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Fun mixes with crime at Owens camp for teenagers


Instructor Greg Smith shows student Natalie Schuerman, 14, of Pemberville, and students, from left, Emily Tajblik, 13, of Genoa; Morgan Bates, 15, of Fremont; and Hailey Bies, 15, of Sylvania, how to make a foot print impression during a Crime Scene Investigation camp.

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Perrysburg student Abbie Davis leaned over and poured dental stone over a footprint in sand on Wednesday to try to create a cast of the footprint as a part of the Crime Investigation Camp at Owens Community College.

Greg Smith, the McComb chief of police, took over and helped the young Davis fill out the entire footprint with dental stone from his paintbrush.

"You don't want to get too deep because you'll touch the sand and ruin the footprint," he said. "Cool, isn't it?"

"Yea, really cool," the young Davis responded.

PHOTO GALLERY of crime camp

The Crime Investigation Camp had 15 area students, ages 13 to 17,  at Owens' Training and Operations Center on Wednesday. The camp, conducted on Tracy Road in Walbridge, started Tuesday with the students searching a mock crime scene and the area around it to find evidence and learn more about what happened.

On Wednesday, the students were split into two groups, one learning how to get fingerprints and more information about the prints. The other group made the cast footprints. On Thursday, the last day of the camp, a SWAT team will have its truck and equipment on scene, showing students how they make a bust when they apprehend the mock suspect which the campers will discover.

"I've learned a lot, this has been a lot of fun," the young Davis said. "My favorite part was investigating the different clues at the crime scene and trying to find out who did it. I'd like to work in this field one day."

Owens Instructor Niki Repass said a big part of the camp is showing the students that it is not like crime investigation TV shows. On those shows, when they put in a fingerprint, they say "100 percent match," but matches aren't always that precise, she said.

For the students, they found gun shells and a shotgun at the mock crime scene to make them believe it was a shooting. The students saw three hands of playing cards dealt at the table, so it might be likely that three people were there and that it could have been a card game gone wrong. 

More information was released to the students, such as a 911 call, a witness interview, and an autopsy. 

"I'm learning how doing cop work is not like on TV," Millbury student Zach Terry said. "It is actually a lot harder than you think. If a cop messes one thing up, it makes their whole job a lot harder."

Swanton student Jordan Furko loves watching the TV program NCIS and her favorite character is Abby Sciuto, a crime investigator. The young Furko wants to be a forensic specialist just like her role model on TV to "go in a lab get the blood splatter, fingerprints and find out who did it."

She said she is learning everything doesn't work out perfect like on shows.

"I didn't realize how many different ways to get evidence. Little things like [footprints] to solve crimes," the young Davis said. "I've had so much fun here."

Owens is based in Perrysburg Township.

Contact Matt Thompson at:, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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