Santa Barbara, Calif. – Late last week, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office received a law enforcement mutual aid request from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, on behalf of the Maui Police Department, requesting that Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jarrett Morris be temporarily deployed to Maui to assist in the identification of victims in the disastrous Lahaina fire.
Lieutenant Morris traveled to Maui on Wednesday, August 16, and has been part of a team from Cal OES at a temporary mortuary DNA laboratory in Kahului. Lieutenant Morris was selected for this deployment based on his expertise with the ANDE Rapid DNA system and his previous experience in identifying the Conception dive-boat fire disaster victims in our county on September 2, 2019.
Since his deployment, Lieutenant Morris has assisted in the positive identification of more than a dozen victims whose remains have been recovered. There are many people still missing, and the search of the fire area in Lahaina continues. Lieutenant Morris and his team are collaborating with local government, community, and spiritual leaders. Together, they are working diligently to educate these influential figures about rapid DNA technology. Their shared goal is to foster cooperation among Maui residents, enabling them to collectively address the critical issue of identifying missing immediate family members. Through this united initiative, they aim to bring solace and resolution to families affected by these circumstances.
Sheriff Brown said, “We in the Sheriff’s Office are proud to assist the people of Maui during this difficult time by assigning Lieutenant Jarrett Morris to engage in the important work of identifying victims of the catastrophic fire that took so many lives and destroyed much of Lahaina. Santa Barbara County has been struck by many disasters in recent years. We stand with our brothers and sisters in the Maui Police Department and with all other first responders engaged in managing this terrible tragedy, and we are keeping the people of Maui in our prayers as they mourn their great losses and grapple with the recovery process.”