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tv   Dead Men Talking  MSNBC  October 24, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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a suspicious death in a suburban condominium. >> we don't know what happened. we have to try to figure out, why she's dead, how this actually took place. >> strange circumstances surrounding a 36-year-old man's death in a bedroom. >> what kind of drugs did he use? the scene was kind of unusual for where he was. >> puzzling questions over a skeleton and a 22-year-old mystery. >> this was a very unusual case right from the beginning. >> all unexplained deaths that medical examiner dr. daniel spitz tries to solve with forensic science.
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>> every scene is not what you first expect. >> go behind the police tape at death scenes. >> i'm just going to tag him. >> it was kind of bizarre. it doesn't make sense the whole picture we are seeing right now. >> and inside the morgue during the autopsy. >> i guess the first question i would like to answer is where did the blood come from? you never know when you're going to have the crucial finding, that ah-ha moment. >> places cameras are not usually allowed. >> what is the warrant timeline? >> it is in the judge's hands. >> the medical examiner uses secrets from the dead to crack cases wide open. >> i never know when my phone rings what the next mystery may be.
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>> 911, where is your emergency? >> a woman is found dead in her home. blood is streaked and splattered throughout the premises. >> she's got her head and her neck wedged between the bed and the wall. >> okay. >> her kitchen and her hallway is covered in blood. >> minutes later, dr. daniel spitz, the chief medical examiner for macomb and st. clair counties in michigan, is on his way to the location. >> apparently there's quite a bit of blood at the scene. i'm not sure what kind of wounds we're dealing with, if any, at this point. >> medical investigator patty roland, who works with dr. spitz, responds as well. >> there is a female. i don't have the age. that was found by her children's nanny when she came for her scheduled visit. they found blood all over the place. >> the sheriff's department cordons off the potential crime scene.
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with so much blood, investigators can't rule out foul play. >> it looks like a suspicious death. we don't really know what happened. >> dr. spitz and his staff at the medical examiner's office are responsible for investigating all suspicious or unexplained deaths in macomb and st. clair counties, a collection of 66 suburban townships, cities and villages outside of detroit. >> we work with the police at the scene so that nothing is missed. and the police, while they do a good job at investigating, are not always comfortable dealing with a dead body. >> in a special arrangement, our cameras and producers are allowed unrestricted access to the 24-hour world of the medical examiner's office as its employees respond to death scenes. >> i'm just going to tag him. >> perform autopsies. >> no gunshot wounds, stab wounds, blunt trauma, asphyxiation. >> and try to definitively determine the cause and manner
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of all deaths that occur under its jurisdiction. >> there are many, many more questions that people have when you're dealing with a situation that involves a suspicious death. >> what time do you expect the search warrant to come? >> it's a tuesday afternoon on a hot summer day. dr. spitz and medical investigator roland are called to examine the body of a 42-year-old woman found dead on her bed. >> the scene was -- was one that very much raised concern that we were going to be dealing with an obvious homicide case with obvious injuries. >> they talk with police to learn as much as they can about the deceased before going inside. >> she's divorced and has three children with her ex-husband. the nanny was coming here today with the three children for visitation. they came in the home -- >> so the nanny was dropping them off, basically? >> drop them off. yep.
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bipolar with hallucinations. >> where did you get that? >> that's from the nanny. >> okay. >> oh, my god. i know her. i know her. this is my neighbor growing up. >> suddenly, medical investigator roland realizes something very personal. >> that's my old neighbor growing up. she lived across the street when i was growing up. >> this woman? >> yeah. >> while roland responded to hundreds of death scenes, nothing has ever hit closer to home. >> this is actually the first case i worked on personally that i've known someone quite well. so it is a little disturbing right now for me. >> dr. spitz and investigator roland go inside and find a scene straight out of a horror movie. blood is smeared all over the doors, walls and appliances. the sight of her former friend shocks medical investigator roland. >> this is rough. i may cry. i apologize right now.
