referred to the murder as a violent struggle and told me that the killer would have scratches and visible signs of a fight. There were no drugs found in her system, but she did have a B.A.L of .28%. The police have said that "the bar not cooperating". When they found her body which was wedged between a parked car and the wall, she was in a tank top and her pants were off but with her body, her cell phone, money, and atm card were also with her. She was badly brused. the cause of death was asypixiation. She was also raped.

Myself and her other friends found out that she had been murdered later that evening, before any of her family had been contacted. The word aparently got around because when the bartender went to work that next morning and was told that they found a dead asian girl with tattoos, he said thats Ashley and called a mutual friend of theirs (who liked ashely but she was not interesed in him) who was suddenly in New York and told him Ashley was dead and then that person told people and so on.

Ashley's murder was the 9th murder in San Rafael in 10 years, all of which were domestic and not cold cases. San Rafael does not have "homicide detectives", the detectives working the case are "violent crime" detectives. It seems very apparent that they lack the experience needed to solve this crime. This murder happened on 12/16/2008, today is 11/12/2009 and they still do not have the results back from the DNA they found on her. She took a chunk out of the person. We have a friend who's father is a retired San Mateo County Homicide Detective and he said DNA should take no longer that 6 weeks because Marine County does not have their own lab. The Detectives are positive that where they found her body is where she was killed and that she knew her killer. I also beleive she knew her killer, but when I have mentioned to the police that she told Eric that she was "at a/ or /the house", and calling from a private number, they just say "oh, no the bar is referred to as "the house". The bar is called the Forth Street Tavern" and i've asked some people and no one has ever heard it called the house. I think she knew the person or people that killed her and I also think that the people at the bar know who did it also.

We contacted the Carol Sund foundation the day after the murder cause at the time they offered rewards. When the reward was offered on March 23 I think the police release a flyer which had absolutely no information on it other than her name, date of murder, where they found her body, an awful picture and the number to call with information. I called the lead Detective and asked him what she was wearing that night (they had her clothes) and I told him that I thought it was important information to have on the flyer because people who may have seen her at the bar before were more likely to remember they saw her that night if her clothing rang a bell and not the date especially since it was 3 months later. He told me that that information was not important and date was what was important. The local news showed when they found her body a single Van shoe in the parking lot, so we knew that.

I apologize for this being so long, Is there someone or someplace we can turn to if we feel that the detectives on the case, by no fault of their own, lack the experience needed to find the killer?? I contacted a P.I. and I guess that made the Det. mad and he told her brother that it was a waste of time and they would not be closing the preliminary report so we cant us a p.i. anyway. This is the one and only open murder case these detectives have and they cant even get the dna back. I am leaving alot of information out but there are alot of other complaints regarding the handleing of the case.

I am so sorry that you have had to endure the loss of your friend Ashley. This has clearly left a mark on you. The details you have provided do have me wondering several things. I struggle when answering some of these questions because I know that trained homicide investigators frequently withhold information from even the family so that they do not jeopardize the case. Often this withholding of info is used to rule out false confessions and "jailhouse" informants who claim to have information on the murder.

Without knowing all of the details, one of the first things that comes to mind is where Ashley was when she was making those final calls. This can, or at least could have at the time, been determined by obtaining cell tower information from the calls that she made. This information might have helped in answering the question as to whether or not she was killed at this location or whether her body was "dumped" there after her death. There are certainly other characteristics that would also help answer this question when considered by an experienced homicide investigator. While this information may not have pointed directly at the suspect, it could provide valuable corroborative evidence that could link him/her to the crime. While I don't share your opinion that those at the bar are withholding information, they may have information that could aid in identifying her killer(s).

The issue of the DNA is one that, after this amount of time, should be answered. Whether or not the DNA evidence resulted in a profile should be known by now and the profile, if developed, should have been run through CODIS (Statewide DNA Database) by now. This could also provide valuable evidence pointing toward either a known suspect (one who is in CODIS) or a suspect whose DNA profile is now known and can be screened against others not in CODIS. I hope this makes sense to you as it can be rather confusing.

In the end, no unsolved murder case is closed. There is no statute of limitations on murder and therefore it can be prosecuted at anytime. There is also the possibility that more than one person know about the murder and that at some point someone may speak up and provide the necessary information to prosecute the suspect.

These cases can be frustrating but I know from experience that even years after the crime, people still talk about it and this "talk" sometimes results in the cases being solved. My advice to you is to keep pushing the Detectives for answers to logical questions. We can't produce evidence but we can follow up on leads and other scientific evidence.

As far as a private investigator I have to say that only in rare instances do I see that as an alternative. Not only is it expensive, but private investigators often lack the necessary "juice" needed to question people and obtain information. They also don't possess the necessary knowledge of all of the facts and evidence known to the detectives which makes it impossible for them to ask the right questions.

- Joel Price, Detective

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Have you in your years of detective work ever heard of a suicide case being an open case? The detective in charge stated he could not prove my daughter did it.

