Crime Investigation Reports
Officer directs neighborhood boys who search Lake Erie shoreline for evidence in Sheppard case
1. The Initial Police Report
The following is a statement
Patrolman Fred F. Drenkhan, age 27, residing
I am a duly appointed member of the Bay Village Ohio Police Department and am assigned to regular duty.
On the morning of July 4, 1954, Sunday, I received a telephone call at 5:57 A. M. a male voice stated “is this Les” I said no it is Fred, he said this is the Mayor something, terrible has happened to Marilyn, I think it is murder - I said "where are you” he said at Sam Sheppard's house and add get the ambulance and get over here right away. I hung up the phone and told Dick Sommers, the fireman on duty that the mayor said that there was a murder at the Sheppard’s home, and that we are leaving, they should come right away. I told Patrolman Roger Cavanaugh to take the other police Cruiser and follow me over.
I arrived at the Sheppard's home at about 6:00 A. M. Mayor Houk or his wife, Esther Houk met me at the Lake Road Entrance the door enters into a hall and so I entered this door way directly in front of me in the hall was a black leather Doctor’s bag, standing on it's end facing me with it's contents spilled out - I walked directly to a study which was to my right
or on the East side of the hall - I looked into the study and saw Dr. Sam Sheppard half lying and half sitting in a large red leather chair, I believe:
I heard Esther Houk say “go upstairs and see what you can do for Marilyn”. She directed me into the kitchen which was directly opposite the study on the west side of the entrance hall, through the kitchen to a stairway which goes up three flights of stairs to a landing, and then three steps down into the living room, the stairs leading up stairs from the center landing. She
me upstairs – directly at
the head of the stairs there is a bedroom- I entered this room and
beds, four poster type, on the bed closest to the door I entered I
body of Mrs. Marilyn Sheppard. She was lying with her head about three
from the head board on her back, with her right arm lying beside her,
and her left
arm folded over her stomach - the legs were bent at the knees
the outer edge of the bed, beneath a cross bar. I observed many lacerations on her forehead,
considerable clotted blood
about her hair and face. The upper part of her body from her stomach to
neck was covered with a checked blouse or shirt; the lower part of her
covered with bed clothing; exposing only her stomach. She appeared to
at that time. Making an observation of the room I observed shades were
there was blood Spots on the door leading to the bedroom which was
was some cloths lying and hanging on a rocker at the foot of the bed in
she was lying, there were two pairs of ladies shoes; one pair was a
moccasin type, the other pair blue oxford tennis shoes.
It immediately went downstairs and outside to
the police car and radioed for a doctor be sent immediately
and that Chief of Police, John Eaton, and Sgt. Jay Bubach be notified
and come up.
At this time I had informed that Dr. Richard Sheppard had been called
and was on his way - I then went to
and to the study where Dr. Sam was, he was still sitting
in the red leather chair, he had no shirt or under shirt, he wore a
pair of brown
trousers. I also observed discoloration at the right side of his face at the
eye which was swelling; there was evidence of
a swelling at the right cheek at the corner of the mouth, I inquired as
what had happened and he related that he did not know, he had heard
Marilyn scream, that he was fighting
stairs; that he was in the water; that he came upstairs, at this time
clasped both hands at the back of his neck; and turned his head and
more. Meanwhile the members of the Bay Village Fire Department
arrived; Fireman Dick Sommers and Volunteer Fireman
Roland Callihan were up stairs with the stretcher in the bedroom- As I
coming down the stairs I met Doctor Richard Sheppard coming in the hall
Lake Road Door Entrance; Dr. Richard Sheppard went over to the study
in at Dr. Sam Sheppard and I directed him to come
with me upstairs immediately, he proceeded me up the stairs and on the
asked for some kitchen knifes, I reached back and gave him
three kitchen knifes off the rack above
the sink in the kitchen, he
entered the room turning on the light; he walked around the bed in
twin beds; he examined her; in a professional manner; he replaced the
instruments in his bag, an returned the kitchen knifes to mea and then
down stairs and went to the study where Dr. Sam Sheppard was. I then informed Mayor Spencer
Houk that I felt that we
needed some assistance, and asked that the Cleveland Police Homicide
be notified as well as Dr. Sam Gerber,
At about 6:20 A.M. I was
Chief of Police John Eaton and Sgt. Jay Hubach- I continued to look
about the home
and on the stairway and the landing leading upstairs there was small
pools of water.
