Cold Case Files - The Baiting Game   View more episodes

Aired at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 (5/11/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:00tell that they had something to do with it.
00:00:04They was just... they were acting too nervous about it.
00:00:07>> KURTIS: Circumstance has placed David Deshazo and Roxanna Latham in the crosshairs of a murder investigation.
00:00:14Hard evidence, however, would be required to keep them there.
00:00:17In a moment, cold case detectives return to their best piece of evidence, the body of their victim, to see if it can tell them anything more about their killer.
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00:05:02>> KURTIS: Doctor William Maselow is the Assistant Chief Medical Examiner for western Virginia.
00:05:07For 22 years he has been opening up bodies, hunting for clues, extracting information from the dead.
00:05:15>> Most of the deaths that we investigate are reasonably straightforward.
00:05:20Each pathologist has three or four every year that are rather mystifying, and this one was somewhat mystifying.
00:05:27>> KURTIS: The body of sailor Jerry McLendon was discovered dumped on a trash heap in rural Virginia.
00:05:33From the onset detectives have treated the case as a homicide.
00:05:37A review of the body, however, presents a troubling question-- if McLendon was murdered, exactly how did it happen?
00:05:46>> We didn't find any evidence that this person had died of any sort of violent injury such as a beating or a gunshot or a stabbing or anything like this, because these you would be able to see.
00:05:59>> KURTIS: On October 5, Maselow cuts into McLendon's body hoping to find more subtle signs of murder.
00:06:05He immediately notes swelling along the inner lining of the throat and damage to the lungs, both consistent with a loss of oxygen and death by asphyxiation.
00:06:17Toxicology adds yet another twist, reporting high levels of a tranquilizing drug called Alprazolam, or as it's commonly known, Xanax.
00:06:27>> This indicates that the person, you know, had probably been in a relaxed state.
00:06:32Perhaps he'd been groggy, perhaps they'd... had been asleep, passed out if you will.
00:06:39>> KURTIS: Doctor Maselow's findings pinpoint the means of murder.
00:06:45Someone blocked Jerry McLendon's airways and killed him.
00:06:47Detectives now return to what they believe to be the killing ground-- the victim's aparent in Virginia Beach.
00:07:05For the second time in two weeks, Virginia Beach detectives Doug Williams and Pat Tucker arrive outside 1764 Solar Lane.
00:07:12This time, however, McLendon's family has granted them permission to enter the building.
00:07:19The house is deserted save one room.
00:07:22Inside Jerry McLendon's bedroom detectives find signs of a struggle.
00:07:27>> You know, it certainly... it looked like something had happened.
00:07:32>> KURTIS: The bed is stripped.
00:07:33A pillowcase on the floor is stained with what appears to be bodily fluid.
00:07:37The fabric design matches the bedsheet found covering McLendon's naked body in Henry County.
00:07:42The story the room offers is consistent with Dr. Maselow's findings-- with a pillow as his or her murder weapon, the killer appears to have smothered McLendon in his own bedroom, then dumped his body 250 miles away in the backwoods of Virginia.
00:07:59>> We didn't know why the murder had been perpetrated against Jerry McLendon.
00:08:02We can only speculate.
00:08:04>> KURTIS: When homicide detectives begin to speculate about motive one of the first things they follow is the money.
00:08:09Tucker and Williams pull McLendon's bank and credit reports.
00:08:13They find the victim's ATM account was very active within the three days surrounding McLendon's first disappearance.
00:08:20>> And luckily for us, the ATM machines that were used in 1992 d cameras.
00:08:26Hey, lieutenant, this is Pat Tucker.
00:08:30>> KURTIS: Detectives request all the photos taken when McLendon's account was activated, and cross their fingers that their killer isn't camera shy.
00:08:35>> Is there any way I can get a hold of him?
00:08:47>> KURTIS: In the back of the Lindhaven Mall an automated cash machine does a brisk business.
00:08:52Hidden above the console, a camera snaps pictures of each transaction.
00:08:57On September 22, the day Jerry McLendon disappeared, these images were captured.
00:09:02The first shows David Deshazo withdrawing $200 from McLendon's account.
00:09:08The second depicts Deshazo again, but this time his fiancée Roxanna Latham is with him.
00:09:15This time $100 is taken from McLendon's account.
00:09:19Over the next three days the pair would return four times, six transactions in all, totaling $1,500 dollars.
