The role technology played in bomb suspect's arrest

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Saturday, October 27, 2018
Florida man taken into custody in suspicious packages case
Suspect Cesar Sayoc detained in Florida in connection with possible explosive devices as reported by Dann Cuellar during Action News at 11 on October 26, 2018.

The speed at which these investigators worked by all accounts was remarkable, to say the least.

Initially, a fingerprint to work with, and then a couple of DNA samples and they were off to the races.

Security expert Jack Tomarchio said, "I figured that an individual would be identified, an individual would be arrested within 72 hours."

Former Homeland Security official Jack Tomarchio made that prediction to us on Wednesday.

He also suspected it would turn out to be a white male between the ages of 48 and 60.

The suspect Cesar Sayoc, Jr. is 56.

"And I say that not because I'm clairvoyant because the amount of science involved that's up against a perpetrator is staggering," said Tomarchio.

The FBI's CJIS division in West Virginia played a critical role.

It maintains a tremendous repository of latent fingerprints that have been collected.

With technology that didn't exist just five years ago, they can search that single latent print they found against millions of fingerprints and come up with an answer in minutes.

"It's very, very fast. They can look at and analyze, and look for similarities in fingerprints in seconds, it's that fast, and that's what we had here," added Tomarchio.

Then there's DNA evidence, Tomarchio says all it takes is something as small as an eyelash or drop of sweat.

"You might not even know you're leaving any trace of your crime when you're committing your crime," he said.

Also, U.S. Postal Service inspectors have a vast ability to

track packages and where they've been which led them to that South Florida package distribution center rather quickly.

"All those things are working against you. All they needed was one. One," said Tomarchio.

Sayoc's fingerprints were already in the database due to his prior arrests, so for him, it was downhill from there.

Overall, it seems he was no match against forensic technology the Feds have at their disposal.

"There's so much scientific evidence that is out there and so many techniques that the FBI and the Feds have to find a perpetrator that you saw the power of that in this case," said Tomarchio.

Tomarchio says the investigating part of this is just beginning.

Now they'll be going back years into his background and all his contacts to see if there was anybody else who helped, assisted or encouraged him in any way.


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