Meet the sketch artist behind the drawing of the Cleveland kidnapper and other suspect composites

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 17:24:27-04

Shaker Heights Police Detective Walter Siegel not only investigates crimes, he's a sketch artist.


He’s the man the Federal Bureau of Investigation turned to, to draw the sketch of the potential suspect in the recent kidnappings in Cleveland and Elyria.


Using the FBI’s facial identification catalog, people pick features from different faces, then Siegel does composite drawings with pencils. 


“I just ask you to pick out pieces and parts, there are no wrong answers, it’s not a portrait, it's a likeness,” Siegel said. 


"I never do the composite right when it happens. Say you got robbed five minutes ago, I’m not going to talk to you, I’m gonna let you get some rest, let you get over it, because you'll start remembering things, people remember more as time goes on,” Siegel said.


Siegel said people tend to remember eyes, noses, mouths, shapes of faces, but not the ears.


Siegel spends four to six hours on a sketch.


He was so good at drawing cartoons of co-workers he ended up going to art school and the FBI’s Training Academy.


Siegel has come so close to some of the suspects, some victims became overwhelmed.


"I've had a few people cry, one of the ones I did, I showed it to the person and they cried, I asked them to hold it and they wouldn't even touch it,” Siegel said.