00:09:26Investigators know Latham and Deshazo well.
00:09:29The engaged couple roomed with Jerry McLendon in Virginia Beach.
00:09:33The pair moved to Henry County the same week McLendon's body was found within two miles of their new home.
00:09:39The coincidence is alarming.
00:09:41Detectives suspect Deshazo and Latham killed McLendon for his money, but without physical evidence their case for murder is lacking.
00:09:48>> The next step we needed to take was to separate the two suspects.
00:09:53We knew that they were engaged, we knew that they were in love, and as long as they stayed together, we would have less chance of getting anything out of either one of them.
00:10:04>> KURTIS: Detectives decide to arrest only Roxanna for credit card fraud, hoping some time in a holding cell might coax a confession out of the 29-year- old suspect.
00:10:15>> We wanted to hear what she had to say.
00:10:17We wanted to let her talk.
00:10:19"Tell us what you know, tell us what went on." And then we were going to, you know, feel it out from there.
00:10:24>> KURTIS: On November 19 Roxanna Latham is arrested in Henry County and driven 250 miles to Virginia Beach, and five hours away from her fiancé David Deshazo.
00:10:40>> That transaction took place on the 25th, Roxanne.
00:10:42>> KURTIS: Seven hours after she was first placed in handcuffs, Detective Tucker and Williams confront Roxanna Latham about Jerry McLendon's murder.
00:10:57>> We basically went on the view with her that she was a woman that was kept down, she had had a hard life.
00:11:04"Go ahead and tell us what happened." >> She could turn the tears on and ofat will.
00:11:21She could cry at a moment's notice, and she could dry up at a moment's notice.
00:11:25>> KURTIS: Roxanna tells detectives she knows nothing about McLendon's death.
00:11:29The questioning then turns from murder to her relationship with David Deshazo.
00:11:34>> Well, she basically in a nutshell told us that, you know, her and David were an item.
00:11:39They loved each other.
00:11:41She would do anything for him, he would do anything for her.
00:12:03>> KURTIS: For five hours detectives hammer away at Roxanna.
00:12:07For five hours she stays the course, admitting nothing but love for her fiancé and never once deviating from her claim of innocence.
00:12:24>> KURTIS: Roxanna offers no new information to police, and they are forced to release her into the waiting arms of David Deshazo.
00:12:33Frustrated investigators can only sit back and wait for the relationship to fail.
00:12:39>> We knew that there would have to be some type of a breakup there, and that the breakup probably was going to end up being a nasty breakup, and that would play to our favor.
00:12:46And it was a waiting game.
00:12:48>> KURTIS: Six years later investigators are still waiting, and the investigation into Jerry McLendon's death has gone cold.
00:12:56When we return, a bug, a bass, and a body farm l help detectives narrow their case for murder as the McLendon cold case Your QUALIFIEDKenmore go.
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00:18:01>> KURTIS: The trash heap that once scarred this acre of woods is now gone.
00:18:05Gone too are any remnants of the murder once unearthed here.
00:18:09Six years earlier a sailor's body was dumped on this very site.
00:18:14Cold case detectives suspect Jerry McLendon's roommates Roxanna Latham and David Deshazo had a hand in his death.
00:18:21ATM photos show the couple withdrawing McLendon's cash on September 22, 1992, one day after McLendon was last seen alive.
00:18:32The couple claims Jerry was alive at the time of the withdrawals and consented to the transactions.
00:18:38Detectives believe otherwise.
00:18:41>> If we could narrow down and specifically say when he was killed that would show that these... this withdrawal of money was subsequent to the death.
00:18:52It would also show a motive for the killing.
00:18:56>> KURTIS: Detectives need to narrow down the time of death at a murder case six years cold.
00:19:01One man may be able to help them.
00:19:04He's been studying death for more than 30 years, and his story unfolds in Knoxville, Tennessee.
00:19:26The University of Tennessee football stadium stands tall along the banks of the Tennessee River.
00:19:32On game days over 100,000 fans fill these seats, unaware that behind the west side bleachers, beneath the chairs, beneath the graters, resides a doctor of death.
00:19:45Doctor William Bass is the founr of the Anthropological Research Facility, or as the students like to call it, the body farm, where the dead go to be studied.
00:19:55The idea was hatched in 1977 when Doctor Bass was asked to determine the time of death on a freshly dug up body.
