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Pounding the Pavement

We spend so much time talking about forensic science these days because it's hard to overemphasize how much it has changed police work. Rarely do I go to a trial where someone doesn't bring up DNA, trace evidence and the like. It's talked about in hushed tones, like the Holy Grail of justice. And it should be. Good forensic science can free the innocent and bring the guilty to punishment.

But we often forget how much of police work remains logic and legwork, covering the bases, putting in the time, thinking the cases through and coming up with ideas. Case in point: Yesterday's sad discovery of the body of seven-year-old Somer Thompson, the Orange Park, FL, girl who disappeared while walking home from school two days earlier. That's Somer pictured above. As many of you may already know, her remains were found in a Georgia landfill, legs sticking out of a mound of garbage. An autopsy is underway, but authorities have already labeled the manner of death as homicide.

Why were the police in that landfill? Did forensic evidence suggest Somer was somehow connected to the landfill? No. In this case, as in so many others,  Read More 
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