Archive for the ‘suspicious deaths’ Category

Crime Wire Consultants Update

February 11, 2017

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Crime Wire Consultants

Pat Caristo

Pat is the Executive Director of the Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death ( She has been a licensed, working private investigator since 1985, specializing in the area of unsolved homicide investigations. Her many years of investigative experience include the Philadelphia Police Department (which commended her for heroism), the UNM Police Department and the NM Organized Crime Prevention Commission. Pat is trained and experienced as an intelligence analyst and crime-prevention specialist. She has taught sex crimes investigation/crime prevention classes at the NM Law Enforcement Academy and the UNM Law and Medical Schools. She currently teaches investigative-related classes for the UNM Continuing Education Department.

William “BILL” Sullivan

Bill was born and raised in Marengo, Illinois. He attended Southern Illinois University and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1969. He was elected Coroner in Dekalb County in 1975.

In 1979 he was chosen as the only Coroner in the U. S. to assist nine other experts in compiling a manual for the correct way to investigate deaths —a project of the US Justice Dept.

In 1984 Bill became the Director of Operations for the Onondaga County (New York) Medical Examiner’s Office, a position that made him the office administrator and chief investigator.

In 1988, he formed Forensic Consulting Specialties (FCS) and became licensed by the State of New York as a Private Investigator. FCS ( performs specialty investigations such as murder and suspicious death cases, autopsy and second autopsies, as well as regular civil and criminal investigations.

Peter Hyatt

Peter Hyatt is a Statement Analyst and instructor who teaches statement analysis and analytical interviewing to law enforcement and corporate America. He has authored the investigator training manual for the DHHS and the State of Maine, as well as the book Wise As a Serpent; Gentle as a Dove. He has been interviewed extensively on radio and television, including the nationally televised program, “Crime Watch Daily” and “Taken Too Soon: The Katelyn Markham Story” documentary.

Peter has analyzed statements made in many high-profile crimes and missing person cases, such as Jon Benet Ramsey, Hailey Dunn, Darlie Routier, and Santa Claus on his blog at

Lyle Sharman

Lyle is the owner/operator of Arizona-based United Private Investigations ( Prior to opening his own business, Lyle entered law enforcement and became a Tactical Trainer. During that time he was offered a position to be a bodyguard for the CEO of Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He spent the next 21 years as an expert in Executive Personal Protection, and Director of Security and Surveillance with Mandalay Bay.

Lyle is a nationally known expert in missing person cases, having worked and solved over 35 of them. He has appeared in several television shows and has regularly appeared in the nationally recognized crime show Crime Watch Daily.

Tom Shamshak

Tom owns and operates Shamshak Investigative Services, Inc., a private investigation firm that was established in July 1999. Tom’s firm specializes in criminal defense investigations, cold case murders, and missing person cases. Tom also consults as a police procedures expert and has worked for both plaintiff’s and defendant’s counsel. He has testified in federal and state courts as a police procedures expert. Tom is a retired law enforcement professional. During a 21 year career, Tom worked in three Massachusetts municipal police departments, and served as a police chief of two communities. Tom is a Life Member of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, and a Life Member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Tom earned a Bachelor of Science in sociology from Suffolk University, a Master of Science degree from the Graduate School of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, and has pursued doctoral studies at Boston College.

During his law enforcement career, Tom was a police trainer and served as a police academy director. In addition, he served as a college instructor and has taught criminal justice and sociology courses at Anna Maria College, Boston College, and Middlesex Community College. From 2005-2015, Tom served as the Program Director and Lead Instructor of Boston University’s Certificate in Professional Investigation.

Tom is affiliated with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Since 2005, he has been a member of Project ALERT, a division that investigates unresolved missing children cases. Tom has also served as the Public Safety Consultant to the Molly Bish Center for the Protection of Children and the Elderly.

Tom has made numerous guest appearances as an expert commentator on local and national television networks and news magazine broadcasts. He has provided commentary on a variety of topics including criminal investigations, unsolved murders, missing persons, security matters, and terrorism. He has appeared on CNN, HLN, Court TV, TruTV, Fox News, Investigation Discovery, 20/20, NPR radio, and the local Boston affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox 25, NBC, and WGBH. He has also served as a consulting investigator for the A&E reality series, Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal, and he appeared in four episodes.

Tom is a past president of the Licensed Private Detectives Association of Massachusetts.

Pete Klismet

Pete Klismet served his country with two tours in Vietnam on submarines. Following military service, he earned a college degree, and then worked for the Ventura Police Department in Southern California.  While there, he attended graduate school, earning master’s degrees from two universities in Southern California.  He was offered and accepted an appointment as a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In a twenty-year career with the FBI, Pete was highly decorated, served with distinction in three field offices, and received numerous awards and recognition from the FBI. Pete was selected to be one of the original ‘profilers’ for the FBI, perhaps the FBI’s most famed unit.

Before his retirement from the FBI, Pete was named the 1999 National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Following his retirement, he accepted a position as an Associate Professor and Department Chair of a Criminal Justice program at a college in Colorado.  Having retired from that, Pete and his wife Nancy live in Fort Collins, Colorado. Pete is the author of three national award-winning, non-fiction books: FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil, FBI Animal House, and FBI Diary: Home Grown Terror. His background as an FBI profiler proved beneficial in two of the books.

