Forensic Files is a pioneer in the field of fact-based, high-tech, dramatic storytelling. This series of television programs delves into the world of forensic science, profiling intriguing crimes, accidents, and outbreaks of disease from around the world.
When a young fireman died from what appeared to be serious but undiagnosed heart disease, his family and friends were devastated but they had no proof of foul play. Then they learned that, six years earlier in a nearby town, a young police officer died in the same way. The men had one thing in common: At the time of their deaths, they were married to the same woman.
A 33-year old woman meets, falls in love with, and marries a successful young doctor, but an unusual amount of discomfort during her pregnancy arouses her suspicions, prompting a personal investigation that culminates in a startling revelation.
The murder of an eccentric millionaire was not entirely unexpected; he flaunted his wealth and cared little for personal security. The evidence at the crime seemed to indicate robbery, but investigators wondered if there was something more.
The body of a businessman was found in his rental car. Teeth and bone fragments were all that remained of the body; When the victim's wife filed a life insurance claim, investigators sought the help of a forensic anthropologist.
The victim was well liked and successful, which made the brutality of the crime even harder to understand. In the final moments of her life, she'd written a name on the wall - presumably that of the killer - in her own blood. But this wasn't an open and shut case and, in order to solve it, investigators would have to read between the lines.
An elderly woman is murdered. Though investigators were able to lift prints from the scene, they failed to find a match and the crime went unsolved. Years later, advances in fingerprint science enable police to identify the print and the killer.
A family vacation turns into a nightmare when the wife is found face-down in the lake. There are no witnesses and little conclusive evidence to help police determine if they're dealing with a suicide, an accident, or something more sinister... until a forensic pathologist uses a groundbreaking technique to discover the truth.
When a young dancer who got involved with the wrong crowd disappeared, her family immediately suspected her new friends. When a young dancer who got involved with the wrong crowd disappeared, her family immediately suspected her new friends.
A serial bomber was on the loose in Illinois. Two churches had been bombed and one person was killed. Investigators had to stop the perpetrator before he struck again... and they hoped to find him by following a thin copper wire.
In a tragic twist of fate, just days after the woman sold her home and moved to a modest trailer, a fire took both the trailer and her life. But the autopsy proved this was no accident. It was arson and murder. Investigators had to determine who wanted the woman dead... and why.
An obstetrician returned home from the hospital and found his wife on the floor of the bathroom; she was covered with blood, not breathing. He tried unsuccessfully to revive her, staining his clothes with her blood in the process, and then he called 911. His version of events was not supported by the blood spatter evidence, and investigators had to determine why.
The killer was meticulous, washing everything at the scene, including the victim's body. The only definitive evidence was a single foreign hair. Three years later he struck again and, this time, what he left behind would prove he committed both crimes.
A college co-ed was abducted from a parking lot. Her body was found later that day. She'd been sexually assaulted and shot at point blank range. Eight years passed and then a pair of shoes and a cell phone breathed new life into a cold case.
When a woman's husband was gunned down in his own garage by intruders, investigators worked tirelessly to find the assassins. But when they discovered that a wound sustained during the attack by the grieving widow may have been self-inflicted, they turned to science to help t hem unravel a twisted tale of lust, greed, and deception.
In 1995, police in San Diego, California are baffled by a pair of hands found in a dumpster. The case goes cold but about a year later, investigators receive an anonymous letter with information about the crime that had been withheld from the press - information only the killer (or someone close to the killer) would know. Laser technology helps to identify the state, city, street address, and even the office number from where the anonymous letter was mailed, which leads them to LDS (Mormon) Bishop Mark Davis. Davis cites the privilege between clergy and church member as a reason to not disclose the source of the information, but a judge rules that since Davis sent the letter, he must identify the source.
When the wife of a dentist is found dead, police are unsure who killed her. As the investigation progresses, a woman confesses. Two years pass before fibers and a study of the weather on the night of the murder break the case open.
For twelve years, the murder of a young woman went unsolved, but with the passage of time came the development of technology. Would a used tissue found at the crime scene give police the evidence they needed to crack the case and bring a killer to justice?
Police arrive at a shooting, and discover the victim's husband is a homicide detective who says his wife shot herself. Investigators turn to a forensic scientist and ballistics expert to learn what really happened and who was responsible.
The assistant manager of the restaurant had been stabbed to death. Police knew why he'd been killed: $8,000 was missing from the safe. As to who was responsible, his family and friends couldn't even imagine who'd want to hurt him.
The woman was dead. The man had been shot four times but he survived. When the man's version of events was at variance with the evidence, investigators turned to forensic science, hoping to determine if this was a botched robbery, or cold-blooded murder.
