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  • Writer's pictureRayne Marrow

Talking to the Dead

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

How do the dead talk?

Many consider Halloween to be the Day of the Dead; a day when the spirit world reaches over into our realities, having another chance to touch the living. Many believe that a spirit board is needed to talk to them. Yet, for me, Halloween is every day. I talk to dead to solve real life mysteries.

When I first began my career, I was stunned by the mountainous loads of paperwork. Part of my job required me to look through the files, to scrutinize every page, letter and outline. But there is one thing you never forget – the Xeroxed image of a deceased on a slab; lifeless, brutalized and often staring into the beyond.

Gruesome images of causes of death combined with detailed images of autopsies, I learned to stomach it all. For with the cause of death before me, I can then begin working backwards to locate the truth regarding the assumed culprit.

Locard’s Exchange Principle

The dead talk by what has been left behind, and this is through Locard’s Exchange Principle.

Developed by Dr. Edmond Locard, this concept states that “every time you make contact with another person, place, or thing, it results in an exchange of physical materials.” Think  of it this way: everything we do leaves something behind or something is taken with us. It could be a lone hair, fibers, finger prints, something invisible to the naked eye but highlighted by proper black lighting and chemical compounds (think Luminol on wiped away blood – no longer visible, but still there). This evidence can then point us in the direction to locate the truth. The evidence left behind can then be put together to tell a story of what happened.

Although Crime Scene Investigators, homicide detectives, medical examiners, toxicologists and prosecutors are the first lines for talking to the dead, the value of the defense’s team cannot be forgotten. Just because the police have a suspect does not guarantee that the suspect is the actual perpetrator of the crime (One is innocent until proven guilty, and even after a guilty verdict is rendered, there are still options for post-conviction relief, whereby many innocent individuals, who have been convicted, were able to be released from prison and their guilty judgments nullified) . Often it takes time for the truth to rise to the top.

That is where I come in. I peruse all of the information provided by the prosecution, reviewing crime reports, incident reports, perusing toxicology and autopsy reports, and then … also talking to the client in order to find out how he fits into the prosecution’s suspected time line.  This means, tracking down leads, witnesses who can vouch for alibis, and following any line of communication that can lead to another clue.

When it comes down to it, it is about talking to the victim through the crime scene, the reports, witnesses and piecing the story together. Finding out what led up to the crime, and potentially the true identity of the perpetrator involved. Remember: the totality of evidence creates the story.

And before I can drift off to sleep that night, my mind races, trying to work out the eternal problem and struggle, all within the confines of my morality and duality. This job is never easy; I am still haunted by scenes of those who have passed on, and who I’ve seen on the silver slab. They left something with me.

I learned through their cases and still remember their faces and ages, and often I will still reflect on what they gave me, the ability to solve a mystery and to find peace.

Every day is filled with another mystery to solve. Now, it’s time to work on the next one!

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