AUSTIN (KXAN) — Jorge Molina, the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) forensic imaging specialist, ultimately landed his role after applying to be a police officer.
“Then I found an opening in the digital imaging section,” he said.
He’s the only full-time forensic artist for the department and said other agencies across the state have officers who can do composite sketches — but do so part-time in addition to their other law enforcement duties.
Molina is officially with the Texas Rangers division. He works by request for local, state and federal agencies across Texas.
The sketch below – done by Molina – helped with an Austin Police Department arrest of Octavio Contreras-Guzman. APD linked him to an incident in a string of burglaries and attempted sexual assaults in northeast Austin in January. Police tell KXAN the department made the arrest in February.
KXAN reached out to an attorney connected with Contreras-Guzman. This story will be updated when we receive a response.
He walked KXAN through some of the sketches he worked on that led to arrests and convictions.
“This was an attempted kidnapping, this a sexual assault, this one attempted murder,” he said, pointing at different images.
One stands out to him in particular.
“Everyone who works in law enforcement in investigations has a career-defining case,” he said.
Molina said his “career-defining” moment was the Willie Griffin case. Molina said he generated a sketch by working with a teen who Griffin reportedly picked up from an Austin bus stop and violently sexually assaulted. Molina said surveillance video showed Griffin returning to the scene with a canister, apparently intending to burn the victim’s remains – but the teen had left by the time he got back.
“I met with her approximately three days after she was released from the hospital and she gave me a description of the suspect which ultimately helped investigators apprehend him,” Molina said.
Griffin is currently serving six consecutive life sentences.
“I also work cold cases,” Molina said.
He created the below sketch in 2017 based on skeletal remains found in an embankment.
While it’s Molina’s hand behind the sketches, “I consider them to be an extension of the witness statement,” he said. “One of the main things I try to show my victim is sensitivity. I want to be sensitive to their needs and what they’ve gone through.”
He said the position has been a staple for Texas law enforcement since the 1980s.