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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Anatomy of Murder: Crime Scene Investigation
Aired May 15, 2005 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The following program contains images and storylines that may be disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Hello?
CALLER: Oh my God.
911 OPERATOR: What's the matter?
CALLER: We just found our neighbor dead!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other victim brother.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just here is the body.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We already briefed your older brother, but I'll give you a little bit of -- obviously we're in the very early stages of an investigation right now. They found him. Unfortunately, he's deceased. We believe it's foul play.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANJAY GUPTA, HOST (voice-over): This is the real CSI, a lot different than what you see on TV. How different? That's what this hour is all about.
We'll take you behind the scenes of the Hollywood version.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, you've got it and follow detectives on a real homicide case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). Am I dreaming this?
GUPTA: This is the backdrop for "CSI: Miami," one of the blockbuster dramas about forensic science. Hello and welcome. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Over the next hour, we're going to look at the anatomy of murder, seeing what happens in a real murder investigation with a particular focus on what the body can tell us. It's a focus that's changing law enforcement and has made the CSI franchise such a hit.
MOISES VELAZQUEZ, MIAMI CITY HOMICIDE: We have a homicide that not simply was the victim killed, he was bound at the hands, bound at the feet, a sheet wrapped around his head, the bedroom ransacked.
GUPTA (voice-over): It's a murder with no witnesses. Miami city homicide detective Freddy Ponce and Sergeant Moises Velazquez head up the investigation and immediately call on the team of CSI technicians.
They spend the next 10 hours processing the crime scene, finding clues to help detectives piece together what happened the night 60- year-old Thomas Clark was killed.
VELAZQUEZ: We find a bolt and kitchen knife here on the chair next to the door. There's no forced entry into the apartment, but there's forced exit out of the apartment.
We believe what happens is is that our suspect comes in with the victim. Sometime during the night, the murder takes place. Then once the exit goes -- the apartment and get away. However, he finds that the door is locked.
It looks like that just simply by habit, once the victim comes in, he automatically locks the door behind him. The suspect had to use the knife to unscrew the deadbolt and actually force his way out of the apartment.
This is a person that's desperate. He's not concerned with wearing rubber gloves and you know, making sure he collects his hair samples and everything else. So we got him inside the vehicle.
So the eyewitness says he wasn't counting on is going to be forensic science.
We find some black sunglasses. According to the victim's girlfriend, he doesn't wear sunglasses. Also, the victim does not smoke. And we find a cigarette butt inside the ash tray. I believe that the drapes are partially pulled down because the offender may have been looking for a way out.
GUPTA: Hours into the investigation, the medical examiner arrives to examine and remove the body.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His ankles are tied with...
GUPTA: What's the motive? No one here knows. Thomas Clark was one of 14 brothers and sisters and a resident of this apartment for 25 years. He was also the superintendent and kept drugs and crime out. Not this time.
Detectives are optimistic. They say the criminal was sloppy.
VELAZQUEZ: Our suspect is leaving traces of himself inside this location.
GUPTA: Every place he touches might leave a fingerprint, or palm print.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we call a right lower hand.
GUPTA: Just last year, Miami started a palm print database similar to the National Fingerprint Database -- another tool to track a suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was already superglued, but now I'm trying to see if I can get some prints on it.
GUPTA: Superglue is a tried and true method to grab and feel a print. CSI technician Kevin Pratt.
KEVIN PRATT, TECHNICIAN: Yes, it locks it in. It fixes it so we can process the item over and over again, without the fingerprint deteriorating.
GUPTA: Grabbing a good print isn't as easy as it is on TV. Heating up the superglue to adhere to a print is the same, but finding a well defined print...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not that lucky. Not much detail on this one.
VELAZQUEZ: I don't see anything on there. Jesus Christ. There's another one there.
GUPTA: Simple swabbing picks up DNA on everything from door jams to blood.
VELAZQUEZ: See, also what's significant is that it looks like a single blood drop on the back of the shirt. So it could be several explanations for that. It could be that the offender himself is bleeding.
