Criminal Justice Major Helps Detectives to Bring Indictment Against Murder Suspect
For Lauren Fumi ’22, her internship with the Columbus Division of Police was an opportunity to experience what it would be like to be a detective, enabling her to play a critical role in investigating real-life cases. Her work on one particular case helped investigators indict a double murder suspect.
January 20, 2022
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Shortly after Lauren Fumi ’22 began her internship with the Columbus Division of Police in Ohio, she began working on a case that had been frustrating investigators for months that involved a double homicide. During her internship, she provided important support to detectives on the case, and, with her help, they were able to indict the suspect.
Although detectives built a case against the primary suspect, it was complicated when he fled the state. While they were able to extradite him to Ohio on a parole violation, they weren’t yet able to charge him with the murders. They briefed Fumi on the case, and she built a timeline of the crime that included significant events and the elements that tied the suspect to the shooting.
With Fumi’s help, police were able to indict the suspect just days before his release on the parole violation. Earlier this month, he was charged with two counts of murder in connection with the shooting, and he faces an assault charge for wounding a third victim.
“The detectives worked for months building a case against the suspect but needed that last little piece to put it all together to satisfy the prosecutors,” explains Fumi, a criminal justice major at the University. “That’s where I came in. I was elated when I heard the good news. When I began my internship, I did not believe that my efforts would make such a significant impact. I am overjoyed that, with my help, justice was served.”
Throughout her internship, Fumi drew on what she has learned at the University. She cited her “Advanced Investigative Techniques” course, which she took last fall, as particularly impactful. As part of her final assignment, she wrote a mock affidavit for the arrest of a suspect and created an investigative timeline of the suspect’s crimes, preparing her to assist the Columbus Division of Police.
“The excellent professors at the University of New Haven provided me with a strong work ethic and a solid foundation of investigative skills,” she said. “I went into this internship with an understanding of court procedures, basic investigative techniques, and a strong moral compass.”
‘Patience and hard work lead to success’
Like so many cities across the nation, Columbus has experienced an uptick in homicides, including more than 200 in 2021 alone. During her internship, Fumi responded to several cleared homicide scenes, enabling her to observe detectives firsthand – something she describes as a “one-of-a-kind experience.” She also watched and listened to interviews with witnesses and suspects, describing these opportunities as among the most interesting of her internship.
Fumi also gained experience and assisted investigators by listening to calls on cell phones that had been seized. She identified any information she believed would be valuable and presented it to detectives.
While listening to another call, she heard a suspect arrange a witness bribe. She reported this to the lead detective on the case, and the suspect, who is charged in connection with a stabbing last summer, now may also face a witness tampering charge.
“I learned that patience and hard work lead to success,” she said. “Homicide investigations are typically not like television shows and movies where everything is neatly and satisfyingly resolved in 60 minutes. It takes hard work, skill, dedication, and meticulousness to find pieces of evidence that can be used to solve a case. During my last semester at the University, I will be sure to apply all of these qualities, especially in my ‘Crime Scene Investigation’ course.”
‘I can’t help but want to be a detective’
Fumi cites her cousin, now a detective in Newark, Ohio, as the biggest inspiration for her passion for justice. When she was growing up, she fondly remembers the stories he would tell on holidays about his experiences as a police officer.
After she graduates from the University, Fumi is considering pursuing a civilian crime analysis position, and then entering the police academy. She says her time with the Columbus Division of Police has impacted her career goals.
“I can’t help but want to be a detective after the extraordinary experience I had with my internship,” she said. “It gave me a very intimate look at the homicide investigation process. I fell in love with the process, and it is now my dream job. I am grateful to the homicide detectives at the Columbus Division of Police not only for their support during my time there, but also for keeping Columbus safer.”