STATE CRIME LABORATORY
P.O. Box 5274
Number 3 Natural Resources Drive
Little Rock, Arkansas 72215
REPORT OF LABORATORY ANALYSIS
Investigating Officer / Agency / Address
Sgt. Mike Allen
West Memphis Police Department
100 Court Street
West Memphis, AR 72301
Laboratory Case Number: 93-05717
Date Received in Lab: 05/07/93
How Evidence Received: M E / Matthew Elliott
Agency Case Number:
Steve Edward Branch
Date of Report; 06/10/93
FIELD INVESTIGATION. WEST MEMPHIS TRIPLE HOMICIDE. MAY 12 and
MAY 13. 1993 LUMINOL:
This analyst and Kermit Channell, Serologist responded to request to perform luminol on
a potential crime scene area on May 12, 1993. We left that afternoon, arriving in West
Memphis at approximately 6:30 P.M., proceeding to the Police Department.
Officers Tony Anderson, Brian Ridge, and Mike Allen accompanied Kermit and myself
to a swampy area in the northern edge of West Memphis where the victims were found.
A general survey of the area in the daylight hours was conducted. Approaching darkness
fresh solutions of luminol reagent were prepared. When the area became dark, using
flashlights for light support, the part returned to the area and proceeded to spray and
locate areas of luminol light emission activity, a presumptive test for the presence of
trace quantities of blood. The following observations were noted:
(1) At a trail along a stream bed an approximately 11 foot high bluff overlooking the
stream positive reactions were noted on either side of a tree with more reaction noted to
the right side of the tree, facing the stream bed.
(2) An Area with used plastic sheeting west of the trail and the bluff gave more positive
reactions were noted.
(3) At the west bank of the stream bed, to the right of some trees, an area gave positive
reaction. It was explained by the Police Department that this was where two of the
victims were placed when they were recovered form the stream bed.
(4) In the stream bed, below the described (at one time) water line, positive luminol tests
indicated where one of the victims was found in the water as related by the West
Memphis Police Department.
(5) On the east bank of the stream bed were a pile of sticks and a depression in the soil
where luminol tests showed a concentrated area of positive reaction.
(6) North of this point luminol tests gave positive reaction to a large area of
concentration (described by West Memphis Police Department where the third victims
was placed upon recovery from the water).
(7) North of the point #6 near some tree roots, another large area of concentration of the
luminol reaction was noted.
(8) Trace amounts of positive luminol reaction was noted on the slope west of the area
where two of the victims were recovered and placed. (reference area #3). The areas north
and south of where the third victims had been placed (5) and (6) were unaccountable
known activity by the Memphis Police Department or rescue / recovery operations.
From these areas of noted luminol reactions for the presumptive presence of trace
amounts of blood the following opinion is rendered:
The traces of presumed blood detected along the trail (2), and at the bluff (1), and one the
slope (8) appear to be transfer of blood by the rescue and recovery teams.
Reaction in the areas where the recovered victims were placed is the apparent result of
trace blood transfer from the victims (3) and (6).
The area below the water level on the west side of the stream was accounted as where
trace amounts of the victimís blood diffused into the mud in the stream bed.
The areas (5) and (7) indicate activity prior to recovery of the victims and relate to
activity to the victims when perhaps they were being attacked.
It should be noted that the luminol testing was performed some days after the discovery
of the victims and at least one rainfall had occurred. There were no visible signs or
indication of blood at any of the locations that we investigated.
Upon the group returning that night to the police headquarters Inspector Gitchell and his
staff were advised of our findings. It is our opinion the crime had taken place where the
bodies of the victims were recovered. Inspector Gitchell was further advised of the
inability to document the luminol reaction of the evening because of the light leaks from
stars and the back scattered light from West Memphis. To document the luminescence
Inspector Gitchell was advised that we would have to place tenting over the areas of
interest and to block out all stray light possible.
The luminescence requires near total darkness to document luminol reactions in the open
It was decided that Kermit and I should stay over the next day perform the tests again
and photograph them.
The morning of May 13, Inspector Gitchell provided us with equipment, supplies and
manpower needed to document the areas of positive luminol reaction. A test with plastic
covering over the canvas was erected and photographs were taken of the positive areas
noted of the previous evening again with fresh luminol application.
Because of the limitations due to some light leakage, physical activity in the area
destroying some of the reaction, the weather conditions of some light rain the night
before and the originally low concentration levels in the areas on the bluff (area #1), along
the trail (area #2), where the victims were placed (area #3), and the area in the stream bed
where the body was recovered (area #4) and the area above the recovery area (area #8)
we were not able to document photography as we observed these areas the evening of
The tented area over the areas where the victim’s body was placed (#6) and the
questioned area (#5), subdued the light to a degree that a less than perfect photograph
could be obtained. These photographs still documented the areas of interest, showing
luminol reaction in respective areas. These photographs were without the benefit of flash
painting application to reference the areas photographed. A still photo of the questioned
area from the original camera tripod location does reference the questioned area. The
photographs were processed revealing the luminol reaction at areas where the victim was
place (#6) and the questioned area (#5)
The tent was moved and photographs were taken of the questioned area by the tree root (#7). Photographs of the areas (#4, #5 and #6) with surveyor flags mounted were taken to reference those areas tested and photographed. All photographs were left with Inspector Gitchell.