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An unspeakable crime in the heartland.

They report that what they assumed to be migrating passerines surveyed by marine X-band radar appeared to react to topography in the Franconia Notch area. However, the study design and X-band radar equipment used in the study focused on localized and relatively low-altitude target movements and did not allow assessment of a broader area for movement patterns, and some of the detected targets may have been bats. However, Mabee et al.

The remaining targets either shifted their flight direction by at least 10 degrees 8.

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There is considerable agreement that migration patterns of most birds are species-specific. Species with limited breeding and wintering ranges generally have restricted migration pathways, but species with widely dispersed breeding ranges tend to show broad-front migration. A recent discussion of the flyway versus broad-front migration patterns in the United States is in Lincoln et al. Many of the mountain ridgelines, and in particular those along the eastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains, appear to provide migratory pathways for diurnal fall migrants such as raptors Bednarz et al.

Raptors concentrate along ridges during migration and during daily hunting flights, presumably to take advantage of rising thermals and favorable winds used for soaring. Thus, raptors are likely more at risk when turbines are placed in areas where favorable winds exist for soaring.

The unadjusted per-turbine and per-MW raptor fatality rates reported for these sites are 0. The primary difference among the three sites appears to be the abundance of raptors Erickson et al. The APWRA has the most raptors, presumably because of the abundance of prey, particularly small mammals Smallwood and Thelander , San Gorgonio has the fewest raptors, while raptor densities at Tehachapi Pass are intermediate Anderson et al.

The West Ridge also had the highest reported raptor fatalities among the three geographic subdivisions of Tehachapi Pass studied. These data suggest that differences in site quality, resulting in differences in abundance and exposure to turbines, may play an important role in determining mortality of some species. Smallwood and Thelander , and Orloff and Flannery reported more raptor fatalities at wind turbines constructed in canyons at APWRA than at other locations within the area. It also is usually assumed that nocturnally migrating passerines migrate relatively high agl.

In a review of radar studies in the eastern United States, Kerlinger concluded that three-quarters of passerines assumed passerines because bats were not considered migrate at altitudes between 91 and m. Nevertheless, X-band marine radar studies suggest there is a large amount of nighttime variation in flight altitudes e.

Some of the intra-night variation is due to birds landing at dawn and taking flight at dusk, or bats emerging at dusk or returning at dawn. Kerlinger and Moore and Bruderer et al. For example, Gauthreaux found that birds and possibly bats crossing the Gulf of Mexico appear to fly at altitudes where favorable winds exist. In summary, it appears likely that nocturnally migrating passerines fly in broad fronts given the limit of resolution of current methods of detection, and that during migration the vast majority fly at altitudes well above the rotor-swept area of wind turbines.

However, when weather conditions e. Under favorable weather conditions migrant birds landing at night or beginning flight at dusk are potentially at risk of collision. This is particularly so if turbines are located adjacent to migratory stopover areas where migrants may be concentrated. Raptors often concentrate along topographic features when updrafts exist that facilitate soaring and may be at greater risk of collision when wind turbines are constructed in these locations. Nevertheless, prey abundance may also strongly influence raptor abundance and thus risk of collisions.

Although additional research is needed for more complete understanding of temporal patterns of fatalities at wind-energy facilities, a number of patterns emerge and it is clear that risk of fatality differs with location, meteorological condition, time of night, and time of year for both birds and bats.

Based on the available data, fatalities of passerines occurred in all months surveyed Table Bird fatalities along the Appalachian ridge have been most common from April through October Nicholson ; Kerns and Kerlinger , although the seasonal timing of fatalities varies somewhat among sites. For example, peak passerine fatalities occurred during spring migration at Buffalo Ridge, Minnesota Johnson et al.

This seasonal pattern suggests that both migrating and breeding resident bird species are being killed at wind-energy facilities Howe et al. Estimating the importance of fatalities to local populations requires that fatalities be assigned to a source population. However, allocation of fatalities to migrating and non-migrating passerines is problematic. It seems clear that some fatalities occur during migration. For example, a dead bird generally is considered a migrant if the species is not detected during bird surveys conducted during the breeding season and the habitat is unsuitable for nesting or brood rearing for the species.

In many cases, however, the species may be present during the breeding season, but may be discovered as a fatality only, or more often during the migration season. Previous studies have not been able to distinguish resident breeders from migrants, although Erickson et al. Based on the available data, it appears that approximately half the reported fatalities at new wind-energy facilities are nocturnal migrating birds, primarily passerines, and the other half are resident birds.

There is some evidence that young. For example, in a four-year study of summer movements of juvenile reed warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus marked as nestlings in Europe, captures by song playback suggest the existence of nocturnal post-fledging movements in this species. The uncertainty as to the geographic source of birds and bats killed at wind turbines could possibly be reduced if feather or other tissue samples were taken from carcasses and examined for stable hydrogen isotopes see Appendix C.

Inclement weather has been identified as an important factor contributing to bird collisions with other obstacles, including power lines, buildings, and communications towers Estep ; Howe et al. Johnson et al. Estimating the effect of weather is problematic because it is difficult to observe migration in poor visibility and precipitation.

Nonetheless, the association of fatalities with episodic weather events recorded at wind-energy facilities e. Data allowing reliable assessments of bat fatalities at wind-energy facilities in the United States are limited. Only six of the studies that we reviewed were conducted using a systematic survey protocol for all seasons of occupancy for a one-year period Table and had scavenging and searcher-efficiency biases incorporated into estimates Figure ; Arnett ; Johnson ; Arnett et al.

In contrast, protocols for assessing bat fatalities varied considerably and thus make actual fatality rates difficult to compare Arnett Bat fatalities at wind-energy facilities in the eastern United States are much higher than those in western states. Of the 45 bat species known from North America north of Mexico , 11 have been recovered in ground searches at wind-energy facilities Johnson ; Kunz et al. Landscape a. Meyersdale, PA i. Mountaineer, WV i. Table Other bat species killed by wind turbines in the United States include the western red bat Lasiurus blossivilli , Seminole bat L.

