Two Homicides in Two Days

I’m posting this case without identifying the agency or state where the incidents took place, as the agency is not publishing these drawings and the case is still open.

I did two drawings in a week in August for this case. The detective sergeant called me to advise they’d had a homeless person shot and killed one night. The following night, a second homeless person was shot and killed. The second victim had been a witness to the first homicide.

The first witness the agency found for me to work with was another witness to the first killing. They had me do a profile drawing (very uncommon) and made it very unusual as well by having the neck thrust backwards instead of forwards. The witness seemed traumatized by the incident, telling me a few times what they’d heard the suspect say as he went by.

Detectives told me the next day that they believe this witness had lied, having me draw a person the witness had been having an ongoing argument with. It was believed the true suspect was a friend of this witness.

I did a second drawing a few days later with a different witness. This witness directed the
drawing very quickly, making hardly any changes. I told the detective I was suspicious that the drawing was of no one in particular and the witness was just doing the interview to please the detectives.

I’m showing these drawings to illustrate different ways that an artist can do false drawings in a real case. A witness can describe a real person who is not the suspect (sometimes an acquaintance or a celebrity), giving detailed and specific features. Another witness can make up a person who doesn’t exist, using general features and making no changes. These drawings do not help identify a suspect, but it helps detectives establish the veracity of the witnesses.