98th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Fall 2001)
October 17-20, 2001
Universal City, CALIFORNIA

Robert D. Blackledge - Naval Criminal Investigative Service Regional Forensic Laboratory

Pilkington Glass has introduced a new type of window glass called Activ™. Intended only for exterior use, through the interaction of the sun's ultraviolet rays with a proprietary see-through exterior coating, dirt and other organic deposits are broken down and loosed. When it rains, dirt and grime deposits are simply washed away. Because the exterior surface is hydrophilic, no water spots remain. It is anticipated that other glass companies, including PPG, will soon follow suit with window glass based on similar technology. This new glass has significant implications for forensic science comparisons of broken glass particles. These implications, and possible methods of characterizing glass fragments originating from the treated surface side will be discussed. Free samples (such a deal!) will be available for each laboratory.

Kim Bogard and Yasser Daoudi - Applied Biosystems

Forensic DNA testing has progressed rapidly in the last decade due to advances in DNA analysis technology and automation. The development of fluorescent short tandem repeat (STR) analysis provided a highly automated and informative tool for a variety of genetic assays, including human identification applications. An advantage of fluorescent dye detection systems is that DNA fragments overlapping in size can be labeled with different dyes and thus be detected simultaneously in a single lane or injection on analysis instrumentation. Applied Biosystems' 4-dye technology, using 3 dyes to label DNA fragments and a fourth dye for the internal size standard is a well established, reliable technique for a number of DNA fragment analysis applications, including STR analysis. This 4-dye technology provided a significant increase in throughput over previous methods (e.g. radioactivity, chemiluminescence). Increasing demand for genotypic information has spurred the need for even higher-throughput solutions. To address this issue, Applied Biosystems developed the ABI PRISM® 3100 Genetic Analyzer, a new multicapillary instrument, and a new 5-dye system for automated fragment analysis. The ABI PRISM® 3100 Genetic Analyzer features 16 capillaries, and a PC running the Windows NT® Operating system. The autosampler supports two trays of either 96 or 384 samples, allowing for up to 24 hours of unattended operation. The 5-dye system further enhances throughput capabilities on ABI PRISM® instrument platforms. In this talk we will present information on the 16 capillary ABI PRISM® 3100 Genetic Analyzer, and the AmpFlSTR® Profiler Plus™ and Identifiler™ PCR Amplification Kits. The Identifiler™ kit incorporates the new 5-dye technology and will amplify 15 tetranucleotide loci and the gender identification locus Amelogenin in a single PCR reaction which provides higher throughput capabilities.

Debra Croft - Royal Holloway, University of London

Many murders, assaults and rapes are carried out in public open spaces, but the sampling of control soils at a crime scene may not be possible at the time of the incident. The implications and significance of carrying out soil sampling at differing time periods is assessed. Experimentation was carried out initially over one year. Two experimental sites, with fifteen sample points at each site, were sampled at three monthly intervals. Various techniques for discrimination have been used; colour, carbon and nitrogen abundances and isotopic ratios, particle size, chemical analysis and organic compounds. Results are presented for the first year of study. A combination of techniques allows spatial discrimination of a local level as well as on a wider, composite site scale. Seasonality over an annual cycle is discussed, including the effects of proximal vegetation input and insect activity, with some parameters assessed as less sensitive to change.

Dr. Paul Martin - S.E.E., Inc.

One of the most common uses of paints is as a decoration. For this reason, paints usually contain one or more pigments. These pigments may be readily analyzed by UV-Vis- NIR range microspectroscopy. In addition, the clearcoats found on many automotive paints, while non-absorbing in the visible region, have distinctive ultraviolet characteristics. The first part of this presentation will discuss the best methods for the preparation of samples for UV-Vis-NIR microspectroscopy. The second part will discuss the best methods for analysis of paint via UV-Vis-NIR microspectroscopy.

Adam Dutra - Department of Justice, Berkeley DNA Lab

The California DOJ Berkeley laboratory is evaluating the GeneAmp PCR System 9700 with the 0.5 mL block as an alternative to the DNA Thermal Cycler 480 for the analysis of casework samples. The GeneAmp 9700 was tested for calibration and well uniformity. The annealing and denaturation temperature windows, sensitivity and TaqGold activation time were evaluated to compare optimum settings with AmpFlSTR recommended protocols. Studies were performed on both the 9700 and 480 for comparison purposes as well with Profiler Plus and COfiler were relevant. NIST Standard Reference Materials were evaluated with both the GeneAmp 9700 and Thermal Cycler 480 to ensure concordant results.

