The M-Vac could be used to wet vacuum the entire bed cover onto a single filter."
Like that rock along the Utah river, M-Vac has pulled crucial evidence from surfaces that have otherwise defeated traditional cutting, swabbing, taping and scraping.
Clothing, ropes and restraints, rocks and bricks, porous and smooth surfaces, and items soaked in blood or water can all give up their secret traces to the suction of the M-Vac, according to a survey of case histories.
A shirt used to tie the legs of a man who was put into a car and then pushed off a cliff in the United Arab Emirates was combed for DNA using M-Vac. Despite inconclusive swabbing results, the vacuum produced enough genetic material for four people: the man, his wife, and the two collaborators who helped her carry out the murder-for-hire plot.
A brick used to kill a person found in a field in China yielded a genetic profile to the M-Vac, which allowed a match and a confession from the killer.
"I think that just about every cold case out there could potentially have an item of evidence that could benefit from sample collection with the M-Vac," she said, adding that investigators would still need to be aware of potential contamination from years of evidence handling.
But the M-Vac extracted the breakthrough evidence in a single try.
"But you can M-Vac someone's whole arm or leg in a matter of minutes."