Report | Dec. 22, 2014

Evaluation of Military Criminal Investigative Organizations' Child Death Investigations

DODIG-2015-055

Objective

We evaluated 82 Military Criminal Investigative Organization (MCIO) investigations of child deaths closed (completed and adjudicated) in Fiscal Years (FYs) 2012 and 2013, to determine whether the MCIOs completed each investigation as required by guiding DoD, Military Service and MCIO policies.

Findings

  • 76 of 82 or 93 percent of MCIO investigations met investigative standards. A total of 18 cases had no investigative deficiencies. A total of 58 cases had minor deficiencies.
  • We returned six cases which did not meet standards (7 percent) to the MCIOs for corrective action. 
  • The MCIOs conducted subject and witness interviews; obtained evidence needed to gather case facts; and used various forensic assets in almost all investigations.
  • Suspect, subject, and witness interviews were well documented and contained detail supporting manner of death determinations.
  • Some MCIO death scene documentation revealed inconsistencies from Service and MCIO regulatory guidance in the use of techniques such as evidence triangulation and descriptive narratives of the decedent’s stages of decomposition.
  • 4 of 43 or 9 percent of U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) investigations contained required documentation of quality assurance reviews of final reports.

Recommendations

  • The Director and Commanders of the MCIOs Continue to ensure thorough child death investigations.

Ensure thorough death scene documentation as well as evidence identification and collection, and forensic   identification and documentation of post-mortem decomposition in all child death scene processing,  through increased supervisory reviews, and internal oversight.

  • The Commander, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command

Ensure documentation of all headquarters-level quality assurance reviews of final reports.  

Management Comments

The MCIOs concurred with our recommendations and management comments were responsive.

This report is a result of Project No. 2013C016.