Takuma walked into the room, minding where he stepped and what he touched. The room was a bedroom, twice as large as Takuma's bedroom. It also had much more personality to it due to personal knick-knacks, items, and how everything tied together to showcase the owner's personality.
Speaking of the owner, she was right in the middle of the room, lying down on the bed… in the pool of her blood that had long soaked into the silky soft sky-blue sheets.
"That's a dead lady," he muttered with a disgusted face, not because of the dead body but because of the putrid smell that had seeped into the bedroom. The body had reached the point in putrefaction where the smell started to become horrid.
"Way to state the obvious," Arisu remarked snarkily, but her eyes were transfixed on the dead woman.
The young woman, who seemed to be in her mid-twenties, had a ball of cloth stuffed in her mouth, and just below her chin was a dagger stuck in her neck from which all the blood had dribbled down her neck, clothes, and bedding.
"A robbery gone south?" Takuma commented.
"From the looks of it," said Arisu, fanning her notepad in front of her face.
The wardrobes and closets in the room were all open, with clothes and items thrown out on the floor. The entire house mirrored the bedroom with things sprawled as if someone had raided the home.
Arisu glanced at Takuma. "This is your first time at a murder scene…. How're you feeling?"
Takuma stared at the lady. It was a gruesome sight, one he would have preferred not to look at all, but at the same time, he couldn't take his eyes off the dead woman. Perhaps it was because of all the crime scene photographs he had seen during the training— but Takuma doubted that was the reason.
"… I'm feeling fine," Takuma said. He simply observed, taking every aspect of her through his eyes.
"Enough chit-chat; let's get to work."
Takuma and Arisu looked to the bedroom entrance as a young woman in her early twenties entered the room. She had short cropped black hair and the standard Uchiha onyx-eyes hidden behind red-shaded aviators with a shiny red bead earring hanging from one ear.
Uchiha Kano, another chunin in the Police Force, was part of Organized Crime. She was one of the senior officers under Yakumi, who was a Captain. Down the ladder, Takuma and Arisu were junior officers.
The Police Force had the policy that everyone had to be dressed in the standard shinobi uniform; as such most of the Uchiha shinobi came out to be low-key, and even outside of duty, he hadn't seen an Uchiha' dripped out' as to say, but Uchiha Kano with her pixie-cut hair, red aviators, and earring, had to be the most dripped out Uchiha Takuma had seen.
"Takuma, what's the investigation focal point," asked Kano as she put on her rubber gloves but didn't step near the dead body or the bed.
"This bedroom," answered Takuma.
There was a method to investigate crime scenes. A homicide had a different investigative approach to that of a burglary, but to ensure a thorough process, a few standard steps were outlined in the Leaf Military Police Force manual to ensure a thorough process.
The first step to investigating a crime scene is to establish the "scene dimensions." To do that, they had to define the investigation focal point, the area where the crime occurred or the victim was found— the main area of disturbance. Then, radiating out from that point, investigators established an area that is sizable enough to likely contain all relevant physical evidence that may be present. It was easier for investigators to condense the size of a scene at a later point than to discover that sensitive evidence outside the scene had been damaged or destroyed by other responders, media, or onlookers. In addition, potential paths of perpetrator entry/exit were identified.
Safety was paramount during the importance during the initial approach to the scene. Weapons, biohazards, chemical hazards, and even intentional traps could await the people approaching the crime scene.
In this case, the definition of investigation focal point was easy enough due to the nature of the crime. The dead woman was found in her bedroom, and from the blood present on the bed, it didn't look like she was killed somewhere else and then later transported to the bedroom.
Yes, the entire house was ransacked, which increased the area substantial evidence could be found, but because a dead body was present, the bedroom was the focal point, the place they would base their strategy upon.
Kano hummed. "Who entered the home before us?" she asked Arisu.
Arisu flipped her notepad open. "The landlord and five of the neighbors," she said. "The landlord and one more person entered the bedroom itself."
Kano clicked her tongue in displeasure.
The second step in investigating a crime scene was to secure the area. According to the basics of investigations: 'Every contact left a trace.' Everyone who entered or exited the scene would add or subtract material from the crime scene, so securing the area quickly was crucial. To control access, the scene was to be cordoned off.
In this case, the house was part of an apartment building, located on the second floor. They had moved everyone off the second floor, and even though the possibility of finding evidence in the hallway was close to zero due to the amount of activity, they had still done it to give themselves some space.
Moreover, Takuma, Arisu, and Kano needed to be removed from the list in case they left behind a trace, while the five neighbors and one landlord needed to be considered as additions to the list. One of them could be the perpetrator, and removing them from the list just because they entered the scene afterward was putting them outside the scope of the investigation— and they might even have done it purposefully to save themselves.
To ensure they weren't a person of interest, the investigators would need to interrogate them and confirm their alibis, among other things, to eliminate them from the suspect list.
All of which meant extra work— and thus, the reason behind Kano's displeasure.
"Write down their names and addresses, and ask them not to leave the village anytime soon," said Kano.
"Already done," said Arisu.
Kano looked at them and smirked, "Good, then let's chatter, shall we."
The third step in investigating a crime was to create a plan. Before any evidence could be collected, the investigators first needed to develop a theory regarding the type of offense that had occurred. Knowing the kind of crime aided the investigation and helped the investigators anticipate the evidence that could be present. In some circumstances, this required gathering information from witnesses or persons of interest.
Based on that information, the crime scene team would develop an "evidence-collection strategy" taking into consideration weather conditions, time of day, and other factors. That way, when the investigators collected the evidence, they'd better know what to look for— and thus potentially increasing the quality of evidence that might be collected.
