Charles Parker's death: looking for Clues
Forensic experts talk about what talks to investigators.
Before Charles S. Parker was shot and his body dumped in a remote well, his last public appearance was his annual recitation of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech at a January 15th church service in Lithonia.
On the surface, this 25-year-old Lithonia native had lived the dream: he was educated and handsome, he had a good job with a bank, he was married to a beautiful woman and taught Sunday school at Anointed Word Evangelistic Tabernacle, his childhood church.
Parker’s dream ended abruptly when he was killed on January 15th by one or more people who remain at large. His body was found in a well near an abandoned house in Oglethorpe County 36 days later.
Experts interviewed during a national forensic sciences conference in Atlanta talked about the types of analysis they expect will – and will not – help solve the mystery of Parker’s killing.
Bullets ended his life and bullets will tell the story, according to John J. Palmatier, former president of the International Association for Identification and a former Miami police officer.
“Bullets reveal information: the gun and the murderer.” Palmatier said. “Since the body was found in a well after a month, police should search for bullets in the well because the bullets may fall out during decomposition.”
Various media outlets reported that Parker’s wallet, bag and car were found before his body was located. Yet no blood or fingerprints were reported on these items.
“Some wounds do not bleed externally all that much, depending on where they are located,” said pathologist Randy Hanzlick, a Fulton County Medical Examiner who also teaches at Emory University School of Medicine. .
And, although Parker’s corpse was touched, moved and dumped by the murderer, this probably won’t help solve the crime.
“It is very uncommon to get fingerprints off of a dead body, especially if the body has been dead for a long period.” Hanzlick said. He commented during the American Academy of Forensic Sciences scientific sessions in Atlanta.
Scrutiny of document and databases may be more likely to yield answers. Disgruntled former business partners filed two lawsuits against him in Lithonia and in Athens, where he was last seen alive, in the weeks before he disappeared. It’s unclear at this point whether there is any connection between the legal complaints and Parker’s death.
Although Parker evidently had enemies, hundreds of friends and family turned out for his memorial service on February 25. Cars lined up outside and the sign-in book at the Anointed Word Evangelistic Tabernacle Church was filled to the last page .
People lined up in the freezing cold to get into the church. Inside, the crowd was so dense that the temperature soared and people fanned themselves with funeral programs.
“It’s packed, packed, packed and packed,” said one mourner, escaping into the cooler air.