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Journal Cover Forensic Science International
  [SJR: 1.21]   [H-I: 88]   [466 followers]  Follow
    
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0379-0738
   Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3177 journals]
  • The international development of forensic science standards — A
           review
    • Authors: Linzi Wilson-Wilde
      Pages: 1 - 9
      Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Linzi Wilson-Wilde
      Standards establish specifications and procedures designed to ensure products, services and systems are safe, reliable and consistently perform as intended. Standards can be used in the accreditation of forensic laboratories or facilities and in the certification of products and services. In recent years there have been various international activities aiming at developing forensic science standards and guidelines. The most significant initiative currently underway within the global forensic community is the development of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. This paper reviews the main bodies working on standards for forensic science, the processes used and the implications for accreditation. This paper specifically discusses the work of ISO Technical Committee TC272, the future TC272 work program for the development of forensic science standards and associated timelines. Also discussed, are the lessons learnt to date in navigating the complex environment of multi-country stakeholder deliberations in standards development.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.009
      Issue No: Vol. 288 (2018)
       
  • Time since intercourse (TSI) data from a large-scale casework study of
           penile–vaginal penetration allegations using Sperm Elution​™
    • Authors: R. Owers; G. Davidson; A. McDonald; R. Morgan; P. O’Rourke
      Pages: 10 - 13
      Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): R. Owers, G. Davidson, A. McDonald, R. Morgan, P. O’Rourke
      Time since intercourse (TSI) expectations are dependent on the method used to recover spermatozoa from vaginal swabs. TSI data following Sperm Elution™ is presented from a large scale study of 2269 cases of penile–vaginal penetration sexual assault allegations analysed by Cellmark Forensic Services and is compared to published TSI data generated using two different water-based elution methods Sperm Elution recovered spermatozoa in 32% of cases analysed where the alleged offence had occurred 3–4 days previously, significantly above the level detected using other elution methods. The improvements afforded by Sperm Elution in the ability to generate clearly distinguishable male DNA profiles from samples containing low levels of spermatozoa, and the recovery of further spermatozoa from swabs previously subjected to water-based elution methods are also discussed.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.014
      Issue No: Vol. 288 (2018)
       
  • Estimating the uncertainty from sampling in pollution crime investigation:
           The importance of metrology in the forensic interpretation of
           environmental data
    • Authors: Cristina Barazzetti Barbieri; Jorge Eduardo de Souza Sarkis
      Pages: 14 - 22
      Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Cristina Barazzetti Barbieri, Jorge Eduardo de Souza Sarkis
      The forensic interpretation of environmental analytical data is usually challenging due to the high geospatial variability of these data. The measurements’ uncertainty includes contributions from the sampling and from the sample handling and preparation processes. These contributions are often disregarded in analytical techniques results’ quality assurance. A pollution crime investigation case was used to carry out a methodology able to address these uncertainties in two different environmental compartments, freshwater sediments and landfill leachate. The methodology used to estimate the uncertainty was the duplicate method (that replicates predefined steps of the measurement procedure in order to assess its precision) and the parameters used to investigate the pollution were metals (Cr, Cu, Ni, and Zn) in the leachate, the suspect source, and in the sediment, the possible sink. The metal analysis results were compared to statutory limits and it was demonstrated that Cr and Ni concentrations in sediment samples exceeded the threshold levels at all sites downstream the pollution sources, considering the expanded uncertainty U of the measurements and a probability of contamination >0.975, at most sites. Cu and Zn concentrations were above the statutory limits at two sites, but the classification was inconclusive considering the uncertainties of the measurements. Metal analyses in leachate revealed that Cr concentrations were above the statutory limits with a probability of contamination >0.975 in all leachate ponds while the Cu, Ni and Zn probability of contamination was below 0.025. The results demonstrated that the estimation of the sampling uncertainty, which was the dominant component of the combined uncertainty, is required for a comprehensive interpretation of the environmental analyses results, particularly in forensic cases.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.005
      Issue No: Vol. 288 (2018)
       
  • Micro-segmental hair analysis for proving drug-facilitated crimes:
           Evidence that a victim ingested a sleeping aid, diphenhydramine, on a
           specific day
    • Authors: Kenji Kuwayama; Maika Nariai; Hajime Miyaguchi; Yuko T. Iwata; Tatsuyuki Kanamori; Kenji Tsujikawa; Tadashi Yamamuro; Hiroki Segawa; Hiroko Abe; Hirotaro Iwase; Hiroyuki Inoue
      Pages: 23 - 28
      Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Kenji Kuwayama, Maika Nariai, Hajime Miyaguchi, Yuko T. Iwata, Tatsuyuki Kanamori, Kenji Tsujikawa, Tadashi Yamamuro, Hiroki Segawa, Hiroko Abe, Hirotaro Iwase, Hiroyuki Inoue
      Sleeping aids are often abused in the commission of drug-facilitated crimes. Generally, there is little evidence that a victim ingested a spiked drink unknowingly because the unconscious victim cannot report the situation to the police immediately after the crime occurred. Although conventional segmental hair analysis can estimate the number of months since a targeted drug was ingested, this analysis cannot determine the specific day of ingestion. We recently developed a method of micro-segmental hair analysis using internal temporal markers (ITMs) to estimate the day of drug ingestion. This method was based on volunteer ingestion of ITMs to determine a timescale within individual hair strands, by segmenting a single hair strand at 0.4-mm intervals, corresponding to daily hair growth. This study assessed the ability of this method to estimate the day of ingestion of an over-the-counter sleeping aid, diphenhydramine, which can be easily abused. To model ingestion of a diphenhydramine-spiked drink unknowingly, each subject ingested a dose of diphenhydramine, followed by ingestion of two doses of the ITM, chlorpheniramine, 14days apart. Several hair strands were collected from each subject’s scalp several weeks after the second ITM ingestion. Diphenhydramine and ITM were detected at specific regions within individual hair strands. The day of diphenhydramine ingestion was estimated from the distances between the regions and the days of ITM ingestion. The error between estimated and actual ingestion day ranged from −0.1 to 1.9days regardless of subjects and hair collection times. The total time required for micro-segmental analysis of 96 hair segments (hair length: 3.84cm) was approximately 2days and the cost was almost the same as in general drug analysis. This procedure may be applicable to the investigation of crimes facilitated by various drugs.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.027
      Issue No: Vol. 288 (2018)
       
  • Probability intervals of speed estimations from video images: The Markov
           Chain Monte Carlo approach
    • Authors: Arjan Mieremet; Ivo Alberink; Bart Hoogeboom; Derk Vrijdag
      Pages: 29 - 35
      Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Arjan Mieremet, Ivo Alberink, Bart Hoogeboom, Derk Vrijdag
      Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) systems often record vehicle motion prior to incidents. From the footage an estimate of the average speed of the vehicle between two frames can be calculated. In a forensic investigation not only an estimate of the average speed is needed but also an estimation of the measurement error. In earlier papers an approach was explained how to estimate the average speed and the corresponding uncertainty in terms of a confidence interval. In practice confidence intervals are often wrongly interpreted as being probability intervals. In this paper we show how to use the Markov Chain Monte Carlo approach to derive probability intervals instead of confidence intervals. We show the robustness of the Markov Chain Monte Carlo approach and the numerical differences between both approaches. In casework the difference between confidence intervals and probability intervals turns out to be very limited. As a consequence the impact of confusion between confidence and probability intervals can also be expected to be limited.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.003
      Issue No: Vol. 288 (2018)
       
