The Magazine


Oct 27, 1997, Vol. 3, No. 07 • By BYRON YORK
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Meanwhile, Sharon Bowman -- who is said to be familiar with guns -- was shown the .38 and said it looked like one her father kept in the house in Hope. Also, one of Vince Foster's sons -- who had never before been interviewed -- said he knew his father had an old .38 revolver; he told Starr's investigators he saw it being unpacked at their house in Georgetown (he also said there were a few loose bullets in the shoebox that contained the guns). Foster's other son also remembered the gun, and Foster's daughter told Starr she remembered a handgun at the home.

Another piece of previously unknown evidence appears to answer the question of how Foster took the gun to Fort Marcy Park. Starr's report reveals that an oven mitt was found in the glove compartment of Foster's car (the report says Park Police photos taken at the police impoundment lot on July 21, 1993, show the mitt in the compartment). The evidence is, on the surface, baffling. "Our investigators tried to figure out what was this oven mitt doing in the glove compartment of the car," says a source inside the independent counsel's office. Members of Foster's family confirmed that the mitt had come from their home, but they had no idea how it had gotten into the car.

When Starr's experts tested the mitt, they found pieces of sunflower seeds on the inside, which they believe were deposited there in the normal course of kitchen use. They also found a small amount of lead residue in the mitt. Then they made a connection. Tests of Foster's pants pockets also revealed a portion of a sunflower seed in the front left pocket -- as well as a small amount of lead residue. The evidence led Starr's investigators to the conclusion that Foster placed the gun inside the oven mitt when he took it from his home. The gun picked up some sunflowerseed scraps and left some lead residue. At some point, probably when he got to Fort Marcy, Foster removed the gun from the oven mitt and placed it in his pants pocket, where the gun left the sunflower particles as well as more lead residue.


The Blood, the Shoes, and the Carpet

In The Strange Death of Vincent Foster, Ruddy devotes several pages to what he characterizes as a suspiciously small amount of blood at the scene where Foster's body was found. Citing a homicide expert, Ruddy writes that " the first thing detectives look for in a murder/suicide investigation is massive blood loss. If it exists, detectives can eliminate any idea the death was caused by other means, or that the person had been killed elsewhere and the body moved."

The blood evidence has given rise to a large number of theories about Foster's death. If Foster did not bleed profusely at the death scene, the theories suggest, he must have bled at some other place, after which the body was cleaned up and taken to Fort Marcy. Starr's report disproves that speculation by showing that Foster's body did bleed extensively at the scene - - and later lost a massive amount of blood during its removal to a hospital morgue.

Starr's investigators concede that Foster did not bleed a great amount from the mouth, as might happen in a case in which a man put the barrel of a gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. But the Starr report quotes five people present at the scene -- each of whom had an opportunity to take a close look at the body -- as saying Foster did bleed extensively, apparently from the exit wound in the back of the head. One witness recalled "a lot of blood" under Foster's head. Another said that there was a pool of blood under the head and "the back of the shirt was soaked with blood from the collar to the waist." And yet another noticed a "large blood pool" where Foster had been lying.

After that, according to Starr's report, the doctor who conducted the autopsy "observed a large amount of liquid blood in the body bag" used to take Foster's body from the park to the Fairfax County Hospital morgue. "If you see the photos of the shirt taken after the autopsy," says the source in Starr's office, "the whole shirt is blood-drenched." Starr's experts argue that the loss of so much blood after Foster's body was moved indicates that there had been no extensive blood loss prior to Foster's time in Fort Marcy. " Logically, blood in the body bag is inconsistent with the theory that blood drained elsewhere," says the source.

Then there is the issue of Foster's shoes. "Foster's shoes were found by the FBI lab not to have a speck of soil on them," Ruddy writes. That " evidence" has led conspiracy theorists to maintain that the body was carried into the park. How could Foster have walked more than 700 feet through the grass and bare dirt of the park and have no soil on his shoes?