Read Dead Guilty Online

Authors: Beverly Connor

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Horror, #Suspense, #Mystery & Detective, #Women Sleuths, #Mystery, #Police Procedural, #Detective, #Fiction - Mystery, #Mystery & Detective - General, #Mystery & Detective - Police Procedural, #Fallon, #Women forensic anthropologists, #Georgia, #Diane (Fictitious character)

Dead Guilty (9 page)

Chapter
11

When
Diane
walked
into
Lynn
Webber’s
autopsy
room, Lynn was examining the surface of Chris Ed
wards’ body with a scope on a rope. The scope trans
mitted
a
magnified
making
visible
any
image
onto
a
computer
screen,
puncture
marks,
fibers,
or
other

minutiae
that marred or clung to his skin.
‘‘We’ll be finished in just a minute,’’ Lynn said.
They were in the main autopsy room. The isolation

room was just a wall away. Diane could see the shiny
metal tables through the large window.

Odd,
she thought, she didn’t mind the closed-in feel
ing
of
a
cave.
She
rather
liked
it.
But
the
isolation
room
was a
different
matter. Being
confined with
a
decaying
body
wasn’t
her
favorite
way
to
spend
an
afternoon.

Chris
Edwards’ corpse looked as if he had just died.
He lay on his side on the table, dressed the same way
he had come into the world, with the exception of the
yellow rope that now tied his hands behind his back.
The rope that had been so tight around his neck, that
had
cut
off
not
only
his
air
passage
but
the
blood
supply to his brain, was now loose, the weight of his
body no longer pressing against it.

Just
two days ago, Diane had talked with him. He
had thoughts, a personality . . . life. Now everything
he
had
been
was
gone.
Only
the
dead
flesh
and
bones remained.

She
tried thinking back to when they had spoken,
if he had said anything or acted any way that would
give a clue to what happened to him afterward. Both
he and Steven Mayberry had been edgy, but that was
understandable. They’d just found three dead bodies.
Nothing from her memory of her brief interaction with
him enlightened her.

‘‘You come to get the rope?’’ asked Raymond.

Diane
almost
sighed.
‘‘Yes.
I’ve
come
to
get
the
rope, and anything else you have for me.’’
‘‘I delivered Blue Doe to your lab this morning. I’ve
got Red and Green Doe ready for you to take back.’’
‘‘That was quick work.’’
‘‘Raymond
likes his
work,’’
said
Lynn. ‘‘He
espe
cially likes to skeletonize the bodies. He doesn’t get
to do that too often.’’
‘‘They’re much prettier in their bones. Skin doesn’t
wear well, especially hung out to dry like that.’’ He
grinned.
‘‘You seem happy today,’’ said Diane.
‘‘Like
Dr.
Lynn
says,
I
like
my
work.’’
Raymond
didn’t take his eyes off the screen. ‘‘I got it,’’ he said.
He
used
his
tweezers
to
pluck
something
from
the
body and placed it in an evidence bag.
‘‘We have some fibers and a couple of hairs for you
that we’ve collected from Mr. Edwards,’’ said Lynn.
‘‘The blood in his hair is interesting.’’
Diane walked over and looked where Lynn parted
his hair to reveal the scalp.
‘‘The blood didn’t come from his head. I think it
was on the perp’s hand—or his glove. See this irrita
tion
on
his
scalp?
I think
the
perp
held
his
hair
to
pull back his head. Like this.’’ Lynn illustrated by pull
ing on the hair.
‘‘Releasing
the
pressure
on
his
neck
to
let
him
breathe,’’ said Diane. ‘‘Might have been an interroga
tion technique.’’
Lynn
nodded.
‘‘That’s
what
it
looks
like
to
me.
Okay, Raymond, let’s let Diane get her rope.’’
Diane
took
this
rope
the
same
way
she
had
the
others, first securing the knot, though it was tied tight
into a granny knot and pretty well secure on its own.
She tied the noose off with string before cutting it.
‘‘This is different rope,’’ said Raymond.
‘‘The rope on the other victims was hemp. This is
polypropylene.
It
makes
good
outdoor
carpet
and
rope. Boaters like it because it doesn’t absorb water—
and it floats.’’
‘‘You know your rope,’’ said Raymond.
‘‘Rope is one of the most versatile tools in history.
It’s good stuff.’’
‘‘Not too good for our boy here,’’ said Lynn.
After the noose was off, Diane took the rope off
his hands. This was more difficult, for the rope was
tight and bit into his skin. As she worked, Raymond
snapped pictures.
‘‘I’ll get these
to you as soon
as I can. I
put the
other
photographs
with
the
bones,’’
he
said.
‘‘They
turned out real good.’’
‘‘Raymond
also
gave
you
copies of
the
photos
of
the
tattoos.
Maybe
they’ll
help
in
making
an
identification.’’
Diane
didn’t
wait
around
for
the
autopsy.
Even
though she’d met Chris Edwards only briefly, it was
not easy to watch someone she knew being dissected.
As
she took
a last
look
at the
body, she
wondered
where Steven Mayberry was. Dead like Chris? Or was
Steven the killer and on the run?