I have been involved in the investigation of deaths for nearly 20 years. During that time there have been several occasions where the manner and mode of death have eluded a determination both by us, the investigators, and the Deputy Medical Examiner-Coroner. In those cases there is generally no obvious trauma to the body and there is no medical evidence of what caused the fatal episode. From your question I am not sure why you perceive the case to be a suicide so it is difficult for me to answer.

When investigating a death we first have to make a determination as to what caused the death. Was it a drug overdose, gunshot wound, stab wound, massive trauma caused by a fall or a traffic collison. Once the cause, or manner, is determined, we then set about determining whether the manner involved a criminal act or whether it was the result of a suicidal act, an accident or just a result of a human system failure. This determination is typically referred to as the mode of death. The mode can either be homicide, suicide, accidental, natural, traffic related, or in some rare cases, undetermined.

As an example, if a person was unquestionably known to have shot themselves in the head causing their death, the manner would be "gunshot wound to head" and the mode would be suicide.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My son died on Feb 23 in his home. I am getting information together to send it to s. o. s. service. Today I got cds of the prctures the officers took at the scene, There is not ONE picture of my son in the position that my husband and I found him. what is the policy for law inforcement when they arrive on the scene, and there is no chance that the victim is alive.

I am sorry to hear of your son's passing. As far as law enforcement protocols, that can vary slightly from one jurisdiction to another however, the best practice is to leave the body just as it was first observed pending arrival of detectives and then coroner's officials.

Often times the body has been moved from it's original position by medical personnel (paramedics) who have been called to the scene. It is not at all uncommon for them to arrive well ahead of law enforcement and their job is to provide life saving measures if at all possible. For them to determine what needs to be done they sometimes have to reposition the body. If foul play is suspected, the detectives will later speak with the first responders to find out exactly what position the body was in prior to it being moved.

Also, depending on how long the person has been deceased, the moving of the body doesn't necessarily remove the ability to tell what position it had been in prior, or the fact that it was moved after death.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My life was changed on May 26, 2009 when 2 Homicide Detectives rang my bell in the middle of the night to inform me that my son had been murdered. To this day this case remains open and unresolved although there was many people there when it happened. My question is what are my rights as to being informed about how the case is being handled? Can I hire a lawyer to push the case to fruition? What kind of a lawyer can I hire?

I call the leading detective every several months to inquire but he is either out and does not return my messages or I'm told the case is still under investigation and there is very little they can disclose. I am not looking for details but I am looking to know that the case is in fact being investigated and not just laying on someone's desk. If someone could please send me information as to what are the rights of a family whose life has been turned upside down by having to hear what no parent ever wants to hear that their child has been murdered I would greatly appreciate any help. Thank you and God Bless.

Let me start by saying how sorry I am for the loss that you and your family have suferred. I can only imagine the pain.

In answer to your questions regarding the status of the case I can only say that most homicide cases remain "open" until they are solved. However, the term "open" simply means that it is a case that is worked when a lead develops that warrants investigation. WIthout knowing the details of your son's case it is difficult for me to say what is being done. As homicide investigators we tend to protect any information that we have so that it doesn't jeopardize any investigative steps that we might be taking. That does not however, relieve the investigator of his moral obligation to keep the family informed.

While this may be hard to hear, there does come a time in an investigation where the investigators have done everything they can do at which time we just have to wait for someone with knowledge of the murder to come forward with actionable information. Again, without knowing any of the specifics of your son's case it is difficult for me to gauge who might be in possession of information that would be helpful.

I would reccommend that you attempt to have a face-to-face meeting with the Officer-in-Charge of the investigation or his/her supervisor. You may get more out of that exchange. In my view, hiring an attorney won't really get you where you want to be!
Good luck and God bless you and your family!

- Joel Price, Detective

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My son was shot once in the chest. The shooter was caught and sentenced. The detective in the case informed me of what took place at the time of shooting.
The shooter went to find the individual that she was fighting with, and at the individual home,30 minutes before the shooting. The shooter threaten the individual with the gun, but did not shoot her. then left. Instead of going to the police the individual decides to go after the shooter.
I would like to know can the individual that did not report the incident to the police, be held accountable for her actions? Can the individual's actions have caused the death of my son?
I feel that it was the duty of the individual to report that she was being threaten. If she had, my son would have been alive today. Instead she went out looking for trouble and cost my son his life.
I want her to also pay for the actions she took. How can I assure that this will happen? The detective states that there are pending charges for other individuals involved, but how can I make sure that these other people are not absolved from my son death? I believe that my son was bated into a situation. Where he lost his life. What can I do?

I'm not completely sure that I follow what you're asking but it would appear that you feel that the person who was threatened is somehow responsible for your sons death because they did not report the threat to the police. If this is accurate then no, I don't think that person can be charged criminally in connection with your sons death. While the eventual outcome may have been different had they gone to the police, I am not aware of any law that would require them to report the crime committed against them. The standard of proof in civil court is much less than in criminal court therefore you may be able to pursue a civil action against the person. You would need to speak with a civil attorney to explore this further.

