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Coroner Talk™ | Death Investigation Training | Police and Law Enforcement

We are a community of professionals in the field of death investigation. Whether you’re a coroner, a member of local police or county law enforcement, an EMS professional, or medical examiner – or frankly, anyone in between, Coroner Talk™ is the right community for you. We provide training and resources to coroners and death investigators by and from professionals around the world, a peer to peer training environment. I recognized that the training available for coroners and small department investigators was limited by resources such as time away from department and expense. So, I developed Coroner Talk™. Darren is a 30 year veteran of law enforcement and criminal investigations. He currently serves as an investigator for the Crawford County Missouri coroner’s office. He holds credentials as an instructor for the Missouri Sheriff’s Training Academy (MSA), Law Enforcement Training Institute (LETI). Has served as president of the Missouri Medical Examiners and Coroners Association, and is certified and credentialed in numerous fields of investigation. He holds the position of lead instructor and facilitator for the Death Investigation Training Academy (DITA) and for the Coroner Talk™ community as he speaks and writes in the area of death investigation and scene management.

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After the Police Leave

In August 1997, sixteen-year-old William Jenkins was on his second day of work at a fast-food restaurant in suburban Richmond, Virginia when the restaurant was robbed at closing time. While cooperating fully with the robber, William was shot and died instantly. His father, Bill Jenkins, quickly found that there were virtually no readily available resources that could answer his many questions as a survivor of a traumatic loss. He began looking for help and found it, after a fashion, scattered in the bookstores, on the Internet, and in support groups and agencies. But nowhere was there a single, concise, practical, and eminently useful resource for bereaved families written by victims for victims containing the advice and guidance that he and his family needed following their loss. Several months later, using the information he had collected for his own personal well-being, this experienced teacher and speaker sat down to write the book that he should have received the night he was notified of his son’s death, What to do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss. This landmark book on grief and bereavement quickly became an important resource for families dealing with the sudden or traumatic death of a loved one and the caregivers who work with them. Now, a recognized expert on victims and trauma, Bill has served on the boards of directors for Murder Victims for Human Rights, the National Coalition of Victims in Action, and is the founder, along with his wife, Jennifer Bishop, of IllinoisVictims.org, a statewide victim rights watchdog group. He is also active in many other victims’ rights and support activities and organizations, has been an instructor with the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, leads seminars on victims’ perspectives for national organizations such as the National Center for Victims of Crime, the National Organization of Victim Assistance, and Parents of Murdered Children and also addresses local and regional conferences for law enforcement and victim advocates. He and his wife also speak at victim impact panels for youthful offenders and in support of funding for programs for children and young people that are proven to decrease crime. In 2006, Bill received the Edith Surgan Victim Activist of the Year award from the National Organization of Victim Assistance, a singular honor that recognizes to his expertise in the field and his commitment to making society more sensitive to victims’ rights and needs. In 2019, he was awarded the prestigious John Gillis Leadership Award by Parents of Murdered Children. Bill has also written a full-length play, Hearts Full of Tears, that has been produced by two professional theatre companies so far. It deals with the emotional struggle of a family dealing with the shooting death of their teen-aged son. Critical and audience reviews have been very positive. Returning to his educational roots and love of biology, his latest research is in the neurobiology of trauma and stress, how our brains respond to traumatic experiences, and what treatments are most helpful to victims and their families. He hopes that his own personal perspective and unique voice using the latest authoritative scientific discoveries will help victims understand how their brains respond to crisis and inform caregivers how best to help trauma victims in their work. Bill is a professional artist and educator at the college level for over 25 years, he currently teaches and designs for the theatre program at Dominican University near Chicago, IL. You can buy the book What to do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss. By clicking on the title link.

58mins

27 Jan 2020

Rank #1

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10 Common Mistakes at Death Scenes

