Journal of Forensic Identification
JFI Article Abstracts from 1998-2020 are available to view here at this time
JFI Abstracts from 2020
Issue 2: July to September 2020
Knuckles and Fingerprints: A Comparison and Case Study
Author(s): Kadane, Joseph B.
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 3, Page 265
Abstract: When a person flexes the hand to make a fist, the dorsal-side skin near the knuckles tightens. When the fist is relaxed, the skin may fold, creating lines variously called wrinkles and creases. In a recent case, these lines were the evidence that was used to try to identify a defendant. The charges against the defendant, Devin Whitfield , included child pornography. Part of the evidence consisted of an image taken on a cell phone that included the dorsal side of knuckles. The prosecution called a qualified fingerprint analyst. In light of her expertise in fingerprint analysis, it is useful to review the similarities and differences between knuckle creases and fingerprints.
Survey for the Use of ACE-V in the Physics and Pattern Interpretation Disciplines
Author(s): Mattei, Aldo; Kriel, Louis; Schwarz, Matthew; Swofford, Henry
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 3, Page 275
Abstract: In 2016, the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science established an interdisciplinary subcommittee to develop a common structure harmonizing the examination methodologies across several pattern evidence disciplines. As part of this objective, members of the subcommittee considered various references that have been used to describe pattern evidence examination methods. The most common approach was ACE-V, an acronym for analysis, comparison, evaluation, and verification. Although members of the OSAC interdisciplinary subcommittee recognized the popularity of ACE-V in notable publications and reference manuals, there are no studies providing baseline data regarding the extent to which ACE-V is actually indicated in the laboratory policies and procedures for use throughout the pattern evidence disciplines. To fill this gap, members of the subcommittee conducted a survey of 480 forensic science practitioners across 19 different countries. Results of the survey suggest ACE-V is referenced in approximately 87% of laboratories; however, there appears to be significant variability in terms of the basis of the policies and procedures and application when performing comparative examinations. Consequently, although ACE-V provides a common description, there is a need to establish a standardized application within disciplines and a common basis across disciplines.
Evaluating the Accuracy and Weight of Confidence in Examiner Minutiae Annotations
Author(s): John, Jeremy; Swofford, Henry
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 3, Page 289
Abstract: This study evaluates the accuracy in the level of confidence given to minutiae annotations in latent prints by examiners. During the analysis phase of the ACE-V methodology, examiners may use a color-coded annotation system known as GYRO (green-yellow-red-orange) to annotate their level of confidence in the presence of a particular ridge event in the latent accurately reproducing and corresponding back to the record of origin. Although the GYRO system is a useful tool for examiners, there have been few studies to evaluate how accurate examiners are in their perceived confidence levels when using the system to annotate latent prints in the analysis phase. Examiners were asked to perform an analysis on latent prints using the GYRO system, and the results were compared against the ground truth known record prints. It was found that when examiners marked ridge events indicating they were highly confident in their existence, they were accurate approximately 96% of the time. When examiners marked ridge events indicating they had a medium level of confidence, they were accurate approximately 82% of the time. In addition, the examiners markings were analyzed using friction ridge image quality software to assess how well examiners subjective levels of confidence compared to automated quality assessments. When correlated to the examiners markings, the data demonstrated that image quality software had the potential to be used in policies and procedures, to move towards standardized determinations of a prints suitability to move further in the ACE-V process.
The Influence of Cyanoacrylate on the Efficiency of the Fingermark Detection Technique Amido Black
Author(s): Bouwmeester, Martine; Kroos, Jeroen
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 3, Page 311
Abstract: The sequential processing of cyanoacrylate with the reagent amido black (also known as acid black 1) on blood fingermarks was investigated. A depletion of seven fingermarks with blood was placed on stainless steel strips, and the fingermarks were aged for 1, 3, and 6 months. A methanol-based amido black solution was used. To further evaluate the influence of age, a second test was conducted with eight aging periods of between 1 day and 6 months. The single treatment with amido black on fingermarks with blood, without cyanoacrylate, showed the best results in terms of visibility of the marks. Also in this study, DNA recovery was successful when the blood fingermarks were first treated with cyanoacrylate. The first (thickest) blood fingermark of the depletion series gave the best DNA result.