I am sorry to hear of your terrible loss and hope that somehow you are able to resolve these issues to your satisfaction.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My nephew was murdered on April 29,2014 by a gun shot wound to his neck accordingly to the death certificated when my sister got the call about him they never let her id his body they did it by finger prints we got to see him at his wake for the first time we also was told that a second examiner was called in and we wanna know why if he only got shot once and why wasn't she allowed to I'd him or see him until the wake? Will the corners report tells us if anything else was done to his body like any other injuries? Why did it take so long?

The fact that your nephew was identified by fingerprints is something that is routinely done and would likely have been done anyway to confirm the identification. Why a second opinion was sought is unfortunately something I'm not able to comment on but I would suggest that it is always better for a second opinion.

Once the autopsy report is complete I would expect that any other injuries sustained would be noted in the report.  Typically it takes 6-8 weeks for toxicology reports to come back which is what may have caused a delay in the report.

I hope this answers your questions.

- Joel Price, Detective

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My 36 year old daughter was killed by her husband, he ran her over with their Ford Edge SUV.  We were told she died instantly and thankfully probably did not suffer.  The police say this was murder, but our son-in-law says this was an accident. We've been told there are no witnesses and there were no cameras in the vicinity where she was killed.

We were told that he ran her over at least twice.  According to the police she was first hit by the rear of the car.  There was blood on both the front and back of the car.  Could this have been a horrible accident and not murder? 

First, let me express my condolences to you and your family for your devastating loss.  Based on your email alone, it is impossible for me to arrive at a conclusion as to whether or not your daughter's death was an accident or criminal act.  If in fact the police believe it to be a crime, then I would assume that they will continue to work toward proving that theory and eventually seek a prosecution of the perpetrator.

On the other hand, tragic and freak accidents do occur and I'm sure you would agree that if this were the case in your daughter's death, you wouldn't wish to see the perpetrator prosecuted.

Some things that I would have looked into would center around motive.  What was the nature of their relationship?  Was there a life insurance policy in play?  Were there prior domestic violence issues, reported or otherwise known?

The physical evidence that you briefly described on the vehicle could certainly be analyzed and experts could be engaged to determine if the description of the events provided by her husband match the physical evidence.  If not, why?  Some of these questions could be easily answered, others require time and, in some cases, may never be known.

Either way, I would encourage you to continue to communicate with the investigators on the case to see whether or not they are continnuing to work on their theory of homicide, or whether they have done all they can do at this point.

-Joel Price, Detective

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I live in Celebration, Florida.  It was my son that was murdered in the following article on March 29, 2014 in Denmark, SC.  http://www.wistv.com/story/25109253/1-killed-3-injured-in-bamberg-county-shooting

First off, I am appalled at what the press printed in the newspaper the next day.  The story that was printed was told by the 3 felons, as my son was dead, his one friend was in a coma, and the 3rd was in critical care.  How can they print just the thugs side of the story.  It was not a "gun shoot out". 

My son, who was white, made a poor decision to purchase weed from a guy he worked with at  Masonite Doors.  My son worked full time and was in school.  He had his whole life in front of him.  Unlike the 3 black brothers who all were felons, my son never even had a parking ticket or run in with the law.  When they met up on Voorhees Rd to make the transaction, my son and his friends were in the truck. One brother appeared first and put gun in passenger seat where my son was sitting. Then another brother sucker punched my son in the face. The guy with my son seated in the back seat did shoot one of the in the arm. Then Xavier killed my son with a 9mm.  Not sure which brother(s) shot the other 2 passengers in the car, but the driver was shot and remained in a coma for months.  I hear he is out of coma but has the mind of a 3 year old and his will never be the same.  After the driver was shot, they shot the 3rd passenger seated in the back.  The guns that were used to shoot the driver and back seat passenger were not 9mm's.  They then circled around, apparently to make sure they didn't leave anyone alive, and shot Kevin who was seated in the back seat again when they noticed he was still alive.  He played dead after the 2nd shot. However, luckily he did survive.

Since day one, Xavier Washington admitted to shooting my son, according to Detective Johnson from SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement). He even followed it up with "but he didn't mean too".  The detective told myself and my son's dad time and time again that he knew that it was Xavier Washington that murdered my son, but it would hard to prove.  Huh? What is total baffling to me is the fact that all three black guys were felons. They were caught possessing firearm while a crime was being committed, along with weed, and a dead body. Yet NO arrests were made.  They were questioned and released!! I was devastated... How could they be released??

This monster who killed my son, was not only a felon, but was incarcerated for crack distribution on 02/06/2012 to serve a five year sentence.  His projected release date is today, Jan. 22, 2015.  He was eligible for parole on April 13, 2013.  So apparently he was let out on parole.  

I was dumbfounded last week when the prosecutor informed me that it looks as if NO charges will be filed! You mean this Xavier Washington possessing a fire arm and murdering someone where marijuana was involved doesn't constitute a parole violation.  They were questioned and released within hours. This is mind blowing.

