The Importance of Crime Scene Investigation

Last Updated: 07 Apr 2020
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Crime scene investigation is often a challenging and difficult line of work for even the most experienced law enforcement agent. There are some crimes that are more difficult to handle spiritually and emotionally than others. Crimes against children and the elderly are often most difficult to excuse and most difficult for crime scene investigators to process psychologically (Swanson, Chamelin & Territo, 1999: 313). Such investigations often result in tremendous psychological burden with time (O'Hara, 2003: 178).

Homicide in generally is often difficult to recover from emotionally, and often requires the investigator become deeply involved in the forensics model or inner workings of the mind of the criminal to help solve a case (O'Hara, 2003). This can result in increasing psychological stress with time. This paper will review a recent criminal investigation of homicide to two young children and the psychological and emotional effects the crime had on the family of the victims and the criminal investigator.

In this case the researcher probes into how a crime scene investigation can result in significant emotional, spiritual and in some cases physical trauma to both the victims family and the crime scene investigator. Here the crime scene demonstrates how emotionally vulnerable crime scene investigators are, much like crime victims in many circumstances. In this particular case two children were murdered by their mother who suffered from severe PPD or post partum depression.

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The event occurred in the middle of the night and was not revealed until 24 hours later when the father returned from a late night work shift and morning binge. The crime was reported to authorities immediately upon discovery. In this case the two boys, twins, appeared to be suffocated by the mother while sleeping one night. The crime scene was not overly violent. The victims home appeared unkempt however, with trash piling up in the kitchen and littering other rooms of the house.

The children were dressed in unclean clothing and the house looked as though it had not been cleaned or attended to in several months. Walking into the family area there was a noticeable lack of children's toys. There were multiple bottles of alcoholic substances and other paraphernalia suggesting one or both of the parents suffered from substance abuse problems. This crime had a particularly devastating effect on me, as I could imagine what it would be like if my family had suffered a similar crime, if my brothers or sisters had been murdered by a family member.

Homicide is never an easy crime to cope with. In this case multiple law enforcement agents that were also present at the crime scene had a difficult time coping with the tragic loss of two unique and innocent lives. Not helping the fact were family members that were present wailing and crying out regarding the injustices of the world. Each of the family members present was blaming him or herself for the crime, having recognized the potential for disaster early on but taking no action to prevent it. The father in this case once located and grandparents appeared noticeably distraught.

The grandparents were particularly upset, blaming themselves for the incident. The father seemed to waffle between disbelief, shock and terror. The father clearly suffered some sort of substance abuse problem and reportedly was at work when the murders occurred (he works a night shift). Spiritually I found myself questioning how this could happen to two innocent children. The children were not more than a year old. Both were tiny and innocent victims and for moments I considered these parents unworthy of such blessings.

Emotionally I wondered what such a tragedy might do to my own family, possibly destroying my motivation for living. There is some indication that the father in this case might be placed on suicide watch, suffering psychologically from these deaths and the death of his wife (who it seems from the investigation took a lethal dose of prescription pills after suffocating the children). The individual lost his life partner but also his children. This crime is in no way justifiable and reveals just how cruel the world can sometimes be to even the most innocent of victims.

Even in cases where evidence exists that the perpetrator of a crime was not of sound mind or spirit, there is little justification in cases of homicide. There are in many cases explanations for individual's behavior, as may be the case in this particular instance. The crime scene investigation here suggests that there is evidence to support the idea that the mother in this case was not psychologically fit for parenting at the time in question. There is also evidence to suggest she lacked the support necessary to cope with a difficult situation.

That does not excuse her actions nor her substance abuse behavior, but does help explain how a crime like this could have happened. If I were in this particular case I would have ensured early medical intervention and increased familial support to prevent the severe depression that ensued and forced the mother to kill herself and her children. Clearly she was also suffering emotionally and physically, and did not feel she had the resources or support necessary to seek help and solve her problem without resorting to drastic measures.

It is possible she suffered from some sort of psychosis. In this case other family members should have stepped in to facilitate earlier intervention and prevent this horrendous crime from occurring. Crime scene investigations are often difficult for crime scene investigators to handle emotionally and psychologically. While the job seems straightforward at first, with time crime scene investigators come to realize how difficult managing the psychological, spiritual and emotional aspects of the job are.

Of particular challenge are homicide investigations. It is vital when handling such cases that the investigator separate himself from the investigation so he or she does not associate what is going on in the investigation with any personal situations or circumstances. This can exacerbate the stress experienced by a crime scene investigator. Fortunately there are a number of support mechanism in place that can help crime scene investigators cope with the devastating and trying scenes they encounter from day to day.

It is important that these resources be made readily available in the cases where crime scene investigations involve violent criminal activity. While familial support is encouraging and helpful, support among peers and even counselors may be warranted to help crime scene investigators deal with the day to day. Stress management and other relaxation inducing techniques also may help alleviate some of the burden crime scene investigators face when handling difficult or violent cases.

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The Importance of Crime Scene Investigation. (2018, Jun 19). Retrieved from

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