  • Differential retention of pollen grains on clothing and the effectiveness
           of laboratory retrieval methods in forensic settings
    • Authors: Julia C. Webb; Harriet A. Brown; Hannah Toms; Anne E. Goodenough
      Pages: 36 - 45
      Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Julia C. Webb, Harriet A. Brown, Hannah Toms, Anne E. Goodenough
      Forensic palynology has been important in criminal investigation since the 1950s and often provides evidence that is vital in identifying suspects and securing convictions. However, for such evidence to be used appropriately, it is necessary to understand the factors affecting taphonomic variability (i.e. the variability in the fate of pollen grains before they are found during forensic examination). Here, we test the relative amount of pollen retained on clothing after a period of simulated light or heavy wear based on pollen and fabric characteristics. We also test the efficiency of forensic laboratory protocols for retrieving pollen from fabrics for analysis. There was no statistically significant difference in retention of fresh or dried pollen on any fabric type. There was a substantial difference in pollen retention according to wear intensity, with considerably more pollen being retained after light wear than after heavy wear. Pollen from insect-pollinated species was retained at higher concentrations than pollen from wind-pollinated species. This pattern was consistent regardless of wear intensity but pollination type explained more of the variability in pollen retention after light wear. Fabric type was significantly related to pollen retention, but interacted strongly with plant species such that patterns were both complex and highly species-specific. The efficiency of removing pollen with the standard washing protocol differed substantially according to plant species, fabric type, and the interaction between these factors. The average efficiency was 67.7% but this ranged from 21% to 93%, demonstrating that previous assumptions on the reliability of the technique providing a representative sample for forensic use should be reviewed. This paper highlights the importance of understanding pollen and fabric characteristics when creating a pollen profile in criminal investigations and to ensure that evidence used in testimony is accurate and robust.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.010
      Issue No: Vol. 288 (2018)
       
  • Comparison of forensic photo-documentation to a photogrammetric solution
           using the multi-camera system “Botscan”
    • Authors: Ramona Michienzi; Seraina Meier; Lars C. Ebert; Rosa Maria Martinez; Till Sieberth
      Pages: 46 - 52
      Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Ramona Michienzi, Seraina Meier, Lars C. Ebert, Rosa Maria Martinez, Till Sieberth
      As forensic science technologies progress, digital photography has become outdated for certain documentations that require exact measurements. Recording three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional photograph leads to a potential loss of relevant information. Photogrammetry has been utilized to record persons, objects or crime scenes and prevents this loss. Photogrammetry enables accurate documentation and visualization of events or matching of injuries and injury-causing instruments. To reduce inaccuracies during photogrammetric recording, a multi camera device, Botscan by Botspot, can be used to record living persons in three-dimensional space (3D). The device can record a full body in a fraction of a second, which leads to a significant reduction of inaccuracies due to movement. Photogrammetric measurements were compared with measurements from forensic photographs to evaluate the applicability of this device for medical forensic documentation of injuries. For this purpose, a mannequin fitted with different types of artificial injuries was used as an example. The results showed that the photogrammetric measurements obtained using the software Agisoft PhotoScan were more accurate than the measurements from the forensic photographs.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.012
      Issue No: Vol. 288 (2018)
       
  • Soil metabarcoding identifies season indicators and differentiators of pig
           and Agrostis/Festuca spp. decomposition
    • Authors: Ayodeji O. Olakanye; T. Komang Ralebitso-Senior
      Pages: 53 - 58
      Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Ayodeji O. Olakanye, T. Komang Ralebitso-Senior
      To gain a better understanding of how environmental microbiota respond to cadaver decomposition, a forensic ecogenomic study was made with soil only control and 4g each of Sus scrofa domesticus and plant litter (Agrostis/Festuca spp.) buried individually in a sandy clay loam (80g) in sealed but perforated triplicate microcosms. The next-generation sequencing (Illumina Miseq) of the soil bacteria (16S rRNA gene) clade revealed seasonal taxomonic shifts at genus-level for the pig and plant litter microcosms compared to the non-burial controls. In particular, numerical abundances of Sphingobacterium (5.9%) and Pedobacter (24.1%) for the pig microcosms, and Rhodanobacter (18.1%) and Shinella (4.6%) for the plant litter microcosms, identified bacterial genera that could be tracked to establish a (seasonal) subsurface postmortem microbial clock. Also, family-level resolution revealed members that were unique to the control, grass and pig soils after 365 days.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.015
      Issue No: Vol. 288 (2018)
       
  • Can osteophytes be used as age at death estimators' Testing
           correlations in skeletonized human remains with known age-at-death
    • Authors: Francisca Alves-Cardoso; Sandra Assis
      Pages: 59 - 66
      Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Francisca Alves-Cardoso, Sandra Assis
      Age-at-death estimation is one of the major challenges when establishing an adult skeleton biological profile. The presence of degenerative joint changes – e.g. osteophytes – has been regarded as a good postmaturity age indicator. This study assessed if a clear relationship between age and osteophytes exists. To accomplish this goal, a total of 16 joint surfaces, from the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle, were examined in 604 adult individuals, of both sexes from two Portuguese Identified collections. Individuals had between 20 and 98 year old at death. Statistically significant results were found between age-at-death and degrees of severity of osteophytes throughout all the articular surfaces analyzed (p>0.001). However, the strength of the correlation varies from moderate to low in the majority of the joints, for both sexes. The only strong correlation effects (r=0.567 in females and r=0.552 in males) were found associated with the left and right glenoid cavity in females and males respectively. More noticeable changes were consistently found in association with older individuals (>62 years old). Results indicate that significant relationships exist between age and the presence of osteophytes in the joint margins. However, correlation effects were low to moderate in most cases, therefore the use of osteophytes to predict age-at-death is not without significant error of interpretation.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.034
      Issue No: Vol. 288 (2018)
       
  • Reviewer Hall of Fame
    • Authors: C. Cattaneo; C. Jackowski; A. Smith
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): C. Cattaneo, C. Jackowski, A. Smith


