104th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Fall 2004)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
October 25-29, 2004
JAN BASHINSKI EULOGY
Michelle Uithoven, Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory, California Department of Justice
The Passing of a Dear Friend and a Forensic Science Pioneer.
On September 15th 2004, our good friend and colleague, former Chief of the Bureau of Forensic Services, Jan Bashinski, passed away. As most of you know, Jan was a nationally recognized expert in forensic science, and a pioneer in establishing national standards in quality assurance, which ultimately led to today's Forensic Laboratory Accreditation process. Jan was a visionary, and through her leadership, established the Bureau's DNA program. Diagnosed with cancer in 2001, Jan retired in early 2002. While battling her illness, Jan continued to contribute to the forensic science profession she loved. Jan reviewed grant applications for the National Institute of Justice and completed the California Attorney General's Task Force Report on Forensic Services - "Under the Microscope." She also attended California Association of Criminalists seminars and California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors meetings and was in the middle of writing a report on the "COLD HIT" DNA program. Jan's entire professional life was devoted to the field of forensic sciences. After receiving her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in 1964, Jan began working for the Oakland Police Department as a Criminalist and later the Director of the Laboratory. While working at the Laboratory, Jan continued her education and earned her Master's Degree in Criminalistics from UC Berkeley. During her time at Oakland, the OPD Laboratory was the first public forensic laboratory to seek and obtain accreditation by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/ Laboratory Accreditation Board. After 25 years with Oakland PD, Jan left in 1989 to become the first Director of the DOJ BFS DNA Laboratory. Jan was instrumental in establishing the Department's DNA program along with the statewide DNA Offender Database. After becoming Bureau Chief in 1995, she not only sought out funding for the Department's laboratories, but also for all the forensic laboratories in the State operated by local law enforcement agencies. She was successful in obtaining and administering multi-million dollar grant funding from both the federal and state level. Among her notable endeavors; a National Institute of Justice grant-funded project that allowed both DOJ and other California public agency crime laboratories to enhance and improve their DNA typing capabilities and a $50 million grant awarded by California's Office of Criminal Justice of Planning creating the "Cold Hit Project" a three-year program aimed at eliminating the backlog of unsolved sexual assault cases in California. In recognition of her accomplishments, our legislators passed a bill, formally naming the Richmond Laboratory, the Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory. In addition to her accomplishments listed above, Chief Bashinski held a number of offices in both national and international forensic organizations, served as a technical grant reviewer for the National Institute of Justice, authored nine articles that were published in leading scientific journals, and made over 50 formal presentations before technical conferences and conventions in the area of forensic science. Her legacy will forever live on, not only within the field of forensic science but also in our hearts.
THE SUCCESS OF THE CALIFORNIA DNA DATA BANK AND THE UNUSUAL OFFENDER PROFILES SEEN
Michelle Uithoven, Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory, California Department of Justice
This presentation will begin by presenting a brief history of the California Department of Justice Convicted Offender DNA Data Bank. From its inception in 1994, when 40,000 RFLP profiles took four years to complete, to its current 5,000 STR profiles per month and hit frequency currently at just under 2 per day, the Data Bank has seen many innovations and their resulting successes. The days when hits were so rare that the laboratory would throw a party to celebrate a single hit have been replaced by 10-20 hits per week and a celebration being organized to commemorate the 1000th hit. Additionally, if the all felons measure (Proposition 69) passes in November, the Data Bank will be receiving an estimated 240,000 samples per year as opposed to its current 36,000 per year. It is clear that, with the Data Bank uploading thousands of profiles each month and confirming hundreds of hits per year, the possibility of hitting someone with a unique and unusual profile increases. Given the fact that an analyst working in the CAL-DNA Data Bank could analyze more than 1,000 profiles in one day, it is surprisingly common for an analyst to see a variety of genetic anomalies such as tri-alleles, microvariants, partial null alleles, and even complete null alleles. These types of profiles may be rare to a casework DNA analyst because they do not typically see the large number of profiles a Data Bank analyst does on a daily basis. The Data Bank has also observed that there are some males within the population that show up as females (X, X) when their DNA sample is analyzed. This could be pertinent information for a DNA caseworker. For example, a DNA casework analyst working on a rape case may think they do not have a mixed sample because the sex-determining locus Amelogenin only shows an X allele. This presentation will show the frequency of tri-allelic variants within the California State Data Bank, at which loci they are most commonly found, and what these tri-alleles look like in Profiler Plus, COfiler, and Identifiler amplifications. Querying the CAL-DNA Data Bank has shown that there are a total of 372 offender profiles that have a tri-allelic variant at one or more locus and that the four most common tri-allelic loci are TPOX, D18S51, D21S11 and D13S317. Finally, the presentation will also include what partial null and complete null alleles look like and how the Data Bank enters these profiles into the CODIS system. Examples of other unusual STR profiles will also be shown, such as microvariants and alleles, which fall beyond the allelic ladder. In closing, it is important not only for the CAL-DNA Data Bank to showcase the success the lab has had and continues to have, but also to show the forensic community examples of the interesting and unique profiles seen within the database that they may come across or hit against when analyzing on an STR profile.
