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Science & Justice
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.033
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 435  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1355-0306
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3185 journals]
  • Preparation and characterization of micro-bore wall-coated open-tubular
           capillaries with low phase ratios for fast-gas chromatography–mass
           spectrometry: Application to ignitable liquids and fire debris
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Zackery R. Roberson, John V. Goodpaster Fast Gas Chromatography (GC) allows for analysis times that are a fraction of those seen in traditional capillary GC. Key modifications in fast GC include using narrow, highly efficient columns that can resolve mixtures using a shorter column length. Hence, a typical fast GC column has an inner diameter of 100–180 μm. However, to maintain phase ratios that are consistent with typical GC columns, the film thickness of fast GC stationary phases are also low (e.g., 0.1–0.18 μm). Unfortunately, decreased film thickness leads to columns with very low sample capacity and asymmetric peaks for analytes that are not sufficiently dilute. This paper describes micro-bore (50 μm i.d.) capillary columns with thick films (1.25 μm), and low phase ratios (10). These columns have greater sample capacity yet also achieve minimum plate heights as low as 110 μm. Hence, separation efficiency is much higher than would be obtained using standard GC columns. The capillary columns were prepared in-house using a simple static-coating procedure and their plate counts were determined under isothermal conditions. The columns were then evaluated using temperature programming for fast GC–MS analysis of ignitable liquids and their residues on fire debris exemplars. Temperature ramps of up to 75 °C min−1 could be used and separations of ignitable liquids such as gasoline, E85 fuel, and lighter fluid (a medium petroleum distillate) were complete within 3 min. Lastly, simulated fire debris consisting of ignitable liquids burned on carpeting were extracted using passive headspace absorption-elution and the residues successfully classified.
  • Cell site analysis: Roles and interpretation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Matt Tart, Sue Pope, David Baldwin, Robert Bird
  • Collection and direct amplification methods using the GlobalFiler™ kit
           for DNA recovered from common pipe bomb substrates
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Esiri Tasker, Carrie Mayes, Bobby LaRue, Sheree Hughes-Stamm When analyzing DNA from exploded pipe bombs, quantities are often in trace amounts, making DNA typing extremely difficult. Amplifying minute amounts of DNA can cause stochastic effects resulting in partial or uninterpretable profiles. Therefore, the initial DNA collection from “touch” evidence must be optimized to maximize the amount of DNA available for analysis.This proof-of-concept study evaluated two different swab types with two direct amplification strategies to identify the most effective method for recovering DNA from common pipe bomb substrates. PVC and steel pipes, electrical tape, and copper wire spiked with epithelial cells were swabbed with cotton or microFLOQ® Direct Swabs and amplified directly or via a pre-treatment prior to STR amplification.Not only was the microFLOQ® Direct Swab protocol the quickest method with the least risk of contamination, but in combination with direct amplification, the microFLOQ® Direct Swabs also generated the most complete STR profiles.
  • DNA characterization from gut content of larvae of Megaselia
    (Diptera, Phoridae)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Subham Mukherjee, Prashasti Singh, Fabiola Tuccia, Jennifer Pradelli, Giorgia Giordani, Stefano Vanin
  • Evaluation of the one-step Lumicyano™ used in the visualisation of
           fingermarks on fabrics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Nicole Beerman, Anne Savage, Lynn Dennany, Joanna Fraser This study consisted of three parts to evaluate the performance of Lumicyano™ on a variety of fabrics. One part assessed the impact of dye percentage (8%, 9% and 10%) on visualisation of fingermark detail and luminescent brightness in split grab marks. A 9% dye produced the highest quality detail of grab impressions with least interference from background fluorescence. The second part investigated the optimal relative humidity (RH, 75–84%) for certain fabric types using Lumicyano on split, six-series depletion fingermarks. It was concluded that the recommended RH of 80% remained the ideal cyanoacrylate fuming environment. The final and third part of this study determined the impact of sequential addition of Basic Yellow 40 (BY40) on Lumicyano compared to traditional cyanoacrylate (CA) followed with BY40 application. Results from this study demonstrated that Lumicyano on its own developed fingermarks with superior quality to Lumicyano with sequential addition of BY40 or traditional cyanoacrylate followed by BY40. Inclusion of more fabrics, donors and longer ageing periods should be explored in future studies to determine what frameworks are best for certain types of fabrics.
  • Can analysis of a small clod of soil help to solve a murder case'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Vander Freitas Melo, Samara Alves Testoni, Lorna Dawson, Alexandre Guilherme de Lara, Fábio Augusto da Silva Salvador Soil forensics utilizes extensive soil information to answer legal questions and test hypotheses. The main difficulty often is the determination of different variables from a small amount of soil sample collected on the suspect. We developed a sequential mineralogical and chemical analyses to assess a limited quantity of soil vestiges (0.5 g) from a suspect's vehicle (adhered to the outside rear-view mirror and to the left front fender) involved in a murder case and compared them with the surface samples found at the victim's body disposal site at the Graciosa Road, Paraná State, Brazil. All results affirm that the suspect’s vehicle could have been in contact with the edge of the Graciosa Road, approximately the place where the victim’s body was located. As a result of the soil analysis and comparison, the results support the likely contact of the suspect’s vehicle with the crime scene.
  • The social life of forensic evidence and the epistemic sub-cultures in an
           inquisitorial justice system: Analysis of Saltão case
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Susana Costa
  • When finding nothing may be evidence of something: Anti-forensic and
           digital tool marks
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Graeme Horsman, David Errickson There are an abundance of measures available to the standard digital device users which provide the opportunity to act in an anti-forensic manner and conceal any potential digital evidence denoting a criminal act. Whilst there is a lack of empirical evidence which evaluates the scale of this threat to digital forensic investigations leaving the true extent of engagement with such tools unknown, arguably the field should take proactive steps to examine and record the capabilities of these measures. Whilst forensic science has long accepted the concept of toolmark analysis as part of criminal investigations, ‘digital tool marks’ (DTMs) are a notion rarely acknowledged and considered in digital investigations. DTMs are the traces left behind by a tool or process on a suspect system which can help to determine what malicious behaviour has occurred on a device. This article discusses and champions the need for DTM research in digital forensics highlighting the benefits of doing so.
  • Development of discriminant functions to estimate sex in upper limb bones
           for mixed ancestry South Africans
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Palesa Mokoena, Brendon K. Billings, Victoria Gibbon, Mubarak A. Bidmos, Pedzisai Mazengenya South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, which is associated with an increasing number of unidentified individuals. Forensic anthropologists can assist in these cases to reduce the number of potential victims the remains may belong to. Sex estimation potentially decreases the number of possible victims by half. The mixed ancestry population in South Africa is the second largest group of people; however, there remains a paucity of data and population-specific methods for sex estimation in this group. The aim of this study was to assess the potential for metrices obtained around the nutrient foramen and the maximum length of upper limb long bones to estimate sex in mixed ancestry South Africans using discriminant function analysis. A total of 328 humeri, radii and ulnae from individuals of mixed ancestry were analysed. Sex was correctly classified with an average classification accuracy of 84.3% in the humeri, 88.3% for radii and 83.5% for the ulnae. Total length was the single best predictor of sex; the combination of total length with dimensions related to the nutrient foramen produced high classification accuracies in the current study. Overall, sexual dimorphism was observed in mixed ancestry South Africans upper limb long bones. The findings of this study further emphasise the need for population-specific standards of sexing in an attempt to improve current methods of forensic identification of descendants.
