RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) – He came home to find the bodies of his wife and two toddlers in a gruesome crime scene, but just when he thought he’d lost it all, he discovered his youngest child alive and napping in his crib.

Denis Bukhantsov is not the only one who’ll have those unforgettable images seared into his mind forever. So will investigators.

That day was visible on the faces of investigators, as their demeanor reflected that this case was having an effect that no other case had.

“Most of us called home just to say ‘Let me hear my daughter, my son’s voice. I need to hear that,’” said Sgt. Jim Barnes, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau supervisor. “People don’t understand the job that we do.”

It’s a story behind the scenes most of us aren’t used to hearing — maybe don’t even think of. And it’s a story beyond the badge from investigators trained to focus on their job and set aside emotion.

“You compartmentalize a lot of things because you know you still have a mission to do; but there’s times, little times, little clusters, you see these are innocent children and it was violent,” said Barnes.

He said Tuesday’s triple murder of a young mother and her toddlers inside their Rancho Cordova home was the most gruesome crime scene most of his investigators had ever seen in their careers.

“You’re looking around, you see the family photos, you see all the kids’ toys, and then you see that and then you start making it real to you and your family,” said Barnes.

That day inside that home, he says emotion won and gripped them. Many have families of their own, including Barnes.

“At the end of the day, our uniforms off, we have to go home, and when your child comes running up to you, you’re excited to see that. But then you feel guilty because that’s not happening at the home you just left,” said Barnes.

The images of that crime scene are burned into his memory forever.

“To think of what they went through, it’s emotional,” said Barnes.


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