Due to the very nature of sudden and/or violent deaths, many things can and do go wrong in the first few hours of discovery.  Death scenes have a way of bringing together many individuals with various responsibilities and experience.  This unique group can consist of uniformed officers, detectives, CSI, and forensic experts, medical examiner and coroner investigators, as well as prosecutors and police administrative staff.  These scenes may also have fire and ems staff or other agencies trying to do their respective jobs. Not to mention families and onlookers Because of this scene, chaos errors can happen. Let's look at the ten most common mistakes of a death investigation. 1. Improper Response and Arrival to the Scene First, responding officers may not correctly respond to and secure the scene and the immediate surrounding area.  It's not uncommon for the uniformed officers to not stop or detain people leaving or milling around the scene. Further, it's common that while waiting for investigation and CSI teams to arrive, first responding officers gather and congregate to close to, or in the scene inadvertently contaminating evidence. Here are a few other examples of errors from first responding officers. They may fail to notify investigators soon enough, or at all, they may assume the death is a suicide or natural, and there is no need to establish a crime scene; they may fail to detain all persons present at the scene, which might include the suspect; or they may fail to separate possible witnesses and obtain initial statements.  Also, failing to make an initial determination of the scene boundaries leads to an insufficient area of protection. 2. Failing to protect the Crime Scene In all death investigations, but even more so in a Homicide investigation, crime scene contamination can be and is a significant problem.  No other aspect of these investigations is more open to mistakes than the preservation and protection of the scene and subsequent evidence. Paramount to any investigation is the assurance by the first officers on the scene to isolate and protect the scene as well as maintaining scene integrity as the investigation follows its standard path.  This includes the monitoring and supervising to paramedics and ems personnel in the scene. These personnel must be identified for a future interview.  Officers must also watch family members or others in the area to assure they are not contaminating the scene.  After a perimeter is established, the scene is locked down, and officers should start a log of everyone entering and leaving the scene and the reason why they are there.  Also, officers should be observing and taking notes of activities occurring in and around the scene. 3. Not Handling Suspicious Deaths and Homicides All unattended death should be looked at and treated as suspicious, and an experienced officer/investigator should go to the scene.  These deaths should be treated as a homicide and a crime scene until the facts prove otherwise.  Too many departments allow untrained patrol officers to conduct basic death investigation with the assumption of suicide or natural death and with the thinking that it is unlikely to be a homicide.  Without training, officers could likely miss-interpreted a staged or altered scene. If the scene is not handled correctly from the beginning and is later found to be a homicide, valuable evidence can be lost, and the integrity of the scene is compromised at best and at worst, non-existent. 4. Responding with a Preconceived Notion It is imperative that investigators not allow themselves to respond to a death scene with any preconceived conclusion about the case. It’s common for investigators to get sent to a scene and given information based on the initial call.  If the call came in as a suicide and the initial officer who responds arrives with the mindset of suicide, it is common to treat the scene as suicide and thus shortcut any other investigation.  It looks like a suicide, so it must be a suicide, and no other investigation is conducted.   This type of preconceived investigation results in fewer photographs being taken, witness statements not being completed, evidence not being searched for or collected, and the integrity of the scene is destroyed. It's not only suicide this can happen on, but reported natural deaths and accidents can also be shortcutting if responding officers make the conclusion of their investigation based upon the initial reported call.  If then, in fact, the death becomes suspicious at a later time officer reports and investigation will be lacking valuable information for future investigations.  The tendency is for the uniformed officer to write the final report and collect the evidence necessary to fit the narrative given to him by the initial call.  5. Failing to Take Sufficient Photographs In today's world of digital photography, photographs are cheap and easy to obtain. Back when I start in this business, we used Polaroid instant photography and 35mm film cameras.  These were expensive, and some departments wanted to limit "unnecessary" photographs in an attempt to stretch the budget. That's not the case today, hundreds of photographs can be taken and stored nearly free of charge. Photographs are a way to document the scene and to freeze that scene in time. They are used in court when necessary and will prove or disprove a fact in question.  Therefore, it is vital that photographs are taken of the entire scene, area, and location where the crime took place, including any sites connected to the original crime. Remember, you only get one chance and your first chance to document a scene. 6. Failing to Manage the Crime Scene Process The investigator in charge should oversee the investigation and scene documentation. He or she should ensure proper chain of custody and documentation of evidence. They are also in charge of maintaining scene integrity. Never allow officers to use the restroom within the residence, or take food or drink from the kitchen, never allow smoking in the investigative area, never bring food or drink into the scene from an outside source, and always keep non-essential personnel out of the scene area. Designate an area for them to congregate if needed, but it should never be inside your primary scene area. Lead investigators must also direct crime scene personnel on where and what are to collect. Many CSI staff are well trained and have a good idea of what needs to be done. However, each scene can have unique situations, and the investigator in charge must ensure evidence is adequately searched for and collected. The victim's body should always be inspected and searched for trace evidence prior to being moved or taken from the scene. Not doing so can result in loss of valuable evidence and can leave many unanswered questions.  Always stop and look around the scene; look up as much as around. See what is missing or what isn't.  What looks right about the scene, and what looks wrong?  Is what you are seeing matching what you are being told?   Never leave a scene until you are confident every answer to any question you may have has been answered or documented. Remember, this is your only chance and a first chance. 7. Failing to Evaluate Victimology It is imperative that investigators know the victim and completes a victimology study. You cannot properly investigate a death without victimology.  Failing to have a complete picture of the victim will preclude you from developing motives, suspects, and risk factors unique to the victim. These risk factors are usually regarded as high, moderate, or low and are based on lifestyle, living condition, job skills, neighborhood, or anything specific to the victim. Victimology is the collection and assessment of any significant information as it connects to the victim and his or her lifestyle, these include areas such as; personality, employment, education, friends, habits, hobbies, marital status, relationships, dating history, sexuality, reputation, criminal record, drug, and alcohol use, physical condition, and neighborhood of residence as well as where they grew up of different than where currently living. The bottom line is, who was the victim and what was going on at the time they became a victim. The best source of information will be friends, family, employers, and neighbors. You need to know the victim better than they knew themselves. 8. Failing to Conduct and Efficient Area Canvass Properly I will admit that conducting an area canvass can be tedious and very time-consuming. Sometimes hundreds of contacts are often made without one shred of usable information being unveiled. However, it is that one exhilarating jewel that is occasionally discovered that makes the process so rewarding.  Most criminal investigation courses and books talk little about an area canvass, other than to suggest doing one. There are right and wrong ways to conduct an area canvass that will yield better results for the efforts put out. Ideally, patrol personnel and plainclothes detectives should perform separate canvasses.  Some individuals respond more readily to an authority figure in a uniform, while others prefer the anonymity of the detective’s plain clothes.  Since it is impossible to know who will respond more willingly to either approach, both should be employed.  This technique will give the investigator the greatest chance of getting vital information.  First, understand the terms “area canvass” and “neighborhood canvass” may be used interchangeably.  They are interviews conducted in the field, as opposed to statements taken on the scene or in the station. The canvass may be conducted in an area near the crime scene or, conceivably, hundreds of miles away from it.  In the aftermath of a bank robbery, for example, the getaway vehicle may be located several counties, or even states, away.  Two canvasses should, therefore, be undertaken: one at the original crime scene (the bank) and one at the secondary scene (the vehicle).  If a suspect is developed, it may be advisable to perform an additional area canvass in the neighborhood where that person resides to learn about his/her reputation and habits.  A complex case may require that a number of area canvasses are completed at various locations.  The primary goal of a neighborhood canvass is, of course, to locate a witness to the crime. It is this promise of the elusive witness that motivates the investigator. However, it is not only the “eye” witness you seek.  On occasion, it may be just as significant to discover an “ear witness."  Someone who may have heard a threatening remark heard gunshots or even heard how and in which direction the perpetrator fled. This information can point the case in the right direction.  A witness who hears a homicide subject flee in a vehicle with a loud muffler, for example, could be furnishing a valuable lead.  Likewise, intimidating or threatening statements the witness may have overheard could refute a subsequent claim of self-defense.  In an officer-involved shooting incident, a witness who hears the officer yell "stop police" or "drop the gun" is invaluable to the investigation.   Just as crucial as the eye-witness or the ear-witness is the "witness-who-knows-a-witness."  Even though this person may not have first-hand knowledge of the crime, he or she can direct investigators to a person who does and is, therefore, of great value. Hearsay Rumors, innuendo, and gossip may not have a place in the courtroom, but they are certainly welcome tidbits that help navigate any investigation.   The type of approach the investigator uses to cultivate this information can often determine how successful he will be.  In certain situations, it may be necessary to coax and cajole the witness. In others, it may be beneficial to appear to confide in the witness and reveal some "inside scoop" about the investigation. This works particularly well with the neighborhood "busy body" who will derive motivation from being "included" in the case.  Also, remember that in certain situations, an area canvass may more resemble an interrogation than a simple interview.  Eliciting information from a witness, who is not predisposed to furnish it, is the essence of any area canvass.  In high crime, drug infested neighborhoods retaliation for "snitching" to the police is a real-life possibility that must be appreciated.  Witnesses who refuse or are reluctant to cooperate with authorities may have ample reason for their trepidation.  That is why each person approached should be provided with a contact number and assurances that they may remain anonymous. 9. Failing to Work Together as a Team As with any crime scene, cooperation is critical among differing agencies. But with a death scene, this cooperation is ever more important and ever more strained.  Due to the increased severity of the scene, the spotlight, and egos, these scenes can become a disaster quickly. Therefore teamwork is vital, and it is the lead investigators role to set a tone of cooperation and teamwork.  One of the most significant issues in a major case is the failure to communicate information to those working the case. Agencies seem to want to keep what they know to themselves. This occurs from egos and turf wars, which will compromise an effective outcome.  Everyone involved in the investigation is after the same conclusion. Each member has a job to do and has information gathered from that job; this information is combined and evaluated to set the direction and ultimate conclusion of the investigation. A baseball game is won when everyone playing does his or her job and supports every other player in getting their job done. 10. Command and Administrative Staff Interfering One of the most frustrating mistakes at a death scene investigation is when command staff shows up on the scene with their own agendas which have nothing to do with the actual investigation. Sometimes it's for political appearance or simple curiosity. But unless they are an actual part of the investigative team, they should not insert themselves into the investigation. In many instances, because they’re at the scene, command ranking personnel feel the need to direct the investigation. Consequently, they will have investigators running in different directions which have nothing to do with the primary investigation. The result is the loss of cohesive and central command and major miscommunication. Many times, in these situations no one is willing to step up and make decision and take control for fear of making the boss mad, so the chaos continues and the investigation is compromised, and when the outcome is delayed or not favorable, the command personnel directly the chaos will not see that they caused the confusion but rather the blame may fall on the lead investigator. Conclusion Death investigations are not always simple step by step cutouts. They require real attention and specific actions to protect the investigation integrity. Many of the mistakes mention here are from shortcutting and not taking seriously the gravity of the scene you are working.  Our job as death investigators, regardless of what function that is, is to get the truth for the victim and bring to justice to anyone responsible for their death, if in fact, anyone is responsible.  Developing and following strict procedures at every death scene will ensure that investigations are worked properly, and evidence is not missed.  Reference: Vernon J. Geberth, Practical Homicide Investigation Fifth Edition, (CRC Press 2015) . Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, Police, and Forensic students. This hybrid course looks at death investigation from a combined perspective of law enforcement and medicolegal death investigations. MLDI online Academy is a Nationally Accredited online training designed to teach all aspects of death investigation and scene management. Unlike any other coroner training today,  this course offers a blended learning style combining online self-paced video training, along with opportunities for live interaction with instructors several times throughout the program, and a unique private Facebook group open only to students of Coroner School™ where everyone can interact and ask questions. MLDI online Academy is a six-week guided course with certified instructors. However, at the end of the six weeks, you still have access to all videos, downloadable material, and the private Facebook group. You can return to the online school anytime to finish up the courses or as a refresher in certain topic areas.