To date, no fatalities of federally listed bat species have been reported Johnson , although it is possible that some of the bats that were. Percent Search Efficiency c. Some wind-energy facilities may be constructed where it would be highly unlikely for endangered species to occur at the site. Nonetheless, the dominance. Species a. Pacific Northwest b. Reprinted with permission; copyright , Ecological Society of America. Migratory tree bats are the commonest reported bat fatalities at windenergy facilities in the United States. The numbers of bats killed in the eastern United States at wind-energy facilities installed along forested ridge tops have ranged from Bat fatalities reported from other regions of the western and midwestern United States have been lower, ranging from 0.

Nonetheless, a recent study designed to assess bat fatalities in southwestern Alberta Canada found that fatalities were comparable to those found at wind-energy facilities located in forested ridges of the eastern United States R. Barclay and E. Baerwald, University of Calgary, personal communication Bat fatalities at wind-energy facilities appear to be highest along forested ridge tops in the eastern United States and lowest in relatively open landscapes in the midwestern and in western states Fiedler ; Johnson ; Fiedler et al.

Western red bats, hoary bats, silver-haired bats, and Brazilian freetailed bats also have been reported at wind-energy facilities in northern California Kerlinger et al. To date, no assessments of bat fatalities have been reported at wind-energy facilities in the southwestern United States, a region where large numbers of migratory Brazilian free-tailed bats are resident during the warm months McCracken ; Russell and McCracken , and where this species provides important ecosystem services to agriculture Cleveland et al.

High fatality rates also can be expected for other species in the southwestern United States, where bat fatalities have not been monitored, and at wind-energy facilities in western states where rigorous monitoring for bat fatalities has been limited Kunz et al. Despite the relatively high proportion of fatalities of migratory tree-roosting bats in each of the five regions summarized in Table , the eastern pipistrelle, a non-migratory species, accounted for Studies where search efficiency and carcass removals are assessed daily provide the best data set for interpreting fatality rates Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in , Table It is not known whether the high fatalities in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands wind-energy facilities and other areas in the eastern United States actually differ from those reported in other regions, or whether instead they reflect higher risk, higher abundance of migratory bats in the region, or limited search efforts in other regions.

Most studies report that fatalities occur throughout the facilities, with no identified relationship to site characteristics e. The relatively high proportion of migratory bats may be influenced by the fact that these bats often forage along topographically uniform linear landscapes i. Given that there are no reliable abundance data for migratory tree species or, in fact, most other species of bats, it is impossible to determine at this time whether regional differences in fatalities are proportional to abundance. Given the apparent episodic nature of bat migration Arnett et al. As discussed further below, the foraging and roosting behavior of migratory tree-roosting bats may provide important insight for estimating risk of collision.

The lack of multiyear studies and previous, possibly biased estimates of fatalities at most existing wind-energy facilities makes it difficult to draw general conclusions about the long-term effects of bat deaths on bat populations. This is partly due to the lack of efforts to look for bats in early studies, since bat fatalities were not recognized as a problem.

In particular, lack of replication of studies to assess bat activity and fatalities among different wind-energy facilities and years makes it impossible to evaluate natural variation, in particular episodic migration events, changing weather conditions, and other stochastic events as they relate to fatalities. Relatively little is known about the influence of wind-turbine design on bat fatalities.

To date, most large numbers of turbine-related bat fatalities have been reported from large, onshore utility-scale wind-energy facilities, in which 1 to 1. Few if any fatalities were reported from older, lattice-tower turbines that were the source of high raptor fatalities at the facilities in California, although.

Most modern wind turbines are tall and white, extending well above the forest canopies in the eastern United States, and quite likely are visually if not acoustically detectable to bats on cloudless nights. These large turbines stand in sharp contrast to the surrounding vegetation, and one hypothesis is that they may function as a visual beacon to bats and their insect prey many insects are attracted to large white objects [Kunz et al.

All wind turbines produce sound that can be detected by most humans, and presumably by bats as well. Some turbines also produce broadband ultrasound a range of frequencies above 20 kHz, approximately the upper limit of human hearing as well as infrasound defined as frequencies below 20 Hz, approximately the lower limit of human hearing. The ears of echolocating insectivorous bats are primarily tuned to a range of ultrasonic frequencies, which they use while navigating and capturing insect prey, although many species also produce and respond to frequencies below 20 kHz.

Additional research is needed to quantify the responses of bats to these sounds. Recent observations summarized by Horn et al.

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Kunz and S. Gauthreaux, personal observation that could function as an attractant to bats if they are used on wind turbines. Nonetheless, because ultrasonic frequencies are highly attenuated, especially in moist air Griffin ; Lawrence and Simmons , it is not likely that these sounds would function as a long-distance beacon that would either attract or repel bats.

The functional range of echolocation for insectivorous bats that emit frequencies between 25 and kHz can be as short as 5 m Stilz and Schnitzler Lighting on associated maintenance buildings or power stations at wind-energy facilities appears to attract insects. However, given that some insects are attracted to different types of lighting and light-colored objects, wind-turbine monopoles and blades may attract insects that bats feed on. Moreover, the large numbers of insects struck by moving turbine blades suggest that nocturnally flying insects are common at the height of the rotor-swept area Corten and Veldkamp Accumulations of dead or.

Wind turbines also produce obvious blade-tip vortices Figure , and if bats get temporarily trapped in these moving air masses it may be difficult for them to escape. FIGURE Blade-tip vortices created by moving rotor blades in a wind tunnel illustrate the swirling wake that trails downwind from an operating wind turbine. The causal factors and patterns of bat fatalities at wind turbines remain uncertain. Observations using thermal infrared imaging suggest that sometimes bats are killed by direct impact with turbine blades Horn et al. However, there are many unanswered questions.

Are bats unable to detect rotating wind-turbine blades during migration and when they forage? Are bats attracted to moving turbine blades? The turbine and blades produce audible sounds, ultrasound, and infrasonic vibrations, and because some bat species are known to orient to distant sounds Buchler and Childs , it is possible that bats are attracted to sounds produced by turbines or become disoriented and when they are migrating or feeding in the vicinity of wind turbines Kunz et al.

Alternatively, it is conceivable that bats are visually attracted to wind turbines Kunz et al. Migratory hoary bats reportedly seek the nearest available trees when daylight approaches Dalquest ; Cryan and Brown in press , thus bats may mistake the large, conspicuous monopoles of wind turbines for roost trees Kunz and Lumsden Because bats are curious animals, they may be killed as they explore novel objects in their environment. However, if bats were simply colliding with random objects, bat fatalities also would be expected at meteorological towers.

