Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Gilgo Theory: One Killer

Today's Newsday headline blasts, "Newsday Exclusive: New Gilgo Theory: One Killer - From LI" with a sub-headline, "Top cop: Police fear serial killer will strike again."

This information surprises me, and then again, it doesn't. The first thing that came to mind is that the Police Commissioner of the past eight years, Richard Dormer, is leaving office soon (as a new County Executive, Steve Bellone, takes office in January, he will choose a new police commissioner). It's conjecture on my part, but it's possible that Newsday wanted to give him a chance to say any last parting words about the case, and he gave it to them (hence the exclusive). The article has been written by Tania Lopez.

It was nearly one year ago that a K-9 cop, conducting a search in the hopes of possibly finding evidence of missing person Shannan Gilbert, came across remains. Subsequent searches turned up multiple remains (eight females, one male, one female toddler); yet none belonged to Shannan. Dormer states in the article that detectives do not think Shannan's case is connected; that it was pure coincidence that she went missing in Oak Beach, and the bodies were found on Gilgo Beach.

I worked on the Crime Stoppers tips line (1-800-220-TIPS) for thirteen years, and spoke with hundreds of people who called with information that lead to arrests for homicide, narcotics, robbery, larceny, and other felonies. This case truly needs the break of someone with information to step forward. If you, or someone you know has information, please consider giving a call, or emailing or texting a tip anonymously. There is a cash reward available via the Crime Stoppers program, a civilian organization, of which I am a volunteer.

The Suffolk County Police Department's website has set up a page with sketches of two unidentified victims, and jewelry recovered with the remains of two victims. Please give it a brief view and see if it looks familiar.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Blast at St. Louis Bouchercon 2011

Bouchercon 2011 at St. Louis was terrific. It is truly amazing to see so many authors all in one place. This was my second Bouchercon. The host hotel, the Renaissance St. Louis Grand, was sold out quickly, so I stayed at the historic St. Louis Union Station Marriott, which was such a treat; it's converted from the original St. Louis railroad station. I shared a room with my fellow New York Sister in Crime, Cathi Stoler, the author of Telling Lies. While attending a paragraph-reading party at Left Bank Books, in which Cathi read a paragraph from Telling Lies, I had the honor of meeting my Twitter friends, Chad Rohrbacher and Ron Earl Phillips.
Lobby of St. Louis Union Station Marriott
L to R, top to bottom: Catriona McPherson, Kathleen A. Ryan, Cathi Stoler, Clare Toohey

Left Bank Books, St. Louis

My New York Sister-in-Crime, Hilary Davidson, Anthony Award winner for Best First Novel, The Damage Done

Duane Swierczynski, Anthony Award Winner for Best Paperback Original, Expiration Date
Reed Farrel Coleman, Three-time Shamus Award winning author and fellow Long Islander!

I was honored to moderate a panel called, "Writing From the Headlines" with authors Pamela Callow, Diane Fanning, Ryan David Jahn, Karen E. Olson, and Rick Reed.

I was thrilled to finally meet in person the fabulous Patti Abbott.

I met a new friend, author Catriona McPherson. What a sweetheart!

Glad to see folks I've had the privilege of meeting before, at last year's Bouchercon in San Francisco, or at book signings in New York City, such as Brad Parks, Joelle Charbonneau, Barb Goffman, and of course seeing another fellow New York Sister in Crime, Clare Toohey.

Plans are underway for Bouchercon 2012 ~ in Cleveland, Ohio, October 4-7.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bouchercon 2011: St. Louis

I am very excited and thrilled to be a moderator at a terrific panel called, "Writing From the Headlines," with a spectacular line-up of panelists at next month's Bouchercon in St. Louis. Our panel's title is "She's Not There" (all panel titles were taken from True Blood, Wire in the Blood, and various shows written by Robert Crais) and will occur on Friday, September 16, 2011 from 11:30 am - 12:30 p.m. in "Landmark 4" room of the Renaissance St. Louis Grand.

I will have the privilege of introducing and interviewing: Pamela Callow (@PamelaCallow) Diane Fanning (@DianeFanning), Ryan David Jahn (@RyanDavidJahnKaren E. Olson (@kareneolson) and Rick Reed (@JackMurphy1010).