GUPTA: DNA has revolutionized CSI. Nowadays, even trace amounts can nab a killer.
Unfortunately, getting a DNA profile isn't as instant as the "CSI: Miami" TV show portrays.
WILLIAM STUVER, MIAMI-DADE CRIME LAB: It's futuristic. And that's Hollywood.
GUPTA: In real life, it requires sending samples to sophisticated labs. In this case, the Miami-Dade Crime Lab. There's a lot of waiting.
STUVER: A sample removed from a crime scene usually takes about a week from the time we first opened the specimen until we actually have DNA profiles coming off the machine.
GUPTA: DNA testing is so popular, labs are backlogged with cases. In the future, robots might help speed up the process. The FBI crime lab uses them to process blood samples from federal offenders and expects one day robots will be able to take DNA from all types of evidence.
ARMANDO MARTINEZ, CAPTAIN, MIAMI POLICE: The homicide we had the other night...
GUPTA: Back in Miami, city police captain Armando Martinez makes the call.
MARTINEZ: We need it expedited if you can. OK?
GUPTA: Because this is a homicide, the county crime lab agrees to put this case ahead of others and process DNA ASAP. But it will still take days.
Detective Ponce is called to the medical examiner's office for the autopsy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought there was some abrasion here, but it looks like it's just this skin blistering. I really think he suffocated.
GUPTA: A tiny bone in the neck, like this one, is what makes this case a homicide. It's called the hyoid bone. The ME discovers that Clark's hyoid bone has been fractured.
(on camera): So the hyoid bone, if someone is strangled like this, very likely this bone is going to be broken?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, good possibility that it'll be broken.
GUPTA: This isn't Thomas Clark's hyoid bone, but this is what made you convinced this was a homicide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct. It was -- the fracture occurred right here.
GUPTA: Can you say for sure without a doubt that this man was murdered?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
GUPTA: If Clark suffocated, why is the blanket that was wrapped around the victim's head so bloody?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The B composition fluid can look like blood. And I have a feeling most of that is just B composition fluid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we have a time of death?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.. GUPTA: Programs like "CSI: Miami" make it look easy. But in reality, determining the exact time someone dies is almost impossible, especially if the body is decomposing, which Clark's was.
Dr. Chundru estimates Clark was killed 18 to 33 hours before he was found.
SATISH CHUNDRU, DR., MEDICAL EXAMINER: The state he was in, the decomposition, it's hard to even narrow that down. The shows on TV, they say, yes, he died between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. It's unrealistic, but it makes for a good TV show.
GUPTA: Back at police headquarters, fingerprint examiners hit a snag. Prints from the crime scene aren't matching any in a national database. Police are convinced the suspect has a criminal record and should show up in the database.
Fingerprint analysis is not as high tech as the TV shows would imply. Even with a hit, trained eyes and experience are still needed to make a match.
GUILLERMO MARTIN, MIAMI CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Remember, this is just a tool. It doesn't make the identification. We do. Sit down and (INAUDIBLE). You got to like it. It's a very tedious job.
GUPTA: By the end of the second day, there are no leads. The Clark family can't understand who would do this.
VELAZQUEZ: If anybody could think of anything of anyone that Thomas might have had a problem with?
HELEN CLARK, VICTIM'S SISTER: You know, he always was there no matter what. He knew everybody.
GUPTA: Back at the Miami police department, technicians start processing the victim's car. Neighbors say they saw him drive in with a stranger. Maybe there's a clue outside or inside. With no witnesses, no suspects, which piece of evidence, if any, will crack this case?
MARTIN: It's like hunting down a ghost. Nobody knows him, nobody's seen him before. And it's just picking on a face out of millions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up, the detectives find a tantalizing clue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). That's the victim, that's the offender right there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But next, we go behind the yellow tape in Hollywood. Behind the scenes with "CSI: Miami."
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TIME STAMP: 2213:47
GUPTA: This looks like a big city crime lab, but it's actually a Hollywood set where they shoot most of the scenes for "CSI: Miami." When we came out here, we learned that every "CSI" show relies heavily on real cops and forensics experts. In fact, the supervising producer for "CSI: Miami" had more than a decade of experience cracking real crimes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quick rehearsal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And action!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man. What the hell you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've been lying to me for months.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't be stupid. Put the gun down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut!