Cinnamon Helms - San Diego Police Department, Forensic Science Unit

This study was designed to evaluate the breath alcohol testing program in the City of San Diego including the effects of instrument variation and sample collection time. Venous blood and paired breath results from 258 subjects arrested for alcohol related offenses from 1999 through 2000 were compared. The correlation coefficient was greater than 93% for the breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) to blood alcohol concentration (BAC) up to a BrAC of 0.26 g/210 L. In comparison to the BAC results, the BrAC was lower in 71% of the cases by 0.01 to 0.09g/210L, in agreement in 20.5% cases, and up to 0.02 g/210 L greater in 8.5% cases. If the 3-decimal blood alcohol results were rounded up, only 3% of the BrAC tests remained 0.01 g/210 L greater than the BAC results, which is consistent with analytical variation alone. Different breath instruments and differences in time lag between sample collection did not appear to influence the results.

Arleen Kathyrn Lim - San Diego Police Department, Forensic Science Unit

Luminol and other blood detecting chemicals are used frequently at crime scenes where cleanup is suspected. The objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness of Luminol when the following types of cleanup have been performed: bloodstains that have been painted over, bloodstains that have been cleaned and painted over, bloodstains that have been wallpapered over, and bloodstains that have been cleaned and then wallpapered over. The most common materials used to cover drywall are vinyl-coated wallpaper, semi-gloss paint, and interior flat paint. In this experiment, 40 pieces of 1/4" drywall were used. Twenty pieces were painted with two coats of semi-gloss paint, and 20 pieces were painted with two coats of interior flat paint. Blood was smeared, blotted, and spattered onto the painted drywall and these were allowed to dry for 1, 6, 12, or 24 hours. Upon completion of the drying time, the following cleaning agents were used on separate pieces of the painted drywall: water only, water and liquid detergent, water and 10% bleach, and 409 cleaner. They were cleaned until no blood was visible. After cleaning, either wallpaper or an additional two coats of paint were applied and allowed to dry. The drywall was sprayed with Luminol and the results were interpreted and documented. In this experiment we observed several things. No reactions were visible in any of the drywall treated with the wallpaper. The application of two coats of paint over undiluted bloodstains did not appear to diminish the visualization of the Luminol reaction. Cleaning with detergent, bleach, 409, and water was able to reduce the reaction of luminol with the blood; however, it was not successful in completely eliminating the blood. It was also noted that the longer the blood was allowed to absorb into the painted drywall, the stronger the Luminol reaction. After doing this experiment, we learned that Luminol can be an effective agent in the detection of blood at crime scenes where cleanup is suspected.

Christine Lisnock; Lawrence Quarino, Ph.D.; Nora Moynihan; Mechthild Prinz, Ph.D.

New York Office of Chief Medical Examiner - Department of Forensic Biology and California State University, Los Angeles - Department of Criminal Justice High levels of amylase activity are usually indicative of the presence of saliva. With the exception of feces, no other body fluid approaches the level of amylase activity in dried stains. This normally does not pose interpretational issues since fecal stains can be differentiated visually. At lower levels of amylase activity (below 0.04 units) in dried stains, however, the origin of the amylase is difficult to determine using traditional techniques. Human amylase can be either salivary or pancreatic in origin. Pancreatic amylase is found in many types of body fluids other than saliva and is the source of high activity in fecal stains. Amylase testing of vaginal swabs may be used as an indication of oral sodomy. At levels below 0.04 units, the source of the amylase may be either salivary, endogenous from vaginal secretion, or bacterial. A proper threshold in radial diffusion for the likelihood of salivary amylase on vaginal swabs in both post-mortem samples and alive subjects will be offered. Discussion will also focus on the development of an ELISA technique utilizing monoclonal anti-salivary amylase for the identification of saliva. Finally, amylase activity in dried saliva stains will be correlated with DNA concentration.

Liane R. Martin - M.S. California State University, Los Angeles, Department of Criminal Justice

Human fecal matter is routinely encountered in forensic casework; for example, sexual homicides where the assailant defecates on/near the body, and sodomy cases where the suspect's penis or a foreign object is later sampled. Additionally, blood or semen stains can be found mixed with fecal matter, and the presence of fecal matter in these stains can prevent DNA analysis. Identifying the source of the fecal matter could link the assailant and victim. In this study, nuclear DNA was extracted from human fecal matter using the QIAGEN QIAamp® Stool Mini Kit, and evaluated against a standard phenol-chloroform extraction procedure. This extracted DNA was then amplified and typed using the PE Applied Biosystems AmpFlSTR Profiler Plus and COfiler kits, and the ABI Prism 310 Genetic Analyzer. Fecal specimens were then subjected to various environmental conditions and sampling methods - specimens were either processed immediately as fresh samples, or under the following environmental conditions: water immersion for two hours; air dried for one week; frozen for one week and processed with or without thawing. Two sampling methods were evaluated: swabbing vs. excision. This extracted DNA was then carried through amplification and typing procedures.

