Composite Sketches

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"The sketch artist is only as good as the witness and vice versa, the witness is only as good as the sketch artist," says Sheila Smith, sketch artist for the Michigan State Police.

Her job is not, she says, to create an identical sketch, but rather to generate a thought or a possible match in someone's mind.

Her job is to sit down with victims, sometimes just hours after they've been traumatized, to draw out and then draw the features they remember about the person who made them a victim.

"I try to remind the victim or witness at all times this is in pencil," Smith says.

News Ten showed Smith the computerized sketch police released on the man they believed was holding up Subway's and other stores in mid-Michigan.

In this case, the computerized sketch did not, Meridian Township police say, yield any tips as they searched for the Subway robber. It was created on a computer program called "Faces"

Smith says it's a very challenging sketch. It portrays a person too young, too skinny, and slightly cartoonish. It is, Smith says, the limitation of the computer.