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The Gone Dead Train
Gone.jpg
Season 9
Number 22
Writer Jacqueline Hoyt
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate April 30, 2009
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The Gone Dead Train is the twenty-second episode in season nine of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Doc Robbins determines that a number of unsolved deaths are actually from rabies and that they are connected to a tattoo parlor run by a former medical examiner from Reno. Meanwhile, Greg and Riley investigate the eventual death of a young woman found scantily clad under a truck.

Plot

Victims: Brent Kelly (deceased), Darla Kelly (deceased)

On the case: Nick Stokes, Raymond Langston, Jim Brass

Doc Robbins is frustrated when a body with no known cause of death lands on his table - the third in two weeks. Brent Kelly's mother Darla told the authorities that she discovered her son having a seizure and tried to revive him after he lost consciousness, but was unsuccessful. The doc persuades Catherine to accompany him to visit Darla, but when Catherine arrives, the woman attacks Catherine and bites her before collapsing to the ground, dead.

Outside, Brass tells Catherine that she should have followed protocol and called him first, while Langston advises her to go to the hospital. Langston joins Nick inside the house and finds a dresser full of medications, including a bottle of insulin prescribed by a Dr. Shaw from a free clinic. There's an opened baggy of meth in one of the trash cans, which could explain Darla's erratic behavior.

Nick goes to the clinic where Dr. Shaw works and speaks to nurse Susan Schiff, who tells him Darla was a patient and came in three days ago complaining of flu-like symptoms. She tells Nick that Darla's son Brent was a horrible human being who may have been beating his own mother - and that he tried to score some Oxycontin from the clinic by faking a back injury.

In the morgue, Doc Robbins autopsies Darla and finds out that she's now his fourth inexplicable death in one month. He shares his frustrations with Langston, and tells the CSI about the first three men who died, noting that unusual body modification is the only thing the three men have in common. Two of the victims have tattoos, while Brent had ear gauges and transdermal implants in his back, where a steel or silicone bead is implanted. Langston figures that this procedure is rare and sets out to find the tattoo parlor that performs such a procedure.

Langston and Nick are able to find the parlor that the men used, and when they go to check it out, they're greeted by the manager, Eric Tobin. He points them in the direction of the owner, Jack Shaw - the same clinic doctor who treated Darla. Jack tells them he's a retired coroner from Reno. When shown the pictures of the body art on the dead men, he recognizes it as the work of Carl Van Goe, a man he recently fired from the clinic for "artistic differences." Dr. Shaw adds that he runs a clean shop, but Carl would would bring his own tools and needles. Nick and Brass locate Carl and find out that he's been working out of his shed, which is against the law. When he refuses to say whether he worked on the three victims, Brass places him under arrest.

Back at the morgue, Doc Robbins is still at a loss for finding the pathogen that killed the four people, as the virology report from the tattoo parlor came back negative. He and Langston go over the cases again, starting with Darla's. She gave her dying son CPR, complained of a sore throat and fever three days later and attacked Catherine three days after that and died. The conclusion is that the virus is in the tissue. A look at Darla's brain reveals that she had rabies. Since a symptom of rabies is hydrophobia, they wonder if the thunderstorm triggered Darla's aggressive behavior. Doc Robbins recalls that Catherine was bitten by Darla, and Langston rushes to the supervisor's office to get her to the hospital. After reassuring her the incubation period is 72 hours, he ushers her out the door to go for treatment.

It's confirmed that all four victims died of a rabies virus variant associated with the Mexican Free Tailed Bat. Langston tells Nick that the CDC sent him all of their files on rabies transmissions and that one stood out - a heavily redacted file that shows a patient got rabies after receiving an infected liver transplant. Nick points out that if the donor was local, the Reno coroner would have had to clear the body before the organs could be harvested. They remember that Dr. Shaw was a coroner there and that he has had contact with every victim in the case.

Brass goes to arrest Dr. Shaw and is surprised when the manager, Eric, collapses in front of him. He tells Brass that he got a shot of antibiotics a couple of days ago before having his nipples pierced - a common practice by Dr. Shaw at the body art shop. Once in custody, Dr. Shaw insists he's being framed and when Langston asks him about the case in Reno, he says that the rabies symptoms weren't apparent and that the victim's family didn't mention the man had been bitten by a raccoon before his death. The doctor ends the conversation by asking for a lawyer. Meanwhile, clinic nurse Susan Schiff brings in bag of biologicals she found in Dr. Shaw's trash, and admits to Nick that she's been dating the man. Nick takes the bag to Wendy, who tells him the needle used to administer antibiotics to Eric was positive for rabies.

Langston and Doc Robbins take a trip to Reno to pay a visit to the coroner's office. They tell the clerk there that they're researchers from a local hospital and once granted access, they find the records of the transplant patient who died, Sandra Williams. They also see that the after Sandra's death, her husband, Eric Tobin, filed a lawsuit against the hospital and its medical personnel. They head back to Las Vegas, where they tell acting supervisor Nick that they believe Eric framed Dr. Shaw as revenge for his wife's death. Doc Robbins notes that with the big malpractice settlement he got, Eric had no need to seek a job at the body art shop. Nick points out that Susan brought in a bag containing a salivary gland from a rabid bat - likely what he used to make the virus. Suspicious of Susan, Langston runs her record and finds she used to be Susan Williams from Reno - the mother of Sandra.