To date, no bat carcasses have been found near meteorological towers, even though these towers have been searched in several monitoring projects Johnson ; Arnett et al. Will major developments of wind-energy facilities pose increased risks to bats in areas where they migrate or commute nightly to and from roosts? Can migratory species sustain high fatality rates, insofar as eastern red bats already appear to be in decline in New York Mearns and in three Midwestern states Whitaker et al. Bats are relatively long-lived Wilkinson and South ; BrunetRossini and Austad and have low reproductive rates compared to many other mammals Barclay and Harder For example, on average, the maximum recorded life span of a bat is 3.

Records now exist for individuals of at least five bat species in the wild surviving more than 30 years Wilkinson and South Moreover, bats of the family Vespertilionidae the family of most bats killed by wind turbines in North America have average litter sizes of between 1. These traits may seriously limit their ability to recover from persistent or repeated fatality events. Given our current knowledge and the projected development of wind-energy facilities in the United States and elsewhere, the potential for biologically significant, cumulative impacts is a major concern Kunz et al.

Independent of wind turbines and other anthropogenic structures, the migration period probably is a time of high mortality in bats, mostly during adverse weather and other stochastic events Griffin ; Tuttle and Stevenson ; Fenton and Thomas ; Fleming and Eby There are enormous gaps in knowledge about migration in bats and the underlying evolutionary forces that have led to this behavior.

If migratory tree bats experience naturally high mortality during migration from such factors as inclement weather, predation, and reduced food supplies, it is possible that with their low reproductive rates they will not be able to adjust to the expected cumulative affects resulting from the development of wind-energy facilities proposed in the United States and elsewhere Kunz et al. Recent studies suggest a geographic pattern to bat fatalities at wind-energy facilities Table The unexpectedly high fatalities of migratory tree bats Lasionyceris and Lasiurus might reflect a risk to their populations, given that large numbers of these bats have been reported from these regions of North America Cryan ; Kunz et al.

While most evidence suggests that bats may be most vulnerable during the migration period, the observations of fatalities of Brazilian free-tailed bats in Oklahoma suggests that some species, in particular those that form large colonies and disperse and feed nightly at high altitudes Williams et al. With relatively recent development of large wind-energy facilities in west Texas in the expected migratory route of Brazilian free-tailed bats from Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and more wind-energy facilities being proposed for west Texas and along the border with Mexico, migrating Brazilian freetailed bats may be at risk.

Regions of the United States where large numbers of bats are believed to concentrate in roosts and disperse and forage nightly at altitudes within the rotor-swept zone of modern wind turbines should be high priorities for investigation. Much of the uncertainty about spatial and temporal factors responsible for high fatalities, especially those experienced by migratory tree-roosting species, reflects the scarcity of intensive and long-term studies conducted on these species, especially at wind-energy facilities during the maternity.

Available data suggest that most bat fatalities at wind-energy facilities occur during fall migration Table However, these observations may be biased because of reduced effort in collection during the spring and summer migration periods, with reduced effort during the intervening periods. For example, spring migration of eastern red bats, hoary bats, and silverhaired bats in North America generally occurs from early April through mid-June, and autumn migration from mid-July through November Cryan Moreover, other species killed by wind turbines in the eastern United States—the eastern pipistrelle, big brown bat, little brown myotis, and northern long-eared bats—are resident throughout much of their geographic range from mid-April to mid-October Barbour and Davis Tracking with aircraft indicates that migrating Indiana bats Myotis sodalis usually are traveling directly towards their summer destination shortly after they leave their hibernacula A.

While most bats in North America migrate from winter to summer roosts e. Wind-energy facilities on mountain ridges in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands and elsewhere in the eastern United States have resulted in the highest reported bat fatalities for tree-roosting species Nicholson ; Fiedler ; Arnett ; Arnett et al. Thus, seasonal migrations, social behavior, orientation cues, and roosting habits differ markedly among hibernating and long-distance migrating species. However, higher bat fatalities are not confined to forested mountain ridges such as the mid-Atlantic region and elsewhere in the eastern United States.

If this is the case, migratory bats could be vulnerable to high mortality from expanded wind-energy development in other regions of North America. Preliminary observations suggest a strong association of bat fatalities with thermal inversions following frontal passage Arnett Thermal inversions create cool, foggy conditions in the valleys with warmer air rising to the ridge tops that remain clear. These conditions could provide strong inducement for both insects and bats, whether migrating or not, to concentrate their activities along ridge tops Kunz et al.

Although almost nothing is known about weather conditions that stimulate bat migration, one reasonable assumption is that conditions that are favorable for bird migration would also be favorable for bat migration. According to a review of studies on the timing of bird migration in relation to weather Richardson , the greatest density of migration occurs with following winds relative to the preferred direction of migration,. This bat was captured and released at an abandoned coal mine at h on April 14, It was tracked by aircraft traveling in a southeasterly direction, settling in a dead maple snag at h.

In the early evening of April 14, it foraged briefly and returned to its roost at h due to heavy fog. It emerged from its roost tree at on night of April 15, but at it was temporarily lost heading south near Kutztown, Berks County. On April 16, it was located roosting in a shagbark hickory tree in forested wetland 90 km 56 miles from its release site. Butchkoski and G. Turner, Pennsylvania Game Commission, personal communication Reprinted with permission; copyright , C. Because of co-variation among weather variables there is also correlation of peak numbers of migrants with other weather variables e.

Clearly birds do not typically initiate migration when weather. The effects of wind-energy projects on ecosystem structure, and in particular habitats for various species, depend upon the vegetation and other landscape components for resident and migratory species that exist prior to construction. For example, influences of a project on a previously logged and subsequently surface-mined site typically differ from influences at a previously undisturbed forest site.

The turbines on the northeast end of the turbine string appear to have been constructed in a relatively undisturbed portion of the ridge, while the turbines near the center of the turbine string are constructed in an area of coal- and gravel-mining activity. Disturbance is likely dependent on individual site differences with respect to topography, type of vegetation, amount of existing roads, historic land use, and size and dispersion of turbines. Estimates of direct surface disturbance per turbine vary by source and geographic location.

The Bureau of Land Management BLM a estimates the potential surface disturbance per turbine to be approximately 3 acres on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management, whereas Nicholson estimated surface disturbance at 1 acre per turbine for the turbine Buffalo Mountain, Tennessee wind-energy facility. From aerial photography Boone et al. However, the sample of turbines was arbitrary and could not be extrapolated to the entire wind-energy facility.

