CSI: Crime Scene Investigation s11e05 Episode Script

House of Hoarders

Second 430-B out here this month.
Lady can't give up her cats, man.
Even when they're dead? Oof! That doesn't smell like cat.
Las Vegas police! Control, 1-George-12, possible 4-19, requesting backup and CSI to our location.
Your turn.
Copy that.
We'll notify CSI and a unit to back up 2-4.
What, you getting soft, man? I don't think we're getting in this way.
Mitch and Akers said there's a way in around back.
They didn't go in, did they? Eyeballs only.
They said they didn't want to disturb a potential crime scene.
The victim is probably the homeowner, Marta Santiago.
She live alone? As far as we know.
The county declared this place a risk to public safety.
They ordered a forced clean-out.
Supposed to happen by next Friday.
Ah, how bad can it be? Hey, watch your, uh Yeah.
So how do you want to do this? Well, I'd say "hug the walls," if I could see them.
Goat trails seem to be our only option.
Unless you're into Dumpster diving.
Okay, I'll take the high road, you take the low road? Document as we go? Yeah.
Are you okay? Yeah.
How could someone live like this? Well, it smells more like somebody died like this.
Son of a bitch! What was that? Think I just saw a rat wearing a saddle.
That doesn't sound good.
I think I just became evidence.
I think you just found Mrs.
Who are you? Who, who, who, who? Who are you? Who, who, who, who? I really wanna know Who are you? Oh-oh-oh Who Come on, tell me who are you, you, you Are you! Hey, I heard you really stepped in it.
Directly in it.
Look at that.
That's nasty in there, man.
Oh, I, uh, called the coroner's office.
Asked them to hold off until we cleared a path.
Well, good luck with that.
Sara's inside.
Hope you brought another pair of shoes.
What the? Hello! It's just me.
Bubble wrap.
Wouldn't want to throw that out.
Where are you? Hang a right at the sewing machine, and a left at the Mason jars.
Which sewing machine? Uh, just follow the North Star.
David is going to have fun with this.
Looks like she melted right into the rug.
Oh, so that's what that is.
What are you doing in my house? I have the paper you gave me.
Santiago? Is that you? Don't make me call the police.
Ma'am, we are the police.
Prescott you promised I'd have until next week.
Ma'am, I'm not Dr.
My name is Sara Sidle.
I'm with the crime lab.
You have a decomposing body here.
Would you mind stepping out? We'd like to ask you a few questions.
I'm coming.
Hold on.
Uh Why don't you stay there? I'm going to come to you.
Oh, you're not going to take a picture of me, are you? Ma'am, is there anyone else in the house with you? My whole life is in this house.
I mean, is there anyone else living in the house with you right now.
Uh, Mrs.
Santiago, I need you to take a look at something.
If I do, will you leave? I can't promise you that.
Please, come with me.
It's important.
That's Diana's dress! That's my daughter! That's my baby! Diana! Okay, look, We're going to take very good care of her, okay? I promise.
Don't touch that! What? Put it down! You need to stop that, right now! Maybe you should put that down.
You need to stop! Right now! Put it down, Nick.
Ma'am, why don't we step outside, okay? We're gonna We're gonna just gonna go outside.
If you'd just come with me, all right? So sorry.
You didn't clear a path for the body.
You kidding me? You're Super Dave.
You ready? Yeah.
Come on.
Come on.
Yeah, you got it? I appreciate Nick doing the Y-incision for me.
Though I generally prefer a scalpel to a boot.
Victim appears to be in her early 20s.
How long do you think she was lying dead in the house? Post-mortem interval is anywhere from five to seven days.
So her mother didn't notice for a week.
So what do you got for cause of death? Epidural hematoma.
That means she didn't die instantly.
Accidental or deliberate, I can't say, but I do know that it was a single blow to the head.
The wound impression looks like a giant bar code.
Have you ever seen anything like that before? No, it's one weapon which has thus far escaped my attention.