00:20:02>> And looking at decay that I knew at that time, I said in looking at the body that this was a 24 to 28-year-old white male who'd been dead about a year.
00:20:19>> KURTIS: The doctor was a bit off.
00:20:23The body was later identified as a Civil War soldier, William Shy, a colonel from the Confederate Army who died in the battle of Nashville in 1864.
00:20:32>> Colonel Shy was a 26-year-old white male.
00:20:36So far I'm a hundred percent correct.
00:20:38Except Colonel Shy had been dead 113 years.
00:20:42I only missed 112 years.
00:20:44It's got... something wrong here.
00:20:48>> KURTIS: The gross inaccuracy was a shock to Dr. Bass' expertise as well as his ego.
00:20:54It also served as a catalyst for the creation of the body farm.
00:20:57>> So I decided, you know, we'd better do something about this.
00:21:01And so we set up what we call the Anthropology Research Facility, or what most people call the body farm.
00:21:09>> KURTIS: 25 years later, Dr.
00:21:10Bass still runs the body farm, the only facility of its kind dedicated to studying the rate of human decay.
00:21:17>> Well you're going to see bodies in all sorts of disrepair.
00:21:22The major research projects that go on out here are either master's theses or doctoral dissertations.
00:21:28They're projects that the students have come up with.
00:21:33>> KURTIS: Each body represents a scientific test, each test an experiment in human decay.
00:21:36>> The one over here is an experiment going on on bodies that are clothed or unclothed.
00:21:42Clothing tends to either slow down or speed up the decay process, depending on whether it's in the sun or the shade and things like this, how heavy the body is.
00:21:54And we're finding that bodies lose about five pounds a day in the rapid decay stage.
00:21:59>> KURTIS: Dr. Bass and his students have tested the rate of decomposition in hundreds of conditions.
00:22:06They've learned more about human decay in 22 years at the body farm than in the past 2,000.
00:22:10>> This body here under the tripods, we've been looking at how rapidly does a body lose weight when it dies.
00:22:23We do... occasionally we will reproduce a crime scene for law enforcement agents when there's no data.
00:22:33And what we've done is we've taken a... we've taken a body, tied it to the tree, and letting it decay normally to see how long that would take.
00:22:46>> KURTIS: At any given time up to 30 bodies reside on this one- acre lot.
00:22:51Dr. Bass rarely says no to a donated corpse.
00:22:55To him each death represents a new challenge.
00:22:59>> I never see a forensic case as a dead body.
00:23:02I see a forensic case as a challenge to me to see whether I have enough knowledge to figure out whthat individual is and what happened to him.
00:23:13>> KURTIS: In 1998 Virginia Beach detectives present Dr.
00:23:16Bass and the body farm with a new challenge-- pinpoint a date for Jerry McLendon's death from the ten day span he was listed as missing.
00:23:25>> I said, "Okay, this is what I need.
00:23:28I need the autopsy report, I need the crime scene photographs, and I need the police report, and I need the temperature.
00:23:36I need four things." >> KURTIS: Dr. Bass begins his assessment by studying crime scene photos and measuring the body's rate of decay.
00:23:44>> We looked at... the body was bloating, there was skin slippage, there was hair slippage.
00:23:53>> KURTIS: Based solely on the body's decay Dr. Bass can narrow McLendon's time of death to no later than September 27, 1992, but that won't do for Virginia Beach.
00:24:05To make their case against Latham and Deshazo, cold case detectives need a date of death no later than the day the couple made their ATM withdrawals, September 22, 1992.
00:24:17Dr. Bass fine-tunes his analysis and turns his attention to bugs, specifically the fly larvae commonly known as maggots.
00:24:25>> They can very accurately predict the length of time since death if you know the environmental conditions surrounding the time of the death and where that death occurred.
00:24:38Maggots can be a very good indicator.
00:24:41>> KURTIS: Dr. Bass knows flies are only active in temperatures over 52 degrees.
00:24:46He measures the maggot size from McLendon's autopsy photos, studies climatology reports from the third week of September 1992, and pinpoints the time of death to within 12 hours of the date police are looking for.
00:25:01>> He was killed shortly after he was last seen.
00:25:04And the dead body was out there roughly the entire time he was dead, or certainly at least ten days out there.
00:25:11>> He said time of death was going to be probably the evening of the 21st, maybe early morning hours of the 22nd.
