Follow the Evidence
Sara's pager went off before her alarm. Man she hated working days! She glanced at the clock, 5:24am. Couldn't the night shift have taken this one? Oh yeah, there was no night shift anymore – budget cuts. She climbed out of bed and headed for the shower. She wanted to clear her head before she called in. Posting another dead body before breakfast; what a way to earn a living!
Sara arrived at the scene a bit before 7:00am. The damp breeze still held a hint of winter, another cool San Francisco spring morning.
"He's all yours, Ms. Sidle," said the officer, "the detectives have collected their evidence."
"Thanks, officer," Sara answered mechanically as she knelt by the body, avoiding the pool of blood by his chest. She opened her equipment bag and pulled out a large thermometer. Pushing aside the victim's torn shirt, she gently thrust the thermometer into his abdomen, "Liver temperature puts the time of death from 5 to 7 hours ago…"
She noticed the multiple puncture wounds across his chest. "Crime of passion?" she thought to herself, "Someone really wanted to see him dead."
"He appears to have bled to death from stabbing wounds to the chest," Sara said, "We'll know more once we get him to the morgue and Dr. Collins autopsies him." She finished processing the body and filling out the paperwork. The body was bagged and loaded in the Coroner's van, and Sara accompanied it back to the morgue.
"Where is that medicine?" whispered Gil Grissom as he frantically searched his desk drawer. He found the prescription bottle took out two tablets and popped them into his mouth, swallowing without water. There had been too many double shifts, too many days in a row without a break. His head was pounding in rhythm with his heart. If he could just hold on a few more days, he could sleep through the weekend.
"I can't take much more of this," he confessed as he sat behind the desk in his darkened office. His hands held up his head, his fingers massaging his temples. The pain faded slightly as the migraine medicine began to take effect. A mental numbness crept into his consciousness. His phone rang.
"Gil, this is Jim. We've got two dead bodies. Get Catherine and meet me at 721 Saguaro Drive."
"Is that Las Vegas or Henderson?" Grissom asked.
"Las Vegas suburb."
"Okay." Grissom hung up and then paged Catherine Willows to his office.
"God, Gil, you look awful!" Catherine observed from the office doorway. She looked from Grissom's bloodshot eyes to the dark circles underneath, "When was the last time you slept?"
"Hello to you too, Catherine. We've got two dead bodies. Jim's meeting us there. You drive."
Catherine drove them to an older well-manicured two story house in a quiet suburb.
"Gil, Catherine, over here." Jim Brass motioned for them to join him on the sidewalk in front of the house. The front yard and entryway were outlined with crime scene tape.
Jim briefed them, "Okay, here's what we have. Two victims, Josh and Sandy Miller, husband and wife. Husband killed in the den, wife in the living room. They appear to have been shot."
"Who called it in?" asked Catherine. Grissom seemed to be looking around vacantly at the yard and house.
"A Mr. and Mrs. Les Stanford: They were coming for dinner and noticed the front door was opened. When they saw the bodies and the blood they called 911. We have a tight timeline. Sandy Cooper called Mrs. Stanford at 4pm to confirm a late dinner. They arrived at 7:30pm. So our killer arrived sometime between 4 and 7 pm."
Catherine continued to take the lead asking "Has the house been cleared?"
"The responding officers said that they cleared the house, but there are a lot of places to hide in there. We'll be the first back in, so be careful."
"Any suspects?" Grissom asked, finally focusing on the discussion.
"None yet. Look. I don't feel good about this one, so be careful. The coroner is waiting for you to process the scene so he can remove the bodies for autopsy."
"Gil, which do you want, den or living room?" asked Catherine.
"Let's clear a path so that the coroner can process both bodies, then I'll take the perimeter while you continue in the house. When I'm finished outside, I'll help with whatever's left on the inside. Jim, are the Stanfords and the responding officers still here? We should take their shoe prints so that we can exclude them from the evidence."
"Gil, the officers are still here, I believe the Stanfords went down to the station to give their statements. I'll have someone in the lab take their shoe impressions."
"Okay, let's get started."
They pulled their kits from the CSI vehicle. Gil checked the prevailing light with a light meter then set the exposure on his camera and photographed the scene before proceeding up the sidewalk towards the house. He carefully examined the walkway and yard for evidence as he moved to the front door.
Catherine carried her kit over to the squad car. She took shoe impressions from the responding officers, photographed their soles, and obtained an ink print. She also checked for other evidence that they may have stepped in. She then joined Gil at the front door.
Gil had dusted for prints on and around the door and he had collected all that he found. They put on clean gloves and took out their cameras and flashlights. Gil opened the door, and they shined their flashlights at an angle across the entryway floor. A number of footprints appeared in the dust of the entryway floor. They retrieved the equipment to take electrostatic prints before going any further.
Throughout the preliminary investigation, Catherine had to keep her eye on Gil. He took the right steps, but his mind seemed to be elsewhere. She was concerned that it was just a matter of time before his exhaustion overwhelmed his judgment. He let her take the lead in creating a narrative and in directing their explorations. More than once she had to stop him from stepping on and destroying evidence. This was not like Gil. She should tell Jim what she had observed when they got back to the lab. She was worried about him.