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Science & Justice
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.033
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 424  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1355-0306
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3161 journals]
  • 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.
  • Letter to the editor: Commentary on “Strategic choice in linear
           sequential unmasking, Roger Koppl, science & justice,
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 January 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Alex Biedermann, S. Gittelson This letter to the Editor comments on the paper ‘Strategic choice in linear sequential unmasking’ by Roger Koppl (Science & Justice,
  • 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.
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 1Author(s):
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 1Author(s):
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 1Author(s):
  • 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.
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Science & Justice, Volume 58, Issue 6Author(s):
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Science & Justice, Volume 58, Issue 6Author(s):
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Science & Justice, Volume 58, Issue 6Author(s):
  • 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.
  • Editorial–science and justice 58(6)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Lisa Smith
  • 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
  • Resolving differing expert opinions
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Isabelle Montani, Raymond Marquis, Nicole Egli Anthonioz, Christophe Champod This paper explores procedural mechanisms to resolve differing conclusions when two experts have initially worked independently. These experts can be two human examiners or one of them may be a computer-based model. The resolving process is presented as part of the ACE-V protocol adopted widely in pattern recognition areas (e.g. fingerprints, footwear marks, toolmarks or handwritings/signatures comparisons). It set the conditions of operations and delineates a resolving process that is based on the principles of transparency and detailed argumentations. We predict a gradual but steady introduction of computer-based models in the forensic pattern recognition areas. In our opinion, the rules to resolve differing opinions ought to be articulated and documented in the form of standard operating procedures, before any deployment in casework practice.
  • 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.
  • Publication of the second edition of the FIRMS good practice guide for
           isotope ratio mass spectrometry
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Philip J.H. Dunn, James F. Carter
  • 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.
  • A review of quality procedures in the UK forensic sciences: What can the
           field of digital forensics learn'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Page Helen, Horsman Graeme, Sarna Anna, Foster Julienne With a reliance on the various forms of forensic science evidence in complex criminal investigations, the measures for ensuring its quality are facing increasing scrutiny. Improvements to quality management systems, to ensure both the robust application of scientific principles and the accurate interpretation and reporting of results, have arisen as a consequence of high-profile rebuttals of forensic science evidence, combined with process improvements driven by evaluation of current practice. These improvements are crucial to ensure validity of results as well as providing assurance for all those involved in the Criminal Justice System. This work first examines the quality management systems utilised for the examination and analysis of fingerprint, body fluid and DNA evidence. It then proceeds to highlight an apparent lack of comparable quality assurance mechanisms within the field of digital forensics, one of the newest branches of forensic science. Proposals are provided for the improvement of quality assurance for the digital forensics arena, drawing on the experiences of, and more well-established practices within, other forensic disciplines.
  • A forensic visual aid: Traces versus knowledge
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Harm van Beek In this paper, I introduce the Forensic Field Map (FFM) that provides a two-dimensional view on the forensic field. This field is by definition very broad, encompassing a wide range of scientific areas and activities. The forensic work that supports solving criminal cases ranges from recognizing and preserving traces at crime scenes to explaining forensic results as expert witness in court. This goes hand in hand with the development of scientifically based methods and tooling as well as legal, forensic and laboratory procedures. Although the FFM came into being while developing a (visual) framework for digital forensic investigations, the framework turned out to be generically applicable to other forensic disciplines.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • 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.
  • Two-dimensional metric comparisons between dynamic bare and sock-clad
           footprints for its forensic implications – A pilot study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Michael S. Nirenberg, Elizabeth Ansert, Kewal Krishan, Tanuj Kanchan Footprints may be present at crime scenes as physical evidence. This pilot study compares two-dimensional measurements of bare and sock-clad footprints to determine if significant differences or similarities exist. Dynamic footprints were collected from 30 males and 20 females between the ages of 20 and 61 years old (mean of 28.2 years) using the Identicator Inkless Shoe Print Model LE 25P system. A midgait protocol was employed for obtaining footprints. The fifth and sixth footprint of gait were collected for the right and left foot, respectively, in both sock-clad and barefoot trials. The footprint measurements between sock-clad and bare footprints were compared. The results did not indicate any significant difference (p > .05) between bare and sock-clad foot length measurements for right or left feet. Significant differences were seen for the width measurements between bare and sock-clad footprints. These findings have forensic implications, particularly in criminal cases where it is unclear if a footprint impression is from a sock-clad foot or a bare foot. This study shows that such a determination is generally not necessary when utilizing two-dimensional measurements for length comparison between a bare and sock-clad footprint. However, if width measurements are being evaluated, the determination between bare and sock-clad footprints should be determined.