There is no gray area here.  The detective first tried to tell me that it was my son and his friends selling the weed. I told them to go to the Bank of America and I told him he would find a withdrawal by my son.  As I predicted, my son withdrew $400 from the ATM shortly before they were ambushed.  Xavier Washington was found with the $400 on him. This is not rocket science. I am so incredibly frustrated and can't help but feel there is something really wrong here.  Detective Johnson has changed his story to me and my ex husband time and time again that they knew Xavier killed my son. When talking to Detective Johnson he would begin his sentences with.."Xavier said...".  I was aghast that when discussing what happened, he was quoting the monster who murdered my son.  This is when I knew something was not right.  

I just need some advice as to what to do next.  I was told to hire an attorney, however, as a single mom with another son in college, I cannot afford the $350-550 per hour fees.  Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

First, let me express my condolences to you and your family for your loss.  I can only imagine how difficult this must be.

I have read both your email and the linked article.  With respect to the article, it is more likely that the journalist is piecing together information that he received from the police and witnesses and not the suspects themselves.  I can't imagine that the media would have had access to the individuals in time to interview them for the morning paper nor can I imagine any of them speaking with anyone from the media for fear of further implicating themselves.  The bottom line is that the media routinely prints inaccurate stories about events and seeks to clear them up as they receive additional information.

Having investigated a number of similar incidents in my 35 years in law enforcement, I can see the issues that could make prosecution difficult.  The fact that your son was involved in a drug transaction adds to that difficulty.  In your explanation you indicated that one of the passengers in your son's vehicle shot one of the suspects.  The timing of each shot and who fired them provides opportunities for defense attorney's to pick apart the case. 

There simply isn't enough detail in your email for me to adequately assess the facts and come to a conclusion as to whether or not there is additional investigative actions that might lead toward a prosecution.  It does strike me as odd that the "suspects" in this case would not have been booked for a crime initially although it would not also have surprised me if they were released prior to the investigation being completed.  This type of case where both sides of a confrontation are armed and fire shots presents all sorts of self defense issues both real and imagined.  These are the complex decisions that must be weighed by prosecutorial agencies in deciding whether or not they have a case that they could present to a jury and prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

My suggestion to you at this point would be to attempt to get a one-on-one meeting with the prosecutor who reviewed the case and discuss his/her reasons for not filing any criminal charges.  It may very well be that the prosecutor has asked the investigators for additional investigation to be done and is awaiting the results of that investigation.  I would also caution you that just because the prosecutor asks additional questions, the investigators may not get the answers that they are seeking.  I would also imagine that the "suspects" in this case have attorney's representing them and as such would not be willing to speak to the police.  This makes getting to the truth difficult when the involved parties refuse to speak.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My son was shot and killed on March 9, 1990 in San Francisco he was 17 at the time my only son and the younger of my two children. The incident occurred on the street where we lived following a verbal altercation with three perpetrators that had exited their car and proceeded to harass a group of young men that my son was with.  My son's only words to them was "what's up".  One of the perps then pulled a gun out and said "this is what's up" and proceeded to chase him as my son was running towards home.  He was felled by one gunshot to head and died the next day after being taken off life support.  The investigators on his case never asked me anything about his life before this incident.  In fact I was never contacted by them it was I who contacted them? One of the inspectors at the time said witnesses refused to to talk fearing retaliation.  there were at least five persons who saw these perps and the one who pulled the gun out.  There was also a neighbor who witnessed the perp shoot my son as he hid behind a gate.  I have asked to review the investigation file and police report and was told that I could not?  Over the course of the years the case was given to various detectives who again did not ever contact me.  After writing to Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004 the City offered a10,000 reward for information to date no one has come forward.  I feel that there was little if any effort put into solving this crime and because of this it remains a "cold case".  Please respond to question marks. 

First, let me express my condolences to you and your family over the loss of your son.  While I cannot comment specifically on the issue of who and or why certain persons were not interviewed, I can speak to what are typical standard investigative protocols.

I can only assume that the reason you were not contacted and interviewed was because the investigators felt that they had already established a motive for the incident.  Based on your description of the events, it would appear to me that this incident may have been gang related, meaning that the suspects may have been involved in gang activity.

While there may have been a number of witnesses to the incident, they cannot be compelled to provide a statement to the police.  The fear of retaliation is a real barrier to investigations and one that we encounter often.  Investigators can only proceed based on the information provided by witnesses and, in some cases, video.  I doubt whether this incident was caught on video given that the crime occurred in 1990.  While witnesses can sometimes be convinced to provide information, I too have encountered people who refuse to speak because of their fear of retaliation.

As far as providing you with a copy of the investigation, it does not surprise me that they would not provide it.  The investigation contains information that the investigators have a duty to protect.  In addition, releasing the investigation could compromise any future efforts at a criminal prosecution.

