39th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Spring 1972)
May 18-20, 1972

Dr. Peter F. Jones, Dr. Seymour Siegel, and Mr. A.B. Calloway, The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California

It has been suggested previously that an analysis of the chemical composition of hair should be useful for its individualization. Unfortunately, the standard methods of chemical analysis cannot be used because they require too large a sample, they require considerable time, and they destroy the evidence. We have been investigating the luminescent properties of hair when excited by ultra-violet radiation as a possible nondestructive, rapid method of monitoring variations in its chemical composition. As expected, the luminescence spectra are characteristic of the amino acids present in hair protein. The phosphorescence spectra and decay curves at 77 degrees K vary with the wavelength of excitation, indicating there are several types of molecules, each with a different ab-sorption spectrum, contributing to the total luminescence. Analysis of the data also suggests that the phosphorescence intensity and lifetime are very sensitive to the microscopic environment of the luminescent amino acid chromophores, as previously observed for other proteins. We find that for the limited sample size investigated in this preliminary study (10 blond haired donors) the donor of an unknown strand of hair can be identified by a simple examination of the phosphorescence spectra and decay curves of the hair. The phosphorescence characteristics for an individual's hair were found to be the same for hair samples taken at two six-month intervals and for samples stored for one year. The results of this initial study suggest that the analysis of the luminescent properties of hair, when complemented by the conventional optical microscope analysis, has significant potential for individualizing hair.

Dr. Robert K. Mullen, E.G. & G., Inc.

Preliminary experiments in our laboratory suggest to us that electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrometry is a potentially useful tool in the armamentarium of the criminalist. We have demonstrated in these experiments that the pyrolysis of primer, compounds and gunpowders which occurs upon discharge of a cartridge imparts to these materials an EPR signal indicative of the presence of free radicals. These pyrolytically-induced free radicals, as would be expected, disappear with time, as reflected in serial EPR spectra. Preliminary evidence also suggests that the decay rates of these EPR signals differ according to manufacture of the primer. EPR signal morphology also differs between manufacturers of the primers examined to date. Given the appropriate evidence, it is felt that EPR spectrometry will enable the criminalist to:

  1. Determine if a firearm or cartridge case had recently been discharged.
  2. Determine when, within certain limits, that firearm, or cartridge case was discharged.
  3. Identify the manufacture or manufactures of ammunition employed in a recently discharged firearm.

Lucien C. Haag, Criminalist II, Phoenix Police Crime Laboratory

A relatively simple method for recovering LSD from single dosage forms is effected through the use of discardable miniature columns prepared from disposable capillary pipets. This procedure has overcome the difficulties encountered with LSD preparations containing emulsifiers, soaps and other interfering substances. The assembled column contains a small plug of cotton (CHC13- washed), approximately 1/3 inch of dry cellti 545 over which is placed an intimately ground mixture of dry cellti and a portion of the LSD tablet or capsule in a ratio of ca. 10:1. The column is packed with a flattened snug fitting glass stirring rod and mounted on a 5 ml glass stoppered centrifuge tube. Approximately 3 ml of ammonia saturated chloroform (redistilled spectro-grade) are allowed to percolate through the column and collect in the centrifuge tube. The eluate is washed with several portions of distilled water then the LSD is extracted with 2 ml of 2N H2SO4 . The CHC13 is withdrawn and discarded. The acid solution is now washed with several small portions of CHC13 then basified by the slow addition of granular K2CO3. The purified LSD base is now extracted with approximately 1/3 to 1/2 ml of CHC13. This is then transferred to a small warm agate mortar. Several drops of heptane are added and the solution allowed to evaporate to dryness leaving a small concentrated bead of LSD in the center of the agate mortar. Sufficient KBr to make a 1.5 mm pellet is ground with the LSD and an I.R. spectrum prepared using a P.E. 457. Intermediate determinations such as TLC, U.V. quants or fluorescence are frequently inserted at the appropriate places with newly encountered samples. Note: Good, strong spectra have been obtained where the starting sample contained an estimated 25 rnicrograms of LSD.

