Illinois State Police Sgt. Matt Davis visited the University of Indianapolis last Wednesday (4 April) to present forensic anthropologist Stephen Nawrocki with a citation for his contributions to a serial murder investigation.
Nawrocki, a noted Indiana expert who has served as an external case reviewer in forensic anthropology for the Illinois State Police for the last several years, will receive a Department Unit Citation, the highest level of commendation, for his role in the Larry Bright investigation in Peoria. Bright confessed in May 2006 to seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of drug-induced homicide in a case involving the disappearance of eight prostitutes in the Peoria area.
As an external reviewer, Nawrocki serves as an adviser during the process of recovering and analyzing bone at crime scenes, and verifies investigative findings. Davis called him to the Bright case in January 2005 after it was discovered that the suspect had burned bodies and distributed the fragments in various locations around Peoria. The evidence had to be collected, cleaned, processed and inventoried properly.
“With Dr. Nawrocki’s assistance, we were able to positively identify one victim and establish that there were a minimum of three additional victims in the large sample of evidence,” Davis said. The evidence was forwarded to the district attorney’s office, and charges were filed. Bright pleaded guilty on the eve of his trial to avoid a possible death penalty, Davis said.
Nawrocki, director of UIndy’s graduate program in human biology, is well known to Indiana police agencies for his help in investigations, including several high-profile cases such as the disappearance of Indiana University student Jill Behrman and the Herbert Baumeister serial murder case in Westfield that involved the deaths of at least 11 men.
SOURCE: University of Indianapolis.