CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Season 5 Episode 19

4 x 4

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Apr 14, 2005 on CBS

Episode Recap

Downtown Las Vegas. A driver walks away from a taco stand and gets into his Fiero. He pulls out into the street and lights glare through his car. BAM! The front windshield explodes inward, the hood crunching under the weight of massive tires.

Later, Grissom passes the barely alive driver of the Fiero as he is being strapped to a backboard. Grissom looks at the tricked-out Hummer that sits atop the circa 1980's Fiero, which is flattened like a pancake. No driver. Looking at the tread marks on the asphalt, it appears the Hummer accelerated before hitting the small car. There is blood on the Hummer's gear shift and the deflated air bag carries an imprint of the driver's face.

In the CSI Reception area, Grissom passes Greg Sanders and Sara, overhearing their conversation in which Greg tells Sara that he didn't see anything when they were in the shower together. Before Grissom can say anything he is intercepted by Judy Tremont, the receptionist, who tells him the Humvee was car-jacked earlier that evening.

In Captain Jim Brass' office, Kyle and Wilma Shaw, 40s, tell him that they won the Hummer in a raffle and had it for all of twenty minutes before they were carjacked by a "guy skinny as a stickman."

The next day, Grissom scopes the location where the Hummer was carjacked and finds a blood-soaked headband.

At a downtown convenience store, Vernon Miller, 27, a skinny white guy, is cuffed and escorted by uniforms as a very irate owner, Sammy, shouts at him for stealing. Vernon matches the description of the carjack hit and run. Brass notices Vernon's blood-soaked jeans and a slice in the denim.

At Headquarters, Grissom tells Brass that Vernon's blood matches the blood found on the Hummer's gear shift and the headband he found.

As Grissom looks through a polarized light microscope Hodges tells him that the trace on the airbag is lard, pork, beef, chicken and some human flesh.

Grissom finds Frank Mejia, 60s, working a curbside taco stand and orders carnitas. Mejia tells Grissom he had a "little scuffle" yesterday when two punks, Vernon Miller and Lawrence Lafontaine, 23, tried to rob him. Mejia sliced Vernon in the leg with a sharp-edged spatula and then flung hot lard over Lawrence's face. He gives Grissom the carnitas "on the house."

Grissom and Brass find Lawrence Lafontaine in a hospital. Lafontaine tells the CSIs that he wanted to get even with Frank Mejia because to get "whooped by his old ass and not do anything 'bout it..." would be too much for him.

Lawrence took off his headband and wrapped Vernon's leg tourniquet-style. Lawrence then high-jacked the Hummer for revenge. He was driving the car towards the taco stand, planning to ram it, when the Fiero pulled out and they collided. Grissom quips, "That's the dumbest plan I've ever heard."

Time elapses backwards and we are at the Las Vegas Convention Center where the "International Vehicle Expo" is in full swing. Steve Daluca, 40s, stands in front of one of the stages, mic in hand, and jabbers away about his state-of-the-art motorcoaches. The curtain opens to reveal a dead woman lying on the stage.

Later, Detective Vartann tells Warrick and David Phillips that the victim is Lisa Schumacher, 29. She's a convention girl. Based on lividity, Phillips estimates the time of death to be four a.m. There are lacerations on the lower lip, contusions on the neck, and petechiae in the eyes. She has brown streaks on her arms and hair fragments under her nails.

Warrick goes through the motorcoach, which is like a high-end hotel on wheels, and finds torn-open condom packages as well as a dried, used condom.

Dr. Robbins tells Catherine that the C.O.D. for Lisa Schumacher is asphyxia due to manual strangulation. There is also motile sperm in her vaginal cavity, but no sign of trauma, potentially ruling out rape. The semen is deposited only a couple inches in.

At the Convention Center, the winner of the Humvee is announced: Kyle Shaw. Kyle and Wilma Shaw run up, hooting and hollering with joy.

Warrick and Detective Vartann talk to Donny Drummer, 30s, gelled hair and fashionable clothes. They ask him about Lisa Schumacher and he says that she works for him. The CSIs inform him that Lisa is dead and he is surprised. He tells them that Lisa was getting over the hill as she was approaching 30.

Gwen Underwood, 20s, runs up to Donny and tells him she had the "worst morning." He retorts that Lisa is dead. Gwen cries and Donny tells the CSIs, "Hey, it's a tough business."

Hodges informs Warrick that he found Nonoxyl-nine spermicide on Lisa Schumacher's fingertips, as well as traces of PVP, sorbitol, carbomer, and hydroxypropylcellulose--most likely hair gel. The brown substance on her arms was instant tanning lotion.

