tv Forensic Files CNN April 19, 2015 12:00am-12:31am PDT
of evidence collection in this case and it really, really helped this case along. >> it is one in a million. like i said, it is a miracle. by the grace of god they found him. a murder in australia had everyone shaking their head. a bizarre twist, but items in the victim's body made forensic history. tasmania is a tiny island off the coast of australia, considered to be one of the most unspoiled and remote spots in the world. in the city of lefroy, for
example, there are only a handful of residents. >> people of lefroy want to be left alone. they're not employed, most of them. i would guess that 20, 25 at the most would live in lefroy. and that includes small children. >> early on the morning of october 9th, 2000, ivan jones went to his cousin's house, to ask for a ride. while his cousin got dressed, jones took his dog for a walk. and found one of the neighbors dead. the victim was identified as 72-year-old david crawford, a retired veteran of the royal australian navy. >> mr. crawford was a fair indication he was in bed. he was in pajamas. and had been awoken at night. and had left the house to see whatever confrontation it was that awoke him.
>> forensic pathology dr. robert kessol, went to the scene and tried to determine when mr. crawford was killed. >> the time of death was tricky. but at the time, i measured the body temperature. >> dr. kelsall estimated the mord took place between 4:00 and 7:30 in the morning, when the body was discovered. neighbors told police they heard dogs barking just before dawn. but that wasn't unusual. >> with the wildlife around the town, it may be kangaroos that spooked the dogs. or maybe the dogs smelled a person. >> police found no signs of forced entry. but crawford's wallet was missing from his bedroom. there were no signs of a struggle inside the house. and no foreign fingerprints,
either. in the front yard, investigators found what looked like a bloodstain. they waited for nightfall, then, sprayed the area with luminal. seconds later, a clear, unmistakable image appeared. >> it was pretty amazing. >> the image was so clear, investigators could determine what type of ax it was. >> a canadian ax, where the head goes down in a point, with a definite arc at the bottom of the head. >> with only a few dozen people in town, the killer was probably someone crawford knew. >> really, every able-bodied man who could swing an ax could have been a suspect at some stage.
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>> he helped in the township. we used to take them out and about, shopping and to doctors and things like that. but he wasn't one ha that has parties or heaps of people. he was quite happy with himself. going to see his grandchildren. >> the bloodstain on davaid crawford's lawn was the outline of an ax. the pathologist believed that the ax was the murder weapon. dna testing revealed that the blood was crawford. the ax was gone. >> a little town, probably quite a few axes. but if we were able to find the ax with blood on it. >> a mining town, lefroy was
ritled with mining shafts, many under water. they were perfect places to hide a murder weapon. this is actual police video of those searches. >> a lot of shafts. we used underwater cameras. and we drained a substantial dam on the township. again, we had no luck with those searches. >> with crawford's wallet missing, police assumed the motive was robbery. historically tasmania has had very little crime. many retirees kept a lot of cash on-hand. >> the people, especially elderly people, kept money in their homes. if you lived in a small town, that word gets around that such and such has a load of money. they keep it under the mattress or in a jar or something.
>> and police learned of another interesting coincidence. the man who found crawford's body, 19-year-old ivan jones, reported seeing a suspicious man casing the neighborhood. >> he claimed he had told mr. crawford that someone was stalking him, someone seen by jones, with a torch around the house in the evening. it was before the murder. >> jones told police what he initially told crawford, that he did not recognize the man in the neighborhood. on a hunch, investigators asked jones where he was at the time of crawford's murder. jones said he was home with his sister and her boyfriend. >> his alibi was that he was asleep in his sister's house. he was asserting that he had been asleep between the hours of
1:00 and 6:00, which covered the period of the murder. >> jones' sister confirmed his alibi. and said as far as she knew, he never left the house. next, police interviewed jones' cousin, darcie mcclain, who found crawford's body along with jones. mcclain said he was asleep in his home around the time of the murder. but since he lived alone, there was no way to corroborate it. then, darcie gave police two very useful pieces of information. first, he claimed that someone had stolen an ax from his home. second, he said his cousin, ivan jones, behaved suspiciously on the morning of david crawford's murder. >> from darcie, we felt it was
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david crawford's autopsy took place in the royal hobart hospital the day after his body was discovered. the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, most likely caused by an ax or similar implement. crawford had been a healthy, 72-year-old man except for some heart trouble. >> he had a condition called cardiomyopathy, which simply means that he had heart disease of unknown cause. >> then dr. kelsall made a discovery that would change the course of the investigation. he found that crawford had a heart pacemaker implanted in his chest. >> a pacemaker is a way of stimulating the heart. it delivers anything from about two to five volts into the heart to make it pace -- that is, contract. >> i was vaguely aware that
pacemakers have a recording unit inside them. >> if so, crawford's pacemaker might reveal the exact time of his murder. unfortunately, pacemakers hold information for only a short time before it's recorded over. the autopsy took place almost 30 hours after the murder, which meant the pacemaker memory might have already been erased. >> we knew that we didn't have a great deal of time, that we were running out of time. >> the hospital's pacemaker specialist quickly scanned it to gather the pacemaker data and load it on to a computer. in an unbelievable turn of events, this particular pacemaker had something very few pacemakers had at the time, a computer chip that had what's called an event memory. >> this is unique to this
product and is, in fact -- was hardly ever used. and by sheer chance, the pacemaker technician involved recognized that if there was going to be any information, it would have been on the event record. >> the software produced a detailed graph that yielded a spectacular array of information. >> the interesting part that we could work out is that we could tell exactly when the patient awoke, when the patient went outside and was being assaulted and finally when the patient had died. in between that time, there was a period when the patient was unconscious and bleeding to death, and at that point the pacemaker went back to its dormant state. >> the event record showed that david crawford went to sleep shortly after 10:00. at 4:46, he woke up.