GUPTA (voice-over): Here is what a day on the job looks like for Elizabeth Devine in the middle of the Florida Everglades, followed by a CNN news crew.
For this show, the "CSI" crew sets fire to the Everglades, a controlled burn with real firefighters standing by. They go to great heights to get the shot, as air boats race by below. Check out the finished product -- the chase scene.
The story is fictional drama. A serial killer on the loose, but parts of it inspired by real life in Devine's days as a top-notch criminalist. She works closely with the director and the actors, giving them advice from the field.
ELIZABETH DEVINE, "CSI: MIAMI" SUP. PRODUCER: I wanted it to seem like that guy's going to be the problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut! Next.
GUPTA: The labs on "CSI" and "CSI Miami" are modeled on this, the L.A. County Sheriff's Crime Lab.
DEVINE: So this is my old stomping grounds.
GUPTA: A little different than your new place.
DEVINE: Yes, it's not as fancy as the "CSI" lab.
GUPTA: Now when you do television, I mean, is it feel funny to take some of those stories or some of your experiences and put it into entertainment type programming?
DEVINE: I don't -- we don't do anything that I think is gratuitously violent as entertainment, even it is entertaining. What we want to do is show the reasons people become desperate enough to kill, and then try to twist and turn it through the evidence analysis. So you really don't know who did it.
The man that hired me out of grad school.
BARRY FISHER, DIR., LA COUNTY SHERIFF'S CRIME LAB: (INAUDIBLE).
GUPTA: So how much -- I got to ask you -- how many of your colleagues have you lost to the world of Liz Devine and Hollywood?
FISHER: Well, she is a serious drain on forensic science over here. We've lost four full-time people.
GUPTA: For 15 years, Elizabeth worked on some high-profile and often grisly cases.
DEVINE: This was a blood stain on his shirt. And I was able to prove that it was the victim's handprint. And the victim grabbed his shirt while she was still alive.
GUPTA: Stabbed while he was...
DEVINE: She grabbed it and grabbed it like that.
GUPTA: Blood spatter in the whole...
DEVINE: Yes, yes.
GUPTA: She says that while she doesn't miss dealing with the tragedies or the long hours, the adrenaline rush was hard to give up.
DEVINE: When you get out there and you find the key piece of evidence, it's so exciting, because you know, this is it. This is the piece of evidence that's going to tell me who did it.
GUPTA: A lot of "CSI", the original "CSI" is based on some of the stuff you worked on here and you saw here at the crime lab here?
DEVINE: My whole life is on that show. Everything that happened to me.
GUPTA: Divorced with three children, Devine says it was tough to leave her former job. It was a steady paycheck and provided the security she needed.
DEVINE: You can't really do the Hollywood thing temporarily. You really have to get all the way in. The hours are 12 hours minimum every day. And there's no way to do that part-time at all.
GUPTA: Back home in L.A. is where the ideas for the smash TV series are born. Beautiful house, it really is.
DEVINE: Thank you. Thank you. I like it here. Sort of like not being in L.A.
GUPTA: Swimming pool, we've got the mountains, but it's all very private.
One of her favorite episodes is from the original "CSI" and came about after she first met the executive producer.
DEVINE: I'm really fond of blood drops, which was my first episode that I wrote with Ann Donahue. And actually, I got story credit. And she wrote it. But it was really very factually based. And I met her. And I had just been working this crime scene.
And she said well I'm writing a "CSI" episode on this case. And she held up the paper. And I said well, that's -- I've just been working on that for the last five days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Female Caucasian. Appears to be one stab wound to the throat.
DEVINE: It was probably one of the most realistic crime scenes that had ever been on TV at that at time because it was from my experience. And crime scenes being very lonely, quiet places, which is never what you see on TV.
GUPTA: And for Devine, it seems that going Hollywood is in her DNA. Her uncle, Dr. Ronald Hornbloom, lives with her. He was L.A. County's chief coroner and a technical adviser for "Quincy." He still believes that show set the standard.
