New Business Specializes in Cleaning Up Crime Scenes

Wednesday, August 11th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Have you ever wondered who cleans up after there's been a suicide or a homicide?
In the past, it was left to grieving family and friends. Now there's a new business in Tulsa that specializes in crime scene clean up. And for the first time, the victim's compensation fund will pay for it.

When someone shot and killed 12-year-old Samantha Zayzay while she was sleeping, her family not only had to cope with her loss, but also had to deal with the reality of cleaning up the scene. "The idea of going in and cleaning up after a child has met with a violent death, that's all they remember," said Michael Cook, crime scene clean up. Cook has a job most people wouldn't want; he cleans up after suicides and murders.
"It's gory, it's graphic, it's dirty," he said. "When we're through, the victim comes into the room and there's virtually no sign it ever happened."

The Oklahoma Victim Compensation board just acknowledged the need for such cleanup and now will pay victims $500 to have a home, apartment or car cleaned after a homicide. "I can't imagine going back into the scene, especially with all the grief and seeing blood everywhere. I can't imagine," said Patsy Turley, Victim-Witness Center. But that's what some families face."

Cook says he charges $100 an hour, but he's willing to work for the compensation victims receive. This is money which doesn't cost taxpayers a dime. "Any defendant that commits a crime is ordered to pay money to the victim compensation fund, and we pay claims out of that fund," said Turley.

For example, Garry Cheney who was convicted of murdering his wife in a downtown Tulsa parking garage, was ordered to pay $10,000 to the fund. The money will help victims in need.