Frank Bender, noted forensic sculptor.
Among his other accomplishments, Mr. Bender did the bust of John List for “America’s Most Wanted”; that bust led directly to List’s capture.
It is impossible to gauge precisely Mr. Bender’s career success rate, where “success” means identifying a victim or catching a fugitive. Mr. Bender — who, as associates attest, was a larger-than-life character with no small awareness of his own news value — sometimes put the figure at 85 percent.
The correct figure, his associates say, is probably closer to 40 percent. “Not even he knows, because nobody actually tells him,” Mr. Botha said. “The police departments don’t always come back to him afterwards; that’s one of the kind of bittersweet things about what he does.”
That bugs me. I’d like to think that if I ran a police department and asked Mr. Bender (or someone like him) to do work for me, I’d at least have the courtesy to let them know how it came out, wrong or right, as soon as I knew. Good thing I don’t run a police department, eh?
I haven’t read The Girl with the Crooked Nose: A Tale of Murder, Obsession, and Forensic Artistry, but I did read The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World’s Most Perplexing Cold Cases: at some point I should probably write up some longer thoughts on that book. For now, I want to say that it was an interesting but flawed book.