Buckle up… this is a long one.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated everyone on what’s been happening with Shade’s case. There is a lot that has happened since then… I am going to include it all. Please be advised that there is at lease one image (even edited) that is graphic in nature and is not for anyone with a weak stomach.
June Ninth, 2016 – I sent a letter to the coroner’s office, crime scene, the homicide division, the police public integrity bureau and the police superintendent requesting a meeting to discuss the evidence that I collected. The text of this letter is included below.
This letter is in reference to the Shade Sanguis case (NOPD J-30569-15/New Orleans Coroner 151026-21). I am writing this in a last ditch effort to elicit a response from your organization. I will admit an extreme level of frustration in this matter as I have been trying to motivate action in this matter for 6 months now.
I will cut to the chase. I believe that Shade Sanguis was murdered and have a great deal of evidence to support this claim. The following details were shared with the Coroner’s Office (Mason Harrison) on December 15th, 2015 and Sgt. Marc Amos just before the end of the year in 2015:
- There was an OBVIOUS blood fall starting at the door, flowing downward to where Mr. Sanguis’ body was found.
- Flow tests (with water) showed that the shack slopes downward towards where he was found, away from the door.
- We pulled Luminol and Phenolphthalein tests and samples from the threshold of the building, outside the building, and the bloodfall inside the building. (the Phenolpthalein test was pulled from under the rubber seal on the threshold) These tests were positive.
- While drunk, after Mr. Saungis’ disappearance, a person in his life (alias Mikal Lovering) stated on many occasions – “I killed my best friend.”
- Mr. Sanguis was intimately involved with Karla Nicole Frye, alias Never. Ms. Frye was convicted in the case colloquially referred to as the Bourbon Street Bloodbath.
I was advised at this time that Sgt. Amos would like to investigate the case, but he could not because the coroner had declared it a suicide and the coroner has the final say in cases of death investigations. Mr. Harrison had been given the same information and nothing had been done on that front.
Since then, I have continued my personal investigation and I am appalled at the lackadaisical approach to… Well… Everything.
In April, I filed a F.O.I.A. Request for all material information on the case. What I received, after review, appalled me.
Let’s start with the gun. In March, since the case was ruled a suicide, I contacted the individual who had gifted Mr. and Mrs. Sanguis the gun – Mr. Harold “Gene” Franques. We recovered the weapon from Property and Evidence. In the gun box was the Kel Tek .380 auto (model number P3AT; serial number REDACTED), and 4 rounds. When reviewing the evidence intake form, 5 rounds were recovered. According to the tests taken (3 possible DNA swabs), no ballistics tests were run. We have not received a chain of custody form, but since there is no information on testing, we assume that nothing of that sort was done or run. Which leaves me with a rather pressing question. WHERE IS THE 5TH BULLET?
Additionally, the gun was relatively clean. This is important. According to the Coroner’s report, Mr. Sanguis was killed by a contact range shot to the head. When a contact range shot takes place, there is back spatter. Due to the outgassing of the weapon, it is largely aerosolized resulting in a uniform coating of blood on the trigger guard of the weapon and (to a lesser extent) the hand of the victim. THIS WAS NOT PRESENT (as referenced by DSC_0009.jpg).
A contact range shot will also result in a wide field of backs spatter on the surrounding surfaces and radial spatter at a roughly 90 degree angle to the trajectory of the shot. The back spatter tends to be widely spaced with small droplets demonstrating direct impact as opposed to angled directionality. The radial spatter tends to be stronger with direct impact as opposed to angled directionality and tends to include particulate composed of tissue from the victim. NONE OF THIS WAS PRESENT.
However, your investigators would not be aware of this missing spatter due to the fact that the crime scene technician did not follow the protocols outlined in the NOPD policy manual. The only photos taken were of Mr. Sanguis; none were taken of the scene. I have included a disk that includes the photos we have taken of the scene.
The placement of the gun is inconsistent with suicide as well. In the NOPD files, I urge you to refer to the photograph DSC_0009.jpg. Please note the shadow of the frame of the gun caused by the flash. Shadows fall in line with a light source, so we can tell that the Technician took the photo from above. However, the distance that the shadow falls shows that the gun was away from his thigh. This same photograph also shows that the gun was pressed into his groin area and did not come to rest naturally. However, In this photograph, you can also see that the aerosolized blood patter is missing from the front surfaces of the frame of the gun (slide rail will also show the same back spatter pattern) and his hand. Lack of blood on the hand is indicative of someone else pulling the trigger and lack of blood on the frame of the gun is clear evidence of someone cleaning the weapon off before placing it with the body.
