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De Los Muertos
CSI; Crime Scene Invastigation - S14 E14 De Los Muertos (1).jpg
Season 14
Number 14
Writer Tom Mularz,
Richard Catalani
Director Louis Milito
Original Airdate February 5, 2014
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Next Episode: Love for Sale

De Los Muertos is the fourteenth episode in season fourteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Nick and Doc Robbins travel to Mexico to autopsy a friend's daughter, but when another woman is found to have died in the same way and buried in cement with her husband's brother, the CSIs realize they're working on the same case.

Plot

Victims: Ana Ortiz (deceased), Jeff Marsh (deceased), Claire Marsh (deceased)

On the case: entire team

Doc Robbins attends a wake being held for a teenage girl named Ana Ortiz. The doc knows the father, Gabriel, and offers his condolences. Gabriel says that Ana was discovered dead in the city of Arquero, Mexico, and that the local coroner called her death "drug-related." Beyond that, the coroner has been uncooperative and even refused to arrange transport of the body to Vegas. Gabriel has demanded that an autopsy not be performed; since the coroner was wrong about Ana doing drugs, he's likely to be wrong about something else. The grieving father asks Doc Robbins to travel to Mexico to perform the autopsy himself.

Doc Robbins takes Nick along with him to act as both an evidence liaison and a translator. The duo meets Agent Javier Silva, a member of the Mexican Federal Police. As Javier drives them to the morgue, armed officers can be seen on the streets. The local police are in the cartel's pocket and both sides agree on one thing: they hate outside law enforcement.

The local coroner, Dr. Rafael Blanco, is not too happy to be getting help from outside the country. In the morgue, Nick and Doc Robbins observe the unkempt office and are stunned to hear that Dr. Blanco is the only coroner in the area, handling at least 1,000 cases per year. Dr. Blanco leads the pair to Ana's body, recalling that an anonymous caller saw her by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Cocaine was found in the girl's nostrils, as well as all over her hair and clothes. Doc Robbins denies the findings, saying that Ana had no history of abusing drugs.

Upon performing the autopsy, Doc Robbins finds that Ana had thinning hair and sores on her lips - both signs of long-term drug use. Damage to her liver and kidneys also confirms the preliminary diagnosis. Additionally, scarring on the bottom of Ana's feet is curiously labeled as frostbite. When Nick goes to process the dress Ana was wearing, he finds that it's covered in traces of cornhusk.

With the case seemingly wrapped up, Nick takes a look at the local newspaper, which is celebrating the massacre of four cartel members. Upon closer inspection, he sees something in the photo and goes to examine the bodies in the freezer. There, he finds cornhusks on the bodies that are identical to the ones found on Ana. This proves that Ana was in the same place where the four men were murdered. Dr. Blanco admits that a day after retrieving the bodies, he got an anonymous call that one body was left behind. The doctor confesses to withholding the information because her death wasn't like the other four, and he insists that she died from a drug overdose. When Nick asks for the file on the cartel murders, he's told that there isn't one, as nobody looks into cartel-on-cartel crime. The determined CSI offers to look into it himself, which includes going back to the site where a massacre just occurred.

Nick and Agent Silva head out to the field, flanked by some local officers. There, they find white powder in the dirt similar to what was found in Ana's nose. Tire treads from an 18-wheeler appear to have come to a stop before leaving the scene, and Nick sees that there are flakes of blood in the treads, indicating that the vehicle drove through the blood from the massacre. However, based on the way the blood is flaked in the treads, he guesses that the blood pool was dry when the truck drove through it, and that it did so a few hours after the shootings. The conclusion is that the truck stopped, dumped Ana's body, and drove away. During the investigation, a pair of cartel members drive up and ask why the police are poking around the cartel's business when they should be investigating the "overdose of an American girl."

Via web conference, Hodges tells Doc Robbins that the full drug screen run on the sample of heart blood he sent revealed that Ana's system was clean. With a drug overdose eliminated, the only other explanation is that Ana was poisoned. Sure enough, he and Dr. Blanco find alternating dark bands in the roots of Ana's hair, as well as Mees' lines on her fingernails - both signs of heavy metal poisoning. This would also explain the frostbite on her feet.

Nick and Doc Robbins share their findings with each other. Perplexed at what the white powder is, Nick tests it and finds that it doesn't dissolve in water. Under a microscope, he sees that it's pulverized plastic, which is melted down and used to make things like milk jugs. Dr. Blanco says that there's a plastics factory just outside of town; however, that, too, is tied to the cartel. Nick once again saddles up and heads into enemy territory with Agent Silva by his side.