Diane
took the bones of Red and Green Doe, the
rope, and all of the evidence Lynn and Raymond had
collected for her back to the crime lab. David looked
up from his microscope when she came into his lab.

‘‘I’m
looking at fibers from the door frame of the
house now,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s mostly white cotton from
tee-shirts
and
blue
cotton
from
jeans.
Jin
got
some
good prints of his bloody glove.’’

‘‘Speaking
of blood . . .’’ Diane said.
‘‘Neva drove the samples to Atlanta.’’
‘‘I’m glad none of you people need any sleep.’’
‘‘Sleep? We get too much sleep.’’ Jin, wearing jeans

and
a black tee-shirt that said
M
.
E
.
S ARE ON THE CUT
TING
EDGE,
came
bopping
into
the
lab,
holding
a
folder. ‘‘You know, if we live to be a hundred, we’ll
have spent over ten years asleep. I checked out the
prints we found. All are exemplars, except maybe the
glove print.’’

‘‘Got
anything
on
the
clothes
from
the
Cobber’s
Wood crime scene?’’
Jin nodded. ‘‘Lots of carpet fibers. Orange nylon. I
found them on all the rope too, including that piece
found
on
the
ground.
I’ll
have
the
brand
of
carpet
soon.
There
was
some
brown shed
human
hair,
but
no roots.’’
‘‘All
the
blood
samples
are
delivered.’’
Neva
en
tered the lab and stood for a moment, looking embar
rassed. She held a brown bag in her hand from which
she took three boxes, and handed one to each of them.
‘‘Hey, what’s the occasion?’’ asked Jin.
‘‘No occasion. We talked last night about my work
with clay, and... well, thought you might like some.’’
Diane opened her box. Nestled in white tissue paper
was a tiny figurine of a gray squirrel on a log, holding
an acorn. It was small enough to hold in the palm of
her hand, but the details—the fur of the squirrel, the
bark
on
the
tree,
the
cap
of
the
acorn—were
remarkable.
‘‘You made this?’’ said Diane.
‘‘Yes. It’s very relaxing.’’
‘‘Relaxing?’’ said David. ‘‘Look at this. You must
have had to do each leaf separately.’’ His figurine was
a tree with a bird standing on a branch next to another
bird sitting on a nest. ‘‘Those feathers look real.’’
Jin’s
was a
raccoon
peering out
of
a hollow
tree.
‘‘Cool,’’ said Jin. ‘‘Do you sell them?’’
‘‘I
go
to
craft
fairs
occasionally.
Mostly,
I
make
them
for
friends
and
family.
Mom
calls
them
dust
catchers.’’
‘‘It’s heavy,’’ said Diane, weighing hers in her hand.
‘‘I
put
nuts
or
BBs
in
the
bottom
of
the
clay
to
keep the center of gravity low. Even though they’re
small, they’re pretty good paperweights.’’
‘‘These
are
great,’’
said
Diane.
‘‘Thank
you.
This
had to take hours to make.’’
‘‘As I said, it’s very relaxing.’’
‘‘I’ll have to introduce you to the people who make
models of planned exhibits. They’ll love this.’’
Neva seemed pleased with the reception of her gifts.
Diane was relieved that Neva was making an effort to
identify with the team. The intercom squawked with
the receptionist’s voice announcing that Sheriff Braden and Chief Garnett wanted to see her.
‘‘Buzz them in.’’
That must be a pair,
thought Diane. She knew that
Sheriff
Braden
and
the
chief
weren’t
the
best
of
friends. But neither were she and Garnett. These days,
it seemed that Garnett was trying to rebuild a lot of
burnt bridges. The two of them looked cordial enough
as they walked into the crime lab.
‘‘The sheriff was discussing with me a possible link
in our murders, and I thought I’d bring him over to
see the lab.’’
Sheriff
Braden
scrutinized
the
room
as
he
ap
proached. ‘‘This looks real modern.’’
‘‘We’re proud of it,’’ said Diane.
