GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. - You know there's a difference cleaning your floor with a broom versus a wet vacuum.
A broom only lets you pick up so much. But with the wet-vac, you get up even more, since it scrubs for a real deep clean.
Now - apply that same thought to collecting evidence at a crime scene. Swabbing for DNA samples only gets investigators so far.
The Guilford County Sheriff's Office is the first law enforcement agency in the state to get their hands on what’s called an "M-Vac", which will go beyond the surface to pick up more DNA than ever before.
Every time you touch the surface of something, you leave behind little bits of DNA. The problem is when it comes to analyzing evidence, that "touch DNA" as investigators call it - while easiest to leave behind, is also the hardest to pick up.
Right now dozens of cases across Guilford County and Greensboro remain unsolved. But these cases, saddled with what seems like a dead end, could have another avenue to justice: the M-Vac system, which is quite literally a wet vacuum that sucks up microscopic particles such as DNA from evidence.
“I can't think of anything worse than a loved one being murdered, and the case going cold and not being able to solve that case,” said M-Vac Solutions CEO Jared Bradley, “We realized that the forensics industry really needed something to enhance their ability to collect DNA through skin cells, saliva, blood that kind of stuff.”
Across the country there are less than 40 machines in use, and now the Guilford County Sheriff's Office is the first public agency in the state to own an M-Vac to help solve crimes.
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“It will be able to pick up a lot more DNA versus just swabbing on the surface,” said Annabelle Sim, the DNA Specialist with the Sheriff's Office.
Before today, she only used a Rapid DNA machine which quickly analyzes evidence in 2 hours. It's been an asset to the Sheriff's Office, but paired with the new M-Vac, investigators will be able to collect & analyze more evidence, and hopefully solve more cases.
“If you just touch the surface, then you do you leave skin cells when you just touch it even for just a second,” she said, “But when you're collecting it with the swab, you're not picking up as much DNA as you could when you're doing it with the M-Vac.”
The M-Vac system has proved its worth around the country. The CEO of the company says it's helped solve cases as old as 39 years old.