At the tender age of six, Shalane Botha witnessed an event that no one of her age should ever see – her grandfather committed suicide right before her eyes.
But to her the most devastating memory was to see how cleaning up after the incident affected the emotional state of her grandmother and father.
Shalene Botha, crime scene clean-up crew member cleaning a staged crime scene at a demonstration.
Years passed as Shalane tried to understand why those who had cleaned the scene were in a state of emotional decay. For a short period of time, she was oblivious to the effect the incident had on her own mind. But after years of studying forensic sciences, psychology, and crime scene investigation, Shalene began unravelling her family’s tendency to
Donna Nayler has seen things that would make even the most hardened criminal shudder.
Blood-spattered homes, decomposing bodies and the acrid, stinking remnants of suburban meth labs are all in a day’s work for the 30-year-old Gold Coast woman since she gave up full-time hairdressing to be a professional crime scene cleaner.
For six years, Ms Nayler has worked on some of the most gruesome tasks imaginable – turning scenes of bloody mayhem back into normal homes that appear ‘as if nothing has happened’ after police collect the evidence they need.
‘Once I walked into a house and found a girl who had been completely gutted by her boyfriend – it rocked me to the absolute core,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
After giving up full-time hairdressing, Donna Nayler (pictured)
Bill Muir was burning out as an operations manager for a beverage company and started looking for another career. When his brother-in-law used a handgun to kill himself, Muir decided to clean up his sister’s place.
Her gratitude for his gesture of grit and kindness gave him an idea. Five months later, Muir became a crime-scene cleaner.
“I wanted to start helping people,” he said one recent afternoon before fielding a call to clean up a homicide scene. “And seeing my sister’s face after … I knew this is how I can help.”
In starting Naperville-based Bio-One Chicago last year, Muir and his wife, Dawn, joined the ranks of a profession that blends the demeanors of a funeral home director and grief counselor with a construction contractor who has a strong stomach and intimate knowledge of biohazard disposal. It also is a largely unregulated profession experiencing steady growth, fueled by increasing fear of
“It’s like concrete when it dries,” he says while inside a Toronto apartment littered with kids’ toys, recording equipment, drugs, and gun paraphernalia. “But if you start when it’s too fresh, you’ll just smear it everywhere.”
The professional crime scene cleaner is on the site of a shotgun suicide where he gives me the rundown of his process. “I’ll scrape, clean, disinfect, then paint,” Weir says. All of the guy’s possessions will be placed in a storage locker for his family to sort through. “When I’m done, nobody will ever know what happened here.”
Mouldy grow-ops, vicious murder scenes, liquefied corpses—Weir has cleaned them all. He’s lean and wiry with cigarette-stained teeth, needle-short hair, and a distant, muddy stare. And you can tell that he’s seen things that would shatter a sensitive soul. You can also tell that he’s just fine with that.