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Road to Recovery
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Season 15
Number 7
Writer Andrew Dettman
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate November 23, 2014
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Previous Episode: The Twin Paradox
Next Episode: Rubbery Homicide

Road to Recovery is the seventh episode in season fifteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

A woman in rehab at a posh Las Vegas facility is killed, and everybody at the facility is under suspicion.

Plot

Victim: Daycia Fox (deceased)

On the case: D.B. Russell, Greg Sanders, Julie Finlay, Morgan Brody, Nick Stokes

After a night of partying and doing drugs, a young woman is found dead in a backyard swimming pool. There's no ID on the victim and no car parked in front of the vacant house. David Phillips finds finger bruises on the back of the woman's neck and skin under her fingernails; she tried to fight off her attacker while likely being held underwater. Nick finds hand stamps on the victim; when combined with the club bracelets she's wearing, it seems evident she spent the night partying hard.

In autopsy, David finds evidence of sexual activity; however, the partner used a condom or was very careful. The thought that the woman is a sex worker is ruled out when Finn recognizes that her clothes and shoes are quite expensive. Furthermore, the woman has an authentic diamond ring in her possession. The diamond has no serial number etched into it, but its refraction pattern is registered with an insurance database.

The diamond is registered to Martin Fox from Utah, and he identifies the victim as his wife, Daycia. Though Russell can't give him information about the case, Martin correctly guesses that his wife was wasted; her blood alcohol contact was, in fact, twice the legal limit. Martin explains that he was paying $8,000 a week for Daycia to go to rehab in Vegas, which she had been attending for three weeks.

Finn and Nick discover that the Desert Peace rehab facility is a luxurious mansion that pampers its patients. The CSIs speak with the owner, Adam King. His assumption that the visit has to do with Daycia is correct, and he's shocked and saddened when told that she died. Adam takes the CSIs to Daycia's room, and he mentions that he last saw her at 9:00 PM the previous night. The woman ducked out shortly afterwards, and Adam explains that patients can come and go as they please. He adds that if he had imposed restrictions, Daycia would've checked herself out, and she never would've had a chance to get clean.

Morgan has a difficult time tracking down every club Daycia went to, and since she went to so many places, anyone could've spotted her and followed her. Henry's job is also difficult, as he informs Russell that the tissue under Daycia's fingernails was too degraded from the pool water; there aren't enough loci to enter into CODIS.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins confirms that Daycia was a longtime drinker and drug user. The marks on the back of her neck are indeed consistent with being held underwater, and fluid in her lungs confirms that she drowned. However, the doc notices that the water doesn't smell like chlorine. Hodges confirms that Daycia didn't drown in the pool, as the water's chlorine level is too low. In fact, the liquid is more in line with tap water. The GCMS shows traces of soap ingredients along with lavender, and Finn remembers seeing such ingredients in Daycia's bathroom at the house.

Finn and Nick head back to the Desert Peace and confirm that the bubble bath Daycia used has the same composition as the GCMS results. Daycia drowned in the bathtub, and the pristine crime scene indicates that someone clean up afterwards. Meanwhile, Morgan gets in contact with the cab company and confirms that Daycia and an unidentified male were brought to the facility at 3:00 AM. The question is how Daycia's body ended up a mile away in a backyard pool.

Finn speaks with the fellow patients and the therapist, finding out that nobody heard anything during the night. Outside, Morgan looks through the trash and is interrupted by Zach Alton, one of the patients. He claims to have not seen Daycia bring anyone back to the house, but he does admit that he went out clubbing with her one night. While partying, she met a "cowboy" she ended up leaving the bar with. Zach recalls that she was at the group meeting the following morning, so he thought nothing of it. After Zach leaves, Morgan spots a green trash bag sticking out of the bin across the street. When she cuts the bag open, she finds the towels from Daycia's bathroom that were used to clean up the scene. Among the bag's other contents are a condom wrapper, broken pieces of wax, a nail file, and an empty bottle of tequila.

The cab Daycia and the mystery man took back to the house is located and brought to the CSI garage. Unfortunately, the driver was unable to identify the male occupant, only remembering that he was white. Nick processes the cab, lifting several fingerprints from both inside and outside of the vehicle.

Henry is able to pull DNA from the bath towels, informing Morgan that there are two contributors. The DNA has the same four loci as the DNA from under Daycia's fingernails; the unknown male is also the killer. Meanwhile, Morgan puts the pieces of melted wax together, guessing that that it came from a candle when it was knocked over in the struggle. The killer then used the nail file to scrape the wax off the bathtub. There's an indentation in the wax that Morgan believes could be the killer's hand or arm.

AFIS hits from the fingerprints in the cab match a felony DUI arrest from 2007, and the guy's prints were everywhere. The perpetrator is identified as Adam King, and he's arrested as his patients look on in disbelief. As Adam is being brought out of the house and to a squad car, Martin Fox appears and shoots Adam twice. Under interrogation, Martin tells Russell that Adam betrayed his trust and that, with Daycia gone, he doesn't care what happens to him now.