Creating open areas in contiguous forest changes microclimate, by increasing light and wind in newly opened areas Marsh et al. This results in increased temperature and reduced relative humidity and soil moisture of affected area Kapos et al. The intensity of effect varies with topographic features such as slope and elevation, but the fact that wind turbines are often placed on ridge tops, locations of high sustained winds, likely exacerbates the potential for structural damage to vegetation at some sites.

The use of suitable habitat by some forest-dwelling species e. For certain taxa, however, the edge influence may continue to greater depths e. Thus, the total short-term i. The long-term impacts of a created opening will likely vary depending on the sensitivity of a species to depth-of-edge influence and the amount of activity in the open area. The mechanism causing the loss of habitat due to the depth-of-edge influence may also differ among taxa. For example, some species appear. In the case of displacement the impact may be shorter-term if the disturbance is removed e. However, if the effect is due to modification of the habitat so that it becomes less suitable, the impact is expected to be of longer duration.

Forested landscapes in the eastern United States are fragmented over broad geographic regions and species associated with edges generally have not experienced declines e. Habitat for some species actually has increased with increasing amount of edge, leading to increases in the populations of species in eastern forests such as white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus , brown thrasher Toxostoma rufum , northern cardinal Cardenalis cardenalis , northern mockingbird Mimus polyglottos , ruffed grouse Bonasa umbellus , and wild turkey Meleagris gallopavo.

Creation of additional habitat for edge-associated species may place some of these species including some bat species at higher risk than if the turbines were not present at these sites. Some wildlife-management agencies e. For example, the overabundance of edge-tolerant species such as white-tailed deer can have detrimental effects on forest productivity and wildlife species richness Rossel et al. Habitat fragmentation can be defined as the breaking up of large contiguous tracts of suitable habitat for a species into increasingly smaller patches that are isolated from each other by barriers consisting of unsuitable or less suitable habitat.

There is a substantial literature that examines the effects of fragmentation on the ecology of forest ecosystems e. Wind-energy projects in the central Appalachian Mountains can fragment previously contiguous tracks of forest at some scale by road construction, turbine installation, and the presence of ancillary structures.

Habitats for forest species are linearly divided by turbine-maintenance roads paralleling the ridge. Such internal fragmentation may subdivide populations of some species Goosem ; the magnitude and importance of these effects are influenced by the natural history of the individual taxa and the scale of the fragmentation. The effect of forest roads on aquatic and terrestrial communities has been documented and synthesized elsewhere Trombulak and Frissell ; Forman et al.

Trombulak and Frissell summarize seven general effects:. Direct mortality can result from road construction. The effect is most significant for sessile or slow-moving organisms. Coupled with increased compaction, increased soil temperature beneath the road can adversely affect communities of soil organisms.

Mortality from collision with vehicles using roads may be significant on large, frequently traveled roads. Because vehicular traffic on wind-energy sites typically is infrequent, it is unlikely that collision with vehicles will be a significant source of mortality resulting from wind-energy development at most sites, including the Mid-Atlantic Highlands. Forest roads may result in a modification of animal behavior. Some species e.

Typically the roads and the surrounding surfaces at wind-energy facilities are maintained to m wide, and are usually lightly traveled. Moreover, forest roads as small as m in width can be barriers to salamander dispersal and gene flow deMaynadier and Hunter ; Marsh and Beckman ; Marsh et al. Such effects are exacerbated by the grade of road verges. Steeper verges tend to decrease the dispersal ability of salamanders Marsh et al. In contrast, some species use linear features such as roads as travel corridors or feeding habitat.

For example, some species of bats forage along linear landscapes created by road cuts in forested habitats, where they forage mostly on aerial insects Krusic et al. Even species such as black bears that may avoid roads with high traffic may use forest roads with low traffic as travel lanes Brody and Pelton Forest roads disrupt the physical environment of the road bed as well as the adjacent edge. Soil density, even on closed roads, increases over time and can persist for periods in excess of 40 years. Forest roads can alter the chemical environment of the road bed and adjacent edge habitats.

Edges along roads serve as concentrators of both nutrients nitrogen compounds and pollutants sulfur compounds Weathers et al. This in turn can alter basic trophic processes such as food-web relationships between plants, insects, and the predators of insects Valladares et al. The presence of forest roads increases the spread of invasive species.

Three mechanisms have been proposed for the establishment of invasives: the presence of altered habitat, increased stress to or removal of native species, and easier access to disturbed habitats by wild or human vectors Turton and Freiburger In addition, poor reclamation practices may lead to lack of germination of desirable plants leaving the unvegetated disturbed site available for the establishment of invasives. In summary, maintenance roads and areas cleared for turbine installation may result in a diversity of influences on forest-dwelling species. Unfortunately, there are no empirical studies that have investigated impacts of roads associated with wind-energy facilities on ecological processes in the area, and relatively few studies have examined ecological impacts of roads in the central Appalachian Highlands.

As a result, the extent to which these impacts are manifested at any particular site are not known, and the population-level consequences also are uncertain. Effects of wind-energy development on habitats used by birds can be divided into two general categories: loss of habitat including avoidance of disturbed and adjacent areas , and fragmentation effects to remaining habitat.

Moreover, for a complete understanding of impacts, effects must be assessed relative to the state of the habitat suitable for individual species prior to the construction of a wind-energy facility. For example, a project located on a reclaimed surface mine would not have the same impact on forest birds as one located in a forest times larger. In general, aerial photographs e.

Habitat loss has large and consistently negative effects on biodiversity Fahrig In addition, many forest-dependent bird species respond to direct habitat loss and to changes in the configuration of habitat fragmentation resulting from that forest loss Villard et al. A source told CTV News that the police officers found the young man restrained to a bed when they entered McArthur's apartment.

The man was shaken but not injured.


McArthur put a black bag over his head and tried to tape his mouth shut before police officers interrupted him. According to CP24, the officers had a search warrant for the apartment, obtained after gaining blood evidence from McArthur's van. At the time of McArthur's arrest, Idsinga said that police believed he was responsible for the deaths of other men and were most concerned with identifying these victims. By the end of January, Idsinga said they were investigating an alleged serial killer who had concealed evidence by burying it across the city. He described the ongoing case as unprecedented, with hundreds of officers involved.