00:25:17And he was able to give us a time of death that we were never able to have before because the technology just was not there.
00:25:25>> KURTIS: Bass' findings confirm that Jerry McLendon was already dead when Roxanna Latham and David Deshazo withdrew money from his account, adding a critical link in a circumstantial case of murder.
00:25:39When we return...
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00:28:17ñ Billboards promote Virginia as the state for lovers.
00:30:42Not everyone in Virginia, however, has a vested interest in romance.
00:30:47In fact, members of the Virginia Beach Police Department have been hoping for one relationship to fail.
00:30:53They suspect David Deshazo and his fiancée Roxanna Latham of suffocating their roommate, navy seaman Jerry McLendon, in 1992.
00:31:02For six years the couple has professed their innocence and lived together in apparent bliss in Henry County Virginia.
00:31:10>> If we were going to break this up and get to the bottom of this, it would not be until after the two split up, if they ever split up.
00:31:17So it became at that point... it became a waiting game.
00:31:21>> KURTIS: The waiting game pays off in 1998 when Special Agent Dan Rice from the Naval Criminal Investigative Services discovers the happy couple is no more.
00:31:30>> We figure that it was probably an acrimonious split, and it was probably a good time right now to make a move on her.
00:31:37>> KURTIS: Roxanna Latham has lost her fiancé to another woman.
00:31:42Rice believes it might be the angle he needs to get Roxanna talking.
00:31:46He and Virginia Beach Detective Pat Tucker drive 250 miles to Henry County hoping to coax a tale of murder from a woman scorned.
00:32:03At 7:30 in the evening on June 9, Roxanna Latham opens her door to find two cold case detectives standing on her stoop.
00:32:12they at thechen table, Special Agent Rice explains their business.
00:32:16>> So I said, "We know that everything you've told us to date is a lie." And she sat there for about a minute, and then she started to quiver and cry, and she said, "If he ever finds out that I've told you anything he'll kill me." >> I said, "Roxanne, no one's going to kill you, and the only way to get rid of the guilt is to tell the story." And at that point, she began explaining that she was there when Jerry was killed, but she did not take part.
00:32:42>> KURTIS: "Deshazo did it and I just watched." That is all that Roxanna remembers from the night Jerry McLendon died.
00:32:49Her story, however, raises as many questions as it answers.
00:32:53If David Deshazo alone did the killing, why didn't Roxanna come to police earlier, and of her own accord?
00:33:00And if she is truly innocent, why do police have photos of her and Deshazo using McLendon's ATM card to pilfer the dead man's account?
00:33:10Police reconvene with Roxanna two weeks later, this time in a more official setting.
00:33:24On June 23, Agent Rice and Detective Tucker once again sit down with Roxanna Latham.
00:33:29As a video camera rolls Roxanna now claims to have a better memory of the night Jerry McLendon died.
00:33:46>> KURTIS: Roxanna tells detectives David Deshazo was jealous of McLendon and coveted his cash.
00:33:52According to Roxanna, Deshazo had talked of murder, but the threats never took until the night of September 22, when Roxanna Latham claims she walked into McLendon's bedroom to find her fiancé holding a pillow over McLendon's face.
00:34:18>> KURTIS: Roxanna tells police she opened the bedroom door to a murder already in progress.
00:34:23As Deshazo struggled with McLendon he yelled at Roxanna to help him.
00:34:28According to Roxanna she feared for her life and had no choice but to comply.
00:34:47>> Dan and I look at each other like, "Holy cow, I can't believe we're hearing this." It took us six years to get this, and now it's better than ever.
00:35:10>> It's like putting together a puzzle-- you know what happened, except you're missing three or four pieces.
00:35:16And she was now filling those three pieces in, or four pieces in, and giving us, you know, the whole puzzle.
00:35:23>> KURTIS: Roxanna tells police she then helped loot McLendon's ATM and dumped his body in Henry County Virginia because she was afraid of David Deshazo; afraid for her life.
00:35:42>> KURTIS: Is Roxanna Latham a scared and unwilling accomplice to murder, or did Roxanna herself kill McLendon and is now looking to pin the crime on her former fiancé?
00:35:53Cold case detectives suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.
00:35:57>> We needed to get David.
00:35:59We knew he wouldn't talk to us, so we needed him, and we wanted to use her to get to him.
