CSI: Crime Scene Investigation s02e21 Episode Script

Anatomy of a Lye

Mom! Mom! The dirt burned my hands! What's HazMat doing here? Kid's playing tag, takes a header in the dirt, ends up with first-degree burns on his hands.
We got a call about a dead body.
Yeah, I'm getting there.
So, HazMat arrives, figuring some sort of chemical spill.
Starts removing the toxic soil and, bam, a shovel slams into a shoulder blade.
Clothing's been reduced to shreds.
Epidermal tissue is virtually gone.
The body's desiccate d.
Viscous fluid the consistency of dishwashing soap.
HazMat guy was right.
Killer doused the body in lye.
Must have thought it would destroy the body.
Yeah, ashes to ashes, dust to dust without the wait.
Ma'am, I'm sorry, but I need to neutralize the soil.
If you touch the soil, you're going to contaminate my crime but I'll let you know when I'm finished.
What did you get? Vic's wallet what's left of it.
It's a Nevada license.
Bob Martin.
There's 20 bucks in the flap.
Rules out robbery.
Look at this.
Looks like a paint fleck or metal chip, maybe.
What did the ranger say? Nobody saw anything suspicious.
Park closes up at 10:00 p.
No security, minimal lighting.
Basically, a pretty good place to dump a body.
You found this guy in the park? Actually, HazMat found him.
Well, that explains the postmortem scar tissue.
Lye had a field day on his flesh.
(sizzling) Time of death? Approximately 24 hours ago.
Tell me about the car.
Car? What car? Comminuted fractures of the proximal third tib - fib, both legs.
Bumper hits right below the knees.
Sure sign he was hit by a car.
Look at all the bruising.
If he was struck and killed, ecchymosis would be nonexistent.
Which suggests he survived the impact.
Usual injuries: Ruptured patellar tendon, laceration of the saphenous vein, and multiple incised wounds containing slivers of glass, which I will send over to Trace.
And bruises: Legs, arms and chest.
What I didn't find was arterial lacerations or underlying vessel damage.
Confirms death wasn't immediate? Correct.
Victim was like a leaky water balloon heart slowly pumped blood right out of his body.
And, based on the coloration of the bruises, trauma was sustained approximately 48 hours before death.
Three days ago, this man was injured.
He bled out until he died yesterday.
We didn't find any blood.
Lockwood? Hey, Stokes.
Who called it in? BLM chopper pilot.
They always buzz Diablo Canyon looking for hikers in distress or worse.
He see anyone else in the vicinity? No, just the vic: Stacy Warner, 26.
Las Vegas resident.
I scanned for a Missing Persons on her.
No tire treads.
Whose are these? Paramedics and mine.
Same path.
Walked straight in, straight out.
Engagement ring, no wedding band.
Orbital bone looks fractured.
Could have lost her footing, hit her head.
Could have.
Hold that for me? Down feather.
But she's not wearing a jacket.
Shine that right here.
Grissom should enjoy this.
Hey, Lockwood, you got any food in your vehicle? Hamburger? Anything like that? Gum, sugar-free.
Gum will kill him.
I'll stop at the first place I see pick up some jerky.
Will you get me a sample of the ground underneath the body? Soon as the coroner moves her.
Bob is dead? His body was found at Sunset Park.
His license gave this address.
Are you his domestic partner? We're roommates.
I got divorced last year.
And, about six months ago, Bob's wife kicked him out.
He needed a place to crash and I needed help with the mortgage.
He's two months late on the rent.
How do I go about collecting under the Look, we were roommates.
We weren't When was the last time you saw him? We both work at the Tangiers.
He managed the restaurant, and I work in Last Monday, we drove in together.
But you didn't drive home together? Mondays? No.
After shift, he'd walk over to the university.
He's an amateur photographer.
Take the bus home.
But he didn't come home Monday night.
I didn't think much of it.
He's always going back and forth with Charlotte.
His wife.
What do I care? As long as the rent's paid.
Photo Department kept a log.