  • Assessment of the Yfiler® Plus PCR amplification kit for the detection of
           male DNA in semen-negative sexual assault cases
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 May 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Julianne Henry, Lenara Scandrett The ability to detect male epithelial cells deposited during digital penetration or penile penetration without ejaculation is limited by the sensitivity of the Y-STR profiling kit. In this study, the relative profiling success of the Thermofisher Yfiler® Plus kit was compared to its predecessor, AmpFlSTR Yfiler®, for 104 semen-negative sexual assault samples from casework at Forensic Science SA, Adelaide, South Australia. Yfiler Plus generated allele information in 25% more samples than Yfiler and gave a higher recovery of informative alleles in all but two samples where detectable male DNA was present. Where a profile was obtained in both kits, 92% of samples gave a higher percentage of informative loci with Yfiler Plus compared to Yfiler. Yfiler Plus also resolved DNA mixtures in 15 samples as compared to 1 sample with Yfiler. Detection of male DNA with the Quantifiler™ Trio DNA Quantification kit was shown to correlate with a successful profiling outcome with Yfiler Plus. The success of profiling with Yfiler Plus was independent of the time elapsed between the alleged offence and the sample being collected, the type of sexual penetration which occurred, and the anatomical origin of the sample.
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: May 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 3Author(s):
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: May 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 3Author(s):
  • Prelim 3: Contents
    • Abstract: Publication date: May 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 3Author(s):
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: May 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 3Author(s):
  • A risk-based approach to cognitive bias in forensic science
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Andrew Camilleri, Damien Abarno, Carolyne Bird, Anne Coxon, Natasha Mitchell, Kahlee Redman, Nicol Sly, Stephen Wills, Edmund Silenieks, Ellie Simpson, Heather Lindsay Over the past decade, the potential impact of cognitive bias in forensic science has instigated much discussion and debate between academics, scientists and those in the justice sector. Evidence of bias influencing subjective decision-making across a range of forensic disciplines has been described in the literature. Forensic service organisations are being urged to address cognitive bias in subjective decision-making by designing processes or procedures to limit access to (irrelevant) contextual information or reduce dependence on cognitive functions. Although some laboratories have implemented bias mitigating strategies, with varying impact on operational efficiency, there has been no systematic assessment of the risk posed by cognitive bias. Forensic Science SA assessed the potential impact of bias on forensic interpretations across multiple disciplines, using a risk management framework. This process proved useful in assessing the effectiveness of existing bias mitigating strategies and identified the latent level of risk posed. While all forensic organisations should seek to implement bias limiting measures that are simple, cost-effective and do not adversely impact efficiency, using a risk-based approach has contextualised the limited benefit of introducing resource hungry measures, as postulated in the literature. That is not to suggest that forensic organisations should dismiss the potential influence of cognitive bias but they need to strike an appropriate balance between risk and return, as they do with any business risk.
  • Management of crime scene units by Quebec police senior managers: Insight
           on forensic knowledge and understanding of key stakeholders
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Vincent Mousseau, Simon Baechler, Frank Crispino What do policing leaders think and know of forensic science' Beyond crime scene investigators or detectives, how do police senior managers perceive the role, utility and limitations of forensic science' Very few empirical studies have addressed the issue. Forensic scientsts should be concerned about the perception that law enforcement senior managers have of their discipline for two reasons. First, strategic and financial decision-makers are obviously key players in the overall administration and provision of forensic science, either as a supervisor, money provider or as a customer. Second, literature has highlighted that other actors involved in forensic science underestimate the scope and possibilities offered by forensic science, hence limiting its exploitation and potential. Following interviews with 18 police senior managers from Quebec (Canada), this study shows that they generally restrict forensic science to a reactive discipline whose role and utility is to identify offenders and support the Court. This understanding of forensic science, like that of many others including a significant share of forensic scientists, differs from the perception of other police activities in modern law enforcement agencies where proactive action is sought. Considering these findings and the growing body of literature which calls for forensic science to connect more tightly with policing and security, we advocate a more extensive education of police leaders regarding the scope of forensic science.
  • Investigating the effect photodegradation has on natural fibres at a
           microscopic level
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Roslyn DeBattista, Helen Tidy, Matthew Clark It is a known fact that when fabric is left exposed to sunlight photodegradation occurs. However, no study has ever looked at the photodegradation that occurs to individual fibre filaments as commonly recovered from a scene of crime. To look at photodegradation of individual fibres, wool and cotton fabric were dyed using CI Acid Red 27 and CI Direct Red 80 respectively at two depths of shade, 0.25% and 2.0% owf. Pieces of fabric and individual fibre samples were then placed in a Light Fastness Q-Sun 1000 Xenon test chamber which simulated exposure to sunlight over two time periods, 64 (equivalent to one weeks sun exposure) and 128 h (equivalent to two weeks sun exposure). The resulting pieces of fabric and fibres where then examined using high power comparison microscopy, as well as graded for colour fading using SDC Grey Scale for Assessing Change in Colour (including half steps). Results show that in both fibre types, photodegradation occurs in all samples, however, the degree of fading is shown to vary within a given fibre population showing it is unpredictable in nature.
  • The repeatability and reproducibility of the Sheffield Features of Gait
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ivan Birch, Maria Birch, Lucy Rutler, Sarah Brown, Libertad Rodriguez Burgos, Bert Otten, Mickey Wiedemeijer Gait, the pattern or style in which locomotion is undertaken, has kinematic characteristics that may occur in varying proportions of a population and therefore have discriminatory potential. Forensic gait analysis is the analysis, comparison and evaluation of features of gait to assist the investigation of crime. While there have been recent developments in automated gait recognition systems, gait analysis presented in criminal court to assist in identification currently relies on observational analysis by expert witnesses. Observational gait analysis has been the focus of considerable research, and it has been shown that the adoption of a systematic approach to both the observation and recording of features of gait improves the reliability of the analysis. The Sheffield Features of Gait Tool was developed by forensic gait analysis practitioners based on their casework and trial experience, and consists of more than a hundred features of gait and variances. This paper reports the findings of a study undertaken to assess the repeatability and reproducibility of the Sheffield Features of Gait Tool.Fourteen participants, with experience in observational gait analysis, viewed footage of computer generated avatars walking, and completed the features of gait tool on multiple occasions. The repeatability scores varied between participants from a highest score of 42.59 out of a maximum possible score of 45 (94.65%), to a lowest score of 30.76 (68.35%), with a mean score of 35.79 (79.54%) and a standard deviation of 3.59 (7.98%). The reproducibility scores for the assessment of each avatar varied from a highest score of 137.73 out of the best possible score of 180 (76.52%), to a lowest score of 127.21 (70.67%), with a mean score of 132.21 (73.45) and a standard deviation of 3.82 (2.12%). The results demonstrated that the use of the Sheffield Features of Gait Tool by experienced analysists resulted in what could be considered to be good levels of both repeatability and reproducibility. Some variation was shown to occur both between the results produced by different analysts, and between those produced from the analysis of different avatars. An understanding of the probative value of gait analysis evidence is an important facet of its submission as evidence, and the design and testing of standardized methods of analysis and comparison are an essential element of developing that understanding. This study is the first to test a purpose designed features of gait tool for use in forensic gait analysis.
