Monday, June 26, 2006

How not to identify a body, Texas style

This story from the Houston Press shows what happens when an investigator decides to just take a guess. From the story,

A middle-aged male bicycle rider was killed by a car on June 5 in the portion of the county covered by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts. The county has no coroner, so Metts was dispatched to the scene.

Already there were Clyde Knox, owner of Slinky's tow-truck company, who heard about the accident on his police scanner, and his son David, known as Slinky.

Knox, says Metts, recognized the victim's sneakers and said it was his son Billy. Which was the official ruling until the next day, when Billy showed up at his father's house, indisputably alive.

The dead body did have a wallet, so no matter what they say, I would think that could have been, oh, I don't know, a clue? Well, not according to him. When asked, here is what the investigator said:

Q. But how could the investigator, which is you, not open the person's wallet to double-check?

A. Hindsight's 20/20. You and everybody else could look back now [and say] "Well, shoot, I would have done that." No, you wouldn't have if you were on the scene. You know, like they say, if a frog had wings he wouldn't bust his butt every time he hopped. That's hindsight.

And why not? Are we to assume he thinks we are all brilliant investigators like him? The article does not state anything about the body being in such a gruesome condition that no one would want to touch it. It seems this was a little embarassing moment. What was that song the Scarecrow used to sing in the Wizard of Oz?

I'd unravel ev'ry riddle
For any individ'le
In trouble or in pain [or dead?]

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