      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.013
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • A modern documented Italian identified skeletal collection of 2127
           skeletons: the CAL Milano Cemetery Skeletal Collection
    • Authors: Cristina Cattaneo; Debora Mazzarelli; Annalisa Cappella; Elisa Castoldi; Mirko Mattia; Pasquale Poppa; Danilo De Angelis; Antonio Vitello; Lucie Biehler-Gomez
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Cristina Cattaneo, Debora Mazzarelli, Annalisa Cappella, Elisa Castoldi, Mirko Mattia, Pasquale Poppa, Danilo De Angelis, Antonio Vitello, Lucie Biehler-Gomez
      The CAL Milano Cemetery Skeletal Collection is a modern and continuously growing identified osteological collection of 2127 skeletons under study in the Laboratorio di Antropologia e Odontologia Forense (LABANOF) in the Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health of the University of Milan (Italy), and part of the Collezione Antropologica LABANOF (CAL). The collection presents individuals of both sexes and of all age groups with a high representation of the elderly and an interesting sample of infants. Each individual is associated with a documentation that includes sex, age-at-death, dates of birth and death, and a death certificate that specifies the exact cause of death and the chain of events that led to it (related pathological conditions or traumatic events). It was also possible to recover for several individuals the autopsy reports and antemortem photographs. This documented osteological collection is of crucial interest in physical and forensic anthropology: it provides unique teaching opportunities and more importantly considerable research possibilities to test and develop sex and age estimation methods, investigate key subjects of forensic relevance and discuss pathological markers, among others. The aim of this paper is to introduce the CAL Milano Cemetery Skeletal Collection as a new identified skeletal collection and present its research and teaching potential.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.burns.2017.11.021
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Estimating the age of Lucilia illustris during the intrapuparial period
           using two approaches: Morphological changes and differential gene
           expression
    • Authors: Yu Wang; Zhi-ya Gu; Shui-xiu Xia; Jiang-feng Wang; Ying-na Zhang; Lu-yang Tao
      Pages: 1 - 11
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Yu Wang, Zhi-ya Gu, Shui-xiu Xia, Jiang-feng Wang, Ying-na Zhang, Lu-yang Tao
      Lucilia illustris (Meigen, 1826) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) is a cosmopolitan species of fly that has forensic and medical significance. However, there is no relevant study regarding the determination of the age of this species during the intrapuparial period. In this study, we investigated the changes in both morphology and differential gene expression during intrapuparial development, with an aim to estimate the age of L. illustris during the intrapuparial stage. The overall intrapuparial morphological changes of L. illustris were divided into 12 substages. Structures such as the compound eyes, mouthparts, antennae, thorax, legs, wings, and abdomen, each capable of indicating age during the intrapuparial stage, were observed in detail, and the developmental progression of each of these structures was divided into six to eight stages. We recorded the time range over which each substage or structure appeared. The differential expression of the three genes 15_2, actin, and tbp previously identified for predicting the timing of intrapuparial development was measured during L. illustris metamorphosis. The expression of these genes was quantified by real-time PCR, and the results revealed that these genes can be used to estimate the age of L. illustris during the intrapuparial period, as they exhibit regular changes and temperature dependence. This study provides an important basis for estimating the minimum postmortem interval (PMImin) in forensic entomology according to changes in intrapuparial development and differential gene expression. Furthermore, combination of the two approaches can generate a more precise PMImin than either approach alone.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.025
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Integrated computer-aided forensic case analysis, presentation, and
           documentation based on multimodal 3D data
    • Authors: Alexander Bornik; Martin Urschler; Dieter Schmalstieg; Horst Bischof; Astrid Krauskopf; Thorsten Schwark; Eva Scheurer; Kathrin Yen
      Pages: 12 - 24
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Alexander Bornik, Martin Urschler, Dieter Schmalstieg, Horst Bischof, Astrid Krauskopf, Thorsten Schwark, Eva Scheurer, Kathrin Yen
      Three-dimensional (3D) crime scene documentation using 3D scanners and medical imaging modalities like computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are increasingly applied in forensic casework. Together with digital photography, these modalities enable comprehensive and non-invasive recording of forensically relevant information regarding injuries/pathologies inside the body and on its surface. Furthermore, it is possible to capture traces and items at crime scenes. Such digitally secured evidence has the potential to similarly increase case understanding by forensic experts and non-experts in court. Unlike photographs and 3D surface models, images from CT and MRI are not self-explanatory. Their interpretation and understanding requires radiological knowledge. Findings in tomography data must not only be revealed, but should also be jointly studied with all the 2D and 3D data available in order to clarify spatial interrelations and to optimally exploit the data at hand. This is technically challenging due to the heterogeneous data representations including volumetric data, polygonal 3D models, and images. This paper presents a novel computer-aided forensic toolbox providing tools to support the analysis, documentation, annotation, and illustration of forensic cases using heterogeneous digital data. Conjoint visualization of data from different modalities in their native form and efficient tools to visually extract and emphasize findings help experts to reveal unrecognized correlations and thereby enhance their case understanding. Moreover, the 3D case illustrations created for case analysis represent an efficient means to convey the insights gained from case analysis to forensic non-experts involved in court proceedings like jurists and laymen. The capability of the presented approach in the context of case analysis, its potential to speed up legal procedures and to ultimately enhance legal certainty is demonstrated by introducing a number of representative forensic cases.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.031
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Image re-sampling detection through a novel interpolation kernel
    • Authors: Alaa Hilal
      Pages: 25 - 35
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Alaa Hilal
      Image re-sampling involved in re-size and rotation transformations is an essential element block in a typical digital image alteration. Fortunately, traces left from such processes are detectable, proving that the image has gone a re-sampling transformation. Within this context, we present in this paper two original contributions. First, we propose a new re-sampling interpolation kernel. It depends on five independent parameters that controls its amplitude, angular frequency, standard deviation, and duration. Then, we demonstrate its capacity to imitate the same behavior of the most frequent interpolation kernels used in digital image re-sampling applications. Secondly, the proposed model is used to characterize and detect the correlation coefficients involved in re-sampling transformations. The involved process includes a minimization of an error function using the gradient method. The proposed method is assessed over a large database of 11,000 re-sampled images. Additionally, it is implemented within an algorithm in order to assess images that had undergone complex transformations. Obtained results demonstrate better performance and reduced processing time when compared to a reference method validating the suitability of the proposed approaches.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.024
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Accurate identification of opioid overdose deaths using coronial data
    • Authors: Amanda Roxburgh; Jennifer L. Pilgrim; Wayne D. Hall; Lucinda Burns; Louisa Degenhardt
      Pages: 40 - 46
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Amanda Roxburgh, Jennifer L. Pilgrim, Wayne D. Hall, Lucinda Burns, Louisa Degenhardt
      Introduction Defining drug-related mortality is complex as these deaths can include a wide range of diseases and circumstances. This paper outlines a method to identify deaths that are directly due to fatal opioid toxicity (i.e. overdose), utilising coronial data. Materials and methods The National Coronial Information System (NCIS), an online coronial database containing information on all deaths that are reported to a coroner in Australia, is used to develop methods to more accurately identify opioid overdose deaths. The NCIS contains demographic information, Medical Cause of Death, and associated documentation on toxicology, clinical and police investigations. Results Identifying overdose deaths using the coroner determined Medical Cause of Death provided greater capture, and specificity, of opioid overdose deaths. Distinguishing morphine from heroin-related deaths presented challenges, requiring analysis of clinical and investigative information in addition to toxicology results. One-quarter of the deaths attributed to morphine were recorded to heroin as a result of further investigation. There was also some underestimation of codeine-related deaths. Access to clinical and investigative information also yields important information in relation to comorbid conditions among these decedents, such as history of chronic pain, substance use issues and mental health problems. Conclusions Reliance on toxicology results alone leads to an underestimate of heroin-related deaths. Differentiating between heroin and pharmaceutical opioid (e.g. morphine) overdose deaths has important public health and policy implications, particularly in relation to prescribing practices and development of a strategic response. Understanding comorbidities among these decedents is also important in efforts to reduce preventable causes of death such as opioid overdose.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.032
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Enhancing the evidential value of textile fibres
    • Authors: Rees Powell; Wilhelm van Bronswijk; John Coumbaros
      Pages: 54 - 62
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Rees Powell, Wilhelm van Bronswijk, John Coumbaros
      In numerous major crime cases undertaken at our laboratory the recovery of large numbers of fibres (>1000), particularly in cases with no known source, presented several challenges. These included the inability to effectively manage the data (i.e. combination of MSP spectra, microscopic characteristics, composition, etc.) and perform comparisons in an efficient manner. To address these challenges, and in response to a growing need for performing fibre comparisons, we developed a database of textile fibre microspectrophotometric (MSP) spectra. The database, designed to compare MSP spectra using a modified Pearson method of correlation, currently contains over 20,000 normalised and first derivative spectra of casework, validation and reference textile fibres. A comparison strategy for cases with a large number of questioned samples was devised, involving identification of critical fibres in the casework data set, development of preliminary fibre groups classified according to their corresponding/similar MSP spectra, and verification of the preliminary groups via brightfield and fluorescence comparison microscopy. The database has successfully been utilised for proficiency trials and casework with small questioned fibre sets. Furthermore, in a case involving a larger dataset (>4000 “unknown” fibres) the database assisted in the efficient classification of 156 distinct groups of interest, highlighting its utility in providing investigative leads for the identification of potential sources of the recovered fibres.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.025
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Systematic forensic toxicological analysis by
           liquid-chromatography-quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry in serum
           and comparison to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
    • Authors: Marcel Grapp; Christoph Kaufmann; Frank Streit; Lutz Binder
      Pages: 63 - 73
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Marcel Grapp, Christoph Kaufmann, Frank Streit, Lutz Binder
      Comprehensive screening procedures for psychoactive agents in body fluids are an essential task in clinical and forensic toxicology. With the continuous emergence and adaption of new psychoactive substances (NPS) keeping a screening method up to date is challenging. To meet these demands, hyphenated high-resolution mass spectrometry has gained interest as extensive and expandable screening approach. Here we present a comprehensive method for systematic toxicological analysis of serum by liquid chromatography-quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF-MS) with data independent acquisition. The potential of this method was demonstrated by analysis of 247 authentic serum- and 12 post-mortem femoral blood samples. Thus 950 compounds, comprising 185 different drugs and metabolites could be identified. For the detected substances, including pharmaceutical substances, illicit drugs as well as NPS, serum concentrations were confirmed ranging from traces to toxic values indicating the capability for forensic toxicological requirements. Positive identification of drugs was achieved by accurate mass measurement (±5ppm for [M+H]+; ±10ppm for [M−H]−), retention time (±0.35min), isotopic pattern match (less than 10 m/z RMS [ppm]), isotope match intensity (less than 20% RMS) and the presence of at least two fragment ions. The LC-QTOF-MS procedure was shown to be superior to serum screening by GC–MS, since 240% (335 versus 141) more drugs were identified in serum samples compared to GC–MS.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.039
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Detection of latent fingerprint hidden beneath adhesive tape by optical
           coherence tomography
    • Authors: Ning Zhang; Chengming Wang; Zhenwen Sun; Zhigang Li; Lanchi Xie; Yuwen Yan; Lei Xu; Jingjing Guo; Wei Huang; Zhihui Li; Jing Xue; Huan Liu; Xiaojing Xu
      Pages: 81 - 87
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Ning Zhang, Chengming Wang, Zhenwen Sun, Zhigang Li, Lanchi Xie, Yuwen Yan, Lei Xu, Jingjing Guo, Wei Huang, Zhihui Li, Jing Xue, Huan Liu, Xiaojing Xu
      Adhesive tape is one type of common item which can be encountered in criminal cases involving rape, murder, kidnapping and explosives. It is often the case that a suspect deposits latent fingerprints on the sticky side of adhesive tape material when tying up victims, manufacturing improvised explosive devices or packaging illegal goods. However, the adhesive tapes found at crime scenes are usually stuck together or attached to a certain substrate, and thus the latent fingerprints may be hidden beneath the tapes. Current methods to detect latent fingerprint hidden beneath adhesive tape need to peel it off first and then apply physical or chemical methods to develop the fingerprint, which undergo complicated procedures and would affect the original condition of latent print. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a novel applied techniques in forensics which enables obtaining cross-sectional structure with the advantages of non-invasive, in-situ, high resolution and high speed. In this paper, a custom-built spectral-domain OCT (SD-OCT) system with a hand-held probe was employed to detect fingerprints hidden beneath different types of adhesive tapes. Three-dimensional (3D) OCT reconstructions were performed and the en face images were presented to reveal the hidden fingerprints. The results demonstrate that OCT is a promising tool for rapidly detecting and recovering high quality image of latent fingerprint hidden beneath adhesive tape without any changes to the original state and preserve the integrity of the evidence.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.030
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Evaluation of 1,5-anhydro-d-glucitol in clinical and forensic urine
           samples
    • Authors: Konrad Sydow; Christopher Wiedfeld; Frank Musshoff; Burkhard Madea; Diethelm Tschoepe; Bernd Stratmann; Cornelius Hess
      Pages: 88 - 97
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Konrad Sydow, Christopher Wiedfeld, Frank Musshoff, Burkhard Madea, Diethelm Tschoepe, Bernd Stratmann, Cornelius Hess
      Because of the lack of characteristic morphological findings post mortem diagnosis of diabetes mellitus and identification of diabetic coma can be complicated. 1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG), the 1-deoxy form of glucose, competes with glucose for renal reabsorption. Therefore low serum concentrations of 1,5-AG, reflect hyperglycemic excursions over the prior 1–2 weeks in diabetic patients. Next to clinical applications determination of 1,5-AG can also be used in forensic analysis. To investigate the elimination of 1,5-AG, a liquid chromatographic–mass spectrometric method for the determination of 1,5-AG and creatinine in urine was developed and validated according to international guidelines. To evaluate ante mortem concentrations of 1,5-AG spot urine samples of 30 healthy subjects, 46 type 1 and 46 type 2 diabetic patients were analyzed. 1,5-AG urine concentrations of diabetic patients were significantly (p<0.001) lower (mean: 1.54μg/ml, n=92) compared to concentrations of healthy subjects (mean: 4.76μg/ml, n=30) which led to the idea that 1,5-AG urine concentrations post mortem might help in the interpretation of a diabetic coma post mortem. Urine of 47 deceased non-diabetics, 37 deceased diabetic and 9 cases of diabetic coma were measured. Comparison of blood and urine 1,5-AG concentrations in clinic samples (linear, R2 =0.13) and forensic samples (linear, R2 =0.02) showed no correlation. Urinary levels of 1,5-AG in deceased diabetic (mean 6.9μg/ml) and in non-diabetic patients (mean 6.3μg/ml) did not show a significant difference (p=0.752). However, urinary 1,5-AG concentrations in deceased due to diabetic coma (mean: 1.7μg/ml) were significantly lower than in non-diabetic (mean: 6.3μg/ml, p=0.039) and lower than in diabetic cases (mean: 4.7μg/ml, p=0.058). The determination of a reliable cut-off for the differentiation of diabetic to diabetic coma cases was not possible. Normalization of urinary 1,5-AG concentrations with the respective creatinine concentrations did not show any gain of information. In clinical (serum) and forensic blood samples a significant difference between all groups could be detected (p<0.05). Comparison of blood and urine 1,5-AG concentrations in clinical samples (linear, R2 =0.13) and forensic samples (linear, R2 =0.02) showed no correlation.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.002
