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Despite Impossible Odds M-Vac System Succeeds

Francine Assault Sample

Collect touch DNA from a rock. Collect male touch DNA that is mixed into a shirt soaked with female victim blood. Collect DNA from a brick. Collect touch DNA from a rope. Collect DNA from clothing that has been submerged for 8-10 hrs. Collect DNA from clothing that is decades old. Collect skin cells from a cement block. Collect DNA from the edge of a burnt blanket. Collect touch DNA from a victim’s pillowcase.

These are all scenarios in which investigators have applied the M-Vac System in, most of which a traditional collection method such as swabbing had already been used and failed to produce results that would enable the investigation to move forward. To say some, if not all, of those scenarios carried almost impossible odds of success is an understatement. Despite those odds, however, the M-Vac performed amazingly well and in every one of those scenarios, along with many others, produced a viable profile and/or actionable intelligence for the investigators to move on.

As the manufacturer of this new wet-vacuum based forensic DNA collection system, we never dreamed the M-Vac would be used on some of the last chance, desperate cases that it has. Cases such as the Krystal Beslanowitch murder, which was a cold case for almost 18 years. Prior to learning about and employing the M-Vac, the investigators had no capability to collect the murderer’s skin cells from a rough, granite rock which the murderer had used to brutally bludgeon the victim. Or the murder case of an 82 year old grandmother, where investigators used the M-Vac to sample the victim-blood soaked shirt in the hopes that enough of the perpetrator DNA could also be collected and isolated.

Of course we are thrilled that the system is being utilized and integrated into forensic collection protocols, we just didn’t foresee the “impossible” cases becoming possible along with all the case scenarios we did imagine. We knew the M-Vac would be a powerful tool, but to collect DNA material from some of the many surfaces it has? Collecting poacher DNA from a rhino or elephant skin? Touch DNA from spent shell casings? Touch DNA from spent shell casings? DNA from exploded bomb parts? I’m not sure even Dr Bradley, the inventor of the system, ever dreamed about those, especially when his original idea was to use the M-Vac to collect pathogens such as E Coli from food surfaces.

When we pivoted into the forensics industry we were told it would take 4-5 years to gain any real footing and make a name for ourselves, especially if we didn’t have millions of marketing dollars to throw at it. As a small company we were in the exact opposite position! We had very limited resources so the task of introducing a new product with minimal forensic data and essentially zero experience in the law enforcement field was daunting to say the least. So, in the face of those seemingly impossible odds, we got busy and we got creative. We leveraged the resources we did have with the more enthusiastic and forward thinking researchers and law enforcement agencies to get a foot in the door, and from there we have magnified exposure of our unique product at conferences, through news agencies, TV shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Dateline, articles in prestigious publications like Forensic Magazine and maintain an active presence on social media. We’ve also teamed up with a number of international and US based distributors to exponentially increase the M-Vac’s exposure. All of these workforce multipliers have helped our efforts immensely and enabled a small company to make a much larger splash.

The bottom line is the M-Vac System, despite impossible odds on multiple fronts, has and is succeeding, and it’s making a difference in people’s lives.  Cold cases are being re-looked at, active cases have an entirely new level of possibility in DNA profiling and the number of investigators who are learning about and adopting the M-Vac is growing at a rapid rate. Because of that many victims of heinous crimes will receive justice where before the M-Vac they might not have. What could be more awesome than that?

Impossible odds? No such thing in our view.

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