Forensic Facts

Forensic Facts

Forensics – the use of scientific testing to investigate crimes.

Digital Cameras – Digital cameras leave a “fingerprint” buried within in the pixels.

Each digital picture is overlaid with a unique pattern (fingerprint), or noise. These patterns can be traced back to the camera that took the photo.

Forensic dentistry – Sure, we all know forensic dentistry is used to identify John Doe victims, right?

But did you know that dental forensics is also used in dental malpractice and dental personal injury suits?

Wet surface fingerprinting – Since oil (from human skin) and water don’t mix, it’s possible to lift usable fingerprints from a wet surface, such as a vehicle that’s been sitting out during a rain shower.

However, water spots can form after the surface dries, which can affect the quality of the prints.

Virtual autopsy – Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) scanners have been used to examine both soft tissue and bone. Since radiation is not an issue for the dead, the machines can be utilized at the highest, most intrusive settings.

Pathologists use the scanners to study muscular-skeletal system, cranium, facial bones, spine, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, airway, pelvic organs, upper GI tract, foreignobjects, and even the victim’s personal effects without ever opening the body bag.

Digitally enhancing photographs – Iodine fuming and Adobe Photoshop are a great team!

Gizmos and Gadgets image

The top image is of a print that was developed using iodine fuming. The lower image is the same print enhanced with Photoshop.

Hairspray – When making impression casts in sandy or loose soil, spray the area first with hairspray to hold it in place.

2 replies
  1. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Hi Dave,

    I watched Rookie Blue also. And yes, Lee, if you saw it, please comment.

    I love the hair spray comment.

    I just went to the Deadly Ink! Mystery Conferene this weekend and learned that you use PAM to spray the dirt when making a cast so the dirt doesn’t stick to the mold. I love learning this stuff.

    I love learning about dental identification too. TV always gives the impression that there’s a nationl data base like the fingerprint data base. It cracks me up when they do that.

  2. Dave Freas
    Dave Freas says:

    You definitely need to put all these handy tips into an article or book!

    Have you seen ‘Rookie Blue’ the new show on ABC? I’d like to read your take on it.

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