In a rural community, the dismembered body of a dead woman-a waitress at a local restaurant-was found on the side of a road. The woman had been sexually assaulted and her body mutilated. Neither the victim's clothing nor a murder weapon could be found. There were no witnesses. Examination of the body revealed that the woman's arms and legs had been severed with either a saw or a large knife with a serrated edge.
Investigators were able to find out that a certain man, who frequented the restaurant where the woman worked, had been unsuccessfully attempting to date the woman. Witnesses told the police that on the night she disappeared, the man appeared to be agitated when she refused to wait his table.
Several years later, investgators were able to gain further evidence against the man that gave them the necessary facts to obtain a search warrant. While executing the warrant, they found a large table saw in a workshop behind the suspects house. A close examination of the saw led to the discovery of several hairs that appeared to be human. There was no blood visible on the saw or in the workshop.
The area was then sprayed with Luminol, a substance that when sprayed on an area, produces a luminescence if blood had been there. Luminolis used in cases in which the police believe an attempt was made to hide or alter bloodstains. Based on the Luminol testing it was deternmined that a wall in the workshop contained enough traces of the victim's blood for identification.
Suspect was arrested and tried for murder. He was found guilty by reason of insanity. He remains confined to a state hospital.
Source: Adapted with permission from Dusty Hesskew, Law and Order (November 1991), pp.31-33.