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Journal of Forensic Identification

JFI Article Abstracts from 1998-2021 are available to view here at this time

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JFI Abstracts from 2021

Issue 3: July - September 2021 

Murder or Suicide: Proof of Concept during Decapitation Investigation Led to a Suicide Determination

Author(s): Delbar, Yair; Harosh-Brosh, Yinon; Barkan, Yoav; Chibel, Ron; Hazan-Eitan, Zahit
Type: Case Report
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 3, Page 165
Abstract: This case report discusses a decapitated corpse that was found at the seashore (20 meters under a catwalk balcony). An investigation determined that decapitation was a result of a suicidal act by hanging.

The Identification of an Untreated Latent Fingerprint on a Spent Casing: A Case Study

Author(s): Fagert, Michael.
Type: Case Report
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 3, Page 175
Abstract: A multitude of techniques have been investigated for the development of latent prints on spent casings: superglue dye stain, gun blue, electrolytic solutions, vacuum metal deposition, and disulfur dinitrogen. Most publications focus on the varied success of these techniques on laboratory or research samples, with little data being published using casework samples. There are very few instances of identifiable fingerprints being encountered on spent casings in the literature. This case report serves to provide an instance of an untreated latent print that was encountered on a spent casing from casework that was subsequently identified to the suspect in the case.

How Arthropods Can Help Law Enforcement Agencies Identify Illegal Cannabis Farms

Author(s): Gutman, Ori; Dayan, Haim; Rohaker, Benny
Type: Case Report
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 3, Page 187
Abstract: This paper describes the investigation of a specific greenhouse that was suspected of being a cannabis farm. The patrol team that had located the greenhouse lacked sufficient evidence for a search warrant. The National Drugs Analysis Laboratory proposed looking for cannabis residue in arthropods (e.g., insects, millipedes) inhabiting the greenhouse surroundings, under the assumption that these creatures were likely to have been inside and in contact with the plants cultivated there. Accordingly, some millipedes were collected near the greenhouse and brought to the laboratory. Tests confirmed that the millipedes had been exposed to cannabis, and based on the fact that the only visible source in that area was the greenhouse, a judge accepted this as sufficient grounds for granting a search warrant of the greenhouse. The unit returned to the site with a search warrant and found many cannabis plants about to be harvested for marketing on the black market.

Recovering Buried Footwear and Tire Impressions in Snow: A Simple and Easy Method

Author(s): Adach, Edward
Type: Technical Report
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 3, Page 197
Abstract: Footwear impressions and tire impressions that have been buried in snow have widely been considered as lost. This technical note explains how to use a leaf blower to uncover these preserved impressions.

A Method for Characterizing Questioned Footwear Impression Quality

Author(s): McVicker, Brian C.; Parks, Connie; LeMay, Jan; Eckenrode, Brian A.; Hicklin, R. Austin
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 3, Page 205
Abstract: The quality of a questioned footwear impression affects a forensic footwear examiner’s ability to conduct an accurate and useful footwear evidence examination. Here we introduce a reproducible and quantifiable framework specifically developed to assess the quality of questioned footwear impressions. We propose that this method holds the potential to be the basis for a standard system for the characterization and quantification of the quality of questioned footwear impressions.

Cyanoacrylate Fuming and White Powder Suspension Together in One Sequence for Nonporous Surfaces

Author(s):  Fabiszak, Maciej
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 3, Page 217
Abstract: Previous research has shown that powder suspensions can be used on nonporous surfaces as an alternative to cyanoacrylate fuming, especially for foil packaging and surfaces that have been wet. In my 2018 research and recent analysis of experimental use in casework, between August 2019 and December 2020, the Forensic Laboratory of the Provincial Police Headquarters in Szczecin has demonstrated that white powder suspension can be used as the last step in sequential processing on nonporous surfaces after cyanoacylate fuming and fluorescent dye (CA BY40 WPW). The adopted solution is effective and achieves excellent results.

Using S2N2 Recover Latent Fingerprint Technology to Recover Fingerprints from Spent Brass Casings

Author(s):  Pontone, Samantha; Slaney, Jaclyn; Power, Cameron; Oliverio, Mary
Type: Article
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 3, Page 227
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that fingerprint residues deposited on metal surfaces result in microcorrosion, which can be enhanced using disulfur dinitride ( S2N2 ). These findings led to the development of the Recover Latent Fingerprint Technology(Recover LFT, Foster + Freeman). The present study examined the recovery of latent fingerprints from spent brass casings using the Recover LFT. Three areas of interest were explored: natural versus sebaceous impressions, casings previously treated with cyanoacrylate and rhodamine 6G, and the incorporation of DNA collection prior to fingerprint development. Over the course of this study, 195 spent casings with 390 fingerprints were processed using the Recover LFT. Friction ridge detail was observed on 112 of the 195 (57%) casings. However, only six latent fingerprints (3%) showed sufficient ridge detail that was suitable for comparison purposes. Although many contained ridge detail that was insufficient for comparison, the results of this study are encouraging and support the use of S2N2 and the Recover LFT for the development of latent fingerprints on brass casings.

Back to Basics

Author(s): Siegel, Sandy, CLPE
Type: Article
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 3, Page 252
Abstract: Funny finds from all over in their own words.

Issue 2: April - June 2021 

Re: Should Crime Scene Photos Ever Be Deleted? Journal of Forensic Identification 2021, 71 (2), 89-92

Author(s): Ristenbatt III, Ralph R.;Pizzola, Peter A.
Type: Letter to the Editor
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 2, Page 089
Abstract: The commentary [1] regarding deletion of crime scene photographs, which appeared in the latest issue of the Journal of Forensic Identification, raises concerns. It is our opinion that images of any kind, digital or analogue, should never be deleted. If the referenced Virginia Department of Forensic Science (VA DFS) policy is accurate, we believe it is appropriate and likely the way most forensic science practitioners operated for decades, whether dealing with film or digital images.

Skull-to-Photo Comparison for Identification Purposes

Author(s): Murry, Natalie
Type: Case Report
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 2, Page 093
Abstract: This case report discusses finding individual anomalies on a face that could be matched to those on a skull to make an identification possible in a case where the medical examiner had been unable to make an identification by standard methods.

Evaluation of 1,2-Indanedione Zinc Chloride versus Ninhydrin on Cardboard Substrates

Author(s): Aguayo, Kassandra; Pohl, Dariya
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 2, Page 103
Abstract: Ninhydrin and 1,2-indanedione zinc chloride (IND ZnCl2 ) are two reagents that are commonly used to develop latent fingerprints on porous substrates. In this study, various hard paper substrates (e.g., cardboard and brown paper bags) were processed to compare the results produced with ninhydrin versus IND ZnCl2. The IND ZnCl2 provided the best results on the substrates tested.

Evaluation of Vacuum Metal Deposition: Fingerprint Development on Plastic, Gloves, Handguns, and Live Ammo

Author(s): Shipman, Joshua
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 2, Page 119
Abstract: This study evaluates the performance of the VMD360 for the development of impressions on common substrates seen in casework and compares the developed ridge detail to that developed with cyanoacrylate fuming and rhodamine 6G dye stain (CAR6G) and also cyanoacrylate fuming and basic yellow 40 (CABY40). The VMD360 proved to be adequate for the development of prints on the objects that were tested. Vacuum metal deposition performed better than did conventional processing techniques (i.e., CAR6G and CABY40) on most tested substrates.

Digital Photographs: Realistic Size Conversion System for Forensic Fingerprint Processing

Author(s): Chibel, Ron; Mero, On; Sirota, Noam; Mizrachi, Roy; Eliyahu, Dikla
Type: Article
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 2, Page 142
Abstract: Fingerprint images can be processed and searched in an automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS). When inputting an image into an AFIS, the camera does not record the distance between the camera and subject. Because the camera lens and its distance from the target define the size of the framed area, data translation of a digital image file often contains false size measurements. Using a camera with a specified distance between the lens and the object synchronized with the standard AFIS image size can solve this problem; however, it is less suitable in field usage because it is impossible to predict the frame area of fingerprints or handprints at a crime scene. Currently, crime scene investigators use a supplemental scale-bar sticker placed adjacent to the exposed fingerprint prior to photographing the fingerprint. Through the use of photo editing software, the rescaling of the image enables synchronization of the fingerprint’s digital size with its actual size (known as 1:1 ratio). In this study, software was specially designed to read special scale-bar stickers and resize the digital images to the original size of the object. The software is also able to accurately transform images captured at an angle of up to 20 from perpendicular to correct for crime scene images where perpendicular imaging is not possible. The software automates and shortens the processing time significantly. The software was tested using 500 different test images, as well as operationally in a nationwide one-year trial. The software proved to be superior to the use of standard photo-editing software and is now available for other crime scene laboratories.

Back to Basics

Author(s): Siegel, Sandy, CLPE
Type: Article
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 2, Page 164
Abstract: Funny finds from all over in their own words.

Issue 1: January - March 2021 

A Further Evaluation of the Electrodeposition of Gun Blue (eGB): Part 1– Fingermarks

Author(s): Dove, Aaron
Type: Correction
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 1, Page 001
Abstract: On page 491 of the October–December 2020 issue of the Journal of Forensic Identification (volume 70, issue 4), Ohm's Law was mistakenly presented as when the formula should have been presented as V= IR The author and editor apologize to the readers and thank the astute JFI reader who brought this error to our attention.

Recovery Rates of Latent Prints on Firearm, Magazine, and Cartridge Evidence: An FBI Case Study

Author(s): Swank, Monte; Davis; Christine E.
Type: Case Report
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 1, Page 003
Abstract: The 2017 Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, resulted in the collection and submission of a substantial amount of firearm, ammunition, and magazine evidence for friction ridge examination. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Latent Print Operations Unit processed and examined the evidence for latent prints. Because of the amount of evidence, the results of examinations in this case were compared to published studies, which calculated approximate recovery rates of usable latent prints on similar firearm-type items. The results showed that, although there have been only a handful of published studies regarding this topic, the studies seem to provide an accurate approximation when compared to the results from a single case.

Recovering Fingerprints from a Salt-Mummified Body

Author(s): Poux, Thierry; Ey, Angélique; Ledroit, Pierre; Malo, Marianne; Tamisier, Laurent
Type: Case Report
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 1, Page 11
Abstract: In 2017, a corpse was retrieved close to a salt marsh in southern France. It was totally mummified by salt. To identify it, one hand was subjected to a complete process of dermis restructuration to obtain workable postmortem fingerprints and palmar prints. This case report describes this process.

Blood DNA Preservation on Various Forensic Swab Devices

Author(s): C. Y. Ip, Stephen; Yu, Eric Y.; Li, Christina
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 1, Page 021
Abstract: Biological materials found at crime scenes are subjected to degradation because of external environmental factors including biological contaminants, heat, and humidity. Degraded samples may yield partial or even no DNA profiles, which could challenge forensic investigations. Hence, both the appropriate sampling and the preservation of biological materials are essential for downstream DNA analysis and identification of the DNA source. In this study, the performance of various forensic swab devices with different characteristics on DNA preservation was investigated. Human blood was deposited on swabs that had been artificially contaminated with excessive moisture. They were then stored in their respective plastic sleeves in a controlled environment of 37 C for 2 weeks. The results demonstrated that relatively costly swab devices with drying features or antimicrobial properties yielded complete DNA profiles for the course of the experiment, whereas more basic or economical swab devices with only DNA-free properties yielded no DNA profiles. Thus, the choice of swab devices with different DNA preservation abilities can significantly affect the quality of DNA for subsequent analysis and the successfulness of DNA identification.

An Efficient Extraction Method for Post-blast Traces of Organic Explosives

Author(s): Avissar, Yaniv Y.; Zelkowicz, Avraham; Rossin, Anna; Kasherman Kirshenbaum, Yonit; Tenne, Dana; Grafit, Arnon
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 1, Page 035
Abstract: In post-blast explosions, only trace amounts of residual explosives are present and their analysis is based on the identification of unreacted explosives. Exhibits from post-blast explosion scenes may be contaminated with interfering materials, thus cleanup procedures have to be used prior to the analysis stage. The type of explosive material involved can greatly assist the intelligence and investigation units in connecting different incidents, in connecting a specific suspect with a crime scene, and in tracking terrorists or other criminal activity. The detection of post-blast high explosives in the Israel Police laboratory is usually performed by extracting the exhibits with organic solvents (mainly acetone) and after evaporation of most of the solvent, injecting the concentrated liquid into a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) instrument for analysis. A main challenge is that acetone dissolves many other materials such as fatty acids, plastic, oils, and so forth. These materials may be present in large amounts, which may cause a decrease in the resolution or sensitivity in the GC/MS, and, as a result, might screen the target explosive materials. In this paper, we present an effective, simple, and environmentally friendly procedure of extraction of post-blast high explosives using hot water followed by liquid-liquid extraction with a very small amount of organic solvent: dichloromethane. This method has already been successfully tested on dozens of cases received for examination.

Potential Characteristics to Aid Latent Print Examiners in Analyzing Possible Laterally Reversed Images on Porous Surfaces

Author(s): Flanders, Jack; Moyer, Ava; Parish Fisher, Casie
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 1, Page 049
Abstract: This study reviews latent print residue transfers from one porous surface to another. It also determined indicators in a latent print that could serve as red flags during analysis. The study was conducted using the following substrates: 20lb copy paper, A4 paper, and college-ruled lined paper. A transfer sheet was placed on top of each print. A 20lb weight was placed on top of the transfer sheet and was left for 14 days. After this time, the weight was removed, and the substrates were processed with a 1,2-indanedione formulation. Test samples (with original print deposit) and transfer sheets were placed in a humidity chamber, viewed with a laser, and then photographed. Overall, the conclusions reflect (1) latent prints can transfer from one porous surface to another and (2) there are characteristics that may alert the examiner to the possibility of a laterally reversed image: a corona (also known as halo) effect, fuzzy appearance, or faint appearance.

The Effect of Dry-Cleaning and Laundering on the Visualization and Enhancement of Blood Spatter and Transfer Stains on Clothing

Author(s): Tanner, Kyla; Lowe, Amanda; Polacco, Sumiko, Cahn, Joel
Type: Article
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 1, Page 061
Abstract: This research investigates the effects of dry-cleaning on common techniques that are used to locate and enhance bloodstains on various fabric types. The success of these techniques after dry-cleaning and the comparative effects of laundering and dry-cleaning on these processes are discussed. Spatter and transfer stains that were created on various fabrics were individually laundered or dry-cleaned and subsequently photographed with visible and infrared photography, observed under six light wavelengths using a Polilight laser, and dyed with Hungarian red or amido black. A qualitative assessment found that overall, dry-cleaned items retained more visible bloodstains before and after enhancement than did laundered items, and stains on cotton and cotton-polyester blend fabrics retained bloodstain evidence better than did wool fabrics. This study also suggests that chemical techniques outperformed lighting techniques for observing bloodstain detail after cleaning. The findings from this study are valuable in aiding future investigations because they provide the necessary information for determining the most suitable enhancement technique required for laundered and dry-cleaned fabrics found at crime scenes.

Back to Basics

Author(s): Siegel, Sandy, CLPE
Type: Article
Published: 2021, Volume 71, Issue 1, Page 088
Abstract: Funny finds from all over in their own words.