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Contribution of Raman and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) to
           the analysis of vehicle headlights: Dye(s) characterization
    • Authors: Cyril Muehlethaler; Yin Pak Cheng; Syed K. Islam; John R. Lombardi
      Pages: 98 - 107
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Cyril Muehlethaler, Yin Pak Cheng, Syed K. Islam, John R. Lombardi
      Although ubiquitous on accident scenes, the polymers from headlight optics are often neglected in hit-and-run cases, and their evidential value restrained to direct comparison once a corresponding vehicle is found. Multilayered automotive paint fragments are preferred for their access to corresponding databases (PDQ, EUCAP) to infer models and brands of cars. The potential of polymers headlights for providing forensic intelligence has never been exploited, principally due to the lack of diversity, of appropriate databases, and of case examples. The motives are very simple however. Headlight polymers suffer from a lack of differentiation, and about 90% of them are composed of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). The discriminating powers using techniques in sequence typically range from 30 to 60%. In this paper, we take advantage of the extreme sensitivity of Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) to analyze the dye composition of the polymer headlights. The measurements by standard Raman spectroscopy at 488, 633, and 785nm permits us to identify the polymer type with relative ease. 51 out of 53 samples are composed of PMMA, the two remaining being either Polycarbonate or Polybutylene terephthalate. Additionally, using SERS with silver colloids at 488 and 633nm, provides enhanced spectra of the dyes used in the composition with an extreme sensitivity and specificity. With SERS we are able to differentiate the majority of the headlights with a remarkable 90–100% discriminating power. Solvent Orange 60, Solvent Red 52 and Solvent Red 111 were successfully identified as dyes used in the manufacture of the headlights. These results demonstrate that a combined Raman-SERS approach has the potential to replace an otherwise lengthy sequence of many different analytical techniques. With one single instrument, we offer the possibility to combine an analysis of the polymer type, and of the dye components with high discriminating capabilities. These results open up new opportunities for exploiting headlight plastics in road accidents investigations. It has the potential to help in source attribution, and/or database building in a forensic intelligence perspective.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.036
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Inspective and toxicological survey of the poisoned baits and bites
    • Authors: Antonella De Roma; Gianluca Miletti; Nicola D’Alessio; Laura Marigliano; Teresa Bruno; Pasquale Gallo; Giovanni Binato; Mauro Esposito
      Pages: 108 - 112
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Antonella De Roma, Gianluca Miletti, Nicola D’Alessio, Laura Marigliano, Teresa Bruno, Pasquale Gallo, Giovanni Binato, Mauro Esposito
      Cases of intentional animal poisonings are still widespread in Italy, even if the improper or malicious use of poisoned baits is banned. This represents a serious threat to pets as well as wildlife species, but also an environmental and human health concern. A retrospective study was performed based on baits sent for toxicological analysis to the laboratories of Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Mezzogiorno (IZSM) in Southern Italy over a five year period. Analyses were carried out by using different analytical techniques in relation to the toxicants. Results show a trend different from other countries, as well as from that reported for Northern Italy. The molluscicide metaldehyde proved to be the most common substance detected in our laboratory (63.9%) followed by organochlorine insecticides (29.2%), organophosphine insecticides (11.1%) and anticoagulant rodenticides (9.7%). Other rodenticides, such as strychnine and zinc phosphide were detected only one time in baits. Among the organochlorine insecticide, endosulfan (both alpha and beta isomers) occurred as the main poisoning agent. The incidence of poisoning cases detected in the present survey is extremely alarming and pointed out that actions have to be made to reduce this illegal practice and its environmental impact.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.038
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • A method for the statistical interpretation of friction ridge skin
           impression evidence: Method development and validation
    • Authors: H.J. Swofford; A.J. Koertner; F. Zemp; M. Ausdemore; A. Liu; M.J. Salyards
      Pages: 113 - 126
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): H.J. Swofford, A.J. Koertner, F. Zemp, M. Ausdemore, A. Liu, M.J. Salyards
      The forensic fingerprint community has faced increasing amounts of criticism by scientific and legal commentators, challenging the validity and reliability of fingerprint evidence due to the lack of an empirically demonstrable basis to evaluate and report the strength of the evidence in a given case. This paper presents a method, developed as a stand-alone software application, FRStat, which provides a statistical assessment of the strength of fingerprint evidence. The performance was evaluated using a variety of mated and non-mated datasets. The results show strong performance characteristics, often with values supporting specificity rates greater than 99%. This method provides fingerprint experts the capability to demonstrate the validity and reliability of fingerprint evidence in a given case and report the findings in a more transparent and standardized fashion with clearly defined criteria for conclusions and known error rate information thereby responding to concerns raised by the scientific and legal communities.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.043
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Three-dimensionally derived interlandmark distances for sex estimation in
           intact and fragmentary crania
    • Authors: Candice Small; Lynne Schepartz; Jason Hemingway; Desiré Brits
      Pages: 127 - 135
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Candice Small, Lynne Schepartz, Jason Hemingway, Desiré Brits
      The skull is the element most frequently presented to forensic anthropologists for analysis yet weathering, corpse maiming, and scavenger activity often result in damage and fragmentation. This fragmentation results in a reduction in the number of traditional calliper derived measurements that can be obtained and subjected to discriminant based analyses for sex estimation. In this investigation, we employed three-dimensional geometric morphometric methods to derive novel interlandmark distance measures across six regions of the cranium including the basicranium, basipalate, zygoma, orbits and the cranium globally to create functions to discriminate sex with high efficacy, even in the event of fragmentation. Forty-five homologous landmarks were digitised across each of 227 (114 males and 113 females) South African crania of European descent (white) sampled from the Raymond A Dart Collection of Human Skeletons, housed in the School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. A total of 990 interlandmark distances (ILDs) were mathematically derived using Pythagorean geometry. These ILDs were then filtered by region and subjected to both direct and stepwise discriminant function analyses. Discriminant equations where derived for each region and achieved the following average cross-validated sex estimation accuracies: basicranium—74%; basipalate—80.2%; zygomatic—82.4; orbits—71.8%; nasomaxilla—83.7%; global cranium—88.2%. A large number of the ILDs used to derive the discriminant functions are novel, demonstrating the efficacy of geometric morphometric methods and illustrating the need to reassess old methods of data collection using modern methods to determine whether they best capture biological differences. The results of this study provide an invaluable contribution to forensic anthropology in South Africa as it provides an accurate, practical means of assessing sex using fragmentary material that may otherwise have been disregarded. These will undeniable aid in accurate sex estimation and ultimately, victim identification.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.012
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Thermal conditions in selected urban and semi-natural habitats, important
           for the forensic entomology
    • Authors: Marek Michalski; Jerzy Nadolski
      Pages: 153 - 162
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Marek Michalski, Jerzy Nadolski
      A long-term study on thermal conditions in selected urban and semi-natural habitats, where human corpses are likely to be found, was conducted in the city of Lodz (Central Poland). Thermal data were collected during two years at nine sites and compared with corresponding data from the nearest permanent meteorological station at Lodz Airport (ICAO code: EPLL). The conditions closest to those at the meteorological station prevailed in the deciduous forest, coefficient of determination R 2 for those sets of data was above 0.96. The open field was characterized by high daily amplitudes, especially during spring, while the site in the allotment gardens was characterized by relatively high winter temperatures. The conditions prevailing in all closed space sites were very diverse and only slightly similar to the external ones. The most distinct site was an unheated basement in a tenement house, where temperature was almost always above 0°C and daily amplitudes were negligible.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.042
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Age estimation of adult human remains from hip bones using advanced
           methods
    • Authors: Anežka Kotěrová; David Navega; Michal Štepanovský; Zdeněk Buk; Jaroslav Brůžek; Eugénia Cunha
      Pages: 163 - 175
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Anežka Kotěrová, David Navega, Michal Štepanovský, Zdeněk Buk, Jaroslav Brůžek, Eugénia Cunha
      The assessment of age-at-death is an important and challenging part of investigations of human skeletal remains. The main objective of the present study was to apply different mathematical approaches in order to reach more accurate and reliable results in age estimation. A multi-ethnic dataset (n=941) of evaluated age-related changes on the pubic symphysis and the auricular surface of the hip bone was used. Two research groups examined nine different mathematical approaches. The best results were reached by Multi-linear regression, followed by the Collapsed regression model, with MAE values of 9.7 and 9.9 years, respectively, and with RMSE values of 12.1 and 12.2, respectively. The mean accuracy of decision tree models ranged between 30.7% and 72.3%, with the model using only the PUSx indicator performing the best. Moreover, our results indicate that the limiting factor of age estimation can be the visual evaluation of age-related changes. Further research is required to objectify the proposed methods for estimating age.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.047
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Development of rapid and simple method for DNA extraction from cannabis
           resin based on the evaluation of relative PCR amplification ability
    • Authors: Tadashi Yamamuro; Yuko T. Iwata; Hiroki Segawa; Kenji Kuwayama; Kenji Tsujikawa; Tatsuyuki Kanamori; Hiroyuki Inoue
      Pages: 176 - 182
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Tadashi Yamamuro, Yuko T. Iwata, Hiroki Segawa, Kenji Kuwayama, Kenji Tsujikawa, Tatsuyuki Kanamori, Hiroyuki Inoue
      In recent years, analysis of cannabis DNA has been increasingly used in forensic drug tests. However, in the case of cannabis resin, a processed marijuana product, complicated procedures are required for the extraction of clean DNA, as the presence of various impurities inhibits PCR amplification. Therefore, in this study, we attempted to identify the factors that would allow quick and simple DNA extraction from cannabis resin with a commercially available kit. We also constructed a simple assay system for comparing relative amplification efficiencies by end-point PCR and used it to evaluate the purity of the obtained DNA solutions. For extraction with a kit that contains a silica column, reducing the starting amount of resin, using the residue remaining after methanol extraction, dilution of the final solution, extraction with an equal amount of powdered activated carbon or an excess amount of polyvinylpolypyrrolidone, and the addition of an appropriate amount of polyvinylpyrrolidone to the solution after extraction were effective measures that improved amplification efficiency. Furthermore, the use of the most rapid alkaline extraction kit combined with the addition of powdered activated carbon allowed obtaining DNA solutions with sufficient amplification efficiency in about 10min. These findings should be useful for routine DNA analysis of cannabis resin during forensic examination.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.044
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Reliability verification of vehicle speed estimate method in forensic
           videos
    • Authors: Jong-Hyuk Kim; Won-Taek Oh; Ji-Hun Choi; Jong-Chan Park
      Pages: 195 - 206
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Jong-Hyuk Kim, Won-Taek Oh, Ji-Hun Choi, Jong-Chan Park
      In various types of traffic accidents, including car-to-car crash, vehicle–pedestrian collision, and hit-and-run accident, driver overspeed is one of the critical issues of traffic accident analysis. Hence, analysis of vehicle speed at the moment of accident is necessary. The present article proposes a vehicle speed estimate method (VSEM) applying a virtual plane and a virtual reference line to a forensic video. The reliability of the VSEM was verified by comparing the results obtained by applying the VSEM to videos from a test vehicle driving with a global positioning system (GPS)-based Vbox speed. The VSEM verified by these procedures was applied to real traffic accident examples to evaluate the usability of the VSEM.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.002
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Detailed investigations into the Akabori–Momotani reaction for the
           synthesis of amphetamine type stimulants: Part 2
    • Authors: David Doughty; Emma Kent; Ben Painter; Paul E. Pigou; Martin R. Johnston
      Pages: 207 - 216
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): David Doughty, Emma Kent, Ben Painter, Paul E. Pigou, Martin R. Johnston
      The Akabori–Momotani reaction can be used to synthesise pseudoephedrine in 50% yield from N-methylalanine and benzaldehyde. This paper investigates electronic effects of substituted benzaldehydes on the reaction to synthesise amphetamine type stimulants and identifies several new Akabori–Momotani by-products, 1-[(4-methoxybenzyl)(methyl)amino]ethanol (11c), 2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-3,4-dimethyl-1,3-oxazolidine (12c), 1,2,3,4-tetramethyl-5,6-di-(4-methoxyphenyl)piperazine (13c) and 1,2,4,5-tetramethyl-3,6-di-(4-methoxyphenyl)piperazine (14c). This paper also investigates pseudoephedrine and methamphetamine isomeric distribution from the Akabori–Momotani reaction with the aid of molecular modelling to understand why more pseudoephedrine than ephedrine is produced.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.01.023
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Estimation of sex and stature using anthropometry of the upper extremity
           in an Australian population.
    • Authors: Donna Howley; Peter Howley; Marc F. Oxenham
      Pages: 220.e1 - 220.e10
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Donna Howley, Peter Howley, Marc F. Oxenham
      Stature and a further 8 anthropometric dimensions were recorded from the arms and hands of a sample of 96 staff and students from the Australian National University and The University of Newcastle, Australia. These dimensions were used to create simple and multiple logistic regression models for sex estimation and simple and multiple linear regression equations for stature estimation of a contemporary Australian population. Overall sex classification accuracies using the models created were comparable to similar studies. The stature estimation models achieved standard errors of estimates (SEE) which were comparable to and in many cases lower than those achieved in similar research. Generic, non sex-specific models achieved similar SEEs and R2 values to the sex-specific models indicating stature may be accurately estimated when sex is unknown.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.017
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Measurements of the talus in the assessment of population affinity
    • Authors: Mubarak A. Bidmos; Manisha R. Dayal; Oyelola A. Adegboye
      Pages: 221.e1 - 221.e7
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Mubarak A. Bidmos, Manisha R. Dayal, Oyelola A. Adegboye
      As part of their routine work, forensic anthropologists are expected to report population affinity as part of the biological profile of an individual. The skull is the most widely used bone for the estimation of population affinity but it is not always present in a forensic case. Thus, other bones that preserve well have been shown to give a good indication of either the sex or population affinity of an individual. In this study, the potential of measurements of the talus was investigated for the purpose of estimating population affinity in South Africans. Nine measurements from two hundred and twenty tali of South African Africans (SAA) and South African Whites (SAW) from the Raymond A. Dart Collection of Human Skeletons were used. Direct and step-wise discriminant function and logistic regression analyses were carried out using SPSS and SAS. Talar length was the best single variable for discriminating between these two groups for males while in females the head height was the best single predictor. Average accuracies for correct population affinity classification using logistic regression analysis were higher than those obtained from discriminant function analysis. This study was the first of its type to employ discriminant function analyses and logistic regression analyses to estimate the population affinity of an individual from the talus. Thus these equations can now be used by South African anthropologists when estimating the population affinity of dismembered or damaged or incomplete skeletal remains of SAA and SAW.