  • Two-dimensional linear analysis of dynamic bare footprints: A comparison
           of measurement techniques
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Michael S. Nirenberg, Elizabeth Ansert, Kewal Krishan, Tanuj Kanchan In forensic intelligence-gathering, footprints have been shown to be valued evidence found at crime scenes. Forensic podiatrists and footprint examiners use a variety of techniques for measuring footprints for comparison of the crime scene evidence with the exemplar footprints. This study examines three different techniques of obtaining two-dimensional linear measurement data of dynamic bare footprints. Dynamic bare footprints were gathered from 50 students from a podiatric medical school using the Identicator® Inkless Shoe Print Model LE 25P system. After obtaining 100 bilateral footprints from the participants, the quantitative measurement data were collected by using three different measurement techniques: (i) a manual technique using a ruler (direct technique); (ii) an Adobe® Photoshop® technique; and (iii) a GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) technique. The seven Reel linear measurement methodology was used for producing measurements using these three techniques.This study showed that all the mean bare footprint measurements on the right and left feet obtained using the direct technique were larger than those obtained using GIMP and Adobe® Photoshop® images. Differences were also observed in measurements produced using GIMP software and Photoshop images. However, the differences observed in the three techniques used for bare footprint measurements were not found to be statistically significant. The study concludes that there are no significant differences between the three measurement techniques when applied to two-dimensional bare footprints using the Reel method. It further concluded that any of these measurement techniques can be used when employing the Reel methodology for footprint analysis without significant difference.
  • Identification of decomposition volatile organic compounds from
           surface-deposited and submerged porcine remains
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): L. Irish, S. Rennie, G. Parkes, A. Williams Cadaver dogs are routinely used internationally by police and civilian search organisations to locate human remains on land and in water, yet little is currently known about the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released by a cadaver underwater; how this compares to those given off by a cadaver deposited on land; and ultimately, how this affects the detection of drowned victims by dogs. The aim of this study was to identify the VOCs released by whole porcine (Sus scrofa domesticus) cadavers deposited on the surface and submerged in water using solid phase microextraction gas chromatography mass spectrometry (SPME GC–MS) to ascertain if there are notable differences in decomposition odour depending on the deposition location.For the first time in the UK, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the headspace of decomposing porcine cadavers deposited in both terrestrial and water environments have been detected and identified using SPME-GCMS, including thirteen new VOCs not previously detected from porcine cadavers. Distinct differences were found between the VOCs emitted by porcine cadavers in terrestrial and water environments. In total, seventy-four VOCs were identified from a variety of different chemical classes; carboxylic acids, alcohols, aromatics, aldehydes, ketones, hydrocarbons, esters, ethers, nitrogen compounds and sulphur compounds. Only forty-one VOCs were detected in the headspace of the submerged pigs with seventy detected in the headspace of the surface-deposited pigs. These deposition-dependent differences have important implications for the training of cadaver dogs in the UK. If dog training does not account for these depositional differences, there is potential for human remains to be missed.Whilst the specific odours that elicit a trained response from cadaver dogs remain unknown, this research means that recommendations can be made for the training of cadaver dogs to incorporate different depositions, to account for odour differences and mitigate the possibility of missed human remains operationally.
  • Effects of peri-mortem infection on the entomofauna of decomposing buried
           human remains – a metadata analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): A.E. Whittington The role of infectious disease as a cause of death is undeniable. The affect infectious disease may have on decomposition after death is less well established. Furthermore, virtually no information is available regarding the effects of burial conditions in such circumstances, despite that numerous clandestine burials occur each year. Although many aspects of post-mortem pathology are well understood and provide frequent insight in medicolegal investigation, where buried bodies are concerned, there is great variation in the decomposition processes, depending on extrinsic and intrinsic conditions.Criminal burials and hurriedly dug clandestine graves are seldom deeper than 120 cm allowing access to certain invertebrates, excluding others that only develop in unburied bodies. Numerous studies have reported on such clandestine graves with a purpose to facilitate forensic investigation, but our knowledge of decomposition in deeper graves lags behind, despite several often-cited papers of over a century ago.The poor level of detail in deep-grave knowledge is in part due to resource deficiencies and ethical considerations, but in part due to lack of thorough investigation of the data in papers of often cited prior work. To this end, a metadata analysis assessed a paper written by Dr. Murray Galt Motter in 1898, providing detail of 150 disinterment events with linked medical records from City of Washington cemeteries. This paper, written more than a hundred years ago, was largely descriptive and the detailed data provided in a summary table were never fully analysed. The paper is often quoted despite these obvious oversights. The present study revisits this work, applying a frequency statistical analysis conducted using categorical data and chi-squared analysis. This new analysis reveals patterns and relationships so long ‘locked-up’ within the body of the table and provides greater understanding of the effect of infectious disease on the abundance of species in the entomofauna associated with deeply buried remains.The data confirm that the presence of adipocere (saponification) is detrimental to development of soil entomofauna ((X2 = 6·64, df = 1, p 
  • Resolving the so-called “probabilistic paradoxes in legal reasoning”
           with Bayesian networks
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jacob de Zoete, Norman Fenton, Takao Noguchi, David Lagnado Examples of reasoning problems such as the twins problem and poison paradox have been proposed by legal scholars to demonstrate the limitations of probability theory in legal reasoning. Specifically, such problems are intended to show that use of probability theory results in legal paradoxes. As such, these problems have been a powerful detriment to the use of probability theory – and particularly Bayes theorem – in the law. However, the examples only lead to ‘paradoxes’ under an artificially constrained view of probability theory and the use of the so-called likelihood ratio, in which multiple related hypotheses and pieces of evidence are squeezed into a single hypothesis variable and a single evidence variable. When the distinct relevant hypotheses and evidence are described properly in a causal model (a Bayesian network), the paradoxes vanish. In addition to the twins problem and poison paradox, we demonstrate this for the food tray example, the abuse paradox and the small town murder problem. Moreover, the resulting Bayesian networks provide a powerful framework for legal reasoning.
  • Development of enhanced sensitivity protocols on the RapidHIT™ 200 with
           a view to processing casework material
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): David Shackleton, Jenny Pagram, Nicolas Andrews, Simon Malsom, Lesley Ives, Des Vanhinsbergh
  • “The big sleep: Elucidating the sequence of events in the first hours of
           death to determine the postmortem interval”
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Paula Núñez Martínez, Sofía T. Menéndez, María de los Ángeles Villaronga, Douglas H. Ubelaker, Juana M. García-Pedrero, Sara C. Zapico Recent developments on postmortem interval estimation (PMI) take an advantage of the autolysis process, pointing out to the analysis of the expression of apoptosis and autophagy genes towards this purpose. Oxidative stress plays a role in this signaling as a regulatory mechanism and/or as a consequence of cell death. Additionally, melatonin has been implicated on apoptosis and autophagy signaling, making melatonin a suitable target for PMI determination. The aim of this study was to investigate the early PMI through the analysis of the expression of autophagy genes as well as oxidative stress and melatonin receptor. Our results demonstrated a rapidly increased on the expression of autophagy genes according to the expected sequence of events, then a marked decrease in this expression, matched with the switch to the apoptosis signaling. These results revealed potential candidates to analyze the PMI in the first hours of death, helping to estimate the time-since-death.
