Equine hospital assists coroner in triple homicide investigation

Posted at 9:29 PM, Jun 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 23:29:59-04

An unlikely partnership is bringing the Canyon County Coroner's Office closer to uncovering answers to last week's suspected triple homicide in rural Caldwell. With a little help from the Idaho Equine Hospital, officials now have more information on the three women found. 

When veterinary surgeon, Dr. Stuart Shoemaker received a call from the Canyon County Coroner's Office, their request didn't seem too out of left field. 

"To be honest, it's not that uncommon for us to get requests to do things in the human sector," Shoemaker said. "And I think a lot of that is because they perceive that we have the capability to do very large animals, so there's opportunities and instances where that's important."

The Idaho Equine Hospital uses a portable X-ray machine to care for horses outside the hospital -- and it delivers instantaneous images. That speed and portability are just what the coroner's office needed. 

"We don't have an X-ray here and usually we use the hospitals, but [the bodies] were in such a state of decomposition that we knew we couldn't take them into the hospital," said Vicki DeGeus-Morris, Canyon County Coroner. 

So staff from the Idaho Equine Hospital brought the machine to the scene -- allowing the coroner's office to examine the bodies.

Because officials say the women each died of a single gunshot wound to the head, X-rays were needed to find any bullets or traces of lead.

"They said they just felt like they needed to do something, and we needed their services, and it worked out perfectly," DeGeus-Morris said. 

The hospital donated their services and staff say they were happy to help.

"You know, it's just sort of a team effort when it comes to things of that nature," Shoemaker said. "It's just our civic duty, I believe."

A nationwide manhunt is still underway for Gerald Bullinger, wanted as a "person of interest" in the murder. Bullinger is considered armed and dangerous, and may be driving a white 2007 Ford Focus with Utah license plates. He's described as 60-years-old, six-foot-one and 240 pounds with gray hair and brown eyes.