DANA DELANY, NICHOLAS BISHOP
Cause of Death is anoxic (lack of oxygen) brain injury due to laceration of the bilateral vertebral arteries by jagged bone fragments from the C4 vertebra. This precariously positioned bony structure was shattered into numerous razor sharp fragments by the transfer of the massive kinetic energy of a projectile (bullet) with the resultant pieces driven through the arteries like little knives in the course of a fall caused by the concomitant transection of the cervical spinal cord. With at least four potential shooters and no way to confirm bullet trajectory, the only way to determine the identity of victim Julie's killer is to determine who among them had the most likely motive, if it was any of them at all.
A completely clear toxicology report was followed by lab results demonstrating elevated levels of human Chorionic Gonadotropin, (hCG) a glycoprotein hormone produced during pregnancy and made by the maturing embryo following conception. This hormone is later produced by the syncytiotrophoblast (part of the placenta). A small amount of hCG is also produced in the pituitary gland of males and females of all ages. Elevated levels of this hormone indicate that Julie was pregnant, providing a plausible motive for each of her step-children, as another heir would divide their father's fortune into smaller slices.
A paternity test, also known as a DNA parentage test, reveals that Martin Loeb was not the father of Julie's child, providing a possible motive of revenge for her wealthy husband; however, Martin admits he is sterile due to prostate surgery a few years back. Prostate cancer treatments and the kinds of surgical approaches vary depending on the extent of the disease and, because of this, some surgical procedures may cause men to become temporarily or permanently infertile (sterile). Martin knows Julie was trying to become pregnant through artificial insemination, a procedure by which sperm are collected from a male, processed, stored and artificially introduced into the female reproductive tract. None of the sperm banks in Philadelphia, however, have any record of a Julie Loeb.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hunt's indelicate handling of the Loeb murder results in her being removed from the case. Megan is then given the next case and begins her investigation of the murder of Patrick Deline, an interior decorator and house flipper. Cause of Death for victim Patrick is a depressed skull fracture of the occiput and temporoparietal regions resulting in massive cerebral contusions and fatal brainstem injuries. The brainstem is a particularly vulnerable area of the brain, located in the posterior, or back part of the brain, physically connecting the cerebrum to the spinal cord. It is made up of the midbrain, pons and medulla and is responsible for our basic vital life functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure. Some neurologic scientists refer to this most elementary part of our central nervous system as our "reptile" or "lizard" brain because the entire brains of these animals' show a strong resemblance to the very simple human brain stem. Patrick and Julie's murders happened miles apart but there is a common clue – a rare paint pigment found under Patrick's fingernail was also identified on Julie's elbow. It can't be a coincidence. Another paternity test reveals that victim Patrick is the 'donor' father to victim Julie's child. The two were painting a crib for the unborn child shortly before Julie's murder.
Dr. Murphy discovers a rare oak pollen mixed in with Julie's wound. More curiously, the pollen is not currently in bloom and could not have simply drifted into the wound from the air. The only way this particular pollen could have found its way into Julie's wound is if it were incidentally picked up by the projectile (bullet) as it traveled through the leaves of that particular tree and then subsequently transferred to Julie's skin and tissue upon contact. This discovery is vital, as it gives the investigators a lead on the location of Julie's killer when the fatal shot was taken.
Dr. Gross' discovery of the hair growth stimulant Minoxidil in the leaves around the shooter's position was only one part of the evidence which could be directly associated with our murderer. Minoxidil is an antihypertensive vasodilator medication - high blood pressure medication - which, as a side-effect, also reduces or stops hair loss and promotes hair regrowth by a mechanism which is not entirely understood. Although women also use this product, the overwhelming group of Minoxidil users are men with thinning hair or those with overt male-pattern baldness. Dr. Hunt's discovery and the subsequent identification of a calcium containing trace substance on our victim Patrick Deline's shirt as an ingredient of antacid tablets also pointed to a recent interaction between our victim and Alan Wright, a balding man known to suffer with intermittent gastroesophageal reflux symptoms. A direct connection to the trace evidence and a strong motive to prevent the discovery of a client's emptied family trust all support the implication of Alan Wright as our perpetrator. The announcement of Julie's pregnancy was sure to precipitate an audit of Martin's assets, exposing Alan's embezzlement. Financial advisor Alan Wright shot Julie Loeb and bludgeoned Patrick Deline to death in an attempt to cover up his financial crimes.