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No Humans Involved
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Season 5
Number 10
Writer Judith McCreary
Director Rob Bailey
Original Airdate December 9, 2004
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Previous Episode: Mea Culpa
Next Episode: Who Shot Sherlock?

No Humans Involved is the tenth episode in season five of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

After a gang shooting, Grissom and his team work on a case of a young boy found dead in a dumpster while Catherine and her team try to find out why an prisoner was left brain dead after an action by police.

Plot

Victim: Devon Malton (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders, Sara Sidle, Sofia Curtis, Jim Brass

While investigating an apparent gang shooting, Greg hears some kids playing nearby and it seems like they are reenacting the shooting. When he goes to talk to them, they run away quickly. One of boys trips over a trash bin and Greg notices that there is the body of a young boy in it. He radios Grissom to tell him his finding. Back near the original body, someone comes up and shoots the victim's brother in the back several times. The shooter runs and both the cops and Sofia chase after him. The crime scene has just become a triple homicide.

Sara arrives on the scene to assist Greg while David Phillips looks over the body of the boy in the trash bin. David believes that the boy died less than 24 hours ago; however, the body looks like it has begun to mummify and Sara notices how thin the boy looks. She instructs a clearly shaken Greg to transport the body carefully to the lab. Back at the original scene, Grissom then tells Sofia that it is not their job to chase after suspects; however, she tells Grissom that she knew the suspect would drop the gun while running, so she was chasing the evidence. She shows Grissom the gun she recovered and says that all they have to do is match the weapon to both victims.

The boy in the trash bin is brought into autopsy. After being removed from the bin, Sara collects hairs of off the body. Greg processes the trash bin and finds a yellow powder along with some fingernail scratch marks. Doc Robbins goes over his findings with Sara and determines that the boy was around five years old. He has several fractures that wound indicate abuse and Doc Robbins guesses that they occurred no more than six months ago. Sara again notes how thin the boy looks and the doc tells her the cause of death was renal failure due to starvation. The only thing found in the boy's intestines were some brown flecks that the doc collected. He tells her that the boy's body basically digested itself, something that would take weeks to happen, not one day.

Sofia tells Sara that she ran the boy's DNA through the missing persons database, but got no hits. Sara isn't surprised, saying that if his parents didn't care enough to feed him, they wouldn't care enough to report him missing. Based on the age of the boy and the age and pattern of the fractures, Sara has gone through Child Protective Services reports and found ten possible matches to the boy's possible identity. Sofia offers to help look through the files, but Sara doesn't seem to trust her.

Mia Dickerson tells Sofia that one of the hairs collected from the boy still had skin tags attached to it and that she needs something to compare it to. She also says that some of the hairs were synthetic, possibly from a doll, wig, or fake fur. The hairs were sent to trace. Meanwhile, Sara visits Doc Robbins with facial x-rays of the candidates she thinks could be a match to the boy. The doc tells her that sinus identification is as reliable as fingerprints because they are unique. He compares the sinus x-rays to the x-ray of the boy and they find a match - Devon Malton, age five, whose last address was a foster home run by a Lorna Tenney.

Sara and Brass visit Lorna, whos tells them that Devon hasn't lived with her in six months, which Sara notes is when he fractured his arm. Lorna says that she was cleared by Child Protective Services and that the records indicating that Devon still lives there are wrong. She denies Sara and Brass entry into her house without a warrant and refuses to answer any questions without an attorney present. Meanwhile, while fuming the trash bin, Greg is paged by David Hodges. After Hodges chastises him for being involved in a shooting, he tells Greg that the substance found on the inside of the trash bin was cheap makeup. Additionally, the substance found in Devon's intestinal tract was lead-based paint chips, popular in the 1970s. Greg notes that most of the houses and apartments in the neighborhood look like they were built around that time.

Several foster children sit in the station waiting room while Brass questions Lorna and her attorney. Sara enters and speaks to Glynnis Carson, who looks to be the oldest child present. Glynnis shoots down Sara's lame attempt to bond with her. After Sara apologizes, she admits that she was in the system for a while when she was growing up. Glynnis tells Sara that she has been in the system for ten years and has lived in several foster homes. Despite Lorna's tough exterior, Glynnis insists that she is actually one of the nicer foster parents she has had. Sara asks her if she remembers Devon; Glynnis replies that she does and that Devon's mother actually came to pick him up six months ago, which never happens. She also tells Sara that Devon had two other brothers named Kevin and Raymond who also lived in the foster home.

Sara and Brass speak to Delia Brooks from Child Protective Services. Delia tells them that Devon's mother, Candice, served time in prison for smashing a brick into her ex-boyfriend's face. Her children were placed into foster care and when Candice served most of her sentence and was released, she immediately picked the boys up. Candice's whereabouts are currently unknown. Sara asks why Child Protective Services didn't follow up, and Delia replies that they can't follow up on every case and that all signs pointed towards Candice being a good mother. Sara disagrees, as one child is dead and the other two are missing.