‘‘It has the latest equipment,’’ said Garnett.
‘‘You do DNA work here too?’’ asked the sheriff.
‘‘No. We send that to the GBI lab in Atlanta.’’
‘‘I know you
aren’t finished analyzing all
the evi
dence yet,’’ Garnett said, ‘‘but we’d like to see what
we have so far.’’
It
appeared
that
Garnett
wanted
to
get
down
to
business before the sheriff asked about any other pro
cedures they didn’t do.
‘‘Sure,’’ Diane said, ‘‘but perhaps the sheriff would
like a tour of the facilities first.’’
Diane
didn’t
wait
for
a
reply,
but
immediately
began
showing
the
sheriff
the
labs
and
the
glasswalled work spaces. She explained to him how each
of the different microscopes revealed hidden charac
teristics in all manner of trace evidence. The sheriff
nodded as she explained to him about opaque mate
rial versus transparent material and the type of mi
croscopes they required, about polarizing and phasecontrast microscopes.
‘‘The museum has an electron microscope that we
contract
to
use,’’
said
Garnett
with
pride
that
sug
gested that it was his own piece of equipment. Appar
ently, this made up for not doing DNA analysis.
‘‘We
contract
with
the
museum
for
several
pro
cesses,’’
said
Diane.
‘‘Pollen
analysis,
soil
analysis,
questioned and damaged documents. It’s one advan
tage of being in a museum.’’
‘‘But
don’t
your
researchers
here
do
some
DNA
work?’’ said the sheriff. ‘‘During the museum tour last
year, some of the biologists said they were working
with DNA.’’
‘‘They’re
heavily
involved
in
their
own
research
projects,’’ said Diane, ‘‘and what they do is very differ
ent from what we need. They’re not set up to process
crime scene evidence.’’
Diane hoped the gas chromatography, spectral anal
ysis and electrostatic detection and the amazing range
of
national
and
international
databases—AFIS
for
fingerprint identification, CODIS for DNA identifica
tion, databases for fibers, shoe prints, cigarette butts,
bullet casings, tire treads, paint, hair, plus all the soft
ware that matched, categorized, imaged, mapped, and,
correlated—was sufficiently interesting to get him off
his DNA analysis obsession. The last stop was David’s
bug-rearing chambers.
‘‘These are the insects from Cobber’s Wood. They’ll
give us a pretty good estimate of time of death.’’
‘‘Dr.
Webber
said
the
bodies
had
been
out
there
about a week,’’ said the sheriff.
‘‘More like three,’’ said David.
The sheriff laughed. ‘‘Three weeks in this climate
gets you bones.’’
‘‘Hanging slows decomposition.’’
‘‘I’ve
found
that
Lynn
Webber is
always
right
on
the money,’’ said the sheriff, still smiling.
‘‘We’ll grow out the bugs and give you a report,’’
said Diane.
‘‘You do that, but I have to tell you, I respect the
mind of a human more than I do the mind of a bug.’’
‘‘When
it
comes
to
brains,
so
do
I,’’
said
Diane.
‘‘But we’re talking about sex, and bugs are very pre
dictable in that area.’’
Laughter broke the contentious mood that threatened.
‘‘We’re just starting to process the evidence,’’ said
Diane,
‘‘but
we’ll
tell
you
what
we
can
about
the
murders.’’

Chapter
12

Diane
led
Sheriff
Braden
and
Chief
Garnett
to
a
round table in the corner that she and her crew used
for planning and debriefing. She sat across from them.
Her crew filled the remaining spaces around the table;
David and Jin to her left between her and the sheriff.
Neva was the last to sit down. She pulled out the chair
between Diane and Garnett and hesitated a moment
before
she
sat,
leaving
a
wide
space
between
her
and Garnett.