Warrick checks with Jacqui Franco and finds out that Lisa Schumacher was roommates with another model, Candace Mosti.

Detective Vartann tells Candace Mosti that it looks bad that she was still working the convention a couple of hours after her roommate turned up dead. She claims that she's broke and needed the money.

Candace tells the CSIs that she, Lisa, and two other models, Dana and Lane, were asked to "go out" with Steve Daluca by Donny Drummer. After dinner and drinks, Daluca took the girls back to the fancy motorcoach and asked which one wanted to get the "first ride." When Lisa Schumacher crawled towards him, he told her, "If I wanted somebody your age, I'd do my wife."

Candace left as fast as she could. Warrick tells Candace that they found Lisa's DNA on a condom, but she responds that Daluca was busy with Dana and Lane. Lisa locked herself in the bathroom.

Warrick and Vartann interrogate Steve Daluca, who tells them that his DNA is going to be all over Lisa, but he didn't put it there. Lisa did. He found her in the bathroom, digging into the toilet for a used condom, inserting the semen into herself. Daluca slapped her because she was obviously trying to get pregnant for a "quickie retirement plan."

Daluca tells the CSIs that he wouldn't kill a woman and then present her dead body at the unveiling of a motorcoach.

Nick walks through the CSI Hallway, talking on his cell phone, asking for the Butterfield Academy's class roster. He passes by Catherine and Warrick and it is obvious she has overheard Nick's conversation.

Warrick tells Catherine that Daluca's DNA and Lisa Schumacher's epithelials are on both sides of one of the condoms, which supports Daluca's story.

At the Convention Center, Warrick examines Donny Drummer's hair and finds fingernail gashes on his scalp. Warrick tells him what really happened: Donny dragged Lisa out of the bathroom, put his hands around her neck, and strangled her. She clawed at his head and got blood and hair gel on her fingers. Donny is taken into custody.

Time moves backwards again and it is daytime, at a tract house. Gwen Underwood, the model from the convention, knocks on the front door and shouts, "Hey, Paul! It's Gwen! Hey! Come on babe! Let me in...work me out." She looks through the window and sees Paul Charles, 28, a body builder, lying on the floor, dead.

Detective Cavaliere, Greg Sanders and Sara Sidle enter the house and find no signs of forced entry. There are photos and photos of Paul Charles throughout the house. They look at Charles' body and notice a reddish inflammation across the bones of his nose, eye socket and cheek. He appears to have been struck with a cylindrical object.

Gwen tells Cavaliere that Paul was cutting down on his personal training clients to spend time preparing for the Mr. Las Vegas competition. She admits to having kissed him once during a workout, but he had a "headache."

Greg finds a 9 mm handgun in a bedside drawer in the bedroom as well as syringes. Meanwhile, Sara comes across a daily planner in the gym and sees a few entries for a "Tiffany," but no last name. Greg enters and shows her the syringes, telling Sara that Paul looks like he was a steroid user.

In the Coroner's Office, Dr. Robbins finds small punctures on the upper buttocks of Paul Charles's body. There is a laceration at the base of the scalp, but it's non-fatal. Robbins pushes in on the eyeball and black pus oozes out.

Sara and Greg are rushed out of Paul Charles's tract home by men in Haz-Mat suits. They are taken into a portable shower, stripped of their clothes and showered by the Haz-Mat tech team.

Dr. Robbins saws through Paul Charles's skull and black pus oozes from every orifice. He extracts the brain and navigates through the black pus.

At the CSI Reception Area, Greg Sanders walks down the hallway with Sara, telling her that he "didn't see anything" in the shower. Sara responds that she saw everything. Grissom overhears this snippet of the conversation.

In the Layout Room, Dr. Robbins tells Sara and Greg that he called the Haz-Mat team when he saw the black pus because it indicated possible infection from an airborne agent. Robbins found mucormycosis, a disease caused by exposure to Rhizopus orhizae, a kind of mold. Hodges comes in and informs them that Paul Charles was on Deca-Durabolin, Sustanon, and Oxandrolone, all steroids. Immune suppression is a common side effect.

Dr. Robbins explains that the victim's face collapsed from the inside. The Mucormycosis causes "deterioration of the bones around the sinuses and eye-sockets." The pus was pushing the eyes out while the bones holding it in place were getting eaten away. Airborne mold spores enter the nasal cavity and consume the sinus tissue. Hodges tells them that Rhizopus oryzae likes to grow on human tissue.

Back at the Paul Charles home, Sara and Greg wear respirator masks and jumpsuits as they remove sections of the wallboard. There is black mold on the back. Sara takes LUMINOL and sprays the wall and finds blood trace. They remove the wall section and find black mold growing everywhere. There is a copper pipe joined to a steel pipe and a slow leak. Embedded in the wall behind the pipes is a 9 mil bullet.