Greg shows Sofia that he has found a fingerprint inside the lip of the trash bin; however, he is unsure how to lift it for processing. Sofia is able to reconstruct the print using the digital photos that Greg has taken. She also assures him that it's okay to destroy the evidence and cut the trash bin in order to recover the print, so long as he documents everything he did. Sofia runs the print, expands it to the FBI database, and finds that the print has come back to a Private First Class Phillip Riley. Phillip is brought in for questioning. He tells Brass that he decided to party before his leave and did so with a woman named Divine he met at a club called Seven Sins. After he finished partying, he took out the trash. Phillip doesn't know Divine's address and tells Brass that he went to her house in a taxi and left the same way.

Sara and Brass pay a visit to the Seven Sins club and find Divine. She is wearing a wig, and Sara notes that the hair is consistent with the hair found on Devon's body. Divine then reluctantly opens her mouth to give a DNA sample. She is brought to the station for questioning, where it is revealed that the hair from her wig is a match to the hair pulled from Devon. Sara reveals that Divine has seven alleles in common with Devon, which indicates some relation to him. This caused Brass to dig deeper and he found out that Divine had several aliases, one of which is Darlene Malton. Darlene admits that her Candice is her cousin and that she was left with the three kids and no money to take care of them. She also says that she didn't hand the kids off to Child Services because Devon got hurt there the last time and Candice would be mad that Darlene decided to do so. In order to get a lawyer to represent her, Darlene provides the address to where the kids are.

At the address, Brass finds a note in the house that from Candice that included $300 to take care of the kids, but Darlene used it on a new television. There is a locked storage shed in the backyard; Brass unlocks it and goes down with Greg and Sara in tow. Downstairs in the shed, they find Kevin and Raymond, one of which is barely alive. The other boy grabs Sara's shoulder and she tells him that they're safe now. Back in the station, Darlene is arrested. Brass tells Sara that a distraught Candice is flying in from Seattle and he unsure as to whether to take her to hospital or the morgue first. Sara tells him that he should take Darlene to the hospital to see her kids, as the dead can wait.

In the end, Sara types her mother's name into the research database and looks up her court case.

Victim: Samuel Mendez (alive)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Nick Stokes, Warrick Brown, Louis Vartann

Nick and Warrick meet Det. Vartann in a prison where an prisoner, Samuel Mendez, has been beaten and is now brain dead. According to Vartann, suspects wait in central holding before being escorted to their cell. There, the prisoners assaulted the officers by throwing feces at them, and this led to the cops going in and beating the prisoners to quell the riot. Excessive force may have been used on Samuel, but Vartann believes there were mitigating circumstances. Warrick spots a gun on the floor and Vartann tells him that it was found under Samuel's body. An overflowed toilet shows Nick and Warrick the ammunition the prisoners were working with.

The prisoners are lined up and processed. A few of them tell Nick that Samuel was new to the prison and that the police "gutted him like a fish." One of the prisoners has several bruises on his face and tells Nick that he was beaten twice in one day by the police. Meanwhile, Samuel is lying in a hospital bed attached to a ventilator while Catherine photographs his injuries. A doctor, Dr. Franks, tells her that since Samuel is brain dead, he's hoping to contact his family and get permission to remove him from the ventilator and have his organs donated. Samuel has suffered from blunt force trauma and has a piece of his skull embedded in his brain. Catherine notices a shoe print on Samuel's face, which indicates that Samuel was on the ground when he was attacked.

Lt. Arthur Chen tells Warrick and Vartann that the central holding can fit 25 prisoners; however, on this day, there were 35 prisoners waiting to be processed. He insists that there were no prisoners from rival gangs and that there was a backup because of a computer problem. Lt. Chen shows disdain for the prisoners, comparing them to monkeys at the zoo. The slur does not go unnoticed by Warrick. Warrick asks Lt. Chen how the gun got past security and is told that there was a bad search by the officer. Lt. Chen takes offense when Warrick asks him whether he conducts another search when the prisoner is brought to his cell. Warrick tells him that it's sloppy police work and that, no matter what he thought of the prisoners, one of them is brain dead. Lt. Chen refuses to answer to a crime scene tech, but Warrick asks him for his armor, shields, boots, and baton. Warrick brings Mia Dickerson the face shields, vests, and batons collected from the prison and asks her to run the batons first, as they were the only weapons in the cell.

