6. Sa
p
i
n a tree l
i
mb fracture:
S
u
gg
ests
when
t
h
e
b
r
a
n
c
h w
as
b
r
o
k
e
n
.
7
. Damp side of stone turned to the sun: Shows
when
stone was disturbed.
8. Dry clothing of a suspect when it is Reveals amount of time suspect has been insid
e
ra
i
n
i
n
g:
t
h
e
sto
r
e.
9. Cash register “plot chart”:
E
stablishes which employees could or could not
have committed thefts, based on the time factor.
Just as much energy and imagination may be expended to determine the significant time factors
i
n an investigation as are devoted to determining who did it. And again, as in other aspects of th
e
i
nvest
ig
at
i
ve
p
rocess, much can be ach
i
eved throu
g
h the a
pp
l
i
cat
i
on of common sense and the
p
owe
r
of observation.
M
ETH
O
DS
O
F ESTABLISHING TIM
E
Self-evident Tim
e
P
erhaps a classic example of establishing the precise point in time when an incident occurred is th
e
c
ase of the smashed watch on the wrist of the dead driver of a vehicle that careened off a moun
-
ta
i
n road, an acc
i
dent unobserved. More often than not there
i
s no wa
y
to determ
i
ne t
i
me w
i
th
such precision, but there are a surprising number of what might be called self-evident time indica
-
tors. The simple situation of a teakettle boiling on the fire is one example; it could not have been
at the bo
i
l for lon
g
or the water would have eva
p
orated
i
n steam. Amon
g
l
i
terall
y
thousands o
f
such examples that could be cited is one involving a typed document dated in the 1960s that ha
d
been typed on an IBM Selectric typewriter prior to the production of the Selectric. Or a 1980s doc
-
ument
p
r
i
nted on a
p
art
i
cular
p
r
i
nter before such
p
r
i
nters were ava
i
lable. The ev
i
dence s
p
eaks
f
or itself.
A minor incident offers further illustration. It occurred when, by chance only, I noticed a quan-
t
i
t
y
of rubb
i
sh and trash that had been dum
p
ed
i
lle
g
all
y
alon
g
an
i
solated d
i
rt road
i
n a remote area
reserved for nature studies. The trash appeared to have been recently dumped, as indicated by the fac
t
that the papers were not weathered in any way.
Personal trash
i
s often an
i
nterest
i
n
g
source of
i
nformat
i
on
i
n an
y
i
nvest
ig
at
i
on. In th
i
s case I
wished only to identify the person who chose to litter this protected natural area. Among the tras
h
was an envelope addressed to a resident of a neighboring community. It was postmarked three day
s
p
r
i
or to m
y
d
i
scover
y
. Also found amon
g
the rubb
i
sh was a
p
ersonal note addressed to the same
i
ndividual.
I
n m
y
official ca
p
acit
y
I tele
p
honed the
p
art
y
in
q
uestion, a woman, and instructed her to
g
et
back
i
n her car, dr
i
ve out to the area, and retr
i
eve her trash. At first she fe
ig
ned
ig
norance, cla
i
m
i
n
g
that she had just walked in the door upon returning from a two-week vacation. She could not possi
-
bl
y
have done what I accused her of. It was not difficult to convince her that she should clean u
p
th
e
m
ess she caused. Had there been no wa
y
to
pi
n
p
o
i
nt the t
i
me factor
i
n th
i
s matter, however, her stor
y
would have been more difficult to shake. As it was, the evidence o
f
when
was impossible for her to
o
v
ercome
.
24
0
T
h
e Process of Investi
g
ation

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