Sean, Lance Oliver, Billy House discussed on Crime Junkie
To report that someone is laying on the ground by a lower level entranceway. And the person might be drunk. Now these quote unquote down and out calls are pretty common and not usually urgent. But it is 8 below zero, and in weather like this, a person could freeze to death. So officer mish in a rookie he's training head right over. When they pull up to the school a few minutes later, they see the custodian waving them over to a side door off a building that houses the pool in gin. And they can just make out someone a man flat on his back in the doorway. But it's still dark out and according to times Herald record reporters Billy house and Lance Oliver, vandals had smashed out the light over the gym doorways ages ago. So officer misch doesn't get a good look at him until he's standing over the man with his flashlight, and that's when he realizes the victim is a lot younger than he first thought. He's a teenager and only about 5 one maybe a 110 pounds. And this kid is not dressed for the weather at all. No gloves, no heavy coat just sweat pants, a hoodie, and a light windbreaker football jacket. But despite the cold, he's still warm, an officer misch thinks he feels a faint pulse. He immediately radios for an ambulance, but he sees a lot of blood around the teenager's stomach. So he lifts up his shirt to get a better look. And right away, it is clear. This is no simple down and out call. The young man on the ground had been stabbed many times to the point that his stomach was actually opened up. The officer can also see what looks like a big gash on the victim's head, even though he's wearing a do rag. And he notices something interesting. Next to the boy is a pile of what looks like spit. I mean, it's not even frozen, so all signs point to this like just happening. The ambulance gets there a couple of minutes later, but it's too late. Whoever their victim is, he's gone, and police have a homicide to investigate. Officer misch radios for detectives and in the meantime, state police investigators who heard the broadcast start showing up. They do this because they have more resources than smaller departments like Middletown, so they process major crime scenes in the area. And there's plenty to work with here because the entrance way is littered with potential clues. I mean, there's blood everywhere on the wall behind the victim on a big rock near his body in a little trail further down the side of the school. There's also chewed gum and cigarette butts. Though remember, it is 1986, so lots of schools at this time let students smoke on campus, so it's not a weird thing to find. But police collect all of it anyway. And as the sun comes up, they realize the crime scene is larger than they thought, with blood and evidence spread across the lower level school grounds, and this loop of road, which kind of like is a circular driveway that's next to the gym. And in the center of that loop is a grassy island with a railing around it. And on one side of the island, the railing is spotted with blood. And near the other side, police find a knife handle. Even though newspaper articles back then say it was a knife, everyone Nina interviewed today says it was just the handle. And another thing to note is that throughout the grass there is blood and pieces of broken glass. So it's obvious to police, this horrific attack didn't happen all at once, or even in one place, and probably not even at the hands of one perpetrator, considering the brutality. It seems like there was a fight that drifted over some distance, and even a chase, too. In fact, they find blood more than 200 feet away from the victim's body. A small pool of it on a path near another side door that leads to a music room. Detectives wonder if the victim may be stopped there for a minute and bled out. Maybe he was trying to hide or thought he had outpaced whoever was chasing him. And listen, I know this is hard to picture without seeing it, so we actually put together a Google Earth map of the school with some photos, which you can find on our blog post. There have been a lot of renovations since the 1980s with the area is still somewhat recognizable, and you can really get a better sense of what I'm talking about. Anyway, police search nearby storm drains, starting close to the school and working their way into surrounding neighborhoods, hoping to find the blade to go with the knife handle that they found, or really any weapon that might have been used. They also start knocking on doors, asking residents if they saw or heard anything strange. Meanwhile, though, kids have actually started to arrive for school. And I was a little shocked by that, like someone is murdered on the campus and you don't even like close down for the day, but I assume it just all happened so fast. I do know at some point the district did close the school, but I don't know if it was just for a couple of hours or what, because the students were definitely there throughout the day. That article by Lance Oliver and Billy House says that they were actually watching from the windows as police collected evidence early that morning. And mind you, the victim is still laying on the ground. He hasn't even been taken away by the medical examiner yet. And police still don't know who he is. But since he seems to be about high school age and he was found at the high school, a sergeant figures at his best chance at a quick ID is to go inside and look through yearbooks. Now, it's a good idea, but it actually doesn't help. Please then try having a few staff members ID this kid, but they don't recognize him either. So by 9 a.m., still unidentified, he is brought to the hospital morgue. But they don't stay totally in the dark about who he is, because there is a clue about his identity that football jacket he's wearing. It's a blue and white 1984 Middletown junior high school team jacket, with the name Sean embroidered on it. Police have a connection to that football team. Another sergeant is an assistant coach. He's off duty so they call him at home and he tells them yes, there is a Sean on the team. Sean Edwards, who plays running back and linebacker, and he's not a high school student, that's why they've had no luck. He's an 8th grade. Sure enough, a quick check of attendance records at the junior high prove that Shawn never showed up that