Wedding Plans End in Tragedy in Brevard, NC: Part 2

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Wedding Plans End in Tragedy in Brevard, NC: Part 2

An hour later, under the floodlights and windstorm of a search-and-rescue helicopter, Justin’s brutally murdered body was discovered in his parked car in the gravel lot off NC 151. A screaming, hysterical Anna Grace had leapt from Officer Kaminski’s vehicle and had quickly been wrestled to the ground by three officers who were trying to prevent her from approaching Justin’s car.

The next day, the medical examiner revealed that Justin had died of a single shotgun blast to the head, which had blown apart his skull and covered the interior of the vehicle in carnage. The examination of Justin’s body immediately established that the motive for this murder was not robbery. The medical examiner released Justin’s wallet and cell phone, both found on his body, to his parents – and a 1-karat diamond engagement ring, found in a satin box in his right-side jacket pocket, to Anna Grace.

The investigation quickly revealed that Justin was murdered by a marine buddy who suffered severe PTSD and is now awaiting trial. During their second tour in Iraq, Justin knew his friend had raped a fellow marine. Justin had pleaded with his friend to turn himself in, advice which his friend refused to take and which created severe tension between Justin and his friend. The victim reported the rape to her commanding officer, and Justin’s friend was dishonorably discharged and lucky to escape court martial or a civil trial. He had followed Justin to the trail that morning, awaited Justin’s return from his run, and gunned him down because he believed Justin was responsible for his military disgrace.

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A week later, after forensics finished its examination of the car, the car was towed to the home of Justin’s parents, who hired us to clean the crime scene. When we arrived, we were greeted by a stricken Anna Grace and two devastated parents. In tragic situations like this, especially when family or friends are present, our goal is to go in and return things to normal as quickly and compassionately as possible. That can be a challenge when the scene is especially grisly, like this one, and takes days or even weeks to completely remediate.

The blast from a gunshot wound to the head leaves a shocking horror scene even after the medical examiner has removed the victim’s body. The entire interior of Justin’s car – doors, ceiling, floor, and upholstery – all had copious amounts of blood and tissue on them. The shattered driver’s side window was not only sprayed with blood but also caked with dried brain tissue resulting from the blast coming from outside the passenger-side window. The floor mat and upholstered driver’s seat into to which blood had soaked over 10 hours had to be removed and discarded. The ceiling fabric also had to be replaced along with both the driver’s side and front passenger side windows. We were able to work directly with the car manufacturer to replace everything that could not be cleaned, sparing the family this terrible burden.

While we cannot clean away the memory of what happened, we can and absolutely do completely clean away the terrible evidence. We safely package, remove, and transport what can’t be cleaned and thoroughly decontaminate what can be cleaned. Advanced Bio Treatment professionals are well trained in the handling, decontaminating, and disposal of bio-hazardous materials, which comprise anything that has been contaminated with blood, urine, feces, and other bodily fluids. According to federal regulations, all bodily fluids are considered bio-hazardous because they can contain deadly pathogens that transfer Hepatitis B and C, AIDS, and a myriad of other nasty bacterial diseases to anyone who touches them. For this reason, you should always call a professional crime-scene cleanup company to help you restore an environment in which someone has died violently. But because crime-scene cleanup is an unregulated industry, you should be very careful about who you hire. Advanced Bio Treatment strictly enforces and abides by all OSHA, EPA, and state guidelines. We use only professional-grade equipment and hospital-grade chemicals to decontaminate, clean, and deodorize. Most important, we recognize what can and cannot be salvaged, and we are licensed to transport bio-hazardous waste. We take no chances with your safety or our own.

If you ever find yourself in a tragic position like our client in Brevard, North Carolina, please let us help you. If you have questions about decontaminating a scene that contains blood or other bodily fluids, about your payment options, or about what your current insurance policy covers, please don’t hesitate to give Advanced Bio Treatment a call at 800-295-1864.

Wedding Plans End in Tragedy in Brevard, NC: Part 1

Death Cleanup – Wedding Plans End in Tragedy in Brevard, NC: Part 1

Early Saturday morning, just as the sun rose, Justin decided to go for a run to get some exercise and, at the same time, recon the perfect spot to surprise his girlfriend of five years. It had to be perfect because he was only going to do this once.

He parked in a gravel lot right off NC 151 and headed toward the Mountains-to-Sea trailhead, which would lead to the top of Mt. Pisgah, near Brevard, North Carolina, and a breathtaking view. Justin had run and hiked here often during college, but since the main trail had several spurs easy to mistake for the main trail itself, he wanted to make sure he remembered the way before he brought Anna Grace back here later that day for a scenic hike and the big moment. After a quick warm up, off he ran in search of the perfect spot to ask Anna Grace to become his wife.

This would be Justin’s last run.

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“I’m sorry, ma’am, but we can’t do anything until he’s been missing for 24 hours. Technically, a person isn’t missing until 24 hours passes, especially adults. He’s probably out with his friends, had a little too much to drink, and forgot to call.” The police officer glanced uneasily but steadfastly at the distraught woman on the other side of the window.

“No way! He doesn’t even drink! You don’t understand,” cried Anna Grace. “This isn’t like him at all. He has never even been late for a date, much less failed to show up at all! He’s a marine – well, an ex-marine. He served two tours in Iraq. He’s a fanatic about being on time and checking in! He’s always on my case about letting him or a friend know where I am every time I leave my apartment by myself!”

It was 10 PM. Justin was supposed to pick her up at 1 PM to spend the day together hiking.

“Have you called–?”

“Yes! Of course! 100 times! His cell phone goes straight to voice mail! Something’s happened to him!” She buried her face in her cupped hands and trembled and cried silently.

“When was the last time you talked to him?”

Anna Grace lifted her face and wiped tears from her right cheek. “He called me last night around 9 and said he’d be at my apartment at 1 today. That was the last time I heard from him.”

“OK. I’ll see what I can do.” Officer Kaminski escorted Anna Grace to his desk, took a report, and promised to try to start an investigation within the next couple of hours.

“Thank you. Please, please, do whatever you can.”

As she walked toward the door, Officer Kaminski stood up and called after her. “Wait – do you have tracking apps turned on for each other on your cell phones?”

Anna Grace turned abruptly toward the officer, visibly startled. “Oh my God! I forgot about that completely! Justin installed something like that on both our phones awhile back, but I never used mine!” She fumbled with her purse, pulled out her phone, dropped it nervously, and scrambled to pick it up from the floor. After turning the phone on and entering her code, she handed it to the officer.

“I have no idea what the app is or how to use it,” she said. “I just remember Justin putting it on there. He’s way more paranoid about safety than I am, I guess.”

Officer Kaminski took the phone, immediately found and opened the “Find My Friends” app, and clicked Justin’s name, which was the only name in the list.

Anna Grace held tightly clenched fists against her face, hiding everything below her nose, nervously waiting for the officer to tell her what he saw.

Officer Kaminski frowned deeply and glanced at his watch.

“This tracker says he’s in Pisgah National Forest, or at least that’s where his cell phone is.”

Anna Grace’s eyes widened and filled with fear. “Then that’s where HE is.”

“Well, now, slow down. Maybe he lost it while he was out there hiking around. Easy enough to do,” Officer Kaminski said.

She was shaking her head resolutely.

“No. No way. He keeps it in this clip-case holster thing that practically dead-bolts to his belt so he won’t lose it. But – it’s 10 o’clock at night. Why would he be out there – this late?”

Deep inside, both she and the officer knew the answer, or at least part of it.

 

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