I am grateful to programming chairs Judy Bobalik and Ruth Jordan for arranging such an awesome group and bestowing upon me the absolute honor of moderating this panel.


If you are attending Bouchercon next month, I hope to see you at our discussion ~ and come prepared with intriguing questions for these talented authors who have written true crime and/or written mystery, thriller, and detective fiction influenced by or based on true crime events.

I will devote blog posts to each of these authors to get to know each one of them better ~ so stay tuned!

Monday, August 1, 2011

How Quickly Life Changes

Life changed completely and unexpectedly in my family on July 7, 2011. My 40-year-old sister-in-law, Irene, died suddenly. It is believed she suffered a massive heart attack. She was my brother's widow. My brother was killed ten years ago in a motorcycle crash, four days before their fifth wedding anniversary. 
Their ten-year-old son is now an orphan. I hope to become his legal guardian, as I've been close with him since he was born, and began watching him on Saturdays when he was three months old when his mom returned to work. 

After my brother's death, I proposed the following to Irene, the single parent of a five-month-old boy: that I take him at least once a month, overnight, to give her a break; and to allow him to grow up knowing the love of his father's family. This way, if she ever needed to travel, attend an event, etc., she would always have a place for her son to stay ~ somewhere he'd already be familiar with; a place she could count on as a safe, loving environment. 

We had this arrangement for the past ten years. Hours before she died, she wrote me an e-mail asking for certain dates in July and August for my nephew to sleepover. This has been his second home his entire life. 

It's as if I was preparing for this role for ten years and didn't know it. 

We hope and pray that all goes well and my nephew will become a permanent member of our immediate family. He's been growing up with my two children more as siblings than cousins. We love him dearly. 

When a tragedy like this strikes ~ it serves as a reminder to review how prepared you and/or your family members are, regarding your wishes. Are wills completed, or do they need updating? Does someone in your family know your wishes? Do they know whom your attorney is, whom to contact, where important documents are, etc? A sudden, unexpected tragedy is difficult enough to deal with; but preparations done in advance certainly helps those left behind. 

Do the right thing ~ make sure your family knows your wishes; have a will made; maintain of list of where important documents are kept; keep a list of those to contact in case tragedy strikes ~ which I pray never does ~ but at least you'll have peace of mind knowing you've made your wishes known and have eased the burden on your loved ones. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Marilyn Levinson, Author of A MURDERER AMONG US

I'm thrilled to have Mystery & Children's Books Author Marilyn Levinson, the President of Long Island Sisters in Crime, as my guest blogger today. 
Congratulations, Marilyn, and much success on the release of your latest novel, A Murderer Among Us. 

Kathy, I’m happy to be your guest blogger today.  I was fortunate to meet Kathy when she joined the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime that I co-founded last summer with my friend and fellow writer, Bernardine Fagan.  Kathy became a valuable asset -- helping us with all things police-related, PR, Facebook, and Twitter.  We’re a friendly, informal group of mystery writers who meet in various libraries around Long Island.  Our meetings vary from month to month.  We’ve been fortunate to have two wonderful writer guests so far -- Hank Phillippi Ryan and Reed Farrel Coleman.  We critique, try to fathom the mystery of writing mysteries, publishing, and marketing, and support one another wholeheartedly.  We welcome all Long Island mystery writers to come and join us.
My mystery novel, A MURDERER AMONG US, debuted on June first.  My sleuth, Lydia Krause, has moved to Twin Lakes, an upscale retirement community on Long Island, to start a new life.  Lydia’s appalled when her neighbor introduces her to the community’s financial advisor, a convicted embezzler whom Lydia holds responsible for having driven her sister to suicide. She exposes the man in public and exchanges heated words with his wife, who is discovered the following morning, mowed down by Lydia’s Lexus. Suddenly, Lydia is Suspect Number One. Employing the many skills she’s honed as CEO of her own company, Lydia undertakes an investigation to prove her innocence.
The book is about new beginnings.  Widowed and no longer in charge of her company, Lydia forges new friendships.  Her relationships with her grown daughters take unexpected turns.  She even finds herself in a budding romance.  Life, Lydia learns, marches on.
A MURDERER AMONG US is available at Wings ePress in print and eBook format. will soon be available on Amazon.com, Kindle, and Fictionwise.com


Visit my website at: http://www.marilynlevinson.com
If you’d like to know more about Long Island Sisters in Crime, feel free to contact me at Marilev4 (at) optonline (dot) net. 