At this time I noticed that Dr. Steve Sheppard, Dr. Sam Sheppard’s
present in the study, and while conversing with Sgt. Hubach I saw Mrs.
Sheppard, and Richard Sheppard, Jr. escorting Dr. Sam Sheppard’s Son
also known as Chip out the door leading to
Dr. Sam Sheppard was then
Q: What was the condition of
the doors (2) at the
Describe the wearing apparel found
in Marilyn Sheppard’s room near the rocker when you arrived?
Q: How many lights
were on when you reached this bedroom?
Q: Who called Dr. Richard Sheppard
to the scene?
Describe the condition of the living room on your
What was the condition of' the desk in
Dr. Sam Sheppard’s study?
Q: Did you know at that time
what the weather condition
A: At was about sunrise, the
sky was clear, there was no noticeable breeze,
and the lake was quieting down, but was still rough from the wind
during the night.
How far from the retaining wall at
the Sheppard beach was the sand dry?
Q: How much of it was wet from
the water washing up to
When did you first have an opportunity to question Dr.
Sam Sheppard relative to the murder?
Q: How do you account
for this delay?
A: His attending Physician Dr. Stephen Sheppard ruled that the patient's condition would not warrant an interview for any length of time.
Q: When you did question him,
state that he had seen a person in his wife’s bedroom when he arrived at the
head of the stairs.
Did he state how he sustained his
Q: Did he hear a noise downstairs while getting
up off the floor?
Q: What was
when you questioned him relative to his ascending the stairs after he
consciousness on the beach?
Q: What was
when you stated you did not think a stranger could run down these steps
darkness? A: He said he did not know.
A: He said he did not know.
Q: At the time that you arrived at the Sheppard home
can you state whether or not
the Doctor's hair was wet or was there any indication
that he been in the water any time?
Q: Do you recall whether or not there was sand in his
Do you recall asking
or not the person he allegedly pursued had a weapon in his hand?
The first time that you had an
occasion to go down to the beach waters edge was there anyone else in
Did Dr. Samuel Sheppard inform you as to how he had
received his injuries?
Q: Do you know the extent of
Q: How many times did you attempt to
interview Dr. Sam Sheppard between July 5th and 8th 1954?
Q: Was there ever any
indication which would show if there was one or more
persons who walked up the steps from the beach to the Sheppard home or
steps? A: No.
Q: Did Dr. Sam Sheppard ever
that there might have been more than one man?
Is there anything else you can
Excerpts from the Report of Criminalist Dr. Paul Kirk (1955)
Excerpts from the Report of Criminalist Dr. Paul Kirk (1955)
significant evidence to be found was the blood distribution in the
room. Proper interpretation of this distribution
must give the reconstruction of the crime because every blow struck
signature in the room in blood. It is
also the most significant and possibly the only significant
evidence that can
be offered on blood studies. It was virtually disregarded by the
This single region in the entire periphery of the room in which no blood had traveled through the air must by necessity be the region in which the attacker stood, since it is the only place in which the blood drops have been intercepted...
It seems very clear, that the teeth were clamped on something that was forcibly withdrawn with removal of the fragments completely from the mouth. The only reasonable article would be the attacker's hand. It is equally certain that a bite of this ferocity would have left distinct injury to such a bitten member, and that blood would have been shed.
This is not pure speculation but a reasoned approach to the established facts, and it must represent at least a close approximation to the truth. Blood shed from the hand after being bitten could have placed the large spot on the wardrobe door, and in fact flowing blood from a wound is about the only reasonable manner in which this blood could have been placed....
[Kirk compared a large blood spot found on the closet door with other blood found in the room:]
differences were immediately apparent. The blood from the
very large spot was definitely less soluble than that from the small
from controls from the mattress. In running the agglutination tests, in
instance and with tests for both A and B factors, agglutination was
and less certain than the controls. The fact that delayed agglutination
occurred indicated clearly that this blood was also 0 Group but its
was so different as to be striking. These differences are considered to
confirmatory evidence that the blood of the large spot had a different
individual origin from most of the blood in the bedroom.
