How do you process a horrific crime scene with mass casualties?

I was horrified to learn that some of the bodies at the Aurora shooting stayed in place for what sounded like overnight. Why didn't they bring them out and let their loved ones have them?

Then I read this post from a crime scene investigator who worked the Columbine shooting. The post seems to have been taken down now. Maybe it was too sensitive, even years later, to talk about that day.

But he said:

"One of the only criticisms from processing Columbine was that we left the victim's bodies in the school overnight. It wasn't an easy decision I can assure you. But we believed strongly that the case would eventually go to court (either civil or criminal) despite the fact that the killers were deceased. Truthfully, you can't afford to think otherwise. So it's not as simple as just walking in a putting the victims in body bags. We can't levitate them out of the scene. People have to walk in there to get them and those people could possibly damage or destroy evidence if they aren't careful. The bodies have to be carefully photographed, videotaped, and measured with precision. The CSIs may have to collect trace evidence from their bodies or clothing. Adjacent objects that may be disturbed also have to be fully documented before a path can be cleared. You can't just kick a piece of evidence out of the way. So all of this process takes time. We don't like it either but we have to do everything we can to make sure the evidence can be presented in court."



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I was horrified to find that exact thing out recently. A good friend of my husband was murdered in May and they did the same thing - preserve the crime scene for a long time. Plus, the family couldn't have his body for a couple weeks after because they wanted to preserve the evidence. It was sad and shocking. They had caught one of the assalants and needed it to help prosecute him. Eventually the family was allowed to get him back and carry out his wishes.
Weeks? That would be truly awful. I wonder what they would have done if he were Jewish or another religious group that believes bodies have to be buried within 24 hours.
Yes, I heard that as well, and thinking, "Really? They left them there? In this heat?" Because it has been hot here.

The shooting took place about a mile from my house. Luckily, none of my many fannish friends chose that particular theater to see The Dark Knight Rises on Thursday night. (A friend of friends was in a different theater in the same complex, and broke his ankle during the stampede to exit the building.)

But it was creepy driving past there last night, on the way home from visiting a friend. They still have police cars blocking access to the building. Across the street, people were gathered around masses of candles, still left over from an earlier prayer service.

And the next parking lot down was jammed full of television station vehicles, their portable satellite dishes extended. Likewise, the parking lot of the Aurora city hall, a long block away, was also filled with media vehicles and more satellite dishes.

Things you don't think about until it happens and you see it.
What a horrible thing to live through, even on the periphery.

Senseless and horrible. No one needs 6,000 rounds of ammunition.