Columbia College Class Takes a Stab at Mid-Missouri Cold Cases

4 years 5 months 2 weeks ago Monday, December 02 2013 Dec 2, 2013 Monday, December 02, 2013 5:01:00 PM CST December 02, 2013 in News
By: Danielle Carter, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - A "Cold Case" class at Columbia College will soon try to solve an old homicide case out of the Lake of the Ozarks.

Prof. Michael Himmel, an ex-detective who worked for the Columbia Police Department for 37 years, teaches the cold case class among others in the forensic sciences department at Columbia College. He says what makes his class special is that it's hands-on.

"A student can go Google knowledge. What the student can't do is, how do you practically apply something with that knowledge," said Himmel.

Himmel's class uses the crime lab at Columbia College to assist with working on the cold cases. With everything from blood spatter demonstrations to lasers to "bubber," a fine, snow-like material that can hold fingerprints, Himmel said his students are well equipped with technology that is the same, if not better, than what the police departments use.

Himmel first showed KOMU 8 News the special lights that police departments use to pick up on bodily fluids left behind on clothing, sheets, and other fabrics. A cross-section of a dusty pink bed sheet, which Himmel said was from a case a decade old, lay on a lab table. When Himmel put an orange filter on the camera, dimmed the lights, and shone a special blue light, a stain showed up immediately on the bedsheet - details hidden until the special tools were used.

Then, Himmel demonstrated "bubber," a fine, snow-like molding compound, originally invented as a child's toy. Himmel said the bubber is so fine it can pick up on fingerprints as soon as you touch it, and can pick up on even tiny flaws on shoe prints embedded into the material. He said the class uses the bubber with old evidence to try to find clues the original investigation couldn't find.

Himmel then showed the pig blood spatter demonstrations laid out around the lab. He said students would soon be using the models to tell minute details about which direction and height the blood fell from, as part of their final exam for one of his classes.

In addition, Himmel has a traditional classroom, where he teaches the textbook portion of the cold case classes and his other crime-related classes, attached to the other side of the crime lab.

Peter Bingham, a senior majoring in forensic science with a biology emphasis, said the class gives him experience he thinks will help him when applying for a job. He also said it's interesting to see all the elements involved in an actual case.

"It was a little bit difficult for our case in particular. A lot of reading, and just kind of,  learning how interviews are done, and reports are taken, and how well-documented everything is to show time dates, and where the process essentially starts and where it goes to the end, even if it's never completely solved," said Bingham.

Bingham also said people should know that solving cases is not like how it's portrayed on TV. It actually takes a lot longer to run tests and process evidence and clues.

"It's not to say that it's not important, or that people don't know what they're doing with their jobs. It's just that everything has its own place and time that eventually it'll be gotten to," said Bingham.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - In sometimes heated testimony, members of a Special House Investigative Committee looking into the Eric Greitens... More >>
11 minutes ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 3:54:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A report on a statewide rape kit audit shows that there are at least 4,889 untested sexual... More >>
42 minutes ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 3:23:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - With the holiday weekend approaching, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Save Our Air Medical Resources (SOAR)... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 1:28:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A statewide program bringing together prisoners and puppies is celebrating a major milestone. A four-month-old redbone... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 10:15:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he thinks Kim Jong Un wants to do "what's right" but says it's... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 10:09:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
RANDOLPH COUNTY - A Huntsville man pleaded guilty to murder on Tuesday and received a life sentence with no chance... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 8:37:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
BUNNIK, Netherlands (AP) — An international team of investigators said Thursday that detailed analysis of video images and photos... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 5:58:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Potentially more than one thousand Missourians could lose their hunting, fishing and trapping licenses after a Department... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 2:27:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump is violating the First Amendment when he... More >>
20 hours ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:10:00 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in Continuous News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal district court in St. Louis has ruled that the Missouri prison system must... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 5:48:22 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in News
MID-MISSOURI - If you look at the forecast you can easily tell that summer is here early. Don't forget that... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 5:43:00 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in Weather
JEFFERSON CITY - A new report by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce identifies challenges in the Missouri workforce. The... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 5:41:00 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in News
(CNN) - NFL players must stand during the National Anthem this season, team owners decided Wednesday, a reaction to fierce... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 5:36:38 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Temperatures are rising, and one expert says animals need more attention when tethered outside. "Heat exhaustion... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 5:07:00 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY - Cole County deputies say a man accused of having pipe bombs was cooperative when they asked to... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 3:54:00 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in News
HALLSVILLE - The NRA Bianchi Cup happens every year in Missouri, however this year, embattled Gov. Eric Greitens made an... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 3:40:00 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department wants feedback from residents on its community policing initiative. A meeting Wednesday gave people... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 3:25:00 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The House Special Investigative Committee continued reading the transcript of the testimony of the woman involved in... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 3:12:00 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 85°
5pm 86°
6pm 86°
7pm 84°
8pm 81°