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A - Autopsy 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge

Welcome to Day 1 of the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge:

My theme this year is  Crime Fiction Resources.  I also invite you to solve my crime fiction murder mystery:

At the bottom of the page you will find, the first part of the mystery crime that you can solve if you would like to win a prize.

As I said in my theme reveal, I will be awarding one twenty five dollar ($25) Amazon gift card each week. It won't take too much detective work to locate the daily clue and the daily clue may or may not pertain to the mystery challenge. If you leave me a comment, add the daily clue in the comment section and your name will be added to weekly drawing. If you leave one comment during week one, your name will be added once. If you leave five, your name will be added five times. It will be a random drawing,

To win the grand prize a Kindle Fire, you must:
1. Leave a minimum of ten comments during the A to Z challenge.
2. Solve the murder mystery.
3. The first person to solve the murder will win the Kindle Fire.
4. There is only one Kindle Fire grand prize, so if two or more people are the first to solve the crime (solve on the same day), I will hold a random drawing for the grand prize.
5. If you solve the crime, tie for the grand prize, but do not win the drawing, I will have runner up prizes for each and every person who actually solves the murder.
6. If you believe you are ready to solve the crime: If you believe you know the killer's identity prior to the last day, you are welcome to solve early, but please do not leave your answer in the comment section. Email me at with your great detective work. If you solve the crime, I will post your answer the following day and announce the winner. If you are wrong you can continue guessing. 
7. You will not have enough information to solve the crime until the end of week 1 

Grand Prize:

Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet - Value $394

8.9" HDX Display, Wi-Fi, Optional 4G LTE Wireless, 16 GB,

Letter A - Autopsy:

An autopsy is a thorough examination of a corpse, performed by a medical professional, in order to determine cause of death, manner of death and time of death.

There are two kinds of autopsies:

  1. Clinical
  2. Forensic
Crime Fiction authors and readers are interested in the more sinister of the two -- the forensic autopsy, which is performed when foul play is suspected.

A forensic pathologist performs autopsies in all homicide cases and cases where the cause of death is suspicious. Autopsies can also be performed by medical examiners (ME) who are usually physicians and by coroners, who are not necessarily physicians. A coroner can be an elected official, with zero medical training, but this person would never perform a forensic autopsy.

Manner of Death -- There are five.

  1. Accident
  2. Homicide
  3. Natural Causes
  4. Suicide
  5. Undetermined
A forensic pathologist studies the dissects the body, studies the body and makes a written report of the findings. The are 3 important factors for a criminal case (or a homicide in your next book).

1. Manner of Death (see above)
2. Cause of Death -- Gunshot would, blunt force trauma, knife inflected wounds, etc.
3. Mechanism of Death -- The forensic pathologist will determine the actual agent or instrument that caused the death

  • Butcher knife
  • Hunting Knife
  • Bow and arrow
  • Leg of Lamb
  • .22 Caliber handgun
  • Rope
  • Nylon stocking
  • Baseball bat
  • Fire poker
  • Poison

For my crime fiction A to Z Mystery Challenge, you will want to pay attention to the Medical Examiner's findings and the autopsy.

Day 1 Clue: Not an accident

Crime Fiction A to Z Mystery Challenge:

At 11:50 P.M., on July 9, 2014, a warm, humid night, officers responded to a 911 call. The male caller said, "Someone committed suicide. She's dead. Come quick. Oh god, she's dead. I can't believe she's gone."

Upon arrival at 411 Distress Avenue, officers found a petite woman lying on her back, outside of her home. The deceased, later identified as Martha Clinton, a married, 28 year old woman, appeared to have died from a gunshot wound. The victim, hereinafter referred to as the deceased, was lying on the grass in a dimly lit area between the home and the detached garage/garage apartment. A gun was in her right hand.

The 911 caller, Sam Watson, told officers that he was a good friend of the victim/ Martha and that he came to her home to return something and found her dead. She didn't answer the doorbell or his phone call or text messages so he was going to walk around to the back door and that is when he discovered the body.