Bob Martin reserved a darkroom on from 10:00 to 11:00 p.
He was logged in Monday night.
We got a bus to catch.
(horn blaring) He left these photos behind.
They're all of the same woman.
I bet it's his wife.
Silver flecks like the one you found at the body.
I got a piece of plastic.
Looks like a headlight cover, maybe.
This could be our crime scene.
(tires screech) Assuming this was a hit-and-run, how does a guy with two broken legs end up on the other side of town buried in a park, covered in lye? What are you looking for? No sign of blood.
No evidence of a cleanup.
If this is our crime scene, then somewhere between here and Sunset Bob Martin lost eight to ten pints of blood.
Where is it? So want to tell me about the silver flecks I found? Paint chips? Aluminum and melamine in the color coat indicate that it's car paint.
Factory job.
Uh body shop paint contains styrene, not Hmm.
What type of car? Trick question.
Paint won't tell me that.
But I do have an answer.
It's not technically part of my job description but, as you know, I'm always eager to expand my responsibilities.
Take a look down the scope.
Looks like some sort of insignia.
That's the plastic you collected at the Now, that mark is only found on the S-class It's all about branding.
Now, knowing that the headlight came from I was able to compare the infrared spectra with the paint spectra supplied by the Check this out.
Your vehicle was painted Sarasota Silver.
Also, only available on the S-series '99 models.
I checked with the Mercedes state rep.
Five were sold in Nevada.
Sara's tracking down the owners.
You've, uh already shared this information with Sara? Yeah, an hour ago.
And she was way more fascinated than you Well, I'm somewhat fascinated by the fact that I'm your boss, but you talked to her first.
Well, you were at dinner.
I've been in the lab all day, Greg.
I've been looking for you.
Well, it's hard to see me if you and Greg are out ahead of me.
Oh, uh sorry about that Brass got me a list of those Mercedes owners.
One moved to Los Angeles, three are over 50.
My guess, they would have stopped and rendered aid.
Brass is checking them out.
Which leaves a Ben Weston, 25.
Leased the vehicle last week.
You found my car? Why? Is your car missing? Yeah.
Isn't that why you guys are here? I filed a police report a couple days ago.
God, I love that car.
Hocked my future on it.
Tell me it hasn't been strip ped.
You wouldn't happen to have a copy of that police I'm a lawyer.
Here you go.
Sarasota Silver, S-series, stolen Monday night.
I stopped for take out after work.
When I came out, it was gone.
Don't most of these luxury vehicles have What's with all the questions? We're investigating a possible hit-and-run.
You think the bastard that stole my car hit someone? Ignacias High, Nevada State University Are you a local? Yeah.
Great town.
I studied my ass off in law school.
Passed the bar first time.
Good for you.
Let me guess criminal defense? Everyone deserves representation.
Yes, they do.
Would you happen to remember what clothes you were A blue pinstripe, a light blue oxford, gray tie gift from my girlfriend.
First week as an associate.
Firm like this you tend to pay attention to wardrobe.
Weston, we'd like to take a look Really? Well, you need a warrant.
But I'm a nice guy.
I picked them up at lunch.
Downstairs one-hour dry cleaning.
Nice suit.
Thank you.
I just bought it.
I hope you didn't just buy the shirt.
Oh, come on.
I've been meaning to change dry cleaners.
Well, maybe you shouldn't have gotten lye on it.
Lye is an alkali.
And, when it's mixed with water, it eats right through fabric.
Weston you mind taking off your shirt? Excuse me? Lye can burn through fabric.
It can also burn through skin.
I have my limits.
You want me to strip, you're going to need But, since there's no basis for your request, you can forget about it.
She drowned.
This is the girl I found in the desert, man.
I am aware of that.
She drowned It's not possible, Dave -o.
She was found in Diablo Canyon miles from the nearest Lake Mead's got to be 20 miles away.
Desert, no desert I don't care.
She Look, if it's any consolation, she dry-drown Dry-drowned? Happens in about ten percent of all cases.
