PODCASTS

FBI Confidential: new podcast takes viewers, listeners inside FBI investigations

Jun 21, 2018, 5:28 PM | Updated: 9:41 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Real-life crime scene investigation is nothing like what you see on TV, according to the man in charge of the FBI Salt Lake City Division’s Evidence Response Team.

“The Evidence Response Team is basically CSI,” says Special Agent Steve Daniels. “We’ve got at least one team of eight people in all 56 of our field offices, spread throughout the nation.”

Debbie Dujanovic inside the FBI’s evidence room.

Where it differs from what you see on CSI and other television shows is speed. You might see the same detective process a crime scene, swab DNA on the spot and get instant results. Daniels says the reality is far more deliberate and slow.

“It’s kind of a methodical, slow sometimes, process – where we can’t rush, we can’t hurry,” he explains.

Part of Daniels’ job is to collect evidence so prosecutors can build a case against a suspected criminal. For example, his team’s work was instrumental in tying the suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Utah Transit Authority employee Kay Ricks to the multiple crime scenes that were involved.

“[The suspects] took him in his own UTA truck,” Daniels recalls, discussing how Ricks’ body and his stolen truck were recovered from separate remote locations in Wyoming. “Instead of us going to the truck, and having to deal with the truck in this remote area, I had them drive the truck here and put it in this bay that we’re in.”

Kay Ricks’ truck as seen from Chopper 5.

With the truck now in the same location as Daniels’ team and high tech tools, they were able to recover evidence that would have been harder to get in the field.

“I think we ended up finding an Arctic Circle receipt, which, yes, they did go to an Arctic Circle and I think they found video from that later. So just little things like that, that just match up with this case” helped build a prosecution, Daniels says. “I mean, that’s critical. Now we know at this timeline, these guys were together. Where is that in relation to where the body was found? …It just starts adding all of these different leads for the case agent.”

Daniels’ team was able to get a fingerprint from the front of the truck, where it appeared Dereck James and Flint Harrison had opened the hood to try to disable the vehicle. Another fingerprint was found inside the door handle of the truck, showing that the Harrisons had been inside the cab. A food bowl left on the dash had a spoon in it that contained one of the suspects’ DNA. Finally, a paint can left in the back of the truck helped tie the multiple scenes together.

Special Agent Steve Daniels is in charge of the FBI Salt Lake City Division’s Evidence Response Team.

“They used this fluorescent green paint to try to spray, cover up the UTA insignia on the side doors. And on that can, we found a fingerprint for one of the suspects,” Daniels says. “And then what was interesting about that was the Wyoming investigators, they processed the body site. The body dump site. And they happened to spot on – some kind of twig or branch or something, they found this little trace of fluorescent paint, and then that ended up matching that paint that was from the paint can.”

Dereck James “DJ” Harrison pleaded guilty in 2017 as part of a deal that took the death penalty off the table. He is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Daniels’ team also helps from time to time in large crime scenes even outside of the FBI Salt Lake City Division’s three-state area. They were called in to help with the recovery efforts after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in New York City. Because the FBI was heavily involved in securing the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics, Daniels and the team from this region who assisted in the post-9/11 recovery efforts did not transfer into that area until April of 2002, several months after the terror attacks.

“By the time we got there, we were just doing a human remains recovery effort, going through that debris, looking for any kind of human remains, any kind of IDs, rings, anything that might be a personal affect, personal item to those victims, to their families, so they could eventually try to get that back,” Daniels says.

He says the largest fragment of human remains anyone on his team found while they were there was a partial human jawbone.

More recently, Daniels’ team was called to help process the crime scene after the Harvest 91 Festival shooting in Las Vegas.

Sometimes, the work leads to justice for victims of crimes. But other times, it’s more about closure and answers for those who want to know what happened to their loved ones — and Daniels says that’s what he felt like his team was able to accomplish in Las Vegas and New York, where the suspects who might have been prosecuted died before that could happen.

“To me, it was like,  I’d want to know where my family member was. I’d want to know — you know, I’d want to have some kind of diagram or map that showed maybe what happened,” Daniels says.

FIRST THREE PODCASTS:

Firearms Training:

Evidence Response Team:

Human Trafficking:

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Podcasts

Sheree Warren (Warren family)...
Dave Cawley, KSL TV

COLD: Podcast uncovers new clues about discovery of missing Utah woman’s car in Las Vegas

A missing woman’s car surfaced behind a casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip in November 1985.
27 days ago
Ron and Sy Snarr, of Salt Lake City, pose for a photo on Aug. 19, after describing their relationsh...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

‘The Letter’: Meeting the monster

Jorge Benvenuto sat alone in a prison cell in central Utah trying to put into words how he felt about killing a stranger when he was 19 years old.
1 month ago
Ron and Sy Snarr of Salt Lake City, read a letter on Friday Aug. 19, from Jorge Benvenuto, who murd...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

The Letter: A long-awaited delivery that ‘changes everything’

The family of murdered Zachary Snarr contemplates receiving a letter from their son's killer, Jorge Benvenuto, from prison.
2 months ago
Family members gather outside a courtroom where Jorge Benvenuto was sentenced for murder on Jan. 30...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

‘The Letter’: A death sentence waiting to happen

Many people believed if there was ever a case that warranted a death penalty, this was the one. Episode 4 of "The Letter" podcast looks back at the sentencing hearing for Jorge Benvenuto.
2 months ago
Ron and Sy Snarr, of Salt Lake City, pose for a photo on Friday, Aug. 19, after reading a letter fr...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

‘The Letter’: Salt Lake couple describes every parent’s nightmare

Twenty-six years ago, a Utah mom laid her son to rest after a senseless shooting. Decades later, a letter arrived. Now, in a brand new KSL podcast, she shares the story of how those pages of hand-written words changed her family's lives forever.
3 months ago
...
Debbie Worthen

New KSL Podcast: Celebrating the Spectrum with Debbie Worthen

The KSL podcast lineup is getting a new show. "Celebrating the Spectrum" is a KSL original podcast that will drop weekly episodes every Monday morning featuring KSL TV's Debbie Worthen.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
FBI Confidential: new podcast takes viewers, listeners inside FBI investigations