FBI Agent Discusses Involvement in Local Cases

8:16 PM, Jul 13, 2011   |    comments
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  • Special Agent Stephen Emmett

Two weeks ago, local authorities began their investigation in the Lauren Giddings murder.

Almost immediately, the FBI joined the probe. Special Agent Stephen Emmett serves as the FBI's public information officer in Atlanta.

During an interview Wednesday, Emmett wouldn't talk about specifics of the Giddings killing. But he did talk about how the FBI gets involved in local cases, and he said that's by invitation.

"If it's not a federal case," Emmett said, "we have no jurisdiction, and we're not invited in, I cannot see an instance where we would force ourselves into that equation. It really doesn't work that way."

He said federal cases include crimes committed on federal property or committed across state lines. He stressed the importance of gathering crime scene evidence and handling it properly.

"It's very crucial to obtain the evidence soon into the investigation to avoid it being tainted by the environment or outside individuals," Emmett said.

Evidence gathered in the Giddings case was packed up and sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Va., the first week of the probe.

Emmett said time sensitive evidence gets priority treatment.

"If it's something that's going to hold up the investigation, then priority can be given to that to include flying that evidence up on government aircraft," he said.

In order to identify Giddings body, DNA evidence gathered from her parents and her hair brush was sent to Quantico and a positive identification was made in a couple of days.

Emmett said another investigative tool the FBI has is its Emergency Response Teams. Those teams are moved quickly when needed  and priority goes to severe crimes.

Giddings' body was dismembered. Some of her body parts remain missing.

"They really ask that any examination in state or local cases be limited to violent crimes," Emmett said. "Those are the priorities in managing our resources."

Emmett noted that the FBI has field offices around Georgia, including one in Macon. He said agents in those offices can gget to crime scenes quickly and began gathering and processing evidence.

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