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CSI Statesboro: Forensic anthropologist moves crime scene clean-up business to Bulloch
012308 CRIME CLEANING 1
Forensic Anthropologist Harold Kovach dresses out in his work gear. Kovach has chosen to base his crime scene clean-up business here in Statesboro. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

CrimeSceneCleaner1

Harold Kovach - Forensic Anthropologist and Crime Scene Cleaner

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    Statesboro now has its own forensic anthropologist who performs all the duties and more of the characters on the popular television show CSI — without all the interrogation.
    Harold Kovach is an independent forensic anthropologist, biomedical recovery specialist and a crime scene cleaner, who operates his own business — Independent Crime Cleaning Resources. He has recently located to the area in order to be close to his fiancee, Janita, who is a French teacher in Statesboro. They will be married in June.
        “I’m looking forward to being a member of the Statesboro community,” said Kovach.
    ICCR is a company that specializes in cleaning and restoration services for accidents, crime and trauma scenes related to homicides, suicides, undiscovered deaths and natural disasters. Though a tough and gruesome business for some to even contemplate, Kovach said he’s found his place.
    “I found my calling. My calling is to help people during the worst-case scenario,” said Kovach. “I help people who’ve lost a friend, neighbor or loved one. It’s important for me to do these things.”
    In addition to cleaning up after a trauma or violent crime, part of his professional responsibilities includes victim identification. At the behest of the president, he was deployed three times in Louisiana to help identify victims of the Katrina disaster. He also was sent to Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Philippines in order to identify victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Kovach was on a team that identified over 9,000 victims.
    Though it goes without saying, that kind of disaster is not everyone’s cup of tea.
    “The magnitude of death was overwhelming,” said Kovach. “When you have thousands and thousands of bodies stacked up three high over 150 yards and the smell of death is coming at you like the force of the tsunami itself, no one can understand that. Either you’re going to break or you’re going to make it. You can’t let it psychologically throw you.”
    Kovach has three employees other than himself who are on-call 24/7 to respond to emergencies. Since there is no way to schedule this type of work, his employees — a doctor, a registered nurse and a prison guard — also have regular jobs. They are required to be clean shaven since odors can cling to the hair and prevent the protective mask from sealing properly.
    “Safety is number one in this business,” said Kovach. “I treat each crime scene as suspect, as if it were the worst of the worst, to protect from hazards.”
    His truck is full of safety and protective equipment. Along with his full-body Tyvek suit, rubber gloves and boots, he carries cleaning products, biohazard bags, air purifiers and an ozone blaster — used to remove smells from the air. He also has a variety of hand tools in case he has to take apart furniture, tear out part of the carpet or even break into walls in order to remove hazardous materials.
    As he gave a tour of the equipment in his truck, he used all of the terms we have come to know and love from the CSI shows: Luminol, blood-borne pathogen, fingerprint powder and phenolphthalein. These tools give him the ability to recover biomedical indicators used in identifying bodies or test for potentially hazardous materials.
    Kovach said that fingerprints are the easiest method for identification, since so many professions require fingerprinting and background checks prior to employment.
    “It depends upon their state, but probably the easiest way would be to lift the print and run it through the database,” said Kovach.
    Kovach attended the University of South Florida, receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology, a minor in animal science and a Master’s in chemistry. He also earned a doctorate in forensic anthropology from South Carolina and also obtained another bachelor’s in criminal justice. He has over 18 years experience in his field, numerous certifications and is available for community awareness seminars, lectures and motivational speeches. He can be contacted at (912) 678-1984.

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