Every year, I create a mystery for students in the Future Science Leaders program to solve. There are several bits of evidence – some of it conflicting – and the students need to determine who did it and provide the evidence that supports their theory. If interested, you can read about the rationale of setting up these mysteries.
This year, the founder and CEO of a fictional airline, Flying Colours, has been found dead. As usual, the news media is quick to the scene:
The students are charged with being both investigators and lab technicians. These roles are normally very separate in the real world but this gives them a chance to do more things.
There was a distress call at Flying Colours field – 1:35 pm (Sept. 22).
First officers on the scene determined no immediate danger & called emergency medical personnel.
Lovdeep Citrine was pronounced dead at 2:17 pm
Notes from the scene
Lovdeep was found in a 777 airplane bathroom. He was slumped across the sink with a piece of mirror stuck in his shoulder. The airline was brand new and had never had commercial passengers on board.
The bathroom was in disarray with a broken mirror, faucet torn off, and footprints on the wall.
There was a disturbing amount of blood around the body but there was cast off drops on the walls, ceiling, and floor. Some of the blood near the bathroom door was smeared – perhaps by people walking on it?
There was a newspaper article about Lovdeep and initial interviews with people in his life.
Who do you think did it? We started thinking theories and then started in on analyzing evidence!
Students had to solve puzzles to move to one of the evidence stations where they learned a technique and then received evidence specific to this mystery. Our introduction to DNA evidence was similar to this post. Here is the evidence that they received:
- Fingerprints 2014 from:
- Bathroom door: smeared?
- Two sets on rat poison
- One set on arsenic vial
- DNA results 2014 from:
- Glove near drain cleaner – degraded because cleaner present
- Blood at bathroom door – degraded because cleaned up?
- Note: just found other blood drops found at the edge of the crime scene boundary, near airplane entry door. DNA not yet ready but know that they are from someone unrelated to Lovdeep.
- Analysis of stomach contents: This was extensive and most students found that he may have arsenic, rat poison, or drain cleaner in his stomach. Evidence: collected poisons from restaurant and Skylette offices.
Death due to exsanguination
Notes from examination:
- spontaneous bruising, haematoma formation and frank haemorrhage, especially from the genitourinary and gastrointestinal tracts.
- No metabolic acidosis.
- The kidney and liver look fine.
More information on people in Lovdeep’s life
Throughout the investigation, tweets were collected about Lovdeep’s death:
Plus, more extensive interviews were done:
Who did it?
If you tried the mystery, let me know your thoughts.
Reports on their way!
Students will be deciding what evidence is important and writing up their conclusions. I’ll share their conclusions within a week (and I’ll be leaving defense lawyer comments on their conclusions).