Prince William Chamber of Commerce

2016 Valor Awards Winners

Gold: Lieutenant Scott Kearns, Prince William County Police Department

On December 8, 2015 Lieutenant Scott Kearns was participating in an Underwater Criminal Investigator Class at Lake Barcroft in Fairfax County. Instructor Mike Barry, First Sergeant with the Virginia State Police paired Lt. Kearns with someone from another agency. The objective of the training exercise was to swim to a buoy and, using SCUBA equipment, follow a line down to the bottom of the lake where they would find a mannequin representing a drowning victim.

Upon locating the mannequin they were to use their instruments to control their buoyancy, ascend to the surface, drop the mannequin back to the bottom and repeat. Water temperatures were in the 40’s with visibility of less than 3 feet in approximately 30 feet of water. After several recoveries of their mannequin, Kearns and his partner both signaled that they would return to the surface because air supply was running low. Lt. Kearns ascended to the surface and once they’re fully inflated his buoyancy device and opened the airway on his breathing mask while he waited for the other diver to join him at the surface. Instead of seeing the other diver surface, he saw the buoy begin to bob and then disappear below the surface of the water.

Preparing to once again dive to the bottom, he saw an excess of air bubbles rising from the bottom, an indicator of hyperventilation. Lieutenant Kearns dropped down the buoy line and located his partner in an upright position right where he had last seen him; at the bottom. The other diver was panicked, flailing his arms and showed no signs that he could even see that Kearns was there to help him.

Knowing that air was running dangerously low for both of them, Lt. Kearns grabbed the other diver, inflated his buoyancy device and swam toward the surface. Once there the other diver still showed no signs of recognizing that he was in the clear. Lt. Kearns began to swim toward the shore with his partner in tow. As he neared the shore, other trainees recognized the need to assist and swam out to pull both Kearns and his partner to safety. The instructor later said that had it not been for Lt. Kearns, his partner would have drowned. For placing his own life in peril in pursuit of the rescue of a fellow officer, we present Lieutenant Scott Kearns of the Prince William County Police Department with the Gold Medal for Valor.

Gold: Technician I Shawn Bliss, Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue

Technician I Shawn Bliss was away for a relaxing weekend at a friend’s cabin with friends and family. He ended up saving a life. On Saturday June 6, 2015, Bliss and his family arrived at the cabin in Elkton, Virginia on the banks of the Shenandoah River. Being the last to arrive, they were unpacking their vehicle while some of the others prepared to launch a canoe on the river.

Roughly 50 feet downstream the river narrrowed and the water grew faster and choppier, forming small rapids. For safety, the two men and boy in the canoe were wearing life vests and were headed upstream, away from the rapids. However, because of recent rainfall, the current was more swift than anticipated and they found themselves being swept back toward the choppy water. In their attempts to fight the current and keep away from the rapids, they wound up on the opposite tree-lined bank. One of the passengers, desperate to gain control, reached out to grab hold of a low-hanging branch.

The sudden movement caused the canoe to capsize. As the canoe was carried away in the current, all three passengers climbed to safety. Verbal communication was difficult between banks but after some time it was determined that one of the men had hurt his hip on the slippery, jagged rocks. To make matters worse, he was not wearing shoes, which would make it difficult to fight the current and cross on foot. After about 30 minutes of debate, Technician Bliss decided to cross himself to determine whether his friend was seriously injured or just bruised. Taking a pair of shoes for his injured friend and a large stick to help steady him against the current, Bliss set out across the river. Once across he assessed his friend’s condition and determined that he would be able to get back to the other bank without additional assistance. The uninjured adult male set out first and made it across without incident. While the other adult male put on his shoes and prepared to cross, Shawn set out with the boy; walking behind him and crossing at a shallower part of the river. Both he and the boy used sticks to steady themselves against the current and Shawn held on to the boy’s life vest.

About four feet off the bank, the young man slipped to his knees and lost the grip on his walking stick. As the two struggled to gain a firm foothold, the boy’s mom began to panic, calling out commands to him. It soon became clear that Shawn would have to take action or they would both be swept away. As the boy screamed for help, Bliss looped his forearm through the back of the boy’s jacket and pulled him to a spot where both could stand. It wasn’t long before both were safely on the shore where they waited for the final passenger to make it back across.

