Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty/Jurisdictional


Thanks for taking the time to answer this for me. I'm a writer and I'm having issues with jurisdiction. The premises of the story is this:
County Sheriff's Detective lives in upstate NY, his wife left him and his family behind to move to Richmond, VA, (she's a drug addict) then is found dead of an accidental overdose a few months later in Richmond. Her sister makes a positive ID, no DNA is comparison was done. Her body is shipped to NY for burial.
7 years after, a mother is reported missing in Tennessee by her family, and it comes to light that the missing woman is the NY detective's wife (TBI lifts fingerprints in her abandoned car that come back to dead wife who was previously arrested). She faked her death and the woman in her grave will have to be exhumed (the wife has been living as the woman in her grave--they look a lot alike). TBI is assisting with missing persons (the local town is small and no detectives).
The problem I'm having is would a TBI investigator travel to NY to oversee the exhumation, or would someone from Richmond? Or would they handle everything by phone/email, etc...
Also, if the detective decides to look into his wife's disappearance, would any law enforcement cooperate with him (giving him information or peeks at police reports/investigative notes) because he's a detective or would they tell him to get lost? FYI, he was already ruled out as a suspect.

Sorry this is so long, it's a complicated plot line. Thanks for your time!

Hi Shannon,

Let me first say sorry for the delayed response.
Ok, now to the questions... As far as exhuming a body, most of the time an agency (if it has the funds) will send an investigator to meet with the medical examiner to get full details and ensure the chain of custody are maintained. But again, smaller agencies would handle it through email etc...
Now, in regards to other agencies working the investigation... It is very unlikely the detective would be allowed to investigate his wife disappearance due to his personal involvement.
I hope this helps, if you have any questions please feel free to ask a follow-up.


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Luis Alas


I am a retired Federal Law Enforcement Officer with 20 years in a combination of military security, police investigations and criminal investigations. I worked with several agencies through my tenure but my last five years were with the Federal Air Marshal Service. Currently I am a VP of a electronics security manufacturer providing leadership and client consulting specifically in the area of video surveillance.


1988-1996 USAF Security Specialist Nuclear Security and Security Police Investigations 1996-2001 Department of Veteran Affairs Police Department Miami Fl. 2001-2008 Federal Air Marshal Service

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