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it's hard because it definitely hits home. i knew her when she was healthy and happy. to see her in this kind of condition, it's heart wrenching. >> making the case even more difficult. neither dr. spitz nor investigator roland can find any obvious answers as to how the woman died. >> it is very mysterious at this point. i tell you, it is a rare scene that i've been to where you have sort of conflicting evidence -- in other words, blood evidence indicating some type of trauma but a body which doesn't show any trauma. at this point, we haven't confirmed the blood belongs to her. >> if the blood isn't the woman's, whose is it and how did she die? macomb county sheriff looks to dr. spitz to try to make some sense of the disturbing incident. >> when you start doing the autopsy you can find a whole lot more. i'm certain when dr. spitz gets that opportunity, he will have a little bit better information
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for us as to how she died, when she may have died, what may have caused her death. >> when dr. spitz is done examining the body, a private company contracted by the medical examiner's office transports the victim to the morgue where the autopsy will be performed the next morning. as the body leaves the scene, the sheriff's office continues its investigation. detectives talk with neighbors who say they've been hearing loud noises over the last few weeks. >> doors slamming, commotion, loud talking, mostly at night, a lot at night when i'm sleeping. midnight, after that. it's been pretty consistent, i would have to say. >> investigators also question the woman's family and the man she lived with. the man is the father of the first of her four children. he tells police he saw blood in the house before he left in the morning but wasn't concerned because the woman had a previous episode of smearing bodily
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fluids around the condo. he says he looked in on her, heard her breathing and left. >> my understanding is the boyfriend did notice some blood, but that maybe she was having a period. >> investigators cart off bags of evidence. as word of the bizarre bloody scene spreads, the local news shows up and the woman's death becomes a top story. at the morgue the woman's body is put in a walk-in cooler kept at 42 degrees fahrenheit, halting decomposition. dr. spitz knows law enforcement as well as family, friends and neighbors of the 42-year-old mother, including medical investigator roland, are anxious to learn if the autopsy will determine the cause of her death. coming up -- >> ah, this is getting interesting. >> the autopsy reveals surprising information. >> the question is how does the blood play into this. >> can dr. spitz crack the case? >> this is a serious amount of bleeding.
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plus, can this skeleton put to rest 22 years of anguished questions? >> when you go through tragedy you don't get on with your life. 22 years is a long time to wait. [female announcer] if the most challenging part of your day
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a 42-year-old woman is found dead in her condominium. mysteriously, she has no visible wounds that indicate how she died or where all the blood in her home came from. >> we are not able to determine exactly what caused her death. looking at the scene, that's concerning to us because there is blood in and around the house. >> investigators hope dr. spitz, the medical examiner in macomb and st. claire counties in michigan, will be able to make sense of the situation. the police call the medical examiner's office whenever they respond to a death and dr. spitz begins and investigation that may include an autopsy. >> it's a different thing every day. i go to crime scenes.
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i work with the police involving deaths and involving injury cases. i never know when my phone rings what the next mystery may be. >> dr. spitz is a forensic pathologist and often testifies at trials to explain his findings. one of the most high-profile cases he's investigated is the death of tara grant, a 34-year-old mother of who whose dismembered body was found in her garage in 2007. >> all indicative of a manual strangulation. >> her husband stephen grant was found guilty of second-degree murder. dr. spitz has investigated thousands of unexplained deaths. but the scene he finds at the condominium ranks as one of the most perplexing he's encountered. >> it is totally a mystery. i think going in with an open mind as far as the exam tomorrow is the way to go because it can turn out to be almost anything. >> it's almost 8:00 p.m. he'll perform the autopsy tomorrow morning at the morgue.
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but just when he thinks his day is over -- [ phone ringing ] >> hello. >> "larry king live" calls. they want him to be part of a panel on tonight's show to discuss missing toddler caylee anthony. >> it's been a long day but i got a call this afternoon that "larry king live" was going to be talking about the missing girl in orlando, florida, and they were going to talk about forensic evidence they had found. >> that is very concerning to me. the smell of decomposition is very distinct. the fact that it was -- >> dr. spitz isn't the only one from his office still busy. >> okay. great. i will be on my way out there. all right. see you in a little bit. >> an employee of the medical examiner's office is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to death scenes. six medical investigators split 12-hour shifts. when someone's life ends, their work begins. >> they go to these scenes and they collect the information that i need and that they need to make decisions about how a death investigation is going to
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be handled. >> pulling the night shift after the bloody scene at the condominium is medical investigator rene diegel. >> in the dead world people want to forget about everything. we're here to respect the dead and their families. >> she gets a call in the middle of the night. a 36-year-old male is found dead in his bed by his mother. >> that was a real upsetting case because he was only 36 years old. he's younger than i am. hi. >> medical investigators never know what type of scene they may be called out to during their shift or how friends or family members of the deceased will react. >> sometimes they are looking for someone to blame. sometimes they want to see the body and they can't see the body because it's grossly disfigured and it wouldn't be in their best interest to see the body. they don't understand that. they think, oh, no, i can see the body. i can handle it. i watch "csi" i can handle it. it's nothing like that, especially when it's your loved one.