Visualization of Latent Fingermark Detail on Fired Handgun Casings Using Forensic VMD
Author(s): Brewer, Eleigh R.
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 3, Page 323
Abstract: Inherent (natural residues) and sebaceous fingermarks were deposited onto five different types of handgun ammunition and left for different aging periods prior to firing. The fired casings (n=200) were then processed using four vacuum metal deposition (VMD) processes (gold-zinc, silver, sterling silver, copper-zinc) for the purpose of recovering latent fingermarks. Of the 200 fired casings, good-quality ridge detail that had the potential for identification was developed on 12% of the samples. Moderate-quality ridge detail was developed on a further 28% of the samples. When considering both types of deposit, silver VMD was the most successful process overall. The results of this study far exceeded the expected amount of ridge detail development of <1% of the samples, as reported in literature, and prove that forensic VMD is a viable process for developing ridge detail on fired ammunition casings.
Maximizing Casework Efficiency through a Comprehensive Study on Latent Print Processing Success Rates for Multiple Substrates
Author(s): Koning, Aaron
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 3, Page 347
Abstract: To combat rising submission rates and backlogs, data-driven decisions can assist a laboratory in streamlining processes. For this study, data from 2,000 latent print processing cases (500 cases each from the four Colorado Bureau of Investigation Forensic Services latent print labs) worked in calendar years 2017 and 2018 were analyzed. Data were recorded on whether at least one latent print of value was visualized or developed for each item in these cases. A success rate for each substrate was then calculated. The success rate was defined as the percentage of time that at least one latent print of value was developed for each substrate. Notable results from this study include an overall success rate of 4.34% on handguns, 24.07% on long guns, 0.38% on discharged cartridge cases, 0.37% on cartridges, 26.45% on plastic bags (in nondrug cases), 46.56% on paper items, 1.28% on screwdrivers, 7.15% on plastic bags associated with drug cases, and 4.41% on glass pipes in drug cases. Data from this study were used to limit case processing of certain evidentiary items in routine casework to maximize efficiency in the CBI-FS laboratory system.
Comparison of Various Alkyl Cyanoacrylates Applied to Fingerprint Development in a Commercial Fuming Chamber
Author(s): Casault, Paméla; Camiré, Alexandre; Morin, Roxanne; Daoust, Benoit
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 3, Page 365
Abstract: Although the cyanoacrylate (CA) fuming method has been limited to the use of ethyl CA, it was recently shown by our group that other alkyl CAs could be used for fingerprint development. To follow up on this study, done with a home-made fuming chamber, the present paper examines the development efficiency of four alkyl CAs (methyl, ethyl, n-butyl, and 2-octyl) in a commercial cabinet. Fingerprints were deposited on three different types of surface and aged during three different periods of time. Ethyl CA appeared to be a good choice for most surface and age pairs by providing good development quality and low cost per run. However, butyl CA provided the best development quality for month-old fingerprints on glass and plastic.
Back to Basics
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 3, Page 388
Abstract: Funny finds from all over in their own words.
Issue 2: April to June 2020
Letter to the Editor
Author(s): Dove, Aaron
Type: Letter to the Editor
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 2, Page 149
Abstract: Re: Follow-up: Fingermark Development on Fired Cartridge Cases through the Electrodeposition of Gun Blue. J. For. Ident. 2018, 68 (4), 567587.
Adermatoglyphia: The Loss or Lack of Fingerprints and its Causes
Author(s): Bordas, Lesli; Bonsutto, Jennifer
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 2, Page 154
Abstract: Adermatoglyphia refers to an absence of dermatoglyphs, the ridges on the lower surface of the foot or hand, the latter being commonly called fingerprints. This paper will discuss some of the reasons for adermatoglyphia. Because fingerprints play an important role in investigating crimes and providing identification, adermatoglyphia raises the question, What alternative methods of identification can be used?
