HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 10
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All Chapter 10 Footnotes

The evidence that Escobedo and the lab techs looked for and didn't find on DeLuna pretty much excluded him as the perpetrator in Garza's opinion,93 but even more concerning to the longtime homicide detective were important items of evidence that the killer probably left at the scene but Escobedo didn't even bother to look for.

In an incident involving a knife and a physical struggle, it's almost as likely that the assailant left some of his own blood at the crime scene as it is that he escaped with some of the victim's blood on himself. In her report on the scene, Escobedo listed nineteen distinct locations where she observed blood.94

The investigating officer's most basic step, Garza explained, is to "obtain swabs from every area of blood, whether it be on the wall, whether it be on the floor or doors" and send it to the lab "for testing blood type" and enzymes.95 Garza analysis was limited to blood-type and enzyme testing, as DNA was still a few years away in 1983.

Unbelievably, however, Escobedo and her lone technician assint, Joel Infante, didn't take a single swab or blood sample from the scene.96 Although they found blood at numerous locations where the killer might have left it—the knife, the handle of the door through which he escaped, and numerous crumpled and stained napkins and paper towels—they tested none of them for an interloper's blood.97

As for the paper towels, Garza was dismayed to see that, instead of preserving and testing them, Detective Escobedo was photographed standing on one of them.98 Next to her is a roll of fingerprint tape that she or Infante had carelessly dropped, further "contaminat[ing]" the scene.99

Escobedo even forgot to have technicians scrape the victim's fingernails for traces of the attacker's skin and blood that may have collected there as she fought him with the only weapon she had.100 "Somebody dropped the ball," Garza lamented.101

In a single-perpetrator case like this, if there was a drop of blood at the crime scene that didn't match the A-B-O type of the victim or Carlos DeLuna, or one of their enzymes, that would have been as good as DNA in ruling out DeLuna as the killer. And it would've provided an important clue to who the killer was.

By failing to take this most rudimentary of investigative steps, Escobedo passed up any chance of finding out whether the perpetrator left his own blood at the crime scene. Given how little Escobedo and Infante looked for, Garza said, it was not surprising that they found no physical evidence at the scene to use to identify the perpetrator.102

"'It probably was there to be found,'" Garza believed. "'It just was overlooked.'"103

"'The case wasn't put together right.'"104

* * * * *

Garza didn't have to speculate about some of the evidence left behind by the killer. He could see it in the photographs. But, somehow, Escobedo and Infante flat-out missed most of it.

Next to Escobedo, in the picture of her standing on evidence, is part of a cigarette. The fragment is burned on one end and either unfiltered or broken off on the other.105 Although the floor around the fragment is blanketed with tiny red droplets of blood, the cigarette paper has none on it. It had to have fallen after the blood spilled. It must be the killer's.

Escobedo noticed the cigarette fragment106 but, incredibly, never tested it for saliva (where a person's blood often secretes107) or other telltale signs of its owner. She never had it examined for fingerprints.108

See Joseph C. Rupp, Medical Examiner, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 21, 1983) at 213 ("Q. Did anybody ask you [the Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy] to do fingernail scrapings on [Wanda Lopez]? A. No.").

Unlike reference fingerprints, which may be collected from the victim's body at any time prior to burial, see infra note 196 and accompanying text, fingernail scrapings cannot be collected from the victim's body once it is cleaned and prepared for burial. See also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 01:32:09–01:32:26 ("A person trying to defend herself, if that's the only weapon that she has, is her nails, should have revealed some kind of scrapings. And if it wasn't done, somebody dropped the ball and didn't do the proper examining on this body.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 01:32:09–01:32:26 ("A person trying to defend herself, if that's the only weapon that she has, is her nails, should have revealed some kind of scrapings. And if it wasn't done, somebody dropped the ball and didn't do the proper examining on this body.").

See Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:45:51:

And when the person is arrested, if that person has anything on his person, whether it be blood stains on his shoes, his soles, whether he took anything from the scene, whether there would be blood that would match the victim's blood that was in there, whether this person had a fight with an individual that might have linked him more closely to the crime, whether he had—what type of clothing he was wearing at the time that he was arrested, that would link him back to the crime scene. You have all types of people walking around different areas of a crime scene. Just because they find somebody hiding somewhere underneath a car, and there's no physical evidence to tie that person to the crime scene itself. I see that a lot of things that did not get done on this particular case that could have been done to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this person was the actual person that had committed the crime. I think that they left a lot of doubts when the case was presented to the courts.

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret that Wasn't: Violent Felon Bragged that he Was Real Killer. Last of Three Parts, Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-tx-3-story,0,761635.htmlstory.

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret that Wasn't: Violent Felon Bragged that he Was Real Killer, Last of Three Parts. Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-tx-3-story,0,761635.htmlstory; see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 01:46:50 ("There was a counter, a front door . . ., a rear storage area, and not much of an area . . . pretty crowded inside of the place because they have different racks here, different racks there. But it's all contained to a small area, I'd say no more than about ten by ten area. And, to me, that was a pretty small crime scene that a lot more evidence that was not collected, that was overlooked, was left at the scene without even collecting.").

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret that Wasn't: Violent Felon Bragged that he Was Real Killer, Last of Three Parts. Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-tx-3-story,0,761635.htmlstory; see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:10:11–00:11:03:

And the crime scene itself was really a crime scene that was not gone over. If I would have been investigating this case, I would be extremely careful of how the crime scene was processed, and, to me, the person assigned with the identification division that went to this scene did not do a proper job, especially on a capital murder case. There was many pieces of evidence that could have come into view that were probably completely ignored and overlooked.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:42:50:

I feel that if you do not protect a crime scene and let the proper people from the identification division come in and just seal that scene until they're satisfied that they've picked up every bit of the evidence that is available in the crime that supposedly was committed. I think that the identification section plays the most major role in solving any type of homicide because, to me, if I was to take you back to the scene of this particular time, Wanda Lopez at the 2600 block of S.P.I.D., the crime scene was not protected enough, it was not secured enough. The identification people that actually processed the scene for evidence did not use the proper way that I would have requested that a crime scene be searched and protected for evidence. It could have been lifted from the place.

See Crime Scene Photograph 25500005, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500008, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500015, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500019, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500030, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983).

Crime Scene Photograph 25500019, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) (describing discovery of possible physical evidence at the crime scene: "A cigarette butt, no distinguishing brand on it, found on the floor also behind the counter—laying close to a calendar near a pool of blood. . . . Retrieved at 9:55 p.m. Evidence tag # 40149.").

See, e.g., David Wong, Salivary Diagnostics 273 (2008) ("Blood can leak into oral fluids due to injury (burns, abrasions, or cuts to the cheek, tongue, or gums).").

Crime Scene Photograph 25500019, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) (describing discovery of possible physical evidence at the crime scene: "A cigarette butt, no distinguishing brand on it, found on the floor also behind the counter—laying close to a calendar near a pool of blood. . . . Retrieved at 9:55 p.m. Evidence tag # 40149.");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 (omitting cigarette fragment from list of items processed for fingerprints);

Olivia Escobedo, Texas Dep't of Public Safety Laboratory Physical Evidence Submission Form (Feb. 9, 1983) at 2 (listing items submitted for laboratory testing of some sort (blood, hair, fingerprints, etc.), including only the $5 bill, a pair of black pants, a pair of white shoes, and a long sleeve shirt, and Q-tip swabs);

Letter from James F. Waller, Jr., Supervisor, Chemistry Laboratory, to Sergeant Olivia Escobedo (Feb. 17, 1983) (omitting the cigarette fragment from the comprehensive list of items sent to the lab to be analyzed for blood, hair or other identifying substances);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:51:59–00:52:58 ("As I see here, I believe that this is a cigarette butt [which should have been] retrieved from the scene to be tested for fingerprints or anything else.").

See statements by Eddie Garza quoted infra notes 207, 208.