The bullet shot through someone, entered the wall with blood and tissue on it, and water from the pipe fed the mold growth. The spores released into the air and entered into Paul Charles's nose and infiltrated his compromised immune system.

In the Layout Room, Sara tells Grissom that they ran all the numbers in Paul Charles' day planner. The only person they couldn't find was "Tiffany," aka Angela Wheeler, a well-known prostitute. She has been missing for a month. They postulate that the steroid abuse may have caused shrunken testicles, impotence, and "road rage." Paul may have killed Tiffany when he couldn't get an erection.

Time lapse. Everything moves back in time and we are at a Las Vegas Bus Stop. Divine, a prostitute, sits down on a bench next to a blanketed figure she assumes is her friend, Chester, a homeless man. She pulls back the blanket to reveal a thirteen-year-old dead boy.

Nick asks David Phillips to check the boy's veins and do a SART kit. Phillips figures that the boy has been dead around eight hours. Nick asks Chester if his shopping cart has been on the grassy area next to the bench. Chester responds that it hasn't and Nick notices that there are tracks in the mud.

Nick finds a school lunch punch card for the Butterfield Academy, name: Chase, R. There are all kinds of hairs and fibers on the dead boy's clothing. Nick finds a hard, black mass in the victim's hair.

In the CSI hallway, Nick is on his cell phone asking for the Butterfield Academy's class roster. Catherine is walking with Warrick, but overhears Nick's conversation.

In the Coroner's Office, Dr. Robbins tells Nick that there are several first and second degree burns on the body as well as a skull fracture. The boy actually died from positional asphyxia, from heat damage.

Catherine intercepts Nick and tells him that she pays tuition for her daughter to go to the Butterfield Academy and she hands him a booklet. Inside the book Nick finds a Ryan, Chase, grade 7.

Sixteen-year-old Jackie Ryan answers the door of her house and Nick asks to talk to her parents. She responds that they are skiing in Vail and Nick notices that the house is littered with bottles of booze, a keg, and empty bags of chips. She had a party while the parents were gone.

Jackie tells Nick that Chase slept over at his friend, Andy's house. She shows Nick a picture of Chase and it is the dead boy. Nick asks for her parents' contact information.

In the Interrogation Room, Andy Jones, 13, and his mother are questioned by Nick. Andy tells him that he told his mother he would be at Chase's house and Chase told his sister they would be at his house. In fact, they went back to Chase's house because they wanted to see a high school party. They started drinking, but when Jackie caught them they promised to go back to Andy's house.

In the Trace Lab, Hodges tells Nick that Chase had Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid, feline, and canine hairs on his body. There was cotton, wool, polyester, and lycra on him as well. The black gunk in his hair was rubber from the sole of an athletic shoe.

Nick is at the bus stop where the boy was found. In the background is "The Spin Clean Laundromat." Nick enters and shines his maglite into one of the dryers, finding black gunk on the side of the metal drum. Nick realizes that Chase must have been inside of the industrial dryer. He prints the handle and then walks over to the laundry carts.

Nick pushes a laundry cart across the parking lot, but when it reaches the edge of the lot, the cart freezes up. A braking shell surrounds one of the wheels.

Back in the laundromat, Nick finds Jared Obstfeld, the manager. Jared tells Nick that the carts have a fancy brake system on them to stop theft. He has a remote that unlocks the carts.

In the Interrogation Room, Nick informs Jared that a boy died in one of his dryers. Jared claims that he chased the boys out of the laundromat. Nick tells him that the carts have a computerized caster on the wheel and when it passes over an "antennae buried in the ground an RF signal releases a breaking shell" and the cart is stopped. Only Jared can release the cart.

Jared tells Nick that a customer was getting irate over it and while he was dealing with him, he told the kids to get out. Jared then went next door to get a Yoo-hoo drink and when he came back he found Chase in the dryer. He took a blanket and wrapped him, put him on a cart and dumped him on the bus bench, hoping someone would find him. He didn't want to be liable.

In the Interrogation Room a little while later, Nick faces Andy and his mother, telling them that Andy put Chase into the dryer. Nick found his prints on the handle. Andy claims that Chase asked him to turn on the dryer. Andy claims that, "After that, it gets a little fuzzy." His mother is incredulous, she can't believe that he would leave his best friend in a dryer. Andy vomits all over the interrogation table, realizing what he has done.

As Nick heads out, Grissom asks him if he had a tough shift. Nick responds, "No more than usual." Judy, the receptionist answers the phone, "Crime Lab, how can we help you?"