State crime lab in BG brings families and investigators answers

Published: Aug. 8, 2016 at 5:49 PM EDT
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Investigators, scientists and prosecutors all pouring though evidence in the murder of Sierah Joughin, 20, of Fulton County. Her body was found in a corn field after riding her bike.

Much of that evidence is being processed at the state crime lab and one of those labs is located at Bowling Green State University.

The labs evaluate evidence collected in the Joughin case and in other cases like Pike County where 8 people were murdered earlier this year.

Whether it's ballistics from a gun, finger prints from a Doritos bag or DNA from a t-shirt, scientists at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation say they go where the evidence takes them, making no assumptions.

"Sometimes people think it's a crime lab, they're out to get me. They're out to get me the bad guy. Well truly the evidence leads us to who that bad guy is. Sometimes it's not who you thought it was," said Casey Agosti, Lab Supervisor.

This one of three labs statewide. This lab alone received over 8300 cases last year and already over 470 this year. They're looking for things we don't see. Blood can be easily spotted but DNA from touch or other bodily fluids can be harder to spot but hugely important.

"Anything can have DNA on it. Just some of the things that we're able to get profiles off of especially with the new technology these days. It's really interesting," said forensic supervisor Alex Thiel.

Thiel, a Pettisville native and forensic scientist says you never see the same thing twice. Different pieces of evidence will offer different clues.

"Wntil they've exhausted everything they can do in the case, they will continue to ask for more," said Agosti.

Agosti says even in the last 5 years the technology has changed dramatically. Whether it's new fuming chambers, technology that zeroes in on the y chromosomes from DNA samples or advanced databases that even track tire tracks. This work helps investigators fill in the blanks.

"We're looking at people's worst days of their lives and we're hoping to provide some kind of closure or some kind of information to help them get past it and deal with what they've just been through," said Agosti.

The state crime lab has a relationship and collaboration with Bowling Green State University to develop the next generation of forensic scientists.

As for Joughin's case and the work BCI is doing in connection to it, an Attorney General's spokeswoman told 13abc late Monday: "we can't provide any specific details regarding evidence collected as part of the ongoing investigation."