Saturday, November 7, 2009

Manhunter analysis - part 38: More on the teeth cast and bite marks

CATEGORY: MOVIES     [Hidden plot related]

This post will serve as an explanation on the issue of why the FBI never got around to trying to match the bite marks in the toilet tissue note found in Lecktor's cell, with the cast of the Tooth Fairy's teeth.

During the Atlanta police meeting, while Princi is lecturing on the teeth cast (above left) obtained from impressions of the bite marks found on Mrs. Leeds and Mrs. Jacobi, Crawford and Graham are at the back of the room (above right), at a distance from the lecturer (and so cannot see the individual teeth in the cast), and Will is looking down, indicating that he's not paying attention to the lecture.

Crawford was paying attention at the lecture, but he never comes to know about the bite marks: While Chilton is reading the note to Graham and Crawford over the phone, at the exact moment when he mentions the marks, Crawford has already started to rise from his desk and has moved the receiver away from his ear, so he doesn't hear this part of Chilton's description of the note.

Jack Crawford has moved the phone away from his ear and started to rise from his desk, before Dr. Chilton, who is on the other end of the phone, mentions that there are teeth marks pressed into the bottom portion of the tissue note found in Lecktor's cell. Thus, Crawford does not hear this part of what Chilton says.

At the time the note is received for analysis in Washington, our situation is this: Graham knows there are teeth marks in the note, but he doesn't know anything about the cast; and Crawford knows about the cast, but he does not know about the marks in the note. While each of the lab personnel is doing his or her own special analysis on the note, such as for fingerprints, etc., the bite marks appear to be just part of the texture of the paper: recall that while the fingerprint man, Jimmy Price, is studying the note, he at one point says, "Those aren't ridges, it's just the texture of the paper." What he is ostensibly referring to is the lack of fingerprint ridges, although he does find one smudge on the note which appears to be a fingerprint, while viewing the note through his magnifying glass; but the point here is that he makes his statement about ridges on the paper to try and make things appear such that the teeth marks appear to be part of the texture of the tissue. The implication of what he says about the texture is that the tissue is a little 'rough', i.e., it has random high and low spots on it. Therefore, Crawford still doesn't pick up on the fact that there are teeth marks in the note, even though he's looking over Price's shoulder during Price's analysis of the note. Later in the analysis, we will explore in greater detail the fingerprint analysis done on the note.

Crawford and Graham look on while Jimmy Price, the fingerprint man, begins to look at the tissue note.

After the note has undergone extensive lab analyses, a meeting takes place among the investigators and other FBI personnel during which there is discussion about the lab results. Also, an attempt is made to decipher Lecktor's coded 'response' to the Tooth Fairy, which has come through during the meeting and is read to the investigators. Then after this group discussion scene, we are shown Graham and Doctor Bloom talking to each other (shown in the screencap at left), while standing in a corridor along one wall of which are mounted enlarged copies of portions of the tissue note. In one of these portions, we see the part of the note that has the bite marks in it (the portion between Graham and Bloom in the screencap). Graham and Bloom are standing by this portion of the enlarged note, talking, and after a short time, Crawford walks up and joins the discussion. Crawford had been paying attention during the Atlanta lecture (though as stated above, he was seated at a distance from the lecturer and the cast), but unfortunately, at the moment he walks up, Graham moves his own body in such a way as to block Crawford from seeing the portion of the note that has the teeth marks in it.

Above left: Graham conversing with Dr. Bloom near enlarged displays of portions of the Tooth Fairy's note. Note that Jack Crawford is approaching (at far right - click image to enlarge). Above right: By the time Crawford has walked up, Graham has pivoted his body in such a way so that Crawford's view of the enlarged portion of the note containing the teeth marks, is blocked. Crawford tells Bloom and Graham that the book code was found not to be a match for any of the books in Lecktor's cell, and that the investigators are not going to be able to identify the Tooth Fairy based on the fingerprint from Mrs. Leeds' body, because there is no matching print in the FBI fingerprint index.

Ultimately, it is effectively the case that neither Graham nor Crawford knows about both the cast and the marks, so no one has any reason to believe that any kind of test for a match between cast and note need be performed.


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