A Thousand Days On Earth
Season 8
Number 13
Writer Evan Dunsky
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate April 10, 2008
Previous Episode: Grissom's Divine Comedy
Next Episode: Drops Out

A Thousand Days On Earth is the thirteenth episode in Season Eight of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


The CSIs investigate the death of a toddler who was left in a cardboard box in a parking lot. A registered sex offender becomes a person of interest, but the investigation soon leads the team in another direction.


Victim: Inez Balboa (deceased)

On the case: entire team

After completing a semi-offensive set, a stand-up comic gets into his car and backs out of his parking space. While backing up, he spots a large cardboard box in his rearview mirror. When the CSIs arrive on the scene, they find a young, dead blonde girl wrapped in a blanket inside the box; she's clutching some kind of religious necklace or pendant.

In autopsy, David Phillips puts the girl's death at no more than 12 hours ago. Meanwhile, Grissom processes the cardboard box. There are no indications that the girl struggled, which suggests that she was either dead or unconscious when she was placed in the box. Furthermore, there's no evidence of blood or bodily fluids. Grissom finds hairs embedded in the packing tape, and there's a viscous residue on the bottom of the box.

Nick and Warrick are in charge of processing the scene of the body dump. Since the comic is certain the box wasn't there when he arrived to do his set, they have a window to work with. There are no surveillance cameras nearby, and the lack of skid marks indicate that the box was placed and not tossed out of a moving car. The perpetrator was likely on foot and since a lot of people have probably walked in the area, the CSIs have their work cut out for them.

While Brass gives a press conference, Catherine photographs the body in autopsy and takes notes. The girl has abrasions on the knuckles on both of her hands and reddish blisters all over her body. She also has bruises on her back, arms, and the back of her skull. Doc Robbins lists the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the back of the head. There are no signs of sexual trauma. Blistering in the nasal passages and esophagus indicate inhalation of caustic fumes. Catherine notices bruises on the girl's wrists in the shape of a handprint; however, the doc says that there are no signs of prior physical abuse, such as previous breaks or healed injuries. Since the girl was found near Cordelia Street, Catherine enters her name as "Baby Cordelia" in the records.

In the layout room, Grissom is examining photos from the case when Catherine walks in. He states that the pendant the girl was clutching is Jude, the patron saint of the desperate. Based on the position the girl was placed in, they guess that the act suggests contrition or remorse. Catherine wonders if the case is a kidnapping gone wrong. When told that the parents would've come forward if that was the case, she posits that the girl may have been kidnapped a long time ago and that the parents could've given up hope. They wonder if the parents could've been involved, as well. Hodges enters and tells them that the chemical burns were caused by a household drain cleaner, which burns even if it just touches one's skin. At the scene of the body dump, Warrick places flowers embedded with a hidden camera at the makeshift shrine in an effort to catch an out-of-place mourner.

It's discovered that the girl's hair has a very short, dark root, which indicates that she wasn't a natural blonde. Furthermore, due to the length of the undyed portion of the hair shaft, it's estimated that the hair was dyed 48 to 72 hours ago. Grissom observes that the cross-section of the sheath is round, meaning that the girl naturally had straight brown hair, not curly blonde hair. Wendy hypothesizes that the girl was abducted and her hair was dyed in an effort to hide her identity.

Grissom further processes the cardboard box and takes a picture of the faded shipping label on it. Using the technology he has available, he's able to sharpen the image and discover that the box was originally shipped to a Nora O'Toole and that it contained a vacuum cleaner. Catherine and Brass pay Nora a visit and ask her what she did with the box. The hyper talkative Nora involves her fiancé, Dean James; he tells them that he discarded the box outside with the rest of the trash.

While Archie captures photos of everyone placing flowers at the vigil, Warrick reconstructs the girl's photo to include straight brown hair. He enters the new characteristics into the missing children database and finds what appears to be a match—a Bashira Sayeed went missing from an amusement park three weeks ago. Her listed height and weight are similar to the girl's. Bashira's parents are brought in to identify the body, but the father tells Warrick that the girl isn't theirs.

Wendy processes the hairs found in the box and finds that they're a match to Dean, whose real name is Leo Finley; he's a registered sex offender. Leo is arrested and brought to the station for questioning. There, he explains that his hairs were in the box because he unpacked the vacuum for Nora and discarded the box. He adds that he had to register on Megan's List because, ten years ago, he took drugs and danced naked in front of neighboring preschoolers. Catherine shows him the picture of the girl and tells him that she was found dead in the box he discarded. Leo swears that he didn't have anything to do with the girl and that he's never seen her before. Brass has Leo arrested for violating his parole, as he's living in an unregistered apartment under an assumed name. Leo insists that he's not in violation and that he has his own place, which Catherine says they'll go through with a fine-toothed comb.

Greg goes over the map of the neighborhood and notes that the box was found five blocks from Leo's apartment. Grissom finds it hard to believe that Leo carried a box with a dead girl in it for five blocks without anyone noticing. Despite the fact that Leo was never charged with child molestation or abuse and that there's no evidence that Baby Cordelia was at either of his residences, Catherine believes that he's guilty and refuses to have him released from custody.