Lawrence Quarino, Ph.D. - New York Office of Chief Medical Examiner Department of Forensic Biology; California State University, Los Angeles Department of Criminal Justice

The demand for DNA testing by law enforcement groups has caused an unprecedented demand for forensic services. In many instances, laboratories do not have available resources and personnel to meet this demand. Increases in caseload and demand for increased turn around time and reduction in backlog cases may cause many forensic laboratories to rethink how cases get processed. Especially in high volume laboratories, the traditional approach of having one person take an entire case to completion may no longer be practical. Since 1996, the Forensic Biology Laboratory at the New York City Medical Examiner's Office has employed a rotation system where groups of laboratory scientist rotate through different stages of the DNA analytical scheme on a weekly basis. Samples from several cases are tested together in a bulk process. Using this method along with increasing the number of laboratory scientists, the New York City Medical Examiner's Office has decreased the number of back log cases and turn around time significantly while at the same time increasing the number of accepted cases into the laboratory. This type of system allows individual criminalists to typically handle between 75-100 cases at any one time. Since the majority of these cases are sexual assaults, a strong emphasis has been placed on processing rape kits in a timely fashion. Using the rotation system, rape kits (approximately 40-50 are submitted weekly) are typically processed in less than 3 days from the day they are submitted.

Robert Reckers and Marty Breen - Orange Co. Sheriff/Coroner Dept Forensic Science Services

This presentation will include information obtained during several studies over the past year. These studies include the steps taken to determine which PEBT to select for Orange County's PEBT program, a controlled drinking accuracy and precision study between the BAC DataMaster and the AlcoSensor IV-XL and finally the most recent study evaluating the possibility of condensation or "carry-over" in coth cold and room temperature AlcoSensor IV-XL units. In the accuracy and precision study between the BAC DataMaster (IR) and the AlcoSensor IV-XL (fuel cell), average subject results were obtained from each instrument and when compared, ranged within 0.005% of each other, with an overall average difference of 0.0018% (05/15/00). In the condensation or carry-over study (05/23/01), when the unit was at room temperature, additional ambient air blanks were not required; one was sufficient for a zero ambient air blank reading in all cases. When the unit was between 100C and 200C, up to two additional ambient air blanks (totaling 3) were required to obtain a zero ambient air blank reading or Void Code 11 (High Blank-blank too high) was displayed and the test sequence was aborted. This void code would be similar to an ambient fail or blank error on a stationary breath instrument. If void code 11 was displayed, an additional evidential sequence was attempted, until a zero reading was obtained. No more than two test sequences ever had to be run on a cold unit to obtain a zero reading on the ambient air blank. One third of the time in a cold unit, the instrument was able to obtain a zero reading on the first test sequence, using the three attempts software programming.

Stephan A. Schliebe - Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Scientific Services Bureau

In 1997, an elderly female was found deceased on a turnout along Mulholland Highway in Calabasas. During the scene investigation, deputies were called to a residence approximately 10 miles away to take a suspicious circumstances/missing person report. The two investigations were ultimately determined to be related. This case study will demonstrate how an assemblage of physical evidence types can be used to reconstruct a crime event, and show the connections between a victim, suspect, and crime scene.

Marianne Stam - California Department of Justice, Riverside

A woman and her small children accepted a ride from a male acquaintance. The acquaintance took them to an isolated location on the banks of the New River in Imperial County, California where he proceeded to rape the mother. He also attempted to drown her and he slit her throat. The children were hit with rocks and a brick. The victims escaped and hid for thirty hours in the river. The suspect was arrested at his residence where some soiled and wet clothing, including a dirty pair of shoes were found. The suspect denied any contact with the victims and claimed to have not been near the crime scene. Detectives noticed some scratches on the suspect's upper left arm and lower legs. The suspect claimed that he had gotten these from his girlfriend and at work. All sexual assault evidence was negative for semen. Although fingernail scrapings from the victim were submitted to a private laboratory for DNA testing, these were never analyzed due to time constraints. Approximately sixteen grams of soil were found on the suspect's right shoe. This soil was compared to soil from the crime scene to see if the suspect could have been at the scene and to corroborate the victims' story. Stereomicroscopy, polarized light microscopy and X-Ray diffraction were used to analyze the soils. A visit to the crime scene revealed some interesting observations that assisted in the interpretation of the soil comparisons. Soil on the suspect's shoe was similar to the crime scene soil. The limited distribution of this soil at and around the crime scene added significance to the observed similarities between the sample from the suspect's shoe and the soil at the scene.