Police executed search warrants on January 18 at five properties associated with McArthur and his landscaping business: four in Toronto and a 9-acre 3. Another property searched was the condominium of McArthur's former boyfriend [93] on Concorde Place. These three properties were released back to their owners by January The owners of the Leaside residence were barred from their home January 18 so that forensic investigators could search it.

Cadaver dogs took a "strong interest" in large planter boxes on January The planters had frozen to the ground, requiring heaters to thaw them. A large planter was wrapped on January 22 and brought to the coroner's office. On January 29, police announced that they had found the dismembered skeletal remains of at least three people in two of twelve large planter boxes seized from the Leaside residence. Although the remains had not been identified, police had gathered enough evidence to charge McArthur with three additional counts of first-degree murder in the presumed deaths of Majeed Kayhan, a Project Houston subject, Soroush Mahmudi, who disappeared in , and Dean Lisowick, a homeless man who was never reported missing.

Idsinga said that they were investigating what they thought was a serial killer who had concealed evidence by burying it across the city. He described the ongoing case as unprecedented, with hundreds of officers involved and 30 properties to be searched. Former homicide detective Mark Mendelson said the investigation would become "the largest Toronto has undertaken". On February 8, police announced that they had found the remains of three more people in planters from the Leaside home, and that one of the six sets of remains belonged to Andrew Kinsman, [] identified through fingerprints.

Additional planters were seized from across the city [] including one from the Danforth neighbourhood [] and two properties in North Rosedale were searched. Cadaver dogs were having trouble detecting scents due to the cold weather and frozen ground. Beginning on January 19, heaters in a large tent [95] were used to gradually thaw the frozen ground in the backyard of the Leaside home [] [] at a location indicated by both cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar.

Kathy Gruspier, who arrived to oversee the excavation, did not find any sign of soil disturbance by previous digging. Excavation of two sewage lines at the home was conducted on February 13, [] and a section of one line was removed for testing. The police investigation had a continuous presence at the Leaside home, often described as "ground zero", [] and police established a command post on the property.

The owners requested that police keep crime-scene tape up around the yard to deter reporters by whom they were feeling increasingly harassed. Forensic investigators spent hundreds of hours searching every inch of McArthur's apartment, [67] where Idsinga suspected some of the murders occurred. They took more than 18, photographs and collected over 1, items. Idsinga noted the thoroughness required as the first murder was believed to have occurred eight years previously. On February 23, McArthur was charged with a sixth count of first-degree murder in the death of Skandaraj Navaratnam, a subject of Project Houston.

Navaratnam's remains and those of Mahmudi were identified through dental records, and had been recovered from planters at the Leaside home. On March 5, police held a press conference and released a photo of an unidentified deceased man alleged to be another of McArthur's victims.

They had exhausted their options in identifying the man and hoped the public could help. Michael Pollanen, Ontario's chief forensic pathologist, said his organization had never before been involved in an investigation with such scope, drawing on the skills of each member for many unique challenges, such as scientific issues related to decomposition and post-mortem dismemberment.

On April 11, McArthur was charged with a seventh count of first-degree murder in the death of Abdulbasir Faizi. He was, at this point, charged with the deaths of all five men from the Project Houston and Project Prism investigations. The charge came as Faizi's remains were identified from the Leaside planters, along with those of Esen and Lisowick. Investigators had finished searching the Leaside planters, from which the remains of all but Kayhan had been identified; they had one set of unidentified remains.

On April 16, McArthur was charged with an eighth count of first-degree murder in the death of Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, [] whose remains were the seventh set identified from the Leaside planters. The scope of the investigation was expanded at the end of February , looking at outstanding murder cases, hundreds of missing-persons cases and sudden death occurrences and coordinating with other Canadian and international forces.

A police source told the National Post that McArthur had covered his tracks, using aliases online, using pay phones instead of cellphones and avoiding areas with surveillance cameras. The source suggested that McArthur had targeted vulnerable men who did not have a fixed address or had not told their families that they were gay. Detective-Sergeant Stacy Gallant of the TPS homicide squad's cold-case unit said that active crime scenes of the investigation took precedence over revisiting cold cases.

Each of cold cases was being looked at for consideration of further attention. Investigators had planned to return to the 30 properties associated with McArthur in April or May, when the frozen ground had thawed, allowing cadaver dogs to operate with greater accuracy. Idsigna said he was particularly interested in excavating at 3 properties, [] which included revisiting the Leaside residence where remains had been found. Between July 4 and 13, [] twenty police investigators conducted excavations in the forested ravine behind the Leaside property.

They began sifting through a large compost pile, then proceeded with the guidance of canine assistance and a forensic anthropologist. Waterloo Regional Police contacted Ontario's serial predator crime investigations coordinator to inquire about McArthur in the November disappearance of David MacDermott from downtown Kitchener. He had gone to Toronto to find work in landscaping, planning to stay in a shelter at Church and Wellesley, and disappeared in May Five victims were noted by investigators for similarities: middle-aged, bearded, patrons of The Black Eagle bar, and self-identified as " bears " gay men with overtly masculine traits, such as beards.

Most had traits that made victimization more likely or the crimes harder to detect, such as secret lives due to their sexual orientation or a lack of stable housing. Notes are intended to briefly show commonalities, vulnerabilities and connections to McArthur. Skandaraj "Skanda" Navaratnam, 40, was last seen in the early morning of September 6, , leaving Zippers, a former gay village bar, with an unknown man.

Navaratnam also worked for McArthur's landscaping business and friends said that they were still involved in Abdulbasir "Basir" Faizi, 42, [48] [23] [89] [] was last seen December 28, , leaving his workplace in Mississauga , though banking records later placed him at Church and Wellesley. That conflict remained with Faizi, who kept his gay life hidden from his family, including his wife and children. His Nissan Sentra was found abandoned on Moore Avenue, [48] [39] steps away from the Beltline Trail, a small ravine which is a popular cruising spot for gay men.

He was reported missing by his adult son on October Kayhan and his wife divorced in but, as the son of a Muslim cleric, he had not come out to his entire family. Soroush Mahmudi, 50, was last seen alive on August 14, , by his home near Markham Road and Blakemanor Boulevard in the South Cedarbrae neighbourhood.

