#UNSOLVED: Law enforcement looking into new forensic technology

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A piece of technology that was once used in the food industry is now being used to solve murder, rape and other unsolved cases across the country.

President and CEO of M-Vac Systems Jared Bradley just gave the Wilmington Police Department and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office a demonstration of the new technology.

This is something Lisa Valetino has been pushing law enforcement to use in her sister’s murder. Allison Jackson Foy went missing in Wilmington in 2006. Her body was found in 2008. 

Bradley said the M-Vac can be used to solve crimes that are decades old.

“One case for example was a 39-year-old cold case in Salt Lake City,” Bradley said. “A young, 16-year-old girl was raped and murdered and she was gagged by a halter top.”

According to our ABC affiliate in Utah, Sharon Schollmeyer was raped and murdered in 1977. In April 2017, police finally had DNA, a suspect, and a guilty plea.

“Where the suspect had tied the knot behind her head, where he’d grabbed onto that halter top to tie the knot, that’s where they sampled with the m-vac and that’s where they got his profile,” Bradley said.

How does it work?

“It creates like a little mini hurricane down there on the surface,” Bradley said. “So you can see it spraying down there and the, it vacuums up just like a carpet cleaner would.”

What makes the M-Vac System so much more effective than other methods?

“When you get into porous items like rocks and bricks, cement and even a lot of fabric, the DNA will get down into those little areas and physically the swab just can’t get there,” Bradley said. “It’s been shown of collecting up to 200 times more DNA.”

Bradley said so far there are about 40 M-Vac Systems in private and public agencies across the country. He just did a demonstration for the Wilmington Police Department and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

“Those guys loved it,” Bradley said. “Obviously, they would love to have one. They just have to find the money for it.”

The price tag on an M-Vac is $35,000.

“They are also looking at different avenues,” Bradley said. “You know, using a private lab or maybe a neighboring agency.”

In the meantime, Bradley said the M-Vac System has helped solve dozens of crimes. In some cases, Bradley said they do not find out about it until after the case has already been tried or exonerated.

The Wilmington Police Department said they are looking into other avenues right now due to the cost of an M-Vac System. Detectives with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office said they are looking into using another agency’s M-Vac for a couple of their unsolved cases.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Unsolved

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