at 4:54, his heart was beating well over 100 beats per minute, which is when he was attacked. the confrontation was over at 5:04 and david crawford laid bleeding until his heart stopped pumping at exactly 5:34 a.m. scientists retrieved this information with only hours to spare. >> it was about to be wiped. within an hour or maybe two hours, that information would disappear. >> and investigators discovered why crawford would have gotten out of bed. crawford's neighbor, who lived across the street, was in the hospital and had asked crawford to keep an eye on his house until he was released. >> everyone knew that he would be in hospital, and the neighbor was presumed to have money in his house as well. >> according to his son, he was
that sort of person that if he heard a noise, he would get up and investigate the noise. >> all police had to do now was find out who didn't have an alibi for 5:34 that morning. >> it reminded me of a quote of eleanor roosevelt who said that many people will walk in and out of your life but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. in this case, we had a pacemaker. have you touched the stuff?. it's evil. and ladders... awwwwwww!!!!! they have all those warnings on them. might as well say, "you're going to die, jeff". you hired someone to clean the gutters? not just someone. someone from angie's list. but we're not members. we don't have to be to use their new snapfix feature. angie's list helped me find a highly rated service provider to do the work at a fair price. come see what the new angie's list can do for you.
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thanks to dr. robert kelsall and his quick response to the readings on the pacemaker found during david crawford's autopsy, investigators now knew the exact time of crawford's death, 5:34 in the morning. >> having these timelines, we had the perfect witness. there's no way that that, in court, could be discredited. >> ivan jones and darcy mcclain, the two cousins who found crawford's body, were the prime suspects. darcy mcclain said he was sleeping at 5:34 on the night of the murder. he lived alone so there was no way to corroborate his alibi.
he also claimed that an ax was missing from his home. a search of his house revealed nothing. ivan jones said he was asleep in his sister's home until he woke up at 6:00 a.m. but jones' sister provided a slightly different timeline. she said she last saw ivan at 3:00 a.m. when he asked her for a cigarette and then not again until 6:00 a.m. when she heard him in the shower. so no one could confirm his alibi between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m. and police believed that ivan's 6:00 a.m. shower was no coincidence. >> a man has been involved in a violent murder, one would also expect there to be blood on his body. and of course the investigation found that he had a shower, almost a bath, by 6:00.
and that his clothes had been washed. and that bleach had been used in the washing machine where he washed his clothing. >> in a search of ivan's home, investigators found a possible link to the murder. >> one of our detectives located a torch in a hole in the foundation of that residence. it was very clean. it was not covered in dust. it certainly hadn't been there for any great length of time. >> to put a flashlight under the house is something that is way out of the ordinary. not something anybody would do unless they had something to hide. >> there were no fingerprints on the flashlight, so forensic analyst debby mccool looked for possible dna evidence. >> i didn't find any obvious bloodstains. i took a swab from the outer surface of the torch. i removed the batteries and swabbed those as well. >> and she made sure to swab the one place that's easy to overlook, the area underneath
the on/off switch, hoping to find dead skin cells. >> dna can get onto an object by just handling it. and by swabbing the item we can often obtain a dna profile. >> amazingly, there were enough skin cells to develop a dna profile. the skin cells in the crevices of the on/off switch were not ivan jones' or darcy mcclain's. they were the skin cells of the murder victim, david crawford, proving it was his flashlight. investigators believe that jones planned to burglarize the empty house across the street from david crawford. to break in, jones stole the ax from darcy mcclain's home, but when he got to the house, a neighborhood dog started barking and woke david crawford. he got up and grabbed his flashlight to investigate. crawford saw jones, and that's when jones attacked.
crawford lay bleeding from his wounds yet was still alive. jones dropped the ax, went into crawford's home and stole his wallet. then he picked up the ax and crawford's flashlight and fled. david crawford's heart stopped beating at 5:34 a.m. jones disposed of the ax and crawford's wallet, but for some reason kept the flashlight. to establish an alibi, jones made sure his sister and her
boyfriend heard him taking a shower around 6:00 a.m. in an attempt to further shore up his alibi, jones went to his cousin's house at 7:30 that morning, and he arranged to find crawford's body with his cousin there as a witness, hoping the discovery would eliminate him as a suspect. but jones didn't know about the pacemaker. had he waited to call police just a little while longer, the pacemaker's memory would have been lost long before the autopsy. >> had an excellent alibi. it is possible that in a court of law, he may have been found not guilty in that there was insufficient evidence. this was the absolute perfect evidence to put away this man. >> this case marked the first time in the world that data from a pacemaker was used in a murder
trial. in october of 2001, ivan jones was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. the pacemaker was a silent witness, but it told the jury all they needed to know. >> i'll carry it with me for the rest of my career. i encourage other investigators to give that consideration to pacemakers, because time of death is not known and you never know what you'll get out of the data from a pacemaker. >> these things were never heard of years ago in solving crimes like this, and i think it's marvelous that something like that technology was able to do that. >> seems very ironic that this man had a pacemaker which actually outlived him because it was designed to keep him alive, of course, but nevertheless acted as a real witness to what's happened, an external machine, if you like, which saw what was happening when nobody
else did. for 12, long years, the murder of a young hospital worker went unsolved. police had their suspicions, but little proof. but an old, used tissue told the story far better than any eyewitness. from the moment she was born, laura wynn was fighting the odds. >> she weighed 1 pound and 14 ounces. three months