  • Enzymatic extraction of dyes for differentiation of red cotton fibres by
           TLC coupled with VSC
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Paulina Góra, Jolanta Wąs-Gubała The purpose of this work was to assess the usefulness of thin layer chromatography (TLC) for discriminating single cotton fibres dyed with red reactive dyes. An effective enzymatic extraction procedure with the use of cellulase for the red reactively-dyed cotton fibres was developed and used for the discrimination of fibres derived from 21 garments purchased commercially. Discrimination of the fibres relied on the separation of the extracted dyes by thin layer chromatography (TLC). Four eluents were used to develop the plates with the extracted dyes, and the obtained results were analysed using, among others, video spectral comparator (VSC). Observation of TLC plates in visible, ultraviolet and infrared light allowed unambiguous discrimination of 5 and probable discrimination of 6 of the 21 fibres tested. The remaining fibres were divided into several groups. Comparison of the acquired results with those obtained for the same examination material by standard non-destructive methods used in forensic fibres examinations (transmitted light microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, UV–Vis microspectrophotometry and Raman spectroscopy) has shown that efficiency in fibres differentiation is similar for all methods. TLC coupled with VSC was even found to be more effective in differentiation of red cotton fibres. The chemometric analysis was helpful to discriminate dyed cotton fibres, characterized by very similar colour.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • A comparison of the length and width of static inked two-dimensional bare
           footprints found on a hard compared to a soft surface
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Curran Michael, Holmes Isabelle In forensic intelligence-gathering it would be useful to evaluate if there are differences between static inked bare footprints captured on hard surfaces compared to soft surfaces. This was undertaken using samples from 30 undergraduate students. Initially a static footprint was taken for each participant on a hard surface and this was followed by a static footprint on a soft surface. On both occasions, the participants stood on an inkless mat and then on reactive paper, creating a two-dimensional print. The Reel method was used to analyse each footprint and the print was measured to see whether a difference existed between length and width (forefoot and rearfoot width) on a hard surface compared to a soft surface. The conclusion from this study was there is a statistically significant increase in length and width of a static bare footprint on a soft surface as opposed to a hard surface. If a forensic footprint examiner compares static bare footprints found on a soft surface and compares them to a static bare footprint of the same foot taken later, then the increase in both length and width of the footprints on a soft surface should be considered in the evaluation.
  • Letter to the editor: Reply to Biedermann and Gittelson
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Roger Koppl
  • A Bayesian approach based on Kalman filter frameworks for bullet
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 February 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): H. Danandeh Hesar, S. Bigeli, M. Ebrahimi Moghaddam When a bullet is fired from a barrel, random imperfections in the interior surface of the barrel imprint 3-D micro structures on the bullet surface that are seen as striations. Despite being random and non-stationary in nature, these striations are known to be consistently reproduced in a unique pattern on every bullet. This is a key idea in bullet identification. Common procedures in the field of automatic bullet identification include extraction of a feature profile from bullet image, profile smoothing and comparison of profiles using normalized cross correlation. Since the cross correlation based comparison is susceptible to high-frequency noise and nonlinear baseline drift, profile smoothing is a critical step in bullet identification. In previous work, we considered bullet images as nonlinear non-stationary processes and applied ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) as a preprocessing algorithm for smoothing and feature extraction. Using EEMD, each bullet average profile was decomposed into several scales known as intrinsic mode functions (IMFs). By choosing an appropriate range of scales, the resultant smoothed profile contained less high-frequency noise and no nonlinear baseline drift. But the procedure of choosing the proper number of IMFs to reduce the high-frequency noise effect was manual. This poses a problem in comparison of bullets whose images contained less or more noise in comparison to others because their useful information may be present in the corresponding discarded IMFs. Moreover, another problem arises when the bullet type changes. In this case manual inspection is needed once more to figure out which range of IMFs contain less high-frequency noise for this particular type of bullet. In this paper, we propose a novel combination of EEMD and Bayesian Kalman filter to solve these problems. First the bullet images are rotated using Radon transform. The rotated images are averaged column-wise to acquire averaged 1-D profiles. The nonlinear baseline drifts of averaged profiles are removed using EEMD algorithm. The profiles are then processed by a Kalman filter that is designed to automatically and optimally reduce the effect of high-frequency noise. Using Expectation Maximization (EM) technique, for each averaged profile, the parameters of Kalman filter are reconfigured to optimally suppress the high-frequency noise in each averaged profile. This work is the first effort that practically implements the Kalman filter for optimal denoising of firearm image profiles. In addition, we believe that Euclidean distance metric can help the normalized cross-correlation based comparison. Therefore, in this paper, we propose a comparison metric that is invariant to start and endpoints of firearm image profiles. This metric combines the prized properties of both Euclidean and normalized cross-correlation metrics in order to improve identification results. The proposed algorithm was evaluated on a database containing 180 2-D gray-scale images acquired from bullets fired from different AK-47 assault rifles. Although the proposed method needs more calculations in comparison to conventional methods, the experiments showed that it attained better results compared with the conventional methods and the previous method based on EMD in the field of automatic bullet identification.
  • Accuracy of four dental age estimation methodologies in Brazilian and
           Croatian children
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 February 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Luany Cristina Pongo da Luz, David Anzulović, Eduardo N. Benedicto, Ivan Galić, Hrvoje Brkić, Maria Gabriela H. Biazevic ObjectiveTo compare and analyse the accuracy of four age estimation methods using the mineralisation stages of the permanent teeth (Cameriere et al. [16] [CAM], Liliequist and Lundberg [LLH] and Nolla without third molars [NOL7] or with them [NOL8]) in a mixed population of Brazilians and a homogeneous population of Croatians.MethodsOrthopantomograms of 930 Brazilians (366 males and 564 females) and 924 Croatians (365 males and 556 females) aged between 8 and 14.99 years were analysed using the CAM, LLH, NOL7 and NOL8 age estimation methodologies.ResultsLLH presented the best absolute differences (ADs) among both populations without sex stratification, while CAM presented the worst results. In addition, the mean differences revealed underestimations, except when the LLH and NOL7 methods were used for the Brazilians. When the sample was stratified by sex, the best AD values were found with NOL7 (0.80) for the Brazilians and with LLH (0.98) for the Croatians. When the sample was stratified by sex and age, CAM presented high accuracy at the early ages, and LLH presented high accuracy at the older ages. The results obtained with the Nolla methods (NOL7 and NOL8) were mostly similar, but NOL7 yielded slightly better results.ConclusionsThe values for the Brazilians and the Croatians were relatively similar, and the techniques were properly applied in both population samples. The best method for evaluating both countries was LLH, followed by NOL7, NOL8 and CAM.
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 2Author(s):
  • Prelim 3: Contents
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 2Author(s):
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 2Author(s):
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 2Author(s):
  • The efficiency of DNA extraction kit and the efficiency of recovery
           techniques to release DNA using flow cytometry
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 February 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Lydie Samie, Christophe Champod, Valérie Glutz, Miguel Garcia, Vincent Castella, Franco Taroni
  • Fragrance transfer between fabrics for forensic reconstruction
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 February 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Simona Gherghel, Ruth M. Morgan, Javier F. Arrebola-Liébanas, Chris S. Blackman, Ivan P. Parkin Sexual assault is a serious crime that often has low conviction rates. Recent literature has demonstrated that there is potential for fragrances to be valuable in forensic reconstructions where there has been contact between individuals. However, developing appropriate evidence bases for understanding the nature of fragrance transfer in these contexts is needed. This article presents three experiments that address the transfer process of fragrances that have been transferred from a primary piece of fabric onto a secondary piece of fabric, in a manner that could occur during an assault. The three variables studied were the ageing time of the fragrances on the first fabric prior to transfer, the contact time between the two fabrics, and lastly the fabric type (of the primary material and the recipient material). The transfer was evaluated using a validated solid phase micro-extraction gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (SPME GC–MS) method. The findings demonstrated that all three variables had an impact on the transfer of fragrances between clothing fabrics. Generally, lower volatility compounds were transferred and recovered in larger amounts than higher volatility compounds. All fragrance compounds were successfully recovered from a secondary piece of fabric even when the contact time was as short as 10 s, and even when the perfume was aged on the primary fabric for as long as 48 h. The nature of the fragrance transfer also depended on the fabric type, so that a clear discrimination was observed between the fragrance transfer that occurred onto a natural fabric (cotton) and onto a synthetic fabric (polyester).
