A prop photograph as murder evidence -- The makeup artist for ''Traces of Red'' scared local police with her grisly work

Traces of Red

It doesn’t open until June, but Traces of Red, a cop thriller costarring Jim Belushi, Lorraine Bracco, and Tony Goldwyn, is already one for the books — Florida police have investigated a grisly prop photograph from the film as possible evidence of murder.

After the movie wrapped recently in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, local makeup artist Sheila Walker (The Ballad of the Sad Cafe) asked to be sent the photo of an actress she’d made up to look strangled to death. But through a mix-up, the photo ended up in the mailbox of an unsuspecting Miami family, who opened the envelope and promptly called the police.

”The picture wasn’t entirely convincing,” Miami Beach detective Paul Marcus says. ”Generally with strangulation, blood vessels break in the eyes. The eyes in this picture were crystal white.” Still, it was close enough for Marcus to notice Walker’s address on the envelope and alert police in nearby Coral Springs, where Walker lives with her mother, Breeta Owens. ”They thought someone had been murdered and Sheila might be next,” Owens says. She cleared up the case by providing other samples of her daughter’s work, such as a photo of an actress made up to look stabbed to death.

For Walker, the mix-up is proof of her artistry. ”If I fooled the cops,” she says, ”I don’t have much to worry about.”

Traces of Red
  • Movie
  • 105 minutes