During the third annual ABFE conference in August of 1995 Mr. Scalice, BCFE asked me to work with him on the alleged suicide letter of the late Vincent Foster. This investigation was a very difficult one to all of the document examiners involved. We were never given nor were we able to examine the original document. It was my opinion that the photo copied document read more like a letter of resignation than a suicide letter. I consulted a leading Boston psychiatrist, Dr. Ronal Rosso, for his expertise in analyzing suicide letters for content. Dr. Rosso sent me his findings while I was filming on the set of Unsolved Mysteries. Dr. Rosso felt it was a very poor form of suicide letter. Dr. Russos report is shown below. I have always felt that it was the circumstances surrounding the document rather than the document itself that had given me cause for concern. My reasons for concern were and are not limited to the following:
On the set of unsolved mysteries.
Vince, Ron, Tony, Reggie.
- The FBI would not release or allow any of the Document Examiners to examine or take first generation Forensic photographs or clean first generation photo copies of the original document. Hindering competent analysis.
- The suicide letter was found six days later in Foster's Briefcase.It was apparently missed in two previous searches. Common sense alone would dictate that searching his personal belongings would be the first place a competent investigator would search
- The note was torn in 28 pieces, Foster's former secretary is said to have testified that Foster always crumpled and never tore documents he was discarding. The pieces were completely devoid of fingerprints. Working with Vince Scalice, in his laboratory in Staten Island New York, told me point blank, this was not possible.
- The FBI concluded the note was written by Foster after comparing the document to only two samples of Fosters Known handwriting, federal rules of evidence require at least four (4) known samples of handwriting for competent comparison.
- The FBI sprayed the original suicide letter with Ninhydrin an aerosol fingerprint spray used to detect latent fingerprints on paper products, rendering the original document useless.
- The alleged suicide letter we were given were of unknown generation, copies of copies. The size of Vincent Fosters handwriting on the suicide letter was 15% smaller than the 10 samples of his known handwriting we were given to compare with the questioned document.
- The suicide letter was reproduced on a photo copy machine or a camera that had an optics problem giving the letter that tear drop affect, I have seen this problem occur many times in my work as a graphic designer of which I have over twenty years of experience. The letter was over exposed, thus you have this filling in effect around the image, in this case the handwriting.
On the set of Unsolved Mysteries I was able to produce two new suicide letters one with a signature of Vincent Foster and one with the words completely changed, I reproduced these forged documents in all of fifteen minutes. The picture below of Chris Ruddy and me as I am showing him the forged documents and how quickly they can be manufactured was of no surprise to Chris. It was and is still my belief that the suicide letter was a product of paste and cut.
Forensic Handwriting Examiners are always suspicious when they are asked to examine alleged forged/questioned documents from a photo copy alone. Professional examiners will always ask to examine and take forensic photographs or first generation photo copies of he original document.
This should be made on a clean, tested photo copy machine.
A copy of the homicide reconstruction report by Vince J. Scalice and Fred D. Santucci is shown below. It is very interesting that the same set of circumstances they found to be very suspicious in the homicide reconstruction they performed, were also found with the alleged suicide letter. So I ask myself and you, if someone were ready to commit suicide and they were writing the last words that anyone will ever read, would he/she talk about Washington politics, or would he/she be saying good bye and trying to explain the reason for taking their life to their loved ones. I would tell my husband, wife and children that I loved them, I am sorry for what I am about to do. The suicide letter is shown below, you decide.