  • Evaluation of neodymium isotope analysis of human dental enamel as a
           provenance indicator using 1013 Ω amplifiers (TIMS)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 February 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): E. Plomp, I.C.C. von Holstein, J.M. Koornneef, R.J. Smeets, J.A. Baart, T. Forouzanfar, G.R. Davies Human provenance studies employing isotopic analysis have become an essential tool in forensic and archaeological sciences, with multi-isotope approaches providing more specific location estimates compared to single isotope studies. This study reports on the human provenancing capability of neodymium isotopes (143Nd/144Nd), a relatively conservative tracer in the environment. Neodymium isotope ratios have only recently been determined on human remains due to low concentrations in human dental enamel (ppb range), requiring thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) using 1013 Ω resistors. Dental elements (third molars) from 20 individuals born and raised in the Netherlands were analysed for Nd concentration (n = 12) and Nd isotope ratios (n = 15). The geological control on Nd isotope composition was examined using coupled Nd-Sr isotope analysis of the same third molar. Teeth from different geological environments were also analysed (Caribbean, Columbian, and Icelandic, n = 5). Neodymium elemental concentrations in dental elements ranged between 0.1 and 7.9 ppb (median 0.5 ppb). The Dutch 143Nd/144Nd ratios of the provinces of Limburg and Friesland were between 0.5118 and 0.5121, with Dutch 87Sr/86Sr ratios in agreement with the previously established local range (0.708–0.710). The current findings were compared to previously published results on Nd concentration and composition from Dutch individuals. The concentration of Nd and 143Nd/144Nd ratios were weakly correlated (R2 = 0.47, n = 17) in Dutch human dental enamel. The majority (n = 25, 83.3%) of individuals had Nd and Sr isotope values isotopically indistinguishable from the geological environment in which their third molars formed and mineralised. However, the Nd isotope ratios of the Icelandic individual and several Dutch individuals (n = 4) suggested that Nd in enamel is not solely influenced by geological environment. In order for neodymium isotopes to be quantitatively applied in forensic and archaeological settings further analyses of individuals from various geographical regions with well-defined dietary Nd isotope data are required.
  • Mass spectrometry-based SNP genotyping as a potential tool for ancestry
           inference and human identification in Chinese Han and Uygur populations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 January 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jiashuo Zhang, Jingyi Zhang, Ruiyang Tao, Zihao Yang, Suhua Zhang, Chengtao Li Ancestry informative SNPs (AISNPs) are genetic variants that exhibit substantially different frequencies between populations from different geographical regions; thus, they can provide some valuable information regarding samples and be used in predicting an individual's ancestry origin. In this study, we selected the potentially best SNPs from our previous study with genome-wide high-density SNP data in mainland Chinese Uygur and Han populations and investigated the allele distribution patterns and genetic information of AISNPs with a mass spectrometry-based SNP genotyping panel. Mass spectrometry-based detection technology offers the opportunity to analyze forensic DNA samples and obtain SNP variants with accuracy and ease. The panel can distinguish and cluster Han and Uygur populations and is suitable for human identification and parentage testing in the two populations. Heatmap, PCA, and Structure analyses indicated that the ideal 64 AISNPs can collectively provide additional information on differences among populations from East Asia, South Asia, Europe and Africa. Additionally, the results proved that the Uygur population is the admixture of East Asia and Europe.
  • Forensic investigation of cross platform massively multiplayer online
           games: Minecraft as a case study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 January 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): D.C. Paul J. Taylor, Henry Mwiki, Ali Dehghantanha, Alex Akibini, Kim Kwang Raymond Choo, Mohammad Hammoudeh, Reza Parizi Minecraft, a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG), has reportedly millions of players from different age groups worldwide. With Minecraft being so popular, particularly with younger audiences, it is no surprise that the interactive nature of Minecraft has facilitated the commission of criminal activities such as denial of service attacks against gamers, cyberbullying, swatting, sexual communication, and online child grooming. In this research, there is a simulated scenario of a typical Minecraft setting, using a Linux Ubuntu 16.04.3 machine (acting as the MMOG server) and Windows client devices running Minecraft. Server and client devices are then examined to reveal the type and extent of evidential artefacts that can be extracted.
  • An investigation on the secondary transfer of organic gunshot residues
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 28 January 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Matthieu Maitre, Scott Chadwick, K. Paul Kirkbride, Anne-Laure Gassner, Céline Weyermann, Alison Beavis, Claude Roux Gunshot residues (GSR) are an important forensic trace in firearm-related events. Currently, routine GSR analyses focus on the detection and characterisation of the inorganic components (IGSR). The increasing prevalence of heavy metal-free ammunition challenges these current protocols and there is an increasing interest in how the organic components of GSR (OGSR) can provide complementary information. Similar to the situation with IGSR, OGSR compounds originally deposited on the shooter during the firing process may further be transferred onto another individual or surface. Hence, the aim of this study was to provide additional information regarding the risk of a secondary transfer of OGSR. Two scenarios were investigated, the first one related to the arrest process and the possibilities of a secondary transfer arising between a shooter onto a non-shooter (e.g. between a police officer and a person of interest (POI)). The second scenario concerned the transfer of OGSR onto the non-shooter after handling a firearm for few minutes without discharging it. One calibre was chosen, the 0.40 S&W calibre, used by several Australian State police forces. A secondary transfer was observed in all cases for the two scenarios investigated, for three compounds of interest: ethylcentralite (EC), diphenylamine (DPA), N-nitrosodiphenylamine (N-nDPA). The firearm handling scenario resulted in a larger secondary transfer to that of the arrest scenario. Overall, the amounts of OGSR detected on the non-shooter were generally lower than that detected on the shooter and controls after the arrest scenario. The results of this study provide complementary knowledge about OGSR, which can be further used to improve the current practice and the interpretation of OGSR evidence. In particular, it highlights that the secondary transfer proposition must be considered during the interpretation of forensic findings, especially when small amounts of OGSR target compounds are detected.
  • An evaluation of the effect of incorporating metal salts into 1,8
           diazafluoren-9-one (DFO) formulations for fingermark enhancement
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 January 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Kelly Mayse, Vaughn G. Sears, Niko Nicolasora, Stephen Bleay A study into the modification of 1,8-diazafluoren-9-one (DFO) formulations by the additions of metal salts into the working solution is reported. Similar additions have been found to increase the fluorescence of marks developed using other amino acid reagents including 1,2-indandione and the ninhydrin analogue 5-methylthioninhydrin. It was found that adding zinc chloride to give a 1:1 ratio of zinc ions:DFO molecules gave optimum fluorescence, and improvements in performance over the standard DFO formulation were achieved. Attempts to produce equivalent formulations with iron, nickel and palladium chlorides were unsuccessful. In a comparative trial with a 1,2-indandione-zinc formulation on brown paper and cardboard substrates, 1,2-indandione-zinc gave superior results and it was decided to focus further research on this reagent instead of DFO-zinc.
