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Practical Homicide Investigation Checklist and Field Guide, Second Edition

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Practical Homicide Investigation Checklist and Field Guide, Second Edition

This book, now in its 2nd edition, provides essential checklists that provide step-by-step tactics, procedures, and forensic techniques that are mandatory in sudden and violent death inquiries..

By Vernon Geberth,

ISBN: 9781466591882

Retail price: $49.95   $37.95



  • Provides practical checklists for use in all death cases
  • Discusses duties of personnel at the scene
  • Includes protocols for suicide, autoerotic fatalities, fires, SIDS and Munchausen syndrome by proxy, and police-related shootings
  • Follows a convenient format indexed by type of crime for quick and easy reference
  • Presents collection procedures for specific types of evidence as well as documentation protocol
  • Contains new color anatomical diagrams


Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, Fourth Edition has long been considered the "bible of homicide investigation." Designed to accompany this bestselling work, Practical Homicide Investigation Checklist and Field Guide, Second Edition provides first responders, police personnel, and medical examiners and coroners with essential checklists that proceed step-by-step through the tactics, procedures, and forensic techniques that are mandatory in sudden and violent death inquiries. This new edition contains twice the material of the first edition, yet maintains its concise, practical format.

Topics include:

  • Specific investigative duties at the death scene
  • Suicide and equivocal death investigation
  • Autoerotic fatalities and other sex-related deaths
  • Fatal fires
  • SIDS and Munchausen syndrome by proxy
  • Police-related shootings and deadly force incidents
  • Crime scene photograph documentation and videotaping protocols
  • Guidelines for proper death notification to family members

Supplemented by color anatomical diagrams and indexed by type of crime for quick and easy reference, this second edition has been newly revised with the most current information and updates in technology. The appendix contains collection procedures for specific types of evidence, ensuring that a proper and complete investigation can be undertaken in all cases. Forensic professionals who master the material in this guide can be assured that death scenes are handled professionally and expeditiously and no evidence is overlooked.

Table of Contents

The Checklist Approach to Homicide Investigation
The Homicide Crime Scene
The Patrol Officer’s Duties
First Officer’s Duties upon Arrival
Patrol Officer Establishing the Crime Scene
The First Officer Initiates the Homicide Investigation
The Patrol Officer’s Checklist
The Preliminary Investigation at the Scene
The Detectives
Prior to Leaving for the Crime Scene, Instruct Patrol to
Arrival at the Scene
The Investigative Checklist
Documentation of the Initial Report
Duties of the Detective Supervisor upon Arrival at the Scene
Specific Investigative Duties at the Scene
The Suspect in Custody
Evaluation of the Suspect’s Demeanor and Mental Capacity
Obtaining a Dying Declaration
Suicide Investigation
Three Investigative Considerations in Determining the
Manner of Death (Homicide or Suicide)
Suicide Notes
Suicide Checklist
Psychological Aspects
Final Exit Suicides
Investigative Checklist for Final Exit Cases
The Plastic Bag
Suicide-By-Cop Scenarios
Some Suicide Indicators
Autoerotic Fatalities
Investigative Considerations
Autoerotic Checklist: Determining the Involvement of
Sexual Asphyxia
Investigative Fatal Fires Checklist
Investigative Considerations
The Fire Incident
Suspicious Designation: General Determination Factors
Maintenance of the Fire Crime Scene
Investigation at the Scene
Determination of Arson
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS )
Investigative Checklist
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
Warning Signs
Crime Scene Documentation
Documentation of Crimes Scene Photographs
Recommended Crime Scene Photographs
Photographs of Deceased Subjects
Videotape Protocol
Taping Protocol Checklist
Documentation of the Crime Scene Sketch
The Title Block
Formulating the Search
Examination of the Outdoor Crime Scene
Investigative Questions
Examination of the Body at the Scene
The Wound Chart
Gunshot Wounds
Cutting Wounds
Blunt Force Injuries
Asphyxial Deaths
Recommendations and Guidelines for Proper
Death Notifications to Surviving Family
Sex-Related Homicide Investigation
Investigative Considerations
The Crime Scene Investigation
Sex-Related Crime Scene Checklist
Medicolegal Considerations
Examination of the Crime Scene
Descriptive Information
Anatomical Figures
Supervisor’s Homicide Checklist
Supervising the Preliminary Investigation at the Scene:
The Checklist
Directing Specific Investigative Duties
Supervising a Homicide Crime Scene Search
Crime Scene Considerations
Release of the Body
Release of the Crime Scene
Investigation of Police-Related Shootings
Officer-Involved Shootings (OIS s) and Use of Deadly Force
The Protocol
Investigation of OISs and Use of Deadly Force
Supervisory Responsibilities—Checklist
Incident Scene Investigator(s)—Checklist
Interview of Employee(s) Involved
Follow-Up Investigation
Background Investigation
Preparation of Investigative Report
Appendix: Procedures for the Collection of Evidence
Collection of Specific Types of Evidence
Body Materials
Blood Stains (Dry)
Spittle or Saliva
Cigarette or Cigar Butts
Displaced Furniture
Documents (Letters, Notes, and Papers)
Tool Marks
Newly Damaged Areas
Collection of Bite-M ark Evidence at the Scene
Blood Stain Pattern Analysis (Examination of Blood Spatter)
Crime Scene Collection of Electronic and
Digital Evidence
Investigative Considerations
Additional Investigative Considerations
Cellular Phones

Published:  October 2013


168 Pages/52 Illustrations