Hobbema RCMP investigate two-year-old murder case with help of new technology

UAV-up-closeRCMP in Hobbema are hoping a unique piece of technology will help solve a two-year-old murder case.

On September 5, 2011, Chelsea Yellowbird was found with gunshot wounds to her upper body and face, outside a home on the Samson Townsite. Yellowbird died a short time later in a Wetaskiwin hospital.

“Two years have since lapsed and her death is still unsolved at this time,” said Constable Pernell Cardinal with Hobbema RCMP.

On Wednesday, RCMP, along with members of the Red Deer Forensic Collision Reconstruction Unit photographed the crime scene with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

The UAV uses a 12-megapixel camera to capture pictures and video from above the scene.

“UAV has the ability to take a photograph straight down without distortion,” Cardinal explained.

The photos will then be used to document and recreate the crime scene.

“We can then do 3D drawings based on that picture, from any 3D perspective we want to rotate around,” added Corporal Donovan Gulak, with the Red Deer Forensic Collision Reconstruction Unit.

“I can capture the evidence at the time, or in this case after the fact, and then incorporate new evidence into a scaled drawing based on the image that I capture,” Gulak added. “What the aerial photos do for us is it really negates the necessity to survey.”

UAVs are primarily used in investigating and reconstructing collision scenes. However, they are now being used in criminal investigations. RCMP hope the UAV may help uncover new information in Yellowbird’s death.

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