Saturday, October 22, 2011

“Forty-eight Hours in Portsmouth"

“Forty-eight Hours in Portsmouth”
By: Jim Silvania

          To most, if not all, homicide investigators the first 48 hours of any homicide investigation is the most crucial or critical time period of that investigation.  That’s the reason that CBS Television named its reality crime show,“48 Hours” and A&E has “The First 48”.  But, as the majority of Ohioans know, Portsmouth is a place where time stands still.
          On March 19th of this year the Portsmouth Fire Department responded to a fire at an Edendale Rd. address and as fireman do, they put out the fire.  It was not until 72 hours later that authorities received a call from one of the persons of interest that there was a body inside the burnt out rubble. Apparently to be a Portsmouth Fireman, you don’t have to pass a vision test.
          After the belated discovery of the deceased victim the investigation began, or sort of.  Portsmouth is the only city in Ohio where the fire department conducts homicide investigations if they are fire related. Firemen, in most cases, are very good at what they do…put out fires. It is law enforcement’s job to investigate homicides, just not in Portsmouth.
The Portsmouth Fire Department was wise enough to call in an investigator from the State Fire Marshall’s office but he again is not a homicide investigator.  He is a cause & origin expert who ruled the fire incendiary with probable cause to believe it’s victim’s death was the result of a homicide.    
          Crime scene experts where then called in to gather evidence and DNA was submitted to BCI&I for analysis and the victim’s body was shipped off to Montgomery County for an autopsy.
          One of the campaign ploys forwarded by now Attorney General Mike DeWine was that DNA results would no longer take BCI&I months to be analyzed and returned to local law enforcement.  DeWine was elected Attorney General, but…
          3048 hours after the body’s discovery and DNA Collection, BCI&I released their DNA results and the Scioto county corner the death certificate stating that the victim was alive when the fire was started.
          Now, some 5,232 hours after the body’s discovery the homicide investigation appears to be going nowhere. During this time period the Portsmouth Fire & Police Department as well as the Scioto County Sheriff’s Department were offered “free” technical expert assistance into the death of Jason Moore but those offers all fell upon deaf ears.
          Anyone who watches any detective show on television knows that it is the homicide detective who speaks for the dead, no matter who they are, but in this case the only words coming from Jason Moore are “If you want to commit a homicide in Ohio just bring the body to Portsmouth and light a match”.
          The Obama Administration has just rewarded $100,000 of taxpayer’s monies, my money, to Scioto County to help curb the problems associated with drug abuse.  This comes a little late for Jason Moore. 
          You can throw all the money in the world into Scioto County but it’s not until law enforcement in that county enters the 21st century will any progress be made.

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