Whitewater: The Foster Report
Back to Table of Contents
Evidence from the scene and regarding the activities and observations of persons in and around Fort Marcy Park on July 20, 1993, raised certain issues requiring further investigative work.
The Polaroids of the body at the scene depict, and many witnesses who observed the body at the scene describe, the position of the head as facing virtually straight, not tilting noticeably to one side or the other. The Polaroids depict a blood transfer stain in the area of the right side of the face. As explained in previous sections, the expert pathologists and Dr. Lee analyzed this blood evidence and the Polaroid photographs. They concluded, based on the blood transfer stain, that the head made contact with the right shoulder at some point before the Polaroids were taken. The testimony and contemporaneous reports point to the conclusion that rescue personnel at the scene handled the decedent's head to check for vital signs and open an airway.
Many who saw the body at Fort Marcy Park after it was lifted and rolled over at the scene described a quantity of blood behind Mr. Foster's head, under his body, and on the back of his shirt. A reporter and Park Police officers separately visited the scene on July 21 and 22, 1993, and stated that they could identify the spot where the body had been located by the blood soaked into the ground. A reporter placed a stick into the ground where the blood spot was located and estimated the blood depth at one-eighth inch.
In addition, as Dr. Lee stated regarding the quantity of blood, the photographs at the autopsy reveal blood staining on the clothes that was not depicted at the scene. Moreover, Dr. Beyer, who performed the autopsy, found a large amount of blood in the body bag. These facts indicate that still more blood drained from the body during movement from the Fort Marcy scene to the autopsy.
There has been occasional public suggestion, premised on the supposedly low amount of blood observed at the Fort Marcy scene, that blood must already have drained from the body elsewhere and that the fatal shot therefore must have been fired elsewhere. As revealed by the foregoing descriptions of the evidence, the underlying premise of this theory is erroneous: A quantity of blood was observed at the park under the body and on the back of the head and shirt. Moreover, the suggestion fails to account for the blood that subsequently drained from Mr. Foster's body during movement to the autopsy. The blood-quantity evidence, even when considered in isolation from other evidence, does not support (and indeed contravenes) a suggestion that the fatal shot was fired at a place other than where Mr. Foster was found at Fort Marcy Park.
The evidence establishes that at least three cars belonging to civilians were in and around the Fort Marcy parking lot area when the first Park Police and FCFRD personnel arrived: (1) Mr. Foster's gray Honda Accord with Arkansas tags; (2) the white Nissan with Maryland tags driven by C4; and (3) the broken- down blue Mercedes driven by C6. The three cars belonging to Mr. Foster, C4, and C6 are the only cars positively identified and known to law enforcement and the OIC that were in the Fort Marcy Park parking lot area in the 6:00- 8:30 p.m. time frame and that belong to persons other than FCFRD personnel, Park Police personnel, towing personnel, and Dr. Haut.
During the afternoon, before Park Police and FCFRD personnel were called to the scene at Fort Marcy Park, C2 saw a man in a car next to him; C3 and C4's statements suggest the presence of at least one man in the parking lot and perhaps a jogger; and C6, after her car broke down, saw a man on the entrance ramp to the parking lot who asked her if she needed a ride. Law enforcement and the OIC are not aware of the identities of the persons (other than C5) described by C2, C3, C4, and C6. There is no evidence that any of those unidentified persons (or any identified persons, for that matter) had any connection to Mr. Foster's death; and the totality of the forensic, circumstantial, testimonial, and state-of-mind evidence contrasts with any such speculation.
The Park Police investigators (Braun and Rolla) who entered and searched Mr. Foster's car at Fort Marcy Park said that they were able to enter the car without keys because the car was not locked. James Iacone of the FCFRD stated that he had tried at least one of the doors and that it was locked. That statement contrasts with that of Ralph Pisani of the FCFRD, who said that he, Jennifer Wacha, and Iacone looked into the Honda, but that no one tried the doors. In any event, even were Iacone's recollection more accurate than the others, the statement would be of uncertain significance, inasmuch as it is, of course, possible that one or more of the four doors was locked and one or more unlocked.
OIC investigators canvassed the area surrounding Fort Marcy Park to determine whether anyone observed, heard, or had knowledge of relevant activity on July 20. That effort did not yield relevant information.
A Park Police evidence control receipt indicates that at the scene, Investigator Rolla took possession of Mr. Foster's pager from his right waist area. The receipt reveals that the pager, along with other personal property such as Mr. Foster's wallet, rings, and watch, were released to the White House on the evening of July 21 to be returned to the Foster family. Investigator Rolla said that Mr. Foster's pager was off when he recovered it. White House records of pager messages do not indicate messages sent to or from Mr. Foster on July 20.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company