Andreas C. Maehly, Ph.D., Professor and head of the Laboratory, Solna, Sweden

Sweden, 174,000 sq miles in area and with 8 million inhabitants, has 29 counties or provinces. In each of these, a technical police group carries out scene-of-the-crime investigations. The three largest of these also have major laboratory facilities at their disposal. The Stockholm group (about 40 members) assists in the technical investigation of capital crimes all over the country. All qualified laboratory investigations are, however, carried out centrally at three institutes, viz. (i) The fingerprint unit of the National Police Board, (ii) The National Laboratory of Forensic Chemistry (toxicology in cooperation with the Medical Examiners as well as alcohol analyses for suspected drunken drivers), and ((iii)) The Laboratory of Forensic Science or SKL (criminalistics). SKL receives annually about 3000 cases for investigation, Out of these, drug analyses account for about 43% of the case work, document examinations for l6%, contact traces for 9%, firearms for 4%, fire investigations for 5%, general chemistry for 7%, analysis and typing of body fluids for 6%, and general biology for 10%. The staff of 70 consists at present of 6 Ph.D.'s, 4 MS's and about 30 members with technical degrees. The budget exceeds $1 million. Teaching activities include courses for the national Police School as well as lectures for lab students and courses for students of analytical chemistry at the University of Stockholm. At present the following methods are being developed and improved upon: firing distance measurements by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, paint flake analysis by micro emission spectroscopy, GC/MS analysis of Cannabis samples, auto-mobile tire damage experiments, immunological studies of spermatozoa, microspectrophotometry of textile fibers (in its infancy), and legal aspects of forensic case work (together with the Faculty of Law, University of Uppsala). A small research group (staff of 3-6, half of whom are Ph.D.'s), unimpeded by case work, is now being established at SKL, and a fellowship program on the assistant professorship level has been initiated.

W. Jerry Chisum, Stanford Research Institute

The NASA contract with SRI to transfer aerospace technology to the crime lab has been in effect for three years. During that time the program has undergone several changes. At present, specific areas are being examined for potential yield as opposed to the "shot gun" approach which was used previously. Some of the items shown were a vacuum attachment, light tapes, metal spot test analysis scheme, and a compilation of drug-driving articles. Plans for the future include adaptation of NASA developed technology and instruments for use in crime laboratories. The SRI Team is available to search for solutions to problems. A phone call or a letter will initiate this activity.

Dr. Harold Kade, Ventura County Coroner's Office

Many methods have previously been reported for restoring decayed or mummified fingers of deceased persons to a condition making fingerprinting possible. Some of the difficulties encountered with these techniques have been reviewed. An innovation was described, for softening and eliminating wrinkles and crevices. Published in J. For. Sciences. Vol. 17, No. 2, April 1972.

Henry Freeman, Visual Graphics Corporation

Time is the ally of the criminal and the enemy of law enforcement, but science, it is widely said, is the natural enemy of the criminal. New opportunities have been developed in the area of photo communications, particularly the techniques of distributing photo information in a hurry. This change can, in concert with modern police methods, mean the difference between escape and capture. The machine we offer provides a capability never before possible. I refer to the Crime Lab camera of Visual Graphics Corporation. The Crime Lab camera is a portable darkroom on wheels. It is enlarger, reducer, contact printer, automatic processor and camera combined, that operates in regular office light. It plugs into the nearest outlet. The processing solutions exhaust through use and can last up to six weeks before changing. This brings high speed photo printing ability to the station as a supplement to the darkroom.

Dr. Brian Parker, Manager, Forensic Science Program; Dr. Vonnie Gurgin, Senior Sociologist, Forensic Science Program, Stanford Research Institute

The role of criminalistics in the world of the future is viewed within the context of its functional social institutional relationships with the larger system of the administration of criminal law. The social benefit of increased criminalistic services is assessed within that social institutional context. Extensive data in the Laboratory of Criminalistics, Santa Clara County, California is combined with Federal, California, and County statistics. Interviews with criminalists, and a panel of expert consultants in criminalistics, criminal law, law enforcement and criminological research developed an understanding of the process of utilization of physical evidence and the boundary condition to the operational activities.

Arthur E. Young and Michael J. White, Riverside County Sheriff's Department Crime Laboratory

An attempt was made to characterize individual "batch" samples of auto body putty. Parameters examined included color, texture, infrared absorption and hardness. Infrared scans of different brands of auto body putty indicate that most can be differentiated on this basis. Determination of the relative hardness of individual batch samples of auto body putty was attempted with several hardness testing devices. Due to the relative heterogeneity and softness of the samples, accurate hardness determinations could not be made; however, the equipment and techniques used appear to offer a useful investigative tool.

James A. Patterson, Riverside County Sheriff's Department Crime Laboratory

The use of the submitting agency's file number is a useful basis on which to structure a filing system since the file number appears in every officer's report, the Records Section, the reports sent to the District Attorney's office and, on occasion, the Probation Department. Some of our agencies' file numbers are now designed to program into a computer.