00:36:07>> KURTIS: Detectives believe if they get the couple talking to each other the real story of McLendon's death might somehow emerge.
00:36:15They ask, and Roxanna agrees, to call her ex-fiancé as part of a phone sting.
00:36:29On the morning of June 8 Roxanna calls David Deshazo.
00:36:33He doesn't know she's calling fr the first floor of the Salem Police Department.
00:36:54>> KURTIS: As Roxanna waits, Deshazo's wife fetches her husband.
00:36:57Then for the first time in six months Roxanna and David speak.
00:37:37>> KURTIS: Detectives record and listen as Roxanna begins pushing for details of McLendon's murder.
00:37:57>> She told Dan and I, she said, "Well, you know, I can push his buttons.
00:38:01I know what buttons to push.
00:38:02I know what buttons that will make him upset and I know what to do." And sure enough she pushed those buttons, and it worked like a charm.
00:38:32>> KURTIS: "It was 50-50." With those four words David Deshazo not only implicates himself in McLendon's murder but implicates Roxanna as a willing accomplice.
00:38:44The statement leaves detectives wondering, are they dealing with one cold-blooded murderer or two?
00:38:51>> We thought he was still the main guy, but we also knew that she was much more involved than she let us on from be... from the start.
00:38:58>> KURTIS: When we return...
00:39:05>> KURTIS: ...things begin to get sticky for Roxanna as her pically drink water.Why is that?
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00:44:03>> KURTIS: In July of 1998 Virginia Beach detectives believe they have found a rat.
00:44:08Roxanna Latham breaks a six-year silence and fingers her ex- fiancé David Deshazo for murder.
00:44:14In a videotape statement Roxanna claims she was forced to help Deshazo smother their roommate, navy seamen Jerry McLendon, or risk suffering the same fate.
00:44:25Roxanna's story sits uneasy with cold case detectives.
00:44:30>> We weren't buying it.
00:44:32We led her to believe that we were, but we weren't buying it.
00:44:37>> KURTIS: To support her story Roxanna rees to call David from the police station.
00:44:43As cold case detectives listen, Deshazo implicates himself in the killing, and reminds Roxanna that she was with him every step of the way.
00:45:13>> KURTIS: Roxanna's phone call is not going as she hoped.
00:45:16Deshazo begins to provide fresh details about the murder, details Roxanna never mentioned to police.
00:45:33>> KURTIS: For the first time detectives hear Jerry McLendon might have been drugged the night he was killed, and that the person who dhe drugging might have been Roxanna Latham.
00:45:42I was afraid she'd hang up the one.
00:45:44So I just looked at her kind of nonchalantly and then looked back dn.
00:45:49Well when I looked at her, her eyes was big as frying pans, like, "Oh, my god, they know." >> KURTIS: Tucker believes he's gotten the confession from David Deshazo, and enough to implicate Roxanna as well.
00:45:59He calls in a SWAT team to arrest Deshazo and tells Roxanna to hang uphe phone.
00:46:20>> KURTIS: Still holding the phone, Deshazo is arrested outside his home in Henry County.
00:46:26Within six hours he is at the Virginia Beach Police Station eager to give his version of the night Jerry McLendon was suffocated, with Roxanna Latham in a starring role.
00:46:45David Deshazo has a story to tell about his ex-fiancée's appetite for murder.
00:46:51>> I think the first thing out of David Deshazo's mouth in reference to this case was it wasn't his idea; that it was Roxanna Latham's.
00:47:02>> KURTIS: Deshazo claims Roxanna hated Jerry and often complained of McLendon's advances.
00:47:09Those complaints turned to threats on the night of September 22.
00:47:13The night began with Roxanna cooking spaghetti for dinner.
00:47:16According to Deshazo the meal soon became a recipe for murder.
00:47:39>> KURTIS: Deshazo claims he watched Roxanna empty her prescription bottle of Xanax into the simmering spaghetti sauce.
00:47:47She then poured the poisoned sauce onto a plate of pasta and fed the serving to Jerry McLendon.
00:48:11>> KURTIS: The Xanax dosing explains how the couple was able to smother the 180-pound McLendon.
00:48:17McLendon's autopsy report helped support the story.
00:48:20>> In the autopsy report the toxicology came back 48% Alprazolam, which turned out to be a key ingredient in Xanax, which is one of the medications that Roxanne had been prescribed for depression.