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) (describing the following locations, surfaces and objects stained with blood: (1) "the soles of her [Wanda Lopez's] feet were observed to be bloodied"; (2) "immediately outside the door of the service station and to the left had several areas which had blood smeared on the glass, on the door and on the ground"; (3) "there was an area approximately 32 inches to the left of the door which had a large pool of thick blood and substance on the ground"; (4) "there was blood smeared about 23 inches up on the metal molding"; (5) "to the right of this area were more blood smears, which was approximately 24 inches on the metal molding"; (6) "to the right to this area, still approaching the door, was another area which had blood smears on the glass, this was measured at approximately 43 inches from the ground level; (7) "there was blood smeared in different areas on the side walk in and around the ground immediately outside the door"; (8) "blood smeared on the door handle on the inside of the door"; (9) "on the lower left hand side of the door there was blood smeared on the door frame"; (10) "there was a trail of blood, and foot prints in blood, leading from behind the counter, heading toward the door, this trial of blood was approximately 134½" from the door edge to the lower right hand corner of the counter, it varied in width from 14" to 19" in different locations along the way"; (11) the "trail of blood" led "behind the counter" where "more blood was found"; (12) "there were paper towels scattered, they were bloodied, a calendar laid on the floor, the upper left hand corner of it was bloodied"; (13) "a plastic bag, the type used by the store to place cold drinks in was also close by and it had blood pools on top of it"; (14) "there was blood smeared all over the floor in this area, it was splattered on the lower portion of the door leading to the storage room"; (15) "The other slap [shoe] was observed to be laying upside down, the sole of the shoe was bloodied, and it laid near the doorway leading into the storage room"; (16) "A five dollar bill was also found to be laying on the floor underneath the cash register tray, it was observed to have a blood stain on it"; (17) "I observed that the front of the cash register machine itself was covered with blood on the front portion of it"; (18) "The back side of the check out counter was observed to have blood smears on the lower right hand corner"; (19) "I also saw that there was blood smeared on the counter top");

see also Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 299–307.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 01:15:05–01:15:30 ("Again, the proper identification in charge of the crime scene should have obtained swabs from every area of blood, whether it be on the wall, whether it be on the floor or doors, and properly put in a vial and sent to the lab for testing blood type.").

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) (noting items to be sent to state forensic laboratory for testing but not listing any swabs of blood from the scene);

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 (noting "lots of blood on the floor" but not noting any swabs taken of blood);

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 01:07:53–01:10:14:

My opinion, that [there] should have been swabs taken from the blood, if what direction was it leading to. And I would have submitted those to the [Texas state crime] lab in Austin for identification of the blood to see if it was the victim's blood or the offender's blood . . . . I feel that the whole door should have been processed and then swabs taken from the particular areas where there was blood on the door. Those swabs should have been obtained and sent to the [state crime] laboratory in Austin to determine who's, what type of blood it was . . . . [A]ny blood that was at the scene, wherever it was obtained from, should have been protected, put into swabs in the proper containers, sent to the laboratory for proper identification . . . . If there was any evidence that there might be a bloody print, that print should have been photographed. Then after it was photographed, there should have been some swabs taken of the blood to identify it properly.

Steve Mills and Maurice Possley, The Secret That Wasn't: Violent Felon Bragged That He Was Real Killer, Last of Three Parts, Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-tx-3-story,0,761635.htmlstory:

His [Garza's] recent examination of the case's police reports, at the Tribune's request, renewed his skepticism about De Luna's guilt. Garza concluded the initial crime scene investigation was sloppy and brief.

He noted that none of the blood spattered on the floor of the station was collected for testing, so there was no way to determine whether the attacker's blood was present. The only items sent for blood testing were the knife [sic, the knife was not tested for blodd], De Luna's clothing and a $5 bill. . . .

"This case wasn't put together right," Garza said.

Noting that investigators found no physical evidence that could be used to identify the attacker, he said, "It probably was there to be found. It was just overlooked."