“There was a minute where I thought I would not be going home with my son,” said the boy’s mom. “That was the worst feeling of my life. Shawn stayed with him through it all, reassuring him that he wouldn’t let go. I am grateful Shawn was there that day!”

For putting himself in great peril to save a young boy who would not have made it to safety without his help, we present Technician I Shawn Bliss of the Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue with the Gold Medal for Valor. Technician I Shawn Bliss. 

Silver: Officer Ryan D. Rowland, Prince William County Police Department

On April 9, 2015 Officer Ryan D. Rowland responded to a call at the home of a known schizophrenic with a history of violent attacks on police officers. The man had stabbed a 3 year-old boy in the neck. The boy and his mother were barricaded inside the house with the suspect who was still armed. As one of the first to arrive on scene, Officer Rowland set up a perimeter. He then attempted, unsuccessfully, to establish voice contact with the boy and his mother.

When that effort failed, he asked for cover and approached the front door of the house. Once inside he found the mother and the boy. Taking the boy from his mother and indicating that she should follow him, Rowland ran to the waiting rescue personnel with the boy in his arms. Due to the severity of the little boy’s injuries, he was immediately transported to the hospital for surgery. After getting the boy and his mother out of the house, the suspect was taken into custody without further incident and treated for mental illness.

For knowingly exposing himself to great personal risk in the performance of a lifesaving act, we present Officer Ryan D. Rowland with the Silver Medal for Valor. 

Bronze: Sergeant David Bliss, Officer Michael Casey & Officer Sean Richards, Prince William County Police Department

Late on the night of March 21, 2015 Sergeant David Bliss and Officers Michael Casey and Sean Richards were called out to the All-American Steakhouse near Montclair for a stabbing in progress. When they arrived they were met by an unruly crowd in the parking lot. The victim was lying on the asphalt bleeding from a wound to his femoral artery.

Ignoring the crowd around them, the three officers focused all the their efforts on rendering medical aid to the stabbing victim. Officers Bliss and Casey began CPR as Officer Richards maintained direct pressure to the wound.

Within minutes several other officers arrived to control the crowd and provide security as Sergeant Bliss and Officers Casey and Richards continued their lifesaving efforts. When EMS personnel arrived, they were able to take over CPR from the officers. The victim was stabilized and transported to the hospital.

Thanks to the teamwork of the three officers who arrived first on the scene, the man ultimately survived. For their teamwork, extraordinary actions and the resulting saving of a life, we recognize Sergeant David Bliss and Officers Michael Casey and Sean Richards with the Bronze Medal for Valor.

Bronze: Officer Nicholas Colella, Prince William County Police Department & Merit: Officer Adam Gardiner, Prince William County Police Department

In many cases, officers are able to develop a rapport with a subject desperate to commit suicide, spending lengthy amounts of time talking and convincing the people in question to get help. Then there are incidents where there is no time to develop trust if a life is to be spared.

On October 26, 2015 Officers Adam Gardiner and Nicholas Colella were called out to investigate a report of a woman who looked like she was attempting to jump from the 123 Bridge near Gordon Boulevard in Woodbridge. When the officers arrived they saw the woman seated on the barrier wall, both legs swung over the side. As she attempted to slide forward off of the bridge, Officer Colella lunged forward and grabbed her around the torso to drag her backward onto the shoulder of the road.

According to bystander accounts, the woman was nearly the same size as Officer Colella and the fear was that she would drag him over the wall with her as she struggled. Officer Gardiner helped Officer Colella subdue the woman as she repeatedly attempted to get back to the edge of the bridge. They placed her in handcuffs yet still had to spend the next few minutes fighting to take the woman into custody.

Three citizens who witnessed the event classified the actions of Officers Gardiner and Colella as “heroic” and “lifesaving” saying that the woman seemed very determined to get back to her jump position.

We are pleased to publicly recognize Officers Colella and Gardiner for their courageous, decisive and persistent action to save the life of an emotionally disturbed woman at great risk to their own lives. For his willingness to put himself in danger of extreme peril we present the Bronze Medal for Valor to Officer Nicholas Colella of the Prince William County Police Department. Officer Adam Gardiner showed extraordinary judgement and zeal in performance of duty and we are pleased to present him with the Merit Award for Valor.

