FSU to assist with search for Alabama teen in Aruba

A special unit of Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice has been asked to assist with search and recovery efforts in the case of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway. The Underwater Crime Scene Investigation (UCSI) program, based at FSU’s Panama City campus, received the request for assistance from the prime minister of Aruba and the Texas EquuSearch Team, a non-profit organization that has been involved in the search.

The team of four experts traveling to Aruba includes Dale Nute, a forensic scientist with over 40 years of experience; Mike Zinzser, diving safety officer, director of the Advanced Science Diving Program and U.S. Navy diver (retired); Mark Feulner, underwater archaeologist and technology specialist; and Dan Walsh, Coast Guard diver (retired) and dive engineer. The team will be utilizing their side-scan sonar and a remote operated vehicle.

The Florida State University Panama City UCSI program is the only academic-based program of its kind in the United States. The team has been involved in numerous recovery efforts. In 2004, team members assisted Escambia County officials with the identification of potential vehicles and victims in Escambia Bay as the result of Hurricane Ivan and the I-10 bridge collapse.  They have also assisted other law enforcement agencies with recovery of evidence and victims. In 2005, the team was involved with several murder investigations.

The UCSI program provides training to federal, state and local law enforcement divers throughout the United States. The program has received national attention from CNN, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Life Network and Popular Science magazine.