Costly Crime Solving
There were 985 murders and more than 5,000 rape cases in Florida last year
All which have to be investigated by law enforcement.
Each case is very different, but most investigations come with a costly price tag.
"The clock starts ticking when the phone rings and you have to be quick," said Rhonda Stroup.
On November 14, 2009 Detective Rhonda Stroup with the Marion County Sheriff's Office, rushed out of bed after deputies made a gruesome discovery in a Dunnellon home.
"When they did take a closer look in the fire pit they realized there appeared to be remains of a human body in there," said Stroup.
The body of 66-year old Doris Babcock. Detectives believed they knew 19 year-old Zachary Snyder stabbed Babcock to death, wrapped her up in a piece of carpet and then dumped her body in a fire pit, but they had to prove it. No matter what was the price tag.
"When it happens we do not just work 8 to 5. Criminals do not work 8 to 5 cops don't work 8 to 5 neither do detectives,but it depends what happens," said Stroup.
Detectives starting salary at the Marion County Sheriffs Office is $32,000. They usually work overtime, but it depends on the case. Stroup worked the scene two days straight in the Snyder case.
Along with another detective, crime scene technicians and a Forensic Unit Director, Lt. David Redmond.
"With my rank as lieutenant as well as my longevity i make approximately $70,000 a year," said Redmond.
Redmond said on top of personnel costs you have to add up patrol cars on scene and the crime scene van. The average annual costs for operating a crime scene van is about $3,000.
In the Snyder case, 318 pieces of evidence were collected. This was just one, it's the murder weapon found in some garbage bags.
Some pieces of evidence are brought to the DNA screening lab at the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Here they can test if there is human blood, saliva, semen and other bodily fluids on the evidence.
Redmond said the cost of supplies for the DNA lab is about $3,000.
There are two DNA technicians with a starting salary at $28,600. Giving you a grand total of $60,200 to run the DNA screening lab.
Technicians swab the items and detectives then decide what they will send to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for DNA testing.
The knife, Snyders' boots and about 30 other pieces of evidence were sent to FDLE.
"I would say on an average case that has six to seven items that will need dna testing you are probably talking $1,500 to $2,000," said David Coffman.
Coffman with fdle saID they get about 2,000 dna service requests a month, so they test the items that would be considered a stronger piece of evidence.
"It's a free service to our agencies. It's all funded through state and federal funds," said Coffman.
If there is a body, the medical examiners will do an autopsy.
The Alachua County Medical Examiners charges about $2100 per autopsy.
So you've heard some of the costs that come into play when investigating a crime, but all the officials and experts I spoke to say each case is different.
"There is so much that goes into a case that it would be just almost impossible to give you an exact dollar figure," said Stroup.
"Each case being unique and dynamic it could very from time to time," said Redmond.
"It's not an easy answer. It's complicated," said Coffman.
It could be in the hundreds or thousands.
Costs vary depending on if a suspect is in custody, traveling to interview family members, finger prints, phone records, how much evidence, getting the Marshals involved and the list goes on.
But at the end, some people believe it doesn't matter what's the grand total.
"We work for the victims so we will stop at nothing short of anything to try to prove a crime," said Stroup.
In this case, Snyder pleaded guilty in September 2012, so there was no trial.
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