Whatever it was, if it was in the house she probably didn't throw it out.
So, Diana wasn't Mrs.
Santiago's only child.
The case file mentioned another daughter and a son.
Both grown.
Brass is trying to track them down.
Good luck finding anything in here, let alone a murder weapon.
I'm not so sure we're dealing with a murder here.
Sara, look at this place.
Whether the mother hit the daughter with something, or it fell off one of these big piles of crap, this house killed her.
I've got blood drops.
What? Right here.
I lost the trail.
That's a lot of blood.
Sure is.
You think Doc Robbins was right about that single blow to the head? It's a generalized reaction.
Of course it is, 'cause the luminol's reacting to all the cat urine, feces, and God knows what else in this place.
We could use hydrogen peroxide.
Got some on you? I do.
It'll foam up when it makes contact with the blood.
Somebody tried to tidy up in here.
Maybe Diana.
That could explain how she ended up melted into the rug.
You know, the court ordered Mrs.
Santiago to clean this place up.
Diana came over to help Diana! No! No! No,no, no! We've got to clear this out.
No, no! No! Please! No! I told you to stop! Mm, getting a little ahead of the evidence, Nick.
You think? MAN What are you doing here? You have you have authorization for this? MAN 2: Calm down I'll check that out.
You can't be here.
This is my mother's house.
Sir, I understand, but you need to step back.
Excuse me.
Uh, you're Mrs.
Santiago's son? I'm Julian Santiago.
She's my mother.
What's going on here? We're investigating a homicide.
My mother's dead? We believe it's your sister Diana.
I'm very sorry for your loss.
Wh-what happened? Well, that's what we're trying to sort out.
When was the last time that you spoke with Diana? She called me about a week ago.
Said Mom got a letter from Dr.
Prescott about the forced clean-out.
She asked if I could help.
I told her I'd call her back.
Did you? No.
You also have, um, another sister, isn't that right? Alisa.
Hav-have-haven't spoken to her in a while.
Why is that? She's not the easiest person to deal with.
I mean, you've seen the inside of this house.
Alisa had the hardest time with it, growing up.
Well, we're going to need a number where we can reach her.
Uh, yeah.
What happened in that house, Dr.
Prescott? Do you believe that Mrs.
Santiago is capable of hurting her daughter? Based on my observation, no.
She's a hoarder, not a killer.
I've been assigned to Mrs.
Santiago's case for the past two years.
She's well-groomed, she has a job, works as a librarian, supports herself; she's quite high-functioning.
Except inside that house.
We can't fully explain the phenomenon of hoarding.
It crosses over into several categories of mental illness: OCD, impulse control, dissociative behavior.
And, in her case? Based on my interviews with her and her children, the nature of her hoarding goes beyond the inability to throw things away.
For her, it's about safeguarding memories.
Keeping things that are important to her, and her family, close to her.
Family is everything.
Well, if that were the case, then how could she just leave her daughter's dead body lying in the house for a week? Well, every hoarder experiences something called "clutter blindness.
" For a level-one hoarder, it can mean ignoring a stack of newspapers piling up in a room.
What level is Mrs.
Santiago? Level Five.
The most extreme.
So you're telling me that this "clutter blindness" would allow her to live in the house with her daughter's dead body indefinitely? Unfortunately, yes.
When can I go home? Soon.
We just need to understand what happened to Diana.
Let's go back to last week.
I saw the two of you together at the house.
My memory's pretty bad.
Are you going to throw that away? It's out of ink, Marta.
That's the pen you handed Diana, to write down all her information.
Name, address, phone.
When you came by to hand me the letter, the letter that said I had until to clean up.
Your memory's not as bad as you think.
Is it? What can you tell me about this clock? It's a family heirloom.
My husband's grandfather brought it back from Spain.
Before World War II.
And whose blood is that on it? It's Diana's.
Blood trail ends here.
This must be where she was hit.
How did the blood get on the rug? It was an accident.
