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From murder to child abuse, detectives see it all

Police detectives are not as well-known as television’s CSI crime busters, but they do perform some of the same job duties.

Federal Way’s detectives investigate and collect evidence in felony crimes committed against people. These include homicides, robberies, domestic violence, arson, rape, harassment and reported or suspected abuse or assault. The crimes require close attention to detail and a significant amount of time and energy. At any given time, each of Federal Way’s detectives is working to solve 20 or more cases, Lt. Cary Murphy said.

“All of us, at some point, take the lead on a homicide when it comes in,” Detective Doug Deyo said.

Deyo said Friday he is currently working on a case that originated in 2005. He is also on-call when the department needs to put his expertise to work. As commonly heard, the first 48 hours is a critical time for collecting evidence.

“Outside of that window, things start disappearing, people start disappearing and stories change,” he said.

This proved especially true this past March when Twin Lakes resident Jane Carol Britt, 75, was slain near her husband’s residential care facility. There were no witnesses to the crime and the case took a little more than two weeks to solve. DNA collected within the first two days after the homicide provided detectives with the evidence they needed to pin the suspect as a 24-year-old nursing assistant at the facility, Deyo said.

Britt’s homicide was one of six this year police were able to identify as such, he said. A few other instances — mostly involving infants — took place, but not enough evidence was available to charge a suspect with homicide, Deyo said.

“We’ve had a couple of those; unfortunately there for a while, we were having them almost weekly,” he said. “It was hard on our department.”

One of the toughest jobs with the police department is held by detective Heather Castro. She investigates sex offenses, child abuse and assault crimes. She works closely with Child Protective Services.

“There are cases that bother me,” Castro said. “I have sleepless nights.”

Her first bothersome case came only days after she became a detective. In January 2006, Castro was assigned a child assault case she will never forget.

A 14-year-old girl was being abused by her caregiver, who was also her cousin. The girl was poked in the eyes with needles, hit in the ankles with 10-pound weights and locked in an exterior storage space for up to six hours, among other things, Castro said.

Interviews with the child led to evidence that was sufficient for charging the woman, who fled to Texas. The caregiver was apprehended and is now serving 10 years in jail for her crimes, Castro said. The child is doing much better with another foster family, she said.

“That was one of the most horrendous assault cases I’ve investigated,” Castro said.

Castro is not the only one with the department who handles sex offense cases. Detective K.C. Krusey monitors the city’s sex offenders. He has the task of making neighbors aware that an offender is moving to their neighborhood. He monitors 235 registered sex offenders.

He also determines how likely each of these people are of re-offending. There are four levels of classification. A level four signifies the person is highly likely of committing another sex offense. Krusey has the power to adjust a criminal’s rating, but rarely does, he said.

“I don’t want to put these people in a position where they no longer have to be monitored,” Krusey said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

Check it out:

As of Sept. 15, as provided by Lt. Murphy, the police department has investigated the following this year:

• six homicides

• 101 sex offenses

• 76 felony assaults

• six arsons

• 103 robberies

• more than 200 CPS referrals

F.Y.I.:

On Sept. 5, the police department began its Citizen’s Academy, an eight-week program designed to educate the public on how Federal Way police operate. In the next few weeks, The Mirror will explore what it takes to be a cop.

A look into patrol, traffic enforcement, criminal investigations, the Valley Communications 911 center, K-9, and narcotics and vice operations will be explored. Keep reading for more stories on who Federal Way’s police are and why they do what they do.

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