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Body burned in cabin? Where Christopher Dorner investigation goes now. (+video)

Questions remain about the body burned in a cabin – presumed to be fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner – as well as the manhunt leading up to Tuesday's standoff.

By Staff writer / February 13, 2013

Authorities stand at the site of a burned out cabin near Angelus Oaks, Calif., Wednesday, where police believe they engaged in a shootout with Christopher Dorner on Tuesday. Dorner, a fugitive ex-cop, is believed to have died in the mountain cabin that burned down in the climax to a massive weeklong manhunt.

Gene Blevins/Reuters

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Los Angeles

The search for former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner has ended in a blaze of gunfire and flames, but that seeming finale does not end the investigation. Rather, many aspects of the pursuit for justice now enter new phases.

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Here is a guide to what comes next as law enforcement in at least four California jurisdictions – Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Irvine – work to close the books on Mr. Dorner’s case.

How long will it take to confirm that Dorner is dead?

The charred remains in the Big Bear Lake, Calif., cabin where Tuesday's standoff ended will have to be analyzed for DNA information, and that will take time – days or perhaps weeks, says Capt. Frank Gonzales of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Scientific Investigation Division.

He notes that before his office can receive material to analyze, the coroner’s office must complete the autopsy, and the timing for that is unclear. And even once that is complete (contrary to the impression left by "CSI") “DNA and other types of forensic evidence does not get analyzed overnight,” he says.

In addition to material from the remains, evidence collected at the multiple crime scenes will have to be analyzed. Captain Gonzales notes that he has as many as a half dozen crime scene investigation staff at the various sites collecting evidence.

Who is conducting investigations and why?

Law enforcement in each of the jurisdictions where Dorner is believed to have committed crimes will be investigating everything from shootings to officer   threats, carjackings, kidnappings, and robberies. While it might seem counterintuitive to continue investigations when the suspect may be deceased, there are many unanswered questions, ranging from who may have aided or abetted Dorner to how and when he traveled between the various cities.

“We have assault with a deadly weapon on one of our officers,” says LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith, adding that there were threats on some 50 police officers and their families still outstanding. Protection is still being extended in some cases, he points out, noting “there is still very much the possibility of copycat crimes, and everyone is very much still on alert even if the tactical alert is officially over.”

Will police tactics and behavior during the manhunt be investigated?

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