Collecting crime scene evidence

“Looks like they entered through the back door, Chief.”

“Brilliant, Dusty. So you’re thinking because the glass is broken, there are footprints in the soft soil, and…wait, what’re these? Tool marks on the doorknob? Well, of course this is where they entered. Why didn’t I think of that? We certainly didn’t waste a single dime when we sent you to that fancy Crime Scene University over in Tuscaloosa.”

“Thank you, Chief. I try. Now stand back, please. I’ve got work to do.”

Dusty knelt down on one knee and released the metal clasp on a small, green plastic tackle box. The chief leaned in for a closer look at all the “do-dads,” his pet name for his star tech’s tools-of-the-trade. Dusty gave him a nasty look when his 5-foot-5, 265-pound frame blocked her light. He quickly stepped back into the shadows while she continued to grab what she needed from the box.

A few seconds later, Chief I. B. Dumb stood to the side with his liver-spotted hands shoved deep into the pockets of his blue polyester pants, wishing he’d thought to wear the red flannel long-johns the missus gave him as a present last Christmas. His right hand was hard at work, jingling coins. The left was still numb from exposure to the cold night air. He watched, though, proud as a peacock, as his crackerjack crime scene technician, Dusty Printz, went about the business of collecting bits of broken glass, removing the cheap dented Walmart doorknob, and making impressions of the clown-size footprints beside the back stoop. Why, this woman could give old Sherlock himself a run for his money. And he couldn’t hardly wait to see Printz work her magic back at the lab. Yes sir, they’d have their suspect in custody by first light. He was sure of it.

So how does Dusty Printz go about the business of processing and developing crime scene evidence? Well, there are numerous methods, but here are a few Crime Scene Investigator Network videos explaining and showing the basics of developing prints with black powder, superglue, and magnetic powder. Also,

  1. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Here are links to a couple of older blog posts regarding Superglue fuming, and lifting prints from skin. For other great fingerprinting and evidence collection information, look over to the right sidebar —> and click on Sirchie. Fantastic information there written by Patti Phillips. Also, you can type keywords in the search bar, also in the right sidebar —>

    *Look this way for the right sidebar ——> —-> and scroll up. Sirchie is just above the “Author Websites” heading.

    https://leelofland.com/wordpress/cyanocrylate-fuming-fingerprinting-with-superglue/

    https://leelofland.com/wordpress/fingerprint-collection-from-difficult-surfaces-and-afis/

  2. Diane Bader
    Diane Bader says:

    Hi Lee – In my WIP, a retired NY Homocide Detective told me about “fuming a body with a Super Glue Wand” and that it would pick up fingerprints on the skin of a dead body. Is this something still in use? When was it in use if it’s not used now? Is there something better than a Super Glue Wand now? My story takes place in the here and now. Thanks!!! diane