Photo AP/Amy Sancetta
FEATURED IN INVESTIGATION
The first two articles of this series on investigating rape discussed legal definitions, the importance of care in handling the initial contact with a rape victim, identification and collection of rape evidence, the medical examination and the various uses of DNA evidence. In this third installment, I introduce a fictional sexual-assault case based on an actual incident to demonstrate the practical application of previously discussed theory.
Marie Delaney is a 32-year-old branch manager of a nationally known bank in Hartford, Conn. The bank is situated in the foyer on the first floor of a multi-level business complex in a heavily industrialized downtown area. Elevators connect the various business offices to a massive five-level parking garage.
On May 27, at approximately 0645 hrs, Marie Delaney parked her car on the third level of the garage, walked across the parking lot and took the public elevator down to the first floor to open the bank for business at 0900 hrs. The bank closes at 1800 hrs; at approximately 1845 hrs, Delaney took the same elevator up to the third floor of the garage. Unable to immediately locate her keys, she placed her purse on the hood of her car to search for them. While in this position, she was struck so violently on the back of her head that she fell forward onto the hood of the car, suffering a severe contusion to her forehead over her right eye.
Her assailant pulled her legs out from under her and dragged her backward some 14 feet to the steps of a stairwell. He then dragged her nine cement steps down the stairwell into a small, partially enclosed landing. Displaying a large knife (the back of which he had used to strike Delaney), the assailant forced Delaney to fellate him, and subsequently sodomized her. In the process, he repeatedly stuck her with the rear of the knife, fracturing her jaw and damaging her right eye so severely it later had to be surgically removed. Her assailant took her purse, told her he knew where she lived and threatened to kill her if she contacted the police.
Some time later, Delaney managed to drag herself up the stairwell. An insurance employee who worked in the building found her lying next to her car. He called 911, and the police and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.
The Initial Response
Unfortunately, the insurance employee who found Delaney called the police with a cell phone that provided only partial reception, and the dispatcher interpreted the call as a sick/cared for. Officer James Jenkins was immediately dispatched (at 1918 hrs), but he was across town. When he did arrive in the downtown area, he went to a parking garage directly across the street from the bank's garage. Meanwhile, the ambulance arrived at the correct location and transported Delaney to St. Francis Hospital's critical-care unit.
Eventually, Jenkins arrived at the crime scene. He spoke with the insurance employee, who speculated Delaney must have been mugged. The insurance employee reported he had attempted to provide first aid by taking off his shirt and applying direct pressure to Delaney's facial area. He said she was partially unconscious and did not speak to him. Jenkins had less than three months on the job. After noting only a small amount of blood near where the insurance employee reported finding Delaney, the officer left the scene to find out what he could at the hospital.
The ambulance radioed ahead to the emergency room, reporting the severe injury to Delaney's eye. Even with her fractured jaw, Delaney managed to tell the medical response technician (MRT) she had been raped. The paramedics immediately reported the rape to the trauma team that greeted the ambulance at the entrance to the hospital. They whisked Delaney away to the hospital's critical care unit, whose staff was fortunately well-trained in handling rape cases.
When Jenkins arrived at the hospital, he learned of Delaney's critical condition and rape from the MRT who assisted her in the ambulance. Jenkins returned to the parking garage intending to protect the crime scene, using his cruiser's radio en route to call his supervisor, Sergeant Fleming. Because he used his radio rather than a cell phone or landline, every news media with a police scanner marshaled its forces to arrive at the parking garage. Upon arriving on scene, Fleming called for more personnel and sealed off all garage entrances and exits. He used his cell phone to call the detective division. Detectives Anthony Capriati (the Cisco Kid) and Paul Amaral responded to the scene, arriving at 2037 hrs, one hour and 19 minutes after the insurance employee called 911.
The Detectives Arrive
The Cisco Kid had been a detective for more than 35 years. His partner, Amaral, had six years on the job, but had been promoted to detective only two weeks before the crime. It was the Kid's case. Amaral's job was to watch and listen.
With the parking garage now sealed off, Capriati felt somewhat confident the crime scene was well protected. He spoke with Jenkins, who was receiving a severe, loud tongue lashing from Fleming. Jenkins pointed out where the insurance employee had found Delaney, and showed the detective the small amount of blood on the garage's cement floor along with the insurance employee's wadded-up white shirt. Capriati took out his flashlight, and his eyes moved from the initially observed blood spot to a trail of blood droplets. He followed the intermediate blood-splatter trail and scuff marks to the steps of the stairwell and then down into the partially enclosed landing. What he saw there made him back off and make a call on his cell phone to the home of Detective Shirley Bascomb.
The Evidence Technician
- Investigating Rape Crimes, Part 1 of 5
- Investigating Rape Crimes, Part 2 of 5
- Investigating Rape Crimes, Part 4 of 5
- Investigating Rape Crimes, Part 5 of 5