SARASOTA, Fla. – Sarasota county detectives identified a criminal using a technique you’d likely find on an episode of “CSI”.
They found a photograph of a hand, and they were able to extract and identify the fingerprint.
Detectives say as far as they know, this has never been done before.
Earlier this year, detectives got a tip that Sarasota resident Dannie Horner had been making graphic child porn with a 1-year-old boy.
But after Horner was arrested, officials still needed the evidence to prove it.
Lt. Joe Giasone said, “You might know a person is responsible for a crime or you may think a person is responsible for a crime, but then you have to find evidence to prove it in court.”
Investigators confiscated his phone, and found pictures of a man abusing a child. The man’s face was not visible, but his fingers were captured in incredible detail, so a detective thought- could this fingerprint be identified?
Brenda Viana with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s office fingerprint unit said, “This was something new that we had never done before.”
Detectives at the Sarasota County sheriff’s used computers to isolate the fingerprints on the photos.
When they compared them to Dannie Horner’s prints, it was a match.
And for the prosecutor working the case, Amanda Gambert, it was compelling evidence.
Gambert said, “This was actually more reliable than comparing to prints left at the scene because here you’re looking at the actual finger and you’re not worried about how much pressure was applied.”
Experts say this is a game changer, and in an age of high-tech camera-phones this new method could help capture other dangerous criminals in the future.
A jury found Horner guilty last week and he has been sentenced to life in prison.