      PubDate: 2018-05-03T18:29:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.016
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Acid phosphatase test on Phadebas® sheets — An optimized method for
           presumptive saliva and semen detection
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Yael Herman, Ilan Feine, Ron Gafny
      The precise and efficient detection of semen and saliva in sexual assault case-work items is a critical step in the forensic pipeline. The outcome of this stage may have a profound impact on identifying perpetrators as well as on the investigation process and the final outcome in court. Semen detection is usually based on the activity of acid phosphatase (AP), an enzyme found in high concentration in the seminal plasma. Amylase, an enzyme catalyzing starch hydrolysis is found in high concentrations in saliva and therefore is a useful target for its detection. To screen case-work items, both presumptive tests require transfer of biological material from the item to paper in a moisturized environment. Since semen and saliva may appear in the same item, it is required in some cases to perform the tests one after the other. This may reduce the chances of identifying all stains on the item and obtaining a DNA profile. In the present study, we applied the AP biochemical test on a Phadebas® sheet, a commercial starch containing paper used to detect saliva. This approach was found to be sensitive enough to detect diluted semen (1:50) after performing the Phadebas® press test. In addition, it enabled detection of adjacent saliva and semen stains and stains containing a semen–saliva mixture. Finally, a DNA profile was successfully obtained from the Phadebas® sheets after semen detection, a useful feature if the original item is lost or damaged. Taken together, this method provides a practical, reliable and convenient tool for screening sexual assault items of evidence.

