Forensic Services helps close the case

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 5:46 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - They’re fighting crime one clue at a time. Forensic Services at the Ocala Police Department is dispatched daily to aid in crime scene investigations.

Emily Gauss is a Crime Scene Technician for Forensic Services.

She said she’s dispatched at least once a day to help investigate different burglaries, homicides and other major crime scenes. 

“For me personally I go out to all of the crime scenes taking photographs, collecting all of the evidence, and then it comes back here,” she said.

Everything from shell casings, to collecting blood and DNA samples, Gauss said she’s looking for when conducting an investigation.

She was even a part of the team that helped identify a 50-year-old Connecticut woman found in a retention pond on September 15th.

“It’s difficult because in that type of situation we didn’t have a lot go off of because they were skeletal remains you don’t have a face to be able to be like, ‘well this is this person’ compared to a drivers license photo or anything like that,” she said.

One of the things Forensic Services is also doing is taking fingerprints off of things like soda cans and processing it into evidence.

“A lot of the things we end up collecting will get processed for finger prints, for DNA, so if it comes back to a suspect they’re looking for, I recently I had a case, where that happened I collected a partial print and I came back to who they needed it to be,” Gauss said.

TV20 also spoke with Crime Scene Technician Andrew Rocafort during our visit to OPD. He said there are different ways to process a fingerprint. The two primary types of physical evidence are porous and non-porous where fingerprints can be found.

The most typical processing technique is super glue fuming, Rocafort explained, saying it’s best on non-porous surfaces.

“Basically the item is exposed to super glue vapors, they get on the object and you get a nice white fingerprint on the object. If it’s a dark surface, I can usually photograph it,” Rocafort explained.

Crime Scene Technician Andrew Rocafort explains the different ways to process a fingerprint.
Crime Scene Technician Andrew Rocafort explains the different ways to process a fingerprint.(WCJB)

For porous items, Rocafort explained that the most common way he takes fingerprints is with Ninhydrin which reacts to amino acids from the skin.

So whether it’s fingerprints off of a soda can, or searching for items to identify a victim, forensic services is an important part of closing the case.

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