We found our bar code.
Do you know what this is? Diana was throwing things away.
She said she found something.
What did she find? I didn't want to look, I just wanted her to stop what she was doing! And then everything was falling; she was bleeding.
She said she was okay.
She left.
Didn't come back.
Can you tell us what it was that she found? May I please go home? Are you okay? Yeah.
Don't touch it until I can clear it.
Geez, Louise.
Hey, guys? Over here.
Looks like you stepped in it this time.
Ooh! Scorpion and her babies.
You're kidding me.
And a big one.
They usually move in well after all the meat's off the bones.
Okay, sloping forehead, narrow pelvis, inlet's nearly heart-shaped.
Definitely male.
What do you make of the ribbon? It's not your typical ligature.
Look how he's tied up.
Wrists tied in front.
So it wasn't about restraining him.
Think we found Mr.
Santiago? Case file did mention something about him passing away 10 years ago.
Maybe she didn't want to spring for the urn.
I gotta tell you, man, this place is disgusting.
It's not the crime scene that's bugging me.
It's what created it.
Well, look, Nick, you're talking about a woman here, who has clearly been through some kind of a major trauma.
You can be traumatized and still take out the damn trash.
There's no excuse for this.
You know, I'm starting to think this whole hoarding thing's a pretty good cover for a killer.
That's your theory.
I don't think so.
You know, someone needs to go process Mrs.
Santiago, so I guess I'll go do that.
And you guys can finish up this room.
What's her deal? Well, I got a feeling this is not the last body we're gonna find in this house.
Well, unless she married young, I don't think you're looking at Mr.
Indications are male Caucasian, five feet, seven inches tall.
Uh, age between No apparent injuries to the bones.
No beveling, no tool marks, No fractures.
All right.
Adolescent male.
That narrows the possibilities.
Could be an overdose.
Only way to determine that is bone marrow.
And I know you must miss the days of research pathology-- care for a slice? Don't mind if I do.
Thank you.
I'm going to need to take your clothes, and the rest of your personal possessions.
Why? What's happening? You're being booked.
We found another body in your house.
Where? I'm sorry.
I'm going to need to get your clothes, now.
I want to go home! I understand, Mrs.
Santiago; I do.
Um you know I really need you to do something for me right now.
Do you think you could do that? Could you give me your hand? It's going to be really easy.
We're just going to step over here.
Just put your hand over the envelope, like this.
There you go.
All right? Bone marrow cells exhibited some curious anomalies, which you might find with dyserythropoietic anemia, or thrombocytopenia.
Henry, did you run a heavy metals test? Yeah.
And I got you John Doe's C.
"Acute arsenic poisoning.
" Levels were off the charts.
No way this was poisoning over time.
Victim was given one massive dose of arsenic.
So what's up with you and Nick? I just don't think he gets it, you know? What happened in this house, something caused it to happen.
Something triggered it.
Death of her husband, perhaps? A woman alone, with kids Couldn't let go of the things that she had left? Yeah.
It spiraled out of control.
Prescott, this is Nick Stokes.
Nick, Dr.
Prescott is Mrs.
Santiago's case worker.
Nice to meet you, Doctor.
So, now we're talking about murder.
This woman's killing people and packing them away in her house.
Okay, look, I can't explain the presence of the John Doe or the arsenic, but Marta is incapable of violence.
Ooh, I don't know about that.
You ever touch anything of hers? Dr.
Prescott, for argument's sake, if there are more bodies here, is there some method by which Mrs.
Santiago might be hiding them? I don't think you're going to find any more bodies.
I'm sure you don't.
However, if you're asking if a hoarder like Marta has some sort of system, then that answer is yes.
Most of us live our lives categorically.
Pots and pans go in the kitchen, tools go in the toolbox, underwear goes in the drawer, but Marta organizes her world visually and spatially by stacking.
What does this have to do with our crime scene? We're trying to learn how to read these rooms, Nick.