  • Secondary transfer of organic gunshot residues: Empirical data to assist
           the evaluation of three scenarios
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Anne-Laure Gassner, Manuela Manganelli, Denis Werner, Damien Rhumorbarbe, Matthieu Maitre, Alison Beavis, Claude P. Roux, Céline Weyermann The present study aimed at providing data to assess the secondary transfer of organic gunshot residues (OGSR). Three scenarios were evaluated in controlled conditions, namely displacing a firearm from point A to point B, a simple handshake and an arrest involving handcuffing on the ground. Specimens were collected from the firearm, the hands of the shooter and the non-shooter undergoing the secondary transfer in order to compare the amounts detected.Secondary transfer was observed for the three scenarios, but to a different extent. It was found that displacing a firearm resulted in secondary transfer in
  • Validity of forensic odontology identification by comparison of
           conventional dental radiographs: A scoping review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Sher-Lin Chiam, Mark Page, Denice Higgins, Jane Taylor
  • Psychedelic fungus (Psilocybe sp.) authentication in a case of illegal
           drug traffic: Sporological, molecular analysis and identification of the
           psychoactive substance
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jaime Solano, Leonardo Anabalón, Sylvia Figueroa, Cristian Lizama, Luis Chávez Reyes, David Gangitano In nature, there are>200 species of fungi with hallucinogenic properties. These fungi are classified as Psilocybe, Gymnopilus, and Panaeolus which contain active principles with hallucinogenic properties such as ibotenic acid, psilocybin, psilocin, or baeocystin. In Chile, fungi seizures are mainly of mature specimens or spores. However, clandestine laboratories have been found that process fungus samples at the mycelium stage. In this transient stage of growth (mycelium), traditional taxonomic identification is not feasible, making it necessary to develop a new method of study.Currently, DNA analysis is the only reliable method that can be used as an identification tool for the purposes of supporting evidence, due to the high variability of DNA between species. One way to identify the species of a distinctive DNA fragment is to study PCR products analyzed by real time PCR and sequencing. One of the most popular sequencing methods of forensic interest at the generic and intra-generic levels in plants is internal transcribed spacer (ITS). With real time PCR it is possible to distinguish PCR products by differential analysis of their melting temperature (Tm) curves.This paper describes morphological, chemical, and genetic analysis of mycelia of psychedelic fungi collected from a clandestine laboratory. The fungus species were identified using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), mass spectrometry, HRM analysis, and ITS sequencing. The sporological studies showed a generally smooth surface and oval shape, with maximum length 10.1 μm and width 6.4 μm. The alkaloid Psilocyn was identified by mass spectrometry, while HRM analysis and ITS sequencing identified the species as Psilocybe cubensis. A genetic match was confirmed between the HRM curves obtained from the mycelia (evidence) and biological tissue extracted from the fruiting bodies. Mycelia recovered from the evidence and fruiting bodies (control) were genetically indistinguishable.
  • Exposing latent fingermarks on problematic metal surfaces using time of
           flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Tshaiya Devi Thandauthapani, Adam J. Reeve, Adam S. Long, Ian J. Turner, James S. Sharp Fingermarks are a key form of physical evidence for identifying persons of interest and linking them to the scene of a crime. Visualising latent (hidden) fingermarks can be difficult and the correct choice of techniques is essential to develop and preserve any fingermarks or other (e.g. DNA) evidence that might be present. Metal surfaces (stainless steel in particular) have proven to be challenging substrates from which to reliably obtain fingermarks. This is a great cause for concern among police forces around the globe as many of the firearms, knives and other metal weapons used in violent crime are potentially valuable sources of fingermark evidence. In this study, a highly sensitive and non-destructive surface science technique called time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (ToF-SIMS) was used to image fingermarks on metal surfaces. This technique was compared to a conventional superglue based fuming technique that was accompanied by a series of contrast enhancing dyes (basic yellow 40 (BY40), crystal violet (CV) and sudan black (SB)) on three different metal surfaces. The conventional techniques showed little to no evidence of fingermarks being present on the metal surfaces after a few days. However, ToF-SIMS revealed fingermarks on the same and similar substrates with an exceptional level of detail. The ToF-SIMS images demonstrated clear ridge definition as well as detail about sweat pore position and shape. All structures were found to persist for over 26 days after deposition when the samples were stored under ambient conditions.