He was a manufacturing plant worker who lived with his wife. Police believe that McArthur killed Mahmudi on or about August 15, They moved from Barrie to Toronto to be closer to his wife's family. Andrew Kinsman, 49, was last seen June 26, , the day after the Pride parade, near his Winchester Street residence in Cabbagetown, south of the gay village. He was reported missing on June Kinsman had known McArthur for at least a decade, back to when Kinsman was a bartender at the Black Eagle. Selim Esen, 44, was last definitively seen on March 20, , near Yonge Street and Bloor Street, just west of the gay village, though there have been reports that he was seen as late as April 14 near Bloor Street and Ted Rogers Way in the gay village.

A friend disputed this, saying that Esen was in an "unhealthy relationship" and would at times stay with friends. According to the friend, he struggled with addiction but was getting control of his problem [] and had completed a certificate course in peer counselling from St. Stephen's community house just before he disappeared.

McArthur was also a client of St. Stephen's and very trusted within the community support organization. Dean Lisowick, 43 or 44, was not reported missing. He had faced struggles including issues with substance abuse but was remembered as being very respectful. He was trying to work more, as a cleaner or labourer, [] having previously worked as a prostitute. Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, [] last had contact with his family in August He was not reported missing. When his deportation order was given, he went into hiding in the Tamil community in Ontario and worked as a cleaner and mover.

Following the extensive coroner and pathology examinations, after Crown and defence lawyers had information needed for trial, the victims' remains were released to their families. A memorial for Kinsman was held in September, and Mahmudi and Esen's funerals were held in mid-October. Lisowick's remains were laid to rest in late October. In January , a publication ban was ordered on court proceedings, limiting what can be reported in the media. He made his first court appearance on January 19, , represented by lawyer Marianne Salih.

Calvin Rosemond of the legal defence firm of Edward H. Rosemond's biography on the firm's website states that he believes "guilty pleas ought only be entered as a last resort". Rosemond noted at a February 14 hearing that it was McArthur's third court appearance without disclosure. Crown attorney Mike Cantlon said his office received disclosure from police on February 13 and was in the process of vetting and screening it.

A judicial pre-trial was scheduled for June The closed-door meeting with the Crown and defence attorneys and judge [] was to address issues such as resolving the case without a trial such as by entering a guilty plea , trial length, and procedural and evidentiary issues. Daniel Lerner, a Toronto defence lawyer and former Crown prosecutor, suggested that the Crown would consider severing charges. Lerner noted that a long and complicated trial could put a burden on the jury and create a risk of mistrial. Kevin Bryan, a former detective with York Regional Police's forensics unit, considered the amount of evidence to be catalogued and disclosed and believed a trial was "years away".

Several media outlets had applied for the release of the psychiatric and presentencing reports from McArthur's assault conviction. James Miglin, an attorney for McArthur, argued that this could risk his fair trial rights but Justice Leslie Chaplin felt the reports were generally positive toward McArthur and released them on June 27, Chaplin also allowed the media to view, but not publish, photographs of the victim's injuries and the weapon used, citing fair trial rights and the victim's privacy. In court on October 5, Cantlon said that "negotiations and discussions are ongoing".

McArthur was ordered to be tried for eight counts of first-degree murder. Reading from an agreed statement of fact, [] Cantlon divulged details of the killings, which took place in Toronto between and Each murder was either premeditated or involved other crimes which qualified them as first-degree: six were "sexual in nature" [] and five included confinement.

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DNA from four of the victims had been found in McArthur's van. He took staged post-mortem photographs, typically with ropes around their necks or with them nude in a fur coat or hat; some photographs had them with their heads and beards shaved and he had kept their hair [] [25] in Ziploc bags in a shed at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Cantlon said that McArthur "sought out and exploited [ McArthur's sentencing hearing began on February 4.

The crown asked for a year parole ineligibility, citing "the enormity of McArthur's crimes", his lack of remorse McArthur declined to address the court [] , the betrayals upon his victims, the effect of his crimes on the community, and how he had been a danger up to his arrest. Milgin said such would be "unduly harsh" given McArthur's age, and noted McArthur had waived a preliminary hearing and pleaded guilty, which benefited all involved in the proceedings. McMahon described the crimes as "pure evil" and stated that McArthur showed "no evidence of remorse" and would have continued killing had he not been apprehended.

Despite this, he felt that the sentence should not be one of vengeance given McArthur's age and his guilty plea. McArthur could apply for parole when he is 91, [2] but McMahon said that it would be "highly unlikely" he would be granted parole. The high-profile investigation and media coverage have drawn controversies including accusations of indifference towards LGBTQ, racialized and homeless persons.

In mid-November , Richmond said that there was no evidence to establish or exclude that a serial killer was responsible for the disappearances. Perhaps some lives could have been saved if that was the case. Saunders responded that police were not being "coy" about community safety, but that he had been speaking of the evidence that they had at that time.

Sasha Reid, a University of Toronto PhD candidate specializing in statistical analysis of missing persons and sexually motivated killers, was compiling a missing-persons database when she came across the Project Houston disappearances. She noticed a pattern and concluded that a serial killer was operating in Toronto. She was not contacted again by police, probably because her academic data could not be used in court. Mike Arntfield, a criminologist and Western University professor, has advocated data-based approaches to augment traditional investigative work, particularly in detecting elusive criminals like serial killers.

His research team developed an algorithm to perform cluster analysis on , American murders catalogued by the Murder Accountability Project , which has led to arrests in Cleveland and Chicago.

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There is no equivalent database in Canada, which lacks standardized reporting. Arntfield had been critical of the TPS for not admitting that there was a serial killer, suggesting that they could have made an arrest sooner if they had. He made a comparison to the Seminole Heights serial killer in Tampa Bay, Florida, where police warned the public of a serial killer in November This led to 5, tips being reported, one of which resulted in an arrest. Gay activists and editorial writers have suggested that police only looked at the disappearances seriously when a white man, Andrew Kinsman, was reported missing.

He also noted that Kinsman's disappearance in June was important to the creation of Project Prism because of evidence obtained in July, not because of race. Jooyoung Lee suggested that there was racism within the gay community, indicated by the relatively weak responses to the disappearances of the brown-skinned men in contrast with the campaign to find Kinsman. There have also been suggestions that McArthur was initially overlooked as a suspect because he is white.

