The Purging in the Pundit
A couple of private school girls on their way to volunteer at a soup kitchen find a dead body under an underpass. It was stuck part way in a drain, and stoats had eaten the flesh off most of the upper half, leaving the lower half clothed and intact. Hodgins estimates time-of-death at 3 days prior, Brennan guesses from the orbital margins the person was male and Caucasian, and Saroyan confirms because the genitalia are intact. The gabardine pants and Italian leather shoes suggest the deceased was wealthy.
At the Jeffersonian, Dr. Rodolfo Fuentes is back to help out the team. He notices osteophytes in the lower thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, a common problem in obese adults. The deceased's upper left central and lateral incisors are fractured, possibly by a blow from a right-handed assailant. Based on the bi-iliac breadth and femoral head diameter, Brennan puts the deceased's weight at 136kg. The team immediately identifies him from Angela's facial reconstruction as Hutch Whitehouse, a well-known right-wing talk radio host. Booth immediately interviews his wife, Miriam, who is quite liberal and also stands to be quite rich now that Hutch is dead, but she has an alibi. She suggests Booth talk to Hutch's producer and co-host at the radio show, but they deny any involvement and point Booth and Aubrey to crank letter-writers.
Fuentes notes that the damage to the upper half of the body is minimal and superficial. Saroyan sees low cortisol levels and high oxytocin, suggesting Hutch was happy in his last minutes. Fuentes sees perimortem ligature marks on the radius, scaphoid, and trapezium suggesting Hutch was bound. Bilateral microfracturing of the hyoid is interesting but would not have been fatal. The slight damage to the wrist bones and the "calcification" Brennan sees on the pelvis and wrist bones tells her that Hutch was not tortured; rather, he was into S&M.
Angela tracks down one of the craziest letter-writers: William Beyers, who thought Hutch was too liberal. He is building a fertilizer bomb in his apartment. Booth questions him, but he denies involvement, even though he has a manifesto and is just super crazy. Booth and Brennan head to Hutch's sex dungeon, which Angela found through an accounting paper trail. They see plenty of bodily fluids as well as blood. This causes Dr. Fuentes to reevaluate his assessment of the nasal fractures. He thinks that if Hutch had a ball gag in his mouth and was hit in the nose, his nose would have swelled up and the blood and gag would have made Hutch unable to breathe. Booth questions Hutch's dominatrix, but she insists she left him bound in cuffs with safety releases and thought he was fine. Fuentes sees that the marks on Hutch's tibiae and fibulae were made after death, as his body was dragged--the killer used a deer hoist to move his body.
Booth questions Bob Gordon, Hutch's radio show producer, who is a deer hunter. He confirms that he moved and tried to dispose of Hutch's body, but denies having killed him. Gordon came upon Hutch in his sex dungeon after talking to Miriam to find out where Hutch might be. Gordon didn't want the police to see Hutch the way he was, so he cleaned him up, dressed him, and dumped him. Booth re-questions Miriam, who admits she has a shaky alibi because she was doing drugs that night. Based on a tip from Gordon, Hodgins and the gang go through a bag of Hutch's personal effects found in the sewer. There is a piece of tooth with lint on it, and Fuentes guesses that Hutch was hit in the face with a cell phone. Booth and Brennan confront Alan Spaziano, Hutch's radio show co-host, whose voice Angela found on Gordon's voicemail, pretending to be Hutch. Spaziano quickly admits to the murder, but insists it was an accident. He went to take photos to blackmail Hutch, but didn't realize Hutch could get out of his restraints. When Hutch tried to come at him, Spaziano smacked him with his cell phone. Aaaaaaand, forced him to keep the ball gag in? Watching him bleed to death? I don't understand this part. And then something something about thrush on the phone, on the victim, and in Spaziano's mouth, so they have DNA evidence?
- I don't think "calcification" of the bones of the wrist/pelvis is a thing. No idea what it would mean.
- Blunt eye orbits can tell sex but not ancestry.
- No positive ID was ever made (just an ID from facial recognition).
- Neither bi-iliac breadth nor femoral head diameter is a good method for reconstructing weight of the deceased. Bone mineral density and femoral neck width, however, are.
- Wait, why couldn't Hutch get the ball gag out of his mouth? He wasn't cuffed or anything. A nose fracture wouldn't kill him immediately, as it takes a while to suffocate.
- I honestly didn't get the part about thrush. Candida albicans is really common. How does that tie Spaziano to the murder? And where did they find thrush on the decomposed victim? His bloody ball gag that had been in a sewer for 4 days?
- "Sex and violence are two of humanity's most primal urges. An amalgamation of them is a logical byproduct." "Bones, S&M isn't a peanut butter cup!"
- "I will not have my science dumbed down just because you don't know Latin!" -- Oh my, I believe I have a new personal motto.
Forensic Mystery - C. Serviceable mystery. Obviously S&M and not torture. Eh.
Forensic Solution - C+. Serviceable forensic anthropology. As always, outlandish Angela-science.
Drama - C. Meh. I hope next week is more interesting. This episode was too procedural for even a procedural.