Wilmington police using improved DNA collection system

Wilmington police using improved DNA collection system

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington police will be able to collect more DNA with the addition of a microbial vacuum system or M-Vac.

According to a news release from the Wilmington Police Department, the M-Vac system arrived in January, and crime scene personnel have been trained on how to operate it.

M-Vac collects more forensic DNA material than traditional methods by spraying and then vacuuming up a sterile solution from the evidence. The “mini-hurricane” loosens DNA material, which is then placed on a filter subjected to DNA analysis.

It reportedly can pull up to 200 times more DNA than a swab from porous or rough surfaces.

“We realize the importance of investing in cutting edge technology in order to solve crime," WPD Chief Ralph Evangelous said in the release. “This technology will help us with open and cold cases.”

WPD began its research into the system after working with Lisa Valentino whose sister, Allison Foy, was killed in Wilmington in 2008. Valentino helped Wilmington investigators find a lab nearby that used the technology, and a short while later, the Wilmington Police Department decided to purchase the system.

M-Vac wasn’t able to help with Foy’s unsolved murder but WPD investigators say they believe it will help with others.

“Ms. Valentino’s dedication and commitment to solving her sister’s murder will help to shine a light on unsolved crimes in our community,” Evangelous said.

Wilmington City Council approved the M-Vac purchase last year for about $38,000.

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