Bever Family Murders Experience Jackie Smithson is a Crime Scene Investigator for the Broken Arrow…
Jen Spears is an experienced homicide detective with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. She has been a deputy since 1999, the majority of that time spent in criminal investigations serving in a variety of assignments. Jen has collaborated with numerous agencies around the nation through her casework and has received several accolades for her accomplishments in cold case investigations. Jen serves on the Florida Sheriff’s Association Cold Case Advisory Commission. She has a passion for organizing the best training available reaching the largest audience of law enforcement professionals possible.
Teresa Sprague is an experienced homicide detective and Master Police Officer with the Orlando Police Department. Teresa has been a detective since 2007 and in law enforcement since 1996. She has lectured on domestic violence and homicide at the University of Central Florida, Valencia College, in local high schools and at various conferences. Teresa previously served with Jen Spears on the board for the Florida Homicide Investigator’s Association as their treasurer and as a director. Under their leadership, FHIA grew exponentially into the best conference in Florida according to its membership. Teresa believes strongly in networking and collaboration, education and relevant training as the cornerstones to solving homicides.
Alexa McConnell is an analyst with the Department of Justice. She has worked in the Criminal Investigations Division for the past four years. Alexa is also on the Evidence Response Team for her division. She has an interest in homicide cases and looks forward to collaborating with investigators in the field from around the nation.
EvaMarie is retired from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Seminole County, Florida. Eva served as a duly sworn Corrections/ Deputy Sheriff since May of 1999. In 2009, she completed her Associate in Science Degree in Criminal Justice Technology at Seminole State College. Eva was most recently assigned to the Major Crimes Unit of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office as an Investigator, and she was a member of the Crisis Negotiations Team and the Peer Support Team.
Detective Brian Savelli is a veteran Master Deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and has been with O.C.S.O. since 2007. He has been assigned to the Homicide Unit since 2016. Prior to being assigned to the Homicide Unit, he served three years as a detective in the Night Investigations/Violent Crimes Unit working robbery and persons crimes. Detective Savelli has investigated a magnitude of cases which include high profile homicide cases and equivocal death investigations. Detective Savelli strongly believes in ongoing training, networking, and communicating throughout the homicide investigators community both in Florida and throughout the United States.
Erin Willis has been a detective with the Casselberry Police Department for the past four years. Detective Willis began her career with Casselberry Police Department in 2008 and has worked in the uniform patrol division, criminal investigations, and as a traffic crash reconstructionist. Detective Willis is a general assignment detective and has investigated a multitude of crimes including homicides.
Detective Sergeant Sally Wolter began her career as a police officer in Flint, Michigan in 1982. She joined the Michigan State Police in 1986 and served over 32 years, retiring in 2018 as a detective sergeant. For 18 years, she worked homicides and violent crimes in the Special Investigations Section. From 2008 – 2017, Sally was the supervisor of the Kent Metro Cold Case Team in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The team was recognized as one of the most successful multi-jurisdictional cold case teams in the country. She wrote several federal grants and developed the standard operating procedures and protocol for the team. Under her supervision, the Kent Metro Cold Case Team solved 19 homicides and was instrumental in changing legislation in Michigan regarding DNA collection samples from inmates in correctional facilities. Sally holds an associate degree in Applied Sciences/Criminal Justice. She presents on the topic of cold case homicide and multi-jurisdictional team approach to law enforcement throughout the country. She is a member of the NIJ Cold Case Working Group who co-authored the manual, “National Best Practices for Implementing and Sustaining Cold Case Units.”
Paige is a Deputy Sheriff with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, California; assigned to the Homicide Bureau since 2003. She is responsible for reviewing unsolved homicide, sexual assault, missing and unidentified person cases. She is the ViCAP Law Enforcement Manger for the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department and is the current Vice Chair of the ViCAP National Advisory Board. Paige also contracts with the Sacramento City Police Department reviewing unsolved homicide cases for their Cold Case Unit. She has earned a Master of Forensic Science from the University of New Haven and a Bachelor of Science from the University of North Georgia.
Jason McDaniel was born and raised in Lake Mary, Florida where he began his law enforcement career with the Lake Mary Police Department in March of 2009. He is currently assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division, as a Detective, since October of 2015. His case assignments include property crimes, all the way to homicide investigations and everything in between. Jason is a member of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit, where he serves as a Tactical Flight Officer. He is also an adjunct instructor with Seminole State College where he instructs recruits attending the Basic Law Enforcement Academy. On Saturdays and Sundays, you can find Jason at his house watching his two favorite college/professional football teams, the Florida State Seminoles and the New England Patriots!
Ryan Backmann is the founder and executive director of Project: Cold Case, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving families of unsolved homicide victims. In 2009 Ryan’s father, Cliff Backmann, was shot and killed during a robbery in what remains one of Jacksonville, Florida’s 1,500+ unsolved murders. Project: Cold Case works to publicize cold cases and link families, information and law enforcement. Ryan has served on the Northeast Florida Child Death Review Team, as well as Chairman for the Mayor’s Victim Assistance Advisory Council in Jacksonville, FL. Ryan currently serves on the Florida Sheriffs Association’s Cold Case Advisory Commission as the only survivor/advocate.
Mark DiBona was born and raised in Boston Massachusetts, where he began his Law Enforcement career in 1985. Currently he is a Patrol Sergeant with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and a Police Academy Instructor. Mark has an extensive history in his Law Enforcement career and has held various positions and assignments. Mark is dedicated to advocating for the elimination of stigma concerning mental health issues, prevention of suicide and self-harm. He is also a member of The Italian American Police Officer Society. Mark is a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox and Rock and Roll music.
In her current position as a Regional Program Specialist (RPS) for the NamUs program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, RPS Sutherland provides case management and support for the stakeholders in her assigned region. She is responsible for case and user management, training, and outreach for the Southeast Region. Carrie has served as member of the National Institute of Justice’s Cold Case working group and the Missing Migrant working group. She also serves on the Florida Sheriff’s Association Cold Case Advisory Committee. With her extensive and ongoing experience in DNA analysis, Carrie is a valuable asset to the core mission of SEHIA and its members.