I don't get it.
So we're trash whispering now? Yes, and if we listen carefully, we might be able to find what we're looking for.
I haven't been in this part of the house in a few months, but these storage bins weren't here before.
Looks like these items were pushed in from the hallway.
All right, what would that tell us? I don't know.
Marta was shifting her possessions from one side of the house to the other.
Why would she do that? Because the city told her to clean this place up.
These look like time capsules.
What's that? A time capsule's an impulsive act by a hoarder to throw away groups of items into a single container at a single moment in time.
However, the intention is to deal with these items later.
All of those items belong to Alisa.
Is this her room? Doctor, why is this room clean? I don't know what would trigger something like this.
I do.
And I bet we're gonna find her body somewhere in this house.
You guys need to see this.
Hands in front, bound with red ribbon.
Is Alisa one of them? Well, from the looks of it, I'd say three more boys.
Whatever comes in this house, doesn't seem to make it back out.
Our first John Doe is His DNA got a hit off the U.
Directory of Missing Persons.
So did two of the three of our backyard John Does.
Ryan Hoff, age 17 and Derrick Kennedy, also 16.
Henry confirmed C.
on all four boys was acute arsenic poisoning.
Well, these three were all I.
'd as runaways and referred to the Avenues of Care Halfway House by the county as part of their plea agreements.
Guess who the director of the halfway house is.
Julian Santiago.
The son is the one dumping the bodies.
Maybe Mrs.
Santiago isn't the only one in the family who can't let go.
You've been busy.
We've been busy, too.
We know all about your job at the halfway house.
Avenues of Care-- "A refuge for troubled teens.
" I guess they didn't know how much trouble they were really in.
Matthew Price-- when he was alive, we talked to his father.
He said that six months ago he drove up from Mesquite to pick his son up at the halfway house.
But when he got there, you said that his son ran away.
Well, it's unfortunate for these types of kids, but it does happen.
Sure it does.
Matthew's father said his son talked a lot about a girl.
Her name was Alisa Santiago.
They met when she volunteered at your halfway house.
I told you my sister had problems.
So I tried to help her the way I helped myself-- by helping others.
So yes, I got her a job at the halfway house.
Where she met Matthew and Ryan and Derrick.
It's a beautiful thing.
Except when it turns to obsession, control, violence.
We talked to your coworkers at the halfway house.
They said Alisa was a very popular girl and you didn't like that.
Must be hard for an older brother to watch his younger sister mess with all those boys.
We all thought that your mother did this.
Look, whatever freaky fantasies you have about these young boys and your sister-- I don't care.
What I care about is why you used a sick woman to bury your crimes.
This is completely insane.
That cell phone number that you gave me for Alisa-- service was disconnected four months ago.
She's six months behind on her rent.
Where is she? I want a lawyer.
No blood, no fluids, nothing.
If Alisa was killed in this room, there'd be evidence of it.
Well, these swabs are negative.
Well, Mrs.
Santiago cleaned this room for a reason.
According to Dr.
Prescott, she took all of Alisa's belongings, put them outside here in the hallway in these time capsules.
She said it was triggered by an event.
When it comes to this lady, pick one.
Family was the most important thing to Mrs.
Which is why, if Julian killed his sister, she'd want to protect him.
And the best way to protect him is to hide the evidence.
It's a two-fer.
Mom gets to keep both children closer to her bosom.
So Mementos of Alisa's graduation from college.
A prom dress.
What is that? A quinceañera dress.
This is like we're going back in time.
It's a regression.
Like she's putting her back into the womb.
Alisa? I'm Nick Stokes.
My partner and I were the ones that found you.
You remember me? Hmm? You feel up to answering a couple of questions? Where's my mom? She's in custody.
Why? We'll get to her in a minute.
Let's talk about you first.
You want to tell me who did this to you? It's okay.
Nobody's going to mess with you.
You don't know that.
I can protect you, but I need to know who did this.