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>> it's diegel's job to gather as much information as possible about the person who died. she starts by asking the mother who asked not to appear on camera, a series of questions about her son, curt lewitski. >> can you tell me a little bit about his medical history? >> kurt's an alcoholic. he has been for the last several years. he has done some drugs in the past. >> what type of drugs did he used to do? >> vicodin. morphine once or twice. >> okay. he tried fentanyl, he told me. >> after the interview, diegel examines the body. >> i'm going to go in and view him and i have to take some photographs. >> the man's history of alcohol and drug use is an important clue that may determine the cause of death. even so, diegel always keeps an open mind when inspecting a death scene. >> you have to be careful not to get tunnel vision on these cases. you get your additional information but that's why it's critical we have to go to the scene and see the circumstances
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around it because it can change. >> she follows a routine. >> i usually start at the head, looking for any deformities to the head, any depressed skull fractures, bullet holes, anything that shouldn't be there. then i go to the eyes, the neck, then work my way down the chest to make sure there are no stab wounds, no gunshot wounds, any trauma to the body, making that assessment and then work my way down. >> she doesn't see any sign of foul play. >> he was lying peacefully on the bed, almost like he was sleeping on his side. nothing unusual with the scene. i have no objection if the family wants to come in and see him. i'm just going to tag him. >> because there is no obvious cause of death, the body will be brought back to the morgue for an autopsy by dr. spitz. >> oh, god! >> he'll be examined tomorrow morning and released back to your family by late morning,
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early afternoon. thanks, guys. >> thank you. coming up -- did 36-year-old curt lewitski drink himself to death or is there more to the story? >> i have some long-standing alcohol. that's as cirrhotic as they get. >> all eyes are on dr. spitz as he looks for answers to the puzzling mystery at the condominium. >> the biggest thing right now is to say, hey, is there anything to account for her death that could be caused by somebody else?
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it's 8:00 a.m. macomb county medical examiner daniel spitz arrives at the morgue to perform the day's autopsies. his first case, a 42-year-old woman found dead under suspicious circumstances in her home is front page news. >> i think the autopsy here is going to be critical to figure out how this woman died, the scene and the body are telling a different story right now. i'm excited to get started and try and figure this one out. >> the woman is identified. andrea bean. and more of her story is revealed.
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police have responded to several disturbances at the residence in the past. she also has a history of mental illness, information that may help ultimately determine the cause of death. >> you never know when you are going to hold the vital piece of evidence, have the crucial finding, that ah-ha moment. >> two morgue attendants assist dr. spitz with the autopsy. >> i'm already done with tox. >> kristina heisler. >> what i like about the death industry in general is that it's none like any other. >> and michelle waters. >> it never is the same thing. you will get something different every day. >> mystery, we'll solve it. hopefully. >> michelle x-rays the woman before the body bag is open. >> we mainly take these x-rays before we open the bag in case there is a piece of metal somewhere we don't know. could be anything from a small bullet to a tip of a knife.
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but it's nice to find it before we get in there. >> the body is transferred to the autopsy station where, as in an operating room, water, suction and drainage are all available to aid in the procedure. a plastic seal showing the bag has not been opened and the body not tampered with since it left the death scene, is cut open. they take photographs, focusing on any wounds or marks. there's usually at least one member of law enforcement present during the autopsy. but today, there are several, evidence of their interest in the case. >> obviously, that doesn't account for the blood that is at the scene. again, we don't know if it's her blood. we don't know how long the blood has been there. >> did she have her period or anything? >> i don't know. we're going to try to figure that out. this is not a routine case. this is not an obvious anything.
