What Happens After A Murder Happens In Your House? A Step By Step Guide
As disturbing as it is to consider, there are more than 14,000 US homicide victims killed in their homes annually. You, a family member, a guest, or any stranger wandering onto your property is potentially at risk of assassination (not high risk, of course). So what do you do after a murder happens in your house? Unfortunately, there's a long list of complications and hurdles to jump through, regardless of whether or not you were even home when the murder occurred.
It will take an extensive amount of time to complete the many tasks related to a homicide on your property. There are investigative to-do lists and then the more practical aspects of moving forward. Heck, murder scenes are even business opportunities for cleaning companies. Worst case scenario, through no fault of your own, your house could become a stop on a famous murder locations tour.
Best to be prepared for the worst, so read on to discover what happens when someone dies in your home because someone else got a little too homicidal.
- Photo: Dan Dickinson / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
You'll Be Held For Questioning
When a murder happens at your house, it's natural for the police to have a few questions. As the homeowner, you'll almost certainly find yourself held for questioning. It doesn't especially matter if you were out of town or didn't even know the victim. The intention of these questions isn't just to determine if you know who the killer was, but if you can help spot clues on the property that could help solve the crime. If anyone you live with does end up being a suspect, expect numerous questions about their life and daily routine. Additionally, if you were at home at the time of the crime you may need to go in for questioning and can expect a much more intensive process.
- Photo: Bousure / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
You Won't Be Able To Remain In Your Home
Perhaps the biggest inconvenience associated with someone killing another person in your home is that you'll temporarily lose the right to live there. To make matters worse, you probably won't have the opportunity to gather any of your personal items. You may also suffer financially because it's common for homeowners to find themselves without any temporary housing assistance. If you're lucky, the police forensics investigation of the crime scene will only take a few hours. In some cases, though, this process can last several weeks, which will leave you displaced for an extended amount of time.
- Photo: Mr.TinDC / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Your Privacy Will Be Invaded By The Media
Just turn on the evening news to get a sense at how much local and national media like to cover major crimes like murder. You may get reporters and camera crews all over your property, and this invasion of privacy may even happen again on the anniversary of the victim's death. In the early stages, you may be mentioned in news reports as the homeowner, which may unfairly connect you to the crime as the public is want to draw their own conclusions. Be prepared to possibly have cameras shoved in your face or reporters tailing you in the hopes of an exclusive interview.
You'll Find A Huge Mess When You're Allowed Back In
Prepare yourself for the shocking reality of finally returning to your home. Before you even walk through the front door, you're likely to see the signs that people have been all over your property. Inside, there's probably going to be a tremendous mess, ranging from EMS supplies to the grisly aftermath of the murder. Yes, you read that correctly. It's not the police department's responsibility to clean up the blood or other signs of debris.
- Photo: Mario Goebbels / flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
A Bloody Mess Is A Health Risk
Let's imagine for a moment that a murder has taken place inside your house and there's blood everywhere. Further, let's add into the mix a bank account that's drained after you had to pay hotel fees and your mortgage at the same time for two weeks. You might find yourself tempted to clean up the mess yourself, but there are numerous reasons that this isn't a wise choice. Not only would this be a mentally and emotionally scarring cleaning session, but you also put your health at risk. Blood-borne pathogens can infect the entire interior area of the house, so avoiding contact is key.
- Photo: gwynydd michael / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
A Crime Scene Cleanup Crew Will Cost You A Pretty Penny
The mess has to get cleaned up and if you wisely opt to avoid putting yourself at risk, you'll need to hire someone else to scrub up. This means calling in a professional crime scene cleanup crew... and it's going to cost you. These companies use special equipment and training and they also utilize legally mandated methods for disposing of items soiled with biohazard waste. Depending on the severity of the situation, you could end up paying $28,000 or more. In some cases, a mere six hours of cleanup work comes with a $12,000 price tag. It's possible you could sue the murderer or get assistance from your homeowner's policy, but most people get stuck paying the entire bill out-of-pocket.