RONALD HORNBLOOM, UNCLE: I thought it was great. I don't think "CSI" is as great.
DEVINE: What? Are you kidding me?
DEVINE: How can you say that on camera? God!
GUPTA: Still, he was the inspiration for his young niece.
DEVINE: Kill her! Cut!
GUPTA: And continuing a family tradition, Devine's youngest daughter is already following in mom's footsteps.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I take fingerprints all over.
DEVINE: Look at that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do not cross.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just ahead, we return to the scene of the crime. Detectives examine the first clues in the brutal murder of a 16-year old man.
And then, a cold case. A body without a face. A family looking for answers. We'll be right back.
FREDDY PONCE, DET., MIAMI HOMICIDE UNIT: This is Thomas Clark. He was pulled in his apartment early morning hours. And he was last scene with an unknown black male at approximately 1:00 in the morning.
GUPTA (voice-over): Day three into the investigation, detectives get a clue that could break the case wide open. It's something a neighbor sees the night Clark is strangled.
PONCE: He's sitting in his car and he sees the victim and a male. Don't go into the apartment, but they go straight to the store.
This is the store with the video right here.
GUPTA: The store security cameras were on and recording.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hot off the presses.
PONCE: There it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rock and roll.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good job.
PONCE: This victim was coming into the store...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
PONCE: The offender's right behind him.
GUPTA: On the "CSI: Miami" TV show, technology works flawlessly. In reality, there's often a glitch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you're going to have to upload this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go to your tool set so you can press play.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The computer won't read it. You're going to try in the DVD machine.
GUPTA: In this case, it takes an hour to get the disk to play, but it's worth the wait.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the kid. Stop. That's victim. That's the offender right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there (INAUDIBLE) on the glass.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely saw the glasses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There he goes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There he is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. That's the victim. See the gold chain? And there's the offender.
GUPTA: They now have a suspect, but whether or not he is the actual offender is still not known.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop it. Back up. Beautiful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's our man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's with the sunglasses.
GUPTA: They say the glasses on the suspect appear to match those at the crime scene. The video image is blurry, a far cry from the high resolution images the "CSI: Miami" TV shows portray. And in real life, it's rare to zoom in on clues like this.
But detectives say this image is good enough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this was your brother or you -- part that you hang out with, you're going to go I know that guy. That's what somebody's going to tell me when I show them something. They go, "Oh, look who it is." That's what they're going to say.
GUPTA: Now detectives face a decision. Do they release the photo right away, possibly tipping off the suspect or do they wait for DNA results, which could take weeks?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Admit it to the database. Hope that he's in the database and get his identification that way. Let's do that route...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...let's do that route first...
GUPTA: In the end, they wait.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got to be in the DNA database.
GUPTA: Unlike most TV shows, there are no rewrites. And everyone is left wondering if the weeks of waiting will let the murderer get away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aspirin is the vitamin of homicide. Because I want to be...
GUPTA: The DNA evidence, along with evidence from at least a dozen other killings a month, is handled here in the Miami-Dade Crime Laboratory. It's warehouse contains literally millions of pieces of evidence.
While we wait for the lab results, we focus our attention on another case. When this one began, both the killer and the victim were a mystery.
MOISES VELAZQUEZ, MIAMI HOMICIDE UNIT (voice-over): So I was called into the office and told this is your murder, the skeleton. It will never be solved. Just do what you can.
(on camera): The body was found in a very badly decomposed state. The medical examiner ultimately ruled that it was a homicide.
GUPTA: As police were trying to figure out who this victim was, a family 300 miles away wondered about their 29-year old son Tyshon. He hadn't called in weeks and they were worried.
CHERYL BROWN, TYSHON'S MOTHER: Tyshon was very -- he was hilarious.
GUPTA: He was also the father of three children.
BROWN: He was very loving of people. From the time of three- years old, he always had his cousins around. He always had friends around. Funny guy. You never seen him depressed. You know, he never -- he seen good in every body.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up, putting a face to the victim, the balancing act between science and art.