A CASE STUDY: RECONSTRUCTION OF A MURDER AND IDENTIFICATION OF THE PERPETRATOR THROUGH: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, TRACE EVIDENCE ANALYSIS, HANDWRITING COMPARISON, INK PEN ANALYSIS, AND DNA
Lela Henke-Dobroth, Chief Deputy District Attorney Ventura County, retired
How the crime scene investigation led to recovery of the vehicle used in the abduction and murder of a 35 year old mother of two. Trace evidence taken from the vehicle helped to identify the murderer. Evidence seized from the suspect's home, bank account and telephone records, helped investigators determine how and where she committed the murder. Handwriting analysis connected the suspect to rental of the abduction vehicle and as author of checks written to purchase implements used in the kidnapping and murder. DNA analysis on blood from the rental car proved that the victim was abducted and murdered in the vehicle rented by the suspect. The Medical Examiner's autopsy and crime lab examinations provided a description of how and why the victim met her death.
BORESCOPES - A USEFUL AND AFFORDABLE TOOL FOR FORENSIC SCIENTISTS
Ken Harrington, Gradient Lens Corporation
The outline of this presentation will include: borescope technology; Industrial applications; Forensic applications; Tool marks; fire-cracking, erosion, defects, etc; Examination for sabotage; Recovery of evidence; Preservation of evidence; Identification of evidence; Enhanced capabilities
TOOLMARKS IN BONE
Steven Dowell, B.S.*, Debra Kowal, M.S., Los Angeles County Department of Coroner
Coroner's cases offer numerous examples of sharp force and blunt force trauma to soft tissue and bone. Examinations of trauma to soft tissue and bone for the presence of "toolmarks" are made on a routine basis. This presentation will cover some of the properties of the above materials and challenges of "Putting the Pieces Together." Bone is classified as a visco-elastic material, with elastic and plastic properties, and is sensitive to the amount of energy it can handle and the duration the energy that is applied. Soft tissue, skin in particular, has elastic properties and a surface pattern that can interfere with small feature comparison. Both materials are subject to decomposition and therefore information may change through time. In skin this may result in both a gain and loss of information. A "tool" is the vehicle for the application of energy to the recipient material. If the transfer of force by a "tool" results in a visible "feature" then we may call what we see a "toolmark". In some cases within the resultant pattern a corresponding pattern, sub-pattern, or feature of the "tool" is identified. This is the discipline of feature and/or striae comparison. In addition to the identification of patterned marks that lend themselves to direct feature comparison, we also study a group of "toolmarks" that are of a more virtual nature. There are a group of toolmarks that leave behind a medically recognized pattern of trauma, but no visible toolmark. In such cases not only is an understanding of the physical properties of skin and bone necessary, but a knowledge base consisting of experience and material. In reviewing a hundred cases of hammer blows to the skull you can see that a single tool can have a variety of results in what might be thought of as a similar material (hair, scalp, and skull). Through the past twenty-five years we have studied and collected hundreds of examples of trauma in soft tissue and bone that is used for both the direct study of trauma, and as a reference collection. In the absence of being able to conduct or produce test marks in similar material, a reference collection is invaluable in providing examples of known and unknown toolmark trauma. Despite all of what we might understand, toolmark analysis in biological material remains a complex and challenging endeavor. Examples of the above challenges will be presented using case material.
CONTRIBUTIONS OF DR. MCCRONE TO CRIMINALISTICS
Wayne Moorehead, MS, F-ABC, Forensic Consultant
The contributions of Dr. Walter McCrone to the profession of Criminalistics will be discussed. His first publication was related to the identification of high explosives using the polarizing light microscope and fusion methods. He wrote many papers, chapters, books, and atlases relating to the microscopic analysis of particles, most relating to potential trace evidence materials. He provided financial assistance and participatory support that significantly improved the concepts of particle/trace evidence analysis in the field of criminalistics. Dr. McCrone provided the California Association of Criminalist a Founder's Lecture and earned its highest award, the Roger Green award. He also received several awards from the American Academy of Forensic Science.
Mike Bowers, DDS, Forensic Odontologist
The good, the bad, and the unconscionable regarding judicial use of bitemark identification.
GLASS CUTS IN CLOTHING
Helen Griffin, Ventura County Sheriff's Department Forensic Sciences Laboratory
Slash cuts made by glass appear to have some unique characteristics. Ideally, these characteristics would allow a specific cut in an article of clothing to be individualized to glass as the causing agent. This paper documents the properties of slash cuts made by glass in a variety of fabric types. During criminal investigations clothing damage can answer crucial questions. Specifically, when forced entry has been gained through a broken glass window or door, the presence of cuts made by glass on the suspect's clothing can assist in negating the hypothesis that glass fragments on the clothing are from some other innocent occurrence. Ideally we would like to identify clothing damage to a specific cause. The literature on clothing damage discusses distinguishing cuts from tears, knife cuts from scissors cuts, and even arrow damage. Extensive work has been done to determine if a specific knife can be related to a stab-cut. Monahan and Harding noted that stab cuts made by glass are similar to stab cuts made by a knife (Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1990, pp. 901-912). However, there is a lack of printed material on the characteristics of slash cuts made by glass. Early in 1995 Michelle Smith was found dead in her home after being raped and strangled. Just prior to her death, Lloyd Monroe had been released after being booked on an earlier assault charge. The couple had a long history of domestic abuse. This case involved analysis of multiple evidence types. Because the bedroom window had been broken to gain entry, glass analysis was one of the requested services. During the course of examining Monroe's jacket for glass fragments, it was noted that the lower portion of the right sleeve had multiple small cuts. These cuts were examined stereo microscopically at approximately 40X magnification. The jacket was a tight-weave cloth fabric and the cuts did not appear typical of knife or scissors cuts. Where cutting occurred, the fibers were cleanly cut. However, cutting occurred only on the surface yarns of the weave. Also, some yarns were skipped over and did not show any cutting. Intermixed with the cut fibers were pulled fibers. Further, two of the cuts were parallel and spaced approximately 4 millimeters apart. A number of these characteristics had been observed in cuts on clothing submitted from burglaries involving broken windows. The available literature did not document the properties characteristic of slash cuts made by glass. However, test cuts were made in an undamaged portion of the jacket. A sharp knife blade, a dull knife blade, and freshly broken glass were used to make the test cuts. The glass made cuts similar to those observed in the damaged area of the jacket's right sleeve. The sharp knife cut cleanly through the entire weave even with light pressure. The dull knife resulted in more tearing than observed in the damage to the right sleeve when light pressure was used. With heavy pressure the dull knife cut through all layers of the weave. This data was combined with the presence of glass particles on the jacket having a similar refractive index to the broken window. The evidence supported the hypothesis that Monroe broke the bedroom window and reached through to unlock it, thus gaining entry to the bedroom. The clothing that has commonly been submitted in criminal cases includes leather jackets, nylon tight-weave ski jackets, windbreakers, blue-jean jackets, cotton shirts, and cotton/ polyester knit shirts. Clothing of this type was purchased second hand. This clothing was worn over protective clothing and forced through a freshly broken window. The resulting damage was examined stereo microscopically to approximately 100X magnification. The clothing damage was examined for the presence of glass. Damage characteristics were documented both in writing and by photographing the damage stereo microscopically.
SWGDRUG 2004 REPORT
Gary P. Chasteen, L.A. County Sheriff's Department, Scientific Services Bureau
A report of the Fall 2003 and Summer 2004 SWGDRUG Conferences will be presented. The presentation will outline the purposes of SWGDRUG, report on the proposals approved by the Core Committee, and solicit comments from members of the CAC. Also highlighted will be the future direction of the SWGDRUG sub-committees.