As I eluded to previously, investigators can only proceed based on the information developed through the investigation.  When witnesses refuse to cooperate and all physical evidence has been examined and doesn't produce a suspect or a direction, the investigation sometimes becomes stagnant.  I will tell you that, from my perspective, those who work homicide cases for any period of time, are generally some of the most committed officers who understand their duty to do everything they can to try to bring closure to the family of the victim.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My father passed away June 21, 1987 at the age of 20 when I was 3 years old of what I have always been told was suicide but the stories don't add up. I'm still being told, "When you're ready, we'll talk" or "things were different back then, just let it go", but the pure rage my aunt (his oldest sister) expressed when she thought I had gone in his box was the deal breaker.
I'm 31 and am tired of the run around from his family. I don't even have a picture of him. I can't find ANY THING on the internet about him. It's so much secrecy ... too much.
My question is how can I obtain any and all medical examiner and police reports regarding him? Crime scene photos? Psychiatric treatment?
He is not on my birth certificate as my mother was 13 when she conceived me and my grandmother didn't want him anywhere around at the time of my birth. My uncles (his brothers) are willing to help me as far as giving me any information I need to establish relation, but can't really help otherwise because that same aunt has even isolated them when it came to information and pictures.
I have 4 living children and cancer and other major health issues. I really want to close this chapter before the last line in mine is written. I feel I have a right to know. I have to know. I cant move on until i do. I am a strong person and I dont need people trying to protect me by hiding the truth and lying.
In the end, my dad is still dead and nothing will change that. But knowing why, even if that means he left on purpose and on his own terms, will allow me to move on and live my life free and whole. Please help!
I live in California and he passed away in California.

I would suggest, if you don't have information on where he died, that you start at the below link.

http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3693

Once you have narrowed down the information by date or year of death, you can then contact the involved agency to obtain more information. It is likely that they will only have limited information given the time that has elapsed since his death but this may provide you with answers to some of your questions.

Good luck and let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.

-Joel Price, Detective

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I am writing this letter because of the pain of going on I feel. My only son, Jimmy, was only 20 when this happened. Jimmy was court ordered to a residential treatment center. I took him there myself. Well after 3 days he ran. We couldn't find him for a month and he shows up at my doorsteps on new years of 2012. I told him he couldn't be here as the police were looking for him and I would not agree with what he had done. I told him O.K. but you have to leave in the morning. Well it turned into 5 days and now I look back and am so happy to have seen him before he was murdered. 3 U.s. marshals shot him in a parking lot as he was trying to get away. They all three fired 30 rounds at him. He was hit 3 times in the head. One bullet came out his mouth and once in the chest. Yes, all this for leaving rehab. Here's the thing Jimmy had been in trouble before and was a runner, but he never ever carried a weapon and they knew this. They had his best friend, who was an illegal from mexico, set him up at 5 o clock at the albertsons here. I had known this boy Mario, who set up his best friend just to get his green card. I had no idea that the marshals were involved. Just that day me and Jimmy argued very badly because I wanted him to turn himself in. Had the marshals talked with me, I would've told them that I  would call them as soon as jimmy's a sleep. I'm getting worse as time goes by. Jimmy's sister filed an wrongful death suit against the united states of america. Here we are 3 1/2 years later and the case is too much for jimmy s sister Karly, so the attorney is all over me about details. Anyways, I seen that you was a detective and really wanted to ask a question. Does law enforcement aware of how many people a bullet can kill? I'm 54, jimmy was my only child. I am in so much pain because I wasn't there to stop this. He was just a scared kid and allowed his fear to make decisions for him. I cannot live without some kind of closure. I miss my only son. I had so many plans in the future with him. Its weird, I cant find one person who has lost their son to law enforcement, but I know there must be more like me. This is how I get to die. Alone now and bitter.

I am so sorry to hear of your son's tragic death at the hands of law enforcement. While I will not comment on the circumstances of his death I would implore you to seek professional guidance and counseling. I have watched many people deal with the death of a child and each one grieves differently. Feeling somehow responsible for not being able to prevent this situation is a natural parental emotion. Please seek professional help and channel your grief into something positive in memory of Jimmy. Get involved in providing counseling to people with addictions, share your story and your grief so that others don't have to experience it. Explain the sometimes deadly yet unintended consequences of their decisions. Re-engage your faith and seek comfort from your fellow church members

You are 100% accurate with your assessment of how many lives one bullet can take, don't be one of them. Fight on and honor your son's memory, that is what HE would want you to do.

-Joel Price, Detective

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My son was shot and killed on August 8, 2012 and expired the next morning and the person Islam Gad fled to Egypt with a letter of travel from the Consulate with expired passport. He had dual citizenship but no background check or waiting period was giving to this killer and terrorist who didn't know my son he attempted to shoot at the two females in the car then turn the gun on my child has he ran back to the car no one in law enforcement or government are helping my family and me.we just want this killer back so we can have a little closure,please help or steer me in the right direction.

I too am sorry to hear of the tragic loss of your son. I have a great deal of experience in this area. There are certain countries with which the U.S. has extradition treaties, I'm not certain that Egypt is one of them though. With all that has gone on in that part of the world lately I would anticipate that any progress at returning the suspect to the U.S. would be slow.