When dry-drowning occurs, the larynx closes involuntarily, preventing air and water from entering the lungs, resulting in hypoxia a reduced concentration of oxygen in the blood.
Thus, water's kept out of the lungs dry -drowning.
In wet drowning, hypoxia also occurs, but the larynx relaxes and water floods the lungs.
Still, the question remains, how does a girl drown in the middle of the desert? She doesn't.
She was engaged.
The guy never filed a missing persons on I didn't file a missing persons report on Stacy because she wasn't missing.
As far as I knew, she was on a solo trek up in Diablo working toward her NESTFs.
NESTFs? Sorry.
National Extreme Sports Trainer Finals.
I took mine last week.
Did it in three days So, I didn't expect her back for at least two more days.
You mind if I have a look around? No.
Go ahead.
Check that out.
You see that? Yeah.
Hudson? You own this house with Stacy Warner.
Is that right? That's right.
Any idea how this blood got there? No.
Stacy had a head trauma wound.
You wouldn't know anything about that I'd never hurt Stacy.
No? How do you explain the domestic disturbance call to this address two weeks ago? We told the officers then it was nothing.
I don't know.
The neighbor who filed the complaint said you were really yelling at Stacy.
Said it sounded abusive.
We're sports trainers.
We say some crazy things to get each other to do one more lap in the pool or one more crunch.
Are you a liar?! Or are you going to give me more?! Are you weak? Are you worthless?! Can you account for your whereabouts this week? Big Sky Triathlon in Montana.
You want to see a picture of me crossing the finish line? No.
We got what we need.
So I sent out some bulletins.
Got a hit on Weston's missing Mercedes.
Sullivan called it in.
He's a typical tow guy.
I'll run him.
Yeah, I got a call.
"You want a wrecked S-class?" (chuckles) You betcha.
The parts alone are worth four, five times the Blue Book value of the car.
I asked, "Where do I pick it up?" That's all I asked.
You didn't ask his name? Someone throws you the only response is, "Thank you very much.
" So where is the vehicle now? Look around.
You work fast.
Hey, I called it in.
What moredo you want? Aristotle said something about the whole Of course, he never worked in a chop shop.
We want all of the parts.
Affirmative for blood passenger side.
Well, that's just a trace amount.
Where's the rest of it? Want to pass me the luminol? Well, you do know how to light up a room.
Location of the blood on the seats and the dash indicates that the victim was inside the vehicle.
Maybe the driver hit Bob Martin, stopped, and put him in the front seat.
Where did they go? Well, not to the emergency room.
Not to Sunset Park for48 hours.
I'll swab the rest of the car bring the samples to Greg and have him run it against Bob If you find any blood that isn't his, then Maybe it belongs to an injured joyrider, and we have a new suspect.
The one day I'm due in court, and you pull a drowning in the desert.
How'd it go? Oh, it went great.
The judge recessed right before my I'm on call.
Catherine's on call.
Boy, you're making progress.
The blood from the poolside matches the Yeah.
The problem is the small amount of isn't enough to prove anything, you know? People bump their heads and scrape their Yeah.
That musclehead boyfriend he's a little shady.
He's hiding something.
I can feel it.
Are you going to prove that he drowned her in their swimming pool? Four samples: One from their swimming pool, one from their bathroom, one from Lake Mead and one from Clark County Reservoir, but none are consistent with the water I recovered from her What else did you collect from the scene? Some rocks from under her body and a goose feather.
A goose feather? This looks like basalt rock.
Didn't it say somewhere in here that you found her at 1,500 feet? The desert, yeah.
Well, you can only find this rock at high altitudes like 4,000 feet.
Really? Yeah.
You sure? Yeah.
I went on this field trip up at Table Mountain in my senior year "Rocks for Jocks.
" Don't ask me why I remember any of this.
Hey, that helps.
I think I'm going to head out there.
You want to roll? You're on call at court, right.
All that blood belonged to the victim.
Look at this.
Visible blood drops under the passenger seat.
That's a strange place for blood.
Radiated spatter.
What do you think? Blood pooled onto the floor mat.
