CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Season 5 Episode 2

Down the Drain

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Oct 07, 2004 on CBS

Episode Recap

Work crews find pieces of human bone in the sewer system. Sanitation workers extract four tiny bones (three toes, one finger) from the main line. They are stained grayish-brown and are pitted and bare of all flesh. From the flaky texture, Brown estimates they are a few years old.

The crew is asked to flush the pipe. When Willows examines the sludge that washes up against a collection screen, she discovers more bone fragments. From the depth of the costal groove, she determines that one is a human rib. Because wastewater is a completely separate system from the city's storm drains, the CSIs know that someone must have flushed the bones, put them down a sink, or thrown them directly into a manhole.

The CSIs systematically flush lines on the system and examine the detritus; slowly, they narrow the path the bones took and collect further specimens. When they begin to collect larger bones, like the pelvis and humorous, which would not have passed through smaller pipes, they realize that they are getting close to the place from where the bones were initially disposed of.

From the femur measurement, Robbins finds that the victim was approximately five feet six; from the sharply angled pubic arch, he knows the person was male. He finds incised defects on the left fifth and third ribs, likely caused by two separate stab wounds, back to front. This act would have punctured the lungs. Robbins finds that the victim's wisdom teeth had not yet descended, making him approximately 13-15 years old. He was likely Caucasian; the eye orbits are rounded, nasal aperture narrow and tall, and the jaw line flat.

Using fetal pigs, Grissom determines that sewage makes flesh and bones decompose twenty times as fast as in other matrices. The victim might have been dead only a matter of five weeks.

People who live in the neighborhood in question suggest that police speak with the local bully, Owen Durbin, who is infamous for setting off cherry bombs in the sewers. At the Durbin home, which has a manhole directly behind it, Brown and Sidle find a bloodstain in the foyer. A trail of blood leads upstairs to a closet containing a stash of pipe bombs. Before leaving the home to the bomb squad, Sidle removes the bloodstained door.

The grandmother of Travis Giles, 13, a boy who has been missing for approximately five weeks, states that she does not know Owen Durbin. The two boys went to school together. Durbin also denies knowing Giles.

Willows and Sidle use ALS to find high-velocity blood spatter on a wall near the closet. The lowest point of spatter is 46 inches above the floor, with a downward angle. This rules out an injury to one of the Durbin's' dogs, as alleged by Owen Durbin.

In the Durbin garage Grissom finds bleached-out bloodstains and a box of knives wedged behind a refrigerator. In a barrel at the back of the home Brown finds a child's partially burned t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. The t-shirt has been folded. The bomb squad chief suddenly warns everyone to leave as he has found that the fridge is full of liquid explosives, which are detonated in place, destroying the garage.

The CSIs cannot place Travis Giles at the Durbin home, as they do not have any DNA sample with which to compare evidence found at the crime scene. Giles' grandmother, however, recalls that she once kept one of Travis' baby teeth and brings that to the authorities. The DNA extracted from the tooth allows them to identify the bloodstains as Giles'.

Owen Durbin stabbed Travis Giles for a yet undisclosed reason, but likely just for the experience of having done it. He is charged with murder. His mother helped him to conceal the crime and is charged as an accessory. His father is charged with felony explosives.