Are you afraid of your brother? Look, I know you're scared, but you can speak up now.
Is he the one who did this to you? My mother did this to me.
The garbage, the bodies-- that part I was handling okay.
But this this is some kind of twisted.
Is hoarding people part of hoarding? My understanding of it is that hoarding is more self-destructive.
The damage inflicted on others is more emotional than it is physical.
You don't think both daughters were being held here, do you? Diana certainly seems to have had more freedom of movement.
Alisa and the boys That's another story.
So everything I heard is true.
How long was Alisa held here? Well, the evidence indicates that she was here for a while and that she was cared for behind a wall of time capsules.
If you consider a mom chaining her daughter to a bed "caring.
" Something doesn't add up.
So I was able to recover the serial number from the handcuffs used to restrain Alisa.
Tracked back to a batch order belonging to a local gun shop.
The owner faxed me the credit card receipt.
Nice work.
Well, Greg just I.
'd our jailer: Julian Santiago.
He purchased the handcuffs.
So what? He also has a carry permit.
He works with juvenile offenders.
All the hard evidence points to Mrs.
What Nick means is that there were two sets of prints in the bedroom.
There were Alisa's prints and her mother's prints.
And the scrapings that you collected under Mrs.
Santiago's nails were a match to the talcum powder and the skin lotion next to the bed, so So that puts Mrs.
Santiago in the bedroom, not Julian.
But Julian is still our connection to those dead boys in the bedroom.
Maybe Mrs.
Santiago was being dominated by her son; maybe she wasn't acting out of free will.
What is it about this woman that has you so blind? What is it about this case that has you acting like such an ass right now? Oh, I'm an ass now? There is a very real possibility that Julian killed those boys to keep them away from his sister, and he's using his mother and her house to bury the evidence.
You're absolutely right.
There is that possibility.
So why don't we stick to the evidence that we have? Can we try that? Okay.
So, the evidence that we have suggests that Diana Santiago's murder was an accident.
We can't prove either suspect committed murder.
What we do know is that Mrs.
Santiago falsely imprisoned Alisa.
So what do you want to do about it? Julian lawyered up, so I guess we can take another look at the mother.
All right.
I'll talk to her.
We've spent some time together, we've connected.
That's not gonna happen.
I'll talk to her.
Good luck with that, Nick.
What? You know, I've been where you've been, Sara.
And sometimes I find it's best to take a deep breath and walk away.
What's up? Where's Mrs.
Santiago? Her son got her a lawyer.
That shuts us down.
They buried those boys.
And now that lawyer is trying to bury us.
We know what there legal strategy's gonna be.
Mom blames son.
Son blames mom.
Yeah, and if all else fails, Mom pleads insanity.
All they gotta do is send a jury through this house, and she walks.
They'll run the clock down on us.
We never found the source of the arsenic.
What about this red ribbon? Hodges didn't recover any trace.
He sent swabs to DNA, which came back negative.
Was he looking for epithelials? That's a good question.
Looks like the killer tore these strands with his teeth.
You see how the edges line up, one strand linking to another? So they're all from the same roll.
Which means we're looking at a timeline of the murders.
So, the boys we identified-- when did the first victim disappear? Ryan Hoff went missing from the halfway house 17 months ago.
All right, what about the second boy? Derrick Kennedy, ten months ago.
Matthew Price, six months ago.
Six months ago, that's the last time the killer used this roll of ribbon.
So vagaries of time, decomp, and the elements compromised the DNA on these strands.
But maybe it didn't compromise the source.
We need to find that roll of ribbon.
Is it wrong this place is starting to feel like home? You guys got a picture? Yes, Dr.
Prescott and I are with you now.
Go ahead, Doctor.
The last time I was in the house, I remember seeing Christmas decorations unopened.
Stacked near the dresser.
Which dresser? It should be to the right of the window near the bed.
Got it.
This could take till Christmas.
Not if you take into account "churning.