Robert Cranston, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office Crime Laboratory

The survey, based mainly on college catalogs, presents the degree requirements and criminalistics course descriptions of the colleges which have criminalistics programs. The University of California at Berkeley offers the Bachelor of Science, Master of Criminology and Doctor of Criminology degrees in criminalistics. California State College at Los Angeles offers the Master of Science degree. California State College at Long Beach offers the Bachelor of Science degree. Sacramento State College offers more physical evidence courses than most law enforcement programs, but does not offer a major in criminalistics. A comparison is made between the three schools that give degrees.

James M. White, Orange County Sheriff's Department

A modification of published methods for the extraction of bulk quantities of plastics is presented as applied to sub-milligram samples of plastics as encountered as transfer evidence in a criminal case. The plastic components are extracted, and then identified by their infra-red spectra. The plastic samples are refluxed with purified ethyl ether to isolate the plasticizer. The plastic is then warmed with ethylene dichloride to dissolve the polymer. Centrifugation then removes the polymer from the filler.

Dr. V.R. Stull, Science Spectrum

Light scattering is not new in concept or as a technique for examining small particles. However, recent technological innovations, such as the laser for illumination (providing a monochromatic, polarized signal), and the capability to record the scattering from particles one at a time has led to the development of instrumentation with a new degree of diagnostic power. The measurements can be made in real time, in situ and with essentially no effect on the normal condition of the particles. In general any object, when illuminated, will scatter (refract, reflect and diffract) the light. The resulting light scattering pattern (i.e., the intensity of scattered light as a function of the angle measured from the direction of illumination) depends upon the size, shape and composition of the scatterer. Hence the measurement of this pattern can determine these properties, or in an empirical sense, can provide recognition of particle type from correlation with previous measurements. Success of this technique in studies such as on smog particles, has led to the consideration that application to firearm residue particles may have great potential in Criminalistics. Feasibility studies concerned with detection, identification, and correlation of such particles from airborne, surface scraping and on person samples, in the various investigative contexts, would appear to be worthwhile.

Judd Vile - Jarrell-Ash Division, Fisher Scientific Company

Practical application of the Laser as a source of excitation offers today's criminalist-scientist new opportunities for rapid, precise, informative chemical analysis of very small samples, even single grains or crystals of material. Spectro-chemical technique with the Laser Microprobe provides maximum information without sample preparation in a single test. All metallic elements may be detected and semi-quant. conclusions drawn. In Molecular Spectroscopy Laser Roman can effectively and non-destructively identify and characterize minute samples. Scraps of plastic, unknown drugs, aqueous materials and. gasses can be analyzed usually without sample preparation.

John C. Hall, California Traffic Safety Foundation, San Francisco

The author discussed the nature of public support, and how to develop public understanding and public support for the field of forensic science.

Dr. Donald E. Green, Universal Monitor Corporation, 236l E. Foothill Boulevard, Pasadena, California 91107

The combining of aerospace technology and some recent analytical instrument developments has allowed the fabrication of an "ideal" instrument - one that exceeds a toxicologist's wildest dreams. This instrument is truly a "black box" with which an unskilled operator can obtain accurate analyses of raw urines (or street drugs) in a few seconds. The novel technique employed, Direct Multiple-mass Fragmentography (DMF), achieves specific molecule detection by using a specifically designed mini-computer to control the operation of (and to retrieve and analyze the data from) a unique mass spectrometer system. The application of this powerful new tool for drug detection, utilizing either gaseous or liquid specimens without any preliminary sample preparation, was discussed. Any l6 different compounds (consisting of drugs and/or their metabolites) when present in body vapors, breath, aqueous solutions, organic extracts of biological tissues, and even raw urine can be assayed, completely automatically, in less than 1/2 minute. Representative examples of drugs which have been analyzed by DMF include several amphetamine types, barbiturates, phenothiazines, alkaloids (such as cocaine, morphine and codeine) and PCP, marijuana, etc. Limits of detectability for most drugs were < 1 ug/m1 of urine. The principle of operation of DMF, which differs in several important aspects from the conventional mass fragmentography mode of GC/MS, was briefly discussed.

Paul J. Cashman, School of Criminology, University of California, Berkeley

The separation, tentative identification and quantitation of heroin and its metabolites is described along with the separation of some phenethylamines of forensic interest. The analyses are rapid, require little sample preparation and can provide two independent criteria for identification.