A human skeleton was discovered in the North Carolina marshlands and, when investigators learned she'd been dead for 18 months, they knew it would be difficult to find out who she was, much less who killed her. A forensic anthropologist was able to determine the victim's race, age and height, but it would take an inventive computer consultant to give her a face and a name.
Emelita Villa came to Arlington, Texas from the Philippines as a shy, impoverished, 18-year-old mail order bride for Jack Reeves, a man almost 30 years her senior. Six and a half years later, Emelita disappeared.
A woman is found dead in a ravine near a jogging path. Crucial crime scene evidence had been washed away by severe thunderstorms. Then, almost 20 years later, two pieces of newly-discovered evidence brought the killer to justice.
A man accused of killing his estranged wife insisted she committed suicide. Investigators said it was murder. The evidence was interpreted differently by the defense and prosecution. It was up to the jury to decide.
In 1993, the Amtrak Railroad experienced the deadliest train crash in United States history when the Sunset Limited derailed while crossing Alabama's Bayou Canot bridge. Forty-seven passengers and crew were killed; scores more were injured. The clues to the cause of the crash lay etched in twisted steel and buried in the mud of the Bayou Canot.
Firefighters find an entire family dead inside their burned-out home, and at first glance, it appears to be a case of murder-suicide. But clues found at the scene soon lead investigators to believe otherwise. Forensic science, a time card, a drawing, and an audiotaped diary help prosecutors to build their case, and bring the killer to justice.
A highway patrolman was dispatched to what he thought would be a routine traffic accident... until he looked in the car. While he had no formal training in forensic science, he had seen hundreds of accidents - but never as much blood as this. He was shocked by the coroner's ruling of "accidental death," and then an anonymous phone call breathed new life into his investigation.
While Earl Morris was vacationing in California, he learned that his wife had gone missing from their home in Arizona. The search for Ruby Morris involved dozens of investigators, scientists, and even the coast guard.
Three seemingly unrelated deaths proved to be serial murders. The killer had been careful; he'd used poison which has no taste or odor. Fortunately for investigators, it also had a unique chemical signature.
A twelve-year-old girl claimed she had been abducted and sexually assaulted. She recounted what happened in such a flat, unemotional voice that police found it difficult to believe her. Fibers on her clothing would prove she was telling the truth, and help police find her attacker.
Two suspects living in the same apartment were linked to a murder by a gun and a pair of bloodstained boots - items that belonged to the one who claimed he'd never even met the victim. Investigators hoped the manufacturing code stamped on the six beer bottles would be distinctive enough to prove who was telling the truth, and who was a cold-blooded killer.
The media dubbed him the "Last Call Killer" because he targeted men in gay bars who were obviously intoxicated. His MO involved dismembering the bodies and wrapping the parts in plastic bags, which he then carefully washed to remove all incriminating evidence. He eluded capture for almost ten years... and then new technology revealed fingerprints no one knew were there.
Bruce Miller was shot to death in the office of the business he owned. When a computer expert examined the computers owned by the victim's wife and by her lover, he found the evidence needed to convict the person responsible for the crime.
A young mother is murdered after years of domestic abuse. There are clues at the scene: bloody footprints and DNA from the victim's rape kit. But the evidence which will conclusively tie the killer to the crime is on a freshly baked hamburger bun.
One warm summer afternoon, the town of Verona, Wisconsin, faced its first triple homicide. To solve the case, investigators had to delve into the world of high rollers and offshore betting. With the help of forensics, they were able to bring down a killer who gambled, and lost.
Women in a small Louisiana city live in fear of a rapist who leaves no clues to his identity. But computer technology and behavioral science combine to give police a new forensic tool: geographical profiling.
When a woman is found murdered in a bar, investigators believe the best evidence is the bite mark found on the victim. A postman is convicted of murder, but he maintains his innocence. Ten years later, improved technology yields new information.
When a young mother and her infant son are found dead in a cornfield, the obvious suspect is the husband and father of the victims. But some insects found on the bodies reveal a vital clue, as does a long, blonde hair found on the victims.
A talented television news anchor was shot to death outsider her home; it appeared to be a crime of passion, perpetrated by an obsessed fan. A police dog tracked the scent of the killer through the adjacent woods and back to the crime scene. Could the murderer be one of the onlookers, watching the police conduct their investigation?
When their trailer catches fire, the young husband heroically rescues his wife and infant son. A month later, his wife is beaten to death in a bedroom of his parents' home. The cut window screen points to an intruder, but the lack of supporting evidence compels investigators to look beyond the obvious.
When a hit-and-run boating accident caused the death of a popular young man, investigators faced the the daunting task of searching for one boat among 1,200 others. They asked anyone who had seen the accident to come forward. The man who responded did much more than witness the crash; he was a passenger in that other boat.