DEVELOPMENT OF LASER MICRODISSECTION TO SEPARATE HISTOLOGICALLY STAINED MIXED CELLS FOR DNA ANALYSIS
Christine T. Sanders (1,3), BA*, Nick Sanchez (2), BS, Jack Ballantyne (3), PhD, and Daniel A. Peterson (1), PhD, (1)Department of Neuroscience, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL (2) Los Angeles Police Department, Scientific Investigation Division, Los Angeles, CA (3) Department of Chemistry, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
The goal of this presentation is to present to the forensic community a method for the selective separation of stained and unstained sperm and epithelial cell mixtures in sexual assault evidence using Laser Microdissection (LMD) such that the retrieved cells can be typed for Short Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis. PCR and STR analysis has become a valuable tool in identifying the source of biological stains particularly in the investigation of sexual assault crimes. Difficulties in analysis arise primarily in the interpretation of mixed genotypes when cell separation of multiple donors is incomplete or when only a small number of target cells are available in a mixed sample. The objective is to use LMD technology to separate and recover pure sperm cell populations from a sperm/epithelial cell mixture by physically dissecting target cells from a microscope slide smear. Male sperm cell and female epithelial cell mixtures were prepared and stained on polyethylene naphthalate coated glass microscope slides and placed under a microscope integrated with a UV laser for dissection. Using LMD, sperm cell populations are visually identified, excised, and automatically collected into a PCR tube with the aid of computer software. In addition, five commonly used histological stains were investigated to determine their effects on STR analysis when LMD is utilized. Single source sperm and epithelial cell smears were stained with Hematoxylin/Eosin (H&E), Nuclear fast red/ Picroindigocarmine (CTS), Methyl green (MG), Azure blue/ Eosin (WRT), or Acridine orange (AO) after which 300 sperm or 150 epithelial cells were collected by LMD. DNA was isolated from the recovered cells by Qiagen QIAamp (purification and amplified using the AmpFlSTR (Profiler Plus kit followed by capillary electrophoresis.) LMD recovered sperm cells from the mixed specimens provided genotypes at all nine loci and amelogenin of the male donor from 80-320 dissected cells using 28 and 34 PCR cycles with no female donor contamination detected. H&E and CTS stained cells were readily identifiable and higher overall relative fluorescence units (RFU) were observed from the allele peaks of H&E treated cells than CTS samples. AO and unstained samples were identifiable by fluorescence and phase contrast microscopy respectively but they provided less distinction between cell types, and AO was also detrimental to downstream analysis. Genotypes were obtained from cells stained with MG and WRT, though the identification and discrimination of cells was highly challenging. The Laser Microdissection method described physically dissects stained or unstained target cells without the contamination of adjacent foreign cells in a mixture then collects the cells for direct nucleic acid analysis. This approach has the potential application of recovering cells from sexual assault evidence providing complete separation of minute traces of male sexual assailant DNA from victim DNA.
THE UNFORTUNATE GENERALIST/SPECIALIST DICHOTOMY AND THE CHALLENGES OF MODERN CRIMINALISTICS
Dr. Peter De Forest, Professor of Criminalistics, Director, MS and PhD Programs in Forensic Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY
The knowledge and skills of the scientific generalist are absolutely essential in optimized criminalistics. Unfortunately, the concept of the generalist is widely misunderstood. Much of the pervasive misunderstanding of this concept is rooted in a false dichotomy-that of the generalist versus the specialist. What is commonly overlooked is that a scientist can be both a specialist and a generalist. Clearly, no one person can have indepth knowledge in all of the scientific specialties that are important in criminalistics casework. However, this is not what is required. A scientist can possess very detailed knowledge in a specialty area combined with a great deal of, much less detailed, knowledge over a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. It is this combination that is highly desirable in criminalistics casework. To recognize and fully understand the physical evidence in any but the simplest cases there is a clear need for the ability to appreciate the wide range of disciplines encompassed by criminalistics. Further, it is desirable for at least one scientifically trained and experienced mind to have oversight over the entire physical evidence situation from beginning to end. It is even better if more than one scientist has this overview so that a sharing of ideas can take place, as the approach to the case is being designed and executed. There is no realistic effective alternative to the presence of scientists at the scene. Who better can define the problem on the front end and assign, oversee and coordinate the laboratory work? Who is most qualified to interpret the totality of the physical evidence and put the case together on the back end? Certainly, the scientifically naïve investigator or prosecuting attorney cannot and should not assume this role. Unfortunately, too often this happens by default on the part of the laboratory system. The proactive stance of the laboratory, vis-à-vis the agencies it is serving, is absent or atrophied. A few simple case examples will be used in this presentation. These examples are useful for demonstrating the need for scientific oversight and integration. Most will describe situations where the unifying oversight and integration was absent initially, but where, fortuitously, sufficient evidence and information survived. This allowed a belated application of the integration approach and the case was solved. In effect, with these case examples, there is a built-in negative control. Initially, the wrong conclusion or no conclusion was reached. It was only after a generalist-criminalist considered the totality of the physical evidence that the case was solved days, months, or even years later. More commonly, where scientific oversight is not present from the outset, there is no "second bite at the apple" and the opportunity to understand the information latent in the physical evidence is lost. There is no substitute for doing it right the first time.
