94th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Fall 1999)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
October 12-16, 1999
FLUORESCEIN OVER LUMINOL - AS GOOD AS IT GETS
Randolph Beasley, San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department, Scientific Investigations
Robert Cheeseman, currently of RC Forensic in Bonito, CA, has presented a fluorescein technique as an effective replacement for luminol in the detection and development of latent bloodstains. While luminol is effective in locating latent bloodstains, it suffers from 1) short luminescent times requiring repeated applications, 2) cross reactivity with metals and common cleaning products, and 3) the need to use in total darkness for visualization and photographic documentation. Thus the potential of finding a more successful and "user friendly" replacement was very appealing.
In accordance with laboratory accreditation guidelines, the San Bernardino Sheriffs crime lab conducted validation tests using the fluorescein technique in the presence of several common cleaning products as well as other commercial products, e.g., Clorox bleach, Comet cleanser, Lysol toilet bowl cleaner. Reference blood was placed in a large glass dish simulating a crime scene blood pool. Clean-soled boots were used to step into the blood then walk along two long pieces of new carpet a distance of thirty-two steps. While only the first couple of resulting bloody shoe prints were visible to the naked eye, the fluorescein reaction boldly fluoresced (when visualized with a SPEX Industries Crimescope CS-16 Forensic Light Source) and brought out the class characteristics of each shoe print in the entire set. Of the cleaning products tested, only the Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner faintly fluoresced but was not considered a positive reaction for blood.
Unlike luminol, the fluorescein reaction did not need to be performed in total darkness. This allowed easy recording using video and still photography with enough ambient light for orientation of the latent bloodstains in the crime scene. The documentation advantages alone make the fluorescein technique the best choice in a search for latent bloodstain evidence.
THE NIBIN/DRUGFIRE AND CODIS CJIS/WAN PROJECT
Dominic J. Denio, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, DC
(No abstract available)
NIBIN/DRUGFIRE EXERIENCE IN SAN BERNARDINO
William Matty and Roger Massaro, San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department, Scientific Investigations
The San Bernardino Sheriffs Department has used the Drugfire/NIBIN system since October of 1993 in conjunction with several other police agencies in Southern California. SBSD has received fired cartridge case evidence from 12 different agencies within San Bernardino County. To date there have been 47 casework connections out of over 700 case entries. The majority of these investigation links would not have been made without this system in place. Serial shootings and murders have been associated within and across county lines.
THE ODDITIES OF WILDLIFE FORENSICS
Ken Goddard, National Fish & Wildlife Forensic Lab, Ashland, OR
The National Fish & Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, OR, works very much in the same way a police or sheriffs crime lab works... which is to say that it attempts to ink the suspect, the victim and the crime scene together with physical evidence. But, in the Ashland lab, the term 'evidence' can include things that rarely find their way to a police crime lab.
MICROSCOPIC EXAMINATION OF FUR PRODUCTS IMPORTED FROM CHINA
Michelle J. Fox, Forensic Analytical, Hayward, CA
The U.S. Humane Society is investigating fur practices in China. Fur covered figurines and fur coats are being imported and sold in the U.S. as rabbit, coyote and fox. Many of these products are mislabeled, and have been manufactured from domestic breeds of dog and cat. Undercover investigations have shown these practices to be grossly inhumane. Products are submitted for examination in an effort to identify the fur to the level of Family. The macroscopic and microscopic features used to identify these fur products and the techniques employed will be discussed. One primary focus of these examinations is to attempt to distinguish within the Family Canidae. To date, it does not appear viable to conclusively between wolf (Canidae Canis lupus), coyote (Canidae Canis latrans) and breeds of domestic dog which are similar to wolf and coyote through microscopic examination. The problems associated with these examinations, and the potential solutions to these problems will be discussed.
