View Full Version : Police procedure: offering evidence for a case

Sera Trevor
07-21-2016, 01:03 AM
Time: present day
Place: Los Angeles

I have a character who claims to have evidence pertaining to an ongoing murder investigation. For plot purposes, I need him to do this in person and not over the phone. What I need to know is who he would speak to? Would he ask the front desk to speak to the detective in charge of the case? What would happen after that? Would they take him somewhere to talk?

Additionally, I have two characters who were recently placed under arrest in connection with the case in question (as in, they were just brought in the previous night). I assume they'd be in a holding cell, right?

07-21-2016, 01:27 AM
LAPD ongoing case? He could call or go to any station and the investigator(s) assigned to the case would be notified. An interview, most likely face-to-face, would follow ASAP.

Persons arrested the night before might still be in holding cells, or more likely transferred to county, to appear in court the following morning (assuming no night court was in session). An arrested person must be presented before the court at the earliest possible time; undue delays can jeopardize the overall case.

Sera Trevor
07-21-2016, 01:51 AM
Thanks for the info!

The situation with my two characters who were arrested is a little confusing - the police arrived on the scene as the murder was taking place. The murderer was shot by the police and they believe him to be dead. (He's a vampire, so he isn't and is currently chilling in the morgue, but the police don't know that.) My two characters attempted to help my vampire character escape and resisted the efforts of the police. So they aren't arrested for the murder exactly, but they obviously have a connection to it. I'm assuming resisting the police is enough to get them actually arrested, and I was hoping that with all the confusion that the police might not want to send them off right away.

07-21-2016, 04:29 PM
I'm not sure the police would have arrested these people yet, but are probably holding them for questioning. This type of situation takes a lot of sorting out. Or they are maybe being held on resisting arrests charges. I would think it probable that they are still at the police station that is the lead investigators of the case are using. Very good likelihood they may still be actively being questioned.

Morgues would be keeping the vampire at a temperature of about 38 degrees. He would be in an individual locker that usually do not have a handle on the inside. I don't know how vampires deal with this sort of temperature. The coroner is going to wonder why rigor mortis has not set in. Even with refrigeration, decomposition continues and there should be some sign of rigor mortis. Coroners tend to be like most doctors and start early in the day. In LA, bodies are assigned a priority to determine when they are autopsied.

It takes several hours to process a normal murder scene. My guess is the lead investigators are still at the station, still investigating what went on. This is an officer-involved shooting, and overtime is not an issue for the policed department in that situation. Press is going to have a presence. The Chief or other bigwig will be making an official statement in the morning. Your witness will have his story heard first by a lower ranked detective, who will assess how important the information is. Your witness is in for a very long day and will repeat the story numerous times.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Sera Trevor
07-21-2016, 06:55 PM
@Jim - This is all great info - thank you so much! My vampire is fine; he was just rendered temporarily unconscious by the gun shot wounds. He will escape when they pull him out to perform the autopsy (although I'm not sure how high priority it would be, considering the very obvious cause of his "death.") I hadn't considered the press presence, so thank you for that!

07-21-2016, 09:54 PM
Actually, the vampire would be a high priority for autopsy. If the bullets are not through and through, they'll want to get the bullets out quickly so they can figure out which officer did which shot. Even if the bullets are through and through and have been recovered, the track of the bullets through the body can indicate some significant facts involving the relative body positions between the victim and the shooter.

The police will also want to get the toxicology tests going as well, to determine whether the victim was on any drugs that may have been the problem.

In LA, there are several coroners at work. This would go to the most experience examiner. Probably a couple of senior police officials will be there.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Sera Trevor
07-21-2016, 10:44 PM
Very good points, and that's excellent news for my plot! I had assumed that I'd have to wait until morning to get my vampire free, but given that the murder took place just after sunset, it seems likely that they'd get to the autopsy that night. Thank you so much again; this has been extremely useful.

07-21-2016, 11:22 PM
If you want a night time autopsy, keep the bullets in the body, and have the chief medical examiner being pressured. But with the right pressure, and an office shooting can have that type of pressure, you could get an autopsy going about six hours after an early evening shooting, say around midnight. Have a serious question as to who shot the vampire, whether it was the original victim or the police or maybe a third party, including the people the police are holding.

Autopsy's start out with a complete set of photographs of the clothed body, then the clothes are removed, and then the body if photographed again Anything and everything that is unusual is noted. Patient/body is not stabbed and cut until all of this is done. So I don't know where in this process you want him coming to life.

In case you don't know this, police officers have a test bullet from their gun fired close to when it is issued. This can be used to compare the bullets that come out of a body.

By the way, bullets can travel under the skin, but not entering the body, and can be easily popped out of the body, so that you can get a bullet for comparing to the officers' test bullets. I'm assuming your vampire is not going to consent to more invasive examinations.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Sera Trevor
07-22-2016, 03:51 AM
Ideally, I want him to wake up while he's in the locker, before anything invasive has been done to him. I probably need to decide how many bullets are still in him. He was shot by three different people - two shots from the man he ended up killing (the killing was in self defense and carried out via the traditional vampire method of tearing the guy's throat out), then several more times by the two police officers who arrived on the scene as he was killing the man. My vampire is going to take a bite out of at least one of the people present whenever the locker is opened, which gives him enough power to escape. Since this is now happening at midnight, I don't have to worry about how he navigates his way home in the daylight.