by Leslie Mazoch
"Big John" Hernandez, the Forensic Specialist at the Brownsville (TX) police department, showed me, at my request, a binder filled with images of dead people he's had to photograph over the years. Most of the people didn't resemble humans, but I could make them out when Hernandez pointed to where the eyes, ears, nose and mouth were supposed to be. I felt woozy at page three and the possibility of fainting two pages later. I closed the book, put my head down, and he brought me a cup of water.
"Somehow it's easier to look when it's real," I said to Hernandez, as we looked at the body from a distance. "You examine the pictures more closely," he responded.
The police at the scene let me photograph wherever I pleased, which was not the case when I was a new face in town. This was the second time my efforts to establish a positive relationship with the police, fire, or EMS have paid off. The first being when the Fire Dept. called my cell for a house fire.
The writer at the scene, who had access to see just as much as I did, asked to see the photos we weren't publishing. I acquired the tight shot of the woman's face. She was purple, with blood lines running up and down her skin, no eyes, her tongue exploding out of her mouth and brain matter oozing from her nose and ears.
I had a hard time getting the woman's face
out of my mind as I raced to photograph the assignment this spot news delayed
me for: a candle light dinner at an assisted living residence to kick off
Grandparent's Day. That was the first day I was thankful for the
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