#UNSOLVED: Brunswick Co. Sheriff’s Office buys new DNA technology to solve crime
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office just purchased new technology to test DNA in a new way.
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is now one of only 40 agencies in the country with an M-Vac System.
From Utah, to Idaho, to Florida, hundreds of unsolved cases, some years old, have gotten answers and guilty pleas all because of this machine and its ability to test DNA.
“You’re definitely not going to use this on every type of case and our mantra is, if you can see it, like a blood spatter or a semen stain or something like that, you don’t need the M-vac,” M-Vac CEO Jared Bradley said. “It’s in all those other scenarios where you can’t see it or you can’t get to it using the traditional methods.”
In a February interview, Civilian Investigative Specialist Mary Doncourt with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office explained the M-Vac System wanting to use it in the Jaye Potter Mintz murder from 1987.
“There’s a new system out called M-Vac. It’s a giant vacuum cleaner,” Doncourt said. “They wet down the piece and it just sucks everything up, so it pulls out far more DNA than the old method of just swabbing.”
Soon after, M-Vac CEO Jared Bradley was in the Wilmington area and gave us a demonstration.
“It creates like a little mini hurricane down there on the surface. So you can see it spraying down there and it vacuums up just like a carpet cleaner would,” Bradley said.
That demonstration aired on unsolved in April catching the eye of Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram.
“We look for technology that will allow us better investigate crimes and when you ran the story about it that actually brought it to my attention and we started looking into it,” Ingram said.
Two months later, and now the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is one of only 40 agencies in the us with an M-Vac System.
“And one of three in North Carolina,” Ingram said. “I think that’s um.. We’re very fortunate.”
“Brunswick County is cutting edge,” Bradley said. “They’re putting their money literally where their mouth is. They want to solve crime.”
Bradley said it takes one day to train four detectives how to use it. The Detectives sampled all kinds of material from rope, to bricks, and rocks, to a baseball bat and after a few hours of practice they put the new device to work on an unsolved case.
“Every time I do a training, I am more and more impressed with people that are in law enforcement,” Bradley said. “You know, it’s amazing how much they care, how much they actually want to help solve a crime and therefore serve their community.”
That is exactly why Sheriff Ingram said they took this step.
“You know when you make decisions on purchasing equipment and what the needs are of an agency, this was something that we put at the top of the list,” Ingram said.
He said they are hoping to make the list of unsolved cases shorter.
“We believe this is extremely important to investigate these cases, especially the unsolved cases and hopefully be able to make the connection, get a profile on the individuals responsible and bring them to justice,” Ingram said.