We see them at most crime scenes scanning the area for clues but what exactly are crime scene investigators searching for and how can they make or break a case?
Natalie Kaplan sat down with a professor at ECU who has covered more than 1,200 homicides in Eastern Carolina to find out what it takes to do the job and how he's teaching the next generation.
Dennis Honeycutt says, "If you're talking about someone's loved ones been killed, that person can't speak for themselves anymore, the only person that can speak for them on scene is the crime scene investigator and usually you can come up with their story and if you don't do it right you won't."
That's a huge weight to have on your shoulders but Honeycutt says that's what the job's all about, if you don't have the desire, you won't make it very far.
"Not a lot of things people want to see, not a lot of things people will believe when they do see them, you've got to have a strong heart."
Honeycutt had that heart while he was a crime scene investigator for more than 20 years. A time in his life, he'll never forget.
“Being on the stand in Goldsboro for a murder case, got a call, took it on break, it was a triple homicide across the district, I went back, talked to the judge and district attorney, they stopped the court, and I worked that for a day and a half, that's how quickly things can change.”
Now he's decided to put his experience to good use and teach the next generation like ECU Junior Renee Warrington.
"My ultimate goal is to become an ER trauma surgeon so I thought this would be a pretty good place for getting hands on experience with cadavers and court experience."
Warrington's minoring in forensic science, a course that's not taught at every university.
There is no forensics major at ECU just a minor, students can major in criminal justice. Once they've graduated they'll be prepared for a number of jobs in the field. Students we spoke to say they plan on going into everything from the military, to the police force, to the medical field.