Bronze: Officer Eric Davis, Officer Chad Weyant, Detective Robyn Hyatt, Detective Matthew Newbauer, Sergeant Victor Tomsko, Prince William County Police Department

On December 22, 2015 Officer Eric Davis was asked to meet with a concerned citizen at the Western District Police Station regarding an incident that had taken place the day before at a local martial arts studio.

On the afternoon of December 21 students at the Tiger Martial Arts Studio in Bristow were slated to take a field trip, but the trip was cancelled when a six year-old student fell ill. The child was disoriented, vomiting and unsteady on his feet. Management asked the child’s instructor if something out of the ordinary had happened. The instructor presented conflicting stories: first that the child must have accidentally hit his head, and then that the older brother had hit him on the head. The little boy was picked up from class by his father who assumed he had a stomach virus.

But the staff at the martial arts studio felt that something about the story didn’t seem right. They pulled security videos and learned that the boy’s class had been acting up. The frustrated instructor was trying to gain control of the class when the boy in question crawled into a play tunnel to hide. The instructor approached the tunnel, pulled the boy out by his ankles and flung him face down on the floor. As soon as his head hit the floor, the child’s body went limp and it was clear that he had lost consciousness. The video showed that instructor start to panic, picked the boy up and carried him into the next room where he was able to revive him after close to three minutes. But as soon as the boy regained consciousness he began vomiting and acting strangely. At no point did the instructor inform fellow staff members or the boy’s parents of what had transpired.

After viewing the video, management at the studio informed the studio’s owners, sought out Officer Davis and called the boy’s father to tell him what had actually happened. After viewing the video himself, Officer Davis enlisted Officer Chad Weyant to meet the boy’s father at the hospital. He was tasked with speaking with the doctor to attempt to get a recommendation for an MRI. The doctor advised Officer Weyant that children are resilient and released the boy to his father with anti-nausea medication.

The next day Sergeant Victor Tomsko briefed Detectives Robyn Hyatt and Matthew Newbauer on the details of the case, noting his concern that the child had been released without an MRI. After viewing the video themselves, the Detectives went to visit the boy and his father at home. His father explained that his son was still nauseous and couldn’t seem to recall anything prior to the injury. There was a mark on the boy’s head and noticeable swelling. Together Detectives Newbauer and Hyatt convinced the father to take his son to the hospital for an MRI. Doctors discovered a lateral skull fracture and a subdermal hematoma.

He was admitted for monitoring of the swelling on his brain. Ordinarily in a case like this, where the child has been removed from custody of the offender, a detective would have been assigned to follow up several days later. But from the first report and up through the chain of command a thread of concern for the child’s well-being ran so strong that every officer involved felt compelled to persist until they knew the boy was really safe.

For their concern over a young child’s well-being over the standards of protocol which ultimately resulted in the saving of a life we are pleased to award the Bronze Medal for Valor to Sergeant Victor Tomsko, Detectives Matthew Newbauer and Robyn Hyatt and Officers Eric Davis and Chad Weyant.

Bronze: Officer Chad Weyant, Prince William County Police Department & Merit: Lieutenant R. Dan Grinnell, Prince William County Police Department

The call started with a report of a suspicious vehicle on the University Boulevard overpass over I-66. Officer Chad Weyant was the first to arrive on scene. By the time Lieutenant R. Dan Grinnell arrived on scene, Officer Weyant had discovered a woman threatening to jump to her death from the bridge on to I-66. She was standing on the ledge and clinging to the safety fence explaining why she wanted to end her life; saying that her life had become unmanageable.

When Lieutenant Grinnell arrived he found that Officer Weyant had already developed a good rapport with the woman. Together they spent the next 30 minutes talking with her and gaining her confidence. After the first tense half hour they were able to convince her to come down from the fence and move to a safer location. In the end she did not commit suicide as planned. Because of the cool heads and consummate professionalism of these two officers, a tragedy was prevented on September 20, 2015; not only for the woman’s family, but also for anyone who may have been driving on I-66 that day.

For their commitment to the life of each individual they serve and their willingness to go the extra mile to preserve the life of a single citizen, we present the Merit Award for Valor to Lieutenant R.Dan Grinnell and the Bronze Medal for Valor to Officer Chad Weyant of the Prince William County Police Department.