THE ATLAS OF HUMAN HAIR MICROSCOPIC CHARACTERISTICS
Robert R. Ogle Jr., and Michelle J. Fox, Forensic Analytical, Hayward, CA
The atlas of human hair is designed to provide photographic examples of the features of human hair seen through the compound microscope which are used by forensic hair examiners in the examination, comparison and identification of human hairs. . Two purposes are served. The photographic illustrations are intended to provide the trainee in forensic hair comparison with a comprehensive set of examples of those characteristics which need to be considered when making a comparison between an evidence hair and exemplar hairs from an individual. In addition, the illustrations will provide a uniform basis for describing the characteristics and their variations by researchers and examiners in differing geographical areas. The documentation of hair characteristics using the scoring system outlined in this atlas will allow researchers and examiners to develop data regarding the frequency of characteristics within the hairs of one or more individuals and the assessment of whether certain hair characteristics are co-dependent. This atlas is intended for use by the experienced forensic hair examiner as an aid in research or as a tool in the training of other examiners. This book does not include a discussion of methods and procedures for human hair analysis, nor does it present a protocol for the interpretation of results from human hair comparisons.
BACK-LIT FRICTION-RIDGE SKIN
Karen Anne Rice, San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department, Scientific Investigations
An industrial accident report became a criminal explosion crime scene when it was discovered that a suspect was manufacturing illegal Roman candles. In the blast, the suspect lost several fingertips which were recovered as evidence. Due to the crisp, rigid condition of the skin pieces, it was not possible to produce a classic rolled ink print. Through the use of back-lighting and a 35 mm color photograph, the friction ridges on one fragment were documented. A positive identification was made to the suspect's fingerprints which were on file due to his life history experiences.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SHOOTING OF A DOG
Peter D. Barnett, Forensic Science Associates, Richmond, CA
A reconstruction of a shooting of a dog is a rather unusual assignment. In this case, a police officer shot and killed a dog in the course of an investigation. A civil lawsuit resulted which was filed in Federal Court as a civil rights violation alleging that the officer deprived the dog owner of his property - the dog - without due process. The reconstruction of the shooting was made difficult by the absence of a thorough scene investigation, the failure to conduct an autopsy on the dog, and the failure to preserve any physical evidence. Photographs of the dog at the scene by the police department, x-rays taken of the dog by the veterinarian who treated the dog before its death, and physical measurements taken at scene were the extent of the available evidence. With this evidence, the posture of the dog at the time it was shot, and the position of the officer could be determined. This reconstruction was used to show that the eyewitness accounts of the dog's owners were not correct, and the descriptions of the events by the police officer were reasonable.
OUT ON THE EDGE OF FACT, FICTION AND OUTRIGHT FANTASY
Ken Goddard, National Fish & Wildlife Forensic Lab, Ashland, OR
(No abstract available)
THE "PRINCIPLE OF SUPERPOSTITION" AND SOME THERMALLY ALTERED FIBERS
Marianne Stam, California Department of Justice, Riverside Crime Laboratory
In geology, there is a principle of superposition that is used to describe the layering of sedimentary rock and along with other principles, allows a geologist to reconstruct some of the geological events that may have occurred. In a recent case, a pedestrian was killed when he was struck by a vehicle exiting a freeway at a high rate of speed. Fiber related evidence was collected from the windshield of the vehicle, and it exhibited some interesting chemical and superpositional relationships that allowed for the reconstruction of the possible type of garment from which it came.
The evidence consisted of a greenish film which upon microscopical and FTIR examinations exhibited three layers consisting of the following from bottom to top: 1) A green glossy Nylon based polymer film; 2) Green Nylon 6 fibers and "black" fibers with a weave pattern that chemically were a Nylon based polymer, (the latter probably represent a thermally altered Nylon fabric); and 3) White, polyester fibers that were loosely distributed atop the fibers/fabric in layer 2.
Nylon 6 is commonly used in garments, and white non-woven polyester is often used as insulation filling in such items as jackets, sleeping bags etc... This information, along with the color, weave pattern of the fabric, chemical composition and layer structure of the evidence lead to an interpretation that the item from the windshield could have come from a dark green, or black nylon jacket with filling. Unfortunately, investigators only collected the victim's boot. No other clothing from the victim was retained as investigators believed that the item on the windshield came from the boot.
