Solving Cases with Eagle Eyes

Forensics 2018 - Officer Michelle De Pellegrin with her collection case.

Forensics 2018 – Officer Michelle De Pellegrin with her collection case.

Watching a television show on crime scene analysis, you probably wonder how it happens in real life. Gympie woman Michelle De Pellegrin has lived and breathed forensic science since 2002 as a member of the Queensland Police Service.

Michelle has always had an interest in the field and, after a twelve month training probation period, she knew “it was better than wrestling crooks” as a patrol officer.

As a mother working long hours, it can be hard. However,  Michelle enjoys the personal satisfaction and buzz she gets knowing her work contributes to the solving of crimes and resulting convictions.

There are different branches of forensics and Officer De Pellegrin is a collector. Michelle mostly deals with ‘volume crime’ which includes break-ins, graffiti and car theft but she also attends deaths and assault cases. Her keen eye examines the scene while working through the how, where and what, to hopefully find a who.

Armed with her trusty squirrel tail brush, she uses the dusting method to locate clear prints. A usable print will have 6 or more identifying markers, not the shape of the lines but in the line breaks. Prints can also be taken by fuming or treating the area to expose the skin oils.

Her work is extremely thorough and every item is logged and barcoded. Samples are meticulously taken and sampling equipment is control tested to ensure its accuracy.

Officer De Pellegrin’s message to all the crooks out there;  you will always leave something behind that can be traced back!