“Death investigation requires strict adherence to guidelines. Investigators must search for clues that identify a death as natural, suicide or homicide. In the case of homicide, investigators must carefully collect evidence to help identify suspects and convict murderers.” The DJ Fickey death scene was not properly processed. The coroner’s decision to declare the death a suicide - apparently only after about 30 minutes of his arriving at the scene - forever made impossible the collection, processing and analysis of certain critical evidence. In Episode 3 of Chapter 1, we examined the proper procedure for investigating a death scene. We dicussed the key players as well as their roles in the investigation. We also discuss the importance of physcial evidence as well as the collection and securing of the evidence. Additionally, we examined some false or misleading information that was provided to the medical examiner within the first few hours of the investigation. Once it was decided that DJ killed himself, the investigation took a turn. Once it is determined to be a suicide, the entire investigation shifts and key evidence could be lost. Every call should be handled as a crime until it has been determined that no crime has occurred. Justice for DJ means something very specific to DJ’s sister Amanda, as you’ve heard. Frankly, without Amanda, very few people would care about DJ’s death, and you certainly wouldn’t have heard about it. Having seen the police report, interviewed experts and viewed the crime scene photos, Scott and Heather both believe that DJ did not pull the trigger of that shotgun. But we can’t say for sure. Frankly, it’s not our job to say for sure. And this is why DJ was a victim twice over... DJ Fickey either shot himself, or he was shot - and so DJ was either a victim of homicide or suicide. But then, the professionals whose job it was to ensure that DJ’s manner of death was correct - from the coroner, to the Walker County Sheriff’s Department, to the state’s crime lab, to even the district attorney - failed to do their jobs.
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