One of the most bewildering aspects of the Making a Murderer case is the lack of photograph discoveries of human bones.
Making a Murderer subject Steven Avery was convicted for the killing of photographer Teresa Halbach. He had previously spent 18 years in prison on a sexual assault charge before DNA evidence had proven he was not involved in the crime. In 2005, he was arrested for the murder Halbach and sentenced to life in prison. His nephew, Brendan Dassey, was also arrested for acting as his uncle’s accomplice.
“I complained about the lack of photos and the quality. It was very poor,” Scott Fairgrieve, a forensic anthropologist in Ontario who also serves as the chairman of the Laurentian University Forensic Science Department in Canada, said. Fairgrieve was a defense expert witness in the murder trial.
As reported by Post Crescent, these photographs are of the victim’s bones.
Jerry Buting, Avery’s lawyer, described the lack of photographs as “very puzzling.”
“The state never offered any explanation for why law enforcement officers failed to photograph the bones to show precisely how they were positioned, an elementary task in the course of such an investigation,” Buting said.
Law enforcement failed to take pictures on three occasions.
On November 6, the contents of the four burn barrels found on Avery’s sister’s property, which was 50 yards away, were not photographed. These burn barrels had sparked the curiosity of the cadaver dogs but, in addition to the photographs not being taken, there was no description of the appearance of the bones in the reports.
The second instance was the time a large vertebrae was discovered on November 8 at Avery’s burn pile pit. During this fourth day of the search, police also discovered a piece of a skull. However, they were also not photographed.
Other than the discovery of bones at the burn pit, another set of human bones were found, according the reports of Calumet County Lt. Kelly Sippel. These bones, appeared to belong to the pelvic region, were found a quarter of a mile away from Avery’s property.
“The final two pieces would have been that of some bone and flesh located in the Michels Materials Quarry to the northeast of the Avery property,” Sippel’s report said.
Speaking about the lack of photographs, Fairgrieve says the lack of photographs did not mean that the “police were malicious.” He added that it could be because of the deputies’ forgetfulness or lack of knowledge and experience when it comes to investigating death scenes. “Their mistake here was, because of the type of case this was and the high-profile nature, they did not want to let it sit,” Fairgrieve said. “What should have been done was to protect the scene until you get all your (forensic) experts there. But they operated out of ignorance.”
Forensic scientist Brent Turvey said there could be a couple of reasons why deputies failed to take photographs from the sites where Halbach’s remains were found. “It’s either negligence or it’s intentional,” Turvey said.