Inside the home, officers found a note pinned to the refrigerator that stated. "B home late. Pick up BBall game with the boys. Don't wait up. I love you, T."

T, turned out to be Thomas Clinton, the vic's husband. When the detectives arrived on scene they questioned Sam and learned that he was friends with Martha and only an acquaintance of Thomas. His attitude and demeanor indicated that he was not too fond of the husband, Thomas. When asked about the note, Sam answered, "If he isn't playing basketball with his frat brother type buddies, he is out clubbing or gambling or playing ... pickup of another kind, if you know what I ,mean." According to Sam, Thomas is a big gambler. He frequents the local casinos, horse track, dog track and also makes big bets on pro and college sporting events with a bookie. Sam, claims he doesn't know who Thomas places his wagers with. Adamant that he does not know the identity of the bookie. Detective Wayne Coker pressed Sam for more information, but he said that he was too upset to continue. Detective Coker explained that he could not leave and he would have to turn his clothing over to the CSI team as evidence. Sam's clothing had blood on it. Sam said he got blood on his clothing when he attempted CPR on Martha.

Detectives later learn that the husband, Thomas Clinton is a personal injury attorney in a neighboring town. They were unable to locate him upon finding the body. Detectives radioed in a request for patrol units to respond to Tulane University, where Sam told the officers, Thomas often plays basketball. A city wide BOLO (Be on the Lookout) went out for Thomas Clinton. Sam overhead the BOLO request and responded by saying, "Oh my god. Why are you arresting her husband. She committed suicide."

When asked why he believed Martha committed suicide, Sam said, "I just assumed because of the gun ... there's a gun in her hand. You don't have to be Stabler to connect those dots, now do you." Sam further stated that Martha had not been depressed and had never expressed to him that she wanted to hurt or kill herself. She was well liked by everyone. She worked as a nurse at a pediatrician's office and was looking forward to an upcoming vacation. Sam alluded to the fact that Martha was not very happy in her marriage, but he denied a sexual relationship with her.

Several hours later the ME explained his "preliminary" findings with the detectives. Martha Clinton died as a result of a single gunshot wound into her mouth.

"So she ate her gun," detective Coker said.
"Not exactly. I can't be certain until we conduct a full autopsy."

Clinton died from a gunshot wound to the right side of her throat. The trajectory of the bullet appears to be gong upward through the tongue and into the brain. The bullet likely struck the skull, fracturing it and the bullet did not exit. We will have to wait on a ballistics report to know for certain. The only certainty the Medical Examiner could offer was that she died from a single gunshot wound inside her mouth.
Blood drained  from the entrance wound onto neck and shoulder.
Blood accumulated in her mouth.
 There appears to be no exit wound.
The small amount of blood will most likely be attributed to a .22 or other low caliber.
The entry wound appeared to be consistent with a smaller caliber gun that the gun found in the victim's hand.
GSR - Gunshot residue found on victim's hands - on flat area of open palms. This is not consistent with GSR that would be consistent with a person holding a gun.
 More consistent with a defensive position of holding hands up to push the barrel of the gun away.
Powder burns on hand appear to be powder discharged from cylinder of gun
Gun in victims' hand was a .38, not consistent with wounds, blow back, or GSR
Victim's prints not found on the exterior of the gun
Appears that Victim struggled
Victim recently engaged in sexual intercourse
Preliminary findings show that that victim either engaged in extremely rough consensual sex or that she was sexually assaulted , causing bruising, ripping and tearing.
Victim was penetrated.

Medical Examiner announced that if the sex was not consensual then this should be an easy case to solve. The perp or the sexual partner left semen
Semen found on and in victim.
Semen sample has been sent to the crime lab for DNA matching

Detective Coker ordered officers to get a DNA sample from the so called friend, Sam Watson. And find that GD husband, already. He also ordered his subordinates to find out who lived in the victim's garage apartment. Tenant had not been home earlier, but he was considered a person of interest at this point.

