Autopsy: The Last Hours of...: Bob Crane


On the afternoon of June 29th, 1978, Hogan’s Heroes star Bob Crane’s body was discovered bludgeoned to death. He was just two weeks away from his 50th birthday. The nation was stunned. Bob Crane’s autopsy report stated he died from a blunt force impact to the left temporal scalp that caused massive bleeding and brain injury. There was also a ligature tied around his neck used to strangle him. His murderer has never been found. Forensic Pathologist Dr Michael Hunter reopens one of Hollywood’s most famous cold cases, examining over 700 pages of original police reports together with crime scene photographs and video to try and work out who would have wanted Bob dead. Some believe his brutal divorce battle had something to do with it, others that the mob had got to him, but everyone agreed Bob’s addiction to sex and filming his own sex tapes had something to do with it. Police found his apartment crammed full of cameras, lights and editing equipment and quickly assumed that one of his tripods was the murder weapon as it was missing from the scene. Their attention quickly turned to John Carpenter, a home video salesman, who had introduced Bob to the new technology and who featured in several of Bob’s sex tapes. He had fled the scene on the morning of the murder, and when the police found blood in John’s rental car, and then tested it and found it belonged to the same rare blood group as Bob’s, they believed they had their man. But it would take another 16 years to bring him to trial, when prosecutors believed that new techniques in DNA testing would prove the blood was Bob’s. Carpenter protested his innocence throughout. Why would he kill his best friend? But if it wasn’t Carpenter who was it? A jealous boyfriend or husband? A spurned lover? Could advancements in DNA testing today provide answers?