FIRING A BERETTA MODEL 950B .25 CAL. HANDGUN UNDERWATER AT A GLASS TARGET
Gregory E. Laskowski, Supervising Criminalist, Kern County District Attorney Forensic Science Division
Very little published information exists on the behavior of firearms and ammunition components when they are fired completely submerged under water. Because of the variety of handguns and ammunition types available, this type of study would have limited applications. Although there are specific instances when this type of information may be needed, the best way of assessing its value is through practical experimentation. This paper will look at the effects of firing a Beretta model 950B .25 caliber semiautomatic handgun underwater loaded with Remington Peters 28 grain jacketed hollow point .25 auto ammunition. Additionally, the effects of firing the weapon and ammunition at a glass target while completely submerged will also be studied.
MORPHOLOGICAL IDENTIFICATION OF SPERM HEADS: TWO DEATH PENALTIES, A CIVIL SUIT AND A CHAPTER
Edwin L. Jones, Jr., Ventura County Sheriff's Laboratory of Forensic Sciences
This talk will take the audience through experiences that defend the use of sperm heads to identify semen. In 1997, Orange County required verification of some sperm heads in a homicide. This homicide involved a body that was kept in a freezer by the suspect for three years. The case against the suspect was very strong. He was caught with the victim's body and many of her personal possessions. The victim's blood was located at the suspect's place of business. The Orange County Sheriff's Crime Lab had identified sperm heads in the anal samples from the victim. Only the victim's DNA was found in this sample. The defendant admitted the homicide but denied having sex with the victim. The defense brought in the retired director of an out of state crime lab and an Ivy League fertility doctor who testified that an intact sperm (head attached to tail) is needed for identification. I testified that the sperm heads were identifiable without an attached tail. This case stands as having the longest post mortem interval for the identification of sperm. The jury did find the defendant guilty of anal sodomy and he was given the death penalty. In 2001, another Orange County homicide required verification of sperm heads. This homicide involved a 12-year-old boy who was dismembered and his body parts encased in concrete cylinders. The pelvic portion of the victim was recovered after one year exposed to Orange County inland temperatures. The Orange County Sheriff's Crime Lab identified sperm heads in the anal samples from the victim. No nuclear DNA was detected in this sample (not even the victim). The case against the suspect was very strong. The defendant admitted the homicide and denied having sex with the victim. The defense called a board certified forensic pathologist to testify that a sperm must be intact (head attached to tail) for identification. When the sperm heads in a photograph were pointed out to him, he said that they were cellular debris. I testified that sperm heads were identifiable and that it was my opinion that the objects identified by the Orange County Sheriff's Crime Lab as sperm were sperm. A jury found the defendant guilty of anal sodomy and he was sentenced to death. This case stands as the longest post mortem interval for the identification of a sperm that was not frozen. In 2002, the Kentucky State Patrol was being sued because a forensic scientist had identified a single sperm head in a child molestation case. The criminal case against the accused was dropped when DNA results from the vaginal sample did not produce any male DNA. The accused child molester sued the forensic scientist and the Kentucky State Patrol in Federal court with a Section 1983 civil rights (malicious prosecution) action. The basis for this law suit was: "It is the consensus of the forensic science community, the positive identification of a sperm cell cannot be made without an intact sperm cell that includes the head and tail." A private criminalist who had worked for a regional crime lab in Ohio made this statement. A rebuttal to the above statement was written and a 2 to 3 hour videotaped deposition given in Ventura regarding this issue. The case was dismissed by a federal judge and never tried before a jury. In 2002, Dr. Richard Saferstein asked for an update of Dr. F. Samuel Baechtel's 1988 chapter for the Forensic Science Handbook Volume II 2nd edition. The title of the chapter was changed from "Identification and Individualization of Semen Stains" to "Identification of Semen and Other Body Fluids". The chapter lays out the historical and scientific foundations for the identification of sperm heads. The book is scheduled for release in October or November of 2004.