Dr. Bowers, the Medical Examiner, said, "well, if the husband did it, should be easy enough to get his DNA If it's not him ... well, we've got DNA and that's more than most perp's leave us these days."

"If this ass wipe is in the system, we've got him." Detective Coker said.

Good luck solving.
More facts added daily.

My post will not be as lengthy or nearly as late in the future. Sorry so late today. We are having a mini crisis. My daughter lost her passport and is scheduled to leave in a few days on school trip to France. Spent the day trying to get an emergency overnight passport replacement. I will visit blogs tomorrow

Here is the List of A to Z Participants for you to visit.


Melissa Sugar said...

Hi Melissa, what a clever idea; turning the challenge into a challenge of your own. Well done.

Melissa Sugar said...

Hi Melissa .. well you've given us loads of information here - and it'll be interesting to read the additional clues as we go along ..

For now - I hope you've found your daughter's passport and all is well for her French trip - cheers and take care - Hilary

Melissa Sugar said...

ooooh, I'm on the edge of my seat.
Strange fact: My father was a homicide detective, and before that he worked in ID (this was way before CSI). We used to have conversations about finger prints, GSR and blood spatters over dinner. So for me, this blog is the most fun I've seen in a long time.

Melissa Sugar said...

This is a really cool idea for an A to Z Challenge. I appreciate people who put work into theirs. I'm sure I won't win as I'm not that great at playing Clue. My guess is Mr. Green in the conservatory with the lead pipe.

Melissa Sugar said...

According to "CSI," I thought most women did not commit suicide using a gun. So, that makes me suspicious right there.
But, my "TV" may be showing.

Melissa Sugar said...

I doubt I'll be able to solve the mystery, but your facts are interesting. Now I know what they look for in a forensic autopsy.

Melissa Sugar said...

I've written a little about autopsies, but I didn't go as in-depth as I could have. Nice post! I can't wait to see how this unfolds.

Melissa Sugar said...

Wow! What a fun, unique take on the A-Z challenge! The autopsy info was fascinating, too. Although I've never used one in my book, I've of course heard them mentioned in books and movies, but I never knew these details. Thanks!

Melissa Sugar said...

I have to admit, the autopsy scenes in Psych were among my favorite. :)

Melissa Sugar said...

Oh, wow, you always have the best A-Z blog! And your passport problem is ringing bells for me. My son is currently in Australia, and yeah, he had some last-minute issues himself, but it all worked out.

Melissa Sugar said...

So glad you are playing along. I promise after the first two days the posts won't be nearly as long

Melissa Sugar said...

We are down the the last day and still no passport. Thought it was sent by overnight mail yesterday but learned it wasn't. We are framing out.

Melissa Sugar said...

I hope you are playing along and will try and solve it. Thanks for visiting.

Melissa Sugar said...

I know you have way too much going on, but I do appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.

Melissa Sugar said...

Interesting. You may be onto something.

Melissa Sugar said...

You made me smile. Thanks. I hope you will try and solve it

Melissa Sugar said...

Thank you. That is quite a compliment

Melissa Sugar said...

We had another hiccup with the passport today and I am afraid we are being scammed. My husband id going to fly to the passport office tomorrow and pick it up. Keep your fingers crossed. We are all in a mad panic.

Melissa Sugar said...

I like them as well. How gruesome of me.

Melissa Sugar said...

Thank you. I hope you will try an solve it. It should be easy for you. Well I hope i don't make it too easy

Melissa Sugar said...

Thank you for visiting. The posts will not be as long in a few days. I just had to get some basic facts out there

Melissa Sugar said...

Looking forward to the challenge of this challenge.

Melissa Sugar said...

It's going to be fun catching up on these postings now. One of the stories in my short story collection is a court room drama, so I shall glean as much information as I can.

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