Manteo Middle School students explore careers through investigation of ‘crime scene’

Published 1:35 pm Thursday, October 13, 2022

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Wanting to create a learning opportunity for Manteo Middle School students, career development coordinator Kelsey Oglesby reached out to Dare County Sheriff Dough Doughtie. Investigator Matthew Bryan and Deputy James Lange volunteered to walk students through what investigators do at a crime scene as well as discuss what other jobs are completed by members of law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

Students filled out a survey sent out by Oglesby, with questions about students’ interests in forensics and crime scenes. Students were then invited from those returned surveys to participate in a crime scene demonstration in honor of National Forensics Science Week, during the newly added Tomahawk Time, which provides students with opportunities for enrichment and remediation.

Upon entering the library, investigators pulled three students to set up the crime and leave evidence behind, allowing the other students to only know that these three classmates were suspects in a crime. Bryan then assigned all students in the group a role which had students actively engaged throughout the 60 minute presentation. After studying several types of fingerprint patterns, as well as how to lift and preserve fingerprints students were then sent to investigate the crime of the missing Pepsi can.

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Students took on their newly assigned roles and quickly jumped into action, dusting for fingerprints, identifying footprints and photographing evidence. After evidence was collected, it was then turned over to the analysts for further investigation of the fingerprints found at the crime scene and those of the suspects. After a suspect was identified through peer review, the information was given to the officer and a suspect was arrested. The case was then brought to the court where students acted as prosecutors, attorneys, judge and jury. A criminal was convicted through the thorough evidence that was presented and collected by students.

Students responded with, “When can we do this again?” and “That was so interesting.” Students were also asked to complete an exit survey to share what they learned from the activity. Sarah Gray, an eighth grade student responded, “It stuck with me how the investigation of a crime scene operates and I learned analysts need to have their results peer reviewed to make it official for the investigation.” Some students, like Daisy Brewster, were surprised by how simple objects are so important in an investigation. Brewster commented, “Something that stuck with me today was how just a simple flashlight can be angled to see different things more clearly. It is actually way more important to the investigation than I thought. I learned that there is a lot more to forensic science than just looking at a simple finger print and figuring it out. I knew that there was more to it than that but, I learned what more there was to it.”

Students from the group were truly thankful for the opportunity to attend the event and are looking forward to other events in the future created by Olgesby.