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|Evidence: Incident Report|
YOKNAPATAWPHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
Description of Incident:
At 2:46 p.m., I received a call from dispatch to go to the scene of a possible homicide at Cupid's Couples in the Ford office building on South Lamar.
Detective Armstrong and I arrived at Cupid's Couples offices at 2:53 p.m. and found Officers Winters and Baxter as well as EMTs Piralta and Moore already at the scene, along with one witness identified as Dana Pomeroy, a Cupid's Couples employee.
Officer Baxter and EMT Moore gave the following verbal reports upon our arrival.
Dispatch received 911 emergency call at 2:34 p.m. from the offices of Cupid's Couples, a local dating service. The caller, who identified herself as Dana Pomeroy, reported that, when she reported for work, she had discovered her boss, Trudi Rose, collapsed at her desk and unresponsive. The caller indicated she had checked the victim for a pulse and had been unable to find one. The 911 Emergency Operator dispatched two patrol units and one EMS unit to the scene.
Officers Baxter and Winters were already in the area and responded to the scene, both arriving at approximately 2:37 p.m. The officers were admitted into the Cupid's Couples offices by Ms. Pomeroy, who directed them to a rear office where they observed a woman slumped over her desk. Ms. Pomeroy identified the victim as Trudi Rose, co-owner of Cupid's Couples. After checking for a pulse, Officer Winters called for backup and secured the area. Officer Baxter used his department-issued camera to record the crime scene with the victim in situ, in case the EMTs needed to move the subject to administer medical assistance. The EMS unit arrived at the scene at 2:42 p.m. Officer Winters admitted the EMTs and directed them to the rear office.
Officer Baxter stated that, based on the EMTs analysis, he had already notified the Coroner's Office to dispatch an investigator to the scene. He stated that he had not touched anything in the immediate crime scene and that Officer Winters had only touched the victim to check for a pulse. He also indicated that Officer Winters had remained with the witness in the reception area of the office since securing the scene and had begun taking her preliminary statement.
EMT Moore reported that he and EMT Piralta had examined the victim and determined she was beyond medical assistance. He indicated the victim had no cardiac or respiratory activity, skin was discolored, and it appeared that early stages of rigor mortis were beginning. EMT Moore stated that he and EMT Piralta had touched some items in the immediate vicinity of the victim, including the desk and chair where the victim was found, while assessing the victim's condition.
I instructed Officer Baxter to check with Dispatch regarding the ETA of CSU and then to remain in the reception area with Officer Winters and the witness to keep the area secure. I also asked the EMTs to remain at the scene until the Coroner's Investigator arrived, so they could report their observations.
Wearing protective gear, Detective Armstrong and I entered the office where the victim was located to examine the body and the surrounding area. The victim's face and extremities appeared slightly yellowish in color and victim was cool to the touch. No external injuries or evidence of blood were apparent. We observed a plastic wastebasket on the floor on the right side of the desk positioned in front of the desk drawers. In addition to what appeared to be typical refuse, the wastebasket appeared to contain vomitus.
The office contained the desk, a credenza, several file cabinets, a couch, a coffee table and three chairs, including the chair behind the desk. The top of the desk was covered with papers, files, pens, a banker's style business checkbook, an appointment book, assorted newspapers, and a paper napkin with noticeable traces of a white powder. The top of the credenza held a personal computer, monitor and peripherals, along with two sets of four stacked letter trays on either end of the credenza.
Detective Armstrong and I took the appointment book [Evidence # 001524-001], the victim's purse found in the left file drawer of the desk [Evidence # 001524-002], and numerous telephone message slips into evidence. The remaining items were left for CSU processing.
Yoknapatawpha County Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson arrived at the scene at 3:32 p.m. After a preliminary examination, Inspector Johnson pronounced the victim dead at the scene and noted that the victim appeared to be in the very early stages of rigor mortis. While she withheld an official estimate pending an autopsy, Inspector Johnson speculated the victim had been deceased approximately 4 hours. Inspector Johnson withheld any conjecture on cause of death but indicated that further information would be available in the official autopsy report.
Inspector Johnson stayed with the CSU team to ensure integrity of the body while the team took photographs of the scene and performed preliminary analyses. Detective Armstrong and I returned to the reception area to conduct a preliminary interview with the witness, Dana Pomeroy. A transcript of that interview is attached to this report.
Outside the Ford office building, Officer Baxter located a witness, Riddick Morton. Mr. Morton is known to the Sheriff's Department for his multiple arrests for public drunkenness and similar violations. Mr. Morton appeared intoxicated at the time he was located and he failed standard field sobriety tests. He is currently housed in the Yoknapatawpha County Detention Center on a charge of public drunkenness. He will be interviewed regarding anything he might have seen outside the Ford office building on the day of victim's death as soon as he is fit.
CSU is expected to submit a detailed report of their findings, including inventory of fingerprints, fibers and other items taken into evidence, within seven days of this report.
The Coroner's Office is expected to submit an official autopsy report within seven days of this report.
REPORT FILED 4/3/00, 8:40 P.M.
//Sam Murphy, Yoknapatawpha Sheriff's Detective
//Ted Armstrong, Yoknapatawpha Sheriff's Detective