CROWN POINT — A Northwest Indiana podiatrist who has extended his expertise to cracking crimes will talk about his foot work alongside detectives in a crime documentary show.
The Headline News, also known as HLN, series “Lies, Crimes and Video” will air across the nation at 7 p.m. local time Saturday. The upcoming show will feature Dr. Michael Nirenberg, a foot specialist at Friendly Foot Care, based in Crown Point.
The episode, “Murder in the Church,” explores the murder of Terri “Missy” Bevers, a 45-year-old wife and mother who was killed in a church in Midlothian, Texas. On April 18, 2016, Bevers entered the church at 4:30 a.m. and was murdered by someone appearing to wear police-type tactical gear.
The case remains unsolved, but Nirenberg hopes his assistance will help catch Bevers' killer.
“I wanted to help,” he said. “I knew the killer was out there and not many people can do these kinds of analyses. …I like solving tough problems, whether it's a foot or ankle problem or a murder. I like to puzzle together the pieces and solve the case.”
Nirenberg was asked to analyze the suspect's gait, or way the person walks, from a surveillance video. He then compared the suspect's gait with footage of people of interest, he said. Nirenberg spent more than 60 hours on the case and did find a matching gait in the group of suspects he observed.
Nirenberg was interviewed by Blue Browning, a CNN producer, this past spring. Browning told the doctor that he hopes the documentary will lead to someone recalling information about the murder that will help solve the case.
HLN is a national network owned by CNN that airs news, mystery and police investigation programs on cable and is available on streaming services such as Sling TV.
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While he normally is using his know-how to solve patients' foot and ankle problems, this isn't the first time the doctor has helped police get a step ahead in crime investigations.
“I have worked on a case where there was a bloody footprint, and I was able to match it with a person of interest,” Nirenberg said. “I testified in court and the suspect was convicted.”
In another homicide case, police found a single shoe at the crime scene. They turned it over to Nirenberg, who matched the shoe with a suspect who was also later convicted, he said. In the case of a violent bank robbery where the suspect had a covered face, the small amount of evidence police had for identifying features was the way the robber walked, he said.
In that case, Nirenberg matched the suspect's gait with footage surveillance cameras caught of a man walking into the bank before the robbery. Nirenberg said the man was most likely “casing” the bank, or observing the business before robbing it.
“He pleaded guilty when he was presented with the evidence,” Nirenberg said.
This was Nirenberg's first time being featured in a crime documentary, though he has been interviewed on broadcast news shows before. Nirenberg, the current president of the American Society of Forensic Podiatry, said he hopes the documentary will help spread awareness of forensic podiatry that could help investigators crack cases.
“The way people walk is important forensic evidence that is often overlooked,” Nirenberg said. “I love that this documentary will be aired nationally, because it will show there's another tool detectives can use when investigating a crime, especially if there's very little evidence.”