Tests of the large spot of blood on the wardrobe door which were conducted by this affiant, establish in affiant's opinion that it is human blood, that it is not the blood of the defendant, Dr. Samuel H. Sheppard, and that it is not the blood of Marilyn Sheppard, the murdered woman...."
been next to impossible for him [Sam] to tear the pants as they are tom
removing the key chain, since the only movement of
his hand that is possible without contortion is upward and
It is entirely certain, that the actual murderer received blood on his person, and no portion of his clothing that was exposed could have been exempt from blood staining....
Inspection of the spot [on the sheet] shows that blood was present in spattered drops before the other fluid was present, since the blood has been carried laterally with the flow of fluid, and original blood spots are still present, only partially displaced by the diluting fluid.
The obvious and probably correct interpretation of this finding is that the defendant placed his knee at this position after coming from the lake. The water from his wet pants would have produced exactly the effect observed. It is to be noted that this region did not show in the mattress directly below, or on the pad below the sheet. Thus it is shown that the amount of diluting fluid was quite limited, such as would be carried by a single layer of cloth.
[The blood smear] lies just where a knee would have to be placed to balance him during the wielding of the weapon. It also seems indisputable that these smears, which do not appear elsewhere on the bed, accurately depict the position of the murderer's knee and confirm the previous analysis of his position. It indicates that he had one foot on the floor, the opposite knee being on the bed, so that his body was actually over the northeastern portion of the bed. This detail of position allows also some inference regarding the length of the weapon and its closeness of approach to the east wall of the room on the back swing, all of which are important considerations in the over-all analysis of the crime.....
The weapon was almost certainly not over a foot in length and had on it an edge quite blunt but protruding. This edge was almost certainly crosswise to the axis of the weapon and could have been the flared front edge of a heavy flashlight. It was not similar in any serious respect to the alleged impression of a surgical instrument on the pillowcase, nor to any of a large variety of possible weapons that have been suggested by the prosecution.....
The pillow from the
bed indicates far more than was stated or implied in the testimony
it," he said. "Solid regions of bloodstain are present on both sides
of the pillowcase. One of these can be explained by contact with the
blood on the bed which seems to have spread far enough to be soaked up
sheet. Blood spatter from the blows themselves show that the side
the alleged instrument mark was upward during the beating. That it was
in contact with liquid blood in quantity is shown definitely by the
bloody area on that side which could not have been placed during the
had the pillow remained as it was found. It is certain that the pillow
either used to prevent outcry earlier, or that the victim attempted to
herself by holding the pillow on her face or head. In either case the
had to be moved at a subsequent time, and was probably doubled down on
and folded in such a manner as to produce a mirror-image blood
interpreted as an 'instrument impression'....
An occasional drop of blood may fall from some weapon some time after the weapon is immersed in it," Dr. Kirk said. "Most of the excess blood drains away immediately, but when the wet surface is large the slow drainage of the viscous blood allowed distances of as much as fifty feet to be covered in normal walking before the last blood was lost. Most objects tested as weapons lost the last drop within fifteen feet of normal walking. Blood may adhere to a static or swinging weapon for as much as forty-five seconds after dipping in fresh blood. In every instance the blood is lost as a few large drops unless the weapon is shaken vigorously to dislodge the smaller accumulations.
No such large drops were found anywhere in the alleged blood trails .... A vigorous movement will displace small drops, but carrying it normally displaces either nothing at all or large drops, depending on the amount of accumulation. If any of the blood were shaken from the weapon after leaving the room, it still is not reasonable that this process would continue to the basement and garage, and in any instance it tells exactly nothing about the hand that held the weapon....
Briefly, no actual proof of a technical nature was ever offered indicating the guilt of the defendant, and the facts that were established and offered are even more readily interpreted in several respects in terms of another murderer than the defendant....
As a person who was fully aware of the danger associated with a blow to the back of the neck, and faced with the almost insurmountable difficulty of delivering such a blow at all, and certainly of doing it under control, no doctor would ever risk trying it. It is also peculiarly difficult to deliver a blow of any force to one's own face. Neither of these injuries can be reconciled with self-infliction.
It is equally ridiculous to assume that these injuries were sustained in falling from the landing platform at the beach. That type of fall would inflict many abrasions, bruises, and secondary injuries to the limbs, with the serious possibility of broken bones. It could not under any circumstances select the back of the neck and his face for the only injury. No satisfactory explanation except that given by the defendant has been advanced for his injuries.....