The United States today formally opposed a defense attorney’s motion to compel D.C. authorities to search for the body of 18-year-old Latisha Frazier, believed to be buried in a Virginia landfill since her killing in August.
In the government’s paperwork, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Kavanaugh wrote that such a search would cost a minimum of $2.5 million, requiring 25,000 truckloads of trash to be moved from the landfill search location and lasting at least 164 days.
Landfill excavation specialists from Team Adam, with the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, said the odds of finding Frazier’s body in the search were less than fifty percent, Kavanaugh said.
Mr. Gaither’s defense is significantly weakened because he is unable to inspect the decedent’s body. In this case, the govemment appears to allege an accidental killing and relies upon apparent witness testimony reporting three separate times and causes of death. In such a case, the defense’s inability to inspect the decedent is devastating.
Kavanaugh’s response stated:
The issue before the Court is whether a defendant may compel the government to conduct a landfill excavation and search for a decedent’s body, Where: (1) the defendant personally procured the unavailability of the decedent’s body by according to him disposing it in a dumpster with the intent that it never be recovered; (2) the decedent’s body is not, and never has been, within the possession, custody, or control of the government; (3) the likelihood of success as discussed below, the primary evidence supporting the belief that the decedent’s body is in a landfill stems from the defendant’s statements to detectives of the Metropolitan Police Department that he disposed of the decedent’s body in a dumpster. Given that this fact serves as the necessary basis for any conclusion regarding the potential whereabouts ofthe decedent’s body, and given the defendant’s claimed desire for the decedent’s body to be recovered, before any hearing on this matter, the government respectfully requests the Court to inquire of defendant Gaither if he intends to stipulate that his statements to the police regarding how he disposed of the decedent’s body were truthful.of such an excavation and search is highly speculative; and (4) such a search would be extraordinarily dangerous and costly…
Even just on those facts that have been made public, it is clear that Latisha Frazier’s last moments of life bound, gagged, blinded, and coughing in a closet were nothing short of horrific. The tragedy is only compounded by the fact that Brian Gaither was successful in his mission that her body never be found.