And still to come, separating fact and fiction on "CSI: Miami." Don't go away.
TIME STAMP: 2229:44
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
GUPTA: When a body was discovered in a Miami warehouse in the winter of 2003, police couldn't even tell if it was a man or a woman, let alone who it was.
But just down the hall here at the Miami-Dade Crime Lab, they would solve the puzzle.
GUPTA (voice-over): In "CSI" talk, it was a cold case. The body found in this warehouse had been there more than a week, not enough skin for a fingerprint, no clues to identify who this person was or why he or she was murdered.
ARNOLD YEN, MIAMI CITY P.D.: We were at a dead end. We had no way of hoping to find this person.
GUPTA: Around the same time, in Jacksonville, Florida, Cherilyn Gregory Brown (ph) called police to report their 29 year old son, Tyshon, missing. The last time they saw him, he was not his upbeat self.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was the week before Christmas, 2003. That was the most serious I had ever seen my son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would just think that he was hanging out with his friends and I just kept thinking in the back of my mind, he'll call.
GUPTA: In Miami, homicide detectives had never heard of Tyshon Brown. They had a victim without an identity, literally without a face. Enter crime scene technician Arnold Yen, Sergeant Velazquez and Lieutenant Joe Schillaci, all determined to find the killer.
YEN: It is almost like an insult. You can't have someone come into your city or your backyard and kill somebody and expect to get away with it.
LT. JOE SCHILLACI, MIAMI HOMICIDE UNIT: Somebody, just irresponsibly, just with hatred, takes another individuals life, to me, it becomes person. And I'm going to look for him. I am going to look for him.
GUPTA: On "CSI Miami," computers often do the heavy lifting. In reality, the human touch is vital. Without other evidence to solve the mystery, investigators turn to the bones, and forensic anthropologists at the University of Florida.
To help us understand how it all works, we turn to Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.
She goes to her own closet of bones from her old cases and shows us how to read them.
KATHY REICHS, FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST, UNC CHARLOTTE: This was a homicide and this may also have involved a decapitation. If you look at the base of the skull here, this is a knife mark running across the base of the skull.
GUPTA: Reichs also uses this science in her best selling crime novels, including her new one, "Monday Mourning." There is a lot you can learn from bones.
REICHS: This is a man and looking at the skull, the brow ridges here are very large and bulbous, the muscle attachment back here is pretty large. This tends to be a little female. The brow ridges are small, the orbits are sharp, it's more childlike looking, actually. It has nothing to do with behavior.
GUPTA: The skull can help determine a person's sex or race. Whites, for example, have a flatter profile than blacks, Asians have wider cheekbones, although with mixed races it gets more difficult.
REICHS: This little boy is about 12. This is typical black. The low nasal ridge, the projecting lower face. GUPTA: Anthropologists look at growth plates, areas at the end of the bone. How they deteriorate helps determine a person's age. Back in Miami, forensic artist Samantha Steinberg shows us how she put a face on the warehouse mystery.
SAMANTHA STEINBERG, FORENSIC ARTIST: She says it's a black male, but he may have white mixed in, no younger than 30, about six feet tall.
GUPTA: It's a mixture of science and art. Thirty two so-called markers are pasted on the skull. They vary in size, showing where the skin surface lies. In the warehouse case, the face is round, not long, the cheeks are full, not sallow. Guided by the anthropologists notes, the face starts taking shape.
STEINBERG: The human eye on average is 25 millimeters, which is the same size as a U.S. quarter. So it is sort of a handy tool or reference that we can use.
We kind of follow the bony clues. Like this line right here along the ridge of the orbit is usually prominent in black males. The lower portion of the face sort of protrudes forward. The point where your lips, your top and your bottom lip meet, it doesn't meet here where the teeth end, your front teeth, the top teeth. It's just a little bit elevated. But the best reference you honestly have in doing a reconstruction is your own face and your own skull, so we do sort of poke around on our faces and feel for things.
GUPTA: As the unidentified victims face is fleshed out, the Brown family waits for word about their missing son.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is missing. We haven't heard from him. We want to know where he is. We need help.
