Sunday, 13 April 2014 07:31
The television show CSI has moved fingerprint investigation into the forefront of many stories of crime fiction. It seems like on every episode of the popular TV series, the investigators magically uncover a fingerprint, and thirty minutes later the crime is solved. Unfortunately, reality follows a starkly different path. Fingerprints are hard to come by, quality fingerprints even more so, and usually at that point the print ends up belonging to the victim. That being said, this blog entry will delve into the world of latent print investigation.
The first thing I should do is break down that phrase: “latent prints.” I used the word “prints” rather than “fingerprints” for a reason. Palm prints are another means of identifying suspects, and they make up roughly one in three prints recovered at a crime scene. I’ll discuss them in depth in a few moments. When I say “prints,” I’m referring to both fingerprints and palm prints.
Monday, 24 March 2014 19:30
Last time, our discussion on death scenes included suicides, accidental deaths, and natural deaths. In this week’s blog, we’ll take a look at questionable deaths and homicide scenes.
The questionable death scene is a difficult one. Often, there are no obvious signs of trauma on the body and no obvious mechanism of death. It might even be unclear how the body came to be where it is. These cases are treated as homicides until we find sufficient evidence to decide otherwise.
Take for example the male body we found along the Illinois River a few years ago, just before Christmas. His body showed no signs of injury. Although the river had not yet frozen over, his clothing was dry, making it unlikely that he had drowned. He was lying face down in the sand, missing a shoe and wearing a jacket that wasn’t heavy enough for the frigid temperatures. A short distance to the west of his body was a seven-foot-high concrete wall, built to keep the river away from nearby homes during floods.