LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- When the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide unit is investigating a murder, they are truly living the cases. In the investigation into the death of 7-year-old Liam Husted, Lt. Ray Spencer said the team didn’t see their family in over a week while they were consumed in the case.
"Working homicide it's what we deal with every day, but all of us have families. We have children,” Spencer said. “Any of these cases when you have a child involved takes a toll."
In just the last month, 2-year-old Amari Nicholson was killed and most recently Liam.
"These cases when you deal with small children, you don't forget," the homicide lieutenant said.
You’ve likely seen Spencer reveal tragic news at press conferences for Amari, Liam and many other murder cases. Spencer has led the homicide unit for the past three years of his 20 of service at Metro. In his time as lieutenant, he's seen numerous child murders, including at least four in just the last six months.
"We've worked quite a few of them. All are parents that are committing these," he said. “You ask why? There are resources out there you can drop your child off at a fire station--at a safe place. There are so many different avenues out there before you have to harm or kill a child."
Spencer shared with FOX5 what it was like breaking the news to Nick Husted that his son is dead.
“It was gut wrenching because you’re speaking with a father who just moments before that phone call truly had hope that his child was okay. Having to have that conversation was truly one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had to have,” Spencer said.
After solving a case like Liam's, Spencer said there is a sense of relief. For the first time in 10 days he and his team were able to take a deep breath and “actually breathe.”
However, there is no time off for the detectives after a traumatic case like this. They can go to counseling sessions, but cracking the case is what Spencer said gives them closure.
"There's no other major city law enforcement unit in the United States that has a higher solvability percentage than we do. Being able to hold people responsible and give these families closure that they need that's what keeps these detectives going. They're ready now for the next case," Spencer said.
Twenty-four detectives work under Spencer. In Liam's murder there were also several other investigators, sergeants and the CSI team working the case.