What goes into police sketch? Artist explains process

Indiana State Police Trooper Taylor Bryant did not work on the sketch of a suspect in the Delphi double homicides but has completed 61 sketches for state police since 2008. He sat down with 24-Hour News 8 on July 19, 2017, to explain the process. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana State Police picked up more than 1,300 news tip since releasing a suspect sketch in connection with the Delphi double murder of two teenage girls, they said Wednesday.

Trooper Taylor Bryant did not work on the Delphi sketch but has completed 61 sketches for state police since 2008. He sat down with 24-Hour News 8 Wednesday to explain the process.

“It gives me the ability to use my creative side for the benefit of my department,” Bryant said.

He typically bases his sketches on memories of a witness. When he meets the witness, Bryant starts with the easy questions.

“Finding out where they’re from, things like that. Common interests,” Bryant said. “Even a minor incident is very stressful to a witness, so you try to put them at ease.”

Then Bryant moves onto an FBI reference catalog. The book is full of photos of different facial features and head shapes.

He starts sketching after the witness picks out which features are closest to the suspect.

“It’s easier for folks to point at a picture to describe how something looks,” he said.

Bryant said the state police decides on a case-by-case basis whether to release a sketch. He’s worked cases where the sketch was never released and cases where he saw how accurate his sketch was after an arrest.

In the Delphi case, state police won’t say how long they’ve had the sketch or how long it took to make.

“It just takes a while for these things to happen. The picture didn’t come overnight, we’ve been working on this for a while,” Sgt. Kim Riley said.

Bryant said, throughout his sketch, he’s checking with the witness to make sure he’s on the right track.

He said he usually finishes the sketch about three hours after he starts his interview.

State police said multiple witnesses saw a man matching their original suspect photo in Delphi and those witnesses helped police form the sketch. Police said they are very confident the man in the sketch is the person they’re looking for.

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