This brings me to the body cam footage of Officer Barrett. I am including a clip of the body camera footage for you to review. When Homicide arrived on the scene, the coroner’s people were told to load the body before he had even VIEWED THE SCENE. Homicide arrives on the scene, tells them to load the body at which point it is revealed that the Crime Scene Technician has been waiting to collect the gun until homicide arrives. Officer Barrett Walks back to the vehicles and asks CSI to get the gun. When he leaves to do this, the Homicide Detective was standing off to the side, and had not been into the structure. When Barrett returns, the Homicide Detective is standing in the same location (this took roughly 2 minutes). In total, the Homicide Detective was on the scene for 4 minutes and 13 seconds before Mr. Sanguis remains were moved, and it does not seem (according to what we see in the footage) that he even set foot in the structure to view the scene directly.
As you can see on the body camera footage, there is a flood light attached to the structure that is loose and falls down over the door. To close the door, the flood light has to be lifted and the door pulled under it. The absence of radial and back spatter within the structure indicates that the shot happened outside the structure. This is supported by the Luminol and Phenolphthalein tests that were run (we found blood outside, on both sides of the threshold. We also found two spots that are consistent with radial spatter on the lens (glass) of the flood light. As you can see in the body cam footage, this would be impossible with the door closed, which is how the scene was found.
All of this evidence indicates that the shot did not happen inside the structure. As such, logically speaking, he had to have been shot outside the structure and moved immediately after. Either that, or he shot himself in the head outside the shed, stumbled into the structure while lifting the light to close the door and placing the metal that kept the police from opening the door on the night he was found, then cleaning the gun off and collapsed. This, however, seems unlikely due to the fact that the shot killed him instantly.
Additionally, upon examination of the photos, it is clear that the maggots on his body were first or second instar (possibly early 3rd instar). In the third instar, maggots flee the body to avoid being devoured by scavengers – this is called the wandering stage. As the maggots were focused on the body, they were not in the wandering stage. This means that he had been dead for 3-5 days. (it is not possible to make a more definitive statement without knowing the species of maggots, the temperatures in the shed and the exact weather conditions in the days before his discovery. This is important due to the next point.
The property his body was found on is faced by a building that has SEVERAL security cameras pointed RIGHT AT the lot and structure. The company that owns the cameras keeps their security footage for 10 days. Even if Mr. Sanguis was killed on the first day after his disappearance, a single call to the company would have resulted in footage that would have revealed what actually happened. This did not happen.
I have looked through the NOPD Policy Manual and the state laws governing all of this… and it seems, at least to me, that this is a case of mismanagement/negligence on every level. Mr. Sanguis was murdered, and it needs to be investigated as such. Inaction has, at this point, already resulted in much of the evidence being destroyed. The choices made by the entities involved have probably resulted in his murderer getting away without prosecution or consequence… and that is unacceptable.
I have requested a meeting with those involved in an attempt to pass on this information and after 10 business days, there has been no response from the NOPD, CSI, the Coroner’s Office, etc. This letter is a further effort to facilitate and set up a meeting and discuss a strategy for moving forward in this matter. I am running out of options in this matter and would prefer to not have to pursue other avenues to get a resolution.
June 19th, 2016 – I receive a call from the coroner’s office – two special investigators from the coroner’s office want to have a meeting with me.
June 20th, 2016 – We have the meeting. We discuss all of the evidence I have collected. The luminol and phenolphthalein tests are dismissed as simply presumptive blood tests. In essence, these two chemicals are used as tests to see if blood MIGHT BE present. There are enough substances that these two chemicals react with that no results obtained with luminol or phenolphthalein could be considered proof of anything. They told me that if I had used leucocrystal violet, it would have been conclusive. Leucocrystal violet reacts with the heme proteins in blood (in our blood, that is hemoglobin) and pretty much nothing else.
I told them that I would perform the LCV tests. One of the investigators asked me to wait as he was going to contact the homicide division and ask them to run the LCV tests.
I advised these investigators that I had passed the information on to Mason Harrison, the “communications officer” for the Coroner’s office and nothing had come of it.
I presented my concerns about the fact that there was a bullet missing from the evidence box, and that there was no blood on the front surfaces of the gun. They advised me that there probably wouldn’t be. I countered that with the fact that we had taken THE GUN that he was killed with (not the same model, but the actual weapon) and had taken it with us on vacation in Missouri. A company had donated six pig heads to our cause. We fired test shots into the pig heads and every shot resulted in copious radial spatter and a thin, aerosolized layer of blood on the front surfaces of the gun. I was advised that I was forgetting one thing – the pig heads were dead – I was forgetting about the blood pressure.