Ernest Griesemer and Jack Villaudy, Toxicology Laboratory, Department of Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner, Los Angeles

In a recent Phenobarbital death there was interference in the blood extract spectrophotometric absorption curve. It was due to a high level of chlorpropamide extracted in the same fraction as the barbiturate. The levels of Phenobarbital and chlorpropamide were measured in a single extract by ultra violet absorption scans with the sample at three pH levels. This method was used to measure the postmortem distribution of these two compounds in this diabetic individual.

Edward T. Blake, School of Criminology, University of California, Berkeley

The identification of LSD based upon the formation of the 10-hydroxy derivative is described. The method has been found to be rapid, sensitive, and specific with respect to other ergot alkaloids and is analogous to the TLC identification of heroin based on the formation of hydrolysis products, morphine and 06-monoacetylmorphine.

David W. Sanchez, Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office

An outline was presented which suggests objective criteria by which the specificity of microcrystalline tests can be evaluated. Emphasis was placed on the concept of polymorphism and the recognition of variations in microcrystalline form and habit.

James L. McGurk, Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Various types of homemade bombs and other explosive devices easily and cheaply made are similar in composition to solid propellants. Standard solid propellants can be characterized in about ten minutes by microscopic examination of microtomed thin-section. Propellants consist of granular explosive particles densely packed in a binder fuel, which may be a polymeric rubber or a gel. The whole forms a unique texture easily recognizable in thin-section and separable into two categories, those containing crystalline granules and those with ball powder. The ball powder types are first examined with phase contrast. Features to be noted include ball size, size distribution and degree of swelling, any additional solids and their distribution; then with polarizing optics noting degree of crystallinity, which is sperulitic when present in the ball and its distribution. Propellant thin-sections that contain crystals are examined first with plane polarized light, then between crossed polars. These crystals usually have a bimodal size distribution. The larger are generally monocrystalline and show good conoscopic interference figures. The crystal habit and internal defect structure are so very characteristic that most common crystalline explosive compounds in use can be recognized at a glance. The smaller crystals can be identified by their cleavage, defect content, and accessory optical properties. With a little prior study of a few previously prepared comparison thin-sections, a 1/4-inch sample of an unknown can be quickly characterized. Caution: Although the prepared thin-section is nonexplosive, all preparatory steps constitute an explosive hazard.

John E. Murdock, Criminalist, Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department, Martinez

A sequence of events was described which culminated in a bank robbery which netted $6,000 in cash for three robbers. Shortly after the robbery a man was arrested driving the getaway car. He was in possession of $2,000 in cash which could not be associated with the bank through serial numbers or latent fingerprints. But among the recovered $2,000 were four $1 bills which had been torn in two and subsequently repaired by being stapled back together with standard sized staples. The local law enforcement agency handling the case submitted fifteen standard sized office staples and requested that the machines be compared with the staples used to repair the four $1 bills. The brands of staple machines submitted were: Pilot #402 - 11 each; Swingline - 3 each; and Bates - 1 each. A series of test staples were driven from each machine using varying amounts of force. An examination of the top of the test and evidence staples revealed the presence of a compressed dent near each end. These dents were determined to be caused by the working tips of the stapler drivers (or rams). The compression detail in the dents caused by driving test staples from one of the Pilot brand staple machines with a "very hard" subjective amount of force were found to match the detail in the dents on the top of one of the evidence staples. In order to evaluate the significance of this agreement, twelve consecutively manufactured stapler drivers were obtained from the manufacturer of Pilot brand staplers. The manufacturer supplied twelve unplated drivers. The striated tool marks on the tips of the twelve unplated drivers were intercompared and were found to have been formed by the same punch. This means that if unplated drivers were installed in "Pilot" machines they would impress a good deal of "class characteristics" especially when new. The drivers are, however, plated with cadmium after being mechanically cleaned and acid dipped. The plating process gives individuality to the driver tips. The matching agreement noted between the dents in the test and evidence staples was, therefore, determined to represent individualizing detail. Ten consecutively manufactured drivers were received from the manufacturer of "Swingline" brand staplers. An intercomparison of the striated tool mark present on each working tip revealed that each tip had been formed by the same punch. Since these drivers receive no further treatment or plating before installation, it is reasonable to assume that the working tips will impress a good dent of class characteristic detail into the dents formed when the staple is driven from the machine, especially when the driver is new. This phenomenon illustrates that it is critical that the examiner consider the method of manufacture of a tool working surface very carefully before drawing conclusions about how individual the tool marks produced by it will be. A striated tool mark was observed to be present on the side of the test driven staples adjacent to one of the driver dents. A similar mark was present in a corresponding location on the evidence staple under consideration. These test and evidence marks were compared and were determined to have been caused by the same tool working surface. It was first thought that these marks were caused by contact between the side of the staples and an eroded area inside the stapler chute. The chute is the channel down which the staples are driven. It has now definitely been established that these striated tool narks are caused by contact between the side of the driver as it is driven downward and the next staple waiting to be driven from the machine. Repeated use of the stapler machine has apparently caused one of the driver tips to fold over the side. It is this deformed folded edge which is responsible for the side marks. The matching detail in these side marks was therefore determined to represent individualizing characteristics. It is the opinion of this writer that the evidence staple under consideration was driven from one of the submitted "Pilot" brand staplers to the exclusion of all other staplers. A series of slides were shown which illustrated the features described above.