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>> they unwrap the woman's hands, which were covered with paper bags at the scene to preserve potential evidence. because of the suspicious nature of the death, forensic nurses are brought in to perform a sexual assault exam. >> got cervical swabs. >> they meticulously pull samples from the body and place them into marked envelopes and bags which are sent to a lab for analysis. kristina and michelle take several samples of blood from different parts of the body. >> you got enough for tox. >> urine, eye fluid, and tissue samples are also collected for toxicology and other tests. >> come on this side and do these photos. >> dr. spitz starts his exam with a careful review of the body, recording his observations on a chart. he's trying to figure out how andrea bean died and where all the blood in her home came from. >> do you see any menstrual blood? >> that's pretty clean. i don't see anything on the walls.
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>> let's roll her over and take a look at her back. >> this isn't an easy case. the external exam doesn't appear to reveal any obvious answers. >> she has a few minor injuries. nothing you would associate with her death. >> the internal exam might find something hidden. >> i think we are ready to go, just about. you guys take your last swab? the internal exam is a detailed analysis of all the organs. looking at the organ to organ relationships and looking at the organ-to-organ relationships, looking for collections of blood or infection. >> an autopsy often finds that a person died from something completely unexpected. >> the sky is the limit as to the findings you can have internally. that is the whole medical part of the autopsy, the medical part being the analysis of each and every organ to look for injury or natural disease.
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>> the organs are weighed and inspected, all look healthy. >> nice coronary arteries. >> yeah, nice. >> but then dr. spitz finds something that gets everyone's attention. >> that is an iud. >> it is an iud. >> she does have an iud. the question is, when did she have it put in? >> police officers crowd in. could the woman's intrauterine device have something to do with all the blood? >> there's been some information put forth by the boyfriend that he thought this was menstrual blood because he saw the blood before he left for work in the morning. the fact that an iud is present may actually prompt some inappropriate vaginal bleeding. but it doesn't really answer the question definitively. can't look at this and say, wow, she must have been bleeding a whole bunch from this. >> the autopsy isn't over until dr. spitz examines the woman's brain. >> saw's coming on.
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>> everybody gets an examination of the brain. we're looking for any kind of injuries, bleeding over the surface of the brain, any infection that involves the brain or any disease process that is in the brain. >> everyone observing the autopsy is eager for an answer, but dr. spitz isn't ready to reveal his findings just yet. >> she had some sort of complicated past medical history that is going to have to be sorted out. there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes right now, getting medical records and talking to family to see what kind of information we can gain. all this information gets sort of sifted through and the final sense will be made of this case, hopefully. coming up -- a bizarre conclusion to the baffling case. >> the police are in the process of determining the source of that blood, who the blood came from and how long it has been there.
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>> and the autopsy of a 36-year-old alcoholic finds something unexpected. >> this case still is an unknown cause of death. the only way to get better is to challenge yourself,
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medical examiner dr. daniel spitz is finishing up his autopsy of andrea bean, a 42-year-old mother of four found dead in her condominium in macomb county, michigan. >> obviously that doesn't account for the blood that's at the scene. >> he's trying to solve a mystery. a large amount of blood is found throughout andrea's home, but strangely, there is no blood on her and no wounds that show where the blood came from. >> again, the question is, is it her blood and how long has it been there? that one's recent. i mean, you can see the little tags of skin that haven't dried out or anything. >> dr. spitz takes a closer look at cuts on her knuckles to see if they are responsible for all the blood in the house. >> i'm not saying how she got it. she could have easily got it from punching a wall or scraping her hand across the wall. i'm just saying, could that injury account for all the blood at the scene. it is not a very big injury. i have a serious problem accounting for all that blood with that injury by itself. some of them appear to be old
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and healing. not what you would expect when you're dealing with the kind of blood we saw at the scene. the blood at the scene was fairly extensive, smears up and down a 20-foot hallway, blood drops, multiple blood drops on the floor. >> andrea's neck is carefully examined for signs of strangulation. >> rarely do you see an actual fracture with a strangulation. >> after two hours, a thorough external and internal exam fails to find a direct cause of her death. >> the biggest thing right now is to say, hey, is there anything to account for her death that could be caused by somebody else. >> you don't think so? >> and i'm not seeing it. there's nothing to indicate that this is a homicide. what was most important during the exam was to rule out that trauma caused her death.
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i relayed that to the police now who are in the process of determining whose blood does that belong to. >> dr. spitz and detectives believe the woman's psychiatric history may hold the keys to understanding her death and the bloody scene. >> it is going to be a medical or toxicology issue that we sort out after we get more results in. >> okay. >> take some fingerprints and then we're done. we've gained a lot of information over the last 24 hours about what's going on. this woman, unfortunately, has some psychiatric illness. she's got some medical problems related to that. she's had multiple hospitalizations. so we're analyzing that history to see how that can help us figure out what happened yesterday. >> medical investigator patty roland who works with dr. spitz at the medical examiner's office is also on the case. >> when she was discharged on the 17th.