I came home, researched this and found that blood pressure would only INCREASE spatter, therefore my assertion that there would be a thin layer of aerosolized blood on the front of the weapon.
I advised them of the presence and type of relationship Shade had with Karla “Never” Frye and her past – that she was charged with Murder, but turned state’s evidence, plea bargained down to, was convicted of and sentenced with a charge of negligent homicide. I also advised them of the fact that Never had engaged in a smear campaign against Shade’s widow.
I advised them of Mikal Lovering’s statements while drunk that “I killed my best friend” repetitiously, ad nauseum, and ad infinitum. I also advised them of the fact that he lied about seeing Shade on the 25th of October, 2016 (this was the night they found his body).
I advised them of the fact that in the months after Shade’s disappearance Christopher “Topher” Lakatos and Never’s boyfriend/ex-boyfriend “Peter” were allegedly seen following friends of Shade’s widow. I also advised of the suspicious behavior of “Topher” in allegedly attempting to follow Shade’s widow home after work, as well as the fact that according to witnesses he groped her while she was drunk and grieving.
At the end of this meeting, I told them I would be doing the LCV tests post haste, and I was asked to wait. They would be asking homicide to perform the tests. I waited… I called once a week and there was no motion in that direction so…
JULY 19th, 2016 – After waiting a month, to the day, I took an LCV kit down to the scene.
- The first place I applied the LCV was a spot that there was obviously blood in the crime scene photos. I was upset to discover that enough time had passed that the LCV returned no result. Heat, uv radiation and oxygen are the enemies of proteins, and 9 months in the New Orleans heat, an open site, people in and out (including someone sleeping in the shack), and repeated rains had removed the evidence from the aluminum diamond plate floor.
- I tested the boot print on the wall, and got a positive result (aka: the boot print was blood) – the material is porous and as such, protected the heme proteins.
- I tested the threshold of the door – where I had found the phenolphthalein result previously. In that spot, there was nothing. So I pulled the rubber seal out of the threshold and tested it and the metal of the threshold. I believe the rubber returned a positive result, but the dirt on the rubber made it unclear. HOWEVER, there was a positive result on the metal.
- I tested the door of the shack. found high and low velocity spatter. It was preserved by the latex paint on the door. Latex is a micro porous material.
October 17th, 2016 – a year to the day… the special investigator called me and told me that they had run the DNA swabs on the gun. The only DNA found was Shades. This is problematic as I handled that weapon on many occasions – including racking a round, reloading, unloading the weapon. My DNA should have been on the weapon.
NOW… The police state that he shot himself in the head and collapsed, pretty much dead center of the structure. Here is the evidence that casts doubt on that. DO NOT SCROLL PAST THIS POINT IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH. There is at least one image beyond this point that may upset some of the squeamish.
This first image shows how the door was when they found him and how far it could be moved. There is metal in front of the door that keeps it from opening beyond this. Please note the position of the light over the door – hanging down, resting on the door itself. This is important due to the location of the blood on the threshold.
This is the leucocrystal violet result on the threshold. The purple stain is where there was blood and the proteins survived the heat. This is on the HINGE side of the door. Why is that important? Because the door was closed with a light that had to be lifted before the door could be closed. there is blood UNDER the door. If he just shot himself in the middle of the building, it is not possible for blood to have gotten here.
THIS is a boot print that was at the crime scene… on the wall. That faint purple is the LCV positive result… meaning that this is a BLOODY BOOT PRINT… It has been argued by individuals on the city side (Coroner and police) that this could have been someone stumbling over his body and getting freaked out and taking a moment to think…
However… this is the heel of the boot… the placement is consistent with a specific pose of humans leaning against the wall. As proof of this assertion click on the following link. I searched google images for “Man leaning against wall” and repeatedly you see the pose in question – leaning on the wall, one foot against it. (LINK)
This next photo is the graphic one. The placement of the boot print makes the police/coroner assertion about this boot print impossible. In the following image, I have blurred out the details of Shade’s body, as this was exceptionally gruesome. the red arrow points to the boot print.
Where that boot print is placed, someone would have to stood IN HIS BODY. Simply put, that boot print had to have been there before his body was. Meaning, that someone had to have stepped in the blood, leaned against the wall and then moved him to that position. IF ANYONE can come up with a way that the boot print got there other than what I have stated, please… tell me… I don’t know of any other way. Again… please, tell me.