      PubDate: 2018-05-17T01:42:08Z
       
  • Isolation of DNA from small amounts of elephant ivory: Sampling the
           cementum with total demineralization extraction
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): M. Winters, A. Torkelson, R. Booth, C. Mailand, Y. Hoareau, S. Tucker, S.K. Wasser
      Genotyping ivory samples can determine the geographic origin of poached ivory as well as the legality of ivory being sold in ivory markets. We conducted a series of experiments to determine where the DNA is most concentrated in ivory samples and how best to increase DNA yield from groups of samples likely to vary in DNA concentration. We examined variation in DNA amplification success from: the layer(s) of the tusk (cementum and/or dentine) being extracted, demineralization temperature and time, and the concentration of eluates. Since demineralization of the pulverized sample produces a pellet and supernatant, we also assessed DNA amplification success from the pellet, the supernatant, their combination, as well as variation in the respective amounts used for extraction. Our results show that the outer cementum layer of the tusk contains the highest concentration of DNA and should be separated and used exclusively as the source material of ivory processed for extraction, when available. Utilizing the combined demineralized lysate improves extraction efficiency, as does increasing demineralization time to 3 or more days, conducted at 4°C. The most significant improvements occurred for low template DNA ivory samples followed by medium quality samples. Amplification success of high quality samples was not affected by these changes. Application of this optimized method to 3068 ivory samples resulted in 81.2% of samples being confirmed for both alleles at a minimum of 10 out of 16 microsatellite loci, which is our threshold for inclusion in DNA assignment analyses.