***
Thanks, Marilyn, for visiting today, and your very kind words. I enjoy being a member of Long Island Sisters in Crime. As a relatively new group, I think we're off to a smashing start, if I say so myself!

Visitors: If you have a question or comment for Marilyn, leave a comment ~ and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Beach House Noir at Do Some Damage

Steve Weddle at Do Some Damage offered up a summertime flash fiction challenge for some Beach House Noir, 500 to 5,000 words. I'm a little late to the game, but I finished a story to add to the mix, called "Wanderlust," which clocks in just under 630 words. 


The awesome stories are up at Do Some Damage. Congrats to Thomas Pluck, the winner of Duane Swiercyznki's Fun and Games


"Wanderlust"


After a scorcher on Fire Island during the summer of 1994, Phil and Garrett were about to fall asleep in their upscale cottage rental when a questionable sound of flatulence arose. 
“Was that you?” Phil asked.  
“No,” Garrett said, sitting up. “I was about to ask you the same thing.”
Phil whispered. “Who the hell farted, then — and where did it come from?
Garrett pointed toward the closet. He quietly slipped out of bed and reached under the bed for a bat. He stood near the closet. Phil turned on his bedside lamp. 
“We know you’re in there,” Garrett warned. “I have a weapon, so don’t try anything funny.”  
“I fell asleep — don’t hurt me. Can I come out now?” the burglar asked.
Garrett pulled the closet doors open. A balding man, not yet sixty, struggled to get on his feet. He rubbed his eyes.
“Who the hell are you — and what are you doing here?” Garrett demanded. 
“My name is Tommy Rogers,” the intruder said. He glanced at Phil, who held a cordless phone in his hand. “Please, don’t call the police. I can explain.” 
Garrett loosened his grip on the bat. The paunchy invader appeared harmless. “Let’s hear it — and we’ll decide whether to call the cops or not.”
“This community — well, you know, it’s reputation and all,” Tommy said, gazing back and forth at the startled pair. 
“You’ve got something against gays?”
“No, not at all. It’s the atmosphere of isolated beach communities. Doors are left unlocked. Everyone’s too trusting — which is to my benefit.”
Garrett asked, “And what benefit would that be, Mr. Rogers? Money? Jewelry? Drugs?”  
The disheveled, uninvited man explained, “I look for a wallet on the dresser.” His gaze shifted toward the wallets sitting on their dresser, making his point. “I only remove one credit card, though. I touch nothing else.” 
Phil surmised the rest. “To buy time — until the victim realizes it’s missing, or the credit card company notifies the victim — whichever comes first, but could take a while.”
Tommy nodded. “Exactly. If I get a card, I beat feet; but you guys walked in before I even had a chance to look. I didn’t take anything — we’re all good, I promise. I ducked into the closet, waiting for you to either leave or go to sleep. Guess I’m the one who crapped out. What gave me away? Did I snore?”
“We heard you rip one,” Garrett said. 
“Damn chili dogs,” Tommy muttered, looking down at his feet.
Phil asked, “So what’s your goal with the stolen card?”
“I book a plane ticket and get the hell out of dodge. I fly to the next gay enclave and steal another card. I’ve been all over the world, and no one’s caught up to me yet.”
“Until now, you idiot.”
“Technically, you’re correct; but do you know that when a burglar enters a potentially occupied home, he is mentally prepared to commit homicide?” Tommy asked, but didn’t wait for a response as he pulled a gun from the small of his back. 
He shot Garrett before he could lift the bat. 
Tommy double-tapped Phil before he could dial 911, or any other number. He crumbled to the ground. 
Tommy heard the front screen door slam. 
“Doesn’t anyone ever lock their doors around here?” he grumbled. 
“Phil? Garrett?” You guys setting off fireworks?” a concerned friend asked. When he reached the bedroom door, his eyes met the intruder’s. His mouth fell open, but could form no words.  
“Fireworks,” Tommy sneered. “I got your fireworks right here.” Bang-bang. 
Tommy locked the front door behind him. The drifter strolled down the tree-lined boardwalk, blended in with the crowd, and made his way towards the ferry. 
He had a plane to catch.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Antenna TV

Fans of yesteryear television, rejoice! Antenna TV (shows you used to watch using an antenna) is now available ~ depending on your TV provider and area. Enter your zip code to see if it's available where you live. Sadly, it is not currently available on DISH network or DIRECTV.

