Police Officer’s Death Investigations – a Theological Perspective
By Bill Rhetts, MA
Warning: This article is Rated ‘R’ for graphic content, viewer discretion is advised.
As police officers, we’ve all received those calls… “Welfare check,” “suspicious circs,” “death investigation”, “dead body call,” and so on. Some of us are reluctant to go, because we know what we might find, what may be literally ‘laying’ before us.
When we arrived on scene, at times we first noticed the mailbox over-filled with U.S. mail, as well as a week’s worth of newspapers scattered on the front porch. Then after door knocking with no avail, we gain entry into the home. We then walk slowly through each room fearing what we would find, only because our olfaction had already warned what lay ahead. Finally the reality comes, when the inevitable is discovered – the decedent.
Our findings were sometimes easy to take, but all too often, they are overwhelming or shocking. We have observed officers ‘lose their lunch’ after their arrival on some dead body scenes.
The Preliminary Investigation
As the investigating officer, my job was to secure the scene immediately. Then to preliminarily determine if there was any foul play, suicide, or if it was just a natural death. I would search for any forced entry into the residence, blunt trauma to the body, or any other evidence of a crime.
I would then examine the body for rigor mortis and post-mortem lividity. And, of course determine if the lividity is consistent with the position of the body. This will scientifically tell me, if the body had been moved after death.
Once I determined that the death was not suspicious in nature, I would further my investigation throughout the house.
If I could not identify any evidence of foul play, a part of my investigation would include (but is not limited to). Discerning if the deceased had any preexisting health conditions, locating their own primary care physician to consult with, as well as going through the decedent’s medicine cabinet.
Oftentimes there were no family members at the scene, so I would have to locate one. I remember rifling through purses, pants, and even personal address books attempting to locate names or telephone numbers of loved ones.
After all of this, I would compassionately notify the next of kin. Their responses varied from one extreme to another. From extremely emotional, to denial, to calm and understanding, and on rare occasions even violent.
After hundreds of these calls, I have experienced so many different situations and circumstances, but I want to specifically share the following three with you. The elderly lady, the homosexual, and the heterosexual love triangle.
The one question that always came to my mind when glancing at a dead body, is “where is the soul of this person right now?” Is their soul in heaven, or hell?
I’ve been on some calls where the next of kin was present, and they told me that the decedent professed to be a born-again Christian. But all too often it was just the decedent and myself.
I will now give you three examples that provided enough evidence I believe, to determine where their souls most likely are today.
The Elderly Lady
Back in 1994 in the Northeast Division of LAPD I responded to a “welfare check” at a 91-year old woman’s home. Her neighbors had not seen the woman for the previous two days. I entered her home and discovered the elderly woman deceased, lying on her bed in a supine position. After about 30 minutes of a preliminary investigation, and obtaining a ‘death certificate sign-off’ telephonically by her doctor, this case was closed as a ‘natural death.’
But what was so profound with this lady, is the following.
This woman had received communion with her Lord Jesus just prior to, or during her death. She had a rolling TV stand / tray pulled directly over her bed and lap. Lying on top of the tray was the Holy Bible opened up, and not dusty. In fact her Bible was well worn out. It’s been said, “A Bible that is falling apart, probably belongs to a person whose life is not!”
Next to her Bible was an antique communion set. There was evidence of broken bread, and grape juice. Her pages were opened to 1st Corinthians chapter 11.
“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor 11: 23-26).
I then noted that her face looked more peaceful and younger, than the photos of her on the wall. Her face was so relaxed, and a slight smile was captured on her face.
I then found more evidence throughout her home that told me this woman was most likely saved from her sins (born again). Nothing indicated otherwise, not even items in her trash. Before my eyes was a lot of solid Christian books, and artifacts.
I was later able to contact her daughter (4000 miles away over the phone). When I told her that her mother had passed away, the daughters’ reply was “praise the Lord my mom was saved!”
Based on the testimony of this woman, the evidence surrounding her death, and the forensic evidence that was left behind. According to the Scriptures, my investigation concluded that this woman’s soul was most likely in heaven with her Savior. For the Christians, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
On the other hand, is the following death investigation.