Nick and Agent Silva are able to get the plastic company's trucking records for the last two weeks by paying off an office clerk. During their visit, they saw guards using M-16s, so something else is definitely going on there. Before they can start connecting the company to Ana's body dump, the Mexican Federal Police enter and hold everyone at gunpoint. Agent Silva is hit in the head with the butt of a gun and promptly arrested for Ana's murder, much to the outrage of Nick and Doc Robbins.

Nick gets on the phone with Brass, who is with representatives from the State Department. The plan is to extricate Nick and the doc back to Vegas, but there's a snag - the Arquero Police Department has listed both of them as suspects of interest in Ana's death. They clearly crossed paths with the wrong people during their investigation.

Doc Robbins reminds Nick and Dr. Blanco that they still have the trucking records they retrieved earlier. While Dr. Blanco distracts the police, Nick goes through the records and finds that one trucker, an M. Garcia, makes regular trips between Vegas and Arquero. In fact, he was in Vegas at the same time Ana went missing. Back in the Vegas lab, Finn collects information on Mateo Garcia and his schedule, finding that he's due in Vegas the following morning.

In Vegas, Greg and Sara are called to a scene where a male and female victim have been found embedded in a pile of concrete in a garage. A photo from inside the house identifies the couple as Brett and Claire Marsh. The thought is that someone tried to bury the couple under a fresh coat of concrete; however, the killer accidentally used expansive mortar, which expanded the concrete and caused the bodies to bubble up. Just then, a man runs up and identifies himself as Brett; the victims are actually Claire and his brother, Jeff. Brett tells Greg that his brother was doing the cement work in exchange for living there temporarily.

Both Claire and Jeff suffered single gunshot wounds to their heads. Upon x-raying the concrete, Finn thought she saw an embedded bullet, which would mean that the murders happened in the garage. When Sara chisels some concrete off of Jeff's body, she finds a gun. Greg notes that he found some antidepressants amongst Jeff's things at the house, and he wonders if the case is a murder-suicide perpetrated by Jeff. However, Sara finds high-velocity blood spatter on Claire's clothes, and it's on the opposite side from her gunshot wound. This means she was standing next to Jeff when he was shot. Sara believes that they're looking at a double murder, with the killer planting the gun next to the bodies in the concrete.

Finn is able to chisel the bullet out of the mass of concrete, and she finds a hair in the process. The gun is also retrieved, but the expansive mortar has made it impossible to test fire. Instead, Finn uses Mikrosil (a casting material) and is able to determine that the bullet recovered was fired from the gun. It's also found that the hair recovered from the rubble didn't match either victim, so it could belong to the killer.

The hair found mixed in with the concrete is revealed to be Brett's. He explains to Greg that he owns the equipment and that the hair must have been left from a prior use. Greg asks Brett to provide receipts proving that he was out of town at the time of the murders. He agrees to provide them and scoffs at the idea that his wife would be having an affair with his brother, as Claire couldn't stand Jeff.

Back in Mexico, Doc Robbins and David Phillips communicate over Skype, and the doc asks about the "concrete couple" in an effort to kill some time. When David gets to Claire's body, he mentions that she sustained extensive damage to her liver and kidneys. He also found alternating dark bands in a sample of Claire's hair. This piques Doc Robbins' and Dr. Blanco's interests, and David eventually finds Mees' lines on Claire's fingernails. She, too, is a victim of heavy metal poisoning, and evidence indicates she was poisoned on alternating days, just like Ana was. Two women from Vegas poisoned in the same way can't be a coincidence - the cases are connected.

Mateo Garcia is detained and brought in for interrogation. He tells Brass that he loaded his truck at the Vegas plant, and when he unloaded down in Mexico, he found Ana's body in one of the drums of pulverized plastic. The Arquero police wanted nothing to do with the death of an American girl, so Mateo dumped her body near the site of the massacre. He tells Brass that instead of making the body just disappear, he chose to help Ana's family possibly get some answers, adding that whatever happened to the girl happened in Vegas.

The belief is that the same suspect is responsible for both poisonings. Whoever that is dumped Ana's body at the plastics facility before moving on to Claire. Hair analysis shows that Claire's poisoning began four days after Ana's body was dumped; however, she was shot to death before the poison had a chance to take effect. Since Ana's disappearance was gaining a lot of attention, the killer may have panicked and didn't want to wait for the poison to take care of Claire.