We're talking a channel devoted to such shows as All in the Family, Soap, Maude, Good Times, Hazel, The Three Stooges, Dennis The Menace, Three's Company, Here Come The Brides, The Monkees, The Partridge Family, and so many more ~ and movies, too.

To think I gave up ballet lessons on Saturdays so I wouldn't miss The Monkees; certainly no VHS available back then. I just had to wait 40 years to see it on TV on a regular basis again (well, I did buy some DVDs of the shows in recent years, and I've seen The Monkees ~ minus Mike Nesmith ~ in concert several times).

The Network launched on January 1, 2011, with a Three Stooges marathon.

You can follow @AntennaTVOnline on Twitter or "like" Antenna TV on Facebook.

If you have this channel, which show(s) are you interested in seeing? I can't wait to watch Soap again (and Here Come the Brides, and All in the Family).

TV Land, which has been around many years, has quite a line-up of shows, too. Gunsmoke, Bonanza, I Dream of Jeannie, Sanford and Son, and many more. You can also find TV Land on Facebook and Twitter @tvland.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Turning Fifty

Today's the big 5-0. I don't feel fifty! I got that AARP application in the mail last week, so I guess it's real!

I did a quick search and found out whom else celebrated/celebrates June 13 as his/her birthdate. I'm in some pretty good company. Here's a quick sample:

Basil Rathbone ~ 1892 - born in South Africa, actor ~ played Sherlock Holmes
Dorothy L. Sayers ~ 1893- British Author
Paul Lynde ~ 1926 - Comedian; Bewitched actor
John Forbes Nash ~ 1928 - American Mathematician
Christo ~ 1935 ~ Bulgarian Artist
Malcolm McDowell ~ 1943 ~ British Actor
Whitley Strieber ~ 1945 - American Writer
Stellan Skarsgaard ~ 1951 ~ Swedish Actor
Richard Thomas ~ 1951 ~ American Actor
Tim Allen ~ 1953 ~ American Actor

I'm thrilled to learn that June 13 is also the birthday of fellow Sister-in-Crime Daryl Wood Gerber (aka Avery Aames). Hope you're enjoying your day today, Daryl!

I came across this inspiring quote:

"I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming... suddenly you find - at the age of 50, say - that a whole new life has opened before you." ~ Agatha Christie

Here's another one, author unknown: "Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age."

There's tons of jokes, of course, about turning 50. Here's a cute one from Digital Dream Door

Well Organized Life

Two senior ladies met for the first time since graduating from high school. One asked the other, "You were always so organized in school, did you manage to live a well planned life?"

"Oh yes," said her friend. "My first marriage was to a millionaire; my second marriage was to an actor; ,my third marriage was to a preacher; and now I'm married to an undertaker."

Her friend asked, "What do those marriages have to do with a well planned life?"

"One for the money, two for the show. three to get ready and four to go."



Do you have any words of wisdom about turning age 50? I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories

Mulholland Books has announced that between now and June 12, 2011, residents of North America can download the new ebook, L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, for free. After the 12th, it will be available for 99 cents. The collection features original stories from Joyce Carol Oates, Lawrence Block, Megan Abbott, Andrew Vachss, Duane Swierczynski, Joe R. Lansdale, Francine Prose, and Jonathan Santlofer.

For those without e-readers, the collection can be downloaded to a PC or a Mac. Details are available on the Rock Star games site.

L.A. Noire is a video game available for PlayStation3 and XBox360; it is set in 1947. Players are challenged to solve a range of crimes. It was released in North American on May 17, 2011.

