This is Part 4 in a series of posts by reddit poster strawberryfealds that specifically looks at the evidence that was found during the investigation into Teresa Halbach’s murder.
I’ll be posting more investigational posts from others in the future.
Soil samples recovered from the burn pit on November 10:
|Tag No||Date Found||Time Found||Description||Source|
|7939||Nov 10||6:40pm||Can of granular soil samples from burn pit||South end of burn pit|
|7940||Nov 10||6:43pm||Can of soil with attached small container||South end of burn pit|
|7941||Nov 10||6:46pm||Can of Soil from burn pit||South end of burn pit|
Examinations of the soil samples
December of 2005 Wiegert received results (Page 321 if it doesn’t link directly) for the 3 tag numbers above.
Item BJ – soil sample from south end of bum pit under Tag#D7939
Item BK – soil sample from south end of burn pit under Tag#D7940
Item BL – soil sample from south end of bum pit under Tag#D7941
The findings indicate there were no common ignitable liquids found in items BJ, BK or BL. The report states these results do not preclude the possibility that an ignitable liquid may have been present at an earlier time.
They tested for residues of ignitable liquids in those soil samples, but none were found. In her second and final report (Not discussed at trial under direct or cross examination), Eisenberg made mention of the wide variety of examinations she performed.
The complete range of activities performed during this forensic anthropology study included: Off-Site Screening of Soil collected from various scene locations
Off topic, but an interesting thing she mentioned in the beginning of her final report and what is going to be covered in her final report:
While identified and documented, the non-human bone collected is not the focus of this report.
That means, every bone that she lists or describes is one of the human bones. That’s important, because it verifies even more the bones found in the quarry that weren’t discussed in direct or cross-examination are human, like most of us already knew.
Results From Eisenberg’s first report:
At the request of the Calumet County Sheriffs Office and the Division of Criminal Investigation, on December 19, 2005, I assisted in the re-screening of soil taken from the Avery property at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory in Madison. Prior to arriving at the State Crime Laboratory that morning, I removed all case material from the Dane County Coroner’s morgue facility (with the exception of the X-rays) to bring to the crime lab for reference purposes, if necessary. At the end of the day, all non-biological material sorted and identified by me was transferred to Deputy Rick Riemer; Evidence Technician with the Calumet County Sheriffs Office. I departed the State Crime Laboratory at 2050 hours and arrived at the Dane County Coroner’s morgue facility at 2103 hours; all human case material taken that morning was returned to the morgue cooler. I departed at 2105. None of the case material had been opened prior to its return to the Coroner’s morgue facility.
She only mentions non-biological material from this December 2005 re-screening.In April 2006, she’s requested to help again:
On April 10, 2006, at the request of Investigator Wiegert, I participated in the screening of soil taken from the gravel pit area of the Avery property. This work was performed at the Calumet County Sheriffs Office and was undertaken in an effort to locate any additional human bone. That activity continued on the 11th of April (without me). All items recovered during that two-day period were sent to the Dane County Coroner’s Office and received by Deputy Coroner Thorpe on April 25, 2006. I was notified by Thorpe at 1329 that the package had arrived and I requested that he place it in the morgue cooler with other items from this case. I have not yet had an opportunity to examine that material.
When Eisenberg finally examines whatever they found in the soil, she doesn’t mention it in her bench notes at any point after April 2006. Primary conclusion is nothing relevant was found in the 2nd screening of the soil samples taken from the Avery burn pit, because it’s not mentioned anywhere after she receives it.
They examined the soil three times (four if you count the examination of the tire/soil surface at the scene on Nov 10). First time for residues of ignitables, nothing. 2nd time for anything, nothing reported. 3rd time for more bones, none reported by Eisenberg in her bench notes. They brought no evidence from the soil at trial, suggesting none was found.
These are exactly the reasons why the DA and their witnesses could only legitimately say under oath that it was the large quantity of bones that convinced them Avery’s pit was the primary location. They gave that opinion, knowing no pyrolysis from a human pyre was found in the soil samples taken from the Avery location. Ask any fire professional and they will most likely give the opinion that burning and dismembering a body is a messy endeavor and will seep into the soils below. None of the mess was found in the burn pit, where it should have been (at least according to at least 3 professionals).