2018 Civilian of the Year
Civilian of the Year
Crime Scene Technician Christine Althoff responded to a residential fire in Bonita Springs in October 2018 in which a body was found inside. A scene examination revealed that the decedent was the victim of a homicide and the fire was set afterwards to cover up the crime.
Christine documented and processed the scene under difficult situations, as the floor where the victim was found was missing from the fire damage and the residence was filled with fire and smoke debris.
She noticed there possibly were some expensive personal items of the victim's missing from the residence but would have to wait until the investigation progressed further. In that time, Christine sorted through thousands of photographs that were recovered on a suspect's phone to determine that some of the personal items viewed on the phone matched receipts of the victim's personal property collected from the scene.
Christine notified the MCU case detective and both sat down to discuss the timeline of the purchase of a purse, and the electronic date of the photographs of the items on the suspect's phone. Due to Christine's diligence, experience and knowledge, this critical evidence was not overlooked at the scene or in the processing stages that followed.
Christine also provided valuable assistance in identifying skeletal remains located in Lehigh Acres. She examined the skull in late 2018 and found defects in the teeth that appeared visually unique. She conducted research into unreported missing persons in Lee County and found a possible match. She then found Facebook photographs of the missing person and compared them to the photographs of the teeth from the skeletal remains as well as the sketch. She found many similarities and provided her findings to the lead detective. The investigation is ongoing.