      PubDate: 2018-05-15T01:40:15Z
       
  • Experimental sharp force injuries to ribs: Multimodal morphological and
           
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Larissa Komo, Martin Grassberger
      Tool marks on bones induced by knife blades can be analysed morphometrically in order to enable an allocation of the suspected “inflicting weapon” to the particular morphology of the bone lesions. Until now, geometric morphometrics has not been used to analyse the morphology of knife lesions on fleshed bones in detail. By using twelve experimental knives and a drop weight tower, stab/cut injuries were inflicted on untreated pig ribs. The morphology of the experimentally produced lesions was subsequently recorded with three imaging techniques (μCT, macro photography and SEM) and analysed with different morphometric software (Amira, tps and Morpheus). Based on the measured distances between the walls of the kerf marks, which corresponded to the thickness of the blade, one could conclude to the respective blade thickness with a deviation of max. ±0.35mm and match the injuries to the knives. With subsequent reanalysis after maceration, an average shrinkage factor up to 8.6% was observed. Among the three imaging techniques used in this study, μCT was the most accurate and efficient technique, particularly because it represented the only non-destructive modality to document injuries without maceration, even though μCT is more expensive and time-consuming as well as less accessible than a macro SLR-camera or a SEM. For optimal characterizations of the blades’ and kerfs’ shapes the software tps proofed to be the best choice. Accordingly, geometric morphometrics could serve as a tool in forensic investigations concerning kerf marks.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-05-15T01:40:15Z
       
  • Identification and characterization of 4-chloromethamphetamine (4-CMA) in
           seized ecstacy — a risk to public health
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Peter Blanckaert, Stijn Vanquekelberghe, Vera Coopman, Martijn D.P. Risseeuw, Serge Van Calenbergh, Jan Cordonnier
      This paper reports the structure elucidation and full characterization of 4-chloromethamphetamine (4-CMA), a compound which was never reported previously outside of laboratory settings in seized drug samples, or samples actively being used at large dance festivals. Identification of 4-CMA was obtained by liquid chromatography with diode array detector (HPLC-PDA) and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC–MS). Further structure elucidation was performed by fragment pattern analysis of the trimethylsilyl and trifluoroacetyl derivatives with GC–MS. The region-isomeric form was confirmed by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H NMR). HPLC-PDA was used for quantitation of 4-CMA in the seized tablet to obtain an indication of the potency. A literature review of the toxic effects of 4-CMA was performed, and mechanisms for serotonin neurotoxicity were proposed and discussed. Finally the risks for potential widespread harm to the public in events where similar substances or tablets start appearing and circulating on a larger scale in the general population is discussed.

      PubDate: 2018-05-15T01:40:15Z
       
  • Matrixmetalloproteinases and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases:
           Immunhistochemical markers in the diagnosis of lethal myocardial
           infarctions'
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Felix Mayer, Martin Falk, Ragnar Huhn, Friederike Behmenburg, Stefanie Ritz-Timme
      Matrixmetalloproteinases (MMP) 2 and 9 as well as tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP) 1 were tested as markers of myocardial early ischemia/infarctions. Experiments with an animal model, the isolated Langendorff heart, and analysis of human tissue samples drawn during autopsies were performed. Results of the experiments with the Langendorff model implied that the detectable amount of the markers might increase early after the onset of ischemia, in less than one hour, under ideal conditions. The results of the examined human cases showed that MMP-2 is constantly detectable in human myocardial tissue with an increased amount in case of an infarction with longer survival times. MMP-9 and TIMP-1 were negative in control cases, distinct positive staining results were obtained mainly in cases of infarctions with longer survival times and only rarely in those with a short survival time. According to these results MMPs and TIMPs do not qualify as first choice markers of myocardial infarctions. As an interesting side finding in the Langendorff experiments, positive staining results for all three markers were seen in myocardial areas that were mechanically traumatized by ECG-electrodes or ligation of blood vessels. These findings make the markers interesting for forensic wound age estimation.

      PubDate: 2018-05-15T01:40:15Z
       
  • Comparison of porcine organs and commonly used ballistic simulants when
           subjected to impact from steel spheres fired at supersonic velocities
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Caitlin Humphrey, Maciej Henneberg, Christian Wachsberger, Jaliya Kumaratilake
      Firearm injuries are common in the world today, in both military and civilian settings. Research into the effects different ammunition has on the human body has been conducted using tissue simulants such as Ballistics Ordnance Gelatine. Previous research has found that with low velocity projectiles, the tissue simulants only represent a selected few organs, as the human body and its organs/tissues are not homogeneous. The aim of this research was to determine which ballistic simulants best represent the abdomen and thorax, for the purposes of anatomical modelling. A mounted firearm was used to fire specially made ammunition containing a sabot and steel spherical projectile at medium (∼500m/s) and high (∼900m/s) velocities. Test specimens of 50mm cube porcine tissues (lung, liver, kidney and heart) and ballistics simulants (20% and 10% Ballistics Gelatine and Clear Gel) were shot at and the energy loss determined using Doppler radar, optical infra-red sighting screens and high speed video. This study determined that the conclusions drawn from studies in these tissue simulants may not be an accurate representation of what occurs in human tissues and that different impact velocities produce differing results. New simulants are required to better represent the energy loss of a projectile through the organs of the abdomen and thorax and the results of this study may guide this development. Further experiments will be required to determine different concentrations of gelatine and their accuracy at representing the heterogeneous nature organs of the human body.

      PubDate: 2018-05-15T01:40:15Z
       
  • Forensic drug intelligence and the rise of cryptomarkets. Part II:
           Combination of data from the physical and virtual markets
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Marie Morelato, Julian Broséus, Adrian De Grazia, Mark Tahtouh, Pierre Esseiva, Claude Roux
      Technology provides new ways to access customers and suppliers while enhancing the security of off-line criminal activity. Since the first cryptomarket, Silk Road, in 2011, cryptomarkets have transformed the traditional drug sale by facilitating the creation of a global network of vendors and buyers. Due to the fragmented nature of traces that result from illegal activities, combining the results of concurrent processes based on traces of different nature should provide supplementary benefit to understand the drug market. This article compares the data of the Australian virtual market (in particular data extracted from cryptomarkets) to the data related to traditional market descriptors, namely national seizures and arrests, prevalence data, shipping countries of seized post shipments as well as outcomes of specific surveys targeting users’ behaviour online. Results revealed the domestic nature of the online illicit drug trade in Australia which is dominated by amphetamine-type substances (ATS), in particular methylamphetamine and cannabis. These illicit drugs were also the most seized drugs on the physical market. This article shows that the combination of different information offers a broader perspective of the illicit drug market in Australia and thus provides stronger arguments for policy makers. It also highlights the links between the virtual and physical markets.