David Q. Burd, Criminalist, Sacramento County Crime Laboratory

Periodically it is necessary for law enforcement agencies to search for buried bodies where it is impracticable to manually or mechanically dig to a depth of many feet over a large area. Since non-embalmed bodies in the ground give off an appreciable quantity of methane upon decom-position, it was believed that a sensitive combustible vapor detector could measure the methane which permeated the soil above the bodies. In order to test the method, the Coroner of Sacramento County and this Laboratory recently made a number of tests which established the value of the procedure. The tests were carried out at the request of Sutter County Sheriff's Office who was making a search for many bodies over a large area in connection with a multiple murder investigation. The tests were made at a cemetery where the Coroner's Office buries unclaimed bodies which have not been embalmed. These bodies are merely placed in simple wooden caskets. Five foot metal rods having a diameter of about 1/2-inch with wooden handles at one end were forced into the ground over caskets containing bodies buried from six months to about four years. All caskets were at a depth of about six feet. On removing the rod in each instance, the probe of an operating JW Combustible Vapor Detector was immediately inserted into the hole. Although the meter readings varied in different areas, all such tests gave appreciable combustible vapor meter readings. When the rods were inserted several feet away from the casket sides, vapors could still be detected but at lower levels, depending upon distance from the casket side and depth to which the rods were forced. As expected, it appeared that the vapors were most concentrated in a "V" shaped area over the caskets. This, of course, might vary depending upon the soil condition and compactness. In the area of the tests, the soil was relatively loose only in the area which had been excavated in each grave. For some tests, a probe rod assembled by the Sutter County Sacramento Sheriff's Office was employed. This unit consisted of an outer tube having a handle at one end and a point at the other end. Several small holes were drilled on the sides of the tube just behind the point. Inside of this tube was a second, smaller tube which also had similar holes near the end. The end of this inner tube passed through the handle. By rotating the inner tube after the rod was in-serted into the ground, the holes in the tubes could be placed in alignment. Then, by connecting the JW meter to the exposed end at the inner tube, any vapor in the soil could be pumped through openings in the two tubes, up the inner tube, and through the detector. Such a special probe is beneficial in all cases and essential if the soil is loose enough to fill a simple rod hole after it is withdrawn from the around. In the latter case, the filling of the hold would prevent any gases being detected. It is suggested that if this procedure is employed in searching for a body, that the area be marked in a grid pattern. The cross lines of the grid should be about three feet apart. A probe rod should then be inserted for two to three feet into the ground, a meter reading taken, and then the probe pushed to a greater depth and a second reading obtained if necessary. While this procedure would be slow if a large area is to be covered, it is certainly much more rapid and of less effort than attempting to dig numerous holes or trenches to a considerable depth over a comparable area. It is essential to realize that while the above procedure may prove useful in some areas, it may be valueless where appreciable amounts of vegetation have been buried within several years. Methane can be released from decaying vegetation as well as animal tissue and thus the vegetation will frequently give readings which would be a misleading indication of a possible buried body. Editor's Note; Modification of this technique by Robert Ogle: Drill the hole in the ground with a 3/4 Inch by 5 foot auger bit placed in a 3/41 inch heavy duty drill. After removing the drill bit open the hole with a pointed metal rod.

Robert R. Ogle and Gerald T. Mitosinka, Contra Costa County Criminalistics Laboratory, Martinez, CA

A simple and rapid method for preparing hair cuticular scale casts was described. The technique involves placing the hair on a clean microscope slide, anchoring one end with a fingertip or pressure-sensitive tape, and coating with a Polaroid black and white film coater. The coating is allowed to dry, and the hair is removed with fine tipped forceps. This technique is very rapid and provides an adequate impression for microscopic comparison purposes.