  • Lessons learned from inter-laboratory studies of carbon isotope analysis
           of honey
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Philip J.H. Dunn, Sarah Hill, Simon Cowen, Heidi Goenaga-Infante, Mike Sargent, Ahmet Ceyhan Gören, Mine Bilsel, Adnan Şimşek, Nives Ogrinc, Doris Potočnik, Paul Armishaw, Lu Hai, Leonid Konopelko, Yan Chubchenko, Lesley A. Chesson, Gerard van der Peijl, Cornelia Blaga, Robert Posey, Federica Camin, Anatoly Chernyshev Forensic application of carbon isotope ratio measurements of honey and honey protein to investigate the degree of adulteration with high fructose corn syrup or other C4 plant sugars is well established. These measurements must use methods that exhibit suitable performance criteria, particularly with regard to measurement uncertainty and traceability – low levels of adulteration can only be detected by methods that result in suitably small measurement uncertainties such that differences of 1‰ or less can be reliably detected. Inter-laboratory exercises are invaluable to assess the state-of-the art of measurement capabilities of laboratories necessary to achieve such performance criteria. National and designated metrology institutes from a number of countries recently participated in an inter-laboratory assessment (CCQM-K140) of stable carbon isotope ratio determination of bulk honey. The same sample material was distributed to a number of forensic isotope analysis laboratories that could not participate directly in the metrological comparison. The results from these studies have demonstrated that the majority of participants provided isotope delta values with acceptable performance metrics; that all participants ensured traceability of their results; and that where measurement uncertainties were reported; these were fit-for-purpose. A number of the forensic laboratories only reported precision rather than full estimates of measurement uncertainty and this was the major cause of the few instances of questionable performance metrics. Reporting of standard deviations in place of measurement uncertainties is common practice outside metrology institutes and the implications for interpretations of small differences in isotopic compositions are discussed. The results have also highlighted a number of considerations that are useful for organisers of similar inter-laboratory studies in the future.
  • Preliminary results of an investigation on postmortem variations in human
           skeletal mass of buried bones
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ana Amarante, Maria Teresa Ferreira, Calil Makhoul, Ana Rita Vassalo, Eugénia Cunha, David Gonçalves Extreme fragmentation can complicate the inventory of human skeletal remains. In such cases, skeletal mass can provide information regarding skeleton completeness and the minimum number of individuals. For that purpose, several references for skeletal mass can be used to establish comparisons and draw inferences regarding those parameters. However, little is known about the feasibility of establishing comparisons between inherently different materials, as is the case of curated reference skeletal collections and human remains recovered from forensic and archaeological settings. The objective of this paper was to investigate the effect of inhumation, weather and heat exposure on the skeletal mass of two different bone types. This was investigated on a sample of 30 human bone fragments (14 trabecular bones and 16 compact bones) was experimentally buried for two years after being submitted to one of four different heat treatments (left unburned; 500 °C; 900 °C; 1000 °C). Bones were exhumed periodically to assess time-related mass variation. Skeletal mass varied substantially, decreasing and increasing in accordance to the interchanging dry and wet seasons. However, trends were not the same for the two bone types and the four temperature thresholds. The reason for this appears to be related to water absorption and to the differential heat-induced changes in bone microporosity, volume, and composition. Our results suggest that mass comparisons against published references should be performed only after the skeletal remains have been preemptively dried from exogenous water.