As more drops splashed down the impact projected the blood drops upward.
But where did it fall from? So, Greg said you guys are processing an S-class.
Yeah, what's left of it.
Now, that's a crime.
Oh, this would have broken my ex's heart.
Every weekend the guy'd be test-driving another Mercedes.
I'd get myself all dressed up, make the dealer believe we could actually afford it.
If this car was stolen, the ignition lock would be punched, right? Huh? Anyway, I got to go.
Warrick and I are due in court.
We we would have caught that.
We were distracted by what we were looking for.
So how did the thief turn the engine over without breaking that lock? Maybe there is no thief.
All right, again.
I ran into the Chinese restaurant.
I wasn't in there more than two minutes, but I left my keys in the car.
You left an $80,000 Mercedes idling? Yeah.
Stupid, right? That's why I didn't say anything.
Besides, if my insurance finds out, it's contributory negligence.
Let's just cut to the chase.
I told you everything.
Chinese restaurant near my house.
Couldn't Parked in the handicapped zone, left the motor running.
I wasn't in there more than a minute.
Take off your shirt, please.
You're going to need a warrant, like I said.
But you don't have basis.
Actually, the issuing judge disagrees.
I can call Judge Scott, contest your grounds.
- But you won't -You want to refuse? One of us will remove it for you.
Here you go.
Look, no chemical burns.
You satisfied? The warrant is for the whole shirt.
You don't have to be a scientist to know where that came from.
(tires screeching) We got enough for a hit-and-run.
All right, hold on.
It's not what you think.
I called in my order.
I looked down to put away my phone.
(bang) I hit something.
I stopped.
I looked around.
I couldn't see anything.
I figured it must have been a dog, and it ran off.
So I drove to the restaurant, that's when my car was stolen.
It was a rough night.
Look, my car was stolen.
What happened next, I don't know.
Save it.
You're under arrest.
All right.
I hate lawyers.
We need a warrant for his house.
We need to find something we can use to keep that creep off the street.
(panting) I'm all for retracing the girl's steps, but it wouldn't hurt to bring in some cadets.
If it was a little kid or a mass casualty, maybe we'd get that kind of manpower, but, hey, exercise is good for us, right? Air feels thin to me.
(grunting) Check it out.
Let's go.
You said the vic was wearing light layers of Yeah, several layers tempered cotton.
This is a men's extra large.
This is too big for her.
Goose down like I found on her body.
What's this? Ah.
Property of Mr.
You want to run it? Well, maybe he left a day later than he said for his little marathon, you know? Followed her out here, started arguing with her, no neighbors around to call the cops.
(shrieks) She manages to fight her way free, finds higher ground, he follows her, takes her down.
So then what? He drowns her with canteen water? I'm going to let you run that by the D.
You should try describing a scuba diver up in a tree, man.
Up in a tree, man.
This is nothing.
No, the, uh the evidence tells the story.
So why did a cagey guy like our suspect leave his jacket up here? Everybody thinks they have a plan till things start to go wrong.
I gave Stacy my jacket the morning she left for Diablo for night layering.
Extreme hikers can't carry bedrolls.
That's what makes it extreme.
And she just left your jacket wedged under some rocks.
I don't know.
Look, I gave it to her to take care of her.
I loved Stacy.
Then help us out here, man.
I've got prior disturbance calls, her blood in the pool, her body drowned in the middle of the desert with your jacket nearby your map.
That's my trail map.
I'd like it back.
No, it's evidence now.
You can put a request in for it when we complete our investigation, okay? Am I free to go? You're not under arrest.
I'm getting this to QD.
He doesn't want me to have this map, and I (sighs) He made bail.
Yeah, that figures.
Oh, I almost forgot.
Here's a warrant to search your premises.
We'd like to start in your garage.
Look, I'm filing a complaint with your supervisor.
You're harassing me.
If you're a lawyer, you should know the legal definition of harassment.
Investigating a crime doesn't quite fit the However, a false accusation of harassment within earshot of my colleagues could be construed as slander.
