The Gun:


The Smith and Wesson 9mm semi-automatic that Russell was shot with did not belong to Russell.  Whose gun is it?


Why are there no pictures of the gun?


Why did Officer Michael Carey pick up the gun and unload it before it could be photographed?  Wasn’t that tampering with evidence?


When Officer Karen Skinner examined the gun in the evidence room she wore rubber gloves.  Why didn’t Officer Carey wear rubber gloves when he picked up and unloaded the gun?


Why were there no ballistics done on the gun?  (Our family had to request that those be done, and we still haven’t been told the results.)


Why wasn’t the gun tested for prints?


Why was the bullet that was found on the floor of Sylvia’s bedroom not checked for blood or DNA to confirm it was the same bullet that killed Russell?  The fact that it passed through the wall of the trailer at a point two feet lower than Russell’s head suggests that it may not be the same bullet.


If it’s not the bullet that killed Russell, where is that bullet? 


Why were no tests done to ascertain whether the gun might have been used for some of the recent drive-by shootings in the area?



The Gun Shot:


If Russell committed suicide and fired the gun with his right hand, why was gunpowder found on both his right and left hands?


If (as Russell’s girlfriend, Sylvia Anaya, told police) Russell shot himself in the side of the head while he was facing her as she looked out her bedroom window, how was it possible for that bullet to do an 86 degree turn after exiting Russell’s head and travel through the wall of the trailer into Sylvia’s bedroom?


If (as Sylvia told both police and Russell’s family) Russell, who was 5’10”, was standing erect when he shot himself, and the autopsy report says the wound track of the bullet was upward, why do crime scene photos show a bullet hole in the trailer about 4 feet from the ground?  That would be possible only if Russell was leaning forward or kneeling down.  Or if more than one bullet was fired, and the bullet that exited Russell’s head was not the same bullet that penetrated the wall of the trailer.


If Russell was leaning forward or kneeling down, why would Sylvia say he was standing erect?


If Russell was leaning forward or kneeling down, why didn’t he fall forward instead of backward?


If (as police state) Russell, who was right handed, shot himself on the right side of the head, why is the wound on the right side larger than the wound on the left side?  (According to the autopsy report, the right side wound was 3/8 x 1’8 inches and the left side wound was 0.25 inches.)  Exit wounds are almost always larger than entry wounds.  A forensic expert has informed us that this applies in particular to entrance wounds in soft areas such as the temple.  The wound in the right side of Russell’s head is in the temple.


If (as police state) the wound on the right side of Russell’s head was a “contact wound,” why does the autopsy report state that there was no stippling or burns on the wound?


If (as police state) Russell was found lying on his left side with his right hand between his legs, why was the gun found lying behind his legs?





Why are there no photos of Russell at the scene?


Why was the gun removed from the scene before photos were taken?


Why were all the scene photos taken after 5 a.m. (time stamp on all digital photos), when police allegedly arrived at the scene 90 minutes earlier?


Why, in the photo of a live 9mm round on the ground beneath Sylvia’s window, is there an obvious heel print on top of the bullet and why is the bullet covered with dirt?


Why are the blinds in Sylvia’s window closed in some photos and open in others?


Why are there not more photos of Sylvia’s bedroom, where the bullet was found?  Only one small corner was photographed.  Adam Anaya, Sylvia’s younger brother, has told people that Russell was shot inside the trailer and the bullet exited Russell’s head and blew a teddy bear apart. Right after the shooting, Sylvia’s family had the carpet cleaned and the walls painted, which suggests the possibility of bloodstains.  Where are the photos that would document the condition of the room as a whole?


According to police reports, Deputy Sharer arrived at the scene to assist, and Det. David Whitaker told him to go to the Bloomfield Police Station and retrieve a digital camera.  Why wouldn’t police have a camera in their investigation kit when dispatched to the scene of a violent crime?  Was this just a ploy to get rid of Deputy Sharer?


Why did Deputy Sharer drop off the camera and immediately leave?  Was he asked to leave or did he not want to become involved in whatever was going on there?  Why did he write no report of ever having been there?