"It's a robbery," said Arisu.
"But then why kill her?" Kano countered before asking: "Who's she?"
"Machia Hirano," Takuma flipped open his own notepad. "Twenty-six years old. She had been working as a receptionist at the Green Flag Restaurant for four years. The restaurant's owner called Hirano's home when she didn't show up to work on Monday and called her landlord when she didn't come in on Tuesday. The landlord went to her home this morning and found her like this— the door was unlocked. According to the landlord, she had been living here for two years by herself. And, she doesn't have any family— parents passed a few years back."
"Any eyewitnesses?" asked Kano.
Takuma shook his head. "Nothing we have heard as of yet."
"She tried to fight back, and the perpetrator killed her in the struggle," Arisu picked up the point from before.
Takuma looked around, but from the state of the apartment, no sign of struggle was evident at first view. With all of Hirano's belongings on the floor, they would need to clean everything up before they could recognize if there were signs of struggle.
"Could be," said Kano. She squatted down, gently lifted the dead woman's hand, and checked under the fingernails. She pulled her aviators down her nose and Sharingan came to life. "Uh-huh, there's some red down here. She must've scratched the suspect while they struggled."
Kano got up and pushed her aviators back up. "Alright, during evidence collection, let's look for evidence tied to signs of struggle when we sweep the place."
She continued, "The question that arises is that if there was a struggle, why didn't any of the neighbors get a whiff of what was happening in here?"
Arisu pointed at the balled-up cloth in the woman's mouth. "She couldn't have screamed to the limit with that in her mouth," she said, "but we have to consider how the killer got in because the door isn't damaged, and with a struggle, I don't see her inviting the killer in."
"Maybe she knew the killer, and she let her in, and that's how he got in without problems and was perhaps able to ambush her before she could make a ruckus," said Takuma before pointing at the air-conditioner in the room, which was rattling like a pile of screw and bolts. "That probably kept the body cold enough to slow down the decomposition and putrefaction and maybe even dulled any noise that might have made here."
Kano again stepped to the dead body and began checking for things Takuma didn't understand, so he silently observed, trying to learn. The way Kano had been talking to them was for their benefit (mainly for Takuma's benefit), so they could get better. He was given the opportunity so that he would make the most of it.
"The body had already entered the stage of secondary flaccidity," said Kano.
"What's that?" asked Takuma.
"When someone dies, the body enters the stage of primary flaccidity where all of the muscles in the body relax. All of the muscles in the body relax; eyelids lose their tension, the pupils dilate, the jaw might fall open, skin sags, and the body's joints and limbs are flexible. As muscles relax, sphincters release and allow urine and feces to pass," said Kano.
Kano wasn't only a chunin, a senior officer (from Organized Crime, which put her on a higher tier than some other senior officers)— but she was also an iryo-nin, which came in pretty handy during cases involving homicides.
Takuma made a face but quickly schooled his expression.
Kano continued, "As part of primary flaccidity, the body then experiences pallor mortis, algor mortis, livor mortis— which you can learn about on your own time— it's rigor mortis which happens next, where chemical changes within the body's cells cause all of the muscles to begin stiffening."
Takuma, of course, knew about rigor mortis. It was mentioned plenty of times in movies and shows for him to remember what that meant.
"After reaching a state of maximum rigor mortis, the muscles will begin to loosen due to continued chemical changes within the cells and internal tissue decay. That process is known as secondary flaccidity," she said. "During secondary flaccidity, the skin will begin to shrink, creating the illusion that hair and nails are growing. Rigor mortis will then dissipate in the opposite direction. Once secondary flaccidity is complete, all of the body's muscles will again be relaxed.
"Her body is already losing the stiffness, and if we take in the air conditioner into consideration, I'll say that she was killed sometime on Sunday. We will have to take the body to the coroner to know the exact time," Kano finished and got up. "Alright, let's start the photoshoot, and then we'll bag and tag all the stuff."
Step four to crime investigation was to conduct a walkthrough of the scene. An initial survey of the scene was then conducted to prioritize evidence collection. Kano walked around the room and identified valuable evidence, and Takuma and Arisu took notes and captured initial photographs of the scene and the evidence. The crime scene was documented to record conditions such as whether lights were on or off, the position of shades and doors, the position of movable furniture, any smells present, the temperature of the scene, etc.
Takuma was the designated photographer— he wasn't good enough to click award-winning shots, not even enough that people would use his photographs as their wallpaper or put on posters, but he had gotten good enough with a film camera to click some dank crime scene photos and to click them quick enough that he wasn't getting in the way.
After Kano was done pointing stuff out, they moved onward to step five, which was to document everything related to the crime scene which garnered interest.
Takuma being the photographer, had to do it in a certain way. Every identified piece of evidence was to have three photographs— an overview shot (the entire crime scene), an establishing shot (to properly show the location of the object of interest with respect to everything else), and a close-up shot (to show any details of interest.) Numbered tags along with a scale were present in the photographs as well.
On the other hand, during the evidence-collection process, it was crucial that the crime scene investigator followed proper procedures for collecting, packaging, and preserving the evidence, especially if it was of a biological nature.
The body was taken early during the process and sent off to the coroner's officer, who had total authority over it and had to prepare the reports regarding the death.
After they were done, the last step was to conduct a secondary survey and a review to make sure they hadn't missed anything and as a quality control step.
And that… was step one of the crime investigations.
They still had to do so much more before they could come even close to closing the investigation, and with it, the case.
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