1hr

24 Jun 2019

Rank #2

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Hell in the Heartland

On December 29, 1999, high school friends Lauria Jaylene Bible and Ashley Renae Freeman spent the evening together celebrating Freeman's sixteenth birthday. Bible received permission from her parents to spend the night at Freeman's home. Earlier that day, the girls had spent time at a local pizza restaurant with Kathy Freeman. At approximately 5:30 am on December 30, 1999, a passerby called 911 reporting that the Freeman home was engulfed in flames. Law enforcement determined the fire had been arson. Inside the home, the charred remains of Kathy Freeman were discovered lying on the floor of her bedroom; she had been shot in the head. Initially, no other remains were relocated, leading local law enforcement to believe Dan Freeman had killed his wife and fled with both teenage girls. Lauria's parked car was in the driveway of the home with the keys in the ignition. On December 31, Lauria's parents Lorene and Jay Bible returned to the scene, hoping to find additional clues law enforcement may have missed. While walking through the rubble, they discovered what appeared to be another body, and called police. The second body was determined to be that of Dan Freeman, Ashley's father; like his wife, he had also been shot in the head. After this discovery, the scene was reexamined, but no sign of Lauria Bible or Ashley Freeman was found. In 2010, the Freeman family initiated court proceedings to have Ashley declared legally dead Suspects and confessions In the decade following the disappearance of Bible of Freeman, two convicted killer—Tommy Lynn Sells and Jeremy Jones—confessed to murdering them, but subsequently recanted their admissions. Jones had claimed that he murdered Dan and Kathy Freeman as a favor for a friend over drug debt, then took the girls to Kansas, where he sot them and threw their bodies into an abandoned mine. Searches of the mine Jones identified proved unfruitful, however, and Jones subsequently admitted he had fabricated the story in order to get better food and additional phone privileges in prison In a 2001 profile on Unsolved Mysteries, it was mentioned that rumors had circulated among locals that the Craig County Police Department had been feuding with the Freemans at the time over the death of their son, Shane, who was shot by a deputy after stealing a car. While his death was ruled justifiable, the Freemans had threatened to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Dan Freeman's brother, Dwayne, claimed that Dan had confided that deputies had tried to intimidate him. Article/Info Credit:  Wikipedia This Episode In this episode, I talk with Jax Miller and Sarah Cailean as to their involvement in this ongoing investigation and how Jax, as a true crime writer, and Sarah, as a police investigator, team up to uncover new clues and sparked the attention of Law Enforcement which moves this case forward.

1hr

27 May 2019

Rank #3

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Evil Guardian - Dr Scott Bonn

Serial killers hold the fascination of the public, whether in true crime news accounts of individuals such as Ted Bundy or fictional depictions such as the television shows Dexter and Criminal Minds or popular movies such as the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” or “Silence of the Lambs.” Serial killers seem so purely predatory and unremorseful that our society cannot help but display a macabre interest in them. Although they account for no more than 1% of the approximately 15,000 homicides in the U.S. annually, serial killers receive a disproportionate amount of media attention due to the incomprehensible savagery of their deeds. Significantly, serial killers differ from mass murderers or spree murderers. Mass murder can be defined as the killing of multiple people at a single location where the victims may be either randomly selected or targeted. A mass murderer is often killed at the scene of the crime; sometimes by his/her own hand.  A spree murder is the killing of multiple people at different locations over a short period of time (the maximum duration is usually 7 days).  The killer in spree murders often but not always knows his/her victims, and most often targets family members or romantic partners. I use the following list of behavioral criteria to define serial homicide for the purposes of my research:             1. At least three murdered victims.             2. The murders take place in separate events, at different times.             3. The killer experiences an emotional cooling off period between murders. The key distinction between serial killers and mass or spree killers is this emotional cooling off period in which the killer blends back into his/her seemingly normal life. The predator reemerges to strike again when the urge to kill becomes overwhelming. The duration of the cooling off period can vary from weeks to months or even years, and varies by a killer. Dennis Rader or “Bind, Torture, Kill” (BTK) had 10 known victims over nearly 30 years!        There is some disagreement over the serial killer definition, mostly about the number of killings required. There is also debate as to whether organized crime hit-men should be considered serial killers.  Doc Bonn argues that they are not serial killers because their motivation is purely business and their killings fulfill no emotional needs.  Serial killers are driven to murder by urges and fantasies that they frequently do not comprehend.        Doc Bonn’s Research Doc Bonn is currently researching and writing a popular book on the public’s fascination with serial killers titled, "Why We Love Serial Killers," published by Skyhorse Press for release in 2014. This book examines the social processes through which serial killers often become morbid pop culture celebrities.  The book seeks to answer the following: What are the roles of the popular media, state officials and the killers themselves in the social construction of serial killers’ public identities?  Why are so many people fascinated with serial killers? What social-psychological needs do serial killers fulfill for the public?  In order to help answer these questions, Doc Bonn is exploring the mysterious, psychopathic criminal minds of infamous serial killers. Ironically, and perhaps shockingly, this book proposes that serial killers may actually serve a function in society by clarifying the meaning of “evil” and setting moral boundaries—that is, by helping to establish the outer limits of what one human being can do to others. Doc Bonn believes that it is quite natural for people to be fascinated by why serial killers commit their murders and for their grizzly exploits to become media spectacles.  Let us know what you think about this topic.  Death Investigator Magazine A digital magazine focused on the death investigation community. Dedicated to improving skills and enriching lives of investigators.   “To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we only owe the truth.” Voltaire . Medicolegal Death Investigation – Online Academy  Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, Police, and Forensic students. This hybrid course looks at death investigation from a combined perspective of law enforcement and medicolegal death investigations. MLDI online Academy is a Nationally Accredited online training designed to teach all aspects of death investigation and scene management. Unlike any other coroner training today,  this course offers a blended learning style combining online self-paced video training, along with opportunities for live interaction with instructors several times throughout the program, and a unique private Facebook group open only to students of Coroner School™ where everyone can interact and ask questions. MLDI online Academy is a six-week guided course with certified instructors. However, at the end of the six weeks, you still have access to all videos, downloadable material, and the private Facebook group. You can return to the online school anytime to finish up the courses or as a refresher in certain topic areas.   Medicolegal Death Investigation Scene Kit This exclusive first of its kind Medicolegal Death Investigation (MLDI) kit contains all the items you need to document and collect evidence from the most important piece of evidence at any death scene – The Body. Designed for Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, and anyone responsible to investigate and process a death. This kit is equipped to collect fragile evidence such as DNA and fibers, take post-mortem temperatures, document the scene through photography and sketching, as well as properly collect transport, and store material evidence. This MLDI Kit can be used in large agencies for multiple MDI’s or one single kit for smaller agencies. Packaged in a sturdy Pelican carry case with custom dividers and a pocketed pouch system. Built strong to withstand the demands from scene to scene. Click HERE for more information The Death Investigation Training Academy was founded to play an integral role in the death investigation community.  The need for quality accredited training is in short supply and high demand. Using a combination of classroom training, live on site scenario exercises,  and web-based training, the Death Investigation Training Academy is filling the need of 21st-century investigators.

1hr 2mins

21 Jan 2019

Rank #4

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How Bodies Burn

The human body burns predictably based it on its anatomical configuration of soft tissues and bones. Fire creates burn patterns to soft tissues: skin, fat, muscle, and then on select areas of the skeleton. These burn patterns convey how the body burned within its environment and if there was any traumatic injury present prior to the fire. Normal burn patterns of the body involve blisters, skin splits, color banding of skin, exposure and rendering of subcutaneous fat, followed by protection from thick bulky muscles that overlie the inner skeleton. After the outer skin splits, subcutaneous fat melts and liquefies into a fuel source that keeps the fire burning, and can do so for several hours under the right conditions. Muscles protect the skeleton but even they shrink and retract along the shafts of long bones when exposed to heat. Inner bones of the head, torso, and extremities gradually become exposed to the fire and they undergo color changes of blackened charring and calcination. Burned bone is durable and survives the fire when all of the other soft tissues have burned away, and therefore it stands as physical evidence of the body when all else is burned beyond recognition. Burn patterns in bone can convey how the body burned and if there was any traumatic injury present during the fire, which would produce abnormal burn patterns, along with the skeletal injury patterns from gunshot wounds, blunt force and sharp force trauma. These injuries remain present throughout all stages of burning and are reflected in the bones after the fire.