I think this is a fascinating partnership between ebook publishing and video gaming. It will be interesting to monitor the results of this marketing concept. What do you think of this alliance?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Casey Anthony Murder Trial

Casey Anthony
Are you following the Casey Anthony murder trial? She is the Florida mother accused of killing her two-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony. Caylee was last seen on June 16, 2008, but not reported missing until July 15, 2008 -- which triggered a nationwide search. Her remains were discovered near her home in December 2008.

The Orlando Sentinel is covering it extensively. The Caylee Daily also covers stories about the case.

You can follow updates on Twitter at @OSCaseyAnthony, or simply use the hashtag #CaseyAnthony and find tweets related to the case.

"In Session" on TruTV (formerly Court TV) is airing live coverage of the trial.

CNN's Nancy Grace is covering the trial, too, weeknights at 8 pm EST. Follow @TeamNancyHLN for an inside view of the trial.

There's been a series of bombshells since the trial started; Casey's defense attorney claimed that Caylee drowned -- and that she and her father, a retired police officer -- covered it up. The attorney has also brought up that Casey has been sexually abused by her father and her brother. Casey's dad was the first prosecution witness, and he denied the sexual abuse allegations and the defense attorney's claims of finding Caylee in the family swimming pool.

Caylee Anthony

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Reed Farrel Coleman at Sachem Library, Holbrook

Today ~ Saturday, May 21, 2011, Long Island Sisters in Crime welcomes Reed Farrel Coleman-- three-time Shamus Award winning author of the Moe Prager series -- as their guest speaker, from 12-2 p.m., at the Sachem Public Library, 150 Holbrook Road, Holbrook, NY (Suffolk County).
The event is open to the public; admission is free. 
Follow Reed on Twitter @RFColemanBooks and on Facebook.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Who Killed Brenda Martinez?


DNA might help some cold cases, but sometimes the best chance police and family members have in solving a decades-old mystery is when someone with information comes forward.

The case of 23-year-old Brenda Martinez has gone unsolved since the day she disappeared -- just before Christmas, 1988, in Flint, Michigan, after she walked to a pay phone on Fenton and West Atherton Roads, and never returned.

Her body was discovered on January 5, 1989, near Tobaggan Hill in Holloway Regional Park. Her cause of death was not revealed, but her death has been labeled a homicide.

Brenda also used her maiden name, Harvey. She left behind a daughter, six-year-old Stephanie Bellanca.

The law enforcement agencies investigating the case are the Michigan State Police and the Richmond Township Police.

I learned about this unsolved murder from Vidster, the blogger behind "Defrosting Cold Cases.

In March 2011, The Flint Journal published "Tip energizes probe of 1980s slaying of 23-year-old Brenda Martinez," written by Khalil AlHajal. DNA is being analyzed and people are being re-interviewed. Stephanie Bellanca, now 28, is still hoping for a break in the case, which is being handled by the Michigan State Police/Flint PD Violent Crime Task Force, Cold Case Office.

Anyone with information concerning the death of Brenda Martinez can call Flint Area Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-422-JAIL or leave a web tip. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jerry Seinfeld Personal Archives

Seinfeld fans, rejoice!

Visit www.JerrySeinfeld.com to view three video "bits," chosen from Jerry's 30 years of comedy. The clips will only be available for 24 hours before Jerry chooses three new clips. Check Jerry's tour dates to see if he's coming to a city near you.

In 1989, my brother asked if I had seen The Seinfeld Chronicles; I hadn't. When the show later became simply known as Seinfeld, he'd ask, "Are you watching Seinfeld yet?" and I'd say, "No...I haven't gotten around to it yet," because of my alternating shifts. He'd insist, "You have to watch it!" I'd say, "Yeah, yeah...one of these days."

I finally caught my first episode in late 1992, and it turned out to be "The Contest," which later won an Emmy.  I immediately knew what my brother had been talking about. I called him and went on about how much I loved Seinfeld. I've been watching it ever since.

I lost my brother ten years ago this month. He was 37 years old when he was killed in a motorcycle accident on May 20, 2001. He is missed dearly.

When I watch Seinfeld, I feel like my brother's laughing right alongside me. It's a great comfort.

