Thursday, February 19, 2009
Out for Justice: Skulls
Catching a killer is not easy. Catching a killer when you don't even know the name of the victim is even tougher. Sometimes detectives face that task, and Miami-Dade Police have an artist who can make it easier by creating faces for victims without one. Tonight police need your help to identify three victims. Here they are in Out for Justice with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Samantha Steinberg's job is not impossible, but it's not far from it.
Samantha Steinberg: "So basically, you're just putting the face back together."
The Miami-Dade Police forensic artist was given the skull of this unidentified man found in February 2007 out on Southwest Eighth Street with a bullet hole in the back of the head. An anthropologist concluded he was a white Latin male in his early 30s.
Samantha had to then give him a face.
Samantha Steinberg: "I think it's primarily scientific. The artistic part comes in when you're making those determinations about the shape of the eyes or the shape of the nose or the eyebrows or the shape of the lips."
This is what Samantha believes he looked like. Detective Douglas McCoy hopes someone can identify him because there weren't many clues left at the crime scene.
Detective Douglas McCoy: "The body had, according to the medical examiner, had been there anywhere from weeks to months, and there was no skin, no hair, no tissue, no organs, so it was actually beyond the point of being decomposed."
On this day, Samantha showed us two other murder victims whose bodies were badly decomposed when they were found this woman found lying face down near Krome Avenue in 2004 naked probably had been raped, only wearing these earrings.
Det. Dan Rivers: "Her body was completely nude, but we do have a set of tear drop gold earrings that are pretty unique that maybe somebody can recognize."
The face Samantha recreated matches a woman 40 to 60 years old. A hefty woman who had hair like this and one distinctive physical characteristic, a friend or family member might remember.
Samantha Steinberg: "According to the autopsy, she had a fractured right fibula, which is the thigh bone. At some point in her life she broke her leg, and it was healed. It's an old, healed fracture that they were able to note."
The third unidentified skull given to Samantha, the third person she had to bring a face to: This man, found floating in a canal in Southwest Miami-Dade. Samantha determined he looked like this, a 30-year-old, white Hispanic male wearing these boots and this shirt.
Lena Jean-Baptist: "It was a gray T-shirt with the words 'Fubo XC-11,' also with red trim, a navy blue gray, hooded zip front down sweat shirt, long brown pants with work boots."
Patrick Fraser: "Three dead people, all the bodies decomposed and all having one more thing in common: None matched any missing persons reports. Apparently, no one has come looking for them, and before Miami-Dade detectives can catch each killer, they have to discover the name of each victim."
Det. Dan Rivers: "And the majority of our case, knowing who the victim is allows us to then go interview family members, friends to give us an idea of who the person was, what their likes and dislikes were, maybe what their hobbies were what places they liked to frequent."
These three people waiting to be identified, Samantha has given them a face again. Now, Miami-Dade Police need you to give them a name.
Samantha Steinberg: "And you need to understand that this is an approximate likeness we're not telling you this is a portrait of this individual. It's the type of look, and it's hopefully the right proportions and the right spacial relations that will bring an identification."
Patrick Fraser: "In other words, if you know anyone who looks remotely similar to this 30-year-old man, 2006 case, who liked clothes like this, this middle-aged woman with hair like this who wore earrings like these, or this man about 5 feet 5 inches, possibly who disappeared in 2007, Miami-Dade detectives would appreciate a call. Even if you aren't certain, let them check it out, and if you think a friend or family member who was murdered has been forgotten, give us a call, and let us bring back the case."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Out for Justice