Are you Egyptian by chance? I ask this because I once had a case where an Iranian suspect killed another Iranian citizen here in the U.S. I was then able to track the suspect to Iran. While we have no treaty with Iran, much less diplomatic relations, the victim's family still lived in Iran and persuaded the Iranian authorities to arrest the suspect and charge him with the murder of a fellow Iranian. With permission from the U.S. Department of State, I provided all of our reports to a neutral third-party country who turned them over to the Iranian Embassy. the reports were translated into Farsi and used to convict the suspect of the murder that occurred in the U.S.

I offer this as one method of seeking justice in your son's case. If this option isn't available to you I would suggest that you contact the FBI and inquire as to what treaties might exist between the U.S. and Egypt. They may also want to get a Federal UFAP (Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution) warrant into the Interpol system so that if the suspect ever tries to travel between other countries with which we do have an extradition treaty, that he can be arrested and returned to the U.S.

It is also possible and in fact quite likely that the agency handling your son's murder is already doing all of this so you may want to ask them. They should be able to advise you as to what their next steps are.

Good luck!

-Joel Price, Detective

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My son, age 20, was murdered on January 16, 2015. The Kentucky State Police continue to investigate this very complicated case which happened in our small town.   I am fearful for our family to review the autopsy report, police report, or of hearing other information about the crime scene and know they will contain information that will cause me and my family extreme hurt and pain. I talk to the police regularly and try to be involved as much as possible.  We feel helpless and hopeless in finding the person who took our son. We need to know some information but are afraid to ask and don’t want to come across as though we don’t think the case is being worked.  

Brief background: My son was “doing a favor” by housesitting for a friend when someone kicked in the insecure front door and killed my son by shooting him. There may have been other injuries, but I don’t know details.  The home was a rental property and belonged to a preacher and the person’s occupying the house were his 2 sons. I have been told the property had a history of being a known drug house a few years back. I did not know this and I don’t think my son did either since at the time he was in high school and participated in Mission Trips, Marching Band, and many other clubs.   One older son has a lengthy legal history and I was told he did time in the pen for crimes. The younger son was a newer “friend” of my son and was not present when this happened.   

One theory, (police and mine as well) is that my son’s life was taken by a “hit man” because the person living in the home did not pay someone for drugs that were entrusted to him to sell.  My son was a gifted college student and musician, and was never in trouble not even once in his life. He was not involved in drugs as a dealer, seller or addict, but did use marijuana on a recreational basis for treatment of his diagnosed anxiety.  My son and the home owner’s older son  have very similar body size, facial hair, weight, etc. and it is thought the perp did  not know either the homeowner or my son.  Following the murder of my son, the actual person who was supposed to be the target, along with approximately 5-6 others entered the crime scene, probably took something, and then left without calling police for help for my son.  They were all charged with a misdemeanor of failure to report a death.

My questions are:
1.     Is there a point where I should find someone (and what type person) to review the reports mentioned above and possibly filter some of the information to our family? We are feeling crippled by the lack of knowledge from the reports but don’t want to know the gruesome details of my son’s injuries or other aspects such as that.  

2.    Does 8 months seem like a long time to develop a case such as this?  We are told there is no progress most of the time when I call and talk with the police however they are aware of our sensitivities and we feel they are trying to protect us from things that would further traumatize our family.

3.    Is there some suggestions, ideas, or guidance you can provide for our situation? We understand that police can’t tell us everything. 

Thank you for taking time to read this, and for your possible answers.

First let me express my condolences for the loss of your son. I can only imagine the pain that this has brought upon your family. Second, let me apologize for the tardiness of my response but I have had a somewhat busy travel schedule over this past month.

Remaining in contact with the investigators assigned to your son's case is critical. The exchange of information could lead to some other avenue of exploration for them.

In response to your direct questions, I don't believe that the police would be willing to share any of their investigative information with anyone from the outside as this is still an ongoing investigation. To do so could compromise the integrity of the investigation and provide any potential suspect(s) with information that could irreparably damage the case. Remain in contact with them on a regular basis and ask them to share any information they can.

Some questions that they may be willing to answer might be:

Were any expended casings recovered from the crime scene, if so, have they been entered into NIBIN (this is a nationwide database of images of casings that is compared to test fires from weapons that come into police custody)

Was there any physical evidence, fingerprints, blood, hair, DNA swabs etc., recovered that has yet to be processed. This sort of evidence can lead to additional investigative leads.

As far as the time that has lapsed, it is not unusual for cases to proceed slowly. In some cases this is part of the investigative strategy in order to develop evidence that can be used during a prosecution. Ask them if they have any "persons of interest."  They likely won't provide you with a name(s) but it might be helpful for you to hear that they are making progress.

In my 35 year career I have had cases that took years to develop and ultimately solve so 8 months doesn't seem unusual to me.

I'll leave you with this. The individuals who work in this field are, for the most part, committed law enforcement professionals who, above all, want justice for the victims and their families. They are not the ones who work the typical work day and leave their work behind when they do go home. They take it with them, they're constantly thinking of investigative strategies and options.

