Meet AISOCC Vice President – Dr. Laura Pettler
If you do not have passion for what you do, you will never be the best. At AISOCC, that is what we are and what we continue to strive to be…the best. You cannot become the best without loving what you do. That my friend is called passion and Laura Pettler displays that passion when investigating cold cases. That is why she was promoted from AISOCC Review Board Member, to Director of Development and finally in 2014, Vice President of AISOCC.
She is no stranger to a variety of public platforms, cameras, and media interviews; Laura is a young woman on a mission to use her life to make a difference. Beyond the extreme diversity of her career, what also makes Laura so unique and interesting is her huge personality, multifaceted talent, and her incredibly inspiring backstory that touches so many people’s hearts.
Laura has been interviewed countless times about how becoming a single mother at 17 taught her to meet each of life’s challenges with determination to overcome and how she learned to turn obstacles into opportunities propelling her straight towards enormous success. Sometimes, individuals need those tough times and obstacles to overcome in order to push themselves to succeed. Laura has done that!
As a child, Laura was obsessed with television shows like Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted, and The Bloodhound Gang, while embracing the eclectic culture of her youth studying music, dance, art, and culture. So as an adult, while honing her craft towards becoming a professional musician, Laura simultaneously strived to become one of the world’s leading crime solvers… and succeeded.
In her early years, so many people put this “teenage-mother” down by berating her with how she would become nothing but just another statistic. They were right…she has become a walking, talking statistic proving that if Laura can turn obstacles into opportunities…anyone can.
Above being a great person and a modern day success story, Dr. Laura Pettler is a forensic criminologist, which means Laura studies and uses sub-disciplines of forensic science (i.e., physical evidence). This includes bloodstain pattern analysis and shooting incident reconstruction coupled with social and behavioral evidence (i.e., theory and research) like information revealed in victimology and suspectology to reconstruct a crime.
A survivor of domestic violence, Laura’s interest for studying intimate partner homicide grew. Laura recognized early in life that domestic violence was a very serious societal issue and wanted to help. Laura centered her forensic criminology studies on intimate partner violence and crime scene staging. Coupled with studying death investigation, bloodstain pattern analysis, shooting incident reconstruction, victimology, and suspectology, Laura soon becomes a recognized expert in her field and a “go-to” person for numerous law enforcement agencies and private attorneys nationwide for homicide investigation and specifically cold case assistance. In 2014, Laura founded social media based The Crime Scene Staging Awareness Initiative towards remembering victims of homicide and missing persons of staged crime scenes.
In 2005, during a vocal performance for her hometown’s National Night Out, Laura met a District Attorney of a rural North Carolinian district. He hired her to work a cold case and liked her work so much he added Laura to his staff as the first forensic criminologist to work for a prosecutorial district in North Carolina. Grass does not grow under Laura’s feet and she used this opportunity to create several community initiatives.
As the first forensic criminologist to ever to work for a DA’s Office, Laura headed up North Carolina’s first Crime Scene Reconstruction and Behavioral Analysis Program, the District’s Cold Case Task Force, its International Forensic Institute, the District’s International Forensic Science Internship Program, and a professional forensics association for law enforcement and forensic practitioners’ continuing education. Laura’s tireless work met with tremendous success by helping the community from law enforcement to homicide victims and their families.
Armed with a bachelors, masters, PhD, several years post-graduate crime scene reconstruction study, published research, and nearly 20-years of experience, Laura’s specialty is crime scene staging in intimate partner cold case homicides. In fact, it was Laura’s work on the infamous 1986 homicide of Harold Gentry that led to the Cold Case Task Force arrest of Betty Lafon Neumar, The Black Widow Granny, a then 76-year-old grandmother who with five dead husbands and a dead son over 50 years died before she was tried.
Throughout her career, Laura has appeared on numerous television programs, radio shows, and has been interviewed countless times about forensics, homicide cases, music, and other topics.