The
metal top of the table reflected a fuzzy image
of
all
of
them.
Chief
Garnett
put
his
hands
on
the
table and looked at his reflection for a moment. The
sheriff’s
through
gaze
still
shifted
around
the
room,
looking
the
glass
partitions
at
the
equipment—no

doubt
wondering how much everything cost.
‘‘What more can you tell us about any connection
between
these
two
crime
scenes?’’
asked
Garnett
when
they were
all
settled. ‘‘It’s
an amazing
coinci
dence that the man who found those bodies was him
self
hung
a
day
later.
Are
we
looking
at
the
same
perp, or were Edwards and Mayberry involved in the
woods murders in some way?’’
Diane didn’t know the answer to that question, and
she
guessed
that
Garnett
didn’t
really
expect
an
answer.
‘‘I can tell you that the person who tied the knots
on the hanging victims was not the same person who
tied the knots for Chris Edwards.’’
‘‘How can you possibly tell that?’’ asked Garnett.
‘‘I know you’re some kind of expert in knots, but . . .’’
‘‘My examination is not yet complete, but I’ve seen
enough to know that the same person probably tied
Blue, Red, and Green Doe, but not Chris Edwards.’’
‘‘Blue, Red, and Green Doe?’’ said Garnett.
‘‘Until
we
determine
their
identities,
we
refer
to
them
by
the
color
of
cord
used
to
secure
the
rope
when we cut it from the victims.’’
Garnett’s mouth twitched into almost a smile. ‘‘Go
on.’’
‘‘The
nooses
on
the
Cobber’s
Wood
bodies
were
tied by first making a loop with a bowline knot, then
pulling the other end of the rope through to make a
noose. I haven’t yet looked at how the rope was tied
to the tree limb.’’
Jin jumped up and left the room. It was such a quick
movement, they all looked after his retreating back.
‘‘He’s going to get something,’’ said Neva. ‘‘You get
used to his energy after a while.’’
Diane’s
cell
phone
vibrated
in
the
pocket
of
her
gray blazer. She fished it out and looked at the caller
ID. Denver, Colorado. Who did she know in Denver?
She didn’t recognize the number. Probably wrong. She
let the voice mail pick it up.
‘‘I hate those things,’’ said the sheriff. ‘‘They’re al
ways ringing at the wrong time, but you can’t do with
out them. They cause a lot of automobile accidents.’’
‘‘Actually, more accidents are caused by drivers not
keeping their eyes on the road. Cell phones are way
down on the list,’’ said David.
‘‘You don’t say?’’
Jin came back and handed Diane a stack of photo
graphs.
She
flipped
through
them until
she
came
to
zooms of the rope tied around the tree. It showed the
rope wrapped twice around the limb with the standing
end of the rope going under the two loops around the
tree.
It
had
an
interesting
twist—a
stopper
knot
on
the
end
to
make
sure
the
rope
wouldn’t
slip
back
through and release under the weight of the victim.
The perpetrator had also tied a stopper knot on the
end of the bowline knot and one on the end of his
handcuff knot. The stopper knot was set—tightened.
She had not yet examined what kind of knot he used
for
the
stoppers,
but
she’d
bet
they
were
all
the
same knot.
‘‘Okay,’’ she said, ‘‘this is an anchor bend used on
the limb, also called a fisherman’s bend—it was at one
time used to tie anchors to ships.’’
She handed the photos to the sheriff and Garnett.
The chief of detectives smiled as he exchanged photos
of the knots with the sheriff. Diane had observed that
talking about knots did that to people—it made them
smile, as though they were gaining secret knowledge
about a really cool skill.
David
and
Jin
noticed
it
too.
It
was
one
of
the
things
she
valued
about
the
two
of
them.
They
ob
served
everything.
Jin,
especially,
could
maintain
pleasant eye contact, all the while taking in subtle in
formation about a person.
Neva sat very still with her hands clasped in front
of
her.
She
mostly
looked at
the
table,
occasionally
making eye contact with Jin or David.
Diane handed her the stack of photographs. ‘‘Have
you had a chance to look at these?’’
She felt that giving Neva something to look at and
study might help her be less self-conscious, a quality
that would make her a better criminalist. Neva took the
photographs,
glanced
at
Diane,
and
began
looking
through them.
‘‘The rope that hung Chris Edwards was tied with
a granny knot, both on the closet rod and on the loop