Adam survives the shooting and is admitted to the hospital. There, Finn shows him traffic camera footage taken five blocks from where Daycia's body was found. Adam was the one driving the car, and it's quite clear he was on his way to dump the body. He admits to moving the body, but denies killing her. Adam also explains that he went out to various clubs looking for Daycia when she didn't come home that night. After finding her, they took a cab back to the house, which explains why his fingerprints were everywhere. A few hours later, he claims that he found Daycia's body in the bathtub and assumed that her death was an accident. As there had been another death at Desert Peace eight months ago, Adam decided not to call 911 and disposed of the body himself to avoid any more backlash.

The previous death at Desert Peace is confirmed, as a female patient overdosed on sleeping pills around the time Adam said. His DNA isn't a match to the DNA on the bath towels or underneath Daycia's fingernails, so Adam is ruled out as the killer. However, at some point between the cab ride home and the time Adam went to check on Daycia, someone went into her bathroom and killed her.

Morgan is able to piece together the wax fragments found in the trash and discovers that the imprint made is from two fingers and a ring. The inscription on the ring reads "2112," which clearly isn't the year. Nick suggests that it was the score of a championship game, and Morgan remembers that Zach used to play for WLVU football. Sure enough, the final score of the 2007 Conference Championship was 21-12.

Zach is brought into custody; when Morgan processes his clothes, she finds scratch marks on his chest. His DNA is a match to the bath towels and the DNA under Daycia's fingernails. Furthermore, Zach's blood tested positive for diazepam and oxycodone, the same drugs that were found in Daycia's system and in her bathroom.

Under interrogation, Zach tells Nick that he can't remember much from the night Daycia was killed. He remembers that she came into his bedroom half-dressed and invited him to join her in the bathtub. As "pretty women are his kryptonite," Zach agreed to the proposal. The two rehab patients had sex, drank, and took pills, with the latter two causing Zach to blackout. When he woke up the next morning, he was in his own bed and Daycia was nowhere to be found.

Doc Robbins discovers that the alveoli in Daycia's lungs are all popped, which was caused by excess water pressure. Drowning wouldn't generate enough pressure to have this effect; her lungs were filled with a rush of water that had enough force to cause the alveoli to expand beyond their capacity. The only scenario the doc can think of is that someone pumped water into Daycia's lungs forcibly and intentionally, almost as if someone put a tube down her throat. He also believes the water was pumped into the lungs after Daycia was already dead. The killer wanted to make it look like she drowned, and the cause of death was really suffocation. If the CSIs have been investigating the wrong cause of death, they've likely been investigating the wrong killer.

At the time of Daycia's death, Zach had been drinking and had two different prescription pills in his system. Daycia's drowning was staged, and someone would've had to feed a tube down her trachea and into her lungs. Zach would've been way too impaired to have pulled something like this off, so it seems that he's also off the hook for murder. There were three other people in the house who could've pulled off the murder - the two other patients, Karen and Len, and Twyla, the therapist.

An organic foreign substance was also found in Daycia's lungs, and Hodges finds that the proportions of the chemicals are consistent with bird or fish waste. Morgan recalls that there's a fish tank at the house, and she and Greg go to check it out, where they find tubing and a pump amongst the equipment.

The same set of fingerprints is found on every piece of equipment, and they all come back to Twyla. However, she's the one responsible for taking care of the fish tank, so her fingerprints can be explained away. The only piece of equipment that doesn't have fingerprints on it is the pump, and Morgan sees that there's a crack in it, rendering it unusable. Something was used to pump the water into Daycia's lungs, and Greg wonders if the killer used his mouth to do the trick.

DNA from the inside of the tube comes back to patient Len Bryant. Under interrogation, he denies any wrongdoing, telling Russell that he was two days from completing the program, getting out of rehab, and being reunited with his kids. It's revealed that Len was an EMT in college, so he would know how to probably intubate someone. Furthermore, CSIs have found the pillow that was used to suffocate Daycia.

Len tells Russell that Daycia was like the little devil sitting on his shoulder that tempted him to do bad things. He recalls that she left a bottle of bourbon for him in his room, and he knew Daycia put it there. When he confronted her, she tried to get him to loosen up and give in. Len admits that he held the pillow over Daycia's face just to get her to stop talking; unfortunately, he went too far and accidentally suffocated her. Seeing that her bathtub was already full, he put her in it and made it look like she drowned. A regretful Len tells Russell that he actually never gave in to temptation, as he poured the bourbon into the toilet. He sobered up for his kids, but he'll now be spending time behind bars for murder.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Larry Sullivan as Officer Akers
  • Marc Blucas as Adam King
  • Merrin Dungey as Twyla Owens
  • Brandon Quinn as Zach Alton
  • Chris Browning as Martin Fox
  • Lea Moreno as Karen
  • Marielle Jaffe as Daycia Fox
  • Greg Grunberg as Len Bryant

Music

  • I Can Tell by The Strypes
  • Busy Earnin' by Jungle

Notes

  • Jorja Fox (Sara) is credited but does not appear in the episode.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 15
The CSI EffectBuzz KillBad BloodThe Book of ShadowsGirls Gone WilderThe Twin ParadoxRoad to RecoveryRubbery HomicideLet's Make A DealDead RailsAngle of AttackDead WoodsThe Greater GoodMerchants of MenaceHero to ZeroThe Last RideUnder My SkinThe End GameImmortality
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