Hi! My names Richard Freeland, I'm writing a novel called "The 5". The plot, briefly, goes like this: 5 young girls were kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer and buried in the cellar of an old house. The protagonists (a 12 year old boy named Ben and his 17 year old sister Candace) discover the girls' burial site. It's a stormy night, all the power and phones have been knocked out, so they go next door for help. But unknowingly they seek assistance from the killer, who lives next door, and they previously thought a friend. After a fight in the cellar, the killer is himself killed, but Candace is critically wounded. Ben goes for help, and the authorities arrive.
The kids are taken to the hospital, and the police descend on the scene. Once the police and the crime scene guys arrive and secure the site and start processing it, they begin uncovering bodies. This leads to an expanded search of the surrounding grounds and the adjacent house and its grounds, but no other bodies are found.
My question: how long would the scene be secured? How long would it take to completely process the site and for the police and crime scene guys to leave? Remember, the killer is dead, and all the bodies are uncovered in the early morning hours of the same day. How long would it take, once they're satisfied no other bodies are to be found, and have gathered all evidence, to leave the site and release it back to the home owner? A day? Two? And would they leave an officer on site over night to guard the site until they were done, or just use crime scene tape to "seal" the site (as the killer is dead, and they're not trying to catch anyone)?
Need to know the timeline, cause my plot causes for my kid protagonist to return to the site (after he's questioned by police, checked out by doctors, waits anxiously for his sister to come out of surgery, stays with her in ICU, confronts his dad, etc.), where he is accosted by a SECOND killer who was working with the first. I figure 2 full days (48 hrs.) from the time Ben is taken to the hospital to when he returns to the house. Should the authorities be finished by then? If not, will they leave a guy in a car there for security? It's the climax of the book, so I have to get it right, and I'd really appreciate guidance.
I'm a german crime investigator. Your question is difficoult, cause we have to look what kind of steps we have to secure. On every crime scene are other steps and other things are important.
The killer is dead, but also the important steps must be secured. If you have a fight in the house it is for the police more work, cause we have to make pictures of all steps and we have to secure all steps (blood, hairs, etc.)
It is different to tell a timeline with your information, but we don't stay over night, we use a tape on the door (Germany). On the first day, there are many officers, but the most work is done after the first day. If they have to search for bodies, i think it don't takes longer than 48 hours. Only securing of evidence stay longer, sometimes two days, but most no longer as four days.
That's tricky. We had a body uncovered, and we later found her to be holding an infant (2 bodies now). We were there for 48 hours. This was outside, no struggle or fight anywhere near the scene. With a fight, known homicide, and 5 additional bodies ... I don't know but do the math! Investigators would be there for a VERY long time.
First off, question - what made the investigators / kids dig for bodies? If they were buried, as you stated, what made them dig and find the bodies?
Secondly, the bodies would not be unearthed in a day, I can tell you that for fact. Exhuming a body takes careful examination. Once the layers are removed and a body is exposed, the first layer needs to be examined for evidence. Then the entire burial site needs to be examined layer by layer (usually 3-4 inches is one layer) for evidence. Once the body is fully unearthed, the removal of the body can begin. Piece by Piece. Recovering evidence every step of the way. Like I said, our mother and infant took 2 days to uncover, plus removing the bodies.
Thirdly, the main concern should be the recent struggle and homicide. The bodies shouldn't even be though of until critical evidence that can be lost from the struggle and recent homicide is collected and preserved.
All in all, you're looking at at least a week, maybe more depending how much evidence is uncovered.
The simple answer is you can take as long as you want. Each body I would say 6-10 hours. Plus all the time processing for DNA and latent prints and evidence etc in and around the area. Could be days-week(s). We post several officers/deputies all around the house to assure no one sneaks in.