Follow the official Seinfeld page on Facebook. You can catch re-runs on TBS.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Silk Road Review: Flash Fiction Contest

Silk Road Review is holding a flash fiction contest, in which writers can submit up to two entries. There is no fee to enter.

A prize of $500 will be awarded, along with publication in the Silk Road summer print issue, and on their website. The word count is 1200 words or less. All pieces will be considered for publication.

The deadline is quickly approaching -- this Friday, May 6, 2011. Judging will be done by the editors of Silk Road Review. 


Silk Road Review is published twice yearly, in the spring and fall. You can read their mission statement here. They publish fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and translations.

Silk Road Review is made possible by the generous donation of Pacific University in Oregon.

You can follow Silk Road Review on Facebook.

The red tent artwork was done by Vol. 6.1's cover artist, Orna Ben-Shoshan.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

NYT Best Selling Edgar Authors on Writing

In honor of the 65th Gala Banquet of the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Awards tonight at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, here is a video of several Edgar Award-winning authors who talk about writing, produced by Open Road Media.

I attended the MWA (Mystery Writers of America) Edgars Symposium in Manhattan yesterday, followed by the MWA Agents and Editors party ~ both events were marvelous!

The list of nominees was announced on Edgar Allan Poe's 202nd birthday, on January 19, 2011.

Best wishes to the nominees, and all who are attending tonight's Gala Banquet!

   

Friday, April 22, 2011

Clerk Retains Stick-up Note - Robber's Name on Back

Bruce Manlove
photo via
Doverpost.com
A quick-thinking convenience store clerk retained a stick-up note from a robber who demanded cigarettes. They argued over the note -- which simply stated, "This is a robbery," but the clerk held onto it and the robber fled.

Shortly after, patrol officers in Dover, Delaware, stopped the robber's vehicle, which contained 17 packs of Newport cigarettes.

Even if the officers hadn't pulled over the vehicle, the stick-up note had 36-year-old Bruce Manlove's name on the back of Department of Corrections paperwork. He had been released from DOC custody on April 11 -- but he's right back where he started from, after failing to post $6,500 bail.

Manlove was charged with robbery, terroristic threatening, disorderly conduct, and trespassing.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Genius Draws No Color Line"

Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the historic day when contralto Marian Anderson, after being denied the chance to sing at the Daughter of American Revolution's Constitutional Hall (and as a result, the DAR lost one of its members, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, in protest), performed in front of a crowd of 75,000 at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday.

The Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes, invited Marian to sing; he introduced her by saying, "Genius draws no color line." To listen to his five-minute speech, visit here.

It is chilling to watch her sing, "My Country 'Tis of Thee" ~ especially with the Great Emancipator in the backdrop of this video.

I will never forget my visit to the Lincoln Memorial -- I cried just standing near it. Every American should visit it at least once in their lifetime.

What a voice, what a smile. An awesome moment in history.

A beautiful photographic history book, meant for readers ages 9-12, is available on Amazon: The Voice That Challenged A Nation: Marian Anderson and The Struggle of Equal Rights, by Russell Freedman.

Be sure to visit The Marian Anderson Historical Society web site ~ and share this historic moment with the children in your life.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cold Case Chat Recap: April 1, 2011

Today I was privileged to guest host the Cold Case Live Chat on Twitter from 12-1 p.m. EST, using the hashtag #CClivechat. This weekly Friday chat began in February, hosted by @Vidocq_CC and @ColdCaseSquad. My Twitter username is @katcop13.

I started a thread of discussion concerning the recent discovery of a 5th body on Gilgo Beach. When a K-9 officer searched Gilgo Beach in December for missing person Shannan Gilbert, he found remains -- and additional searching turned up three more bodies -- but none turned out to be Shannan. The latest body was located about a mile away. The police will now expand the search to reach approximately 7.5 miles.

The fifth body has also turned out not to be Shannan. This piece of information was revealed to us during the tweet chat from @ColdCaseSquad. The most recent update can be read here.

Anyone with information about the victims found at Gilgo Beach or the whereabouts of Shannan Gilbert can anonymously contact the SCPD by leaving a tip here.