While I did retire 7 months ago, I remain active as an up-paid reserve so that I can continue to try to bring closure to other victims and their families. I say this not to pat myself on the back, but to let you know that there are hundreds of us our here throughout this Country that continue to do the same.

I hope and pray that sometime soon you will have the answers that you need to heal!

-Joel Price, Detective

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I have attached a letter that I sent to the Sheriff in the county where my son died.  Numerous phone calls, e-mail and this letter have been ignored.  Would you kindly review the attached and advise me how to proceed to have my concerns addressed.

The week that I mailed this letter, the person who being investigated contacted my husband and left a message:  “We have issues to discuss”.  This man’s father is an  attorney in the county and he has many family members in this small rural town.  I’m wondering if perhaps he has a family member who has influence in the local sheriff’s department.  The Victim’s Assistance program in Monroe county also ignored several of our phone calls.

Any advice or insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

First let me express my condolences for the loss of your son. I can only imagine the pain that this has brought upon your family. Second, let me apologize for the tardiness of my response but I have had a somewhat busy travel schedule over this past month.

With respect to your letter, given your description of the events and statements made by others, I would agree that certain questions remain unanswered.

I would suggest that you engage an elected official in your County who has influence over the Sheriff's department. If nobody at the County level is interested in assisting then I would reach higher to a State level elected official.

While the unfortunate reality may be that they are short-staffed, nobody would want to allow for potential evidence to "disappear" or become otherwise unavailable which could happen with respect to phone records.

Having worn both hats, that of a Dectective and an elected Councilmember in the city where I reside, I know the influence they can have.

-Joel Price, Detective

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Question i have a cousin that died. This year back in april on the 18 the police sed it was just an accident bt we got people telling us that and rumors saying it wasnt just an accident then the police gave us two wrong autopsys that werent even right of what happened to her in we still dont have the right autopsy paper can you please help my family out.

I am sorry to hear of the passing of your cousin. In this case the only advice I could offer would be to contact the Coroner's office that conducted the autopsy.  They are the ones responsible for affixing a cause and manner of death. If there are discrepancies in autopsy it would be their responsibility to correct them, not the police.

-Joel Price, Detective

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On May 12, 2016, my nephew returned home from work, pulled into his driveway, shut off the engine, and his live-in girlfriend came outside, went into her car, and walked down the driveway and shot him in the chest as he exited the car. Subsequently, the killer was arrested but immediately contacted domestic violence agencies to help her mount a defense. She released a story to the media stating she was being beaten all day and went in her bedroom drawer, retrieved the gun and shot him because she feared for her life. As you well know, domestic violence is a hot button so we have been met with apathy regarding seeking justice. She was held by the police for 1 1/2 days and released with a tether. She is calling the family, further worsening the grievance process. The police has told the family she was released because "We can't figure out what to charge her with." In general, the attitude displayed by officials is, well he was beating her, so hey.

My questions: What can the family do to keep the police engaged in prosecuting this case? Where should we start? Is there anything the family can do to have her arrested and incarcerated until this matter is resolved?

First let me extend my sincere condolences for the grief that you and your family are experiencing. Based on what you've described, it would appear to me that the prosecutorial agency (eg; District Attorney or States Attorney) has either asked for additional investigation to be conducted or declined to file charges against her based on the evidence. At the same time, and again based on what you described in your email, I can see no reason not to charge her with manslaughter at a minimum. Not sure what state you live in but perhaps its called something else there.

If her claim of being the victim of domestic violence is real, I would expect that there would be physical evidence to support her claim that she had been beaten all day. Once the perpetrator of that beating had left the premises, I would have a hard time with the claim that she feared for her life given that she had ample opportunity to either leave the location or report it to the authorities. A self-defense argument rings hollow in my ears given that she apparently did neither.

I would suggest the immediate family of the victim attempt to set up a meeting with the investigators to get further clarity on where the investigation stands.

I hope this is in someway helpful and wish you and your family all the best in dealing with this tragedy!

-Joel Price, Detective

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On March 24 2015 my daughter was murdered. She was with several individuals including her boyfriend and best friend. The police took some statements but no one at the scene was interrogated. They were allowed to leave the scene and go to the hospital. No one contacted me but the boyfriend through Facebook messenger. No police no hospital no one else. I was sent to the wrong hospital. When I arrived at the hospital several people were there including the police. The hospital was,asking her boyfriend at the time her personal info and they let him in the conference room when I was told my daughter didn't make it. I told them to get him out and to stop asking him questions I am her mother. The hospital only gave me five minutes with my daughter and I wasn't allowed to touch her. I had no privacy. Several doctors and nurses were in the room. The police were acting suspicious. Now I know why because the people at the scene that were witnesses left the crime scene. I believe two people at the seen had warrants which meant the police did not run any names through their system. I do not believe the detectives searched for Any evidence except for the bullets. I feel the shooting was a cover up for what really happened to my daughter and now the detectives know that and they will not discuss her actual cause of death with me. They are covering up their mistakes and no one has been arrested for her murder. The person everyone accused was murdered a month later. The detectives had no evidence against him prior to his murder but today they are still trying to investigate him instead of everyone else. They told me they had no reason to investigate them. I feel my daughter was murdered by someone in the apartment. Her boyfriend at the time is now locked up awaiting trial for a murder in my hometown he is accused of in September 2015. What can I do to have this investigated? And how can I see her autopsy? I believe her time of death is not what her death certificate is saying. The police report is saying she was unresponsive at the scene and they declared her dead in the ambulance. Please give me some advice on what I need to do.