I know the law, too, and I've actually been in a courtroom.
This was parked in the driveway, wasn't it? Now that's a crime? Jim, could you get this car moved for us? Unless the keys are in the ignition, hand them over.
It's a rental.
You're not on my policy.
Oh, I'm a safe driver.
Wait outside.
It smells like bleach to me.
I'll check for blood.
Why would he leave his car outside with the sprinklers on instead of putting it in here? Maybe the garage was full.
What exactly do you want me to look Alterations, erasures, paper content.
The guy was really nervous about me Okay, I'll test the components in the inks and then bombard the paper with different We'll see what's up.
Sounds good, man.
- Thanks, man.
- You bet.
Hey, Grissom Keep me posted.
I will.
Did you take a look at that maggot from the Yes.
And? Well, it belongs to the family of sarcophagids.
That's as far as I got.
You mind taking another look for me? Your maggot never developed, Nick.
It never will.
Why? It happens to Sarcophagids when they're exposed to freezing So, my maggot was stunt ed? Probably by frozen air.
Yeah, but we found the vic in the desert.
Well, maybe it was a very cold night.
Mucho frio.
Muchas gracias.
Come on in, Greg.
So, I heard about your cold maggot.
News travels fast.
I was thinking most people figure Las Vegas means "The Strip," when it really means "The Meadows.
" I'm trying to calculate barometric pressure here, G.
Well, my point is, Nevada is a basin -and- range state.
Down in the desert basin, hardly any rain.
But, up in the mountain ranges, it's 40 inches a year.
That's more than Seattle, it's more than San Francisco, it's more than Yeah, yeah.
I see where you're going.
Last week, in Vegas, perfect weather warm, steady barometric pressure, but out in Diablo, two days before I found Stacy Warner's body The mountain shadow effect.
That's what meteorologists call it.
This is Ecklie's Mercedes? Well, actually, I sold it to him five years ago.
It was in much better condition back then.
So I checked with Auto Detail.
Uh obviously, if you fill a car up with or, in our case, blood it's going to leak through the bottom.
Dicing wounds with glass were limited to the upper torso, right? Top of the head, face, top of shoulders, and forearms.
Which would be consistent with a head-on crash.
The head of the victim crashed into the passenger side of the windshield.
Well, this isn't the same model or year, but it's close enough.
Okay, I'm thinking that the car clipped the victim here, and he was catapulted and he was positioned something like this.
(glass shattering) So now he's bleeding, and his blood is dripping onto the mat.
The victim bled out for two days.
Yeah, but he could have been conscious, right? Until he lost a third of his circulating blood Then the hypovolemic shock would have set in after approximately 12 hours.
So it's possible that he was wedged into the windshield of Ben Weston's Mercedes, which was parked in Ben Weston's garage.
We know where Bob Martin was.
Where was Ben Weston? My guess At work, making a good impression.
Sometimes I'm glad I only deal with dead people.
You know the tow truck driver said Weston's Mercedes was totaled.
But the only damage would have been to He's lying.
Maybe it wasn't totaled.
I don't remember.
I was only interested in You don't know who phoned it in? It was a guy.
What else can I tell you? Mr.
Sullivan, in '96 you were arrested for vandalism, right? I was 18.
It was a prank.
I hoisted the principal's station wagon onto the roof of the gym.
Ignacias High School, right? It's funny, but the registered owner of the Mercedes also went to St.
You were in the same class.
Ben Weston.
That might ring a bell.
So what? He's been arrested on a hit-and-run.
He's also under suspicion for murder.
That makes you an accomplice after the fact 20 to life.
Okay, look, all I did was take his call, take his car.
I don't even In high school, he's the one who turned me in.
He said he wanted to make it up to me.
Just remind yourself that usually I bring the case home.
If that garage floor stain started out as blood, the bleach just degraded it.
There's nothing for me to work with.
There goes the slam dunk.
Blood in the garage would have So, is this his rental car? Sunset Park is two miles from Ben Weston's house.
I was thinking maybe he used this car to So we should be able to find some of the vic's blood or hair or fibers from his clothes.