1hr 7mins

29 Apr 2019

Rank #5

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Free and Low Cost Training

Co-Hosted Training The Death Investigation Training Academy will gladly host most all of our offered courses at your agency.  Co-Hosted training is often referred to as “free training”. In a Co-Hosted seminar, DITA requests that an agency supply a meeting facility, coffee, tea, and their hospitality in exchange for free seats in the training. DITA and the hosting agency will market the class to surrounding agencies and DITA will handle all student registration.  DITA will then contract with our accredited instructors and supply all audio/visual equipment.  This saves you the expense of time and travel for your personnel and the personnel in your region. Training packages and details are negotiated on a per-request basis. Discounts and tuition credits are available for staff of hosting agencies.  Please contact us directly for quotes and package information. What DITA Provides: Assisted marketing to regional agencies On-Site national coordinator to support the training All student material including class roster, manual & handouts, and completion certificates  We handle student registration and payments Accredited instructors What Hosting Agency Provides Training Facility for 30+ students Audio/Video Equipment Notifying surrounding agencies of the scheduled training Benefits of Co-Hosting 2 free seats in training of 10 or more paying attendees 5 free seats for 20 or more paying attendees Saving in time and expense of travel and per diem expenses Acknowledgment on all marketing material Recognition as a leader in state certified training Virtual Classroom Bringing high quality, hyper-focused training, to your agency through the power of the internet. Capable of streaming around the world in real time saving you time and money without sacrificing quality and accreditation. Why Chose this option A virtual classroom is a great option for in-service training.  The virtual classroom allows you to have quality instructors and topics without the added cost of travel and lodging.  Plus, it opens the opportunity for shorter training sessions of up to 4 hours. How it Works Your agency hosts the training by providing a training room equipped with high-speed internet, monitor and/or projector, web camera, and audio.  If you can Skype from the room it can become a virtual classroom.  Your students see the instructor on the monitor or projected onto the screen and the instructor can see the students through your webcam.  Students can see and hear what is being presented – both in lecture and presentation slides or video. Interaction can take place between students and the instructor just like a Skype or facetime call,  so questions can be asked and answered in real time. Technical Issues Basic technical needs are low, again not much different than a skype or facetime call. However, you will need to ensure high-speed internet is present and not overburdened during the training session.  It is recommended someone with a good understanding of the equipment be present and can work directly with our producer during setup and if any issues occur during the stream. In most instances, the stream will be through the zoom.us platform streaming a broadcast from Wirecast studio.  This will require you to download the zoom application onto your system. There is no cost or danger in this download and it can be removed after the class session. When dealing with the internet we have all come to expect perfection and we get it most of the time. However, and usually when its most important, things happen and speeds slow down or are interrupted. Therefore, it is best to have someone present that can get the system reconnected and running should a problem occur. A second connection will be established prior to starting the live feed in case issues arise. This second connection will allow our producer and your onsite tech to communicate outside of the internet being used for steaming.  This connection, in most cases, will be cell phone calls and text messages which can be done without the internet. Firewalls Another issue to consider is your agencies firewall if you are hosting the training within your facility.  Some government facilities have strict firewall protection and would not allow for a live stream to be sent through.  Your IT professional can answer and/or test this for you and our producer is available to test the set up any time prior to scheduling a training. Accreditation Courses taught through virtual classroom can receive accredited continuing education credits for the students through Missouri POST and ABMDI if certain obligations are met.  Primarily we would have to have someone in supervision within your agency in the classroom during the training that can ensure the continued presence of students.  Also, a sign-in roster would have to be signed by all students and confirmed by the person of authority on site.  This roster would then need to be emailed to our academy and certificates would be sent to the agency. Cost Cost of virtual classroom training is at a fraction of traditional on-site training. In most instances training, will be $125 dollars plus $80 per training hour.  For example, if an agency wanted a 3-hour training on Injury and Wound Identification and Documentation.  The course would cost $125 plus $240 for a total of $365.  With 10 students present that would only be $36.50 per student, for three hours of accredited training. Cost is calculated based upon the number of accredited training hours, not actual streaming hours. Instructors consider 15-30 minutes after the presentation for additional questions or conversation that is included in the session cost. Additional Costs and Options Fees are based upon an average of 20 students. In as much as the number of students’ present does not affect cost, the certification and back-end work is affected.  So, any training that would require our agency to issue more than 25 certificates would be billed at $1 (one dollar) per certificate. Books and Manuals Some courses have the option of having a workbook or reference book that goes along with the course. These books are optional and can be purchased prior to the training session in any amount requested. Where to Begin The first set is to contact our academy and get the conversation started.  We will help you decide on tailored training topics to fit your needs and work with you on the technical issues.  It’s a simple and painless process that we will walk you through step by step. You can email us through the contact link in the top menu bar, or call us at 888-556-0177.

6mins

12 Mar 2019

Rank #6

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The Basics of Asphyxial Death

An asphyxial death refers to a multi-etiologic set of conditions in which there is inadequate delivery, uptake and/or utilization of oxygen by the body’s tissues/cells, often accompanied by carbon dioxide retention. This episode will introduce the listener to the four primary classifications of asphyxial deaths, which are; mechanical, inert-gas, environmental, and pathological.   The podcast will cover each classification and describe how the deaths occur and what investigators need to know to properly determine death due to asphyxial means. A common form of suicidal asphyxia is caused by the use of inert-gas.  These deaths may also be accidental when located in an area compromised by a high level of gas.  An inert gas is a gas that has no toxic or anesthetic properties and does not act upon the heart or hemoglobin. Instead, the gas acts simply to reduced oxygen concentration in the blood to dangerously low levels, thereby eventually depriving all cells in the body of oxygen. Some common inert gases are; Argon Halon Helium Nitrogen Methane This podcast also covers the asphyxial death classification of environmental asphyxial death. Environmental Asphyxia is due to insufficient oxygen in the environment. Deaths are almost always accidental. An oxygen concentration of 16% or less is dangerous, and with 5% concentration, consciousness is lost rapidly and death occurs within a few minutes. Environmental asphyxia deaths are typed in four manners: Confined Space Positional Compression Entrapment or Engulfment The final classification discussed in this course is pathological asphyxia. Pathological is dealing with or attributable to disease or medical condition.  These asphyxial deaths are caused by such things as anaphylaxis, pulmonary edema, and COPD.

57mins

25 Nov 2019

Rank #7

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Psychology of Investigations

In order to determine the direction of an investigation and to prioritize leads, if necessary, death investigators must establish the manner of a death: natural, accident, homicide or suicide. The most overlooked aspect of death investigation is the psychological dimension, which can provide unique leads, correct false assumptions, enhance investigative awareness, and solve cases in surprising ways. In an estimated 10–20% of cases, the manner of death cannot be determined, or worse, has been erroneously categorized. In this episode, I spoke to Dr. Katherin Ramsland about the Psychology of Death Investigations. Both from the investigators perspective as well as the decedent and victim.

53mins

2 Sep 2019

Rank #8

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They told me my son died

Her son died in a car accident. The highway patrol came to her house to notify her and her husband of the accident and the death of their child. She states, "I remember them telling me like it was yesterday, but it has been 16 years". In this episode, I speak to a mother about the night her son died and what went right and what went wrong with the notification process. This conversation gets very real and raw at times and this mother has some great advice for you as to how best to make notification to a loved one.

