The Horrific Crime Scene Revisited, an annual educational exhibit where visitors can explore and examine a re-created murder scene and make their own determinations based on the forensic evidence that is presented, is returning for its third year to the UW–Platteville Forensic Investigation Crime Scene House today from noon to 8 p.m.
Because of the nature of the exhibit, it is not recommended for young children. The event is free and open to the public.
The event drew approximately 500 people and attracted nationwide press coverage last year.
This year’s exhibit will re-create a murder that occurred in Wisconsin in the late 1970s, though the case will be kept secret until the event begins. The crime scene exhibit will be staged as accurately as possible. The format has changed slightly from previous years and will be even more interactive for visitors.
The Criminal Justice Association, a student organization open to all UW–Platteville criminal justice and forensic investigation majors and minors, is sponsoring the event. The UW–Platteville Alumni Association, criminal justice department and the forensic investigation program are providing funding for the event.
“This experience will encourage people to examine and think about the evidence that is presented at the re-created crime scene,” said Danny Wipperfurth, president of the Criminal Justice Association and a junior criminal justice major with an emphasis in law enforcement at UW–Platteville from Verona. “People won’t have any preconceived ideas about what happened when they first arrive, so they will have to analyze the evidence as it is presented and try to make a determination about the case.”
“The Horrific Crime Scene Revisited helps the public better understand what goes into homicide investigations, especially the more brutal ones,” said Jed Neumann, member of the Criminal Justice Association and a senior forensic investigation major at UW–Platteville from Rochester, Minn. “This is an actual murder case that most people may have heard about, though they may not know all of the details about the evidence that was at the crime scene. The re-created crime scene will shed light on additional evidence and crime scene details that the media didn’t share with the public at the time of the murder.”
Diana Johnson, assistant professor for the UW–Platteville criminal justice department’s forensic investigation program, and Dana Cecil, lecturer for the UW–Platteville criminal justice department, are co-founders and co-organizers of the event and are serving in an advisory capacity at this year’s event.
“The Horrific Crime Scene Revisited event is an opportunity for us to showcase our Forensic Investigation Crime Scene House,” said Cecil. “The FICSH is a unique feature of our university and this special event is an excellent opportunity for students, prospective students, alumni, community members and visitors to see what our criminal justice department and forensic investigation program offers.”
“This event counteracts what we call ‘the CSI effect,’” said Johnson. “There’s no glamour here. It is purely an educational experience that shows what officers and forensic investigators have to deal with when they are investigating a major crime scene. The exhibit is an excellent way to help visitors better understand the technical intricacies of forensic and crime scene investigation.”
UW–Platteville’s FICSH, which opened in 2010, is a rare resource in the U.S. There are only a few crime scene houses associated with universities.
This distinctive facility provides a hands-on opportunity for UW–Platteville students to gain knowledge of the procedures followed in crime scenes using important principles such as photography, latent fingerprint development techniques, footwear impressions and evidence documentation, collection and preservation. There are currently more than 850 students enrolled in UW-Platteville’s criminal justice and forensic investigation programs.
Visitors may provide their own transportation to the crime scene house, located at 29065 College Farm Road ,Platteville, or shuttles will provide free transportation, leaving from the Pine Street loop adjacent to Ullsvik Hall at 2, 3 and 4 p.m., and returning at 3, 4 and 5 p.m.
For more information about the Forensic Investigation Crime Scene House, go to www.uwplatt.edu/cj/house or contact the UW–Platteville criminal justice department, 342-1622, firstname.lastname@example.org.