DENVER – A retired Denver Police Department sketch artist said he is impressed with the details in the latest sketch released in the Maggie Long murder case.
“These are good sketches. The third and most recent one is the best, in my opinion, and is really good and detailed,” Paige Lyda said.
Lyda said composite drawings or sketches can be a very valuable tool for law enforcement.
“It can be really helpful. It can narrow down your search to certain people, especially in a smaller community,” Lyda said.
Lyda is retired, but when he worked for DPD, he sketched hundreds of suspects.
“They have caught several off my drawings. I would say 50 percent,” he said.
Many departments have moved to computer-generated sketches, but Lyda believes hand drawings are more accurate. The sketches in Maggie Long’s case are hand drawn.
“I can just tell they are charcoal pencil. These are hand drawn, which is better, in my opinion, because it gives you a little leeway. You know it’s hand drawn and you have an idea what the person looks like, but you know it could be a little off,” Lyda said.
Lyda said in his experience, when there is more than one person involved in a crime, someone will usually talk.
“If there is more than one person involved, usually, somebody talks after awhile. And I just can’t see — especially a horrendous crime like this — someone not saying something,” he said.
Lyda said it’s not unusual for a victim or witness to come forward a year or more after a crime. He said the most important thing is to make them feel as comfortable as possible when interviewing them for a suspect description.
“Take as much time as you need because it’s important. It’s not like it’s going to solve the crime, but it can really help. You can imagine if you are a victim or witness, it can be really scary walking into a police department to most people. You explain to them it’s not a test, [you’re] just doing the best you can,” Lyda said.