COMPARISON OF QUESTIONED INK ENTRIES ON SEPARATE DOCUMENTS VIA TLC FOLLOWED BY VSC-I & IMAGE ANALYSIS PROCESSING
Robert D. Blackledge and Max W. Stayrook, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Regional Forensic Laboratory
Could black ink entries used to deface a colored photograph have originated from the same pen that was used to make entries in black ink on a duty logbook page? The different backgrounds of the two documents precluded a reliable entirely nondestructive side-by-side comparison using the VSC-I. Samples in the form of tiny circles were punched out of control areas and questioned ink areas on the two documents. These samples were then extracted with solvent and the eluates spotted on a TLC plate that was subsequently developed using ATF System #1. Past technology would then have required a time-consuming, cumbersome, trial-and-error photographic development process involving light sources of various wavelengths and appropriate cut-off filters. This paper will illustrate how today's technology utilizing the VSC-I, a scanner, image analysis system, color printer, and Picture Publisher® software provides rapid optimization of essentially the same process while quickly producing digital documentation for storage/presentation as well as rapid hard copy results.
1=Sensi, C.A. and Cantu, A.A., "Infrared Luminescence: Is It a Valid Method to Differentiate Inks?" JFS 27(1), Jan 1982, 196-199.
2=Blackledge, R.D. and Iwan, M. "Differentiation between inks of the same brand by infrared luminescence photography of their thin-layer chromatograms" Forens. Sci. Int., 21 (1983) 165-173.
VEHICLE INFORMATION THAT CAN BE OBTAINED FROM A PIECE OF BROKEN HEADLAMP GLASS LENS
Paul Sham, DOJ Riverside Crime Lab
A piece of broken head lamp glass lens was part of the evidence from a fatal hit and nm case that was submitted for laboratory examination. The submitting agency wanted to know if the lab could provide any information about the color, make and model of the vehicle that hit the victim. The broken piece of lens had detail that proved to be useful. Some limited information was obtained from the Internet. Through telephone calls to several individuals, the lens' manufacture was identified. The manufacture's representative was able to provide make and model of vehicles. This information was forwarded to the investigating agency.
APPLICATION OF ELECTROSPRAY AND MALDI MASS SPECTROMETRY TO THE IDENTIFICATION OF SPERMICIDE TRACES ON SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE
Thomas Hollenbeck & Gary Siuzdak, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
Robert Blackledge*, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Regional Forensic Laboratory, San Diego, CA.
Attendees will be made aware of the evidentiary value of the recovery of traces from condoms from vaginal swabs from victims of sexual assaults, and the instrumental methods for identifying as little as picogram traces of the spermicide used in many condom brands.
Condoms are increasingly being used by sexual assailants. Nonoxynol-9 is a spermicide that is included in the lubricant formulation used with some condom brands. Therefore the recovery and identification ofnonoxynol-9 from evidence items may assist in proving the crime occurred. A method was developed for the recovery of nonoxynol-9 from internal vaginal swabs and for its identification by reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography/electro spray ionization mass spectrometry (HPLC ESI-MS), nanoelectrospray ionization mass spectrometry (nanoESI-MS), and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization Fourier transform mass spectrometry (MALDI-FTMS).
The method was tested on extracts from precoitus, immediate postcoitus, and four-hour postcoitus vaginal swabs provided by a volunteer whose partner does not normally use condoms, but for this trial used a condom having a water-soluble gel-type lubricant that includes 5% nonoxynol-9 in its formulation. Subsequently, HPLC ESI-MS was used to identify traces of nonoxynol-9 from the internal vaginal swab of a victim of a sexual assault.
UPDATE ON THE SCIENTIFIC WORKING GROUP ON MATERIALS ANALYSIS (SWGMAT)
Marianne Stam, California Department of Justice, Riverside Crime Laboratory
The Scientific Working Group on Materials Analysis (SWGMAT - formerly TWGMAT) was formed in 1994 with goals to refine the analysis of trace evidence by developing analytical guidelines and to increase communication and cooperation between trace analysts. Presently, membership consists of over sixty forensic scientists from federal, state, local and private laboratories within the United States, Canada and Europe. The SWGMAT membership has currently completed guidelines on quality assurance and trace evidence collection.