Hodges informs Nick that the oily substance on the bottom of the box is....oil. More specifically, oil that contains 10-W-40 and axle grease, something you find at an auto mechanic. Nick looks around the scene where the box was discovered and spots a gas station in the distance. Upon visiting the gas station, he's told that Leo brought a busted cylinder head in to be fixed and transported it in the box. Upon giving the mechanic the part, Leo tossed the box. From the paperwork, the mechanic confirms that "Dean James" was the one who brought the part in.

Upon being interrogated further, Leo confirms that he brought the part to his mechanic and admits he was lying earlier because he didn't think the police would believe his story since he brought the box so close to the crime scene. Brass tells Leo that every time they talk, they place him closer and closer to the scene. Leo vehemently denies having anything to do with Baby Cordelia.

In a prison, a prisoner goes ballistic when he sees the news report on television about Baby Cordelia. As he's restrained, he yells out that she's his daughter. The prisoner, Donald Balboa, tells Catherine and Brass that Baby Cordelia is his daughter Inez. When asked if he has any idea who would do something like this, Donald points the finger at his ex-cellmate, Boyd Waldrip. Donald told Boyd to look after his wife Grace and his daughter when he got released from prison. Instead, Grace ended up filing for divorce and marrying Boyd. Since Grace didn't come forward about Inez's disappearance, Donald wonders if Boyd killed her, too.

Catherine and Grissom search Boyd's residence and find evidence that it was recently vacated, as a television is still on and there's still food on the kitchen table. They spot a family photo, and Catherine mentions that Boyd's first wife died while he was in prison and that he gained custody of his two kids. Since both of his kids were blonde, Grissom wonders if Grace had Inez's hair dyed blonde so that she would fit in more with the family. In the kitchen, Catherine spots empty chemical bottles under the sink and a chemical stain on the floor nearby. A pipe tests positive for blood and she quickly concludes that Inez was locked under the sink, where she hit her head as she tried to frantically escape.

Boyd is found holed up in a diner with Grace, his kids, and several hostages. The SWAT team outside tries to bring a peaceful end to things and they're able to convince Boyd to let both his kids and the hostages go. Boyd coaxes Grace to leave him as well; however, as she leaves, she trips and falls into the glass door. This causes the SWAT officers to open fire, gunning Grace down in front of her husband.

Brass interrogates Boyd, who refuses his right to counsel. He tells Brass to write down what he thinks happened to Inez and he'll sign it just to get things over with. In the hallway, Catherine talks to Boyd's two kids, and his daughter tearfully admits that they were playing hide and seek with Inez and she told her to hide under the sink where she couldn't be found easily. They tell Catherine that they weren't coerced to say this.

Catherine questions Boyd. He admits that he came home from work and slept on the couch. When he woke up, Inez was missing. The kids led him to the kitchen where a smell was emanating from the cabinet and an oil stain was forming on the floor. When the cabinet was opened, Inez was inside, barely breathing. Since his wife had the car, he took the bus to the hospital, but Inez died on the way. He placed the body in the box and left her where she was eventually found. When asked why he didn't just come forward and admit that it was an accident, Boyd tells Catherine that nobody would've believed him and that he would've been sent back to jail and had his kids taken away from him. However, his deciding to run resulted in his wife's death, as well.

Grissom goes over the surveillance video from the vigil and spots Boyd and Grace paying it a visit. They're genuinely upset, which Catherine says makes things worse. Out in the parking garage, Catherine is confronted by Leo, who has lost everything because he was falsely accused of murder and had his past brought to light. He blames Catherine for "grinding up the innocent with the guilty" and threatens to kill himself on her front lawn to make her think about the consequences of her actions. As he walks away into the darkness, Catherine is left alone with her thoughts.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Archie Kao as Archie Johnson
  • Liz Vassey as Wendy Simms
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Vincent Duvall as Lt. Jack Parker
  • Paula Francis as Herself
  • Jay Paulson as Leo Finley/Dean James
  • David Meunier as Boyd Waldrip
  • Raymond Cruz as Donald Balboa
  • Ryan Simpkins as Faith Waldrip
  • Jennifer Hall as Nora O'Toole
  • Bobby Hosea as Negotiator
  • Greg Fitzsimmons as Himself
  • Nathan Baesel as Offended Guy/Male Figure
  • Dariush Kashani as Amir Sayeed
  • William Stanford Davis as Mechanic
  • Donnamarie Recco as Grace Waldrip
  • Noah Harpster as Heavyset Guy
  • Rima Laham as Maajida Sayeed
  • Suzanne Rico as Field Reporter
  • Baylee Rogers as Cordelia/Inez
  • Ty Simpkins as Tyler Waldrip

Episode Title[]

  • A Thousand Days on Earth refers to the age of the victim, Inez, who was about three years old.


  • The episode is inspired by the unsolved "Boy in the Box" case
  • Raymond Cruz played Donald Balboa in the episode. He also appeared in the Season Three episode Play with Fire, playing Miguel Durado. Aside from also appearing in episodes of CSI:Miami and CSI:NY, Raymond is most recognizable for his role as Tuco Salamanca in the AMC show Breaking Bad.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 8
Dead DollA La CartGo to HellThe Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp The Chick Chop Flick ShopWho and WhatWhere and WhyGoodbye and Good LuckYou Kill MeCockroachesLying Down With DogsBullGrissom's Divine ComedyA Thousand Days On EarthDrops OutThe Theory of EverythingTwo And A Half DeathsFor Gedda