Idaho invention helping prove innocence

Posted at 7:27 AM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 09:36:01-04

A revolutionary device that is changing the face of justice worldwide was invented in a tiny Idaho town. 

On Your Side shared the story of Chris Tapp, a man freed by DNA testing fro the rape and murder of an Idaho Falls woman decades ago. The M-Vac was instrumental in the case.

But it's not just helping solve crime in Idaho, it's helping stop crimes in countries all over the world, but it got it start with the simple idea of trying to make the food industry safer. 

Nearly 40 years ago, Dr. Bruce Bradley was living in Jerome operating a lab that worked with the dairy industry, until something happened that struck a chord.

"The E. coli outbreak hit from Jack in the Box," explained Bradley's son and President and CEO of M-Vac systems, Jared. "It made a whole bunch of people sick and killed some kids. That really bothered him."

Recognizing an issue, as a scientist, he started searching for the root of the problem.

That's when he realized when they analyze beef for E. Coli they were using a small sponge to wipe over the beef carcass, which works great if the contamination is on the surface.

"If it's in the cracks and crevices, down in deep inside the actual meat, then that may not get it," said Jared.

So, Dr. Bradley started searching for a way to get down deep into the crevices.

One day, he got an idea. A wet vacuum that can suck up cells, so he got out some tubes and built one.

A few years, and a few prototypes later they launched the product, but it didn't take off like they'd hoped. Then one day Jared ran into a friend who worked in the FBI.

"I was explaining this system in the context of collecting E Coli in the food industry and he just kinda said well ya know something like that would be really cool on some of my crime scenes," said Jared.

So they took the system to a lab and had it tested to see if it would work.

 "They came back and they were saying we have never seen recoveries like this, it's just absolutely amazing. One of the quotes was you guys should be doing back flips off of this table this thing is so good," said Jared.

Since then, they've shifted their focus entirely to forensics and moved the operation to Salt Lake City, but Jared said, while they have grown, they are still just a small business that proves big things can come from tiny towns.