GUPTA: In the future, help may come quicker through better technology. The FBI lab in Virginia is testing new software to help artists. It has never been shown to the public before. In a sample case, a computer reads a CAT scan of a skull and compares it to other skulls, examining 10,000 points on the skull, compared to the 32 markers used today. The resulting facial image is still vague.
MICHAEL TAISTER, FBI LABORATORY: The computer will be able to tell you where the lips are located and will be able to place a nose for you and be able to put the eyes in the sockets as they should be. It might take a little adjustment and that's where the artist comes in, to make those final details, adjustments.
GUPTA: The FBI is also using 3D scanners to duplicate the skull. This technology updates an old technique where a face is molded with clay right onto the original skull, possibly damaging it.
Steinberg says innovations like these might help but will never replace the artists.
STEINBERG: How do you know what shape the eye should be or what shape the nose should be or how the lips should be if somebody is not making that decision?
GUPTA: That's the art. But is she drawing a face that family or friends would recognize? Kathy Reichs is skeptical about using facial reconstructions. She says they are too subjective. To make her point, she had seven different artists reconstruct the face of the mutilated body.
REICHS: We had seven different reproductions done at different labs around the world and it looked like seven different guys, and if you get it wrong, people can be distracted by having a detail wrong.
YEN: I disagree with it. I disagree with it. It may not be 100% close to what the person is but there is one tiny feature that may click something in somebody's mind.
STEINBERG: We are pretty confident that we get it right. I think the trick for us is the right person has to see it.
GUPTA: And that is exactly what happened in the case of the body from the Miami warehouse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I was just sitting and watching TV and they showed the composite.
GUPTA: Within 48 hours of releasing this sketch to the media, Tyshon Brown's father Gregory recognized a familiar feature in that face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I first saw the picture, to me it didn't look anything like Tyshon. Nothing like him. And -- except for the chin. That was the only thing that was similar to him. But I just had to clear it up in my mind to eliminate it and so I just called down there.
GUPTA: The family called police, who, after checking dental records, were able to confirm the body in the warehouse was Tyshon Brown. He had been murdered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is tough because of the fact that my son is gone and somebody telling me that he is going ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is unfortunate to be the ones to have to deliver that news to a family but at least this way they get some sort of resolution.
GUPTA: Two years after Tyshon's body was found, his killer is still at large.
SCHILLACI: What we can say about this case at this point is I have full confidence that we have identified the offendant (ph) in this case. What we don't have are all the missing pieces to the puzzle so that we can bring this case to trial and I am confident that we will get it. No doubt about it. We will get it.
ANNOUNCER: Next, the man who inspired David Caruso's lead role in "CSI Miami," along with the true story behind an explosive episode. And later, tracking a real murder mystery in Miami. A drop of blood becomes the star withness.
GUPTA (on camera): I'm standing in a crypt at the largest coroner's office under one roof in the world. About eight to ten thousand bodies come through here a year. Right now the body count is at 343.
(voice-over): Most of the work is routine but when they need to identify a body, it's often Jose Hernandez that gets the call. He is a forensic technician, in this case, all he has got is a finger.
JOSE HERNANDEZ, FORENSIC TECHNICIAN: This is quality (ph) of the fingers is very, very hard.
GUPTA: It was found in the desert. Bone dry. Too dry, too stiff to get a print. That won't stop Hernandez. He dips it in a chemical solution.
(on camera): So this finger will look like that finger.
HERNANDEZ: This finger will look something like that, yes.
GUPTA: And now you can get a finger print off of it.
GUPTA (voice-over): Rolls the tip in ink and voila.
There's a fingerprint.
HERNANDEZ: Yeah. You see?
GUPTA: That's pretty good.
All in a day's work.
(on camera): The morgue is a grim place but on television it is like everything else, shiny and sleek. This is the Hollywood version of an autopsy theater. And here we'll let the "CSI Miami" team explain the dance between fiction and reality.