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>> this is an assignment she will not soon forget. the deceased, andrea bean, is her childhood friend. >> she was my neighbor growing up. spent a lot of time with her family as kids. it broke my heart. i'm just hoping that i'm providing some kind of comfort to her family because i'm their voice here. >> roland learns from andrea's father, john collier and her stepmother, caroline coco that andrea was diagnosed with mental illness three years ago. >> in may of 2005, andrea called us because she was sad and she was confused. we took andrea to see a psychiatrist where major depression and psychosis was diagnosed. >> as her disease progressed, she became less focused on things and couldn't concentrate. she would lose track of purpose, what she was doing. >> andrea was experiencing
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postpartum depression. >> after delivering her fourth child she had severe postpartum depression with major psychosis. she had 17 hospitalizations in 2 1/2 years. >> dr. spitz will research the case further and wait for toxicology tests to come back before he determines the cause of death and signs andrea bean's death certificate. >> right now it is a bit of waiting mode. and i think that's important for people to realize that we often don't get answers in the course of an hour, or at the time of the autopsy. there are many things that go on to having a complete death investigation. all right. let's do this last one. >> dr. spitz quickly switches his attention to the second case of the day. there's another mystery to solve. >> all right, you're up. >> 36-year-old curt lewitski found dead in bed by his mother. >> this is a different type of case than the other kind of case. this is a case where everything seemed to be in order as far as ruling out foul play early on.
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but this case still is an unknown cause of death. and an unknown situation until the exam is done. >> despite the morbid surroundings, it's just another day at the medical examiner's office. >> when are you going back up to your cottage? >> probably next week. i have five off. so i'll be going. i can't wait. oh, i can't wait. >> dr. spitz begins the exam by analyzing the information his medical investigator gathered at the scene. >> you know he's got real signs of chronic alcoholism. he has a long history of alcohol abuse. he's also got a history of prescription drug abuse. >> toxicology will be essential in determining the cause of the 36-year-old's death. >> he's got this froth in his airway. see that pretty typically in drug overdoses. >> when dr. spitz performs the internal exam he discovers the man has severe liver disease.
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>> that's from long-standing alcohol. look at that. it's as cirrhotic as they get. he's a young man, 36, pretty unusual to develop cirrhosis of the liver at that age. the autopsy did confirm he had alcoholic liver cirrhosis. i want to confirm his toxicology was not a causative or contributory factor in the death because he does have an underlying history of prescription drug abuse. >> curt lewitski's autopsy like andrea bean's, is filed as pending until test results come back. coming up -- these bones may hold the answer to a 22-year-old crime. >> we're trying to fill in the gaps as to what actually happened. >> can dr. spitz turn the cold case into case closed?
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authorities in macomb county, michigan, descend on a remote wooded area near a river. a convicted killer has confessed to burying a young girl here 22 years ago. >> everyone was on scene as the excavation unfolded over the course of many hours. >> looks like the purse. >> it does look like the coat. or the hat. >> yeah. >> the digging stops when skeletal remains are found. >> then it became a medical examiner case really because human remains found in the county believed to be related to some type of foul play certainly became the jurisdiction of the medical examiner. >> medical examiner daniel spitz is called to the scene to collect the remains for further analysis at the morgue.
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>> we brought the bones back here to the medical examiner's office. we brought the bones in addition to her personal belongings which included clothing, shoes, a purse, which contained a variety of personal items, and we began to do our own excavation here at the office. obviously, it's very disintegrated being in the ground for over 20 years. there's a bra as well as some type of thin jacket with a zipper. >> investigators believe these are the remains of cindy zarzycki, a 13-year-old girl who's been missing since 1986. >> she just disappeared. it tell felt like an arm is ripped off you. >> cindy is last seen by her parents, ed and alice, on a sunday morning. she tells them she is on her way to this dairy queen.