" Churning? Over time, a hoarder's stack of items gets shuffled and shifted around; churned.
How does this help us? The roll of ribbon that you're looking for was last used, what, six months ago? That's right.
So you might expect it to be buried under six months of stuff.
But it may, in fact, have been churned somewhere closer to the surface.
Look for a reel ribbon box.
Marta tends to keep her items in the original packaging.
There's a box of rat poison over here.
Not exactly the Christmas spirit.
Arsenic in its original packaging.
Ribbon not so much.
We have your fingerprints.
We have your DNA.
You brought this boy into this home! He doesn't belong here! He has to go! We know what happened inside that house.
Your mother's illness was hidden behind four walls, but yours was buried in a much deeper place, wasn't it, Alisa? Your mother caught you dragging Matthew Price's body out to your little garden of bones, didn't she? She knew what you had done to those boys.
How you lured them and seduced them.
Killed them.
Buried them.
She knew she had to stop you.
When I said my mother did this to me, I meant it.
She drove my father to his death.
Then she drove Julian away.
She drove everyone away.
Except those boys.
You made sure of that.
I hate her.
Well, she loves you.
Believe it or not, she acted out of love.
By chaining me up like an animal? To protect you from yourself and from people like me.
Now, I understand why you didn't cry out when we first entered that house.
I want to go home.
That's not going to happen.
Are you sure about that? You said it yourself.
I'm sick.
I got out of that house the first chance I could.
Alisa wasn't so lucky.
She was trapped in my mother's insanity.
It turned her into a monster.
I don't know.
We're both professionals, you know.
We know that what your sister did goes way beyond any damage that your mother inflicted on her.
Julian your sister is a predator.
Your mother's illness is not what drove her to kill.
I'm not so sure.
My mother was schizophrenic.
One night, she got a butcher knife out of a drawer.
She walked into the bedroom.
And while my father was sleeping, she stabbed him in the heart.
Again and again.
To say that my childhood was screwed up is an understatement.
But I survived it.
Just like you did.
You and your sister grew up together in that house, and you took two completely different paths.
Sometimes when we're faced with crimes that are so incomprehensible we want answers.
We want to believe that there's some order to things.
Sometimes there just isn't.
I spoke to the DA and the city attorney.
If your mother agrees to get help, they won't prosecute.
What happens after that that's up to you and your mother.
I can see your wheels turning.
¿En qué piensas? What's on your mind, Nick? I still don't get it.
The clutter or the pathology? Both.
The philosopher Erich Fromm, he forecast a, uh, society that was obsessed with possessions.
He believed that human beings had two basic orientations: having and being.
Now, a person with a having orientation seeks to acquire and possess things, property, even people.
But a person with a being orientation focuses on the experience.
They derive meaning from exchanging, engaging and sharing with other people.
Sounds like the right way to be.
Unfortunately, Fromm also predicted that a culture driven by commercialism, like the one we live in today, is doomed to the having orientation.
Which leads to dissatisfaction and emptiness.
When you consider that, in 1960, there was no such thing as public storage in America, today there's over two billion square feet dedicated to it, makes you think he had a point.
So, society's to blame, is that it? The point is there's always going to be extremes like Mrs.
Things don't have to mean everything, nor do they have to be devoid of meaning.
They are one of the ways in which we can experience and enjoy life.
As long as they don't get in the way of living.
Here you go.
Thank you.
Will you be taking me home now? Actually, you'll be going with your son.
I guess it's for the best.
I tried to be a good mother.
I know.
I was heading out, I, uh, saw your light on.
Well, you know, this case has compelled me to, uh, clean out this desk once and for all.
How's that going? Oh, pretty good, pretty good.
You know, I almost threw out something Grissom gave me.
Ah, yeah.
Blue marble.
You know what he said when he gave that to me? Something profound, I'm sure.
He said, "Nicky if life ever gets crazy" "Roll with it.
" He gave me the same marble.
You should hold onto that.
Yeah, right.