      PubDate: 2018-05-15T01:40:15Z
       
  • The determination of ethyl glucuronide in hair: Experiences from nine
           consecutive interlaboratory comparison rounds
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): R. Becker, I. Lô, F. Sporkert, M. Baumgartner
      The increasing request for hair ethyl glucuronide (HEtG) in alcohol consumption monitoring according to cut-off levels set by the Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) has triggered a proficiency testing program based on interlaboratory comparisons (ILC). Here, the outcome of nine consecutive ILC rounds organised by the SoHT on the determination of HEtG between 2011 and 2017 is summarised regarding interlaboratory reproducibility and the influence of procedural variants. Test samples prepared from cut hair (1mm) with authentic (in-vivo incorporated) and soaked (in-vitro incorporated) HEtG concentrations up to 80pg/mg were provided for 27–35 participating laboratories. Laboratory results were evaluated according to ISO 5725-5 and provided robust averages and relative reproducibility standard deviations typically between 20 and 35% in reasonable accordance with the prediction of the Horwitz model. Evaluation of results regarding the analytical techniques revealed no significant differences between gas and liquid chromatographic methods In contrast, a detailed evaluation of different sample preparations revealed significantly higher average values in case when pulverised hair is tested compared to cut hair. This observation was reinforced over the different ILC rounds and can be attributed to the increased acceptance and routine of hair pulverisation among laboratories. Further, the reproducibility standard deviations among laboratories performing pulverisation were on average in very good agreement with the prediction of the Horwitz model. Use of sonication showed no effect on the HEtG extraction yield.

      PubDate: 2018-05-07T17:37:27Z
       
  • Discrimination of synthetic cathinones by GC–MS and GC–MS/MS using
           cold electron ionization
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Matthew P. Levitas, Emily Andrews, Ira Lurie, Ioan Marginean
      Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry is currently among the methods of choice for the analysis of synthetic cathinones. However, these analytes are extremely labile, and classical electron ionization (EI) results in excessive and relatively uninformative fragmentation, yielding little to no molecular ions. Cold EI reduces the internal energy of the analytes by expansion of supersonic molecular beams prior to their ionization, leading to improved molecular ion information. In this study, classical and cold EI were compared for the analysis of synthetic cathinones. We demonstrated that cold electron ionization produced enhanced molecular ion intensity for most of the bath salts considered, as well as more informative fragmentation. Principal component analysis showed that cold EI mass spectra are more discriminative than those obtained by classical EI. MS/MS can offer improved confidence in synthetic cathinone identification even in cases where the relative intensity of the molecular ion is very low in MS spectra.

      PubDate: 2018-05-07T17:37:27Z
       
  • The evaluation and validation of Phadebas® paper as a presumptive
           screening tool for saliva on forensic exhibits
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Danielle J. Wornes, Samuel J. Speers, Julie A. Murakami
      The Phadebas® Forensic Press Test is routinely used for the detection of saliva. However, assessment of the use of Phadebas® paper for this purpose has not been studied extensively. The suitability of Phadebas® paper as a presumptive screening tool for saliva on forensic exhibits, was investigated by analysing the following: (1) sensitivity, (2) specificity, (3) effects of temperature on sensitivity and specificity, (4) detection of saliva in mixed body fluid samples, and (5) influence of substrate porosity. The results of this study demonstrated that Phadebas® paper is more sensitive to α-amylase activity and less specific for saliva than previously reported. The use of an examination temperature of 37°C had no effect on sensitivity, but increased the incidence of cross-reactivity with other forensically relevant body fluid stains. Blood, urine and vaginal secretions can inhibit the detection of α-amylase activity with Phadebas® paper in mixed stains of saliva and body fluid. Substrate porosity is a weak predictor for the time taken for a saliva stain to achieve a strong positive result on Phadebas® paper. Overall, this study demonstrated that the Phadebas® Forensic Press Test has limitations as a presumptive test for the accurate identification of saliva.

      PubDate: 2018-05-07T17:37:27Z
       
  • The use of ortho-Phenylenediamine and Zar-Pro™ strips for the
           development of bloodmarks on a dark-coloured, non-porous surface
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Stephanie Oliver, Thomas Smale, Isaac Arthur
      The development of fingerprints in blood on a dark-coloured surface can be difficult. Contrast between the bloodmark and the surface can be difficult to achieve using photography and chemical reagents. The use of haem-reagent ortho-Phenylenediamine (OPD) and Zar-Pro™ strips in the enhancement of bloody impressions were investigated. Depletions of bloodmarks were deposited on black ceramic tiles and aged up to 90 days. OPD, Acid Yellow 7, and Hungarian Red were applied to these tiles and the developed fingermarks were compared using a numerical score system. Zar-Pro™ strips were applied to chemically treated and untreated bloodmarks alike. OPD proved to be effective at developing bloodmarks aged up to 90 days, including latent marks. Despite this capability, OPD did not perform as well as Acid Yellow 7 and so the continued use of Acid Yellow 7 is recommended. Zar-Pro™ strips were able to lift bloodmarks aged up to 90days as well as those chemically treated with either: OPD, Hungarian Red, Acid Yellow 7, or Amido Black although ridge detail was poor. Additional investigation into the capabilities of Zar-Pro™ strips for this purpose is recommended.

      PubDate: 2018-05-07T17:37:27Z
       
  • Protein-based forensic identification using genetically variant peptides
           in human bone
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 288
      Author(s): Katelyn Elizabeth Mason, Deon Anex, Todd Grey, Bradley Hart, Glendon Parker
      Bone tissue contains organic material that is useful for forensic investigations and may contain preserved endogenous protein that can persist in the environment for extended periods of time over a range of conditions. Single amino acid polymorphisms in these proteins reflect genetic information since they result from non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DNA. Detection of genetically variant peptides (GVPs) — those peptides that contain amino acid polymorphisms — in digests of bone proteins allows for the corresponding SNP alleles to be inferred. Resulting genetic profiles can be used to calculate statistical measures of association between a bone sample and an individual. In this study proteomic analysis on rib cortical bone samples from 10 recently deceased individuals demonstrates this concept. A straight-forward acidic demineralization protocol yielded proteins that were digested with trypsin. Tryptic digests were analyzed by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. A total of 1736 different proteins were identified across all resulting datasets. On average, individual samples contained 454±121 ( x ¯ ± σ ) proteins. Thirty-five genetically variant peptides were identified from 15 observed proteins. Overall, 134 SNP inferences were made based on proteomically detected GVPs, which were confirmed by sequencing of subject DNA. Inferred individual SNP genetic profiles ranged in random match probability (RMP) from 1/6 to 1/42,472 when calculated with European population frequencies in the 1000 Genomes Project, Phase 3. Similarly, RMPs based on African population frequencies were calculated for each SNP genetic profile and likelihood ratios (LR) were obtained by dividing each European RMP by the corresponding African RMP. Resulting LR values ranged from 1.4 to 825 with a median value of 16. GVP markers offer a basis for the identification of compromised skeletal remains independent of the presence of DNA template.

      PubDate: 2018-05-07T17:37:27Z
       
  • Work of non-elastic deformation against the deformation ratio of the
           Subcompact Car Class using the variable correlation method
    • Authors: Kubiak
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Przemysław Kubiak
      The presented study considers a Subcompact Car Class in a new non-linear method utilising the work W of car deformation defined as an algebraic function of deformation ratio Cs. In order to develop the experimental data, the method of variable correlation is utilised. Data from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) database comprising numerous frontal crash tests are used for the determination of mathematical model parameters. In the non-linear method used up until now, the so-called energetic approach, collisions are treated as non-elastic. The velocity threshold that defines the elastic collision was set to be 11km/h. Such an approach, which is very simplified, determines the linear dependence of energy lost during deformation on deformation coefficient Cs. This coefficient is calculated as a mean value, taking into account the weights of deformation points C1–C6. In this paper, the authors propose a more precise non-linear method in order to determine the work of deformation, and have used the more complex form of deformation coefficient.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
       
 
 
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