Nick and Brass interrogate Susan and Eric separately. Susan tells Nick that watching her daughter die was agonizing and that she wanted Dr. Shaw to pay for it. She claims that she and Eric only chose lowlifes to infect with the virus - Brent was chosen because he used to beat his mother, while the other two victims were chosen by Eric because they came into the shop bragging about dealing drugs and having sex with minors. Eric tells Brass that volunteered to take a shot of the disease to throw further suspicion on Dr. Shaw, knowing Susan wouldn't let him die.

After the two are arrested, Dr. Shaw thanks Langston for believing in his innocence. Langston tells him he simply didn't assume he was guilty, and Dr. Shaw replies that he used to be really good at his job before his mistake, something Langston can relate to. Meanwhile, Doc Robbins brings a recovering Catherine a card and flowers to apologize for her ordeal.

Victims: Kayla Nootens (alive)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Riley Adams, Louis Vartann

Greg and Riley are called to the scene of a sexual assault; the unidentified female victim is alive but unconscious. A neighbor found the body under his truck and called the police. A bagged shirt from the victim is missing a few buttons on the front and has abrasions on the back. The victim's pants and shoes were found nearby, and Greg wonders if a white substance on the pants is semen. The dried blood pool indicates that the victim was in the same position for a while, while the blood drops on a nearby cardboard box indicate that she was hit while she was on the ground.

Greg follows a blood trail that shows signs of the victim being dragged. The trail ends at a nearby house, where he finds a button on the ground. He and Det. Vartann talk to the house's two female residents, Diana and Rhonda, who recognize the woman as Kayla Nootens. The women explain that the three of them got together for their diet club meeting, with their end goal to enter a bikini contest. When asked who would want to hurt Kayla, both ladies point the finger at her ex-boyfriend, Elvis Rodriguez, who dumped her after she gained weight.

At the hospital, Riley photographs Kayla's injuries. Catherine, no longer allowed to work the other case, joins the investigation. The doctor has said that Kayla's death is imminent. There are signs of sexual trauma and her wet mount was positive for semen. Severe road rash on Kayla's back corrorborates the evidence found that she was dragged for quite a ways. There is also a stab wound on Kayla's neck that contained a currently unidentifiable trace. As the two continue to process the body, Kayla dies.

When he's brought in for questioning, Elvis explains that cuts on his knuckles are from his job as a landscaper. He admits to having consensual sex and says he left her at 6:00 PM, four hours before she left the diet club meeting. When told that Kayla is dead, he denies having anything to do with it; however, Det. Vartann places him under arrest for Kayla's rape and murder.

In autopsy, David Phillips, who's performing his first solo autopsy, lists Kayla's cause of death as exsanguination from the stab wound in her neck. Due to the fact that she was anemic and had high levels of caffeine in her system, her blood didn't clot the way it normally should. Doc Robbins agrees with the diagnosis and signs off on it.

Hodges informs Greg and Riley that the white substance on Kayla's pants was mashed potatoes and that her neck wound contained traces of apple, cinnamon and grease. The fragment extracted from the neck wound was an animal bone, and Hodges guesses it's from a pig. Greg and Riley perform an experiment using Hodges as their victim since he weighs about the same as Kayla. Based on the abrasions on the back, they find that two people were needed to drag the body a certain way. They figure that Elvis had a partner until Hodges points out that he could have just picked Kayla up without dragging her. This leads the CSIs to Diana and Rhonda.

When interrogated separately, Diana and Rhonda recall the night's events. Kayla found out that Rhonda was sabotaging her diet because she was losing the most weight. When Kayla confronted Rhonda, a food fight started between the three of them. Rhonda threw her pork chop bone across the table, where it got embedded in Kayla's neck. She removed the bone from her neck, left the house and collapsed on the front lawn. The other two ladies decided to undress Kayla, kick her under the truck and frame Elvis for her murder. Greg informs them that Kayla was still alive when she was kicked under the truck and that she bled to death because her friends left her there.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Liz Vassey as Wendy Simms
  • Alex Carter as Detective Louis Vartann
  • Jere Burns as Dr. Jack Shaw
  • Michele Greene as Susan Schiff
  • Sam Horrigan as Eric Tobin
  • Cristin Michelle as Kayla Nootens
  • Caryn Mower as Mrs. Darla Kelly
  • Danielle Nicolet as Rhonda
  • Stacey Oristano as Diana
  • Ray Porter as Carl Van Goe
  • Rey Valentin as Elvis Rodriguez
  • Tony Collucci as Leeland Jacobs (uncredited)

Episode Title

  • "The Gone Dead Train" is the title of a blues song recorded by King Solomon Hill in or around 1932. It refers to the same track being played by Langston and Doc Robbins while travelling to Reno, and to the fact that rabies patients, once starting to develop symptoms, are incurable and the disease virtually always results in death.

Goofs

  • Before Langston picks up the insulin bottle, the doctor's name is listed as Dr. Lindsay. After he picks up the bottle and the camera zooms in on the label, the label shows Dr. Shaw instead.

Music

  • Dead Shrimp Blues by Robert Johnson
  • Baby Brother by The White Stripes
  • The Gone Dead Train by King Solomon Hill

Notes

  • At the end of the episode, Doc Robbins gives Catherine a bouquet of flowers with a handwritten note. The note reads: "Catherine - I know you got rabies, but at least it solved the case. Love, Al"

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 9
For WarrickThe Happy PlaceArt Imitates LifeLet It BleedLeave Out All The RestSay UncleWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaYoung Man with a Horn19 Down...One to GoThe Grave ShiftDisarmed and DangerousDeep Fried and Minty FreshMiscarriage of JusticeKill Me If You CanTurn, Turn, TurnNo Way OutMascaraThe Descent of ManA Space OddityIf I Had a Hammer...The Gone Dead TrainHog HeavenAll In
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