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Broward County Sheriff Detective Receives Commendation For Work With M-Vac System

Exceptional Service Award Nomination

Detective Christopher Williams

 

Submitted by Sgt Jeremy HansenDetective Chris Williams w Sheriff Isreal

I would like to commend Crime Scene Detective Christopher Williams for his extraordinary efforts in the following homicide case and accomplishment in bringing the M-Vac DNA collection device to the Broward Sheriff’s Office by nominating him for the Exceptional Service Award.

On June 4, 2014, Oakland Park Deputies responded to the report of an unresponsive victim and discovered 17 year old Amaya Cruz, under a tree in her front yard with multiple blunt force injuries to her head. During the initial investigation Homicide Detectives’ attention turned to the victim’s boyfriend, Bobby Scott. Crime Scene Detectives located six concrete landscaping bricks that were scattered throughout the crime scene, extending to the house to the west and a vacant lot to the west. The bricks exhibited fresh bloodstains and appeared to be the murder weapon. Through traditional forensic processing, (contact swabs and contact swatches) Detective Williams was unable to obtain a profile of who touched the bricks. Detective Williams observed suspected bloodstains on the concrete bricks, one of which had a clear void of blood. After submitting over forty contact swabs of the bricks and other related evidence, nothing was able to show that Bobby Scott touched the bricks. After extensive research, Detective Williams located a company in Salt Lake City, Utah who manufactures a machine that is able to extract touch DNA from rough surfaces through vacuum. Detective Williams reached out to the owner of the machine who agreed to lease the machine to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, as well as train Detective Williams on the use of the machine. Detective Williams applied the machine to the landscaping bricks and submitted the sample to an outside laboratory that specializes in processing sample filters from the “M-Vac.” The results from the M-Vac sample were positive for the DNA profile of Bobby Scott. Due to obtaining Bobby Scott’s DNA profile on the suspected murder weapon, the Broward State Attorney’s Office presented the case to the Grand Jury and was able to obtain a 1st degree murder indictment of Bobby Scott. (Reference BSO Case 12-1406-000380)

There was no question that the “M-Vac” had proven its value in cases of this nature, however the high cost of the M-Vac was an obstacle in difficult financial times. Having established a rapport with a representative of the company, Detective Williams was able to negotiate a reduction of $7000, bringing the M-Vac within reach. Detective Williams also opened dialogue between the outside laboratory and the BSO Crime Lab to move toward establishing a protocol for our Lab to process the M-Vac filters.

The M-Vac has since been utilized to process evidence from several cold cases, including:

  • Homicide of a female who was killed by a brick in 1983 in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Homicide of a male who was killed by a 2×4 in 1995 in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Homicide of a male who was killed in a vehicle trunk in Miramar.
  • Homicide of a female who was killed by a firearm and a pillow was used to mute the shot in 2007 in Tamarac.
  • Homicide of a Canadian couple in 2013 in Hallandale Beach.

The M-Vac has the ability to obtain 800% more touch DNA than traditional swabbing and will continue to be an excellent tool for the Broward Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit. This tool and the evidence it is capable of collecting would not be available today if not for the dogged efforts of Detective Christopher Williams. I respectfully request he be recognized for those efforts with the Exceptional Service Award.

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