(voice-over): Each week, another murder, another investigation. The bodies are brought here, to the "CSI Miami" autopsy theater, where all the equipment is state of the art. Stuff you would be hard pressed to find even in a well equipped hospital.
Khandi Alexander plays medical examiner Alex Woods on "CSI Miami."
KHANDI ALEXANDER, ACTRESS: This is a real autopsy table. This is real, this is where the organs go. Up here is where students will come and watch an autopsy. And here, of course, is where we keep our dead bodies, yes, all the stuff is real in here. GUPTA (on camera): The special effects are just incredible for you, even, when you are standing right here. What is that like?
ALEXANDER: It is really wonderful because all of the organs are made out of silicone, so they are the exact texture and weight of a real organ so when you are cutting with a scalpel or when you are removing brain or matter, it feels real. So as an actor that just lends to your performance.
I love the blood.
GUPTA: We got that on tape? She loves the blood.
ALEXANDER: I love the blood. It's my favorite. And Ms. Divine (ph) is always coming to me and saying, you know, Candy, a good doctor wouldn't have that much blood on their gloves. And I say I don't care about the blood, I love it.
GUPTA: Ms. Devine?
ELIZABETH DEVINE, TELEVISION PRODUCER: Hello, how are you?
GUPTA: I am well. Your lab is changed a bit since your old days.
DEVINE: This is the fancy lab. This is DNA -- as you can see, it is a fraction of the size of a real one. We have an ABI310 (ph), which is right there.
DEVINE: Now there is obviously one that is a bit bigger and more advanced but this is basically the workhorse of the DNA labs now.
GUPTA: And this is a real analyzer?
DEVINE: Yes. Yes. This is -- some of the guts taken out of it but it is what they use now in crime labs to do the DNA analysis so we are real fortunate to have that and we actually have a lot of the software that they use.
GUPTA: And this is donated you said, right?
DEVINE: Yes. Yes.
GUPTA: About $200,000?
DEVINE: Something like that. I could be off a bit, but very, very expensive.
GUPTA: Your role is to make sure everyone gets it right, but are you sort of, do you give leniencies, you say, it's okay, you can do it like this because it makes better television ...
GUPTA: Or you know what, this is -- you have got to do it absolutely right, it sends the wrong message otherwise.
DEVINE: In DNA, everyone has masks on, gloves on, lab coats. We forego the masks when we have our characters in there because it realistically is very difficult to understand what someone is saying if you can't see their lips, and frankly, people want to see Emily Procter's face so we will not wear masks. If they are alone doing a process scene, then I will let them wear masks, but for the most part we don't have masks on our actors and that is inaccurate.
GUPTA (voice-over): Across the hall is another set, the interrogation room, where we sat down with Devine and John Haynes.
Detective Horatio Caine, David Caruso's character, is based on Haynes. These days, he is a technical advisor, working closely with Devine when the show is in production. They know each other from back in the day. She worked in the sheriff's department crime lab. He was a bomb squad detective with the L.A. Police Department. But he had to take medical retirement after a bomb blew up in his hands.
JOHN HAYNES, TV TECHNICAL ADVISOR: Minor burns on my hands, it was mainly the respiratory, inhaling chemicals and then I had some ear damage based on the noise.
GUPTA: When he was out of work, Devine brought him into the world of Hollywood.
(on camera): So how do you like working on the most popular show in the world?
HAYNES: Well, I love it. I mean, it's a whole new world. I mean, I worked homicide for a number of years and there is no good news in homicide. Probably the most positive thing about homicide is when you get a conviction in court and you can see some sense of relief on the victim's family's faces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a white male, he is 25 and he is bound in duct tape.
GUPTA (voice-over): In the "Freaks and Tweaks" episode, Liz and John turn a real life scenario into entertainment.
DEVINE: This is based on a case that John and I actually worked where we were at a crime scene and we were actually searching a vehicle and found a bomb and literally had to evacuate and so we decided to make that a beginning of an episode.
Have a murder in a methamphetamine lab and anywhere you have methamphetamine, you have chemicals, and any place you have volatile chemicals, obviously, you could have an explosion or a fire.