  • Developmental validation of an enhanced mRNA-based multiplex system for
           body fluid and cell type identification
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 January 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Patricia Pearl Albani, Rachel Fleming
  • Estimating actual foot size from a static bare foot print in a White
           British Population
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 January 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Curran Michael, Gillespie Laura, Melville Sarah, Campbell Jackie, Kagan Bryan In forensic intelligence-gathering it would be useful to be able to estimate the size of a perpetrator's foot from a standing bare footprint found at the scene of crime. Currently, the advice is to add a fixed amount to the length of the footprint (typically 1.5 or 2.0 cm), but there is little evidence for this approach. This study used measured footprint and actual foot lengths from 146 participants from the white British student population of a University in the UK. Data were analysed using multiple regression with foot length as the dependent (outcome) variable and footprint length and sex as the independent variable/factor respectively. Sex was not a significant predictor. The regression equation for the best estimate of the foot length is 19.89 + 0.95 × print length ± 8 mm.
  • The effect of tape type, taping method and tape storage temperature on the
           retrieval rate of fibres from various surfaces: An example of data
           generation and analysis to facilitate trace evidence recovery validation
           and optimisation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 December 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Zoe V. Jones, Claire Gwinnett, Andrew R.W. Jackson This paper aspires to assist those tasked with data generation and analysis for the purpose of the validation and/or optimisation of trace evidence recovery. It does so via a detailed report of the authors’ approach to this problem in the context of target fibre retrieval using self-adhesive tapes.Textile fibres can provide valuable evidence at both source and activity levels. This ability stems from their near ubiquity in the man-made environment, their potential for high levels of discrimination (especially when found in combination) and their reproducible transfer and persistence behaviours. To realise this value for the criminal justice system, it is vital that police forces and forensic providers are collectively able to search for, recover and analyse fibres found at crime scenes and correctly evaluate their evidential value.ISO accreditation provides quality assurance for such activities. The work reported in this paper was part of a study to validate crime scene fibre retrieval processes for the purposes of ISO17020 accreditation. However, it is hoped that it will be of assistance to those wishing to validate and/or optimise forensic fibre recovery whether at the crime scene or in the laboratory. Further, the methods described may be of value to those who need to validate and/or optimise the recovery of other types of trace evidence.This paper outlines a series of experiments that investigated the effect of four factors on the rate at which target fibres could be recovered from surfaces by tape lifting. The factors were tape type (with two levels, namely: J-LAR and Crystal Tabs), tape storage temperature (three levels: −5 °C, room temperature [19 ± 1 °C] and 35 °C ), taping method (two levels: zonal and one-to-one) and surface (12 levels: each being a surface type commonly encountered at crime scenes). This resulted in 144 unique experimental conditions. For each of these, five repeat fibre recovery rate determinations were carried out, generating 720 data points. All surfaces were clean and dry prior to target fibres being transferred and recovered. In all cases, the tapes were applied to the surfaces at 19 ± 1 °C.These experiments showed that the surfaces can be divided into three stable clusters based on the median and interquartile range of the fibre retrieval rate achieved from each of them. Also, they showed that, in terms of the proportion of the target fibres retrieved, typically and setting aside interaction effects:•Crystal Tabs outperformed J-LAR;•rolls of tape stored at −5 °C and 35 °C outperformed those stored at room temperature;•one-to-one taping outperformed zonal taping.However, notably, a good degree of between-condition overlap was also apparent in the data. To understand this, a four-way factorial ANOVA model was built which revealed significant and substantive effects for all four main effects and for 10 of the 11 interactions. Importantly, the four-way interaction term was amongst those found to be significant. The interplay between the effects of the four factors was analysed by means of simple effects tests and pairwise contrasts. Tables and interactive parallel coordinate plots have been created. Using these it can easily be seen which of any given pair of levels of each of the four factors resulted in the higher fibre retrieval rate under any one of the unique conditions of the study, and the effect size and statistical significance of this observation.Qualitative evaluations of the effect of tape storage temperatures on tape pliability and its propensity to tear in use were also made.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Case study: Loss of Kastle-Meyer test specificity on jeans
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 December 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Wendy Lalonde, Jonathan S. Millman A pair of jeans produced false positive results upon testing for the presence of blood using the Kastle-Meyer (KM) test. Positive reactions were obtained from all unstained areas of the fabric tested. The peroxidase used in the manufacture of some jeans may be the causative agent for the observed false positive reactions; however, it was not possible to confirm this theory.
  • The impact of trauma and blood loss on human decomposition
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 December 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Diane L. Cockle, Lynne S. Bell
  • Is forensic science in danger of extinction'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 November 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): David San Pietro, Brooke W. Kammrath, Peter R. De Forest, D. Crim Observations of modern day forensic science has prompted asking the question of whether this field is in danger of extinction. Although there have undoubtedly been meaningful advancements in analytical capabilities, we have overlooked several unintended practical and philosophical consequences. This article addresses three main areas of concern: the declining role of the generalist in an era of increased specialization, the role of education in preparing the next generation of forensic scientists, and the implementation of advanced instrumentation with a focus on statistical significance and field deployable instrumentation.
  • In silico toxicity as a tool for harm reduction: A study of new
           psychoactive amphetamines and cathinones in the context of criminal
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 November 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Caio Henrique Pinke Rodrigues, Aline Thaís Bruni The emergence of new psychoactive substances (NPS) has raised many issues in the context of law enforcement and public drug policies. In this scenario, interdisciplinary studies are crucial to the decision-making process in the field of criminal science. Unfortunately, information about how NPS affect people's health is lacking even though knowledge about the toxic potential of these substances is essential: the more information about these drugs, the greater the possibility of avoiding damage within the scope of a harm reduction policy. Traditional analytical methods may be inaccessible in the field of forensic science because they are relatively expensive and time-consuming. In this sense, less costly and faster in silico methodologies can be useful strategies. In this work, we submitted computer-calculated toxicity values  of various amphetamines and cathinones to an unsupervised multivariate analysis, namely Principal Component Analysis (PCA), and to the supervised techniques Soft Independent Modeling of Class Analogy and Partial Least Square-Discriminant Analysis (SIMCA and PLS-DA) to evaluate how these two NPS groups behave. We studied how theoretical and experimental values are correlated by PLS regression. Although experimental data was available for a small amount of molecules, correlation values reproduced literature values. The in silico method efficiently provided information about the drugs. On the basis of our findings, the technical information presented here can be used in decision-making regarding harm reduction policies and help to fulfill the objectives of criminal science.
  • Freshwater diatom transfer to clothing: Spatial and temporal influences on
           trace evidence in forensic reconstructions
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 November 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): K.R. Scott, R.M. Morgan, N.G. Cameron, V.J. Jones Environmental indicators are increasingly sought and analysed in a range of forensic reconstructions. Although the majority of casework and research studies are concerned with the criminal investigation of terrestrial habitats (soils, sediments, plants etc.), freshwater environments are also frequently encountered as crime scenes. As such, microalgae, particularly diatoms, may provide useful circumstantial trace evidence following their transfer to a victim or perpetrator. Diatom analysis is a relatively underused technique in forensic ecology, although an increased empirical research focus is beginning to recognise the evidential value of a transferred assemblage. This study aimed to examine three of the spatial and temporal variables known to influence the extent of an initial transfer of trace particulates, within the context of freshwater diatoms to clothing. A series of experiments were designed to consider the impact of recipient surface characteristics (clothing type), source environment conditions (seasonality), and morphological (type of diatom) variability, on the total number (no. per cm2) and species richness (total no. sp.) of an evidential diatom sample recovered from clothing. Nine commonly used clothing materials were immersed in a freshwater river at three times of year – the early and late spring and in the winter. Diatoms were recovered using a H2O2 extraction technique and examined microscopically. The results demonstrated that diatom transfer to clothing varies significantly, with a greater abundance and a higher species richness transferred to coarse woven surfaces including acrylic, linen, and viscose. Significantly fewer diatoms were transferred to clothing in the winter, in line with seasonal fluctuations in the source environment diatom community. Furthermore, variation in the relative abundance of particular diatom species was identified between clothing types, provisionally suggesting that morphological characteristics may also support or limit the transfer of material. These findings highlight that, although clothing may offer a valuable repository of freshwater diatom trace evidence, the interpretation of evidential material should be approached within an exclusionary framework. Thus, empirical data has been generated to develop evidence bases within forensic ecology, demonstrating some of the spatial and temporal factors which may contribute to or limit the transfer of evidence.
