LYNDA CHELDELIN FELL
“9-1-1. What’s your emergency?”
“My friend isn’t breathing. I think he just killed himself. There’s an electrical cord around his neck.”
Responding to calls like the one above, one can’t help but arrive with a psychological assumption that the cause of death was self-inflicted or perhaps accidental. The sequence of events then proceeds, based on one or the other. After all, it’s human nature to rush to judgment and assumptions.
But when there’s more than meets the eye, the danger of preconceived notions is that they leave us vulnerable to critical errors in thinking. Finding the truth relies on a thorough and meticulous evidence-based search through facts that allow no room for assumption.
Arguably, keeping an open mind is one of the most powerful—and difficult things—to practice in any profession. In law enforcement, however, such tendencies can result in incomplete investigations that leave society vulnerable. The true criminal remains at large, and traumatized families crying foul, face a secondary injustice caused by those paid to protect them.
When evidence doesn’t prove the cause of death beyond the shadow of a doubt, why do detectives choose to trivialize family pleas? Sometimes it’s simply due to lack of resources or manpower. Sometimes when an investigation is botched, internal affairs wants to conceal it from media looking for police incompetence. Sometimes it’s due to police corruption or perhaps a C.S.I. effect in which the criminal used televised investigative techniques to stage the scene, remove trace evidence, and outsmart investigators.
No matter the reason, too many deaths are wrongfully concluded with case closed.
The stories you read in this book expose the truth behind the alarming number of unsolved murders and suspicious deaths erroneously classified as natural, accidental, or self-inflicted, with little to no investigation. It’s a shocking read, but necessary.
Change begins with raising awareness and using voices to amplify a problem, no matter how good, bad, or ugly. And that’s the intent behind sharing these stories—to raise awareness about a growing problem.
The duty to do something has been courageously put into motion by Dennis N. Griffin. Now retired after twenty years in investigations and law enforcement, he refuses to remain silent any longer. In his quest to help families find answers, he reveals the secrecies that exist in law enforcement on his radio show Crime Wire. And now he’s doing it between the covers of this book. In the name of justice and to help those whose cries have gone ignored, Dennis Griffin is an agent of change.
May families who have been trivialized find comfort in knowing their voices are no longer silent.
LYNDA CHELDELIN FELL
Creator, Grief Diaries
Co-founder, International Grief Institute