The general membership is split into four subgroups representing the main types of trace evidence encountered in casework: Paint, fibers, glass and hair. Each subgroup is either in the process of, or has completed general guidelines governing the analytical approaches and methods within their discipline. They are also in the process of developing specialty guidelines and/or training guidelines that will cover such topics as significance and interpretation, training bibliographies, exercises and workbooks and minimal training timelines.
The impact of SWGMAT's work on both management and bench analysts could be major with respect to qualifications of analysts, the creation of technical managers/ consultants, and training resources. It could also have serious implications regarding each individual laboratory's analytical approach to trace evidence analysis.
THE ROLE OF FORENSIC SCIENCE PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM OF ACCREDITATION, CERTIFICATION, REGISTRATION, AND STANDARDIZATION
Peter D. Barnett, Forensic Science Associates, Richmond, CA
As we approach the millennium, and in an anticipation of surviving the transition, it is appropriate to consider the role of professional organizations in forensic science. As a fairly young profession, with a relatively immature professional structure, organizations such as the CAC, ABC, AAFS, the various SWGs, ASCLD, ASCLD-LAB are struggling with their own missions. Those of these organizations, for example CAC, AAFS, and ABC, that have no allegiances except to the profession are particularly able to speak for the profession. Will these organizations assume, or assert, this role? What should that role be? How will these organizations influence the training of new or prospective forensic scientist? How will these organizations evaluate the performance of current forensic scientists? How will these organizations influence the delivery of forensic science services to the public? How will these organizations influence the working conditions of practitioners in the field? Is there any reason to change the way these organizations have been operating in their short histories?
THE CARPET FIBER CD ROM, A FORENSICALLY USEFUL DATABASE
Dr. John Shane, McCrone Research Institute
There are very few forensic databases for the use of microscopists. However, databases are essential for the building and capturing of expert evidence and reference material. Much of the carpet fiber data is time-sensitive because fibers go out of production and they are no longer available for study from vouchered reference material. Persons who remember the particulars of fibers made in the past are becoming scarce because of the recent dynamics of corporate restructuring.
A database of all synthetic fibers manufactured for use in carpets in the United States has been constructed. The database was written in FileMaker Pro®, a commercially available database for the desktop computer, and has been put on CD-ROM. FileMaker Pro®, can handle both images and text and it runs seamlessly on both Macintosh and Windows-based computers.
Optical and IR data were gathered for 124 fibers from 9 manufacturers. Optical analytical measurements included modification ratio, cross-section shape, sign of elongation, n║, n┴, and birefringence. FTIR absorbance spectra were gathered for each fiber and their spectra are also included in the database.
Databases need not be complicated or expensive. A DOS-based or Mac-based PC and a simple off the shelf database program is all that is needed to begin capturing data.
The support to build a forensic database, choosing a program and platform, and maintaining momentum are only a few of the obstacles to overcome when considering building a database. The Carpet Fiber Database is complete and will be ready for distribution on CD-ROM sometime in November.
BETTER THAN YOUR AVERAGE CLAN LAB
Mehul Anjaria; San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department, Scientific Investigations
An aging Ph.D. chemist was recently convicted in Federal Court in Los Angeles on drug charges. He had only recently been released from a prison term stemming from a separate conviction involving drug manufacture. After getting out of prison the chemist sold undercover agents approximately seven pounds of methamphetamine. Subsequently, a search warrant was served on his Lakewood, CA senior's apartment by the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Forensic Science Services in an attempt to recover chemicals, including formic acid and lithium, believed to be related to drug manufacture. Very little in the way of chemicals was found in his apartment with the exception of a four ounce "Plax" bottle containing a clear yellow liquid with an oily brown substance at the bottom and two bottles commercially labeled "thallous formate".
Chemical analysis and research revealed that the contents of the Plax bottle were consistent with a very obscure method for synthesizing racemic methamphetamine. The story of the chemist gone bad and the details of the synthetic route will be presented.
