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On Forensic Files eagle-eyed technical experts prove there is no such thing as a perfect crime as they assemble the pieces every criminal leaves behind. Dramatic crime re-creations and, sometimes, part of the investigations are a staple of the series. Some of the re-creations include alternate versions of the crimes, which are disproved by science. The show's episodes follow each case from the initial investigation until it reaches its legal resolution.
A woman was reported missing after a fight with her husband. She was presumed dead and her husband was the only suspect. Police were suspicious of a secondary suspect when he reported a suspicious fire in his car. A tiny clue inside the suspect's watchband and a popular TV show helped close the case.
In 1991, Maine resident Pearl Smith is missing after an argument with her husband. Despite pleas from her children, police treat it as a routine missing person's case. But, when an investigation turns up a blood trail that leads to the couple's basement, police are certain they'll finally find the victim's body.
In 1989, 4-year-old April Loveless was found dead in the backyard of her Texas home. Her mother, Debbie Loveless, and step-father John Miller told police that April was attacked and killed by the family dogs. Investigators did not agree and believed that April's wounds were not dog bites at all.
Anonymous letters sent through the United States mail aren't always untraceable. One such letter, an anonymous tip to police about a murder, mentioned information about the crime that had been withheld from the press. It was information only the killer would know. Laser technology helped to identify the state, city, street address and even the office number from where the anonymous letter was mailed. This narrowed the list of suspects significantly.
In 1993, 16-year-old Marie Robards suffered the devastating loss of her father Steve Robards. The death was ruled the result of cardiac arrest.
In 1996, seventeen month-old Josh Hinson died in a fire in his home. A federal agency ruled that it was arson and Josh's mother Terri Strickland was charged with murder. An independent fire investigator was able to poke enough holes in the government's scientific conclusions to ask serious questions about whether the fire was intentionally set
When a man dies unexpectedly in the office of a noted California doctor, police begin what they think will be a routine investigation. What they find throws doubt on the identity of the dead man and raises questions about the doctor's role in his death. Soon they uncover a bizarre story of corpse stealing, faked identities, and sexual perversion - all part of an elaborate insurance case that will centre on what actually caused the victim's death: a sex act gone wrong, or premeditated murder.
If a perpetrator leaves a shoe print in the mud, investigators use established techniques to made a mold of the shoe impression for later identification. But what happens if the impression is left in the snow? Here's the story of one investigator, whose quick thinking and knowledge of science enabled him to capture a shoe impression made in snow, before the evidence melted away.
The 1990 murder of a Virginia woman is solved when new technology detects fingerprint evidence on a blood-stained pillow case.
When a six year old girl disappears from church during a Sunday service, investigators fear a stalker is preying on children in the church shadows. A psychological profile of the perpetrator lead investigators to taxi cab driver who was in the vicinity of the church at the time of the disappearance.
In 1995, California model Linda Sobek goes missing. Some vital pieces of information are found in a dumpster, which eventually led investigators to professional photographer Charles Rathbun. Rathbun claims Sobek died during a consensual sexual encounter gone wrong, but Sobek's corpse and some high tech digital imagery tell a more sinister story.
An evening out at a Maryland murder mystery theatre performance turns into a real life whodunit when the badly burned body of Stephen Hricko is found in his hotel room after a fire. Lies, greed and medical trickery can't match the skills of forensic scientists, who pull the curtain down on the real killer.
Michigan resident Shannon Mohr died tragically in what was reported by her new husband, David Davis, as a horseback riding accident. Upon deeper investigation, police found a thread of lies and a proficiency with pharmaceuticals in Davis' background that provided a different explanation for Shannon's accidental death.
For 15 months, a serial killer was strangling prostitutes in Florida, then taunting police by leaving the bodies in plain sight. The only clues were a tire impression and some threads. By the time scientists identified the source of these treads and the threads, police discovered that the killer James Randall was right under their noses the entire time.
When police in the Great Plains were called to retrieve a dead body, they did a background check on the victim. The trail guided them into a strange thread of homeless drifters, cattle auctions and bad checks - all fronted by an elderly couple with a penchant for money and murder.