31mins

13 Jan 2020

Rank #9

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PostMortem Facial Reconstruction ep199

Post-Mortem Facial Reconstruction A Postmortem Reconstruction is developed by reconstructing facial characteristics of an unidentified deceased person with decomposed or damaged human tissue. The image will first show trauma to the victim and is repaired digitally or by applying paints directly to the photograph, covering the injured area making the features recognizable. The drawing repairs the trauma to the victim so that the final image will be more presentable when asking for law enforcement or the public's assistance in identification. The final reconstruction is used as an investigative aid for identification and can help to expedite an investigation to lead to the discovery of the unknown. SketchCop® FACETTE Face Design System Software is arguably the first facial composite software capable of yielding the same quality product offered by that of a police sketch artist. It is designed to help produce a consistent end-product to assist in the reduction of investigative cycle times. SketchCop® FACETTE is portable and easy to use.   Our database is populated with sketched facial components.  This is especially helpful for non-artists who want to create high-quality facial composites.  Our Adobe® licensed editing tools allow users to fine-tune their composite images to make the same subtle changes a police artist would using a pencil and eraser.  Those who want to increase eyewitness satisfaction can use our latest version of SketchCop® FACETTE to import their composite images into Adobe® Photoshop® to further refine their images. With SketchCop® FACETTE, users can focus on the most important part of creating any facial composite – the eyewitness interview. Sergeant (Ret.) Michael W. Streed is an internationally-recognized forensic facial imaging expert providing facial identification services to America's largest police agencies. Web Site URL: www.sketchcop.com Public Email address: michael@sketchcop.com Death Investigator Magazine A digital magazine focused on the death investigation community. Dedicated to improving skills and enriching lives of investigators.   “To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we only owe the truth.” Voltaire . Medicolegal Death Investigation – Online Academy  Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, Police, and Forensic students. This hybrid course looks at death investigation from a combined perspective of law enforcement and medicolegal death investigations. MLDI online Academy is a Nationally Accredited online training designed to teach all aspects of death investigation and scene management. Unlike any other coroner training today,  this course offers a blended learning style combining online self-paced video training, along with opportunities for live interaction with instructors several times throughout the program, and a unique private Facebook group open only to students of Coroner School™ where everyone can interact and ask questions. MLDI online Academy is a six-week guided course with certified instructors. However, at the end of the six weeks, you still have access to all videos, downloadable material, and the private Facebook group. You can return to the online school anytime to finish up the courses or as a refresher in certain topic areas.   Medicolegal Death Investigation Scene Kit This exclusive first of its kind Medicolegal Death Investigation (MLDI) kit contains all the items you need to document and collect evidence from the most important piece of evidence at any death scene – The Body. Designed for Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, and anyone responsible to investigate and process a death. This kit is equipped to collect fragile evidence such as DNA and fibers, take post-mortem temperatures, document the scene through photography and sketching, as well as properly collect transport, and store material evidence. This MLDI Kit can be used in large agencies for multiple MDI’s or one single kit for smaller agencies. Packaged in a sturdy Pelican carry case with custom dividers and a pocketed pouch system. Built strong to withstand the demands from scene to scene. Click HERE for more information The Death Investigation Training Academy was founded to play an integral role in the death investigation community.  The need for quality accredited training is in short supply and high demand. Using a combination of classroom training, live on site scenario exercises,  and web-based training, the Death Investigation Training Academy is filling the need of 21st-century investigators.

58mins

24 Dec 2018

Rank #10

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Beating Back Blue Monday

A few years ago, the third Monday in January was labeled Blue Monday by many experts in the mental health field. But no matter what day of the week it occurs on, Anita Agers-Brooks, common trauma expert, and author of Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, believes January 21st is a good barometer to predict the most depressing day of the year. But why January 21st? If it takes twenty-one days for a mindset to change, earmarking January 21st as the most depressing day of the year may just make sense. According to Brooks, based on several pieces of research she’s studied, as well as based on extensive interviews she’s conducted with everyday people, there are several contributors that solely, or linked with others, can throw even the hardiest soul into the pit of depression on or around this date. Coming off the high of the holidays. Family member/friend goodbyes, after holiday reunions. Fewer activities to look forward to. Holiday bills coming in. Cabin fever. Less exposure to fresh air, and nature's other healing properties. Cold and windy weather. Less sunshine. Cold and flu season peak. Reduced amounts of exercise. Less exposure to the blues, greens, yellows, reds, pinks, and oranges, that are known energizers according to the spectrum of the psychology of color. Fewer face-to-face social interactions with other human beings. New Year's resolutions have now failed. So how do you personally off-set some of these melancholy contributors? When it comes to post-holiday blues, there are a few simple tips that can help. Intentionally focus your thoughts on something challenging, fresh and positive — a different kind of activity from anything you currently do. Take up a new hobby. It can be something you’ve always wanted to try, but choose something that requires concentrated effort. The human mind cannot think two distinctly different thoughts simultaneously, so for those used to the analytical world of left-brain work, try a creative right-brain project, like taking up drawing, painting, writing, or learning a musical instrument. If none of those sound appealing, take up a new kind of physical activity, different from anything you’ve tried in the past. Pick a change of pace in the martial arts, kick-boxing, training for a 5K or half-marathon, or if your spouse is willing, really think outside the box and rev up your marriage at the same time by taking up dancing lessons. Swing, ballroom, waltz, latino, whatever pushes you out of your comfort area, and requires your full attention. When sadness lingers long after your loved ones’ holiday visit is over, begin planning your next get-together. It’s been proven that anticipation is as good or better than an actual event. If you aren’t necessarily sad over missing a person, but boredom and the blahs are your nemeses, plan once-a-month mini-vacations or weekend getaways. Your destinations don’t have to be extravagant or costly, you can even transform your home into a tropical fantasy island for a couple of days. Just choose something you can outline to give you a positive event to work toward, and allow your mind to look forward to the big date. If holiday bills are stressing you out, take thirty minutes to an hour, and create a budget that you write on paper or a computer. By putting things in black and white, you’ll give yourself a true perspective. Often, a situation feels more overwhelming when we aren’t clear on the details. What we fear is often much worse than the facts. Cabin fever is a real malady. If you are beginning to feel cooped up, even though you’re getting out to do your job, take a mental break and get away for a day. Go someplace out of the ordinary, like a museum, science center, indoor sporting event, or even a long walk in a wooded area — especially if you can do it after a fresh, white snow. Nature has proven herself a powerful healing agent, increasing the benefits of physical exercise tremendously when we do it in a peaceful outside climate. Breathe in fresh air, and breathe in a fresh spirit. When it’s cold outside, heat yourself up by giving special treatment to your toes. Soak your feet in a warm Epsom salt bath. The magnesium and other minerals in Epsom salt have many healing properties, including natural anti-depressant chemicals, and when you warm your feet in water, you get an inside and outside boost of healing heat. Have your doctor check your Vitamin D levels to see if you need supplements to get you up to par. One of the reasons many people suffer from higher degrees of depression in the winter is due to less sun exposure, which offers natural infusions of Vitamin D, a known depression-buffering vitamin. One of the best preventative medicines for colds and flu also happen to be powerful anti-depressants. Citrus fruits and vegetables. Oranges, lemon, lime, grapefruit, kiwi, pomegranate, tomato, green peppers, green chile, or any other natural fruit or veggie that’s high in Vitamin C can help you kick a cold to the curb, as well as lift your mood. If you can’t exercise outside, don’t have a treadmill or other home equipment, can’t get to the gym, or can’t devote 20-60 minutes to an exercise regimen then do one-minute intervals when and where you can. Sixty seconds of jumping jacks, running in place, skipping an invisible rope, dancing, kicking, air boxing, or anything else that gets your limbs moving will work. If you do 20 intervals in a day, you’ve gotten twenty minutes of exercise in. Surround yourself with some color, the ones known to soothe and energize. Green, blue, yellow, will calm and lower blood pressure, while red, pink, and orange will elevate your energy. Change your computer screensaver, your telephone background, carry a photo or drawing, anything that lends to an uplifted spirit will work. Try to view at least once an hour to reframe your brain through the psychology of color. When you feel like avoiding everyone is precisely when you might need to be around people the most. Withdrawal from human interaction is a symptom of depression. If the black clouds of overwhelming emotions are causing you to pull back from other people, do what feels uncomfortable, make yourself do something social with others. Studies have shown that anxious or depressed people, those battling PTSD or other trauma-induced issues, assume that having conversations with others will make them feel worse when in actuality, the opposite is true. Those surveyed said they were surprised to discover that their fear of having a face-to-face interaction was unfounded, they actually felt better once it occurred. Anita stopped making New Year resolutions several years ago. Instead, she began to incorporate a One Word focus into her annual commitment to making a fresh start. This year, her One Word is Rise. This gives her a lens with which to look at her life through. She knows this word will help her rise above circumstances, but it is also a great word for application to the list of things that can lead to the most depressing day of the year. Anita said, “I can rise above my emotions, and act on what I can while accepting what I cannot change. Think the Serenity Prayer. There's something about a One Word focus that brushes the clouds of confusion back and adds clarity to chaotic situations. Much of depression is based on a sense of helplessness, but often, this is our emotions lying to us, versus absolute truth.” For those in the field working death investigations, what One Word could keep you motivated throughout the year? What word could inspire and energize you? Is there a One Word focus you can add this year, infusing you with a compass to move you away from depression and toward a happier outcome? Is there a word that will keep you focused on purpose, gratitude, productivity, or meeting your goals. When you review the list of areas that can lead to depression, ask yourself, what decisions can I make that will enable me to rise above my circumstances? Can I tweak something in my life to make me proactive versus reactive? We may not be able to change the factors that lead to depression, but we can certainly move our minds up. Investigating what’s going on in our own brains and bodies can give us the boost we need — and help us get through, no matter what challenges we face. Intentionality in the areas of our bodies, minds, and spirits can help us smile, even on the most depressing day of the year.   Anita Agers-Brooks Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, Host of Fresh Faith Inspy on Periscope and YouTube, (as Anita Fresh Faith), and Author of...   Amazon Best Seller, Golden Scroll Finalist, and Readers' Favorite Award winner: Getting Through What You Can't Get Over -- Barbour Publishing First Hired, Last Fired -- How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market -- Leafwood Publishers    "In business, as in life and love -- It's Never Too Late For a Fresh Start with Fresh Faith." www.anitabrooks.comwww.zenithzone.com Death Investigator Magazine A digital magazine focused on the death investigation community. Dedicated to improving skills and enriching lives of investigators.   “To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we only owe the truth.” Voltaire . Medicolegal Death Investigation – Online Academy  Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, Police, and Forensic students. This hybrid course looks at death investigation from a combined perspective of law enforcement and medicolegal death investigations. MLDI online Academy is a Nationally Accredited online training designed to teach all aspects of death investigation and scene management. Unlike any other coroner training today,  this course offers a blended learning style combining online self-paced video training, along with opportunities for live interaction with instructors several times throughout the program, and a unique private Facebook group open only to students of Coroner School™ where everyone can interact and ask questions. MLDI online Academy is a six-week guided course with certified instructors. However, at the end of the six weeks, you still have access to all videos, downloadable material, and the private Facebook group. You can return to the online school anytime to finish up the courses or as a refresher in certain topic areas.   Medicolegal Death Investigation Scene Kit This exclusive first of its kind Medicolegal Death Investigation (MLDI) kit contains all the items you need to document and collect evidence from the most important piece of evidence at any death scene – The Body. Designed for Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, and anyone responsible to investigate and process a death. This kit is equipped to collect fragile evidence such as DNA and fibers, take post-mortem temperatures, document the scene through photography and sketching, as well as properly collect transport, and store material evidence. This MLDI Kit can be used in large agencies for multiple MDI’s or one single kit for smaller agencies. Packaged in a sturdy Pelican carry case with custom dividers and a pocketed pouch system. Built strong to withstand the demands from scene to scene. Click HERE for more information The Death Investigation Training Academy was founded to play an integral role in the death investigation community.  The need for quality accredited training is in short supply and high demand. Using a combination of classroom training, live on site scenario exercises,  and web-based training, the Death Investigation Training Academy is filling the need of 21st-century investigators.