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983):

As I walked back behind the counter, I saw that the trail of blood came from this area, signs of a struggle was [sic] obvious, there were paper towels scattered, they were bloodied . . . there was blood smeared all over the tile floor in this area, it was splattered on the lower portion of the door leading to the storage room. . . . I also observed that there was blood smeared on the door handle on the inside of the door, and on the lower left hand side of the door there was blood smeared on the door frame. . . . A cigarette butt, no distinguishing brand on it, found on the floor also behind the counter—laying close to a calendar near a pool of blood. . . . Retrieved at 9:55 p.m. Evidence tag # 40149.

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1;

(reporting that he took photographs of the scene and noted "lots of blood on the floor"); Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 305–306 ("This is the knife I retrieved [at the crime scene] on February the 4th, 1983. . . . At the time that I first observed this knife, it was open and it had some type of substance on it. To me it appeared to be some type of fatty substance, tissue on it.");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 21, 1983) at 205 (describing condition of knife found at the scene: "The— the blade of the knife was—was very wet, it had some kind of substance on it, blood and some kind of pulp or something that came out from [witness does not finish the sentence].");

see Crime Scene Photograph 25500005, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500007, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500008, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500010, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500013, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500014, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500018, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500019, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500030, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500031, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500037, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500038, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

(all showing blood-stained items that Escobedo and Infante could have taken possession of for blood testing, but did not); see also Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983):

There was an area approximately 32 inches to the left of the door which had a large pool of thick blood and substance on the ground. From here I observed that there was blood smeared about 23 inches up from the ground on the metal molding, to the right of this area was more blood smears, which was approximately 24 inches from the ground on the metal molding, to the right of this area, still approaching the door, was another area which had blood smears on the glass, this was measured at approximately 43 inches from the ground level. The sidewalk measure approximately 34 inches in width, and there was blood smeared in different areas of the side walk in and around the ground immediately outside of the door. . . . I saw that there was a trail of blood, and foot prints in blood, leading from behind the counter, heading toward the door. . . . The trail led back behind the check out counter where the whole area was in total disarray and more blood was found in the area.

Crime Scene Photograph 25500019, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:44:14–00:45:16, 00:50:56–00:51:55:

And there was evidence that was stepped on by the investigator that was at the scene. And to me, if you just stay out of a crime scene and talk to the witnesses outside and secure the scene and just let [the] identification take, whether it be one day, two days, or three days, just to be at that scene, processing the scene, I think that the results of this case would have been totally different. . . . The first thing that I notice that this female, who is Olivia Escobedo, she is standing here, and all I can see is that her shoe is on top of a piece of paper that could probably be a piece of evidence. To me, right there and then, the crime scene is already contaminated by her heels of her shoes stepping on part of a paper. What if that paper had a fingerprint on it?

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, The Secret that Wasn't: Violent Felon Bragged that he Was Real Killer. Last of Three Parts. Chi. Trib., June 27, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-tx-3-story,0,761635.htmlstory ("One police photo shows Escobedo standing in the middle of the spattered blood behind the station counter. The station reopened a few hours after the crime."); see also Transcribed Videotape Interview with Karen Boudrie-Evers, Corpus Christi Television Reporter in Dallas, Texas (Feb 28, 2005) at 03:12:39 (recalling a conversation TV news reporter Boudrie had in the mid- to late 1980s with attorney Rene Rodriguez, while she was covering the lawsuit Rodriguez had brought on behalf of the Wanda Lopez's family against Diamond-Shamrock, in which the lawyer described the "shoddy police work" he had discovered through evidence obtained in the course of the civil case; Boudrie particularly recalled a reference to a photograph of "Olivia Escobedo . . . stepping around in the evidence" and Rodriguez's concern that evidence "had been contaminated").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004 ) at 00:51:59–00:52:58:

Another thing that I saw in this scene that, right up here, is a roll of tape that is used by identification people to lift prints. There is another photograph of that particular part of a photo, which is in photo number 1, shows the roll of tape that is used, it's on the floor. I don't know, the identification person that was on the scene was pretty careless in letting some of his equipment fall into part of the crime scene

Chapter 10
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