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Biology 1112 Spring 2013

CASE #3-2013 The Murder of Dr. Phyl Chordata

On the evening of Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, Ms. Wana B. Leader entered the research laboratory of Dr.
Phyl Chordata (Zoology Building, Rm. 137). Ms. Leader is an undergraduate who helps with minor tasks
in the lab. She noted that the lab was unlocked and all the lights were on when she entered. When she
saw the deceased, Ms. Leader screamed and ran out of the room to call 911. The call was logged in at
9:15 p.m.

Officers Ray Gunn and Dana Wise were first on the scene, arriving at 9:23 p.m. Homicide detectives Les
Black, Dan Suede, and Ellen Rose arrived on scene at 9:51 p.m. After the law enforcement officers and
medical examiner finished their initial investigation, the body was taken from the crime scene to the
morgue for autopsy. The victim has been identified as Dr. Phyl Chordata and notification has been made
to his family.

Initial tests of possible blood samples (Evidence Item #4) have confirmed that the substance is indeed
blood. The source(s) of the blood sample is unknown at this time. The crime lab will do further testing
to identify where the blood came from.

Dusting for fingerprints has been completed and samples have been sent to the FBI for comparison and
identification. All other evidence items have been properly labeled and sent to your crime lab.
Some of the evidence can be processed and analyzed by your lab group. This may include: hair, fibers,
black ink from handwritten letter, white powder, blood, and DNA. You will find an itemized list of all the
evidence collected in the case notebook.

It is your teams task to process the evidence and attempt to solve the crime by naming the perpetrator.
Keep in mind that some of the evidence gathered may be from the victim, some may be from the lab
and not related to the crime, and some evidence may be from the killer.

Meet the Victim and Suspects

VICTIM: Dr. Phyl Chordata, research scientist and professor at local university
Male; Texas drivers license gives date of birth as April 10, 1967. Single, no children
Found in his research laboratory in the zoology building at the local university at approximately
9:15 p.m., Mon., Feb. 4, 2013
Time of death estimated to be 8 to 10 hours earlier.
World renowned scientist; has received acclaim for groundbreaking research into use of stem
cells to repair and replace damaged body organs in primates
Was wearing a blue dress shirt, black slacks and a white lab coat. Officers found it odd that he
was also wearing black, leather gloves that seemed to be made for a female. The gloves were
much too small for the victim
Co-workers describe Dr. Chordata as quiet, but arrogant and moody.
Biology 1112 Spring 2013

There are currently four suspects being investigated for this murder. All suspects were seen in the
vicinity of the zoology building during the time frame of the murder on Monday, Feb. 4.

SUSPECT #1: Dr. Shiela Zygora, research scientist at the university


Disgruntled colleague
Had short-lived fling with Dr. Chordata when they were both undergraduates.
Claims to have contributed heavily to Dr. Chordatas latest research and paper on stem cells;
however, Dr. Chordata did not give her credit when presenting his findings to the scientific
community for peer review
Has aggressively attempted to discredit Dr. Chordata in the local media and to claim the work as
her own

SUSPECT #2: Pices Chordata Smith, younger sister of victim


Dr. Chordata became her guardian following the death of their parents. Pices was 15 years old.
Currently involved in messy divorce from her husband (John Smith).
Many times in presence of family and friends, Pices has accused her brother of contributing to
the break-up of her marriage by refusing to give her husband a job in his lab or to give them
money from a trust fund set up by her parents (Dr. Chordata controls the money).
Also has a problem with substance abuse. According to relatives, on at least 2 recent occasions,
she and Dr. Chordata have had loud, hostile arguments about her excessive partying and drug
use.

SUSPECT #3: Dr. Lily Corolla, research scientist in the botany department of the university
Has worked at the university with Dr. Chordata for 5 years; major area of research is the control
of flower production in members of the rose family (Rosaceae)
Has had moderate success as a research scientist and faculty member, but little success in her
personal life
Recently approached Dr. Chordata about co-chairing a faculty committee with her, but he
turned her down
Is currently involved with Dr. Gene Mendels, but co-workers say she has secretly been in love
with Dr. Chordata for years
Colleagues describe her as quiet and easy to work with, but say she always seems sad. They
report that she has been even more depressed and withdrawn in recent weeks.

SUSPECT #4: Dr. Gene Mendels, new faculty member and colleague
Joined the faculty in August, 2012
Has been dating Dr. Corolla since Dec., 2012. According to reports from co-workers, he is quite
taken with her and is somewhat possessive.
Although not openly hostile, he has made many disparaging remarks about Dr. Chordata behind
his back
Acquaintances describe him as defensive, and insecure