Laura’s latest television project in partnership with AISOCC and Jupiter Entertainment, is potentially starring in a new TrueCrime TV series, costarring AISOCC founder and President Detective Kenneth L. Mains. The AISOCC and Jupiter Team shot the Sizzle Reel for this new show in late February 2014 and have high hopes for facilitating television outreach towards helping to bring justice to victims.
Laura also worked with Beyond Productions on Discovery ID Channel’s Deadly Women: Matriarch’s of Murder episode in 2012, and in 2013 Laura worked with Executive Producer George Davilas and in New York City alongside to shoot a crime scene reenactment for a potential new daytime TV series. Interestingly, in 2009, Laura was also signed by Washington, DC-based Storyboard Productions to star in a forensic crime scene reconstruction television show about her work in the District Attorney’s Office called Final Analysis.
In addition to her work in TrueCrime TV, Laura is a sought-after commentator as well. After being interviewed on the publicized information about a double murder published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Laura recently appeared on the NBC Affiliate WPXI Channel 11’s NightTalk with Ellis Cannon where she discussed common themes often seen in murders of that nature. Look for Laura on upcoming broadcasts on both local and national commentary programs.
In 2010, Laura appeared on News14 Carolina on a segment called “Hollywood changes juror’s expectations” where Laura demonstrated shooting reconstructive techniques in the Stanly County, NC court house. Laura also appeared on a Stanly-County based TV show where she was interviewed about forensic programming she cofounded while with the District Attorney’s Office.
In 2005, Laura founded Carolina Forensics, a company based in North Carolina, specializing in forensic consultation, research, and education. Over the years, in both the private and public sectors, Laura was often challenged in homicide crime scenes, primarily beatings, stabbings, and shootings by having too little equipment, equipment that didn’t work, or equipment that was too difficult to use.
In 2008, while working on a freezing October night with colleagues in a rural North Carolina county to reconstruct a shooting incident drug deal gone bad, Laura had an idea, “Why not use hollow dowel rods instead of solid dowel rods so that the laser beam goes right through the dowel to the point of impact?”
This was the inception of Laura’s first product line (2009-2013) called Tubular Dowel Crime Scene Reconstruction. Laura co-invented this system with her colleagues from that cold October night and the system met with success throughout the United States and abroad.
But Laura knew there was more…Laura’s inventions have been used on: CSI Las Vegas, NCIS, Rissoli and Isles’.
After four more years of research, in 2013, Laura finally launched her newest invention; a crime scene reconstruction system called The Kaleidoscope System, and discontinued the manufacturing of the Tubular Dowel System. The Kaleidoscope System has tripled in sales compared to the Tubular Dowel System and is carried by 17 forensic product distributors…worldwide. In the fall, Laura was invited to Paris, France to exhibit The Kaleidoscope System at MILIPOL, the largest State Security Exhibition in the world.
The Kaleidoscope System is now available in nearly 30 countries throughout North America, South America, Central America, Mexico, the UK, Europe: France, Switzerland; Australia, Turkey, and in several African countries. Laura hopes to work with a colleague in Singapore to break into the Asian market in 2014.
The Kaleidoscope System is the most versatile and comprehensive crime scene reconstruction system ever invented. It combines the use of green lasers, red lasers, tripods, resin laser bases, clamps, in addition to other items in order to reconstruct many types of beatings, stabbings, and shootings in violent criminal cases.
“Having worked so many murders in my career, I took an eclectic approach and gathered the good, bad, and the ugly from all the reconstruction equipment out there. I analyzed and evaluated all of it and from my evaluation came The Kaleidoscope System,” said Laura.
Laura is the perfect storm, whipping about cold cases with an unbridled fury. She is a huge asset to AISOCC and cold cases everywhere. AISOCC is proud to have her as the second in command in order to bring justice and closure to unsolved cases everywhere! The criminal investigation world should be very happy Dr. Laura Pettler is a scholar and practitioner in that field, I know AISOCC is!