Ana and Claire don't appear to have anything in common, but a friend of Claire's contacted the police, showing them a text message Claire sent three days ago. The text is a photo of Claire, who mentioned that she was "ready for a visit with her artiste." Since paint was found on Claire's shoes, it's possible she had contact with the mystery person around the time of her death. Metadata shows that the photo was taken at a house in Henderson.

The elderly homeowner leases out her guesthouse to a guy who uses it as his studio, and when Greg and Sara search the place, they find drawings and paintings of both Ana and Claire. Greg notices that the dress Claire is wearing in the drawing is the same one she was wearing when she was shot. He also finds some broken glass with wine residue in it. When he puts a flame to the residue, it emits a green flame, indicating the presence of thallium; the killer hid the poison in the wine. Sara, meanwhile, finds a stack of handwritten letters, one of which is from Ana. In it, she writes that she was leaving her artiste, something the killer wasn't going to let happen. Sara also finds Claire's missing acrylic fingernail wedged in the back of Ana's painting. She theorizes that Claire saw the painting and recognized it who it was, which made the killer yank it away from her. Knowing he was caught, he followed Claire home, shot her and Jeff, and buried them in the garage.

In interrogation, Brett tells Brass that Claire used to model for one of her artist friends; however, he doesn't remember the guy's name because he didn't want to hear about his wife with someone else. Meanwhile, Russell speaks with Gabriel Ortiz, who is upset that his daughter would keep her relationship with the painter a secret. He adds that Ana's body was found in a barrel that belongs to Partell Manufacturing, a company in Vegas. As it turns out, Claire worked as a temp for the same company recently - and Gabriel is on the company board. Russell hopes that Gabriel can connect the dots between Ana and Claire, but Gabriel is surprisingly unhelpful, and he tells Russell to leave his house.

Sara finds out that Partell Manufacturing recently commissioned an artist to paint a mural. The man's name is Keith Garner, and his day job is an art teacher. Coincidentally, Keith has taught art at high schools that both Ana and Claire attended. He even was bold enough to show up to Ana's wake. A ping on Keith's cell phone places him in the residence of Gabriel Ortiz.

In his house, Gabriel beats Keith and holds him at gunpoint. Keith says that Ana was his, that he wanted to keep her, and that he wanted her to need him. This just leads to more beatings from a hysterical Gabriel. The LVPD breaks into the house, and Russell tires to calm Gabriel down. After some conversing, Russell convinces Gabriel to put the gun down and give himself up, while a bloodied Keith is hauled away in handcuffs.

Back in Mexico, Doc Robbins tells Dr. Blanco that he got Agent Silva released from custody, letting the Federal Police know that the real killer was an "American monster." While Nick and Agent Silva bid each other adieu, Doc Robbins gives Dr. Blanco his tools, and the two shake hands before parting ways.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Julio Oscar Mechoso as Dr. Rafael Blanco
  • Benito Martinez as Gabriel Ortiz
  • John Ruby as Keith Garner
  • Graham Hamilton as Brett Marsh
  • Bayardo De Murguia as Agent Javier Silva
  • Felipe Alejandro as Local Police Officer
  • Jorge Jimenez as Mateo Garcia
  • Monika Casey as Claire Marsh
  • Vanessa Garcia as Ana Ortiz
  • Ron Del Barrio as Uniform
  • Portia Derricks as Middle-Aged Woman
  • Timothy Granaderos as Teen Boy

Notes

  • Jon Wellner (Henry) is credited but does not appear in the episode.
  • One of the notes from Ana to Keith Garner reads:

My Love,

I'm sorry if I hurt you yesterday when we talked. Don't ever doubt my feelings for you. They're eternal. But life has to go on, and I have to go with it. I can't be yours forever. You're capturing me in your work, and that will have to be enough for now. You'll have my picture - and a part of me - even when you don't have all of me.

Love, Ana

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 14
The Devil and D.B. RussellTake the Money and RunTorch SongLast SupperFrame by FramePassed PawnsUnder a CloudHelplessCheck In and Check OutGirls Gone WildLost ReindeerKeep Calm and Carry OnBoston BrakesDe Los MuertosLove for SaleKiller MovesLong Road HomeUninvitedThe FallenConsumedKittyDead In His Tracks


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