00:48:36>> KURTIS: Deshazo then tells detectives Roxanna was not only the brains but also the brawn in Jerry McLendon's death.
00:48:59>> KURTIS: Deshazo claims he held McLendon's hands as Roxanna placed a pillow over the victim's face-- a story that is diametrically opposed to the version Roxanna provided to police just a few weeks prior.
00:49:11>> If you talk to David he'll tell you he held the hands down while she smothered him, and it was her idea.
00:49:16If you listen to her she'll tell you that she held the hands down and David smothered him, and that was his idea.
00:49:23So they're both pointing at each other, and at... and we needed that.
00:49:28>> KURTIS: Two people, each pointing fingers at each other, each helping to convict the other.
00:49:34On September 29, 2000, David Deshazo is convicted of murder one and pulls a life sentence.
00:49:41Ten months later his ex-fiancée Roxanna Latham is found guilty of murder in the second degree.
00:49:47She is sentenced to 15 years in prison.
00:50:03On October 15, 2001, Roxanna Latham meets withCold Case Filesat Virginia Beach Correctional Center.
00:50:10three years, the convicted murderer reserves a healthy dose of venom for detectives, who, according to Roxanna, offered a deal and then reneged.
00:50:20>> I put my trust in them.
00:50:22I told them the truth.
00:50:23I told them everything that I knew, and this is whathey come do to me afterwards.
00:50:27>> I think one, she thought she was smart enough to get away with it.
00:50:32And I think she also felt that if she owns up to knowing about it but not necessarily let us in on her total involvement that she probably would walk away with no jail time.
00:50:44>> KURTIS: As for David Deshazo he sits in a maximum security cell downstate, willing, at least on the surface, to offer an olive branch to his old flame.
00:51:10>> I know what happened in that room, and he knows what happened in that room.
00:51:15God knows what happened in that room.
00:51:17And I'm free, and David knows the truth, and he will be the one rotting in hell over it.
00:51:24It won't be me.
00:51:27>> KURTIS: Investigators may never know who really played the strongman in Jerry McLendon's death.
00:51:34The fact remains that they killed him together.
00:51:38Both were in the room, both watched him die, and for cold case detectives both are where they should be-- behind bars.
00:51:45>> As to who did what, to me it doesn't matter.
00:51:50They both took part.
00:51:51They took the life, and they should pay for it, and now they're paying for it.
00:52:16Medicine, they call it the critical hour.
00:52:20In crime-solving, it'sthe first 48 hours.
00:52:24[suspenseful music] We got blood.
00:52:27(woman) We have a body in a park.
00:52:29It looks suspicious.
00:52:30(narrator) For homicide detectives, the clock starts ticking the moment they are called out.
00:52:35(man #1) .45 Automatic.
00:52:36(narrator) Their chance of solving a murder is cut in half ..
00:52:41(man #2) That is a positive reaction for luminol.
00:52:43(narrator) Within the first 48 hours.
00:52:46We don't have patience.
00:52:47Police department.
00:52:48It's critical right now to get people down to our office.
00:52:51We need to speak to nicole.
00:52:53We need these names.
00:52:54[suspenseful music] ♪ ♪
00:53:09(narrator) , a warm monday evening.
00:53:13[phone line trills] (narrator) In a remote section of fairmount park, where the hustle of philadelphia gives way to wooded trails and playing fields, a park ranger reports a fire.
00:53:38(narrator) A few minutes later, the ranger calls again.
00:53:51(narrator) It's 10:06 p.m.
00:53:53's homicide unit gets the call.
00:53:56Homicide, sergeant labrice.
00:53:59(narrator) Sergeant irma labrice heads a team of four detectives who will investigate the murder.
00:54:05They now have 48 hours to crack the case.
00:54:07(Labrice) Right now we have a 5292, which is a body in the park.
00:54:11We have police out there.
00:54:13It looks suspicious.
00:54:16I have two of my detectives going out to the scene so we can find if there's any violent acts, start processing the scene, see what kind of evidence is out there.
00:54:26(narrator) Leon lubiejewski, known in the unit as "luby," is assigned as the lead detective in the case.
00:54:33Luby and his partner, mike gross, have 40 years of homicide experience between them.
00:54:39We're heading out to fairmount park.
00:54:40It's on the west side of the schuylkill river.