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>> she was supposed to meet a friend at the dairy queen and they were going to go to church together. that was the last time i seen her. >> ed zarzycki reports his daughter missing that night. >> there was something wrong. i had went to the police station to report it. they thought maybe she ran away. they hadn't connected maybe something bad could have happened. >> cindy's family searches for her but she is gone without a trace. their family is never the same. >> you spend most of your whole life looking wherever you went and someone would catch your eye that looked similar and you do a second time around the block just to check it out and look. >> as the years pass, everyone, including ed's second wife, linda, is always on the lookout for cindy, desperate for answers. >> i just wanted to know where she was and if she was alive
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tell her that i love her and miss her. if she wasn't we can put her to rest with our own family. >> in 1995, detective derek mclaughlin of the east point police department reopens the case which has been cold for ten years. >> my chief at the time came up to me with this box filled with binders and notes and things of that nature and he said, this was the zarzycki case, solve it. >> detective mclaughlin's re-examination leads to arthur ream, the father of cindy's boyfriend, scott. >> art asked her to meet him at the dairy queen for a surprise birthday party for scott. and i guess the birthday party was just a ruse to get her to go with him. >> the detective soon discovers that ream is a convicted criminal and is in prison.
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>> he was convicted of indecent liberties with a minor. he served 1975 to 1978, he served three years in prison. after that he was out and about all the way up until 1997 when he was convicted of the rape of a 13-year-old girl. >> detective mclaughlin believes he's found cindy's killer. >> i'm theorizing he picked her up, taken her to a place, went to go rape her, she resisted, tried to get herself out of that situation, couldn't, and he killed her. >> but with no body it takes 13 years of tenacious police work to finally build a strong enough case to charge arthur ream with murder. >> that was the amazing thing. you are walking into a case with no physical evidence. >> even though cindy's body is never found and ream never admits to killing her, a jury convicts ream on circumstantial evidence for her death in 2008.
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>> guilty in the first degree. >> cindy's family is relieved her killer is finally brought to justice. they are still eager to locate her remains and bury cindy on their own terms. >> that's important. to be able to put her where we want to put her. not for somebody else. and close to home. >> before ream's sentencing detective mclaughlin visits the convicted killer in his cell. >> i says, i'm here for one thing. and i says, i need a map. i need a map. you draw where she is so i can go find her. give that much to the family. >> ream finally admits he buried cindy 22 years ago and leads authorities to the spot where remains are recovered. he says he didn't kill her. ream claims she died in an accident while playing with his son scott. scott died in a car accident in 1994. nine years after cindy disappeared. >> he is still trying to blame it on his son saying they were
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playing on carpet reels at this warehouse and cindy fell down this elevator shaft. >> at the morgue, dr. spitz has two goals. he tries to confirm that the remains are indeed cindy's. >> once they are laid out we can photograph everything. we need it to be definitive in regards to the identification. we can't as the medical examiner just assume it is who we think it is based on circumstantial information. we have to be definitive and use some time of biological means to confirm the identity. >> he looks for signs of injury that would explain how this person died and if there is any truth to arthur ream's story. >> he hasn't come totally clean. he stated he knew where the body was and helped investigators locate the body. he never actually said he committed the murder and how the death occurred.
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so those are the questions that i hope to answer. coming up -- coaxing secrets out of a skeleton. >> after 22 years in the ground it is a challenge. finding dna evidence, finding other type of trace evidence. not impossible, but unlikely. and -- an unexpected conclusion to the andrea bean case and the trail of blood at her condominium. amerivest selects the funds and manages your portfolio.
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as to count one, your verdict is -- >> guilty in the first degree. >> on june 18th, 2008, arthur ream is convicted on circumstantial evidence of killing cindy zarzycki 22 years ago. ream never confesses and the 13-year-old girl's body is never found. before his sentencing, ream finally admits to burying cindy in the woods and leads authorities to the secret spot.
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after a ten-hour excavation the remains are brought back to the morgue and examined by dr. daniel spitz, the medical examiner for macomb county, michigan. >> we're trying to fill in the gaps as to what actually happened. we've never got a confession on this case. the prosecutor still doesn't know what the cause of death is. we are hoping today to help determine how this girl died. >> ream claims he buried cindy after she accidentally fell down a warehouse elevator shaft in 1986. in addition to trying to determine the cause and manner of death, dr. spitz will use whatever methods he can to positively identify the remains. >> while we have pretty good evidence it is who we think it is, for the sake of being definitive, we are going to do dental records or dna testing to try to answer that question for certain. >> dr. spitz empties bags of dirt and remains collected at the burial site on to the autopsy table.