  • Uncertainty in Widmark calculations: ABV variation in packaged versions of
           the most popular beers in the UK
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 November 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Struan Reid, Peter D. Maskell, Dawn L. Maskell Forensic practitioners regularly use the Widmark equation to determine theoretical blood alcohol concentrations for use in cases involving alcohol. It is important in these calculations to determine the uncertainty associated with any result. Previous work has investigated the uncertainty in %ABV from beers produced by small independent breweries in the UK but did not study the top selling beers. The top selling lagers and ales/bitters in the UK were identified by sales volume and the alcohol by volume determined. This data was then used to determine the percent coefficient of variation (%CV) that should be used by forensic practitioners when constructing alcohol technical defence reports for use in forensic cases. These samples, from what may be described as ‘big’ brewers, were determined to have a smaller root mean square error (RMSE) (±0.1%v/v, n = 35), and %CV than those previously reported for beers produced by small, independent breweries in the UK. The results from this study shows that different RMSE's should be used for %ABV when determining the uncertainty of results from Widmark calculations when drinks have been consumed from either ‘big’ brewers or small, independent breweries.
  • Journey history reconstruction from the soils and sediments on footwear:
           An empirical approach
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 14 November 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ruth M. Morgan, Kirstie R. Scott, Jessica Ainley, Peter A. Bull The value of environmental evidence for reconstructing journey histories has significant potential given the high transferability of sediments and the interaction of footwear with the ground. The importance of empirical evidence bases to underpin the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of forensic trace materials is increasingly acknowledged. This paper presents two experimental studies designed to address the transfer and persistence of sediments on the soles of footwear in forensically relevant scenarios, by means of quartz grain surface texture analysis, a technique which has been demonstrated to be able to distinguish between samples of mixed provenance.It was identified that there is a consistent trend of transfer and persistence of sediments from hypothetical pre-, syn- and post-crime event locations across the sole of the shoe, with sediments from ‘older’ locations likely to be retained in small proportions. Furthermore, the arch of the shoe (the area of lowest foot pressure distribution) typically (but not exclusively) retained the highest proportion of grain types from previous locations including the crime scene. A lack of chronological layering of the retained sediments was observed indicating that techniques that can identify the components of mixed provenance samples are important for analysing footwear sediment samples. It was also identified that the type of footwear appeared to have an influence on what particles were retained, with high relief soles that incorporate recessed areas being more likely to retain sediments transferred from ‘older’ locations from the journey history. In addition, the inners of footwear were found to retain sediments from multiple locations from the journey history that are less susceptible to differential loss in comparison to the outer sole. These findings provide important data that can form the basis for the effective collection, analysis and interpretation of sediments recovered from both the outer soles and inners of footwear, building on the findings of previously published studies. These data offer insights that enable inferences to be made about mixed source sediments that are identified on footwear in casework, and provide the beginnings of an empirical basis for assessing the significance of such sediment particles for a specific forensic reconstruction.
  • Strategic choice in linear sequential unmasking
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 November 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Roger Koppl
  • Microwave-assisted extraction and differential scanning calorimetry in the
           chemical identification of sliming agents apprehended in the south region
           of Brazil
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 November 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Samantha C. de Freitas, Marco A.Z. dos Santos, Lucas M. Berneira, Rafael S. Ortiz, Claudio M.P. de Pereira Over the past decades, consume of slimming agents considerably increased in several countries, including Brazil, due to weight-loss and stimulant properties. Since these drugs are controlled to prevent illicit and indiscriminate use, there is a parallel illegal market that uses the Internet and irregular pharmacies in order to distribute these formulations. Slimming agents produced by these illegal sources are known for being manufactured with little or none quality control resulting in uncertain and unknown formulations. For forensic purposes, apprehended pharmaceuticals have to undergo a process of chemical identification that can be difficult due to its complex matrix. In this sense, application of assisted energies in the extraction step such as microwave irradiation can be a promising method to increase the recuperation of the target molecules of the sample. Therefore, the aim of this research was to identify four slimming agents apprehended in Brazil by means of visual inspection, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry. Moreover, the efficiency of solid-liquid extraction and microwave-assisted extraction was compared. It should be noted that our work was one of the few to use Differential Scanning Calorimetry and the application of microwave irradiation in the analysis of apprehended materials. Results showed that the majority of the samples was counterfeit being composed of one or several adulterants or contaminants. Initially, visual inspection resourcefully screened the slimming agents for possible signs of falsification, however it failed to detect fraudulent products that were very similar to veridical medicines. Sequentially, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy detected functional groups present in the samples while the presence or absence of the alleged active ingredients were successfully measured with Differential Scanning Calorimetry and, thus, providing a full chemical screening of the apprehended materials. Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry confirmed the presence of adulterants such as caffeine, fluoxetine and phenolphthalein as well as contaminants such as sulfurol in the falsified samples. Finally, comparison of extraction procedures indicated that microwave-assisted extraction increased the recovery of compounds detected in chromatographic analysis to a greater extent than solid-liquid extraction.
  • Forensic anthropology in the global investigation of humanitarian and
           human rights abuse: Perspective from the published record
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Douglas H. Ubelaker, Austin Shamlou, Amanda E. Kunkle Forensic anthropologists have played key roles in the historical development of forensic science applications to global humanitarian and human rights issues. These anthropological initiatives can be traced back to the Smithsonian seminar organized by T. D. Stewart in 1968 and published in 1970. Key developments include the 1984 delegation sent by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to Argentina and the formation of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team. Subsequent highlights include major anthropological involvement in support of investigations by international criminal tribunals, formation of forensic anthropology teams in different countries and activities of the International Commission of Missing Persons and the forensic unit of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Recent developments feature the formation of the Humanitarian and Human Rights Resource Center of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and its support of worthwhile projects in many countries. The published record provides historical perspective on these developments.
  • The importance of dark adaptation for forensic examinations; an evaluation
           of the Crime-lite Eye™
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Beth McMurchie, Roberto S.P. King, Paul F. Kelly, George E. Torrens Forensic practitioners are recommended to dark adapt their eyes prior to conducting evidential searches in the dark. The dark adaptation process remains poorly standardised across the discipline, with little quantified regarding the benefits of such preparative steps. Herein, we report the findings of a study that recruited 50 participants to assess the effectiveness of the Crime-lite Eye™, a darkness adaptation device developed to assist forensic practitioners both in the laboratory and in field. Participants were tasked with searching for the fluorescent signatures left by reaction of 1,8-diazafluoren-9-one (DFO) with amino acids, in a manner akin to the fluorogenic fingerprint treatment of porous evidence. Using an Epson Stylus Photo R265 inkjet printer, ink cartridges were filled with alanine solutions of various concentrations, allowing different motifs to be printed onto copy paper and subsequently developed using DFO. Participants searched for this ‘evidence’ both with and without dark adapted vision. On average, participants were able to locate and correctly recognise 16% more evidence once dark adapted using the Crime-lite Eye™.The increase in evidence located by participants once dark adapted suggests that crime scene officers should be dark adapting in order to visualise as much as possible. The time taken to dark adapt, 10 min on average during this study, is not excessively long, and should not significantly slow the investigation.