56mins

14 Jan 2019

Rank #11

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Water Intoxication Death

Water intoxication, also known as water poisoning, hyperhydration, overhydration, or water toxemia is a potentially fatal disturbance in brain functions that results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is pushed outside safe limits by excessive water intake. Under normal circumstances, accidentally consuming too much water is exceptionally rare. Nearly all deaths related to water intoxication in normal individuals have resulted either from water drinking contests, in which individuals attempt to consume large amounts of water or from long bouts of exercise during which excessive amounts of fluid were consumed. In addition, water cure, a method of torture in which the victim is forced to consume excessive amounts of water, can cause water intoxication. Water, just like any other substance, can be considered a poison when over-consumed in a specific period of time. Water intoxication mostly occurs when water is being consumed in a high quantity without adequate electrolyte intake. Pathophysiology At the onset of this condition, fluid outside the cells has an excessively low amount of solutes, such as sodium and other electrolytes, in comparison to fluid inside the cells, causing the fluid to move into the cells to balance its concentration. This causes the cells to swell. In the brain, this swelling increases intracranial pressure (ICP), which leads to the first observable symptoms of water intoxication:  headache, personality changes, changes in behavior, confusion, irritability, and drowsiness. These are sometimes followed by difficulty breathing during exertion, muscle weakness & pain, twitching, or cramping, nausea, vomiting, thirst, and a dulled ability to perceive and interpret sensory information. As the condition persists, papillary and vital signs may result including bradycardia and widened pulse pressure. The cells in the brain may swell to the point where blood flow is interrupted resulting in cerebral edema. Swollen brain cells may also apply pressure to the brain stem causing central nervous system dysfunction. Both cerebral edema and interference with the central nervous system are dangerous and could result in seizures, brain damage, coma or death.  Dr. Banerjee has been a practicing forensic pathologist for 6 years after training at the top programs such as The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.  She is board certified in both Anatomic and Forensic Pathology by the American Board of Pathology. In addition, she brings a unique perspective with insight into medical conditions as she completed a year of internal medicine training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. During her career, she has conducted over 1400 postmortem examinations including handling over 100 homicide cases. She also has been called to multiple crime scenes to provide immediate expertise. In addition to postmortem examinations, she prides herself in academic endeavors. Dr. Banerjee is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pathology at Brown University. She has also published multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals. Death Investigator Magazine A digital magazine focused on the death investigation community. Dedicated to improving skills and enriching lives of investigators.   “To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we only owe the truth.” Voltaire . Medicolegal Death Investigation – Online Academy  Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, Police, and Forensic students. This hybrid course looks at death investigation from a combined perspective of law enforcement and medicolegal death investigations. MLDI online Academy is a Nationally Accredited online training designed to teach all aspects of death investigation and scene management. Unlike any other coroner training today,  this course offers a blended learning style combining online self-paced video training, along with opportunities for live interaction with instructors several times throughout the program, and a unique private Facebook group open only to students of Coroner School™ where everyone can interact and ask questions. MLDI online Academy is a six-week guided course with certified instructors. However, at the end of the six weeks, you still have access to all videos, downloadable material, and the private Facebook group. You can return to the online school anytime to finish up the courses or as a refresher in certain topic areas.   Medicolegal Death Investigation Scene Kit This exclusive first of its kind Medicolegal Death Investigation (MLDI) kit contains all the items you need to document and collect evidence from the most important piece of evidence at any death scene – The Body. Designed for Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, and anyone responsible to investigate and process a death. This kit is equipped to collect fragile evidence such as DNA and fibers, take post-mortem temperatures, document the scene through photography and sketching, as well as properly collect transport, and store material evidence. This MLDI Kit can be used in large agencies for multiple MDI’s or one single kit for smaller agencies. Packaged in a sturdy Pelican carry case with custom dividers and a pocketed pouch system. Built strong to withstand the demands from scene to scene. Click HERE for more information The Death Investigation Training Academy was founded to play an integral role in the death investigation community.  The need for quality accredited training is in short supply and high demand. Using a combination of classroom training, live on site scenario exercises,  and web-based training, the Death Investigation Training Academy is filling the need of 21st-century investigator.

