Investigating Staged Crime Scenes


tags: Crime Scenes,

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By Retired Detective Sergeant Dr Claire Ferguson, University of New England

From the September 2013 issue of the APJ.

Crime scene staging refers to the deliberate alteration of physical evidence at the location where a crime has actually or allegedly occurred in an effort to simulate events or offences which did not occur. This is intended to mislead authorities or redirect an investigation [Berth, 2006; Chisum & Turvey, 2007; Ferguson, 2014].

This can be done in a variety of ways such as manipulation of the physical evidence, including a change of position of weapons or bodies; falsifying injuries or planting additional evidence. Crime scene staging is therefore different to other manipulations of a scene, such as when a family member, out of shame or embarrassment, may wish an accidental death, particularly of a sexual nature (such as auto erotic asphyxiation), to look like a suicide and remove sexual paraphernalia from the scene or dress the victim.

Staging a crime scene also may involve actively deceiving investigators by lying during interviews, creating false alibis, filing false reports, or by circulating other falsities about the victim or the interviewee/s’ own involvement in the case.

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