November 22, 2010
The C10 Forensic Scanner is a state-of-the-art piece of equipment that shows a high definition laser scan of an active or cold crime scene, like the one where Morgan Harrington was last seen.
"This piece of equipment would have been great if we'd had it [when Morgan Harrington first disappeared] because maybe we could have generated some new viewpoints. But we have it now and we have to utilize it the best we can," said Virginia State Police Lieutenant Joe Rader, who is heading the Harrington murder investigation.
VSP received the C10 Scanner in October and is currently the only agency in the Commonwealth to have one. However, its arrival comes long after Harrington disappeared while attending a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena and was later found dead at a farm in Albemarle County. Now, the scanner is being used to retrace her steps on the night of Oct. 17, 2009.
"John Paul Jones Arena, Lannigan Field, Ivy Road intersection; that's a pretty good distance. Using this, we're able to put all that potential crime scene in a nice little package," said Lt. Rader.
With each flicker of a green light the scanner's laser is capturing 50,000 measurement points per second. It puts miles of potential crime scene in one picture, effectively freezing an area of interest in time and providing police with an exact replica. This helps investigators sift through leads to find out what happened the night Morgan disappeared.
"With the precision the scanner gives us in documenting a scene, we can basically fly them through the model spacing into the crime scene as it was when we were there," Lt. Rader explained.
Once an arrest is made, police hope they'll be able to show a courtroom how Morgan Harrington was murdered by actually animating her movements on that tragic October night.
"Other than the perp, we know no witnesses to the crime. If we had a witness that saw her get into the car, get out of the car or being dumped at the farm, we'd have something to work with. But we don't have that right now," said Lt. Rader.
What they do have, however, is the C10 Forensic Scanner and a new way for investigators and jurors to eventually see a crime that no one witnessed.
The machine did not cost Virginia taxpayers a dime as Virginia State Police paid for the forensic scanner with money from items recovered during criminal activity.