morning. And the coach slash sergeant officially identifies him around 1115 a.m.. Investigators finished processing the crime scene by lunchtime. The blood is washed away with a fire hose, and students gather by the Jim door searching the nearby grass and snow for any evidence that the cops might have missed. And that's when, over at the warehouse where she works, Cynthia's supervisor calls her into his office and tells her that police need to speak with her right away. Since her sister drove them to work, she borrows a friend's car and rushes home. And that fear that has been building inside of her since the moment she saw that empty couch only grows stronger. Her son is missing and police won't tell her what's going on over the phone. Detectives meet her at home, and they bring her all the way to the station, and that's where they break the news. Her youngest child, her baby, is dead. Not only that, but he's the victim of a cold blooded murder. And during the autopsy that was done that day, investigators find out just how cold blooded it really was. Middletown detective Nicholas derosa told us that he's seen hundreds of autopsies, but never anything like this. Sean had been disemboweled. There were at least 15 stab and slash wounds to his back and stomach. But the stab wounds aren't even the worst of it. He might have actually survived those. It was the blow to the head that killed them. Something the detective describes as beyond blunt force trauma. I mean, his skull is in pieces. Police theorized that the damage could have been done with a baseball bat or a metal pipe, or maybe steel toed boots. There's also a bloody rock that was found at the scene and broken glass, although there were no glass fragments found in Sean's skull. The Orange County coroner estimates that Sean had been dead for maybe an hour when his body was found by the custodian around 6 10 a.m.. Based on officer mischief's recollections, it seems like it could be less time than that, but it's impossible to piece together an accurate timeline of those hours leading up to the murder. Police think that Sean left his house sometime around 11 p.m., but they don't know what he was doing for the 7 or so hours that he was MIA, or where he was doing it. I mean, there were only a handful of spots even open that late in Middletown in the 1980s. A couple of diners, convenience stores, and police can't play Sean at any of them. They also don't know how Sean even got to the school. He didn't ride his bike, which was still at home, and he's 14, so not only does he not have a car, none of his friends do either. But everyone, cops, family, Friends, agree on one thing. He didn't walk. The high school is almost two miles from the Edwards home. It would have been like 45 minutes on foot. Now one thing police knew from just living in the area is that lots of teenagers were taking cabs around Middletown, and they knew that Sean did too. So detectives were questioning drivers from two local companies, but they all say that they don't know anything about him taking a taxi that night. But to cab drivers who asked not to be identified, tell reporters Lance Oliver and Billy house that they heard Sean did take a cab Wednesday to a shopping Plaza near the high school that has a movie theater. And at first, listen, I'm like, okay, well, if the cab driver is lying, maybe he's involved. But this is why I have a podcast and not a badge because it turns out it was actually one of Sean's brothers who called the cab to the shopping Plaza. He picked up some food and came right back to the house. Plus, detective learned something interesting when they speak with one of Sean's neighbors. An elderly woman who lives a couple of houses down. This episode was made possible by sleep number. You guys I officially have it dialed in. Last night, my sleep IQ score was 83, and that was with my sleep number set at 75. Now I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so even 83 isn't perfect to me. I'm using the sleep IQ data that I'm given from my bed to continually dial it in even more. 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So I am always on the lookout for new and unique sequin pieces to mix into my wardrobe, and I have found some of the cutest stuff on Etsy. Like I just got this light sequined duster jacket with fringe on the ends that is adorable. But Etsy isn't just clothing, sellers on Etsy have handmade items in every category, like home decor, kids toys, jewelry, and more. If you're new to Etsy, use code hello ten at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase. That's code hello ten. Maximum offer value of $50 ends October 31st, 2022. See terms at Etsy dot com slash terms, extraordinary, handmade, affordable. Etsy has it. Shop Etsy dot com. Her adult son has a medical condition that requires constant care and because of that, she's awake most nights, and she tells police that she definitely would have heard a car pull up outside of Sean's house, but she didn't hear a thing that night. So if he did catch a ride, he must have gone down the block or something to meet up with the driver. But no one knows who that driver might be. Because no one knows who Sean was with that night. He had a few crushes, but there was no girlfriend in the picture, so nothing to pursue on that end, and all his friends say that they weren't with him and they didn't see or hear from him. Sean's family figures that if anyone knows what's going on, it's his friend Billy. But Billy says that he doesn't know what happened or where Sean might have been. He even takes a polygraph which he passes. Through the rumor mill, police hear that there might have been a party, but when they track down people who were there, no one had seen Sean, and most of them don't even know who he is. But here's the thing, I mean, Sean had to have been somewhere, right? The weird thing is, police did a premise check at the high school between four ten and four 20 a.m.. It was part of their regular routine and apparently at that time there was nothing out of the ordinary. Now to be fair, I don't know how thorough that check was like if the officer went around the whole school, maybe just pulled up to the main entrance or what? But it's hard to believe that Sean or anyone would just be hanging around outside the school for hours. Again, in the freezing cold, and by the way, Sean hated the cold.