00:54:43We've been notified of a body of a female.
00:54:53(narrator) The crime scene is filled with the smell of gasoline.
00:54:57(man) When they came in to close the lot, they seen, like, an orange glow from behind the dumpster.
00:55:03When they came further, she was still--still going.
00:55:07(narrator) The victim is so badly burned that her age and race are unclear.
00:55:12(Lubiejewski) Wonderful.
00:55:18She's behind a dumpster.
00:55:20She's behind the dumpster?
00:55:21Near a parking lot.
00:55:22The park ranger came to lock-- there's a parking lot here.
00:55:25And there's a gate.
00:55:25They lock it every night.
00:55:28And he came back and saw the orange glow.
00:55:30(Labrice) Okay, anything else?
00:55:30Does it look like anything else?
00:55:32I don't know if her clothes are burned off her or not on her.
00:55:35It's really hard to tell.
00:55:37All right.
00:55:38See you.
00:55:42(narrator) The scene doesn't yield much.
00:55:45[camera clicks] But even the little bits and pieces of charred evidence are enough to tell luby and gross what may have happened to the woman.
00:55:53(Gross) Some kind of wire.
00:55:55Probably tied behind her back, luby.
00:55:57Some kind of wire around her neck.
00:55:59Her hands were bound behind her back.
00:56:04God knows what injuries.
00:56:05You can't tell, you know?
00:56:07(narrator) Luby and gross retrace the steps the killer might have taken.
00:56:12See that?
00:56:13Right there, matches.
00:56:16The lighter back there.
00:56:21We got blood.
00:56:22Seems to be some drops of blood on the ground before the body, probably taking out of a car or truck and deposited there and then set on fire to cover tracks.
00:56:34We have a female.
00:56:35Hands are tied behind her back.
00:56:36There's also a wire around her neck.
00:56:39She's wearing blue jeans and a black leather belt that's up around her waist.
00:56:45So she aears to have been fully dressed.
00:56:47The clothes are just burned off of her from the fire.
00:56:50(narrator) It's nearly 2:00 a.m.
00:56:53The killer already has four hours on the detectives.
00:56:56(Gross) There's no reason to set her on fire, other than to try to make it difficult for us to find out who she is.
00:57:06If it's somebody that doesn't want us to know who she is, it might be somebody that knows her.
00:57:12If her hands are badly burned, I mean, you're not going to be able to do anything.
00:57:15(narrator) Sergeant labrice and her team face a difficult case.
00:57:19Without a name for their victim, they have almost nothing to go on.
00:57:24(Lubiejewski) Hopefully by tomorrow morning, somebody'll have heard the news about the body and start making phone calls looking for their daughter, their wife, their mother.
00:57:34Could be anybody.
00:57:43(narrator) And whoever murdered the woman in the park is not the only killer out in the streets.
00:57:50[dial tone beeping] [line trilling] (narrator) , picks up its 238th murder case of the year.
00:58:10Lead homicide detective bill kelhower, a fourth-generation philly cop, heads to the scene on ruby street.
00:58:17(Kelhower) Ruby street is in our 12th district, southwest philadelphia.
00:58:22It's a residential area made up of row homes, and it has a bit of drug activity, and recently, we've had numerous shootings in that area.
00:58:31(narrator) By the time a patrol unit responded to the house where shots were fired, the victim was d.o.a.
00:58:42He's a black male, approximately 35 years, has numerous wounds: Right bicep, left chest, right chest, head wounds.
00:58:51Was laying face down.
00:58:52Appears the medics had rolled him over.
00:58:54(narrator) 35-Year-old eugene murrell, a part-time handyman, was renting a room in the house where his body was found.
00:59:02(Kelhower) Somebody had to hear or see something.
00:59:05There's 40 or 50 houses on this block.
00:59:07Somebody had to see or hear something.
00:59:11How many holes did you see?
00:59:12(man) He's got at let three in the chest that I saw.
00:59:15(narrator) Kelhower's partners, jim hughes and dominic mangoni, write up the crime scene.
00:59:20(Mangoni) 11:48'S the pronouncement time?
00:59:23What's he wearing there, jimmy?
00:59:25(Hughes) He's got khaki shorts, blue button-down shirt.
00:59:28(Mangoni) Blue shirt, white sneaks.
00:59:30(narrator) All that they discover goes to reconstructing the crime and building a case