Richard Mark Case (@TrickyCase), a fingerprint expert from The Fingerprint Society in the U.K., joined in the first half of the chat to answer questions. We learned that fingerprints would be too difficult to lift from building materials due to its coarseness, but there's a chance a finger/palmprint can be left in wet cement. The discussion continued concerning several other sources from which a print can or can't be lifted -- even skin!

Richard believes the best opportunity for prints in the Heath case would be the garbage bags.

The lively chat included questions and comments about DNA, fabric, vacuum metal deposition, and several other topics.

Another thread I began had to do with the recent request by the FBI for assistance in cracking a code in a 1999 case. Turns out this particular case stems from St. Louis ~ @bluedog89's neck of the woods, and we learned that @LilacLounge is interested in cryptography. These chats are always fascinating.

Thanks to @TrickyCase @ColdCaseSquad @LilacLounge @oceanbluepress and @bluedog89 for participating in today's chat ~ and I am grateful to @jamesatkinspics @UCsci @nancyjparra @DiscoveryID for their RTs.

You can read a transcript on either Tweetdoc.org or SearchHash (I tried fitting one of them onto this blog post, but was unsuccessful).

I look forward to participating in many more Cold Case Live Chats ~ hope to see you there.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

War Story Wednesday: Cops by Mark Baker


Cops: Their Lives in Their Own Words by Mark Baker is a book of police war stories, first published in 1985. The stories are wild. Police work has changed quite a bit since then, but it remains an eye-opening collection.

Here's a 2002 review which captures the content quite well.

A preview is available online via Google Books.

Page 28 contains a harrowing story of a rookie handling an accident with multiple fatalities; a warning, however: the tragedy involves young children. It certainly predates mandatory infant car seats and seatbelt laws, although in this head-on collision, a seat belt might not have saved anyone. It's a shocker.

The cover contains a blurb from Elmore Leonard: "As authentic as you can get...that's the way it is."

If you have any war stories you'd like to share, post them in the comments section, or write your own blog post and send the link ~ I'll update this page. If you're interested in writing a guest post here on War Story Wednesday, give me a shout @ katcop13 at gmail dot com.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cold Case Twitter Chats

Another cold case Twitter chat just ended ~ and it was fabulous!

Chats are hosted by @Vidocq_CC (of "Defrosting Cold Cases" blog) and @ColdCaseSquad ("The Cold Case Squad" blog) on Fridays, between 12 noon - 1 p.m. EST. They began on February 25; this was our fourth chat.

This is a wonderful opportunity for cold case bloggers, cops, media, the families of victims, lawyers, and many other like-minded folks to converse. It's beneficial to writers, also, who can pose questions.

The hope we have for cold cases is that someone with information becomes willing to come forward. The incentive varies, of course, but a person may be persuaded to come forward if certain relationships change; it might be for reward money; a promise of anonymity; the person has matured or his/her conscience is getting the better of him/her. It might very well be to simply "do the right thing." If a shift in a relationship occurs -- which might include divorce, death, a break-up, a renewed friendship -- police usually benefit when it comes to solving cold cases. It is important to keep the dialogue open. The families of the victims should know that the police don't forget; the memory of their loved ones live on as we promote awareness of his/her case.

The hashtag is #cclivechat (short for cold case live chat). If you're not familiar with Tweetchat.com, now's the perfect time to get to know it. You enter a hashtag, and it's the only Twitter stream you see -- and another bonus, it automatically adds the hashtag for you ~ no need to retype it!

@Vidocq_CC has been recapping the chats if you'd like to scroll through the old ones.

Joe Giacalone has recently published The Criminal Investigative Function: A Guide for New Investigators. I ordered a Kindle edition through Amazon for my Mac, and I'm enjoying it tremendously.


If I'm near a computer at 12 noon EST on Fridays, I will join in. Hope to see you there -- and bring questions or certain cases you'd like to discuss. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

War Story Wednesday: The Battery


 "The Battery"

One of my co-workers, a car buff who enjoyed restoring vehicles, banged in [cop talk for calling in sick] because he dropped a battery on his foot. (To appreciate this story, you should know that he was a bit of a whiner.)

Upon hearing this, my salty supervisor said, 

"It was probably a double A."

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