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he finds disintegrated strips of clothes. >> fabric is almost reduced to like thin paper. >> and bones. >> we're going to start with carefully cleaning off these bones. these are ribs and fragments of ribs. all the bones were covered in dirt. the skull was completely filled with hard dirt, vegetation, roots, all types of things were growing through all the different orifices of the skull. >> also recovered, a purse with belongings. it's an important clue. >> this is probably the most interesting personal effect that was found. it really can almost be construed as a time capsule of sorts. something you don't see today. cassette tapes, looks like they were maybe homemade cassette tapes. >> detective derek mclaughlin observes the exam. he's been working on solving cindy's disappearance for 12
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years. >> the family described this. she always had a purse with her. >> this looks to be like a black, like a plastic, maybe leather type bag. >> dr. spitz carefully goes through every scrap. >> mainly i'm looking for any kind of damage to the clothing that could be indicative of an injury that she may have sustained. you are looking for any clues as to what may have caused her death. >> the clothes and purse seem to point to a teenage girl. but the bones tell even more. after several hours of sifting through the remains, dr. spitz lays the skeleton out carefully. >> the characteristics of the skull as well as the characteristics of the other bones point to this being a young, early teens to mid teens, white female. and that obviously fits with the description of this child.
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>> dr. spitz doesn't find any evidence to back up arthur ream's story that cindy died in an accident. >> i didn't see any indication of blunt trauma. while i can't be definitive, the most likely situation is that this was some type of asphyxiation or strangulation. >> cindy's dental records are not available to match her identity. instead, a bone is shipped to a lab for dna tests. even before the tests come back arthur ream is sentenced to life in prison for cindy's murder. >> without any possibility of parole. >> tests eventually prove the remains are cindy's. and after 22 long years, ed gets his daughter back. >> it takes a lot of pressure off 22 years of not knowing and looking and waiting, being able to have a funeral. other tests help solve more cases.
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toxicology results for curt lewitski, a 36-year-old man who died in bed, show high levels of several prescription drugs in his system. dr. spitz records the cause of death as an accidental overdose. >> it showed he was acutely intoxicated by alcohol .15, it also showed that he had methadone, hydrocodone and oxymorphone. some pretty potent pain medications. lab results solved the mystery of how andrea bean died. she was found in her bed with blood smeared throughout the house, but with no blood on her. tests show a severe electrolight imbalance caused her death. dr. spitz believes it was accidental, brought on by a rare psychiatric condition that caused andrea to drink too much water. >> the terminology used to describe this situation is psychogenic polydipsia.
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there is a compelling urge to consume large amounts of water in the polydipsia. the psychogenic part means it's brought on by an underlying psychiatric illness or psychosis. >> the autopsy results are not a surprise to her family. andrea had been hospitalized for the condition before. >> andrea had a history of three other episodes of these instances. she would have a seizure, stop breathing and nearly die from cardiac arrest. >> dr. spitz is able to determine the cause and manner of andrea's death. the blood found throughout her house remains a mystery. because of a backlog at the state crime lab, tests to see if the blood is andrea's will take nearly a year to process. authorities believe it is her blood. even though the autopsy didn't find any wounds on her that could have been responsible for it all, dr. spitz and the sheriff's office believe the blood like her death is explained by her mental condition. >> i would assume that it is her blood.
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it could be related to some type of psychosis where this was done in a purposeful manner. >> andrea's condition deteriorated after being diagnosed with mental illness three years before her death. her family is frustrated and angry with the care she received. >> the mental health care system is grossly inadequate to take care of mentally ill people. >> when will people become aware these aren't strange people out there, these are family members. these are people you pass on the streets. these are people that need care and need someone watching them and there's nobody doing that. >> every exam dr. spitz performs is different, but the goal is always the same. >> ultimately it's left to me to tell the story of the deceased person.
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> a man is dead. >> he was found naked and appears to be a lot of blood at the scene. >> his body is in a contorted position. >> something had to have happened here. people don't end up this way. >> as the man makes one final exit from his home, the mystery builds. accidental death -- >> did he die first? >> or murder? >> the van parked in front of the house. the lights never were off. >> now it's up to the macomb county medical examiner to figure it out. >> let us see what's in his head. holy cow.


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