that made the noose. It wasn’t a noose that tightened.
It
was
made
so
that
when
his
head
was
raised,
he
would stop choking.
‘‘I
suppose
Dr.
Webber
told
you
that
there
was
blood
in
his
hair.
She
believes
the
killer
may
have
grabbed him by the hair and pulled his head back to
stop him from suffocating as part of an interrogation
or torture. I think she’s right.’’ Diane saw the sheriff
give a subtle nod.
‘‘His hands were tied together by coiling the rope
three
times
around
his
wrist
and
securing
it
with
a
granny knot. The hands of the three victims from Cob
ber’s
Wood
were
all
tied
with
handcuff
knots.
And
several coils of rope were wrapped around their hands,
securing their fingers and thumbs.’’
Diane turned to David. ‘‘Have you had a chance to
check the ropes for blood?’’
David
nodded.
‘‘All
the
ropes
that
bound
their
hands had blood.’’
‘‘So it appears probable that at some point after he
bound their fingers up tight, he cut off the fingertips.’’
The sheriff and Garnett winced.
‘‘He also added another twist, so to speak. The rope
from the handcuffs had a noose in the end that looped
around the victims’ necks. They were tied so that if
they
struggled
and
tried
to
get
their
hands
loose,
they’d choke themselves.’’
‘‘Wasn’t taking any chances,’’ observed the sheriff.
‘‘I
still
don’t
understand
why
you’re
saying
the
woods victims and Edwards weren’t tied by the same
person,’’ said Chief Garnett.
‘‘Significantly
different
knots,’’
said
Diane.
‘‘The
person who tied the knots on the Cobber’s Wood vic
tims
had
knowledge
and
skill
with
knots.
He
knew
how
to
set
them
and
finished
them
off
so
they
wouldn’t
slip.
The
person
who
tied
Chris
Edwards’
rope used granny knots. A granny knot is an incor
rectly tied square knot. Even if he had tied a square
knot correctly, it wouldn’t have been the right knot
for that situation.’’
‘‘What do you mean?’’
‘‘Square knots slip easily. That would make it easier
for the victim to untie himself. The person who tied
the hands of the Cobber’s Wood victims with handcuff
knots
wouldn’t
have
used
a
granny
knot
on
Chris
Edwards.’’
‘‘Maybe he was in a hurry,’’ said Garnett.
Diane shook her head. ‘‘If you know how to tie a
handcuff knot, it’s just as fast to tie as wraps of rope
secured with a granny knot.’’
‘‘If I’m not mistaken, aren’t granny knots hard to
untie? That seems like it would be an advantage,’’ said
the sheriff.
‘‘A
good
knot
doesn’t
slip
under
pressure,
but
is
not impossible to untie. Knots such as the handcuff
knot and the bowline knot are used by people who
know
their
knots
because
they
work
best
for
what
they do.’’
Diane
could
see
Garnett
wasn’t
convinced.
The
magic of knots was evaporating rapidly for him.
‘‘All the victims were hung and all had their hands
tied behind their backs,’’ Garnett said. ‘‘The perp had
a lot of time in the woods to get his knots right. He
was in a hurry at the Edwards house.’’
This time it was David who rose from his chair—
more leisurely than Jin—and came back with props.
He handed Diane a length of rope. She took the rope
in
her
right
hand
and
maintained
eye
contact
with
Garnett and the sheriff. They watched her fidget with
the rope.
‘‘It doesn’t matter if he was in a hurry. It’s not faster
to do it wrong if you know how to do it right, and
our Cobber’s Wood guy knew how to do it right.’’
She held up the knot she had just tied. ‘‘This is a
bowline. It’s called the king of knots because it’s very
useful—it holds well and is easy to untie. It’s a per
sonal favorite of mine.
‘‘I’m not someone who is extraordinarily gifted in
knot tying. I’m a caver, and sometimes we have only
one hand free to tie a knot, and sometimes we’re in
very low light or darkness while we’re tying them, and
our lives are depending on a good knot. Cavers learn
to tie knots with one hand without looking. I believe
our Cobber’s Wood perp was good at knots. He could
have done it under stress and in a hurry.’’
‘‘Are
you
saying
he
may
be
a
caver?’’
asked
Garnett.
‘‘No.
I’m
just
trying
to
convince
you
that
people
who know how to tie knots know how to tie knots.’’
The sheriff laughed. ‘‘Then are you saying that ex
pert knotters never make mistakes?’’
‘‘No. We certainly do, but rarely do we tie granny