The Effects of Latent Print Development on Cell Phones
Author(s): Papamitrou, Sofia
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 2, Page 163
Abstract: Cell phones that are found at crime scenes can provide valuable information, both with latent prints and with electronic data. In order for latent prints to be developed, chemical processing has to occur, but the literature does not suggest whether this would be harmful to the electronic data on the device. Several reagents were tested on cell phones to determine whether they had a deleterious effect on the cell phones so that an investigator does not have to choose between latent print development or electronic data retrieval. Results suggest that the processing techniques (CA Ardrox, CA MBD, amido black, phloxine B, Sudan black, and vacuum metal deposition) most commonly used at the New York City Police Department Police Laboratory for latent print development are not harmful to cell phones. Electronic data can be retrieved after processing for latent prints.
Comparison of Cyanoacrylate Fuming Techniques of Bloody and Latent Fingerprints and the Examination of Subsequent DNA Success
Author(s): Joy, Jessica; Cox, Jordan O.; Hudson, Brittany C.; Armstrong, Julissa; Miller, Marilyn T.; Dawson Cruz, Tracey
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 2, Page 171
Abstract: This study looked to compare the success of four cyanoacrylate products and methods (traditional, Cyano-Shot, The Finder, and Lumicyano) to one another, using a previously developed quality assessment scale for fingerprints. Bloody and latent fingerprints left on five different substrates and enhanced with two different dye stains were evaluated. The impact of these techniques on the success of DNA analysis was examined by comparing expected STR allele peaks to detected STR allele peaks. Of the four techniques, Cyano-Shot had the greatest positive impact on fingerprint quality, but no statistically significant differences were observed between the four techniques on all samples overall. When individually compared, rhodamine 6G fingerprint quality was significantly improved versus those treated with Ardrox. Thirty-nine percent of latent fingerprint samples were found to have detectable STR alleles. No significant differences between the techniques effects on DNA recovery from latent prints on different substrates were found. However, latent prints processed with The Finder and the traditional method yielded the greatest percentage of detected STR alleles. Overall, this study provides valuable preliminary information on the impact of specific cyanoacrylate techniques on both fingerprint quality and downstream DNA analysis.
High-Resolution Medium Infrared Imaging in Forensics Operation Principles and First Results in Dactyloscopy
Author(s): Schultheiss, E.; Kreuter, N.; Boni, V.;
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 2, Page 186
Abstract: For the first time, the design and properties of a new system for evidence examination using high-resolution heat imaging technology in the medium wavelength infrared (MWIR) spectral region (3 to 5 m wavelength) is reported. It was found that in this spectral region, all types of fingermarks (latent, patent, and plastic) can be made visible without the use of contrasting agents or dyes. Furthermore, the method turned out to be very efficient for background suppression in case of structured or printed backgrounds. MWIR high-resolution pictures of cyanoacrylate-fumed samples could be taken and showed significant gain in contrast of tiny structures as compared to pictures taken by conventional digital photography. The new system can be used to search, process, and document fingermarks at one station and has full online capabilities, enabling a closed workflow from first evidence inspection to automated fingermark identification system. The paper gives a short introduction to the physical and technological background of evidence detection by heat imaging and illustrates the potential of this new technology in a variety of examples from daily practice.
Investigating Directional Characteristics in Swipe Patterns on Fabrics
Author(s): Dozier, Jayme
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 2, Page 205
Abstract: Bloodstain pattern analysis can be an important investigative aspect to solving crimes involving bloodletting events. Swipe patterns on hard, nonporous surfaces have been the subject of numerous previous studies. Swipe patterns on fabrics have been less studied and are often more complicated because of wicking, backing materials, previous laundering cycles, and other factors. This study was conducted to ascertain whether distinct repeatable characteristics are observable from unassisted viewing and under microscopic view that would provide knowledge of the directional component of the swiping action. Several observable characteristics were identified that showed that the direction of swipes on fabrics could be determined with fairly high accuracy.
Multiple DNA Transfer Events in a Social Setting Complicates Interpretation of DNA Evidence
Author(s): Rizor, Leann G.; Stone, Jonah W. P.; Latham, Krista E.; Cale, Cynthia M.; Bush, Gay L.
