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Indian River County Sheriff's Office on standby to help identify Surfside condo collapse victims

Rapid Hit ID machines can find match in 90 minutes
Posted at 9:06 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 22:37:20-04

VERO BEACH, Fla.  — Indian River County deputies are on standby to head to Surfside to help identify human remains.

"We have equipment available," said Rob Newman, Sergeant. "We're able to go down there and provide our equipment and mainly just our labor."

The Rapid Hit ID systems can make reliable DNA matches in just 90 minutes.

"We mainly do buckle swabs, that's a swab inside the cheek of our mouth," said Brooke Rollando, Crime Scene Investigator.

The machines can also match DNA using blood and bone fragments.

"DNA is pretty stable as long as it's not exposed to extreme heat or extreme cold," said Rollando.

Rollando said loved ones of those still unaccounted for would need to supply a sample of their own to match with those currently missing.

"We could probably do only about 16 samples per day but that's still 16 samples and I mean after a few days that's quite a few," said Newman.

Newman said the machines require a lot of preparation.

Both machines would need to be wrapped in dry ice and refrigerated.

Newman said if they do get the call, they can be in Surfside in just a matter of hours.