35mins

19 Nov 2018

Rank #12

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Nursing Home Interactions

A prevalent concern, but under-recognized, a public health problem of distressing and harmful resident-to-resident interactions in dementia in long-term care homes (LTC) (such as nursing homes and assisted living residences), is a major issue facing many countries today.  This increase can, in part, be attributed to the growing population of older adults from the Baby Boom generation. These resident-to-resident incidents frequently lead to injurious and fatal consequences for vulnerable and frail elder residents. Incidents Underreported For various reasons, these incidents are often underreported inside and outside the LTC home (such as to the Department of Health/state regulatory agency, police, and Coroners/Medical Examiners). Death investigators should play a critical role in timely and skilled investigations of these incidents. However, serious gaps in resources and training are a major barrier to change as they are the reality for many Coroner and Medical Examiner Offices and Law Enforcement Departments in the U.S. and abroad. Partial Solution Improved communication and timely collaboration between external agencies is essential to addressing this phenomenon more effectively. A timely and skilled investigation can assist tremendously in determining the cause of death (which is critically important to family members of the deceased) and can also inform policy, legislation, systemic efforts, and training programs aimed at preventing similar tragic incidents in the future.

1hr 14mins

21 Oct 2019

Rank #13

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William Jenkins Story - What to do After the Police Leave

In August 1997, sixteen year-old William Jenkins was on his second day of work at a fast- food restaurant in suburban Richmond, Virginia when the restaurant was robbed at closing time. While cooperating fully with the robber, William was shot and died instantly. His father, Bill Jenkins, quickly found that there were virtually no readily available resources that could answer his many questions as a survivor of a traumatic loss. He began looking for help and found it, after a fashion, scattered in the bookstores, on the Internet, and in support groups and agencies. But nowhere was there a single, concise, practical, and eminently useful resource for bereaved families written by victims for victims containing the advice and guidance that he and his family needed following their loss. Several months later, using the information he had collected for his own personal well-being, this experienced teacher and speaker sat down to write the book that he should have received the night he was notified of his son’s death, What to do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss. This landmark book on grief and bereavement quickly became an important resource for families dealing with the sudden or traumatic death of a loved one and the caregivers who work with them. Now, a recognized expert on victims and trauma, Bill has served on the boards of directors for Murder Victims for Human Rights, the National Coalition of Victims in Action, and is the founder, along with his wife, Jennifer Bishop, of IllinoisVictims.org, a statewide victim rights watchdog group. He is also active in many other victims’ rights and support activities and organizations, has been an instructor with the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, leads seminars on victims’ perspectives for national organizations such as the National Center for Victims of Crime, the National Organization of Victim Assistance, and Parents of Murdered Children and also addresses local and regional conferences for law enforcement and victim advocates. He and his wife also speak at victim impact panels for youthful offenders and in support of funding for programs for children and young people that are proven to decrease crime. In 2006, Bill received the Edith Surgan Victim Activist of the Year award from the National Organization of Victim Assistance, a singular honor that recognizes to his expertise in the field and his commitment to making society more sensitive to victims’ rights and needs. In 2019, he was awarded the prestigious John Gillis Leadership Award by Parents of Murdered Children. Bill has also written a full-length play, Hearts Full of Tears, that has been produced by two professional theatre companies so far. It deals with the emotional struggle of a family dealing with the shooting death of their teen-aged son. Critical and audience reviews have been very positive. Returning to his educational roots and love of biology, his latest research is in the neurobiology of trauma and stress, how our brains respond to traumatic experiences, and what treatments are most helpful to victims and their families. He hopes that his own personal perspective and unique voice using the latest authoritative scientific discoveries will help victims understand how their brains respond to crisis and inform caregivers how best to help trauma victims in their work. Bill is a professional artist and educator at the college level for over 25 years, he currently teaches and designs for the theatre program at Dominican University near Chicago, IL.

59mins

16 Dec 2019

Rank #14

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4C Cleaner

Many investigators are unaware of the extreme risks that are present when dealing with blood and bodily fluids. There are many bloodborne pathogens (BBP) infections that can be transmitted through contact with another person’s blood or bodily fluid that may contain blood including but not limited to, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV. Most exposures are caused by a lack of universal precautions on some level, whether they are the result of failure to use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) or are due to an unintentional sharp left in an inappropriate container for disposal. Once you look at some crime scene bio-hazards statistics you will have a new respect of crime scene protection.  The caution here is; don't let the day to day work desensitize you from the real dangers of blood and body fluids. Some Statistics 1 out of every 24 people has Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV. That’s a pretty sobering statistic, but very real. Here are the CDC stats to prove it: 1 in every 26 people has Hepatitis B. Approximately 12 million Americans have been infected with Hepatitis B. Over 1.4 million are chronically infected. About 50% of the people in the United States with Hepatitis B are unaware of their infection. Up to 100,000 new people will be infected each year. Approximately 5,000 people will die each year from Hepatitis B and its’ complications. Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than the AIDS virus. The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. 1 in every 77 people has Hepatitis C. Approximately 3.2 million people in the United States have Hepatitis C. Over 75% of the people in the United States with Hepatitis C are unaware of their infection. Hepatitis C is the most common bloodborne pathogen infection in the US. Hepatitis C is the most common cause of death from liver disease. 1 out of every 258 people has HIV. There are an estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States. 1 out of 5 are unaware of their infection. There are 50,000 new HIV diagnoses every year. Every 9.5 minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV. Over 25% of people living with HIV or AIDS also has Hepatitis Sources: Centers for Disease Control, WHO  Death Investigator Magazine A digital magazine focused on the death investigation community. Dedicated to improving skills and enriching lives of investigators.   “To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we only owe the truth.” Voltaire . Medicolegal Death Investigation – Online Academy  Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, Police, and Forensic students. This hybrid course looks at death investigation from a combined perspective of law enforcement and medicolegal death investigations. MLDI online Academy is a Nationally Accredited online training designed to teach all aspects of death investigation and scene management. Unlike any other coroner training today,  this course offers a blended learning style combining online self-paced video training, along with opportunities for live interaction with instructors several times throughout the program, and a unique private Facebook group open only to students of Coroner School™ where everyone can interact and ask questions. MLDI online Academy is a six-week guided course with certified instructors. However, at the end of the six weeks, you still have access to all videos, downloadable material, and the private Facebook group. You can return to the online school anytime to finish up the courses or as a refresher in certain topic areas.   Medicolegal Death Investigation Scene Kit This exclusive first of its kind Medicolegal Death Investigation (MLDI) kit contains all the items you need to document and collect evidence from the most important piece of evidence at any death scene – The Body. Designed for Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, and anyone responsible to investigate and process a death. This kit is equipped to collect fragile evidence such as DNA and fibers, take post-mortem temperatures, document the scene through photography and sketching, as well as properly collect transport, and store material evidence. This MLDI Kit can be used in large agencies for multiple MDI’s or one single kit for smaller agencies. Packaged in a sturdy Pelican carry case with custom dividers and a pocketed pouch system. Built strong to withstand the demands from scene to scene. Click HERE for more information The Death Investigation Training Academy was founded to play an integral role in the death investigation community.  The need for quality accredited training is in short supply and high demand. Using a combination of classroom training, live on site scenario exercises,  and web-based training, the Death Investigation Training Academy is filling the need of 21st-century investigators.