UPDATE ON THE SCIENTIFIC WORKING GROUP ON DRUGS (SWGDRUG)
Erin Trujillo, Los Angeles Co Sheriff
(no abstract available)
MICROCRYSTAL TEST AND QUALITY CONTROL PROCEDURES EMPLOYED AT THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT NARCOTICS ANALYSIS UNIT
Ria Ascano and Joe Hourigan, LAPD Scientific Investigation Division
The Los Angeles Police Department Criminalistics Laboratory was accredited recently by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors-Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD-LAB). The accreditation inspection team extensively reviewed the analysis and quality control procedures of the Laboratory's Narcotics Analysis Unit. The Unit's use of microcrystal test procedures to confirm the identity of selected controlled substances was noted by the inspection team, and they recommended that the Unit use GCMS or other comparable technology to reanalyze a significant percentage of those items to verify the microcrystal test results.
The microcrystal test methods employed in the Narcotics Analysis Unit are well defined and documented in the Unit procedure manual. For most of the year, the Unit has been using GCMS methods to retest more than 25% of those items identified by microcrystal tests. The objective of this study is to present the data showing the number of samples retested and how well the GCMS results match the original microcrystal test results. The continued use of microcrystal tests for the identification of controlled substances by accredited laboratories is currently being discussed and debated in the forensic science community. The information presented in this study is relevant to that discussion.
For the period of October 1998 through July 1999, the Narcotics Analysis Unit analyzed 21,650 items. Controlled substances were identified by microcrystal tests in 11,593 of these items (53.5%). Of these 11,593 items 3,720 were quality control retested by GCMS methods (17.1 % of all items, 32.1 % of microcrystal test items). All but one of the GCMS results confirmed the original microcrystal test results. One sample that was originally identified to contain a controlled substance by microcrystal tests was found to be negative by GCMS. This error was attributed to a sample handling error, not to a misreading of microcrystal test results.
The quality control retesting program employed at the Los Angeles Police Department Narcotics Analysis Unit shows that microcrystal test methods provide accurate identification of controlled substances. In the wake of the ASCLD-LAB accreditation inspection, the Unit now employs a quality control retesting program to reconfirm a significant percentage of controlled substance items. The retesting of items is performed using GCMS technology and is conducted by a second chemist. This quality control program ensures the accuracy of the Unit's analysis results. The use of selected microcrystal tests to confirm the presence of controlled substances has enabled the Narcotics Analysis Unit to be very productive and to meet the needs of the judicial system in Los Angeles.
STEROID IDENTIFICATION VIA MICROCRYSTALLINE TESTS
Jeffrey A. Thompson, Huntington Beach Police Department, Scientific Inv. Unit
Anabolic steroids were controlled in California under Schedule III of the Health and Safety Code in 1986. Being relative newcomers to the illegality game, steroids have tended to be analyzed using all of the fancy, hyphenated analytical instruments currently available (i.e. GS/MS, FT-IR, FT-NMR, etc.). Pre-dating the "high-tech" instruments by decades are microcrystal tests, which many analysts continue to use for their speed, sensitivity and specificity. As this paper will show, these tests work just fine for the steroid "newcomers" as well. Fulton's "Modem Microcrystal Tests for Drugs" contains a brief chapter on steroids, which includes a reagent said to give "excellent crystallization" with testosterone. As anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of testosterone, some of the more common ones were examined with this reagent (designated "N-2":0.8 ml of a stock solution of I:KI, 6:10.5 g in 100 ml H2O, combined with 1.8 ml glacial acetic acid, 1.2 ml H2O and 2.2 ml syrupy H3P04, for a total volume of 6.0 ml, as described on page 375 of Fulton). The reagent gave excellent crystals, readily distinguishing remarkably similar testosterone-derived structures. A combination of microcrystal tests and other "low-tech" methods (including TLC and color tests) has been used to identify anabolic steroids rapidly and easily. Microcrystal tests make a useful addition to any crime laboratory's arsenal of tests used in the analysis of steroids.