Lynchburg’s digital detectives go high-tech to crack cases


A drug dealer’s camera footage.

An extortionist’s social media page.

A murderer’s cell phone records.

As criminals go high-tech, Lynchburg detectives rely more and more on electronic evidence and the forensic specialists who analyze it.

“Everything is going digital. … It doesn’t matter what the crime is, it’s likely you’re going to have digital evidence,” said Detective Colin Byrne of the department’s Digital Evidence Recovery Unit.

Byrne is one of three detectives assigned to the DERU. The unit formed around the end of 2008 so Lynchburg officers could perform investigations in-house, rather than rely on state police.

The unit has helped investigate some of the city’s most high-profile cases in recent memory. DERU detectives investigated the 23 bomb threats that flooded local schools and a hospital in February. They dug through banking records in the Lynrocten Federal Credit Union embezzlement case and helped piece together the murder of Lynda Slocum in late 2012. In the Slocum case, phone records were instrumental in determining the slain woman’s son-in-law was in the area the night she was killed, and he subsequently was convicted of her murder.

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