Gene Cervantes

Gene is retired from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he served as Classification Staff Representative. His previous positions include Classification and Parole Representative, Correctional Counselor, Parole Agent and Group Supervisor. He is Peace Officer Standard Training (POST) certified. In the fall of 2005, following the murders of his cousin and her husband, he joined Citizens Against Homicide ( and currently serves as a Board Member and Victim Advocate. You can reach Gene at 209 743-7033.



Lyle Sharman, Owner/Operator of Arizona-based United Private Investigations. Sharman, Owner/Operator of Arizona-based United Private Investigations. Sharman, Owner/Operator of Arizona-based United Private Investigations.

The Suspicious Death of Heath Miller

January 31, 2017

At approximately 3:50 a.m. on July 15, 2009, the Fauquier County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Department dispatched units to investigate a reported motor vehicle accident on Bristerburg Road.

According to the official report, upon arrival the deputies located a deceased male subject in a ditch on the west side of the road. The individual was laying on his back, clad in a T-shirt and boxer shorts which were down around his ankles. There was trauma to his entire body. The deputies also reported that a Miller Lite beer can was lying on top of the dead man. Blue jeans found near the body contained a driver’s license identifying the deceased as 19-year-old Heath Miller.

Further investigation led to a spot where Miller’s vehicle, a 2002 Saturn, had left the road and struck a tree. The engine compartment separated from the car and remained by the tree. The rest of the vehicle had continued on, struck a fence and came to rest in an open field. A thorough search of the area by responders found no other victims.

Based on those observations, the officers determined that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed. When Miller tried to negotiate a curve the vehicle went into a skid and he lost control, resulting in the deadly chain of events.

Subsequent analysis of the Saturn’s operational control module by the police showed that the car’s speed was 101 miles per hour five seconds before the crash, and that the brakes were activated approximately two seconds prior to impact.

On the surface, Heath Miller’s death appeared to be a tragic accident with human error as the main contributing factor.

But Sharon Miller, Heath’s mother, isn’t convinced of that. On the contrary, based on the results of her ongoing investigation she believes there was another vehicle on the scene that night. And that her son may have been fleeing from that other car.

Among her concerns about the accuracy of the police findings is the Miller Lite beer can. Her son did not drink and was anal about not drinking. That fact aside, if no one else was at the scene, how could that can have possibly ended sitting upright on his abdomen? In Sharon’s mind, the can had to have been placed there by another person.

And what about Heath’s boots? He was wearing a pair of Dickie Classic Boots that night. In spite of the thorough search of the scene, they were never found. But the boots weren’t all that was missing. A white sock and his teeth disappeared, too. Approximately 20 of Heath’s teeth were removed below the gum line and never accounted for.

On top of that, an accident reconstruction specialist who examined the evidence said that some of the results cited by the police would have been impossible to have happened.

Sharon Miller is seeking answers that may never come. However, there will be no resolution for her until all the outstanding issues are explained to her satisfaction.



Survivors of Murder Victims

January 26, 2017

Denny Griffin, Crime Wire

Over the past several years Crime Wire has profiled a large number of unsolved murder cases. Many of them are “cold” and have been inactive for years or sometimes decades. The survivors we deal with often believe the police did a poor investigation that contributed to a solvable case going unsolved and cold.

Our new Crime Wire Case Review Service (CWCRS) was formed to help survivors resolve their doubts about the quality of the investigation. Our panel of investigators, analysts and advocates will examine the case documents and render an opinion as to whether the initial investigation was adequate and appropriate; things were missed or not followed-up on; or that advances in technology (particularly DNA) that weren’t available at the time of the murder may now prove beneficial. This service is provided pro bono.

Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle a survivor is likely to face when preparing their submission is a lack of police reports. Because unsolved murder cases remain open (even if inactive) most police agencies tend to refuse to release any information at all, or  at least nothing relating to their investigation. The inability to be able to see those important documents obviously limits the effectiveness of the review.

However, all submissions, even those without police reports, will be given consideration for review.




Death on the Beach – Update

May 22, 2008

Bereaved mother Melody Grell met with the Santa Rosa County, Florida,  Sheriff on May 20. He agreed to re-open the investigation into the February 2007 death of her son Josh.  The young detective that handled the case originally will not be heading the new inquiry. This makes the second state agency to recently acknowledge that there may have been problems with how the first investigation was handled.

It appears that Melody’s own persistence – and the assistance of others who support her – is making headway in her quest for justice.


Death on the Beach – Update

May 16, 2008

I have heard from Melody Grell – whose son was found dead on a Florida Beach in February 2007 – that authorities are now showing signs of cooperating in her quest to get answers about how and why her son died. In addition, local TV and other news outlets are beginning to cover the story.

Congratulations to Melody and investigative reporter David Craig. Their perseverence may finally be paying off.

Additional information about Josh Whittier’s death has been posted on the Real Crimes site at


The latest update by David Craig can be seen at Click on Mardi Gras Murder Update under “Newest Shows.”


You can also see a new posting at