I received a radio call of a “suspicious circumstances” at an apartment complex in Los Angeles. The man advised that his friend (later identified as the decedent) had not been seen for days, and that he normally had contact with him on a daily basis. He told me there was no answer at the door, and that he heard a strange noise inside the apartment.
I made entry into the location and asked the friend to remain outside while I checked. I was able to hear a strange sound emitting from the bedroom. I went there to discover the decedent lying on the bed.
This investigation was unlike the aforementioned.
The hissing sound came from the television (TV – which was still on). The TV was pulled all the way to the foot-board of the bed. The TV (still on channel 3) displayed nothing but white snow. Further investigation revealed that a VHS videotape was being watched prior to, or during his death. This type of VCR automatically rewinds, and then ejects the tape when they end. Albeit the TV remains on, and continues to make a hissing sound, displaying only white snow on the screen.
I pressed the videotape back in, and discovered that the video tape was a XXX rated porno-flick, which depicted men engaging in sex with each other.
I further noticed forensic physical evidence that the decedent had expired while masturbating as he watched this video. His own post Rigor Mortis had preserved his body in that sinful position.
I then noted lying on the bed was an opened bottle of amyl-nitrate, which had spilled onto the bed sheets. Amyl-nitrate is commonly used within the homosexual community; it’s claimed to give a superior sexual gratification.
I noted that the expression on the decedent’s face was of anxiety, terror, and pure fear. It appeared that he died being absolutely horrified.
What was profound was as I continued my investigation, I noted that the decedent had a library of books. Many of his books were authored by homosexuals that ‘professed’ to be Christians. The contents of these books were not to teach a gay man how to be delivered from the gay life style. They were books that taught him how to ‘be’ a “gay Christian.” In other words, how to be both, which is an oxymoron.
Forget about what mans’ books say. Jesus told the pharisees “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). He commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30), and to ‘repent and believe’ in the Gospel (Mark 1:15), and to obey the Gospel (2 Thess 1:7-9). Repentance is not the ‘cause’ of salvation, repentance is ‘because’ of salvation.
Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17).
The Lord also said that our previous bad character, life-style, or way of life must be past-tense not present tense. “That in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them (Col 3:7), and such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:11).
I grieved for this lost soul. Because liberal pastors, false converts, and secular authors deceived him, leading him straight to hell, as he apparently thought he was saved. A homosexual pastor from the United Methodist Church wrote one book, which condoned and encouraged this man to continue in his sin, rather than to love him out of the sin with the truth.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim 4:3-4).
We need to be reminded that not only homosexual sins will condemn souls to hell, but heterosexual sins will as well.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither FORNICATORS, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9-10 – KJV)
The Heterosexual Love Triangle
In another investigation I handled, I found two naked decedents together in one bed, although they weren’t married to each other. They were both shot and killed by the husband of the deceased woman. Shot and killed while they were “making love.” The murder suspect then turned the gun on himself.
As Paul Washer said in his video entitled ‘Sexual immorality KILLS,’ “If you don’t think it’s dangerous, then I would suggest you talk to three people. The pastor, the policeman, and the lawyer. Because they will tell you that a great many crimes and dangers and horrible things that occur in this world flows out of this.”
Yes indeed, we must abstain and repent from all sexual sin, including adultery and fornication. They are all “hell bound” lifestyles, with deadly consequences. There are many straight fornicators attending ‘churches’ all over America that are going straight to hell.
I have seen people who claimed to be Christians, trade their wives or husbands in for another spouse, as if they were used cars. The point is, if there was no biblical reason for their divorce (adultery or desertion,) then they have gone against Gods will (sin).
When we die, our bodies will return to dust. So I ask, where will your soul spend eternity? In heaven, or hell?
You may have put your clothes on this morning, but a mortician may remove them tonight. Are you ready to meet your Maker?
You ask, “How do I become saved and receive eternal life? To know more about ‘How to obtain Salvation and the assurance of eternity in heaven,’ please view our link here. Because eternity is a very long time.