knots. All I’m saying is that the person who tied Chris
Edwards didn’t know knots or rope. The rope he used
was old and worn, and there was an overhand knot in
the
middle
between
Edwards’
neck
and
the
clothes
rod from which he was hanging.’’
‘‘So,’’ asked Garnett, ‘‘what does that mean?’’
Diane
took
the
rope
and
tied
an
overhand
knot,
pulling it tight. ‘‘I just decreased the strength of this
rope by fifty percent.’’
‘‘You’re kidding.’’ Garnett spoke in a way that sug
gested all his ropes had knots in them.
‘‘No,
and
in
a
worn
rope,
that’s
significant.
Chris
Edwards was a husky, athletic young man, and a big
portion
of
his
weight
was going
to
be
on
that
rope
that was barely adequate. It was another bad choice,
like the square knot. The perp didn’t know what he
was doing.’’
‘‘But it didn’t break,’’ said Garnett.
‘‘No, it didn’t, but it was too close to the breaking
point to be a safe choice.’’
‘‘Well, you’ve convinced me about the ropes,’’ said
the sheriff. ‘‘But that still doesn’t tell us if the murders
are connected.’’
‘‘No, it doesn’t,’’ said Diane. ‘‘The evidence we’ve
looked at so far seems to indicate it might have been
a
single
perp
at
the
Edwards
crime
scene.
But
we
don’t yet have any indication from Cobber’s Wood to
point to a single perp or more than one.’’
‘‘Could have been a whole gang of ’em,’’ said the
sheriff. ‘‘And for reasons we don’t know, one of them
might have killed Chris Edwards. It might not be the
same one who did the rope work in Cobber’s Wood.’’
‘‘But the evidence does give us an MO for the per
son
who
tied
the
knots
on
Chris
Edwards,’’
said
Diane. ‘‘He probably always ties knots the same way
because he doesn’t know any other way.’’
‘‘I see what you mean,’’ said the sheriff. ‘‘If we find
something all tied up in a suspect’s house, for instance,
the way he ties his knots might connect him to one
crime scene or the other.’’
‘‘Yes. It can’t be the only evidence, but...’’
‘‘But it’ll give us and the suspect something to talk
about in the interrogation room,’’ said the sheriff.
‘‘I have to agree with Chief Garnett,’’ said Diane.
‘‘It’s
too
big
a
coincidence
that
Edwards
was
killed
just
after
he
and
Mayberry
discovered
the
bodies.
Have you found Steven Mayberry yet?’’
‘‘No. Nor have any of his friends or relatives seen
him. Frankly, we don’t know if he’s on the run or if he
met with the same fate as Edwards. Have you found
anything
else
interesting
from
the
Cobber’s
Wood
crime scene?’’
‘‘Orange carpet fibers. Jin’s working on the brand.
We’ll
be
able
to
tell
you
something
about
the
se
quence of events when we’re finished looking at the
tracks and other impression evidence. We also found
brown shed human hair.’’
‘‘Shed hair,’’ said the sheriff. ‘‘So you can’t do any
thing with that. As I understand it, you can’t get DNA
from shed hair—you need the root. Is that right?’’
Jin glanced over at Diane. He raised his chin and
eyebrows so slightly that probably only she and David
noticed. She knew what he was urging her to tell them.
He’d been talking about it ever since he read the arti
cle, and now here was a chance to give it a try.
Well,
why not?
she thought. The sheriff was apparently en
amored with DNA.
‘‘Tell me what you know about DNA,’’ she asked
the sheriff.
Sheriff Braden shifted in his chair and gave her a
long
stare.
‘‘Now,
I’ve
always
heard
you
can’t
get
DNA
from
hair
that’s
been shed
because
it
doesn’t
have the root, and that’s where the DNA is. Are you
saying that’s not true?’’
‘‘It’s not precisely true. Shed hair does have nuclear
DNA, just not much of it. The root of a hair has about
two hundred nanograms of nuclear DNA. The shaft
has less than ten—not enough even for a normal PCR
test. Added to that little difficulty is that the pigments
in the hair can inhibit the PCR reaction.’’
‘‘PCR—that’s
the
test
that
copies
DNA?’’
said
Garnett.
‘‘Yes,’’ the sheriff answered. ‘‘That’s it.’’
‘‘Polymerase
chain
reaction,’’
said
Diane.
‘‘It’s
a
powerful method that can be used on degraded and
small samples of DNA. However, some samples are
just too small.’’
‘‘Like shed hair,’’ said the sheriff.
‘‘Yes,’’ agreed Diane. ‘‘Shed hair does have more
mitochondrial
DNA,
but
that
type
of
DNA
doesn’t

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