The investigation of the disappearance of a woman leads police to a suspect. But police could not find the victim's body. Finally, police discovered a charred tooth. Superimposed images and a dental filling give investigators the proof they need.
When a college co-ed vanished without a trace, her fellow students were concerned about her safety... and their own. Weeks later, the body of an unknown female was discovered about 700 miles away in the ashes of a barn fire, and an alert police officer realized the two crimes might be connected.
A young woman is found dead in her apartment. there's little evidence at the scene, leads don't pan out, and the case turns cold... until police discover a link between their prime suspect and an unsolved murder committed six ears earlier in a different state.
How unlucky could one man be? His wife had taken her own life, and his college sweetheart had killed herself in much the same fashion fourteen years earlier. Investigators had to determine if this was a bizarre coincidence or an attempt to get away with murder... twice.
After he got into the home, the assailant used an axe to kill the husband and critically injure his wife. Nothing was taken, so this wasn't a robbery. A DNA profile from skin cells collected hundreds of miles away would reveal the killer's identity and his motive for murder.
The woman in the back of the truck was flailing her arms, screaming. They thought she was doing something dangerous for the fun of it. But when they found a jacket near a pool of blood, they knew what they'd seen wasn't a joy ride; it was an abduction.
Doctors don't know why the young scientist is gravely ill. When test finally reveal the cause, it's too late to save him. Police hope that lab analysis of his hair - showing when attempts were made on his life and what was used - will lead to the killer.
When an 11-year old girl disappeared from a small town in a remote area of Alaska, investigators wondered if she'd been attacked by a bear or become lost int he dense woods. It turned out neither was true. Her body was discovered 10 days later; she'd been shot twice at close range, and sexually assaulted. A tip from an eyewitness led police to a suspect, and trace evidence found at the crime scene convinced a jury of his guilt.
A nurse experienced flu-like symptoms. She visited the doctor for a check-up and learned she was HIV-positive. In the end, science was able to determine not only how she had been infected, but also by whom. The worst part: It wasn't an accident.
A security guard disappeared from his post without a trace; his remains were found a year later in a remote camp site. More than a decade would pass before a phone call breathed life into the cold case, a paint smear on the bottom of the victim's boot helped scientists determine what happened during the last hour of his life.
For years, a woman suffered from what appeared to be the unpleasant side effects of lithium, a drug prescribed to treat bipolar disorder. When she died, investigators had to determine if her death was due to natural causes, suicide or murder.
Time of death becomes pivotal after a pregnant woman is found murdered in her air-conditioned bedroom. A similarity between her death and an HBO movie gives forensic examiners the clues they need to thaw out the alibi of a cold-blooded killer.
In 1984, hundreds of people in The Dalles, Oregon became ill with food poisoning. Local, state, and federal disease detectives slowly unraveled the medical mystery. Along with a unique strain of bacteria, they discovered a religious cult's bizarre plot to overthrow the government...using germ warfare.
The man suffered a slow, agonizing death over a period of days. His wife maintained he killed himself, but police were skeptical... especially when they learned her first husband died when he was only 38-years old, and she refused to consent to an autopsy.
When a dedicated, well-respected teacher disappeared, police had to determine if she'd gone on vacation without telling anyone or if she was the victim of foul play. Investigators turned to forensic science, hoping to find the answers they needed.
A behavioral profile is helpful in a murder investigation, but it's not a road map to the killer. One such profile caused the Baton Rouge Police Department to search for the wrong man. They might have made an arrest had it not been for a DNA picture of the suspect painted by a molecular biologist.
An Arizona surgeon is found stabbed to death. All signs point to a random attack until investigators uncover an unlikely suspect. Police work to unravel the mystery in a case of jealousy, rage, and the almighty dollar.
The medical examiner ruled the death an accident, but the detectives investigating the case thought the evidence at the scene indicated otherwise. It would take three years, an exhumation, and a second autopsy to determine who was right.
A couple embarks on a holiday but never return. Police suspect drugs are the reason behind their disappearance. Days later a random burglary breaks the case wide open. Police use ballistics and DNA to capture to unusual suspects.
A family interrupts a burglary in their suburban home. The gunman kills two and wounds two more. Police suspect the crime is related to a string of thefts in the area, but a closer look at the crime scene reveals the real motive and killer.
A woman is murdered on a jogging trail in the middle of the day. The leads from cell phone records and search dogs go nowhere. Nine days later, a witness tells police about a chance encounter, and cigarette butts which may contain the killer's DNA.
