The students and Piedmont Professor of Forensic Science and Criminal Justice Bruce Willis (left), who has decades of criminal justice experience and deep ties to law enforcement agencies in Georgia and beyond, worked alongside investigators to examine all the evidence gathered in the case, including witness statements.
They combed through the autopsy report, and using technology unavailable in 2005, created a map similar to a spider web to illustrate the connections of geo-mapping details from text messages and phone records. The case file went from slim to plump with possibilities.
Now the students and Willis believe they know who murdered the victim. Willis said the three are “chomping at the bit” for an arrest to be made. He has promised to text them as soon as he knows.
All three students conducted independent research on medicolegal death investigations while at Piedmont and are pursuing master’s degrees. Kramer will attend the University of Memphis and plans to become a forensic anthropologist. At Piedmont, she researched the effects of diabetes and hypertension in post-mortem changes.
Bolt is headed to Marshall University for its forensic science graduate program and plans to be a crime scene investigator. She examined the effects of moisture, sunlight, and shade on tissue in post-mortem intervals for her research.
Cappas’ ultimate goal is to work for the U.S. Army Crime Lab. She will continue her groundbreaking research on microbiology present on decedents at Pennsylvania State University, a school she chose because “it felt like Piedmont to me. I wouldn’t be just another number there.” Her groundbreaking work may lead to a field test kit that could determine the time of death faster than is now possible.