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Old 01-13-2012, 04:12 PM   #15
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If the investigating detective has a "regular" travel trailer, he may insist that there must be outside access to the under-the-floor storage someplace.
Poor Joe.
Oooh, good one!
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:04 PM   #16
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If it has to be the bathroom, then it has to be something with the black water tank. In media, it's not uncommon for a miscreant to flush incriminating evidence, but a criminal unfamiliar with travel trailers and RVs may not realize that there even IS a holding tank and the evidence doesn't go straight to the sewer. Removal of the holding tank could require removal of the bathroom floor, which could in turn require removal of something else first.

Assuming the trailer owner isn't a suspect (yet) he may volunteer to help the detective once he realizes that (1) the tank can't be pumped out normally because the macerator pump could damage the evidence, so the tank has to be removed intactó and inevitably brim-full; (2) someone unfamiliar with the trailer type (the detective) could easily puncture the tank or break a fitting in the process of removing it; and (3) the owner is stuck cleaning up any resulting mess, so prevention of the mess in the first place is in his best interest.

And, of course, once the evidence is retrieved from the extracted holding tank and analyzed, said owner undoubtedly is implicated as a suspect.
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:11 PM   #17
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If it has to be the bathroom, then it has to be something with the black water tank. In media, it's not uncommon for a miscreant to flush incriminating evidence, but a criminal unfamiliar with travel trailers and RVs may not realize that there even IS a holding tank and the evidence doesn't go straight to the sewer.
Ooh! This is going to be a real page turner!
Maybe the holding tank has already been emptied by a mobile service provider, and the detective becomes involved in a high-speed chase with the driver of the Sh@$ Sucker.
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:25 PM   #18
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Vaughn, I sense a slight distaste for authority in your response.
....
I know, I hesitated to post that. However, seeing footage on the news of searches done on houses and boats done merely looking for drugs, that conclusion was pretty much inevitable.

After all, I did resist saying, "The more damage the better."

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...
Technically, you're right, of course, but in this case, the cops aren't at all sure a homicide has been committed, so they're doing the responsible thing and treating Joe's Airstream with kid gloves.
I find it difficult that they would be more discrete in a suspected homicide than in a drug search.

I know that fiction calls for the willing suspension of disbelief. Trust me, I'm an avid reader. I also love mysteries. Asking me to believe that police would treat a homicide suspect and his property with kid gloves is an awful lot of suspension. Especially when the suspect is a transient.

Sorry. I really don't want to sound mean either to you or the authorities.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:58 AM   #19
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Perhaps the search should be under the bed instead (rear queen)? A false wall could conceal how deep the storage compartment is from the outside, and a false floor coud conceal how deep it is from the inside, leaving a nice place for hidden 'evidence'.

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Old 01-16-2012, 11:32 AM   #20
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Well, drat. I just checked Amazon (and, by extension, our larger public library) to see if one of your mysteries is available as ebook. No dice. Drat, drat, drat.

Woops! Just did a deeper check! And there are some out there!

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...nthony+Haywood

(Unfortunately, still none of them available at the library, though. Time to submit another request to them!)


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Old 01-16-2012, 05:35 PM   #21
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For the purposes of my plot, I need Joe Loudermilk to be called down to the Sheriff's station where his trailer is being held to solve a minor technical or mechanical problem that has the forensic investigators stumped. For instance, let's say there's a floor or wall panel they want to remove that they can't figure out how to get open without breaking something. They need Joe, as an informed Airstream owner, to come down and show them how to get the thing off.

All I'm looking for here is a reasonable excuse for them to call Joe out to the station. Anything that might confuse or intimidate someone unfamiliar with the inner-workings of an Airstream would probably fit the bill.

Many thanks for your help!

Gar Anthony Haywood


Good thing writers have lot's of time what with the responses above.

I might posit that the TT owner needs to show up as the CS tech is considering using a rotary power tool (maybe a holesaw) to cut into a bathroom wall near the floor, with the preference that it not hit wiring or plumbing -- and the trailer schematic of either is not aboard nor presently available online -- thus the request of the owner to appear with same to minimize potential damage and maximize potential evidence procurement.