I am terribly sorry to hear of your daughter's passing.

With respect to the investigation, I'm not sure what part of the country you are in but typically you, as the next of kin, would have access to the autopsy protocol unless, for some reason, the police have ordered it sealed. In most cases this is only done to protect the integrity of the investigation.

From what you've written it appears that you aren't even aware of the cause of death? That would have to be listed on the death certificate which I'm sure you have. As for the time of her death, that was likely established through a variety of factors to include witness statements, perhaps video, texts she may have sent or received, and some medical findings.

As far as witnesses who may have been at the scene and left, that is unfortunate but people cannot be compelled to speak to the police. A good investigator will continue to try to interview all witnesses. You say that nobody at the scene was interrogated. That would suggest to me that the police didn't believe, at least at that point, that any of them were potential suspects.

I would suggest that you continue to communicate with the investigators to get an understanding of where they stand in the investigation. They may be a bit tight lipped just to protect the integrity of the investigation so please understand if they cannot share everything they know with you.

-Joel Price, Detective

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Our son was robbed and shot, and killed in Flint, Mi May 10, 2015. The killer will be sentenced January 26, 2017. My question is, will we be able to have our sons clothing and any personal effects from that night once the case is closed?  I wanted to have his phone back. There are a lot of special pictures on it and some recordings of his voice.
Thank you for answering.

My condolences on the tragic death of your son. I have seen far too many parents live through the horror of losing a child to senseless violence.

In regards to items you wish to have returned, I would encourage you to reach out to the Detective/ Investigator who was in charge of the case. I would typically say that you would be entitled to anything the police may have taken as evidence that wasn't introduced as evidence during the trial. I generally discourage families from seeking the clothing as it can be a disturbing reminder of the violent death. It may also have been disposed of by the coroner's office if it were of no evidentiary value to the police.

This assumes that you are his legal next-of-kin. If your son had been married it would go to his spouse first.

I hope you find this response helpful and that you are able to obtain the items you seek.

-Joel Price, Detective

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What information can I as a family member of a murder victim request of the jurisdiction where the homicide was committed decades ago?  My sister was discovered in the trunk of her car on the campus of Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, by our father and me in 1972.

Some reviews of the case have been done over the years -- something I'm very grateful for -- and I'd like to know as much about the case as possible without compromising a future trial. Soon I'll call the lead investigator and would appreciate guidance on what information I can request?  Given the age of the files I'm willing to travel to that town to look at paper files, if necessary.  Knowing what happened and what has been uncovered during the investigation and reviews of the case is important to me, as that may be the best I can hope for in my lifetime. Also, some memories have faded over the 40+ years since the murder, and some information was only shared with my father (who is now deceased) and not with this 18 year old sister of the victim.

What a tragic situation you have endured! I can certainly understand your desire for closure and admire your commitment to your sister's memory.

In regards to your inquiry, I appreciate that you have an understanding as to why all details of a case cannot be disclosed. What you wouldn't want to happen is to jeopardize any future investigation and/or prosecution. I also understand your desire to learn what details law enforcement would be willing to share with you.

Questions I would ask would involve the types of evidence that may have been collected from the crime scene. While the science of DNA didn't exist in 1972, it is possible that some of the evidence that was collected may in fact contain DNA samples. An example of this might be hair or other stains that may have been sampled and booked as potential evidence. Obviously, it her death involved a sexual assault, there may be evidence there that could yield a DNA profile.

I have had the opportunity to look back through some cases that pre-dated my career and have found evidence that I was able to develop profiles from. The difficulty then comes in matching the profile to an individual but, it's a step in the right direction. Any samples developed from this effort can be checked through a database that contains profiles of thousands of sex offenders and other felons. If the police had any potential suspects in mind at the time of the crime, they can perhaps obtain specimens from those individuals that they can use to compare to the now, "know profile."

It's a long-shot but one worth taking.

Other questions could involve those potential suspects. While I wouldn't expect them to provide you with names, they could describe the connection, if any, between your sister and the suspect, and let you know whether that individual was completely exonerated or remains a potential suspect.

Your offer to fly there to have the conversation in person shows your desire to obtain the facts but I doubt whether it would change the outcome. I would begin with a phone call to the investigators assigned and inquire as to whether or not they would allow you to look through the documents that they have. I suspect the answer would be, "no." I too would not allow anyone to view the case files of an unsolved murder.

In the end, ask any question that comes to mind. They should understand your desire for the answers and answer those that they can.

-Joel Price, Detective

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