Bronze: Trooper Christopher Grzelak, Virginia Department of State Police

Trooper Christopher Grzelak sustained minor burns to both of his hands trying to save the life of someone who had been trying to escape from him. Trooper Grzelak was in pursuit of a motorcycle near the intersection of Route 123 and Horner Road and had lost sight for a brief time. When the rider came back into view, it was just in time for Grzelak to see the bike run a red light, strike a pickup truck and burst into flames. The bike lay on top of its rider, his legs now on fire. Helped by an onlooker, Trooper Grzelak sprang into action, pulling the rider to safety. He then put out the flames with his own two hands.

Although both Trooper Grzelak and hospital personnel made every effort to save the rider’s life, the injuries were too great. The rider passed away.

For extraordinary compassion, exemplary service and putting himself in harm’s way during an emergency situation, we present Trooper Christopher Grzelak of the Virginia State Police with the Bronze Medal for Valor.

Bronze: Chief Sheldon E. Levi, Town of Occoquan Police Department

A little after 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 17, 2015, Sheldon E. Levi, Chief of Police for the Town of Occoquan, was dispatched to an attempted suicide on the Route 123 Bridge. There in the middle of the afternoon, with 3 lanes of northbound traffic buzzing by at 55-60 miles per hour, was a man standing by the jersey wall and threatening to jump into the Occoquan River.

Instinctively, Chief Levi approached the subject and wrapped his arms around him, moving him out of harm’s way. While waiting for back-up, he made every attempt to engage the man in conversation, even repeatedly physically blocking the path back to the jersey wall. Despite the man’s pleading for Levi to simply turn his back and let the jump happen, the Chief stood firm.

Once additional police and EMS personnel arrived, the man was evaluated and placed into custody. From there he was taken to a nearby mental health facility for treatment. Several days later the man who had been so bent on committing suicide dropped by the Occoquan Town Hall looking for the man who had saved his life. He thanked the Chief for stepping in, staying calm and seeing a value to his life when even he himself could not see it.

For extraordinary judgement and performance of his duties and the resulting saving of a life, we present Chief Sheldon E. Levi of the Town of Occoquan Police Department with the Bronze Medal for Valor.

Bronze: Senior Police Officer Justin Lehman & Officer Yvette Sturman, City of Manassas Police Department

There are times when officer training kicks in and there are times when much more than that may be needed. On May 16, 2015, Senior Police Officer Justin Lehman and Officer Yvette Sturman found themselves in need of more than their training. On that day they epitomized what it means to both serve and protect.

Dispatched to an attempted suicide, the two officers arrived on scene to find a man holding a shotgun to his own head. He was still on the line with the 911 Operator. Supported by several other officers, Lehman and Sturman, both trained in crisis intervention, took over communications with the subject.

Ninety minutes later they had learned of the man’s 12 years of military service, numerous deployments, PTSD diagnosis and the recent death of his girlfriend, the reason he was attempting suicide.

Having developed a rapport with the man, the officers suggested resources that would help him and assured him that no harm would come to him by the police, even offering to be by his side should he decide to seek help. Eventually the man handed over his gun and went with Officer Sturman to receive the mental health treatment he needed.

That day, the man told police, he had intended either to shoot himself or force officers to do it for him. Because Officers Lehman and Sturman were patient and kind, acting “in a manner [he] had not anticipated,” he chose to spare his own life and get help.

For applying their training in a manner so excellent as to shift perceptions of the police and the resulting saving of a life, we present the Bronze Medal for Valor to Senior Police Officer Justin Lehman and Officer Yvette Sturman of the Manassas City Police Department.

Merit: Officer Adam Gardiner, Prince William County Police Department & Bronze: Officer Nicholas Colella, Prince William County Police Department

In many cases, officers are able to develop a rapport with a subject desperate to commit suicide, spending lengthy amounts of time talking and convincing the people in question to get help. Then there are incidents where there is no time to develop trust if a life is to be spared.

On October 26, 2015 Officers Adam Gardiner and Nicholas Colella were called out to investigate a report of a woman who looked like she was attempting to jump from the 123 Bridge near Gordon Boulevard in Woodbridge. When the officers arrived they saw the woman seated on the barrier wall, both legs swung over the side. As she attempted to slide forward off of the bridge, Officer Colella lunged forward and grabbed her around the torso to drag her backward onto the shoulder of the road.

According to bystander accounts, the woman was nearly the same size as Officer Colella and the fear was that she would drag him over the wall with her as she struggled. Officer Gardiner helped Officer Colella subdue the woman as she repeatedly attempted to get back to the edge of the bridge. They placed her in handcuffs yet still had to spend the next few minutes fighting to take the woman into custody.

