KWWL Exclusive: Behind the scenes of the DCI Crime Lab - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

KWWL Exclusive: Behind the scenes of the DCI Crime Lab

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ANKENY (KWWL) - Nothing surprises the criminalists at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Crime Lab.

That's because they see and examine just about everything.

"I can remember where they developed a fingerprint on a deer's horn," said Criminalist Supervisor Paul Bush with the DCI Crime Laboratory. "We'd had DNA on a piece of pizza where somebody took a bite out of it, we had, I think, a footwear impression on a hamburger bun once where we identified an individual, so it's pretty weird: You never know what evidence is going to be significant in a case."

Last week, crime analysts were examining a box of poker chips for fingerprints in a reported burglary.

Investigators believe a criminal moved the box prior to snatching an XBox.

"You just think to yourself, 'Why would anybody do these things?'" said Laboratory Administrator Bruce Reeve.

Reeve said the crime lab receives 14,000 to 15,000 case assignments every year, and that approximately 6,000 of those assignments involved drugs.

"We see just about any kind of drug you can imagine here in the state of Iowa," he said, adding that the DCI Crime Lab processes and identifies drugs that other parts of the country don't know anything about, such as khat -- a natural plant used as a stimulant.

He said the drug problem in Iowa is worse than many people believe, and attributes the problem to the interstate systems that run through the state.
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