While defending the Project Houston investigation and responding to criticisms that police should have recognized the alleged serial killer sooner, Chief Saunders expressed his frustrations to The Globe and Mail that some sources were reporting incidents after McArthur's arrest which could have changed the course of the investigation had they been reported at the time.

He was quoted as saying "We knew that people were missing and we knew we didn't have the right answers. But nobody was coming to us with anything. The story was widely cited by other media outlets and caused a backlash against Saunders, with his comments taken by LGBTQ leaders and the community as victim blaming. One widely covered story in the media was the account of a year-old part-time university teacher [3] from Thunder Bay [] who had known McArthur for about ten years. According to the man, McArthur had contacted him on the Bear app and suggested that they meet for dinner at Church and Wellesley.

At this point the man claims that McArthur grabbed his neck and violently twisted it, forcing his face into McArthur's crotch. Another man claimed to have been invited through a dating app to McArthur's apartment for a liaison involving "bondage and submission role-playing" [42] in late July McArthur did not want to go to the man's apartment because of security cameras in the area. The man soon began sweating heavily, suggesting he had been overdosed. The man said he lost consciousness and was saved by the return of McArthur's roommate.

The man said he was contacted by police the day after McArthur's arrest, and from their questions realized McArthur had photographed him bound in what was described as "a kill position". In early March , Idsinga said that he learned of "concerning information" in the case which he immediately reported to the professional standards unit; [] they began an internal investigation on March 5. Police did not release any details [42] but Idsinga said it was serious enough to affect the careers of officers involved.

The media roughly described an incident alleged to have occurred on June 20, , [51] in which McArthur and an unidentified man whom he met through a dating app were masturbating each other in the back of McArthur's van in a McDonald's restaurant parking lot [] [] in North York. In an agreed statement of fact read in court, Cantlon said that the victim of the "attempted choking" had known McArthur for years. The victim called after he escaped while McArthur went to the police and said the incident was consensual.

He was let go, as police believed his story was credible. On February 1, , Sgt. In a two-page letter emailed to colleagues and obtained by news outlets, Gauthier stated that he was being made a scapegoat. He wrote that the reports were completed and available [] from the night of the incident, [] and that he had spoken to Project Prism officers regarding it after they had identified McArthur's van, and that there were no complaints then.

The following day, Saunders's friend and former partner Idsinga called Gauthier's investigation into question with the professional standards unit. Gauthier has not made his first appearance at the tribunal. The TPS receives over 4, missing-persons reports each year, [] with most resolved within a few days. The circumstances of a disappearance are considered by TPS before committing resources to a search, especially for an adult.

On December 8, , Saunders announced an internal probe to assess the TPS's response to Richey's disappearance, to determine if there was a procedural, training or other issue. He specifically noted the importance of call uptake and absorbing the circumstances of a reported disappearance.

The board and Saunders agreed to hear public input on the report. Wells's family claimed Toronto police officers told them that her case "was not high priority" because she was homeless for several years. The person who found Wells's body informed both police and The community centre, but staff failed to follow up with police or transgender-focused organizations.

Wells's friends say that this resulted in her body being unidentified for months. In mid-December, executives apologized for their "mishandling of information" but placed full blame on the police. A petition started that month called for the resignation of the 's executive director, alleging prejudice against transgender and homeless people. The board called for an independent fact-finding review of the allegations.

Tory has been supportive of police [55] [] while acknowledging legitimate questions about the investigation that would be answered in due course. Pride Toronto had been in closed-door talks about the TPS returning to the parade after controversially being banned in Progress was made but criticisms following McArthur's arrest led to an April 2 statement by Pride's executive director and five LGBT organizations asking the TPS to withdraw its application to march in uniform.

In a March 9 statement, Saunders said that he understood the public's frustrations with the limited information that had been released during the investigation. He announced finalized plans for a dedicated missing persons unit, community outreach, and a professional standards review of the Richey and Wells cases. He also stated that he believed there were serious issues of systemic bias which required an independent external review, and that he had been working with other officials on how to hold such a review without affecting investigations and prosecutions.

The missing persons unit, staffed by six police detectives and an analyst, began work in July They have been tasked with digitizing and reviewing thousands of missing persons files dating to , and to act as a central hub to review each active missing persons case. Their protocols are intended to flag suspicious disappearances in the early hours of an investigation and detect if broader investigations are warranted. The data dump revealed that users with names like Killerman and kkkcolsia had paid tens of thousands of dollars in bitcoin to have people killed in Australia, Canada, and Turkey, as well as the United States.

The hit orders soon reached the FBI , which directed local field offices across the country to make contact with the intended victims named in the Besa Mafia data dump. FBI special agent Asher Silkey, who worked in the bureau's Minneapolis field office, learned that someone going by the name dogdaygod wanted Amy Allwine killed. He was tasked with warning her of the threat on her life. On a cloudy Tuesday afternoon just after Memorial Day, Silkey enlisted the help of Terry Raymond, an officer with the local police force, and they drove to the Allwines' house.

Cottage Grove is a sleepy exurb, but, like police departments around the country, the local cops had been called on to address online threats with increasing frequency. Raymond, a reserved man with angular features accented by a trim beard, had been on the force for 13 years and was the department's designated computer forensics specialist.

When Silkey and Raymond arrived, Stephen Allwine invited them inside. He told the two law enforcement officers that Amy was out, and they stood around in silence while he called her cell.

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Stephen struck Raymond as socially awkward, but he didn't think much of it. He'd dealt with all sorts in his work. The officers drove back to the station, and Amy showed up soon after. They met her in the lobby, which featured an oil painting of the department's canine, Blitz, and led her to a sparsely furnished interview room. Because the FBI was handling the investigation, Raymond mostly listened as Silkey explained that someone who knew Amy's travel schedule and her daily routine wanted her dead.

Amy was stunned.

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She was further confused when Silkey mentioned the allegation about Amy sleeping with a dog trainer's husband. She couldn't think of anyone who considered her an enemy. A few weeks later, the Allwines installed a motion-activated video surveillance system at their home, setting up cameras at different entrances. Stephen, meanwhile, purchased a gun—a Springfield XDS 9 mm.

He and Amy decided to keep it under her side of the bed. They went on a date to the shooting range. On July 31, Amy called Silkey, distraught: Over the past week, she had received two anonymous email threats. Silkey drove over to the Allwines' house, where Stephen printed out the emails and listened while Amy explained to the agents what had happened.