REFERENCE BALLISTIC IMAGING DATABASE PERFORMANCE
Jan De Kinder (1), Frederic Tulleners* (2) and Hugues Thiebaut (1)
(1) Institut National de Criminalistique et de Criminologie (NICC/INCC)
(2) UC Davis Extension
Ballistic imaging databases allow law enforcement to link recovered cartridge cases to other crime scenes and to firearms. The success of these databases has led many to propose that all firearms in circulation be entered into a reference ballistic image database (RBID). To assess the performance of an RBID, we fired 4200 cartridge cases from six hundred 9 mm Para Sig Sauer model P226 series pistols. Each pistol fired two Remington cartridges, one of which was imaged in the RBID, and five additional cartridges, consisting of Federal, Speer, Winchester, Wolf, and CCI brands. Randomly selected samples from the second series of Remington cartridge cases and from the five additional brands were then correlated against the RBID. Of the 32 cartridges of the same make correlated against the RBID, 72% ranked in the top 10 positions. Likewise, of the 10 cartridges of the five different brands correlated against the database, 21% ranked in the top 10 positions. Generally, the ranking position increased as the size of the RBID increased. We obtained similar results when we expanded the RBID to include firearms with the same class characteristics for breech face marks, firing pin impressions, and extractor marks. The results of our six queries against the RBID indicate that a reference ballistics image database of new guns is currently fraught with too many difficulties to be an effective and efficient law enforcement tool.
SEWING UP YOUR EFFECTIVENESS AS A WITNESS
Judge McGee and Judge O'Neill, Ventura County Superior Court, Ventura, CA
The importance of expert testimony will be covered with specific reference to juror expectations, truth finding function, and appellate review. The foundations for expert testimony will be discussed with respect to Evidence Code sections 801 et seq., opinion basis, what material experts can rely upon, and what material experts cannot rely upon. The principles of effective expert testimony include honesty, clarity, brevity, and impartiality. The use of visual aids to assist testimony will be discussed. Handling cross-examination and communicating with the trier are also basic to effective testimony. Examples of effective expert testimony will be presented. Know Your Stuff!
REINVENTING THE CALIFORNIA STATE DATA BANK I: FROM BLOOD TO BUCCAL
Eric Halsing, Brian Harmon, Ph.D., Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory, California Department of Justice
A bill in the California State Assembly and a voter initiative on the November ballot, if passed, would expand the California DNA Data Bank to include samples from all convicted felons. The higher number of submissions coupled with California's financial difficulties require the DNA Data Bank to increase sample throughput while simultaneously reducing cost and analysis time per sample. The DNA Data Bank currently extracts DNA from liquid blood samples in a semi-automated robotic system with significant analyst involvement in sample tracking and blood aliquotting. Significant savings would be achieved by switching from liquid blood to buccal samples and increasing system automation. Through NIJ grants and collaborative efforts with private vendors, a system has been developed to process buccal samples in an automated, high-throughput system that extracts DNA sufficiently free of microbial contamination for balanced STR amplification. This presentation will discuss the sample collection, processing, and DNA extraction methods developed for this transition. Special emphasis will be given to an automated high-throughput sample partitioning and tracking system for pre-extraction processing. The system simplifies the archiving process by minimizing storage space while allowing easy retrieval for hit confirmations. This transition also affords reduced biohazard exposure and ease of collection as ancillary benefits.
REINVENTING THE CALIFORNIA STATE DATA BANK II: IDENTIFILER/ 3100/GENEMAPPER (VALIDATION OF AN EXPERT SYSTEM)
Meghan Mannion, Carolyn Weigand, Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory, California Department of Justice
With the possible inclusion of all felony offenders and other expansions to the Data Bank statutes on the horizon, the California DNA Data Bank expects a dramatic increase in the number of offender submissions. The sample handling and extraction methods presented earlier will not be sufficient by themselves to meet increased demand. The California Data Bank presently amplifies extracted DNA for the 13 core CODIS STR loci in two amplifications followed by electrophoresis on ABI 377 instruments and Genescan/Genoyper software analysis. This presentation describes the redesign and validation of the entire process of STR amplification, electrophoresis and data analysis for the DNA Data Bank. PCR amplification of all 13 core CODIS STR loci is accomplished in one reaction using ABI Identifiler kits, followed by electrophoresis on ABI 3100 Genetic Analyzers. Data is analyzed by a single software program, GeneMapper ID. In May 2004, NDIS released guidelines for the approval of Expert Systems for data analysis. An Expert System allows for software analysis of DNA samples without human interpretation, effectively taking the place of one or both manual review processes. The California DNA Data Bank is working to fulfill the requirements to bring GeneMapper ID online as an Expert System. The single amplification and electrophoresis coupled with Expert System analysis using GeneMapper ID will significantly increase the efficiency of sample processing by the DNA Data Bank.