.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:56 PM   #22
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I'll throw some things out there. The key for the door is different than the ones for the few outside storage compartments. If Joe left them the door key, but not the compartments, they may need him to bring those keys. Or, he could have had one of the compartment doors replaced, which needs a new key as the compartment lock wasn't keyed the same. They may want to swab the grey tank for a dna sample, but can't figure out how to open the thetford valve (sometimes the gate is in a funny location, or needs an extension if the handle broke off) If you killed someone in the bath, you could wipe down the walls, and the drain, but their might be dna trapped in the tank - different than in a home. They could be trying the lights and they can't find the fuse box for the internal lights. They may want to use the trailer's AC because they're working in there a lot and can't get it to come on, not realizing that they need to hook it up to shore power. One of the goofy guys in the police station may have used the "facilities" and they don't know how to flush it, and the working condition is becoming unbearable. They may want to remove the gray tank for a full examination and replacement for a DNA sample. Hope this helps. You may want to change the model/year if possible. Unless you build the anomaly into the story, it'd be a problem. There was a guy in the forums that bought a trailer once where nothing matched up - turns out the trailer was owned by a Airstream mechanic who built/replaced parts on his trailer with spare parts from multiple models. Finally, there is a 1 1.5" space between the inner and outer skins. If there was something in that space that wasn't insulation, it would change the temp. One thing that would be interesting would be if the trailer was somewhere that was really humid, and the AC was blasting inside, the outside of the trailer could be dry, but if there was missing insulation, it's possible that one section of the skin would have condensation from the cold being passed from the interior through a solid object hidden between the skins.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:02 PM   #23
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Oooh, Rob, you're good!
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:31 PM   #24
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One thing that would be interesting would be if the trailer was somewhere that was really humid, and the AC was blasting inside, the outside of the trailer could be dry, but if there was missing insulation, it's possible that one section of the skin would have condensation from the cold being passed from the interior through a solid object hidden between the skins.
I agree with zlee!!! I vote for this plot!
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:03 AM   #25
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Yeah, an infrared camera could find some hotter or colder spots on the skin. Except if you manorveredto keep the trailer parked at the right angle to the sun...Oh they haven't found the gun cabinet under the bunks yet, have they? What hidden safe deposit box, everyone doesn't have one do they? and nobody ever has both keys to that undrillable super hardened steel box nobody has either, none of the locksmiths seem to have a blank for the plain flat key. Darn, found that hidden second key in the gun cabinet.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:55 AM   #26
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I vote for Robwok's suggestions; any Airstream owner knows about compartment key issues and might come in thinking the cops were on the wrong track as the "evidence" would definitely NOT be found there. The bowl is full trick sounds reasonable but, personally, if they had my trailer and were rifling it for clues I wouldn't be bothered by the notion that the cops had to suffer the stench because their tech made a mistake.

I second the need to make the year & model actually match the real world as most streamers know the product line. In 2005, you can select between the Safari, Classic, and International CCD models. A murder in the Quicksilver Bambi (18 footer) made that year is only possible if both are very tiny people or the victim was shot from outside the 'booth.'
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:21 PM   #27
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For the purposes of my plot, I need Joe Loudermilk to be called down to the Sheriff's station where his trailer is being held to solve a minor technical or mechanical problem that has the forensic investigators stumped. For instance, let's say there's a floor or wall panel they want to remove that they can't figure out how to get open without breaking something. They need Joe, as an informed Airstream owner, to come down and show them how to get the thing off.
Having recently been the victim of a vehicular break-in in my Airstream Interstate, less than 24 hours after I bought it, in a jurisdiction where the local Sheriff's Department investigated, I can tell you a few things about my experience. Your call as to whether any of it is pertinent to the story in your mind:

1 - No forensics tech; the deputy collected forensic evidence himself; digital camera, powdered pumice and clear adhesive strips for prints, DNA swabs, and a chemical that turns blue when exposed to blood (which turned green when dabbed on a suspecious red spot on the upholstery, so either the spot was blood mixed with something else, or not blood at all).
2 - No request for assistance; owner's not allowed to touch anything for fear of compromising whatever prints/DNA the perp left behind. I couldn't even unlock the doors for him, just hand him the keys and remote control and let him do it. However, they DID ask for the keys rather than doing more damage by jimmying a door. The investigating deputy wanted to enter the vehicle through a different door (since there are multiple doors in my case), so that he didn't have to touch anything touched by the perp and risk smearing a print before he could collect it.
3 - Owner DOES have to provide prints and a DNA swab for elimination purposes. This is as good a reason as any to get Joe to the Sheriff's Office, if the investigating officer neglected to collect elimination samples at the scene for whatever reason (maybe Joe wasn't around at the time). The trailer doesn't even have to be impounded for this to work, if the sole goal is to get Joe into the Sheriff's Office at an opportune time.
4 - My vehicle was not impounded. No need; the vehicle was not in the possession of the perpetrator or abandoned elsewhere by the perpetrator, and was not on a public right-of-way where it would constitute a danger to the public if left where it was. Joe's trailer would not be impounded unless the perp had already moved it, or unless the investigators had reason to believe Joe would move it before the investigation was complete. Easier to take investigators to the trailer than to take the trailer to the investigators.
5 - Insurance company wanted a report number, which I got off a receipt handed to me by the investigating deputy. The actual report was filed later, and I had to request a copy separately; all I got at the time was the file number. If Joe wasn't around at the time the investigating deputy was on-site, he won't have been given a receipt listing the report number, and possibly can't get the report number over the phone after the fact (no way to verify his identity before giving out the info). Joe would have to go to the Sheriff's Office in person to obtain the report number in order to file an insurance claim. Again, for this the trailer doesn't even have to be impounded.
6 - Investigating officers will be a lot more careful to avoid breaking a victim's possessions than a perpetrator's possessions. However, investigating officers don't clean up after themselves when they're done, either. I had to remove a surprising amount of powdered pumice from every touchable surface when they were done dusting for prints.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:32 PM   #28
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3 - Owner DOES have to provide prints and a DNA swab for elimination purposes. This is as good a reason as any to get Joe to the Sheriff's Office, if the investigating officer neglected to collect elimination samples at the scene for whatever reason (maybe Joe wasn't around at the time). The trailer doesn't even have to be impounded for this to work, if the sole goal is to get Joe into the Sheriff's Office at an opportune time.
Bingo there, I think.
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