  • Stature estimation from tibia percutaneous length: New equations derived
           from a Mediterranean population
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Emanuela Gualdi-Russo, Barbara Bramanti, Natascia Rinaldo Stature is a fundamental anthropometric character to trace the biological profile of a person. In some cases, when dismembered or mutilated bodies are discovered in a forensic context, it is essential to estimate stature from single districts of the body. Nevertheless, to date and worldwide, there are only few population-specific studies on stature estimation from leg length and none of them concerns modern populations in southern Europe. We attempted to fill this gap, focusing on the estimation of stature from the length of the tibia in a Mediterranean population (Italians). We carried out the current study on a sample of 374 Italian university students of both sexes (age range: 19.9–34.4). Both, actual stature and percutaneous length of tibia were measured and new equations were developed for stature estimation. We tested separate regression equations for each sex, as well as an equation for remains, whose sex is unknown. To assess their reliability, the equations were tested on a holdout sample of 30 individuals from the same population. Moreover, results of new specific linear regression equations were compared to others from the literature. We demonstrated that the newly proposed formulae (for males and combined sexes) and the ones by Olivier (for females) provided the most reliable estimations of stature for southern Europeans.
  • Familial DNA searching- an emerging forensic investigative tool
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Sara Debus-Sherrill, Michael B. Field In recent years, jurisdictions across the United States have expressed a growing interest in aiding criminal investigations through the use of familial DNA searching (FDS)- a forensic technique to identify family members through DNA databases. The National Survey of CODIS Laboratories surveyed U.S. CODIS laboratories about their perceptions, policies, and practices related to FDS. In total, 103 crime labs completed the survey (77% response rate). Labs in 11 states reported using FDS, while labs in 24 states reported using a similar-but distinct- practice of partial matching. Although the majority of labs had positive perceptions about the ability of FDS to assist investigations, labs also reported a number of concerns and challenges with implementing FDS. Respondents reported using either practice a limited amount with modest numbers of convictions resulting from both FDS and partial matching. The article reports on varying practices related to official policies, training, eligibility, the software search, lineage testing, requirements for releasing information, and subsequent investigative work. Finally, the article discusses what can be learned from this survey, accompanying limitations, and implications for decision-makers considering using FDS.
  • Simultaneous detection and image capture of biological evidence using a
           combined 360° camera system with single wavelength laser illumination
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 July 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): K. Sheppard, S.J. Fieldhouse, J.P. Cassella Forensic investigators frequently utilise light sources to detect and presumptively identify biological evidence. The instrumentation typically deploys single or multiple wavelength exposures at various intensities, which interact with constituents of biological material, initiating fluorescence or improving contrast between the material and substrate. Documentation using sketches and/or photographic approaches follows detection, which are essential for scene reconstruction. Recent research has demonstrated the simultaneous detection and capture of biological evidence using a 360° camera system combined with an alternate light source exhibiting broad wavelength ranges of light. Single wavelength light sources reportedly offer enhanced sensitivity, due to the increased light intensity and narrower bandwidth of light, although their combined use with a 360° camera system has not yet been explored.Samples of human blood, semen, saliva, and latent fingermarks were deposited on to a variety of substrates. A 360° camera system combined with a laser light source was used to detect and capture the samples. Ten participants were asked to detect the samples on images of the substrates without ground truth knowledge. It was possible to detect and capture biological evidence, although success varied according to substrate colour and light intensity. Advantageously, presumptive screening for biological fluids and the simultaneous location and visualisation of such evidence as part of a 360° panorama of the scene for contextual purposes was permitted. There was no fluorescent response from the fingermarks, although the oblique lighting effects appeared sufficient to aid mark detection in some circumstances. The use of single wavelength illumination clearly facilitates identification of a range of forensically important material. When coupled with a 360-degree camera, this allows for simultaneous identification and recording of such evidence in the context of the whole environment.
  • Isolation and characterisation of a novel sildenafil analogue adulterant,
           desmethylpiperazinyl propoxysildenafil, in a dietary supplement
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 July 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ji Hyun Lee, Han Na Park, Aeran Jung, Suresh Mandava, Seong Soo Park, Jongkook Lee, Hoil Kang A new sildenafil analogue was detected during routine screening of dietary supplements suspected to be adulterated with an erectile dysfunction drug(s) using HPLC-DAD. The UV spectrum of this compound was highly similar to that of sildenafil and almost identical to that of desmethylpiperazinyl sildenafil. The analogue was purified by using semi-preparative HPLC and structurally elucidated by performing mass spectrometric and NMR spectroscopic experiments. The spectral data revealed that this sildenafil analogue bears an n-propoxy group instead of an ethoxy group and possesses no methylpiperazinyl moiety. The isolated compound, structure of which was further confirmed by spectral comparison with synthetic one, was thus named as desmethylpiperazinyl propoxysildenafil.
