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Processing Multi Victim Grave Site
— by Richard Freeland Richard Freeland
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.