  • Australian forensic textile damage examinations – Finding a way
           forward since PCAST
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Kate Sloan, Macarthur Fergusson, James Robertson Textile damage examinations are requested in a range of crime types such as assault, sexual assault and homicide. They typically involve the examination of clothing for damage such as cut, tear or thermal damage, often then followed by experimental scenario testing to help ascertain the cause of the damage. Understanding the underpinning science is central to the accurate interpretation of the complex mechanism of damage formation. In a stabbing incident for example, an understanding of the dynamic relationship between the knife blade, fabric and skin (or skin simulant) is critical.Recent reports, including the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report, have scrutinised forensic feature-based comparison techniques. Whilst textile damage was not a focus area, it can be considered a feature-based evidence class, and one which is currently largely reliant upon a practitioner's opinion, experience and professional judgement.This paper will review the current state of textile damage examinations in Australia and survey research being conducted to address the issues raised in the context of the PCAST report. The central contribution of observational data to the evidence class of textile damage will also be explored, as well as some practical measures to counter the effects of cognitive bias.
  • Visualising the past – An evaluation of processes and sequences for
           fingermark recovery from old documents
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): S. Bleay, L. Fitzgerald, V. Sears, T. Kent This study aimed to collect data on the effectiveness of most of the fingermark visualisation reagents currently used on porous surfaces on fingermarks aged for up to 90 years, significantly extending the timescales for which such information exists. A limited subset of the variables associated with processing of old fingermarks was explored, with a focus on the use of 1,8 diazafluoren-9-one (DFO), 1,2-indandione, ninhydrin, and physical developer. These techniques were used in sequence on batches of cheques between 11 and 32 years old, and on documents dating from the 1920s and 1940s. The potential for applying a physical developer enhancement process (blue toning) as the final step in the sequence was also explored. The benefits of using processing sequences on porous items were clearly demonstrated, with all processes in the sequence adding value in terms of additional marks found on the cheques up to 32 years old. In addition, physical developer was found to be capable of developing fingermarks up to 90 years old, whereas the amino acid reagents appear less effective on documents of 70 years and older. An experimental physical developer formulation with reduced environmental impact was found to be as effective as the existing process in these experiments. Blue toning was found to visualise an additional 10–25% of marks, and its wider use after silver-based deposition processes is recommended based on the evidence from this study.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Identification of an exhumed corpse by DNA extraction from bulb swab. A
           disputed parentage case report
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Rocchi Anna, Presciuttini Silvano, Chiti Enrica, Pierotti Simone, Spinetti Isabella
  • Targeting relevant sampling areas for human biological traces: Where to
           sample displaced bodies for offender DNA'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Matthijs Zuidberg, Matthijs Bettman, Bart Aarts, Marjan Sjerps, Bas Kokshoorn Sampling strategy is one of the deciding factors in DNA typing success rates. Small amounts of bodily fluid traces and (skin) contact traces are currently not visualized in standard forensic practice. Trace recovery is usually based on the information available in a particular case and on the experience and ‘forensic common sense’ applied by the trace recovery expert. Interactions between an offender and a victim may have characteristic features, resulting in specific trace patterns. Understanding these interactions, and their resulting trace patterns, might improve crime related trace recovery as well as DNA typing success rates.In this study, we examined the interactions between offender and victim when a body has been relocated from one position/location to another. The contact between the hands of the offender and the body of the victim was visualized using a fluorescent dye in a lotion that was applied to the hands of the individual undertaking the relocation. The contact locations were scored and patterns were analyzed based on both victim and offender characteristics (height, weight, age, gender). The resulting patterns were compared to current trace recovery practices in the Netherlands. The results of this large-scale study facilitate evidence-based sampling supporting both investigative and evaluative forensic examinations.
  • Environmental effects on magnetic fluorescent powder development of
           fingermarks on bird of prey feathers
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): H. McMorris, K. Sturrock, D. Gentles, B.J. Jones, K.J. Farrugia A comparison study of the effects of environmental conditions on the development of latent fingermarks on raptor feathers using green magnetic fluorescent powder was undertaken using both sebaceous loaded and natural fingermark deposits. Sparrowhawk feathers were stored in indoor conditions for 60 days (Study 1), and buzzard feathers were left exposed to two different environmental conditions (hidden and visible) for 21 days (Study 2), with developments made at regular ageing periods. In Study 1, latent fingermarks were successfully developed (Grade 1–4) on the indoor feathers up to 60 days after deposition – 98.6% of the loaded deposits and 85.3% for natural deposits. Under outdoor conditions in Study 2, both loaded and natural deposits were affected by environmental exposure. Latent fingermarks were successfully developed up to 14 days after deposition on the outdoor feathers, with some occasional recovery after 21 days. The visible feathers recorded 34.7% (loaded) and 16.4% (natural) successful developments (Grade 1–4), whereas the hidden feathers recorded 46.7% (loaded) and 22.2% (natural) successful developments, suggesting that protection from the environment helps to preserve latent fingermarks on the surface of a feather. Environmental exposure accelerated the deterioration of ridge detail and the number of successful developments.
  • Evaluation of postmortem biochemical markers: Completeness of data and
           assessment of implication in the field
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Joris Meurs, Tristan Krap, Wilma Duijst Throughout the years an increase has been observed in research output on biochemical markers for determining the postmortem interval (PMI). However, to date, a complete overview is missing on the results of postmortem biochemical markers (PBM's) for PMI estimation. In this paper, literature was reviewed in order to identify the knowledge lacunae of PBM research from a practical point of view. A three-step approach was undertaken in order to achieve the set goal. Literature was collected, the PBM's were evaluated for completeness by means of a scorings index based on set criteria, and PBM's were subsequently evaluated in light of the Daubert & Frye criteria for scientific evidence in court. Seven PBM's were found to be well investigated, from which potassium had the highest completion score. However, none of these PBM's could be qualified as suitable for court evidence. Further, this study revealed that the majority of PBM's (94%) is not well investigated. Consequently, these PBM's did not meet Daubert & Frye criteria. In order to improve the assessment for use of PBM's as evidence in court regarding PMI estimation, PBM's should be investigated more thoroughly and data should be made readily available.
  • Comparison of four DNA extraction methods to extract DNA from cigarette
           butts collected from Lebanese crime scenes
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Hany Kallassy, Louis Y. El Khoury, Madona Eid, Milad Chalhoub, Issam Mansour Cigarette butts collected from crime scenes represent valuable sources of DNA. However the extraction of the genetic material may deem challenging especially when different contaminants may compromise the integrity, quality, and quantity of DNA obtained. This study aims at comparing four extraction methods (Chelex-100, soaking + Chelex-100, Chelex-100 + PK, and DNA IQ™ System) with the intention of identifying the one with maximal recovery rate and profiling success. DNA was extracted using aforementioned four methods from 70 cigarette butts collected from crime scenes in Lebanon. DNA was quantified by qPCR using TaqMan Quantifiler Kit on an Applied Biosystems 7300 SDS instrument and genotypes were obtained using the PowerPlex® 21 kit on an Applied Biosystems 3130 Genetic Analyser. The findings of this work showed that DNA extraction with Chelex-100 + PK is preferred to the other three methods when seeking both, a high yield and the generation of maximal numbers of full profiles. The Chelex-100 + PK method is simple, cost effective, and therefore suitable for routine cigarette butts case studies.
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762
Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
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