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Persistence is important to case resolution.

Ms. Smith is not her real name. Her real name is in the newspaper article that described how an elderly woman, never married, that spent her time doing volunteer work, had been killed. The article told how the criminals robbed her house, sexually assaulted her, and set her house on fire.

The Texas Ranger working the case, had astutely been on the lookout for the use of her credit cards. Luckily, a suspect was arrested using one of the credit cards. However, he had a story about getting the credit cards from a criminal associate. The suspect denied any knowledge of the murder, and the Rangers brought him to us for a polygraph.

The suspect failed the polygraph and in the early afternoon an intensive 16 hour interview began. Persistence was the key in this interview as details would be slowly revealed, much like gently peeling back the layers of an onion, during the interview. Each layer of the onion would eventually reveal information that compelled the suspect to admit increasing levels of guilt. First to participation in stealing the credit cards, then admission to seeing the sexual assault, then to being involved in the sexual assault, and then watching his partner in crime set the house on fire.

Sometime around 1AM, the obviously exhausted Ranger who had been watching through the mirror, gently knocked on the interview room door and asked, “how much longer do you think you are going to go”? The answer was simple, “when I have all of the information, or he wants to call it quits, whichever comes first”. Yes, we were brought some hamburgers, and yes we stopped for bathroom breaks, but the interview never really stopped. Somewhere around 5AM the next morning, the suspect’s confession was complete, from picking the victim for the robbery, to setting the house on fire to conceal the awful things they had done.

The Ranger did a fabulous job of corroborating every piece of information that had been given during the confession. This horrific crime was solved due to the unwavering commitment to stay as long as was required, including to the point of being exhausted, in order to gain the truth.