The dead man’s head was slumped on the kitchen table, surrounded by an empty bottle of fruity wine, cheap beer, and playing cards.
Who shot Larry D. Smith?
Was it his girlfriend, Daisy, after the couple got into an argument? Or was it Larry’s friend Jethro, who intervened to stop the fight?
That was the mystery a group of about 20 teenagers from the region were solving this week during the second annual CSI camp at Owens Community College.
It was a scenario pulled right out of a Law and Order episode or a murder-mystery novel that Perrysburg eighth-grader Beatrice Hummer loved so much.
Maybe it’s no surprise Beatrice, 13, is fascinated by law enforcement and wants to be a spy when she grows up.
After all, her father is Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer.
“He thinks it’s really cool what I’ve learned,” she said today. But there also is some authenticity in the camp, even as they investigate a fake homicide.
They’re doing so on the real training facility where Owens students and local police departments learn how to analyze crime scenes at Owens’ Center for Emergency Preparedness.
On the center’s flat grounds are a FedEx jet, buses, a semi tanker, and even a full-size Speedway – stocked with chip bags stuffed with paper and an empty Krispy Kreme display – where the mock training takes places. There’s also the scenario house, where the dummy Larry’s death is staged and the students can examine evidence.
And the teenagers, who range in ages from 13 to 17, also practice real crime-solving techniques from collecting and analyzing fingerprints to interviewing a witness to searching a car for evidence.
Throughout the three-day camp, the students get more excited as they narrow down their suspect list.
“They start asking questions,” said Niki Repass, who teaches crime scene processing at Owens. “It’s a lot of fun to see that.”
Contact Gabrielle Russon at email@example.com, 419-351-0361 or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson.