Cops Use Mosquitos to Solve Murders: Bandit Bagged By Bug
No known suspect.
Let’s run down our checklist to be certain we’ve gathered everything because, as you all know, the crime-solving clock is ticking nonstop and valuable time is slipping away, and so is the killer.
Let’s see, we’ve got fibers, bullet casings, fingerprints, weapon, clothing, glass fragments, shoes, shoe and tire impressions, photographed everything, and … “Hey, somebody catch that mosquito. We need to take it in for questioning. It may know something.”
CSI Frank the Fingerprint Guy rushes out to the official CSI van to grab the Handy-Dandy Mosquito-Catching Net 700 (the model one-up from the 600 series) and sets out on the mission of snagging the elusive biting bug.
It’s on the ceiling. Now the wall by the light switch. Back on the ceiling, on the curtains, the window, the blinds, the ceiling again, and now … Got It!
Frank the Fingerprint Guy gently transfers the bloodsucker into a container that’s safe for transport and then off they go to the lab to see what this little guy can tell them about the crime of murder. Who knows, the insect may even be able to provide the name of the murderer.
That’s right, mosquitos are indeed able to spill the beans about a criminal’s identity, and here’s how.
First, what is it that so many jurors like to hear about? Yep, DNA.
You can talk until you’re blue in the face about all the fancy footwork and door-knocking and interviews and bullet trajectory, and more, but that’s not what makes jurors salivate like they do when they hear you found the suspect’s DNA at the crime scene. That’s the golden goose. The bestest prize what there ever was. DNA. DNA. DNA. Give ’em D-freakin’-N-A!
And what is that mosquitos enjoy more than buzzing around the ears of evening picnickers? Yes, feeding on human blood! And what’s found in human blood? Yes, DNA! Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!
Scientists have learned that blood extracted from mosquitoes remains viable for DNA analysis up to two days after feeding. Therefore, a savvy crime scene investigator could save the day by simply catching mosquitos found flitting about at crime scenes.
A quick DNA test of the blood found in the belly of the bug could quite easily reveal the name of the killer (if his information is in the system), and how cool would it be to bring in Mr. I. Done Kiltem and notice he has a fresh mosquito bite on his cheek? I know, right?
At the very least, the DNA test could tell police who was at the crime scene. Might not be the killer’s blood in the bug’s belly, but it could be that of an accomplice or witness or someone who could help establish a timeline. Either way, Bug Belly Blood could prove to be a bit of extremely valuable evidence.
Imagine the headline …
Bandit Bagged By Bug Belly Blood
Unfortunately, the window for DNA testing of blood in a mosquito’s gut is limited to two days because the blood is completely digested by day three.
WOW! What a concept, and catching that mosquito without getting bit would be interesting. If it bit people at the crime scene who were investigating it that could be a bit tricky.
Terry, collecting the blood from the mosquito is no different than collecting it from clothing or carpeting, bedding, etc. Then the lab can process it as they would normally (PCR, genetic analyzer, etc.). The trick is catching the mosquito before the blood is digested.
I get that. But would the mosquito bite still be visible on the suspect by the time that’s all processed?
What are the odds that you’d get DNA results back in time (assuming you get a match) to catch the suspect with a fresh mosquito bite?