SMOKE OVER ATHENS - A DISAPPEARING ACT
Dr. Glenn Wagner, San Diego Medical
(No abstract available)
LESSONS FROM THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF'S CRIME LAB AND CRIMINALISTICS IN CALIFORNIA
Peter R. De Forest, D.Crim., Department of Sciences, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, New York, NY, 10019.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Crime Laboratory was established in 1957 with Elliott B. Hensel as its first director. In terms that are now outmoded, it was a "one man operation". The lab proper was housed in a single small room on the third floor of the Ventura County Courthouse Annex. The room had ceramic tiled walls and floor. The drains in the floor gave a clue to its prior history. It had served as a shower room for resident deputies in the past. The adjoining anteroom, which was big enough for a desk, a small bookcase, and two small benches served as the office. It also housed the only laboratory instrumentation we possessed: a Beckman DU single-beam UV/ VIS spectrophotometer, a Klett colorimeter, an old Greenough type stereomicroscope, a mahogany framed analytical balance, and a black cast iron and brass vertical monocular biological microscope. Other than the DU, this instrumentation was old then. It pre-existed the laboratory. The balance and the microscope would look nice today on display in a wood paneled study or library. The fume hood and lab benches were homemade. The whole lab, the size of the two rooms taken together, was half the size of my wife Carol's kitchen. There was a medical lab technician who worked the graveyard shift and whose main function was to draw blood from individuals arrested overnight for DWI. This was the state of affairs when I joined the laboratory staff in the summer of 1960, effectively doubling its daytime staff. At this time President Eisenhower was struggling with the political fallout stemming from the shooting down of Francis Gary Powers' U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union. The Nixon-Kennedy presidential campaign was just beginning to heat up. Vastly less significant in the larger scheme of things, but certainly important to me, I discovered criminalistics and my life's work. Elliott Hensel was a wonderful mentor. He was self-effacing, but knowledgeable and willing to teach. I learned a great deal. It was from him that I learned about the CAC (the first scientific society I joined) and Dr. Paul L. Kirk's programs in criminalistics at the University of California at Berkeley. On seeing the intellectual challenges and non-routine nature of the scientific problems encountered in criminalistics, I made up my mind early on to transfer to UC Berkeley. In 1961 Elliott Hensel signed up with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and spent the next two decades setting up crime laboratories in various parts of the world. We remained in touch through letters. Thomas Wieland, a Kirk student, who had gained experience in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Laboratory, was hired to become the new director in late 1961. Tom Wieland's mentoring style was very different, but I learned a great deal from him before resigning to continue my education with Dr. Kirk at Berkeley in the fall of 1962. Well before I left for parts north, a recent masters graduate in chemistry from, what was then known as LA State, was hired. With the inclusion of the technician who worked nights, this raised the size of the staff to four. Parenthetically and coincidentally, each of the major ABO phenotypes was represented among the four of us. This was useful when we needed fresh red cells for use as test cells and controls in our blood typing work. The now outmoded isoenzyme typing of dried bloodstains was nearly a decade in the future. We also had a part-time secretary at that point. This presentation will be more than a trip down memory lane. There are important lessons for the future of criminalistics to be drawn from its past. By today's standards, the tools available in 1960 were crude. There were problems that were insoluble or difficultly soluble then, for which today's tools would yield ready solutions. We certainly have advanced technologically. The changes are absolutely astounding and welcome. However, there are questions that we need to ask ourselves. Have we become too enamored with our modern tools? Do we reach for the latest tool before reflecting on the problem and designing the most appropriate scientific approach to its solution? In my view, too often the answer to these rhetorical questions is yes. Technology is not a substitute for good science.
