The Hal Karen Case: Soldiers Make Poor Criminals

by Ryu

Cops and soldiers suck at being criminals. Their lack of forensic knowledge virtually guarantees they will be caught. That’s what happens when you go from the USG covering the backside to just yourself.

On March 25, 2002, an ATVer found a garbage can overturned in a wooded area. Inside was a skeletonized body with clothes, jewelry, and rings nearby. There was some paracord with a strange knotting nearby. DNA made the vic ID.

She had been a missing person, Her mate at the time was ex-Special Forces guy Hal Karen. Police exectuted a SW on his house and found more cordage. Hal later cracked in the interrogation room when confronted with the evidence. That was it and he got 25 to life.

I tried to figure out what branch of the SF he was it; it doesn’t really matter though. His lack of attention got him caught. If Special Forces can’t act without permission, how much harder are things for an ordinary man who does so?


Hair and fibers are a major class of evidence. There are evidence technicians who do nothing else. The tying of knots is also a specialty and often a rare knot reveals the killer’s profession.

Victim IDs can be made off very little human remains. Dental records, DNA or fingerprints often provide the make. Facial reconstruction can be used on just the skull.

With the victim ID in hand, police will try to reconstruct their last 72 hours alive. The first suspects investigated will be friends and family.

The newest and scariest type of evidence is “digital footprints”, which I have called the 5Cs: credit cards, cell phones, computers, CCTV, and cars. These basically record a person’s life. Any homicide after 2005 features this aspect prominently.

One Comment to “The Hal Karen Case: Soldiers Make Poor Criminals”

  1. At least tablets are easier to dispose off than desktops. Just stick it in the microwave and watch the sparks fly.

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