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 2, Page 219
Abstract: Advances in forensic DNA typing and increases in the sensitivity of STR kits have allowed for the analysis of DNA transferred both directly and indirectly between individuals and objects. The present study was adapted from previous research and illustrates the transfer of genetic material between individuals and objects in a simulated social setting. Presterilized objects were handled by four participants sitting at a table. The order and timing of handling were predetermined and controlled by researchers to test for evidence of primary, secondary, and tertiary DNA transfer. Participant behavior and the actions of nonparticipants were not controlled by the researchers thereby mimicking a social situation. The handled objects and participants hands were swabbed throughout the experiment. The DNA was purified, quantified, and amplified for DNA profiling. DNA was detected in 92% of the samples; however, only 50% produced profiles that met casework requirements for interpretation. Eighty percent of the interpretable DNA profiles were characterized as mixtures of DNA from two or more individuals, with 60% of those mixtures having identifiable major and minor contributors. Extraneous DNA was observed in 75% of the DNA profiles. Profiles obtained from the objects displayed no pattern regarding which participant most recently touched the object, and many of the samples were inconclusive because of the complexity of the mixtures. The open-air setting of this experiment and the extraneous DNA detected in the samples complicated reconstructing the order of transfer events. This study highlights the complexity of DNA transfer between individuals and objects when multiple transfer events occur.
A Method for Rapid Separation of Perchlorate and Nitrate Salts in Pyrotechnic and Improvised Explosive Mixtures
Author(s): Zelkowicz, Avraham; Tenne, Dana; Kasherman Kirshenbaum, Yonit; Rossin, Anna; Mishraki-Berkowitz, Tehila
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 2, Page 231
Abstract: To forensically identify pyrotechnic and improvised explosive samples obtained from a crime scene, some methods require separation of the mixtures into their components. This study examined separation of the common salts potassium nitrate and potassium perchlorate, based on their differences in aqueous solubility at different temperatures. Separation quality was tested using the Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy spectrum of each substance. Potassium perchlorate was separated at a relatively low concentration of 25 wt.% using cold aqueous extraction (at 4 C). Potassium nitrate separation showed greater dependence on salt concentrations but it was possible to improve separation quality by repeating the extraction. The success of this method has been proved in cases involving pre- and post-blast exhibits in which mixtures of potassium nitrate and potassium perchlorate were identified. This simple and rapid method of separation makes it possible to easily identify improvised and pyrotechnic explosive mixtures and makes it unnecessary to conduct additional tests, such as ion chromatography.
Using 1,2-Indanedione-Zinc Chloride to Visualize Areas for Touch DNA Collection
Author(s): Galinsky, Kara; Garcia, Tiffany; Springer, Eliot
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 2, Page 245
Abstract: When processing evidence for touch DNA, either at the crime scene or in a laboratory setting, it is important to determine areas that are most likely to contain the suspects skin cells. In some cases, when it is difficult to recreate the events of the crime (e.g., when there are no witnesses), one may find it challenging to determine where to sample. This article discusses using the reagent 1,2-indanedione-zinc chloride (IND-ZnCl2) to locate areas that have been touched. A total of 216 hand-grab samples were collected on fabric samples (cotton denim, cotton-polyester blend denim, cotton, and polyester), which were then processed with IND-ZnCl2 , both with and without heat and humidity. Nearly 86% of the samples resulted in developing areas of fluorescence. Either in the lab or at the crime scene, this approach provides a more precise location on which to focus for the collection of touch DNA.
Back to Basics
Author(s): Siegel, Sandy
Type: Back to Basics
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 2, Page 264
Abstract: Funny finds from all over in their own words.
Issue 1: January to March 2020
Forensic Science and The Duty of Memory: The Face of Verdun
Author(s): Thiburce, Nicolas; Nolot, Franck; Pussiau, Amaury; Guyomarch, Pierre; Mazevet, Michel
Type: Case Report
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 1, Page 001
Abstract: New methods of forensic sciences (i.e., computerized facial approximation and externally visible characteristics prediction) were combined in 2017 to estimate the facial appearance of a soldier killed in action during World War I. Eighty-four employees of the Forensic and Criminal Intelligence Agency of the French Gendarmerie were asked to compare the resulting facial approximation to a historical picture of 15 soldiers that included the target soldier. A factorial correspondence analysis demonstrated that one soldier in the photograph was preferentially chosen by the participants in accordance with the family. Even if facial recognition is subjective, the combination of these two forensic techniques demonstrates an efficient way to establish a good portrait, optimizing the chances of recognition.
Fingerprint Identifications from Explicit Photographs Lead to Pedophile Convictions
Author(s): Forsyth, Cameron
Type: Case Report
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 1, Page 017
Abstract: This case report discusses how usable friction ridge detail that was present in several pornographic photographs led to the positive identification of two offenders. This resulted in both offenders pleading guilty to child-related sex offenses.
The Effects of Cyanoacrylate Fuming and Rhodamine 6G on the Adhesive Side of Tape when Processing with Adhesive-side Powders
Author(s): Martinez, Tara M.
Type: Technical Note
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 1, Page 023
Abstract: Several different kinds of tape were used to evaluate whether processing with cyanoacrylate fuming rhodamine 6G caused adhesive-side powders to be less effective on the adhesive side of tapes. It was concluded that the best results from adhesive-side powders are obtained when the adhesive side is protected from cyanoacrylate fuming R6G. The results of this experiment also afforded a way to determine which method (cyanoacrylate fuming R6G or adhesive-side powder) is better for each type of tape.
Evaluation of Indanedione Application Methods for Fingermark Detection on Paper: Conventional Treatment, Vacuum Development, and Dry-Transfer
Author(s): McCabe, Rebecca; Spikmans, Val; Wuhrer, Richard; Spindler, Xanthe; Lennard, Chris
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 1, Page 037
Abstract: 1,2-Indanedione is considered the most sensitive amino acid reagent currently available for routine use as a fingermark detection technique on porous substrates. The method is generally applied by treating items with a solution of the reagent, followed by the application of heat to accelerate the reaction. Despite the high sensitivity demonstrated by this technique, the use of organic solvents and heat can be problematic for some substrates. For example, polar solvents and heat will darken thermal printer paper. Polar solvents will also diffuse writing inks on documents and may also remove other forensic traces such as explosive and illicit drug residues. The solvent-free application of amino acid reagents has been investigated by a number of research groups as a means of overcoming such issues. Examples include vacuum sublimation (low-pressure vaporization) and dry-transfer methods. For the latter, items to be treated are sandwiched between sheets of reagent-impregnated paper. Solventless methods can alleviate the need for the storage and use of large volumes of potentially hazardous solvents, including solvents that are being phased out because of their global warming potential. In this study, a method for applying indanedione under vacuum using a commercially available vacuum oven was optimized and applied to treat fingermarks on a range of substrates. The results were compared against those obtained using conventional and dry-transfer techniques. Although a vacuum method was found to be feasible, it was generally outperformed by conventional indanedione treatment. However, encouraging results were obtained on some nonporous surfaces, and this shows promise for future investigation.
Recovery of Fingermarks from Fired Ammunition and Detonated Improvised Explosive Devices using S2N2 A Proof of Concept Study
Author(s): Wilkinson, Della; Hockey, Daniel; Power, Cameron; Walls, Rebecca; Cole, Jason
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 1, Page 059
Abstract: This article provides the preliminary testing results of the Recover Latent Fingerprint Technology (Recover LFT, Foster + Freeman) during a one-week period at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The primary objective was to create a procedure, using the Recover LFT, to develop ungroomed fingermarks on fired cartridge cases and detonated improvised explosive devices. As a result of the limited timeframe, many different variables were investigated with smaller sample sizes. Despite these limitations, positive results were achieved, most notably, fired brass .223 ammunition, where 17 of 147 (12%) cases were deemed to have identifiable fingermarks. The Recover LFT offers a novel approach for developing fingermarks on metal surfaces because it appears to be attracted to the physical imperfections caused by the corrosion of the metal from the fingermark residue as opposed to the fingermark residue itself. This allowed the RCMP to develop a method for cleaning the gunshot residue from a fired casing, subsequently exposing the physical imperfections caused by the fingermark. It was observed out of the several cleaning methods tested that incorporating acetone was vital. In addition to the cleaning regime, other variables that appeared to have an impact on the results included the fingermark donor, the storage conditions (ambient or humid), and the amount of time between different stages of the experiment (deposition to firing, firing to cleaning, cleaning to development). When a proper cleaning process is used, the Recover LFT seems to be a viable option for developing fingermarks on fired cartridge cases and metallic components of detonated improvised explosive devices.
Adaptation of Bluestar to Extreme Outdoor Cold Conditions
Author(s): Hatch, Kelly; Lavoie, Kim; Crispino, Frank
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 1, Page 089
Abstract: The use of a blood enhancer (e.g., Bluestar) at crime scenes is required for the observation of latent bloody stains. This process is often necessary to understand a bloody crime dynamic, as well as to identify where DNA is likely to be present. Although Bluestar has a great capacity to adapt to environmental conditions, its effectiveness has not been tested on temperatures lower than -10 C. The objective of this research was to adapt Bluestar so that it would not freeze at low temperatures, nor hinder DNA analysis. An ethylene glycol:Bluestar solution proved to be a viable alternative to the standard solution when the ambient temperature drops below 0 C. This solution did not hinder DNA analysis.
Latent Print Development on the Adhesive Side of Tape
Author(s): Garcia, M.; Gokool, V.
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 1, Page 103
Abstract: A comparative study of powders in suspension, dye stains, and one-step fluorescent techniques was conducted to determine the optimal pairing of development method and tape sample. The clarity of latent prints produced at three intervals of age were evaluated for development on the adhesive side of duct tape, electrical tapes, and cellophane tapes. Nine processing methods (alternate black powder, cyanoacrylate/basic yellow 40, gentian violet, Liqui-Drox, powder in suspension, cyanoacrylate/rhodamine 6G, Sticky-side Powder, TapeGlo, and Wetwop) were tested on 1,458 latent print samples and evaluated for quality of print development after samples had been aged. Although Wetwop has demonstrated to be the favorable method to use on the adhesive side of a variety of tapes, the conducted study has culminated in pairings of tape types and complementary processing methods to increase successful development of latent prints upon first examination.
Estimation of Stature from Hand Anthropometric Measurements in the Adult Lebanese Population
Author(s): Bahmad, Hisham F.; Saleh, Eman; El Naga, Azza Abou; Azakir, Bilal
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 1, Page 125
Abstract: Inherent characteristics, such as height, are essential parameters for the identification of an unknown individual from dismembered remains by forensic anthropometrics. Clinically, in certain situations that impede a person from standing or in diseases that affect vertebral column length, stature estimation using hand anthropometric measures might confer a simpler, easier, more reliable, and less time-consuming alternative method to directly measure the standing height. The objective of this study is to correlate between hand anthropometric measures and measured heights of adult Lebanese individuals and to formulate regression equations to predict the height from these anthropometric measures. We conducted an age-proportionate randomized cross-sectional study using a consecutive sample of 394 participants from central Beirut and its suburbs. Participants were randomly divided into a development sample and a cross-validation sample. Linear regression models were used to formulate the different equations specific for height estimation. Regression equations of predicted heights from right- and left-hand measurements were obtained. Body mass index (BMIs) calculated from the measured heights and BMIs predicted by the regression equations showed no significant difference between the development and the cross-validation samples. Similarly, the measured and predicted heights showed no difference between the two samples. On the other side, a very strong correlation was demonstrated between the measured and predicted heights and BMIs in males and females and in both the development and the cross-validation samples. In conclusion, the formulated regression equations using hand anthropometric measures, age, and sex provide a statistically valid estimation of height and might indeed be useful in the clinical context.
Back to Basics
Author(s): Siegel, Sandy
Type: Back to Basics
Published: 2020, Volume 70, Issue 1, Page 148
Abstract: Funny finds from all over in their own words.