  • Investigation of infinite focus microscopy for the determination of the
           association of blood with fingermarks
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 July 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): L. Deininger, S. Francese, M.R. Clench, G. Langenburg, V. Sears, C. Sammon The determination of the type of deposition mechanism of blood within fingermarks at the scene of violent crimes is of great importance for the reconstruction of the bloodshed dynamics. However, to date, evaluation still relies on the subjective visual examination of experts. Practitioners encounter three types of scenarios in which blood may be found in fingermarks and they refer to the following three deposition mechanisms: (i) blood marks, originating from a bloodied fingertip; (ii) marks in blood, originating from a clean fingertip contacting a blood contaminated surface; (iii) coincidental deposition mechanisms, originating from a clean fingertip contacting a clean surface, leaving a latent fingermark, and subsequent contamination with blood.. The authors hypothesised that, due to differences in distribution of blood in the furrows and on the ridges, the height of blood depositions on the ridges and furrows (and their relative proportions), will differ significantly across the three depositions mechanisms. A second hypothesis was made that the differences would be significant and consistent enough to exploit their measurement as a quantitative and objective way to differentiate the deposition mechanisms.In recent years, infinite focus microscopy (IFM) has been developed, allowing for the computational generation of a 3D image of the topology of a sample via acquisition of images on multiple focal planes. On these bases, it was finally hypothesised that the application of this technique would allow the distinction of deposition mechanisms (i) to (iii) A set of preliminary experiments were designed to test whether IFM was “fit for purpose” and, subsequently, to test if any of the three deposition mechanisms scenarios could be differentiated. Though IFM enabled the analysis of tape lifted samples with some success, for samples produced and analysed directly on the surface of deposition, the results show that the measurements from any scenario will be highly dependent on the original surface of deposition (both in terms of its nature and of the variable exposure to environment); as crime scenes exhibit a wide range of possible relevant surfaces of deposition, the technique showed to not have the desired wide appeal for inclusion into a standardised set of protocols within a routine crime scene workflow.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Study of the adhesion of explosive residues to the finger and transfer to
           clothing and luggage
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 July 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Heidi Lees, Félix Zapata, Merike Vaher, Carmen García-Ruiz It is important to understand the extent of transfer of explosive particles to different surfaces in order to better evaluate potential cross-contamination by explosives in crowded security controls such as those at airports. This work investigated the transfer of nine explosive residues (ANFO, dynamite, black powder, TNT, HMTD, PETN, NH4NO3, KNO3, NaClO3) through fingerprints from one surface to another. First, the extent of adhesion of explosive residues from different surfaces to the bare finger, nitrile and latex gloves was studied. Then, the transfer of explosive residues from one surface to another through fingerprints was investigated. Cotton fabric (hereinafter referred to as cotton) as clothing material and polycarbonate plastic (hereinafter referred to as polycarbonate) as luggage material were chosen for the experiments. These surfaces containing explosive particles were imaged using a reflex camera before and after the particles were transferred. Afterwards the images were processed in MATLAB where pixels corresponding to explosive residues were quantified. Results demonstrated that transfer of explosive residues frequently occurred with certain differences among materials. Generally, the amount of explosive particles adhered to the finger decreased in the following order: skin>latex>nitrile, while the transfer of particles from the finger to another surface was the opposite. The adhesion of explosive residues from polycarbonate to the finger was found to be better compared to cotton, while the amount of particles transferred to cotton was higher.
