How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JD Your Own Question
JD, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience:  Over 11 years of practice in litigation including 10 years as a state prosecutor
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am looking for a forensic scientist specialist to ask questions

Customer Question

I am looking for a forensic scientist specialist to ask questions and to review pictures of a man who passed away during a boating accident in June of 2008. He was in the water for 15 hours and looked to perfect.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 7 years ago.

Do you just want some contact information of a few in your area?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

We feel foul play was involved in this person's death. need guidence

Expert:  JD replied 7 years ago.

The original expert appears to have opted out. I would like to assist you with your question and have been involved in dozens of homicide investigations and prosecutions. First, I need to ask you a few questions so I can provide you the best information possible.


1. Was an autopsy done? If so, what were the findings?


2. Was a police investigation conducted? If so, what were their conclusions?


3. Have you spoken with your local prosecutor's office about your suspicions?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

He lived in New Jersey and the boating accident happened in Virginia. He was my brother-in-law and my sister and my brotherin law had marriage problems and living separate lives but living together until the children were finished with college. To this day they may of gotten back together, who knows if he was still alive. He was with a female companion, who we later found out has mental problems the source was a neighbor in VA.


This is a real long story but will fill you in. I will just answer your questions at this time.


Autopsy - no, which alarmed us to why one was not done. He was in the water from appoximately from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 a.m. I have pictures of what he looked like for being in the water for that long (from a private investigator). Doesn't look true in my eyes and would like a professional at look at them.


police investigation - not really, the case was closed the next day.


My sister did. not confident about their interest.


We have been investigating this for about 1 year and 1/2 (sisters and brother). The companion had to different stories to what happend?????????


I think in most drowning cases and autopsy are usually done? The medical examiner didn't believe their was a need??? No money in invest budget????


Thank you for your help.



Expert:  JD replied 7 years ago.

Do you have a copy of the report from the local medical examiner that states an autopsy was not needed?


Has anyone in your family made contact with the local medical examiner to ask why?


What did the prosecutor's office say?


Were there any signs of wounds?


Was alcohol involved?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Medical examiner - We asked why and she thought she did not see anything on his body to perform an autopsy.


Prosecutor - not sure. I can ask my sister. We have tried to reopen the case with the Viriginia Marine Resouces and the police department. Not enough to warrent a reopen case.


I called the investigater for the Virginia Marine Resources Department to ask why she was not sited for being out on a Triamaran without life jackets flares. he said he didn't see her out on the boat to give her a ticket. He also said there were two anonomys calls saying foul play was involved, not one. The one call said. "she just killled him".

I aske why did you guys not act on this and said they didn't give any info to how he was killed?????????



I have pictures i can email them to you. I am not a professional but i noticed a few things on him??????? The markes on his arms looks like abrasions but they said they may be rope marks from pulling him out of the water?????? They do not look like rope marks to me, but again i am not a professional.


They took blood. The blood alcohol level was 0.01 low and they never did a drug test but my sister had to go back and ask for one and she asked to have a poison test done but they said there was not enought blood??? The drug test came out negative.




Expert:  JD replied 7 years ago.

I am also not a forensic medical expert.


At this point I would recommend gathering all the information, photos and reports you have and contacting an independent forensic medical expert. This was your original question and I agree that you should consult one. I must warn you now that there are many unscrupulous people who will be glad to take your money and create a sensationalist response for you that justifies their fee. What you need is an honest assessment of the situation and an opinion on whether or not there was any evidence of foul play.


The best way to find a good expert is probably one of two ways...


1) contact another medical examiner from another jurisdiction and ask if they would be willing to meet with you briefly and examine a few documents and photographs




2) make contact with a local university that has a pathology program (such as the University of Virginia Department of Pathology) and make the same request


Personally I would go with the U.V.A. option as they are normally more willing to comment on the work of another pathologist.


You must understand that it is nearly impossible to investigate or prove what happened at this point. Any physical evidence that may have existed is likely lost. Whether an autopsy done today would reveal anything would be something you would want to ask the experts, but understand that even if it did show something you would still have to prove how it happened.


Please reply if I can help further.



JD, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience: Over 11 years of practice in litigation including 10 years as a state prosecutor
JD and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you so much for your information. We know something unfair went wrong and we are still trying to figure it out. Do you think approaching her to ask what really happen may make her nervous and tell what really happened? People had been trying to call her and she never returned calls. Maybe face to face if we can find her. She moved from NJ and maybe in VA now. What do you think?
Expert:  JD replied 7 years ago.

I think approaching her yourself would be a bad idea until you have all your facts together. I normally would not have you approach her even with all the facts as you are not a trained interrogator, but if the police will not get involved then you may have little choice. Consult your expert and if you are able to develop any suspicion then give the police another chance to get involved (also the prosecutor's office).


If all else fails you are certainly free to confront her, but that rarely has productive results and can lead to disastrous consequences. You may find it more effective to have a third party contact her on your behalf (private investigator, lawyer, family friend, etc).


Please reply if I can help further.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

We had a private investigator try to contact her but did not call him back, etc. Also, friends tried to contact her and never returned calls.


I think you are correct. Thank you.


We will try to collect more facts and maybe have my sister visit the prosecuter's office in VA.


Thank you, again.

I hope someday justice is served.

Expert:  JD replied 7 years ago.
I wish you and your family the very best.