HAYNES: Right. Right. When Delko picks up a shoebox full of porn upstairs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tweakers love their porn.
HAYNES: It initiates a switch within this bomb, and Horatio, having some knowledge in the field of bombs, hears a noise and it causes him to clear everybody out.
GUPTA: Devine and the writers work hard to keep the show young and fresh, with stories ripped from the headlines, like this one, about men hiring attractive women to help them meet other women. A short while later it was on "CSI Miami," the "Killer Date" episode, only this time the woman winds up dead in a swanky South Beach nightclub.
DEVINE: She was trying to introduce a particular gentleman to a female. She ends up dead, who did it?
GUPTA: For Liz Devine and John Haynes, brainstorming and mining memories together is proving to be a good second act.
(on camera): Ever think that you would be doing this for work here?
HAYNES: Never, not in a million years.
DEVINE: Nope. It's all about timing and whatever the mood is.
ANNOUNCER: When we return, it is back to the mean streets of Miami, where police are hunting for a killer. The dramatic conclusion of a real crime scene investigation.
GUPTA: On "CSI Miami," the crime scene investigators always get their man. Now back in the real Miami, they have been working hard to catch the killer of Thomas Clark (ph). Here is the dramatic conclusion of our story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to the crime scene? What do you want to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, we're going to the crime scene to start that search.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. I'll meet you out there.
GUPTA (voice-over): Sergeant Moses Velazquez (ph) and Detective Freddy Ponce (ph) continue their pursuit of a suspect, confident they will find the person who bound, gagged and strangled Thomas Clark. They say the suspect was sloppy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They left a lot of evidence in there.
GUPTA: Police have a suspect's picture but haven't released it. They are still hoping for a DNA match from samples taken at the crime scene, holding off so they don't alert the criminal they are on the trail.
In the meantime, the Clark family mourns their loss.
GUPTA: This funeral fills the church with family and friends. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only five years he worked in that church, that something like that could have happened to him.
GUPTA: Out on the streets, Ponce sees someone he thinks looks a lot like the surveillance picture and brings him in for questioning. Examiners check his prints. They do not match any at the crime scene. A false lead. They let him go. Their frustrations will last another two weeks.
Finally, the lab delivers news. DNA from the crime scene matches someone's in the database and a suspect is identified, 36 year old Michael Murchison (ph). He is already in the Miami jail, arrested for an unrelated burglary. Before they charge him with murder, detectives test another piece of evidence, a drop of blood on the victim's back. If it belongs to Murchison, police say, it will not only link him to the apartment, but directly to the murder. Again, the lab says Murchison is a match.
Detectives play a visit to Thomas Clark's brother.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found the man who killed your brother. He is in jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the guy? You're confident?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
GUPTA: This is where a "CSI Miami" TV show would end, but in real life police still have to prove their case in court. On March 28th, Michael Murchison is charged with Thomas Clark's murder.
On April 18th, Murchison enters a not guilty plea for second degree murder and robbery. He is now awaiting trial. His attorney Scott Sakin (ph) says he will conduct his own DNA investigation, how it was collected, how well Murchison's DNA matches the sample from the crime scene. Any DNA expert will tell you some matches are better than others.
Before detectives release details of the murder to the public, they brief William, and for the first time he hears how his brother was killed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your brother was tied up in the apartment, okay? And he was beat up by this person and he broke his neck. That means we believe that he strangled him. Just so you know, you might hear that on TV when they read the arrest, okay? And we believe that your brother fought back and that's how he got cut somehow and his blood ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I appreciate you guys' involvement and how you handled it. Handled it with the expertise and I thought it was done very professional.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We understand what it is to not have some kind of closure so it's important and I'm glad that we could bring that to you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It won't bring my brother back, I'm just glad some type of closure comes to it.
GUPTA (on camera): Unlike the picture that is painted on television, the case is rarely wrapped up within the hour. What is true, though, is that police are finding more and more powerful techniques to catch the bad guys. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Thanks for watching.
I hope you watch my next primetime special. It's about NASCAR, safety and performance at high speeds. That's coming up in the fall.
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