The Bay Area company that sanitizes after homicides

(KRON) – – The city of Oakland has seen over 100 homicides this year, Mary and Michael McIntosh have been at the center of many of them. Their most recent call, a shooting at a house party in Oakland that killed two teenage boys from Berkeley.

Diablo Crime Scene Cleaners is a privately owned company that specializes in the deep cleaning of grisly scenes. Their services include crime and trauma scene cleanup, bodily fluid cleanup, accidental and unattended death cleanup, biohazard cleanup, and suicide cleanup.

Mary and Michael McIntosh are a sibling duo based in Walnut Creek. “It (crime scene cleaners) is very needed in Oakland”, Diablo Crime Scene Cleaners owner Mary McIntosh told KRON4 News. 

The brother and sister duo started their business back in May 2016. In 2019, Diablo Crime Scene Cleaners got a contract with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s department to provide crime scene cleaning services and in county jails. Just recently in January of 2022, they signed a contract with the Oakland Police department.

They recall the first time they were called on a crime scene by the Contra Costa County sheriff was from a shooting that occurred at a Halloween party in Orinda back in 2019. 

“We ended up just doing the street because the home owners of that Airbnb, I don’t know what they did but all 3 floors were covered in blood,” Mary said.

After the crew finishes cleaning up a crime scene, they incinerate most items gathered such as glass bottles. Despite the difficulties that come with the job, Diablo is able to build relationships with officers.

“We all get to know the deputies. We get to chat with them. We’re like family.” Michael said.   

The COVID-19 pandemic brought hardships to many businesses, for Diablo, the increase in need for sanitation created more employment opportunities. 

Mary and Michael explained that working at Diablo does not mean exclusively cleaning, it also means sometimes providing emotional support to clients. “It comes with age. It really takes maturity and age to be able to read people and understand what they’re going through and help them work through their problems and get their house restored.” Michael said. 

Being a part of Diablo is not easy. Despite being in a gory business, Mary and Michael have maintained charisma and positivity. Mary tells KRON4 her job, “makes you appreciate life and how tenuous it is.”

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