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| Investigative Action | Action Description | Initial Findings |


INVESTIGATIVE ACTION REPORT

Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department
711 Jackson Avenue E
Oxford, MS 38655

 CASE NUMBER:
  000073-05A-2014
Date Reported:
  1-5-2014
 Time Reported:
  7:20 PM
 Reporting Officer:
  Det. Sam Murphy
 Unit Number:
  633
 Assisting Officer:
  Det. Ted Armstrong
 Unit Number:
  615

 

 INVESTIGATIVE ACTION
 Action:
  K-9 search of St. Peter's Cemetery a.k.a. Oxford Memorial Cemetery
Date:
  1-15-2014
 Time:
  10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
 Address
 416-438 North 16th Street, Oxford, MS
 Conditions
 Clear with gusty winds, 48° F / 9° C at 10:00 AM, 54° F / 12° C at 5:30 PM

 

 ACTION DESCRIPTION (Brief narrative of the investigative action taken.)

At 1:46 a.m. on January 14, 2014, Dispatch received a non-emergency call indicating that evidence related to the current whereabouts of Cameron Maxwell and Caitlin Maxwell may be found at St. Peter's Cemetery in Oxford. The caller referenced "two skaters" and a fresh grave at that location.

Deputies were dispatched to secure the cemetery until a daylight search could be conducted. Reporting Investigators (R/Is) were notified about the call and contacted the Mississippi Crime Lab to request a forensic K-9 unit to search the cemetery as soon as possible.

R/Is arrived at the cemetery at 10:00 a.m. and found the location still secured by deputies. R/Is met with cemetery caretaker Jonathan Giles, who indicated that there were six new gravesites in the cemetery between December 13, 2013 and January 14, 2104, two of which are located on the south side of the cemetery. The most recent south-side gravesite was filled on January 2, 2014, and the other on December 23, 2013. Giles said he had not noticed any unusual activity in the cemetery and had not noticed any gravesites disturbed.

R/Is, Giles, and other YCSD personnel conducted a preliminary visual search of the area, keeping to the paved lanes in the cemetery to minimize potential contamination in advance of the K-9 search. Giles noted that the surface of the January 2, 2014 grave appeared somewhat atypical.

Forensics Officer T. R. Douglas arrived on the scene at 10:30 a.m.

William Carter of the Forensic K-9 Unit arrived on the scene at 10:50 a.m. with trained forensic search cadaver dog, Major. Carter served as scene coordinator for the K-9 search. See attached K-9 Unit Report.

In the period from January 3, 2014, when Cameron Maxwell and Caitlin Maxwell were last seen, through January 14, 2014, the weather station at the University of Mississippi reports a total of .71 inches of rain for Oxford.

The search criteria were set for blood evidence, buried body, hand dug grave, cadaver scent. In addition, scent samples were provided for Cameron Maxwell and Caitlin Maxwell. The first area to be searched was the south side area of the cemetery.

 

 INITIAL FINDINGS (Preliminary results of the investigative action)

View photos of the cemetery location

K-9 Major set alerts at several locations. The January 2, 2014 grave produced a clear buried body alert (flag number 1), an area measured at 4.5 feet from the east side of that gravesite produced a blood alert (flag number 2), and an area adjacent to the access road produced a blood alert (flag number 3). The alerts were flagged, and on the basis of the forensic K-9 field report, a court order was obtained from the Superior Court at 2:35 p.m. to open the grave.

R/Is returned to the location with the court order at 2:50 p.m. After photographing the overall scene and flagged locations, a spiral search starting out at a radius of 150 feet from the center of the grave was begun. Minimal debris was found.

The forensic team recovered a cigarette butt and a torn chewing gum wrapper. Several blades of grass in the flagged area to the east of the grave, location number 2, were collected for analysis as was a soil sample. No footprints were observed or other potential forensic evidence recovered.

A tent was erected over the site and searchlights set up outside of the scene perimeter in preparation for the forensic exhumation of the grave. A painstaking method of shallow layer removal and sifting of each layer for potential trace evidence was employed. Exhumation began at 4:15 p.m. At 5:56 p.m., the team uncovered partially decomposed human remains, at which time further exhumation was halted pending the arrival of a Coroner's representative.

Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson was called to the scene, arriving at 6:20 p.m. Extensive photographs were taken as the body was uncovered in stages. At 7:10 p.m., the body was fully exposed and appeared to be that of a young adult male dressed in blue jeans, T-shirt and black athletic shoes. The body was positioned in roughly a prone position face at depth of approximately three feet.

Inspector Johnson visually examined the body and observed an apparent gunshot wound to the back of the head, which initially appeared consistent with a shotgun wound. Inspector Johnson was not able to make a preliminary estimate of time of death at the scene, but indicated that further details would be available in the official autopsy report.

Inspector Johnson recovered an intact wallet from the right rear jeans pocket on the male body. A driver's license inside the wallet was issued to Cameron Maxwell. No other personal effects were recovered from the body at the scene.

Staining of the dirt around the head indicated the possible presence of blood and suggested the possibility that the male victim may have been placed in the grave shortly after being shot.

Once the body was removed and further scene measurements and photographs obtained, Inspector Johnson released the scene at 9:17 p.m. and exhumation was resumed. Inspector Johnson remained on the scene at R/Is' request.

