Feb 14

Could someone wash my brain out with bleach, please?

Had a pre-trial meeting with the prosecution team on one of my old cases from when I was with the Sheriff’s Office. For those of you relatively new to my bloggishness, I used to work in computer forensics and had more than a few cases that involved contraband images of juveniles. This last case was nasty, with several hundred images of juveniles, quite a few of whom were of the same age as my daughter at the time. (For the record, my daughter is almost 4 now, and this case is over two years old.)

This was really the case that was the end of my career in computer forensics. Searching even one computer for contraband is a tedious and time-consuming procedure, sometimes taking weeks, and I lost count of the number of times I broke down and cried while working this case. After I finished it I knew I just didn’t have it in me to look at pictures and videos of little girls and boys being raped anymore. This was just one of the factors that led to me leaving the Sheriff’s Office, but it was a significant one.

Anyway, in the past two years I’d managed to put it pretty well out of my mind, and had high hopes that the defendent had plead out and that I wouldn’t have to revisit that case. Unfortunately, such is not the case and it’s going to trial in a few weeks, which meant that today was spent going over many of the tedious details, which included looking at the images once again.

Brain-bleaching. I need it. Bleh.

Oct 23

A morgue cooler is not a stasis chamber

Nor is it a freezer. Sorry, but I’ve seen or read this a few too many times and it’s starting to bug me.

When a body is stored in a morgue, it is placed in a cooler that is approximately 34 degrees F. It is NOT frozen. (Think about how hard it would be to perform an autopsy on a frozen slab of meat!) This means that the body will still decompose, albeit more slowly. A “fresh” body that is left in a cooler for 4-5 days will definitely display the beginnings of decomposition, with “marbling” on the abdomen and the very beginnings of bloat or skin slippage.

So, if you have a story/novel/script that has a body stored for months, and one day someone decides to pull the body out to take a look at it, just know that after a couple of months the body will be goo.

(In fact, a body will still decompose even if in a freezer–just at a far far slower rate. This is why food storage guidelines tell you to not keep food indefinitely in your freezer.)