In 1994, a human skull found in an Ohio pond uncovers a ghastly crime. Markings on the skull indicate that the victim had been stabbed many times and that the teeth had been removed with needle-nose pliers in an attempt to keep the victim's identity a secret. Forensic scientists use DNA matches to indentify the skull.
When a fundamentalist group starts attacking and robbing banks in the Pacific Northwest, authorities know immediately that they are dealing with experienced criminals. A tip leads them to the alleged perpetrators and the evidence found at their homes is extensive and incriminating. But in court, this wealth of evidence must withstand a well-funded defense. Finally, two juries - in an extraordinarily high profile case - are presented with a combination of old fashioned forensic science and the latest in crime technology in order to render a verdict.
Forensic Files examines the case of Dr. John Schneeberger who raped one of his patients and his own step-daughter. Initially, he manages to avoid suspicious by beating a DNA test. At the trial he reveals that he implanted a plastic tube containing another person's blood in order to beat the test.
Creating a profile of a serial killer, is part science and part intuition. The science involves studying criminals who have committed similar crimes, to see what characteristics they all have in common. One common trait among serial killers, is a past history of abusing animals. In a search for the killer of two teenagers in Texas, a behavioral profile led to a possible suspect - and hard science proved the profile was correct.
The wife of prominent Illinois farmer Fred Grabbe disappeared from her farm without a trace. For three years, investigators searched in vain for any trace of her. Eventually, Fred Grabbe's former lover came forward with a fascinating tale filled with rage, murder, mutilation and cremation, but there seemed to be no way to test the validity of her story.
In 1987, Susie Mowbray was charged for the death of her husband, Bill Mowbray, which had the appearance of suicide. Her son was so convinced of her innocence that he enrolled in law school, studied all of the evidence and, eventually, discovered the truth of what really happened that fateful night between his mother and father.
When a patient in a hospital emergency room said he cut his hand on a dumpster, the doctor recognized the injury as something else. That doctor became the chief witness in a crime involving the murder of a 67-year-old grandmother.
Two of America's premier pornographers happen to be brothers. When one turns up dead, his brother confesses to shooting him. The question for investigators is whether the shooting was premeditated. A 911 call in which the fatal shots can be heard, and a computer reconstruction of the crime scene, provide the answer.
In 1981, New York correctional officer Donna Payant disappeared and was later found in a landfill. The medical examiner not only identified the cause of death, but also found an important clue. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that a prison inmate might be responsible.
When a nine-year-old girl headed for school vanishes from her quiet suburban neighborhood, an entire community starts searching for her abductor. Investigators wonder if her long-lost mother might be connected to the disappearance. Finally, police use satellites surveilling the Pacific Northwest to find who took her and where. Tracing the perpetrator's movements not only leads them to the girl, but shows the twisted motive in the perpetrator's mind. The Secret Service finds a hidden fingerprint to help detectives seal the case.
When off-duty Maine State Trooper Vicky Gardner is attacked during a routine stop, it triggers a series of events which jumpstarts a slow-paced murder case in New Jersey.
In 1989, 19-year-old Lori Auker left her Pennsylvania home for work but never arrived. Police investigators viewed this case as a missing persons or possible homicide and focussed on her estranged husband, Robert Auker. It takes space-age technology, cat hairs and insects to pinpoint the image of the woman's abductor before the real story can be told.
An attorney's pregnant wife is found dead at home, shot in the head.
In 1980, a four year-old is found unconscious in a parking lot with major head trauma. Police concluded it was a hit-and-run vehicle accident and closed the case. But Vicky's mother, Crystal, suspected there was more to the story and was determined to find out exactly what had happened.
Lisa Manderach and her daughter Devon left their home to go shopping, but didn't come back home at the expected time. Lisa's husband Jimmy called police in a panic to report their disappearance and directed them to a nearby shopping center. Later that day, Devon's body was found dumped off the side of the road, but there was no sign of Lisa.
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