Why, when our family asked to see copies of those photos, were we told that they hadn’t been developed yet?  (Digital photos don’t need to be developed.)


In his report, Det. Whitaker states that he took pictures with 35-mm film.  What happened to those pictures?



Blood Splatter:


If (as Sylvia told police) Russell shot himself while facing the side of the trailer, why was there no blood spatter in that direction?


Why was there blood spatter in front of the trailer?


Why was there blood on the blocks under Sylvia’s window, when all the rest of the blood was elsewhere?


Officer Villa states in her report that police found Russell lying on his left side.  Yet it’s obvious from the amount and pattern of the dried blood in photos taken at the hospital that Russell was lying on his right side after the shooting and blood ran down and collected on that side of his face.  Might this discrepancy indicate that Russell was removed from the trailer after he was shot and positioned on the ground on his left side before police arrived?



Autopsy Report and Medical Tests:


How could Det. Whitaker close Russell’s case as a suicide before he ever received a copy of the autopsy report?


Why did Det. Whitaker tell Russell’s family that the statements in the autopsy report about the sizes of the entrance and exit wounds were untrue?  Was he implying that Dr. Timothy Vanderjagt, who performed the medical examination, was unqualified?  If so, doesn’t that throw doubt upon the credibility of the autopsy report as a whole?


Why is there no mention in the autopsy report of the bruise on Russell’s left jaw, which was obvious during the viewing at the funeral home?


Why are the photos that Det. Whitaker took of the gunpowder test kits numbered 1607 and 1610?  What happened to 1608 and 1609?


Why was the gunpowder testing performed by the Farmington Police Department instead of the OMI?



Police Conduct:


Why did police not inform Russell’s family about the shooting?  (Instead, they learned about it from an anonymous phone call.)


Why did Det. Whitaker never question any of Russell’s family about his conduct and demeanor on the night of the alleged suicide?


Why did police refuse to take statements from Russell’s family, saying they’d obtained all the information they needed from his girlfriend’s family – Sylvia Anaya; Adam Anaya (Sylvia’s 16-yr-old brother); Priscilla Anaya (Sylvia’s mother); and Ross Arellano (Priscilla’s boyfriend)?


Why did police state in their reports that the only people in the trailer that night were those four members of the Anaya family?  Sylvia has stated in writing that Russell crawled out her bedroom window in an effort to avoid her brother’s friends, who were in another room.  The voices of those friends can be clearly heard on the 911 tape saying, “Where’s he gunshot?’ and “It’s all obvious.” Why did police not wish to question those friends?


Police told a paramedic that three people were seen running from the scene after the shooting.  Why was that information withheld from their reports?


On the 911 tape, you can hear the sound of cars pulling up or leaving before police or ambulance arrived.  This was the last house on a dead end street, and there should have been no traffic at 3:30 a.m.  Why did police not question Sylvia and her family about who was arriving and/or leaving?


Why is there no indication in police reports that police questioned Sylvia’s neighbors about what they may have heard or witnessed on the night of the shooting?


The anonymous phone call to inform Russell’s mom that “your son shot himself” was made at about 3 a.m.  The 911 call was made a half-hour later.  Why haven’t the police checked phone records to find out what other calls were made from the trailer before Sylvia got around to calling 911?


At least five police officers were at the scene that night.  Why did only two write reports?

Why was there no report by Lt. Davis, the supervisor?

Why was there no report by Officer Carroll Scott?

Why was there no report by Deputy Sharer?



Information from witnesses:


Sylvia initially told Officer Villa that Russell rapped on her window and, without saying a word, put a gun to his head and shot himself.  Later, Sylvia told Det. Whitaker that Russell said, “You think I’m kidding” before shooting himself.  Why would she make two such diverse statements?


Sylvia’s mother and her boyfriend were allegedly asleep in the south bedroom of the house at the time of the shooting.  According to Officer Villa’s report, both stated that they did not know that Russell was “in the house” until Sylvia started screaming.  If Russell was in the house when Sylvia started screaming, that means he was shot there and then moved outside.  Why do police not question that?