Amy, I still blame you for my life falling apart … I see that you have put up a security system now, and I have been informed by people on the Internet that the police were snooping around my earlier emails. I have been assured that the emails are untraceable and they will not find me, but I cannot attack you directly with them watching. Here is what is going to happen.

Since I cannot get to you, I will come after everything else that you love. The email went on to list location information for Amy's family members, based on what the sender said was found on Radaris. The writer also dropped details that only someone closely following Amy could know—the location of the gas meter on the Allwines' house, the fact that they had moved their RV to a new parking spot, the color of the shirt that their son had worn two days earlier. Amy handed over her computer, hopeful that something on it might help the agents track down her potential killer.

Stephen gave the agents a laptop and his Samsung Galaxy cell phone. The FBI imaged the devices, creating a copy of their applications, processes, and files, and returned them a day or two later. Amy gave Silkey the names of people who taught at her arena, animal owners she had worked with, her best friend. The FBI agent interviewed four of them and pulled credit reports for several contacts. Few people stood to profit from Amy's death, yet dogdaygod had paid out thousands of dollars to kill her, suggesting a personal motive.

What's more, her persecutor had taken care to instruct Yura not to kill Amy's husband. Investigating a spouse would seem a logical measure. Silkey interviewed Stephen, in addition to imaging the devices, but it is not clear if he did more. The FBI has declined interview requests, and the Cottage Grove police did not have much insight into the bureau's work. Beyond bringing Raymond into the initial interview and sending him a copy of the threatening emails, the agency did not involve the local police.

Meanwhile, Amy tried to cope with the vicious threats. Amy asked to be assigned to the K-9 officer for her ride-along, and she was so enthusiastic about exchanging tips on dog obedience and scent training that the officer let her tag along for an extra hour or two. When the program was over, she celebrated with the rest of the group at a small graduation party. But Amy still felt powerless. The occasional migraines she suffered became more frequent, and she had trouble remembering things.

‘If You Want to Kill Someone, We Are the Right Guys’

She put on a brave face when she taught class, but inwardly she worried that her aggressor might be among her dog-training crowd. One summer night she sat outside with her sister, looking up at the stars and wondering who was responsible for the pall that had been cast over her life. Years earlier, when her sister started college, Amy sent her a note every week so she wouldn't get homesick.

Now her sister returned the favor. In each note she quoted scripture. One Saturday afternoon in November, Stephen and Amy set off for church with their son. The road cut through the floodplain east of the Mississippi River, passing yellowing farm fields, yards filled with auto parts, and wooded ravines barren of leaves.

The United Church of God rented space from a local Methodist congregation in a redbrick building. There was something appropriately austere about the setting, as if through architectural restraint alone the devil could be kept at bay. Inside the chapel, the family sat in a pew, joining men in suit jackets, women with modest hemlines, and children with freshly combed hair.

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  • On Sunday, Stephen woke up just before 6 am, as usual, and descended to his basement office, where he logged in to the Optanix system to start work. At noon he wandered upstairs to have lunch with Amy and their son. Amy, an avid baker, had part of a pumpkin left over from a dessert she'd made a couple days earlier, and she put it in the slow cooker on the kitchen island to roast. Soon after, she started to get woozy. Amy's father showed up to work on a dog door he was installing in the garage. Stephen told him that Amy wasn't feeling well and was in the bedroom resting.

    Her father left without seeing her. Five minutes after he started driving home, Stephen called to ask his father-in-law to turn around and pick up his grandson, explaining that he wanted to take Amy to a clinic. As dusk fell, Stephen drove to get gas, then retrieved the boy from his in-laws' house and took him to Culver's, a family-style restaurant chain. It was their Sunday night routine—dinner at Culver's while Amy led dog-training courses—and they sat in the brightly lit space eating chicken tenders and grilled cheese.

    When they returned home, the boy climbed out of the minivan and ran into the house, toward his parents' bedroom. Amy's body lay in an unnatural position, blood pooled around her head. The Springfield XDS 9 mm was at her side. Sergeant Gwen Martin arrived at the house a few minutes after the call. When she saw Amy's body on the floor, she remembered training her in the Citizen Academy and burst into tears.

    Another sergeant took over, and Martin retreated to her squad car. Regaining her composure, she turned to the laptop mounted to the dash and ran a search on police calls to the residence. She was astonished to find the report that Terry Raymond had filed about the dark-web threats to Amy's life.

    A baby-faced man of 47 who rode a Harley, McAlister often joined in the frequent joking around the department. A decade earlier, McAlister had responded to a murder in a nearby town; a couple had been killed in their home by the woman's former boyfriend, as her children cowered nearby. The woman had previously told police that her jealous ex had contacted her in violation of a court order. Frustrated that the system had failed that woman, McAlister started a program aimed at protecting potential victims from stalking and targeted violence.

    When Raymond mentioned the dark-web threats Amy had received, he suggested they be compared to a database of threats kept by the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit; it might help them come up with a profile of a potential perpetrator. But he had no authority in the case. Now he raced to the Allwines' home.

    As he entered through the garage, the aroma of roasting pumpkin, still in the slow cooker, hit his nose. This struck him as odd; people don't typically start cooking right before killing themselves. Other things about the scene were off: There were blood smears on both sides of the bedroom door. And while the mud room floor was covered with dog hair, the floor in the adjacent hall was clean. The aroma of roasting pumpkin struck him as odd. People don't typically start cooking right before killing themselves.

    As McAlister waited for the medical examiner and state criminal investigators to arrive, an officer drove Stephen and his son to the station. As a colleague sat with the boy in the station's break room, Raymond escorted Stephen to the same interview room where he and Silkey had met with Amy five months earlier. Raymond pulled on a pair of latex gloves and swabbed Stephen's cheek for DNA. He asked Stephen to run through what he had done that day. Stephen was cooperative, though Raymond thought his demeanor was wooden for a man who had just lost his wife.

    He reminded the detective that Amy had an FBI file; he said that her computer had been acting strangely. For the next three days, investigators combed the crime scene. State technicians sprayed a chemical called luminol on the floors, then flicked off the lights. Where the luminol hit blood or cleaning solution, it glowed bright blue. The glow showed that the hallway had been cleaned; it also lit up some footprints leading back and forth from the bedroom to the laundry room.

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