Later, at the hospital, Samuel's father tells Catherine and Dr. Franks that the person lying in bed on the ventilator is not his son; therefore, he cannot consent to have his organs donated. Dr. Franks says that either Mr. Mendez can't accept reality or the county made a mistake. In the lab, Catherine compares the prints taken in booking with Samuel's prints on file and sees that they don't match. Furthermore, another Samuel Mendez's whereabouts are unknown, he has an active arrest warrant for murder, and he is considered armed and dangerous.

Mia Dickerson tells Catherine that the batons that were tested came back positive for blood, epithelals and hair and that they contain several DNA sources from everyone except Samuel Mendez. Catherine concludes that Samuel was already beaten and lying on the ground when the police entered the holding cell. After Catherine finishes with Mia, she is stopped by Lt. Chen in the hallway. She tells him that the investigation is still ongoing, but that it appears that the wrong Samuel Mendez was arrested. A flashback shows Samuel being pulled over for a routine traffic stop and when his name was run, it came back with an outstanding warrant for murder. Lt. Chen insists that he did his job correctly and Catherine doesn't disagree; however, he tells her that Warrick seems to see things differently. He instructs Catherine to make sure Warrick gets in line before things get ugly.

Catherine summons Warrick into her new office and tells him that Lt. Chen stopped by to complain about him. Warrick brings up Grissom's name, to which Catherine says that she's not him and won't let things slide. She tells him that the extraction team was cleared of Samuel's beating and that he owes Lt. Chen an apology. Meanwhile, Mia processes the gun found under Samuel's body and extracts a hair and some skin from it. Elsewhere, Warrick tests the tread marks from the prisoners' shoes and compares it to the mark on Samuel's face, while Nick test fires the bullets from the gun and runs them through the database. Catherine meets with Nick and Warrick and asks for their findings. Warrick tells her that the shoe print on Samuel's face matched the boots worn by Vincent Mendoza, who was booked for meth manufacturing. Catherine says that Samuel's cause of death was blunt force trauma and not stomping, but Warrick guesses that same person could have done both. Nick, meanwhile, found that the gun they uncovered was used in an execution-style murder.

Vincent Mendoza is brought into interrogation, where Warrick and Det. Vartann that he is on the hook for two murders. Vincent denies this, but Warrick tells him that he was a carrying a concealed weapon and tried to ditch it. A flashback shows Vincent trying to ditch the gun when Samuel saw him do it. Vincent, irate that he got caught and thinking that a new prisoner would rat on him, rammed Samuel into a wall and stomped on his head. This caused the fight to break out and get the police involved. Warrick and Det. Vartann also bring up the fact that Vincent's partner was found dead in the desert a few weeks earlier and that the same gun was used in the homicide. Samuel's lawyer says that there is no proof that any of this happened until Warrick tells her that Vincent's pubic hair and feces were found caught in the gun's hammer.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Aisha Tyler as Mia Dickerson
  • Louise Lombard as Sofia Curtis
  • Alex Carter as Detective Louis Vartann
  • Wallace Langham as David Hodges
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Palmer Davis as Attorney Margaret Finn
  • Russell Wong as Lieutenant Arthur Chen
  • Mae Whitman as Glynnis Carson
  • Rusty Schwimmer as Lorna Tenney
  • Lobo Sebastian as Vincent Mendoza
  • Alexis Cruz as PFC Phillip Riley
  • Michael Bryan French as Dr. Franks
  • Walker Howard as Andre Chambers
  • Carla Renata as Devine
  • Lily Knight as Delia Brooks
  • Mo McRae as Leo Plummer
  • Miguel Nájera as Mr. Mendez
  • Dylan Bell as Raymond
  • Antonio Leon as Samuel Mendez
  • Damani Roberts as Kevin
  • Darien Smalling as Devon
  • Chris Villa as Miguel Garabei

Episode Title

  • "No humans involved" is a phrase reportedly used by L.A. police in the 1980s to refer to the deaths of African Americans, prostitutes, and drug addicts.[1] It indicates that people in those categories were viewed as so disposable as to not even be human. In the episode, three African American children are starved and abused while under the care of their female relative, who shows no remorse for their treatment.

Notes

  • Sara researches a case called "The People v. Laura Sidle", who is later identified as her mother. The trial took place in Modesto, California in 1984. 

Trivia

  • Mae Whitman played Glynnis Carson in the episode. She is perhaps most recognizable for her roles as Ann Veal in the show Arrested Development and Amber Holt in the show Parenthood.

References

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 5
Viva Las VegasDown the DrainHarvestCrow's FeetSwap MeetWhat's Eating Gilbert Grissom?FormalitiesCh-Ch-ChangesMea CulpaNo Humans InvolvedWho Shot Sherlock?SnakesNesting DollsUnbearableKing BabyBig MiddleCompulsionSpark of Life4 x 4Hollywood BrassCommittedWeeping WillowsIcedGrave Danger, Part 1Grave Danger, Part 2
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