Footwear Impressions in Crime Scene Investigations _ Part 3 Secret Date Ended in Wife’s Murder

August 3, 2023

Footwear impressions are valuable physical evidence that can be easily found at most crime scenes. They can provide important information to investigators, such as thesuspect's movement track at the scene, and offer clues for analyzing the development of the case.

In October 2022, the Police Department received a report of a brutal homicide in an office building located in an industrial park. A woman jumped from the fifth floor anddied. Crime scene investigators immediately rushed to the location of the incident and secured the scene. They also found a person who could verify the incident.

According to Wang, the president of a company, the victim was his wife, and the person who jumped from the building was his lover, Li. On the day of the incident,Wang's wife discovered that Wang and Li were having a date in the office. She had a fierce argument with the two in the office, and during the altercation,Wang's wife and Li started to fight. Due to lacking physical strength, Wang's wife was pushed down during the scuffle. She picked up a paring knife on the table and cut Li. In anger, Li took out a broadsword from the office cabinet,which Wang had prepared for self-defense, and killed Wang's wife. After the murder, Li felt afraid and doomed, and jumped to her death.

Figure1 Crime scene showing the culprit after the jump

The investigators discovered that Wang had blood spatter on his body and scratches on his arms. Additionally, heappeared more agitated when recounting the details of the case. Based on their experience, the investigators decided to temporarily detain Wang and initiate a thorough investigation of the crime scene.

Out of consideration for readers' comfort, live pictures of the crime scene will not be displayed. However, a scene diagram is provided below. This diagram reconstructs the movements of both the victim and the suspect at the crime scene using shoeprints as a reference.

Figure 2 Crime scene diagram

After investigating the crime scene, the investigators have identified three key points:

1. Two main weapons were found at the scene. The fingerprints of Wang's wife were discovered on the paring knife, which was not the main murder weapon. No fingerprints were found on the broadsword, which was the main murder weapon.

2. Wang claimed that Li went to the cabinet to retrieve the broadsword and killed Wang's wife. However, only Wang's shoeprints were found around the cabinet.

3. Li, who jumped to her death, had blood on her body from a fight, but no spatter-type blood was found.

Figure 3 Shoeprints left where the suspect went to retrieve the broadsword
Figure 4 The suspect’s shoeprints

After carefully analyzing the data atthe crime scene, the investigators concluded that Wang has been lying all along.The final results of the investigation proved that shoeprints left at the cabinet were the leading clue in determining that it was Wang who was main perpetrator of the crime. After two consecutive days of interrogation, Wang finally confessed. According to Wang,his wife accidently found him and his lover in the office and became very agitated. She scratched and bit him, but with Li’s assistance, Wang's wife was unable to resist and could only pick up a paring knife to defend herself. Wang lost control and violently attacked his wife, beating her to the ground several times. His wife tried to escape, but was caught by Li and Wang, who went to his cabinet and took out a broadsword to eventually kill her.

After the murder, Wang and Li calmed down, but realizing they've committed a crime, felt desperate. They decided to jump off of the building together, but at the time of jumping, Li jumped, but Wang got scared and backed from jumping. Wang chose to call the police and make up a lie, but in the end, he could not escape the law.