True Crime Podcast
Welcome to The Cleaning of John Doe. Real life true crime podcast. Each episode explores a new crime scene and reveals the shocking, the terrifying, the strange, and the heartbreaking. Listen to a true crime podcast like it’s never been done before. The host of The Cleaning of John Doe podcast takes you behind the yellow tape to see a crime scene from the eyes of a Crime Scene Cleaner.
True Crime Podcast Why I love my Mother Episode 4
Our job isn’t a typical 9-5. Some days you work, other days you don’t. Everything is subject to change in the blink of eye – much like life. I love my job, I love helping people and I wouldn’t change anything about it. Nothing in my life is predictable anymore though. Like having to cancel a hair appointment without notice, I’ve walked out of a movie with my kids, I’ve left Christmas dinner – all because someone out there needs me.
I’ve been a crime scene cleaner through 4 pregnancies, I’ve been on jobs where I’ve had to run to the car to pump for my baby who was exclusively nursing. This job waits for no one. When you have kids, and no sitter, and you run a business that operates 24-hours a day you get creative. It’s almost like a fire drill with the kids every time we get a work call. It’s kind of comical. Of course, we do everything in our power to be professional, I mean I can’t have screaming kids in the background while I take a call that someone’s kid just committed suicide. I can’t tell the caller I have to run thorough my list of on-call babysitters to see if I can find one available. You get the picture. But try explaining that to a 1 year old and a 3 year old. But we make it work. And in all honesty – the majority of our clients love the fact that we are family-owned.
This job is still a tough one to digest. It goes beyond what you’d read in the press or hear in the media. There are details of this job that ONLY we know about – and they’re heartbreak and gut wrenching.
The call had come in early that morning and we found ourselves on the road again. The details weren’t very clear – all we knew was that someone had shot someone with a gun, a shotgun.
The man who met us out front of the poorly-maintained apartment building was the manager. He wore the solemn look on his face like a mask. He quietly greeted us and led us to the back of the building.
As we rounded the corner I immediately saw the blood and brain matter that coated the window and wall of the lower unit and even the stairs leading to the upper unit. As we set our equipment down, the manager spoke only two words: “There’s more.”
We followed him up the blood-stained stairs to the unit at the top. He unlocked the door and stepped aside, obviously having no desire to enter the apartment. We quietly stepped passed him and into the unit.
At the beginning, I thought this might be a fairly easy clean-up. As I entered, I was quickly disabused of that notion. Children’s mattresses and blankets were strewn about the living room. Dishes and fast food wrappers overflowed the sink and counters and were piling up on the floor. The smell of old food and bad hygiene was strong but not enough to completely hide the too-familiar scent of blood.
Although the apartment was unkempt, there was still a lingering feel of family – this had once been a place of happiness and comfort. The gore stood in stark contrast. If these walls could talk, these ones would be screaming.
The living room wall lead immediately into the hallway and was heavily sprayed with blood. In the middle of it all was a clear outline of a body.
Crimson spatter and sickly pink brain matter covered the walls, the ceiling and even made it into the bedroom at the end of the hallway. After surveying the scene and already seeing as much as we could stand, we joined the manager outside. I just looked at him and said two words of my own: “What happened?” I didn’t think a scene like this could get any worse. As the manager spoke, I learned I was wrong again.
The tenant of the unit was a middle-aged, she had 7 kids ranging in age from 18 months to 18 years. Her current boyfriend was the father of only the youngest child.
The evening before, the family was gathered in the living room. The boyfriend and about-to-be murderer was drinking – and drinking heavily. At some point, an argument broke out. In an alcohol-fueled fit of rage, the boyfriend pulled out a sawed-off shotgun and began threatening the mother of 7.
The family, understandably terrified, tried to calm him and get him to put the gun down. I don’t know what it was that set him off, nor do I know what the last straw was. All I know is that at some point the victim-to-be was staring into the dark depths of death at the end of a gun. Something was said. The trigger was pulled and another life was extinguished. Sickeningly, the outline on the wall was not that of the victim – it was one of the kids. They were physically unharmed but nonetheless showered with the blood of her mother and forever scarred.
Amid the screams and chaos, the eldest daughter’s boyfriend wrestled the drunken gunman to the ground. They tussled about the living room and the younger man somehow managed to push him outside of the door and down the stairs.
The assailant was about to become the victim when he stood up, gun still in hand, and the full scope of what he had done finally hit him like a runaway Mack truck. Not wasting any time nor waiting for the police, he placed the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger one last time.
We could only stare in shock. Most people would assume the worst part about our job is scraping brains or wiping up blood. The truth is, that’s the easy part. The hard part is coming face to face with the ugly side of Man and realizing that in all of our achievements and technology, we have yet to solve the problem of Man himself.
Coming to as best we could, we suited up and began the grim and tedious task before us. We started outside. This would remove the aftermath for the neighboring tenants as well as, hopefully, put us inside before it started to get hot.
When you’re on scene and in full gear, there is usually very little said between us. It can be difficult to understand words said through the filters of a full face respirator without yelling and repeating. Today that was ok. I don’t think either of us felt like saying much anyway.
The outside scene was fairly easy to clean and once we finished there, we moved once again into the ghastly apartment. As we cleaned our way down the hallway, I entered the bedroom at the end of it. Like the rest of the apartment, it was in a state of disarray. Toys, trash, clothes and various other items littered the floor. Whether this was normal or done in the wake of the homicide was unclear. Although with 7 kids I can only imagine. What was clear was despite the distance from the source, there was a significant amount of blood.
As I was disposing of contaminated toys, papers and trash, I picked up a blood-speckled piece of paper. The big red “A” on it made it immediately clear it was a school assignment. But it wasn’t the good grade or even the spattering of blood that caught my attention. It was the heading that caught my eye and wrenched my heart. It read, “Why I Love my Mother.”
My vision was instantly blurred by the tears I fought hard to keep back. I couldn’t move for what seemed like an eternity.
When people find out what we do, they usually ask us the same questions. “How can you do that job?” “How do you stand it?” “Doesn’t it mess with your head?” As I stood there, motionless, these questions rang through my mind. Though this time, the answers were different. Could I still do this job? How do I stand this?
It seemed like forever but my doubts went as fast as they had come. Yes, it bothers me. It bothers me that one person could do this to another. It bothers me that rationality seems to be a rare commodity. I stand it because someone has to. I have to. It doesn’t mess with my head because I don’t let it. I have to be steel and keep all emotions detached. It’s a constant battle and rarely is it easy. But somehow I’ve managed to keep going.
They say it’s a dirty job and someone’s got to do it. Well, that someone is me. Not being I’m being force, or someone’s twisting my arm, but because I genuinely love my job.
As time began to move again, I added the essay to the rest of the contaminated items. Carpet was removed. Ceilings were scraped and the apartment was safe to occupy once again.
Our clothes were drenched with sweat as we finally stepped out of our suits and took off our gloves. That first breath of air unhindered by a respirator after hours is one of the sweetest breaths one can take. Hair disheveled and minds exhausted, we cleaned off our tools and packed up.
Although we were able to erase all physical evidence of this tragedy, nothing can remove the emotional stain from those close to it. But we do what we can. Despite the death of one or many, life does go on. We continue to live so that those we’ve lost can be remembered. Maybe that’s what life is all about.
Other True Crime Podcast Episodes
True Crime Podcast: Episode 1
True Crime Podcast: Episode 2
True Crime Podcast: Episode 3
True Crime Podcast: Episode 5
True Crime Podcast: Episode 6
True Crime Podcast: Episode 7
True Crime Podcast: Episode 8