At 9:57 p.m., the team uncovered the partially decomposed remains of a second body. Extensive photographs and measurements were taken as the remains were exposed, and at 11:15 p.m., the body was completely exposed.

The second victim appeared to be a young female dressed in jeans, white athletic shoes and a white sweatshirt, which appeared to be torn. The body was buried at a depth of approximately five feet in a partial fetal position, with the upper body in a supine position and the legs slightly to the left. The victim had long brown hair, which appeared caked with dirt and was draped across most of the facial area.

Inspector Johnson visually examined the second body and observed multiple apparent stab wounds. Inspector Johnson was not able to make a preliminary estimate of time of death at the scene, but indicated that further details would be available in the official autopsy report.

After Inspector Johnson completed her initial inspection, she stayed with the CSU team to ensure integrity of the second body while the team took photographs of the scene and performed preliminary analyses, until the second body could be removed from the scene without affecting other evidence.

To the south side of the grave where the female body was found, a green fanny pack was recovered at approximately the same level as the body near the feet. Among the items inside the pack was a wallet containing a driver's license issued to Caitlin Maxwell.

A preliminary search of the immediate area for the weapon(s) causing the injuries to the victims met with negative results. CSU will conduct a more intensive search and report their findings.

The bodies of the deceased were removed from the scene at 1:02 a.m. on January 15, 2014, and remanded into the custody of Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson for transport to the coroner's office for autopsy.

Soil samples were taken for analysis. Soil sifting did not produce any additional identifiable physical evidence, and no additional material was recovered from the grave to the depth of the vault of the coffin.

No indications were observed that the grave had been disturbed below the level of the second body at approximately five feet. The earth beneath that level was packed and dense for the remaining two feet to the vault.

The scene was covered with a tarp at 3:19 a.m. and deputies assigned to secure the location. R/Is will contact the next of kin of the gravesite's owner to decide if the vault should be raised and examined for evidence of tampering.

Evidence remanded into the custody of Forensics Officer T. R. Douglas for transport to the State Crime Lab for routine analysis. CSU is expected to submit an inventory of items taken into evidence within seven days of this report, with detailed report(s) of their findings to follow at a later date.

 

 REPORTING OFFICER  Sam Murphy  DATE REPORTED  1-15-2014
 REPORTING OFFICER  //Sam Murphy
 Signature
 633
 Unit Number
 1-15-2014
 Date
 ASSISTING OFFICER  //Ted Armstrong
 Signature
 615
 Unit Number
 1-15-2014
 Date

 

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  • so we now for sure its foul play.. two different murder weapons possibly indicating to two different murderers... one is probably knife found by toby tubby creek.. and something tells me when autopsy results come in that we gonna have a significant delay between two deaths... first to go will be caitlin and couple hours later cameron...

  • I was hoping for a different ending at least one still alive hiding

  • This gravesite could be the crucial evidence in this case, is it a place picked by intent, or just a random logical choice because its recently being dug up so it would hard for anyone to see the disturbance made on it... but in that case the killer would want for bodies to stay undiscovered for long time, so that anonymous call could be made by someone who wants to put his/hers mind to a rest because they know something and couldnt hold it in anymore...

  • I think Cam killed Caitlin, then Austin killed Cam, either that or Ron Sills killed Cam. I agree with you with you, Tin, in that the two murders weren't committed at the same time. Three of the questions I have are; where and who had the shotgun that killed Cam; who had a shovel to dig the graves; and who came up with the idea of burying the bodies at the cemetery?

    Bellbe, I was hoping for the same thing.

  • So 2 different weapons, suggesting that Caitlin was the main subject of someone's anger/jealousy? I agree it seems that Cameron probably helped kill Caitlin and then was disposed of execution style, just after laying Caitlin in her grave. Very sad.

  • Yes, it seems like execution style, but my insticts tells me that Dad (or Austin), took it chance when possible and shot him in the back, because it was too emotional for him to kill him face to face.

  • in the maxwell residence search the following items were obtained:
    000073-35: One (1) .22 Remington rifle, recovered from utility closet
    000073-36: One (1) .30-30 Winchester rifle, recovered from utility closet

    maybe the Winchester?
    Next

    Caitlin stab wounds?
    in the maxwell residence search the following items were obtained:
    pair work boots with dark stains, recovered from master bedroom
    work boots = cemetery?

    ok so the attacker shot cameron in the cemetery and there he died falled into the pit near the edge of the grave the shoot took place , now caitlin was stabbed in Toby Tubby Creek between McLarty Road and South 18th Street. because there the folding knife were found , so now we know where each death took place.

  • Being relatively new to this entire case, one of the first things that I have been wondering about this crime scene is why is the female [Caitlin] buried first, deeper, and in a fetal position? If the siblings were killed at (roughly) the same time then why would her grave be deeper and more "positioned" than the male's [Cameron]? If they hadn't been killed at the same time, are there any signs of resistance or struggle or any indications that the male [Cameron] showed any signs of fight or flight at the death of his sister? If not, is it a possible theory that he had something to do with assisting in the females burial before his death?

  • For me, there had to be at least two people who had done this because there was two different weapons used. I am also thinking that this might have been planned, because they wouldn't have killed them then leave to get a shovel and come back. There would have been seen. They had the shovel with them. The caller knows more.

  • I genuinely don't know who to regard as a suspect at this point. Maybe Austin... I don't know. I'm still waiting to see that car search report! Unless I've missed it, I think that could be a very promising lead.

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