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Letter from retired detective to Carol Dodge
11 years ago

I am a retired Detective Supervisor who has worked in Southeast Idaho for an extended period of time. I have not worked in the Idaho Falls area, but have assisted on many cases in the past with these agencies. When I read the contents of your website I became concerned that as a family victim of a serious crime that not more has been done to communicate with you properly. I hope not to offend you or any of the persons involved in the investigation, but want to give you some background of why these type of things occur. Idaho does not have a high crime rate and as a result does not investigate these type of crimes on a frequent basis. Even if a person works 20 or 30 years as a detective, you probably would only be assigned 10-15 investigations of this type of magnitute over your career. In Idaho Falls, Bonneville County and all of Southeast Idaho you do not have investigators who are assigned as Homicide Detectives. As a result those officers are frequently under trained and lack experience in what to look for on these type of crime scenes. Additionally some of the supervisors, especially those at the IFPD do not have the experience to oversee the detectives who are investigating the crime. As a result you frequently have things that should have been done, but where missed. As a result the case is not brought to a sucessful conclusion. You will also find that frequently there are what is term as "Turf Wars" Many agencies do not have the funding or equipment that is necessary to process such a crime scene. As a result the stiff necked supervisors fail to call in or ask for assistance from those who have the equipment. In our area the IFPD could have asked at least two bigger agencies that have the equipment and expertise to assist. The first would be the Crime Lab in Pocatello (CSI). Don Wykoff is the supervisor of that unit. He and his staff who have received extensive training in processing these type of crime scenes could have been summoned to assist the IFPD. The State Police also in Pocatello have crime scene trailers and detectives who could have responded at no cost to the IFPD. I would have also called out the Pathologist and the Coroner to the scene. The coroner is frequently an elected official, say someone from the Fire Department and really doesn't aid in the investigation. However the Pathologist who will be examining the victim later, will be allowed to see everything as it was before anything was moved. This could prove to be beneficial when he locates evidence during the autopsy. In this particular case if he has been trained on Blood Spatter he can evaluate the evidence and directon of the spatter, drops, transfers and many other items. This is another piece of evidence that would show the positioning, location and direction of attack. If detectives have done their job correctly they should have photographed and documented this very important evidence. Frequently when detectives document this type of evidence, they place evidence markers on the wall, floor and other locations to give a pattern analysis. Frequently hundreds of photographs showing the droplets, transfers and contacts should be taken to document this evidence. Video tape and camera stills should be taken of the entire crime scene by one person, slowly entering the scene to document exactly how the scene was before anyone entered. At this point assignments are given to each officer who is involved in the investigation as to what they are going to do. What freqently happens in these type of cases is the Administration of the Department, the Chief of Police, Captains, Mayor etc..hear about the crime and then utilize their power to go into the scene and examine what has occurred. If the Officers on the scene are doing their job correctly, they will refuse to allow any of the non involved parties into the scene until the scene is released. As a result of allowing extra persons into the scene, evidence is moved, destroyed or obliterated. Freqeuntly supervisors are worried that someone else might get the credit and make their department look bad. As a result they do not call for the additional assistance that is needed in these type of cases. Knowing what I know about equipment expenditures during this time frame, it would not surpise me to see that IF did not have all of the necessary equipment to process the scene. As you stated in the web site I have never heard of a crime scene being released in such a quick time to the apartment owner. Usually what you see is a uniformed officer standing guard on the apartment for days until all of the investigators and crime scene techs are sure that they have not left anything untouched. The other problem that you have is the fact that there are suggestions of drug users being associated with your daughter. I would have to ask the IFPD if they are not allowing you full access to the case file, why. You want justice in the case and if there are multiple suspects involved, then you would not do anything that would endanger this. The police need to see you as part of their team. Is the police department protecting someone within its own group. Are they protecting someone that they are using for information on drug cases because he/she has provided good information on other cases. Does it involve someone who has a family member in a high position. We do not have to look far in the past to see other problems like this. How much does politics play into the outcome of this investigation. In recent years a large number of victims have complained about the lack of communication from detectives handling cases. It appears that this is similar to what you have been experiencing. As I read over your experiences there appears to be many faults and investigative techniques that were not used.

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