Twenty-four hours after her face-to-face meeting with a man she met online, the woman and her soon-to-be-ex-husband were shot to death. Only the computer had been taken from her home, and with it, the means to identify the killer.
A wealthy man and his wife were attacked by three men outside their luxurious Louisiana home. He was shot dead and she was forced to open their hidden safe. The woman could not describe the men because they wore masks. To solve the case, police would have to find out who knew about the concealed safe, and who would benefit from the crime.
The investigation of an exotic dancer's disappearance led police to an isolated 75-acre site where someone had been shot and cremated. The destruction of the remains was almost complete... almost, but not quite. Soft tissue attached to a piece of a foot provided enough DNA for a genetic profile, and positive identification of the victim.
When a real estate developer is shot to death, his wife becomes the prime suspect. Police have a wealth of evidence against her, but it's circumstantial. The case will turn on a .25 caliber bullet fired 20 years ago from the now-missing murder weapon.
A woman dies suddenly at home. Investigators are unable to determine the cause of death until they receive a call from the ex-wife of the dead woman's husband. The sensitive nose of a toxicologist ends up sniffing out murder.
The victim had been stabbed more than a hundred times and her bedroom was soaked with blood. While her body was positioned in a suggestive way, she hadn't been sexually assaulted. Was this a sex crime, or the random act of a man with an intense hatred of women?
A 12 year-old is the only witness to her mother's death and is unable to provide many details. Little did they know 12 years later, forensic evidence would lead the investigation right back to where it started.
There was no apparent reason for the young, healthy college student to be dead. But when the medical examiner found the tiniest of clues during the autopsy, investigators were able to unravel the mystery of betrayal and revenge.
The victim was a self-made man who never minced words. Perhaps he was murdered by a disgruntled client or employee. Perhaps the racy photos in his safe held the clue to solving the crime. Or perhaps with the help of the IRS, investigators could follow the money and find the killer.
The victim was brutally murdered. Police learn her fiance was having affairs with other women, and he becomes the prime suspect...that is until a man comes forward who not only believes he owns the murder weapon, he also knows who used it.
The victim was discovered in a landfill, stuffed into a suitcase. She resembled another woman, missing for 18 months. Sure they were dealing with a serial killer, police faced the daunting task of combing through 225,000 tons of trash to find her body.
The body of a young girl was discovered on isolated farm land near Delano, California. She had no ID, but police found mailbox and house keys in the pocket of her jeans. With no other clues, they checked the mailboxes of every apartment building in Delano... and their persistence paid off.
In little more than a month, two women who lived in the same apartment complex were brutally murdered. The similarities of the crime scenes led police to conclude they were dealing with a serial killer who harbored an intense hatred of women... and they had to find him before he struck again.
Four young adults are brutally murdered in an affluent Texas neighborhood, and the crime scene yields little evidence. The next door neighbors see two young people dressed in black walking nearby, and their descriptions are used to create composite drawings which become a key element in solving the crime.
A couple is found dead in their Washington home and all signs point to a professional hit. A palm print and two distinct shoe impressions help police separate fantasy from reality and expose a fatal flaw in one state's inmate release procedures.
The woman hadn't shown up for work in two days, and her boss reported her missing. When her body was found, the evidence pointed to suspects who claimed they had nothing to do with the crime. The victim, herself, would help police to prove they were lying.
Hikers near Anchorage, Alaska discovered a body wrapped in sheets which were edged in orange stitching. Authorities hydrated the fingers and obtained a fingerprint, enabling them to identify the victim. Clinging to the sheet, they also discovered a tuft of red carpet fibers -- threads of evidence which led them straight to the killer.
When a teenaged girl goes missing, no one knows if she ran away or if she was the victim of foul play. Everyone's worst fears are confirmed when a body is found at the bottom of an isolated ravine. Police scour the crime scene, hoping to find enough evidence to identify the killer.
A woman was ambushed in her driveway and shot to death. During their investigation, police learned that a co-worker half her age was in love with her, and that she'd spurned his advances. They now had to determine if love had turned into obsession... and a motive for murder.
The bodies of three women were found floating in Tampa Bay. The water washed away any evidence, but police hoped a handwritten note found in the victims' car would lead to the killer - so they posted huge copies of the note on five highway billboards.
The victim had been sexually assaulted and stabbed to death on the beach, just ten yards from the hotel where she was staying. A pair of men's tennis shoes was discovered near her body. Police were sure that if they found the man who fit the shoes, they would also find the man who committed the crime.
A mysterious computer crash pushes a thriving manufacturing company to the brink of collapse, jeopardizing the jobs of hundreds of employees. There is no apparent cause and no obvious clues. Forensic investigators must determine if the crash was the result of a computer defect, human error, or sabotage.