  • The effect of mark enhancement techniques on the presumptive and
           confirmatory tests for blood
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 June 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Vanessa Stewart, Paul Deacon, Nathalie Zahra, Mari L. Uchimoto, Kevin J. Farrugia An investigation into the effects of physical and chemical enhancement on subsequent presumptive and confirmatory tests for human blood is presented. Human blood was deposited onto porous (white 80 gsm paper and brown envelope) and non-porous (tile and linoleum) substrates in a depletion series (30 depletions on non-porous and 20 on porous) and subjected to three ageing periods; 1, 7 and 28 days. A number of enhancement techniques were tested [fluorescence, black magnetic powder (BMP), iron-oxide black powder suspension (PS), cyanoacrylate (CA) fuming, acid violet 17 (AV17), acid yellow 7 (AY7), ninhydrin, DFO and Bluestar Forensic Magnum (BFM) luminol] to evaluate their potential effects on subsequent presumptive and confirmatory tests. AV17 and Bluestar provided the best enhancement and fully enhanced all depletions in the series. The sensitivity of the Kastle-Meyer (KM) (presumptive), Takayama and RSID-Blood tests (confirmatory) was initially investigated to determine the range of detectable depletions. The KM test detected all depletions, whereas the Takayama test detected up to depletion 6 and RSID-Blood detected up to depletion 20 (paper), 10 (envelope), 15 (tile) and 9 (lino). The abilities of these tests to detect blood after enhancement were then observed.A number of techniques resulted in little to no effect on any of the blood tests, whereas adverse effects were observed for others. Ninhydrin and CA fuming caused weak but instantaneous positive KM results whereas methanol-based AV17 and AY7 delayed the reaction by as much as 1 min. The Takayama test was not very sensitive, therefore, its performance was easily affected by enhancement and negative results were often observed. RSID-Blood tests were largely unaffected by chemical enhancement although a drop in positive results was observed for some of the techniques when compared to positive controls.Using a standard procedure for DNA extraction, all the tested blood samples (before and after enhancement) gave a detectable quantity of DNA and were successfully profiled. Out of the 45 samples processed for DNA profiling, 41 gave full profiles, while the remaining showed allele drop out in one or two loci.
  • Post-mortem interval estimation based on insect evidence in a quasi-indoor
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 June 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Szymon Matuszewski, Anna Mądra-Bielewicz Insects collected on indoor cadavers are frequently used for post-mortem interval (PMI) estimation. Buildings encountered during crime investigations vary according to temperatures inside, the extent of insect access restriction or sanitary conditions. This article reports the PMI oriented analyses of insect evidence sampled from the human cadaver in the atypical indoor habitat. The body was found in the uninhabited house, on the floor covered with rubbish, in the room with no doors and windows. Thermal conditions in the room were less variable than in the local weather station, however still much more variable compared to the typical indoor habitat, indicating the need for retrospective correction of temperature records from the station. Cadaver entomofauna was surprisingly diverse and abundant. We recorded several taxa usually not occurring on indoor cadavers, e.g. immature stages of Necrodes littoralis (Coleoptera: Silphidae) or Stearibia nigriceps (Diptera: Piophilidae). PMI was based on the age and the pre-appearance interval estimated for live puparium of S. nigriceps, giving the total interval of 37 (±7.4) days plus 4–20 days resulting from the absence of first colonizing specimens of the species. This estimate was corroborated with the age estimate for empty puparia of Sarcophaga argyrostoma (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) with traces of Nasonia sp. (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) eclosion. Other insects indicated shorter but consistent PMI. Difficulties and limitations of insect-based PMI estimations in unusual indoor habitats are discussed.
  • Better science for better justice: A proposal for joint experts
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 June 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Itiel Dror, Bridget McCormack, Jules Epstein
  • From unknown to known: Identification of the remains at the mausoleum of
           fosse Ardeatine
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Elena Pilli, Silvia Boccone, Alessandro Agostino, Antonino Virgili, Giancarlo D'Errico, Martina Lari, Cesare Rapone, Filippo Barni, Jacopo Moggi Cecchi, Andrea Berti, David Caramelli During the Second World War, on 24th March 1944, 335 Italians were massacred near Rome by the occupying forces of Nazi Germany. Four months later forensic examination led to the identification of 323 out of 335 victims. After approximately 60 years, the identification of the remaining unidentified twelve victims began with anthropological and genetic analysis carried out by a team of Italian forensic experts. Anthropological analysis was performed in field in order to confirm the sex of each victim and verify the presence of only one individual in each grave for a correct sampling. Selected bone fragments for each individual were then collected and transferred to the laboratory for genetic analysis. Although the anthropological ante mortem information was limited, morphological and metrical data was collected for a possible future identification of the victims. Subsequently, the typing of autosomal loci, Y-STR and mtDNA D-loop region of all bone and available reference samples was conducted. LR and cumulative LRs obtained from autosomal STR and Y-STR results confirmed the alleged relationship between three victims and their relatives with values over 104 (one sample) and 106 (two samples). Therefore, the genetic analysis offered the families the possibility of replacing the number of the grave with the name of the victim.
