Real-life CSI: Forensic students brought to Miami murder scene

05/29/2013 8:38 AM

05/29/2013 7:43 PM

A group of forensic students on a field trip from Nebraska , who don’t get to see much bloodshed back home to pursue their morbid studies, got a taste of real-life CSI Miami on Wednesday.

A homicide scene in Northeast Miami became their classroom. Before them at the side of an apartment building: a man shot dead before dawn.

Six hours after the 2:45 a.m. shooting, the students fanned out at the crime scene to see police and medical examiner’s investigators at work.

Although this was their first time at a crime scene, they said their classes back home had prepared them to take in the gruesome images and to analyze them with a scientist’s perspective.

“It wasn’t that bad. I wasn’t shocked or anything,” said Jenny Renken, 23, one of the students.

The students were not allowed to release details about the crime. And police are not giving details on the shooting, suspects or motive.

The only thing known so far: Police found a man shot dead on the south side of an apartment building in the 300 block of Northeast 80th Terrace.

“It was nice to see something different from the lecture or the textbook,” said Monica Olson, 22.

The three students are participating in a two-week internship with the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office as part of their masters studies in forensic science at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Nebraska has a low crime rate so the university partners with more violent cities so that students can fulfill the requirement of attendance to at least six autopsies.

“We are flying back Saturday and we have already seen 20 autopsies” Renken said. “In Nebraska, there are probably not even six autopsies performed in a whole year.”

Despite what they’ve seen so far in Miami, the students aren’t shocked.

“Every major city has its share of crime,” Renken said. “Nebraska is a pretty quiet place because it’s small and everybody knows each other.”

The three students still have a year left to graduate. One lesson they will take home: Real-life crime investigation is very different from what we see on TV.

“I love Dexter because it is hilarious,” Renken said. “It takes much more time than what you see to get results. You cannot solve a crime in 20 minutes.”

“A lot of the time, the science you see on TV series is not real science,” said Kayla Vastenhout, 23. “People get a false perception of the profession.”

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