Three citizens who witnessed the event classified the actions of Officers Gardiner and Colella as “heroic” and “lifesaving” saying that the woman seemed very determined to get back to her jump position.

We are pleased to publicly recognize Officers Colella and Gardiner for their courageous, decisive and persistent action to save the life of an emotionally disturbed woman at great risk to their own lives. For his willingness to put himself in danger of extreme peril we present the Bronze Medal for Valor to Officer Nicholas Colella of the Prince William County Police Department. Officer Adam Gardiner showed extraordinary judgement and zeal in performance of duty and we are pleased to present him with the Merit Award for Valor.

Merit: Lieutenant R. Dan Grinnell, Prince William County Police Department & Bronze: Officer Chad Weyant, Prince William County Police Department

The call started with a report of a suspicious vehicle on the University Boulevard overpass over I-66. Officer Chad Weyant was the first to arrive on scene. By the time Lieutenant R. Dan Grinnell arrived on scene, Officer Weyant had discovered a woman threatening to jump to her death from the bridge on to I-66. She was standing on the ledge and clinging to the safety fence explaining why she wanted to end her life; saying that her life had become unmanageable.

When Lieutenant Grinnell arrived he found that Officer Weyant had already developed a good rapport with the woman. Together they spent the next 30 minutes talking with her and gaining her confidence. After the first tense half hour they were able to convince her to come down from the fence and move to a safer location. In the end she did not commit suicide as planned. Because of the cool heads and consummate professionalism of these two officers, a tragedy was prevented on September 20, 2015; not only for the woman’s family, but also for anyone who may have been driving on I-66 that day.

For their commitment to the life of each individual they serve and their willingness to go the extra mile to preserve the life of a single citizen, we present the Merit Award for Valor to Lieutenant R.Dan Grinnell and the Bronze Medal for Valor to Officer Chad Weyant of the Prince William County Police Department.

Merit: Captain Andrew Carver, City of Manassas Department of Fire & Rescue

It was the afternoon of September 30, 2015. Captain Andrew Carver of the City of Manassas Department of Fire & Rescue was spending an off-duty day with his son, Nick. As they left their Clifton-area home, approaching the intersection of Union Mill Road and Springstone Drive, they noticed a small crowd gathering on the jogging path. Drawing closer to the intersection it became clear that the group of people had gathered around a person.

Pulling to the side of the road, Captain Carver’s training took over and both he and Nick ran to the scene. Lying unconscious on the ground was a man. A bystander was giving chest compressions. Captain Carver announced himself as a paramedic and set to work performing CPR. Nick, meanwhile knelt to pray for the unconscious man, the terrified gathering of bystanders and his father; that his training would enable him to save the man’s life. Captain Carver did just that.

Several months later the man’s family sent a letter to Captain Carver and his son, thanking them for stopping. The man lying on the side of the road had in fact suffered an erratic arrhythmia which resulted in a mild heart attack and three pin-point strokes. By Thanksgiving he had made an almost complete recovery with temporary restrictions for driving and jogging.

For his willingness to take time out of his day off and make himself available to apply training to help a man in need, we recognize Captain Andrew Carver of the City of Manassas Department of Fire & Rescue with the Merit Award for Valor.

We would also like to commend his son, Nick Carver for remaining calm and providing unexpected comfort to bystanders in a moment of crisis. You are a hero, Nick. 

Hillary Robinette Award: Detective Robyn Hyatt, Prince William Police Department  

For those that may not know the Hillary Robinette Award is for integrity in investigative work, including but not limited to, solving a cold case, or clearing a difficult active case, or the outstanding overall supervision of a particularly unusual case that is brought to a successful conclusion. This award is named for former FBI agent Hillary Robinette. He was an active member of the Prince William Valor Awards Committee in the early years of the program and advocated for awards recognizing outstanding investigative work.

When it comes to our local law enforcement officers, trustworthiness and ingenuity are a necessity on the job. Detective Robyn Hyatt is no exception. From the moment she became the primary agent on the case of a single mother who had been raped at gunpoint in her own home, Detective Hyatt fought to earn and maintain the victim’s trust.