  • Forensic DNA retention: Public perspective studies in the United Kingdom
           and around the world
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Aaron Opoku Amankwaa This review analysed public perspective studies on forensic DNA retention in the United Kingdom and around the world. The studies generally show strong public support for the long-term or indefinite retention of DNA from convicts and suspects. There is considerable support for the retention of DNA from all or some arrestees and potentially the entire population. This was predicated upon the belief that forensic DNA databases have crime-solving abilities, which the public rate highly. In the UK, it was found that the current Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 regime is broadly representative of the recommendations of the surveyed British public. Nevertheless, the studies highlighted a gap in forensic DNA education among the public, suggesting that public views may not be well informed. Overall, there was clear evidence of privacy concerns and the potential misuse of DNA records among the public, with a significant number opposing the retention of DNA from the innocent. It was found that most of the studies were qualitative or non-representative of the relevant population, limiting the generalisation of the results. There was also limited studies among a representative sample of primary stakeholders who are well-informed or directly exposed to the benefits, challenges and risks associated with DNA retention. A research into stakeholders rating of different forensic DNA retention regimes is therefore highly recommended. This is important because the studies suggest divergent views among criminal justice professionals and other members of the public, with the former expressing expansive views and the latter expressing restrictive views. The primary stakeholder's survey will help establish whether the relevant safeguards have been put in place to protect both public security and individual interests.
  • Decision support for using mobile rapid DNA analysis at the crime scene
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): A.A. Mapes, R.D. Stoel, C.J. de Poot, P. Vergeer, M. Huyck Mobile Rapid DNA technology is close to being incorporated into crime scene investigations, with the potential to identify a perpetrator within hours. However, the use of these techniques entails the risk of losing the sample and potential evidence, because the device not only consumes the inserted sample, it is also is less sensitive than traditional technologies used in forensic laboratories. Scene of Crime Officers (SoCOs) therefore will face a ‘time/success rate trade-off’ issue when making a decision to apply this technology.In this study we designed and experimentally tested a Decision Support System (DSS) for the use of Rapid DNA technologies based on Rational Decision Theory (RDT). In a vignette study, where SoCOs had to decide on the use of a Rapid DNA analysis device, participating SoCOs were assigned to either the control group (making decisions under standard conditions), the Success Rate (SR) group (making decisions with additional information on DNA success rates of traces), or the DSS group (making decisions supported by introduction to RDT, including information on DNA success rates of traces).This study provides positive evidence that a systematic approach for decision-making on using Rapid DNA analysis assists SoCOs in the decision to use the rapid device. The results demonstrated that participants using a DSS made different and more transparent decisions on the use of Rapid DNA analysis when different case characteristics were explicitly considered. In the DSS group the decision to apply Rapid DNA analysis was influenced by the factors “time pressure” and “trace characteristics” like DNA success rates. In the SR group, the decisions depended solely on the trace characteristics and in the control group the decisions did not show any systematic differences on crime type or trace characteristic.Guiding complex decisions on the use of Rapid DNA analyses with a DSS could be an important step towards the use of these devices at the crime scene.
  • “I couldn't find it your honour, it mustn't be there!” – Tool
           errors, tool limitations and user error in digital forensics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 April 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Graeme Horsman The field of digital forensics maintains significant reliance on the software it uses to acquire and investigate forms of digital evidence. Without these tools, analysis of digital devices would often not be possible. Despite such levels of reliance, techniques for validating digital forensic software are sparse and research is limited in both volume and depth. As practitioners pursue the goal of producing robust evidence, they face the onerous task of both ensuring the accuracy of their tools and, their effective use. Whilst tool errors provide one issue, establishing a tool's limitations also provides an investigatory challenge leading the potential for practitioner user-error and ultimately a grey area of accountability. This article debates the problems surrounding digital forensic tool usage, evidential reliability and validation.
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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