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Initial View of the Heitholt Murder Crime Scene

(This is the second of ten articles about the Kent Heitholt murder with a primary focus on interpreting the physical and other evidence at the crime scene.)

Columbia Tribune Sports Editor, Kent Heitholt, was found unconscious and unresponsive in a pool of blood outside his car about 2:26 AM on November 1, 2001. It was readily apparent that his head had been severely injured. After all resuscitation efforts failed, the police set up a crime scene around the parking lot and began documenting the found evidence.

The immediate crime scene was within the Columbia Tribune two lane parking lot situated on the north side of the building. On the west side of the parking lot was a closed Kentucky Fried Chicken store. On the east side of the parking lot was a small elevated public park. An east-west alley ran along the north side of the Columbia Tribune building between the parking lot and the building. At the southeast corner of the Kentucky Fried Chicken store lot was a brick trash bin enclosure. East – West Alley Columbia Tribune

Aerial view of Columbia Tribune building and north side parking lot. North is to the top of this modified Google photo. The light blue rectangular block locates where Heitholt’s black Nissan Maxim was at the time of the attack. The east-west alley has been superimposed on the photo as the building roof blocks its view. An additional parking space has been added on the south end since the time of the murder. Also the brick trash bin enclosure next to the parking lot has been removed.
Next morning after murder photo taken looking south and showing the Tribune parking lot to the left after the victim and his car had been removed. The two lights shining on the locale of the crime were the light standard to the immediate left of the dark van and a dock light above the Tribune dock. The closed Kentucky Fried Chicken driveway is to the right of the concrete divider whose top surface is painted yellow. The trash bin brick enclosure is straight ahead just beyond the white van ahead. As can be seen, the Tribune parking lot slopes significantly down to the west. CBS News police photo from internet.
View looking south along Columbia Tribune parking lot toward Tribune building. Rear of Heitholt’s black Nissan Maxima is shown in middle of orange cones. This photo was taken before Heitholt’s body was removed as his body is shown as the white object at the left rear of the Nissan. Note the large light coming from the Tribune dock area above the white car. A light for the parking light is located just off the left side of the photo on the driver side of the blue van. The photographer’s strobe camera light illuminated the ground and both nearby vehicles. Note the apparent poor lighting in the area of the body and crime scene. A dark sedan can also be seen in this photo parked opposite the Heitholt Maxima. Police photo from NBC Dateline program.


Crime scene showing Heitholt body covered with white sheet at rear of his black Nissan Maxima. The two figures standing outside the dock area are likely the two janitors that discovered the body and called 911. The camera lights illuminated the pavement up to the Maxima. The primary light that the janitors had for viewing the two strangers was the light above the dock area some 60 or so feet from the Maxima. Still shot taken from NBC Dateline program.
Same general view as above still shot except rotated somewhat to show the brick trash bin enclosure adjacent the parking lot. Police car is in middle of photo. Note the dark sedan parked near the trash bin enclosure and almost directly opposite the Heitholt Maxima. Still shot from NBC Dateline showing of police video.
Somewhat disbursed dry cat food found on top ledge of concrete divider between Tribune parking lot and Kentucky Fried Chicken lot. This cat food was found close to the brick enclosure for the trash bin for Kentucky Fried Chicken. CBS News police photo.
View of crime scene on driver side of Heitholt Maxima after removal of body and loose items on pavement. The chalk outline denotes the relative location of the victim’s body before removal. Both wheels have been chalk marked to locate their position on the pavement in preparation for removal of the vehicle. Note the blood on the pavement and on the left rear wheel rim and cover. Crime scene photo found on CBS news internet site. Several of the following photos were made prior to this photo of the full driver side of the vehicle.
View looking lengthwise along driver side of Heitholt Maxima showing five placards locating found bloody footprint markings. Marker #1 is located at the blue arrow. Note the bulletins and magazines under the car at the driver door. Modified still shot from CBS 48 Hours police crime scene video.
View showing most of the blood evidence on the pavement and even the left rear wheel rim and cover. Still from CBS News showing of police crime scene video.
Blood splash locale coming from locale where victim’s head had been during resuscitation attempts. The severed belt buckle was found at the lower center edge of this photo but had been removed before the police video was made. Still taken from CBS News showing of police crime scene video.
Victim’s severed belt buckle as found on pavement about one foot north of final location of bloody head of victim.
Police crime scene photo of several magazine and other paper items found under the Heitholt Maxima. Heitholt’s cell phone and right lens of his glasses were also found under the car. CBS News photo from internet.
View of items found on driver’s seat including loose papers, yellow tablet, empty notebook computer case, and Heitholt’s glasses absent one lens. Note the fallen leaf captured between the yellow tablet and glasses. CBS News photo from internet.
Several apparent fingerprints found just above driver door frame at the upper forward corner. CBS News photo from internet.
Closeup of portion of left quarterpanel and left rear wheel showing blood spatter and other markings. CBS News police photo.
Closeup of blood markings on left rear wheel rim and cover. Rotated still from CBS News showing of police video.

Part 3 of the series will be posted tomorrow 2/19/14