54mins

8 Dec 2018

Rank #15

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Duct Tape Killer

“MY MOMMY IS GOING TO DIE,” SHAINA SOBBED INTO THE PHONE. When Piper Streyle failed to show up for work, a coworker called her home. Piper’s three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Shaina, answered and said, “A mean man carried Mommy away.” Then the line went dead. In the tranquil region of southeast South Dakota, word of the young mother who was brazenly abducted from her home in broad daylight shocked residents. Piper was the second woman to vanish, following the startling incident of a young woman who narrowly escaped abduction by fighting for her life on a dark and secluded highway. An intensive search by an elite team of investigators uncovered a secret crime location, but the discovery of a nightshirt cut in half, a burnt candle, and a homemade bondage board revealed the chilling truth behind the missing women. With the help of a quick-witted and streetwise maximum-security prison inmate, prosecutor Larry Long and his team were able to piece together the sinister facts of the diabolical crimes. Bestselling authors PHIL AND SANDY HAMMAN, along with former Attorney General LARRY LONG, dive into the grim and demented world of Robert Leroy Anderson,  a sexual sadist, rapist, and murderer. Duct Tape Killer is also the story of perseverance and proof that love will not be extinguished by the ruinous evil that seeks to take root in our world.

1hr 13mins

13 Apr 2020

Rank #16

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Venessa Tanner Story - Student Success

In this episode I speak with Venessa Tanner. Venessa shares her story of becoming a Death Investigator and getting a job with the local Sheriff’s office as a DI. Her story is one that many can relate to as she struggled to find an open door and anyone who would listen to her. Through research and conversation with local agencies she found the online training at the Death Investigation Academy and through that training and interaction with instructors, doors started to open for her. I may enjoy her story and may find a little of your own journey in their too. * Also, in this episode I give my opinion to the question; Did Epstein commit suicide. Find out more about the training you can get at the Death Investigation Academy by clicking this link:   trainingme

41mins

4 Nov 2019

Rank #17

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Dangers of a Hoarding Environment

Hoarding is a psychological condition that results in a person accumulating an enormous amount of trash and things of little-to-no value, or worse, more animals than can be properly cared for. Hoarding of any kind can pose several dangers to the occupant and neighbors, and certainly to animals if they are involved. These hazards can be deadly, and all the more reason people with hoarding disorder should have professional help to restore them to healthy living conditions. If children and animals are in the home, exposed to these perilous dangers, hoarding is also a crime. Dangers of Hoarding Structural Integrity The weight of debris and hoarded items are often more than the floors are able to withhold. The sheer volume of debris in a room can push up against walls, not only damaging their integrity, but also putting the ceiling and roof at risk of collapse. Likewise, the collapse of walls, floors or ceilings can cause gas lines and water pipes to break, resulting in fire and flood damage. Fire Large amounts of paper, such as newspapers, books, boxes, and discarded food wrappers and packaging, or improperly stored combustibles can pose extreme fire dangers. If space heaters are used, close proximity to any debris can also cause a fire. Collapse of Debris Often, hoarders will create precarious paths between large piles of debris, or will crawl over mountains of trash to get around in the house. If these trash piles collapse, they could trap the hoarder underneath, burying the person alive. This could result in death from suffocation or inability to notify anyone they need help. Decay/Decomposition As is often the case, hoarders not only collect relatively useless items, but they tend to not dispose of much of anything. The decay of spoiled food stuffs and waste can lead to terrible odors and airborne pathogens that can be harmful or even deadly. In a very unusual case in San Francisco, the mummified body of a 90-year-old woman was found in an extreme hoarding case. Officials believe she died 5 years previously. Harmful Biohazards In almost all hoarding scenes, biohazards are present. Biohazards can be toxic or infectious, even deadly, and can lead to any range of illnesses and dangers to the resident or neighbors. Common biohazardous materials include spoiled food, feces and urine, blood, bodily fluids, pet waste and dead animals. Infestations The decay and decomposition of organic materials and biohazards, undoubtedly attract pests. Rodents will leave waste and very often get trapped and die within a hoarding residence. This further increases the potential harm to the hoarder, as well as neighbors. This is why hoarding goes beyond an individual and becomes a community problem. Personal Hygiene and Nutritional Issues A hoarding situation can become so extreme that debris blocks access to a kitchen and bathrooms. When the kitchen is blocked or is overwhelmed by harmful waste, proper food preparation becomes impossible. And when bathrooms become blocked, makeshift alternatives are used, with an absence of hygiene. In the extreme hoarding case in San Francisco, police found over 300 bottles of urine on the premises. If a loved one or a neighbor is a hoarder and living in unsafe conditions, we can help with the cleanup and refer you to other helpful resources. If animals or children are at risk, we can also put you in touch with law enforcement agencies that can assist. Episode Guest – Michelle Doscher Ph.D A forensic scientist specializing in investigative psychology and crime scene investigation. Diversified experience as an investigator, interviewer, instructor, expert witness, and an analyst. Currently conducting research in the transference of psycholinguistic cues to handwriting during deception. The current quantitative method unites psychological and physical evidence for more concise investigative leads, with expected applications for criminal interrogations and loss prevention interviews.

48mins

22 Apr 2019

Rank #18

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30 years of change in EMS

In this episode, I talk with Bill Patt. Bill has spent his career in EMS and for the last several years has been the supervisor of a large EMS district. Bill and I discuss the history of the EMS field in where the EMS field and the Coroner - death investigation field merge. We talk about the first call he ever had that resulted in a death, that happened also be the first call the local coroner. We also talk about scene control, personal decontamination, and mental fatigue of the job.  Bill is due to retire within a few months after a long 30-year career in the EMS field, this conversation is very real and at times can get very humorous. Bill is a fascinating paramedic supervisor and will add a lot to this industry to this conversation.

1hr 9mins

1 Apr 2019

Rank #19

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Bulletproof Spirit

The burden of dealing with tragedies associated with the day-to-day duties of police officers, coroners, and medicolegal death investigators, often remains unspoken and follows the officers into their off-duty and personal lives. Failure to recognize and provide an acceptable outlet for the disappointment and frustration felt by officers and investigators  at the end of their shifts can lead to: Alcohol and/or drug abuse Problems with personal relationships Self-rejection, Disillusionment and Depression Job loss Even suicide. If asked what bothers them the most about their profession, many will offer concerns such as a lack of public respect, lack of manpower or equipment to do their job effectively, or a general frustration over the perceived ineffectiveness of the judicial system. Seldom will officers open their hearts to discuss the pain and frustration that stems from dealing with the injury, anguish, and distress suffered by the victims? Many officers are haunted by the effects of trying to resolve problems they encounter in their communities and with their victims only to find that the solution is beyond their control. Officers do not discuss the sorrow they feel after having to notify loved ones about the loss of their spouse or child because of a vehicle collision. Nor do they discuss the tears that follow officers after having held an infant in their hands trying to breathe life back into the tiny body only to find that despite all of their training and practice their efforts are futile. Or the frustration of dealing with the children of a crack addict or an abusive parent who time after time evades the help of a system overburdened with cases that, left unresolved, ensure continued problems for generation after generation to come. These unresolved and un-dealt with feelings will lead an officer or investigator to suffer a form of PTSD called ‘Secondary PTSD’ or compassion fatigue. Suicide, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and many more emotional and stress-related problems plague the first-responder community. Hundreds of thousands of these brave public servants have unwittingly become victims of the professions they once loved. However, the suffering that results from a professional life of sacrifice and service can be prevented and mitigated. Find Your Copy Here! As a thirty-year law-enforcement veteran, retired police captain, and police academy instructor, Dan Willis has witnessed the damage of emotional trauma and has made it his personal mission to safeguard and enhance the wellness and wholeness of police officers, firefighters, EMTs, emergency-room personnel, and soldiers. Bulletproof Spirit offers field-tested expertise designed to be used by all first responders — and their families — to heal themselves and continue serving with compassion and strength.

45mins

14 Oct 2019

Rank #20