TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KSHV) – Unlike what you see on television shows, the role and work of a crime scene investigator is not glamorous. It’s painstaking.
The work CSI investigators do to unravel crimes requires amazing attention to detail and years of training.
Spencer Price gave up 10 years of accrued service with the Texarkana, Texas Police Department to become one.
“This is a firearm that was used in a recent robbery,” said Price as he opened an evidence box sitting on a table inside the Texarkana, Texas Police Department’s Crime Lab. The lab is where countless crimes in the Texarkana area and beyond get solved.
Marc Sillivan has worked in CSI for over nine years after retiring from the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department following 25 years of service. Eleven of those years were spent doing CSI on the Arkansas side of the state line. He and Price are regarded as among the best CSI analysts in the state.
“The Texas Rangers have used us considerably on a lot of things,” said Sillivan. “Instead of calling in their state crime scene unit, they’ll use us because of the expertise.”
The two have 54 years of combined law enforcement experience. Twenty-nine in CSI. In their careers, they’ve processed thousands of crime scenes.
“We’ll take photographs from everything. From when we first get there to everything that we process and pick up and bring back to our lab,” said Price.
It’s in the lab they begin the process of scientifically breaking down what is fact and what is not.
“We’ll hear what witnesses tell us. We’ll hear what suspects tell us,” said Price. “We try to prove or disprove their stories.”
It’s done through forensic techniques like fingerprinting, swabbing for DNA, shooting reconstruction, and blood splatter analysis.
“We’ve been on scenes to where there’s just been blood,” said Sillivan. “And we can kinda follow that person just by the blood splatter.”
Their training is extensive and specialized.
“We’ve learned how to exhume bodies from clandestine graves,” said Price. “And we’ve had a couple of cases where we’ve actually had to do that.”
Their years of experience as CSI analysts are uncommon. The average job tenure of a CSI investigator is just six years due in large part to the gruesome nature of the job.
“The things we see daily are things that normal humans should not be seeing,” said Price.
Sillivan echoed his words.
“You’ve really got to be able to put up a wall to continue to do what we do, for as long as we’ve done it..”
No two crime scenes are alike, and some linger much longer than others.
“One of the ones that bothers me probably the most was the two-year-old that was beaten to death,” said Sillivan.
The crime involved two-year-old Da’Corian Wright, who was beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend, Clifford Gayton Junior, in 2016.
“The amount of damage that was done to that poor child, I will never forget,” said Sillivan.
Gayton Junior is serving life in prison. The evidence and facts collected at the scene helped put him away.
Sillivan and Price take pride in knowing they get it right 100% of the time.
“We can’t make one mistake,” said Sillivan. “That’s why whenever we make a call on the identification of a fingerprint, we’re 100% sure it’s that person.”
“I’ve always feared getting an innocent man put away. But I also love it when we get somebody that really deserves to be put away forever put away,” added Price.