Monday, October 21 2019

Major Crimes Unit - Violent Crimes Section

The Major Crimes Unit and the Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Unit were merged into one unit in 2018, becoming the Major Crimes Unit – Violent Crimes Section and the Major Crimes Unit – Special Victims Section.

The Major Crimes Unit (MCU) has as its primary function the investigation of homicides and other violent or serious crimes, such as Aggravated Assault, Robbery and Arson, as well as large scale criminal operations. MCU also supports other BCPO investigative units, including Special Investigations and Financial Crimes, in cases such as police-involved shootings and frauds, respectively. MCU operates in conjunction with the Collision and Analysis Reconstruction Unit and also supports the Homeland Security Unit in field operations involving terrorism-related activity and also the Insurance Fraud Unit when needed.

The Major Crimes Unit consists of the supervising assistant prosecutor, one captain and one lieutenant who each serve in a supervisory capacity, two detective sergeants and five detectives.

SIGNIFICANT CASES

State v. Kyle Crosby

The remains of Erica Crippen, 26, of Mount Laurel were discovered March 17, 2015 by investigators in a rural area in Sykesville, Maryland.  She was found underneath a pile of branches and limbs in a grove of pine trees off of Old Frederick Road in Carroll County. She was wrapped in a fleece blanket. Her hands and feet had been bound with a cord that was also wrapped around her neck. She had duct tape across her mouth and nose.

The search was conducted following a forensic examination of the Global Positioning System found in Crosby’s vehicle after he was taken into custody on January 12. More than 8,600 coordinates had been recorded by the GPS device. Investigators determined that Crosby had spent more time along Old Frederick Road in Carroll County than at other locations and concentrated the search in that area.

An autopsy performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, Maryland concluded that the manner of death was homicide and the cause was asphyxiation.

Erica Crippen lived with her husband, Kyle Crosby, 29 and two children, a 7-year-old daughter from a previous relationship and their 3-month-old daughter. Her disappearance was brought to the attention of law enforcement officers after school officials contacted the Mount Laurel Police Department on January 7 and requested a wellness check at the family’s residence.

The request came after neither parent was present to pick up the older daughter at the end of the school day.

Crosby signed a missing person report that day indicating he had not seen his wife since January 1. Further investigation led to charges against Kyle Crosby filed on January 10 for Endangering the Welfare of a Child due to the inadequate level of care he provided to the children in the absence of his wife. The existence of the charge allowed law enforcement officers to execute the traffic stop on January 12 and detain Crosby.

Evidence discovered in the vehicle resulted in homicide charges against Crosby in the absence of a body. Once Erica’s remains were recovered, Crosby pled guilty to fatally choking his wife inside of their home on December 31, 2014 and transporting her body to Maryland.

State v. Stephen R. Donaldson

On February 12, 2013 in Cinnaminson, Steven R. Donaldson, 32, was caring for 1-year-old Claudia Nunes while the toddler’s foster mother, who Donaldson was dating, was at work.

At approximately 8 p.m., Donaldson placed a call to 9-1-1 and indicated that Claudia was not breathing. Law enforcement and emergency medical technicians who responded were unable to revive Claudia. She was taken to Kennedy University Hospital in Cherry Hill, where she was pronounced dead. 

Donaldson claimed that Claudia fell and struck her head on the floor as he was preparing to change her diaper. However, an autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood concluded that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.  Dr. Hood testified during the trial that Claudia’s injuries included a fractured skull, brain swelling and bleeding.

Following a five-week trial, a Superior Court jury found Donaldson guilty of Aggravated Manslaughter and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. He was sentenced to 20 years in New Jersey state prison by the Hon. Charles A. Delehey, J.S.C.

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