At 4:30 a.m. on May 28, 2014 a woman woke to a strange man with a gun pointed at her head. Hoping that if she complied with all of his commands he would spare her children, who were asleep in the next room, she was subjected to being repeatedly raped and sodomized while the attacker kept a small light pointed in her face. It was enough to keep her from being able to provide a definitive description of the man once police arrived.

Along with patrol units, several members of the Special Victims Bureau arrived on the scene in the early hours of the morning to begin the investigation. Detective Hyatt was assigned a lead role on the case and went directly to the hospital to meet with the victim. During that visit a level of trust was established that would carry the two through a year-long investigation and trial. DNA evidence and details of Hyatt’s conversation with the victim were collected and submitted for analysis.

Close to a month later, CODIS returned a DNA match. A suspect was taken into the custody and interviewed. He provided multiple alibis and stated that the victim was a “crazy female” who wanted a relationship with him. He also noted that their encounters had been consensual. Detective Hyatt noted inconsistencies and the suspect was charged with rape while armed, forcible sodomy, abduction with intent to defile, aggravated sexual battery and burglary with intent to commit rape.

Upon further investigation Detective Hyatt discovered that the suspect had broken into the victim’s apartment the day before the assault and stolen her iPhone and a spare key in addition to a Nintendo DS. With that, the suspect was further charged with grand larceny.

Once arrested the suspect presented challenge after challenge, reaching out to members of the community in attempts to make the charges disappear. Detective Hyatt worked right alongside him building a stronger and stronger case. She found that the suspect’s girlfriend was in possession of both the gun used in the attack and the victim’s iPhone. By listening to the suspect’s phone calls at the Adult Detention Center, Hyatt learned that he was plotting with his girlfriend and another woman to keep the victim from appearing in court.

In the end, Detective Hyatt’s near-constant monitoring of the suspect’s phone conversations while also working with the victim to prepare her for court enabled her to build a case, stay one step ahead of the suspect and secure justice for the victim. On June 25, 2015 a jury found the suspect guilty of all 7 charges against him and he was sentenced to 3 life sentences plus 70 years. For integrity in investigative work and outstanding supervision of a difficult case brought to successful conclusion, we are pleased to present Detective Robin Hyatt of the Prince William County Police Department with the Hillary Robinette Award. 

Investigative Merit: Detective Renee Carr, Detective Juan Marquez, Retired Detective Richard Martindell, Crime Scene Analyst Renee Jacques, Crime Scene Analyst Kenneth Werner & Animal Control Supervisor Lorie Newsome, Prince William County Police Department

Detective Richard Martindell and Detective Renee Carr began an investigation in cooperation with the Fairfax County Police Department in January of 2015 concerning allegations of inappropriate acts with an animal.

As the investigation unfolded, it was discovered that the suspect had conspired with an adult woman through both in-person and online conversations to perform unnatural acts on the suspect’s male dog. During the encounter, the acts were; later to be distributed over the internet. In a separate incident, the suspect was alleged to have attempted to commit crimes against nature with a female dog which he also owned.

Detective Carr reached out to Animal Control Supervisor Lori Newsome for records of animals owned at the suspect’s address. Records of two dogs matching the descriptions of the victimized dogs were confirmed and on January 28, 2015 a search warrant was executed.

Supervisor Newsome was joined by a sexual assault examiner from Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, Crime Scene Analyst Renee Jacques and the Prince William County Animal Shelter veterinarian in extracting the dogs from the residence and examining them for evidence. The dogs were kept at the shelter and surveyed for several days. Discoveries included shaved fur around the base of their tales and pain in their hips among others.

Crime Scene Analyst Kenneth Warner worked with detectives in the suspect’s apartment, gathering evidence. Detective Juan Marquez took on the task of collecting all digital devices from the residence and combing them for evidence.

By January 29th sufficient evidence had been collected to charge the suspect with a long list of crimes including attempted crimes against nature, cruelty to animals, use of a computer to distribute obscene materials and later conspiracy to commit a felony.

The accused was held without bond and on March 13, 2015 plead guilty rather than face a trial and the overwhelming forensic evidence collected against him. Both dogs were transferred to rescue groups for rehabilitation and eventual adoption.

This is the kind of case that not one of the involved investigators would ever have dreamed of having to be a part of; but their extraordinary commitment to detailed evidence collection, leading to rescue for the voiceless and a successful case closure has earned them an Investigative Merit Award. 

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