from No Evidence of a Crime by S. Connell Vondrak
Detective Jim Jarred is a twenty year veteran with the Washington, DC police force. He worked his way up the ranks and is a well-respected detective with the Crime Scene Bureau.
We also have with us Lieutenant Kathleen Jackson who was hired three years ago to the DC police department. She went through a year and a half specialized training program and was placed directly into the Crime Scene Bureau.
Detective Jarred, tell us about this case.
We were called to the scene of a homicide. The victim was a young lady, a congressional aide, a beautiful young woman. I’m sure you read about in the papers. She was found
dead on the National Mall in DC, near the Jefferson monument. It made the national news. The minute you say congressional aide and murder in the same sentence, you know you have two things: everyone’s eyes on you and a really rocky road to go down.
Lieutenant Jackson, what made this case difficult to solve?
Boy, what wasn’t hard about this case. I think, the hardest thing for me was the fact we couldn’t trust anyone. Once we knew the crime lab was giving us wrong results, everyone was suspect, even the lab director. We didn’t know who was doing what.
What do you mean?
Firearms, DNA, toxicology -They all reported wrong results and it wasn’t “Oh sorry, I made a mistake” wrong. It was a “that’s not possible”wrong. You know, once we started looking at the data closely, the deceptions in this case were pretty obvious.
Did anyone outside of the department help you solve this case?
Lieutenant Jackson: Dr. Hayes was instrumental. He was the pathologist who did the autopsy. He kept saying: “That DNA result is not right.”
Detective Jarred: Don’t forget, Teri Sedgwick. She’s a forensic scientist who worked in the crime lab. I knew she was the one person we could trust.
Lieutenant Jackson: Ha, that’s Jim’s famous cop instinct or maybe I should say his annoying cop instinct.
Detective Jarred: Hey, when have I ever been wrong?
Lieutenant Jackson: That’s the annoying part.
Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
Lieutenant Jackson: Oh boy, there’s a doozy of a question. I mean of course it affects you, you know it’s a murder, of course that affects your personal life. Well, actually, this was my first murder case, so I don’t want to generalize. I don’t mean affects your personal, personal life. But, yeah, sure, it affects your personal life.
Detective Jarred: Stop, Kathleen. Kathleen tends to ramble when she’s nervous.
Lieutenant Jackson: I don’t ramble.
Detective Jarred: I know. My wife’s death is something we have never talked about. She died in a car accident two years ago. It’s okay, Kathleen. This case brought me a sense of closure with her death. It’s rough but it’s no longer raw, so yeah, this case affected me personally.
Thank you, Lieutenant Jackson and Detective Jarred, for being with us today. We appreciate what you do to protect us and the sacrifices you make.
S. Connell Vondrak worked as a forensic scientist for over 15 years and has worked in law enforcement for over 20 years. No Evidence of a Crime was released in September of 2010. The book is available through Barnes and Nobles, Oak Tree Press and azon.com. For more information about this book or to contact S. Connell Vondrak go to http://www.crimelabmysteries.com