By Josh Verges
As jurors passed around pieces of a burned bra this morning, its
ownerâ€™s mother left the courtroom and sobbed.
Dee VanderGiesen stayed outside the room as jurors were handed
photographs of her daughterâ€™s body taken by Sioux Falls police six
weeks after her death.
The last dismembered remains of Darlene VanderGiesen, her upper body
starting at the navel, were recovered March 28, 2006.
The remains were found inside bags and sheets 22 feet off a Minnesota
road about a 20-minute drive from Sioux Falls.
Jessica Lichty, Sioux Falls crime lab chemist, told jurors in Daphne
Wrightâ€™s capital murder trial that she recognized the human remains
as VanderGiesen, who was missing since Feb. 1 and whose lower pieces
were found at the city landfill on two occasions.
Lichty said she could see the womanâ€™s face through a clear, plastic
bag, which carried a sticker that read, â€œWarning: Plastic bags can be
dangerous. To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this bag away from
babies and children.â€
The next day, Lichty participated in an autopsy on the remains. She
described â€œblack charringâ€ on the face and neck and on the part of
the chest not covered by the bra.
Lichty cut away both the bag and a rope secured tightly around the
womanâ€™s neck. She noticed blood and could smell VanderGiesenâ€™s hair.
â€œIt smelled like fuel, like gasoline,â€ Lichty said.
The upper body was still intact, Lichty said, except for
VanderGiesenâ€™s right hand and forearm, which were exposed when a
highway worker found the remains.
The forensic chemist was on the witness stand for two and one-half
hours of testimony this morning, and will be back after lunch.
(( Source:Â Argus Leader ))