No visible trace of any kind.
Except for this.
So this mountain shadow effect the barometric pressure spikes down, the temperature strikes down Right.
Humidity spikes up.
Moisture in the air condenses.
(thunder crashing) The mountains get a flash flood.
You know, I checked with the National Weather Service.
This area got three inches of rain in 20 So, she was up here hiking when the weather changed.
Got nasty in a hurry.
Nothing she could really do about it.
Then she takes one to the head on the She's trying to clear the cobwebs when the (thunder rumbling) But it was too late.
She drowns in the floodwater.
Body gets carried to the base of the canyon.
A couple hours worth of sun water dries up.
No evidence of the storm anywhere except on the vic, who carried traced amounts of basalt rock with her, and rainwater in her throat.
(phone ringing) Stokes.
The map has definitely been tamper ed with.
You sure about that? Positive.
Chemical tag in the ink tells the tale.
Then I shot the map with I need you to get those results to me.
Thought you would.
I have a messenger on call.
Are you telling me Stacy's death was an accident? An accident of nature, yeah.
But you still had a hand in her death just the same, didn't you, Mr.
Hudson? What are you talking about? Why don't you take a break? Come on over here for a sec.
You altered the map.
You used the same color ink as the printer, but the chemical tag s in the ink are different.
This is Magic Marker.
When you shine ultraviolet light on it, like this you can see exactly what you did.
You made this look like an impenetrable ridge no way out, when it's actually a meadow.
If she had a good map, she might have out of the highlands by nightfall.
I didn't want her to die.
I didn't.
Then why did you alter the map? We competed.
I'd just run the trail in three days.
I didn't want Am I being charged with murder? No.
You altered the map, but you didn't make it rain.
What you did isn't a crime but it is criminal, isn't it? Come on.
Your entire case is circumstantial.
Your physical evidence is pathetic.
You've got, what, a wrecked car a white powder in a rental and a bleached-out stain in my garage.
If that's all you've got, you won't even get a filing.
My cell phone.
Mitchell Sullivan found it in your car at his chop shop.
I hope he didn't make any long-distance calls.
It's evidence.
Hey, now it's a party.
And I brought the music.
You'll be happy to know that there were no long-distanced calls made on your cell phone.
But there was one call made to 911 at 2:30 a.
On Tuesday morning, while your car was still in your possession.
Please help me.
II can't hear you, sir.
You'll have to speak Please help me.
Help Sir, our system is not compatible with your cellular phone.
Where are you calling from? I'm in a garage.
Sir, can you see a street sign? It's dark Explain it to me, Ben.
How does a lawyer rationalize something like this? You know the law.
You hit a guy.
It was an accident.
Nothing criminal.
But you let it escalate to first-degree murder.
I spoke with your senior partner.
It was your first day on the job.
Big firm.
Big welcome.
How many drinks did you have that night? Let me guess.
You wanted the alcohol to wear off before you called it in, right? So you decided to wait it out.
Have a cup of coffee, sober up, then call the But, unfortunately, Bob Martin woke up.
Help me.
Please, help help me So what do you do now, hmm? Can't walk into the emergency room and say, "Hey this guy was bleeding to death in my garage while I was eating mu shu pork.
" Sara, there's someone here to see you.
Not right now.
You'll want to talk to It's relevant.
I sacrificed to get where I am.
My whole life was leading up to last Monday.
It's tough, huh? Fifteen years to build your dream, and a 15-second phone call destroys it.
Where did you find this? Packing up Bob's stuff.
Found it on his dresser.
Thought you'd want to see it.
When a driver hits a pedestrian, the presumption is the driver is negligent.
When a driver's been drinking and he hits a pedestrian, it's no longer negligence it's reckless But when a pedestrian intentionally throws himself in front of a moving vehicle, then the driver's no longer responsible.
Legally, he's off the hook.
This suicide letter was written by Bob Martin to his wife Charlotte When you hit him Monday night, it wasn't an accident.
You were off the hook.
Until you let him die.