A NEW RAPID AND EASY-TO-USE DIFFERENTIAL EXTRACTION METHOD
Lisa Lane, MS*, Kimberly Huston, Allan Tereba, PhD, Laura Flanagan, BS, Paraj Mandrekar, MS and Ryan Olson, BS, Promega Corporation
One of the main reasons for the large backlog of sexual assault samples is the difficultly in working with the evidentiary material. Typical vaginal swabs contain a mixture of victim epithelial cells in large excess over sperm cells. Unprocessed, these samples can only be analyzed using male specific markers that provide important evidence but are of limited use in searching national databases due to the inheritance and nonrecombinatorial nature of the Y chromosome. In 1985, Gill et al. developed a method to enrich for sperm cells in the presence of an excess of epithelial cells. After a controlled proteolysis in the absence of a reducing agent, the sample is centrifuged in a spin basket to remove from the solid matrix intact sperm and solution containing the DNA from lysed epithelial cells. Because the resulting sperm pellet contains loose cell debris a considerable amount of contaminating solution is left and must be diluted out with serial washings and centrifugations. This process is time consuming and results in loss of sperm and variability between examiners. We have developed a new differential extraction method that takes advantage of the nearly two decades of experience using the standard differential extraction. After a standard Proteinase K digestion of the sample, the solid support and DNA-containing solution are centrifuged through a special material that effectively separates the sperm from soluble DNA and cell debris. The samples are washed once without centrifugation to remove any remaining soluble DNA in the sperm fraction. DNAIQ™ Lysis Buffer containing DTT is then added to the epithelial and sperm fractions. This buffer effectively lyses the sperm without need for further Proteinase K digestion. The total time for separating the sperm from epithelial cells following addition of the sample to the Proteinase K Digestion Solution is approximately 1 hour 20 minutes which includes the 1-hour Proteinase K digestion. The purification of the DNA requires 40 minutes so the total separation and purification can be accomplished in 2 hours. Because the same standard Proteinase K digestion and initial centrifugation is used to help remove the sperm from the solid support and to lyse the epithelial cells, the efficiency of these steps will be identical to what is currently available. However, only one centrifugation is required for efficient separation so the sperm recovery is better. In addition, the hands on time, as well as the overall time needed to do the separation, has been greatly reduced from the current method. Data will be presented on the sensitivity and successful processing of old samples.
IMPLEMENTATION OF SB1623 - ALCOHOL: LICENSING AND ACCREDITATION
Patricia S. Lough, Supervising Criminalist, San Diego Police Department, Forensic Alcohol and Narcotics Unit
Senator Ross Johnson introduced Senate Bill 1623 in January 2004. It was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in August 2004, and goes into effect January 1, 2005. Senate Bill 1623 removes the oversight of forensic alcohol programs by the State Department of Health Services. This presentation will briefly discuss the history behind the bill, define who is or is not affected by the bill, and describe what the significant changes are as a result of the bill. Laboratories will no longer be licensed by the State. Only labs performing alcohol analysis for law enforcement are mandated to meet the new requirements. Title 17 regulations remain in effect. Proficiency testing must follow ASCLD/LAB guidelines. A Review Committee will be established to update Title 17. Every lab performing forensic alcohol analysis for law enforcement must make preparations for the changes during the transition period between now and January 1st.
CONFESSIONS OF A CRIME LAB GROUPIE
Jan Burke, Author
How did the former president of the Los Alamitos High School Science Club end up being a history major who writes crime novels? Can one novelist fit history, forensic science, and fiction into a thirty-minute format and still allow time for questions? Will her speech delay lunch? And what the heck is the Crime Lab Project?
ZAVALA/PUEBLA - ADOBE PHOTOSHOP COURT DEMONSTRATION OF SHOE IMPRESSION EVIDENCE
Helen Griffin, Ventura County Sheriff's Department Forensic Sciences Laboratory, and Paula Miller, Ventura County District Attorney's Office
On January 1 of 2003, Valerie Zavala was found dead in a drainage ditch. A key piece of physical evidence was a partial shoe impression in dirt located close by her body. Shoe impression evidence has previously been presented in court using natural sized photographs, enlarged photographs, overhead projectors, and Elmo projectors. More recently, PowerPoint has been utilized. For the court demonstration of the Zavala/Puebla shoe impression evidence, it was decided to project an Adobe Photoshop presentation using layers. The layers utilized for this presentation consisted of a composite digital photograph of the partial shoe impression and a scanned image of the shoe outsole. The primary layer was the partial shoe impression from the scene. Due to the use of incident lighting, the design elements that were best defined in one photograph were the same design elements that were poorly defined in another photograph. In order to show the jury all of the design elements present in the partial shoe impression, a blending mode was used to form a composite photograph. For the photographs in this case, the darken mode with two photographs gave the best representation. Rather than show the jury a comparison between a test impression and the scene impression, Adobe Photoshop allowed us to use the shoe outsole as a transparent overlay. The shoe outsole was scanned at 600 dpi. The image of the shoe outsole and scale was reversed, sized to the scene impression, and aligned with the scene impression. Alignment utilized guides and free rotation transform. The opacity of the shoe outsole was then varied between 100% and 0%. Another advantage of using Adobe Photoshop was that it allowed us to zoom in to the area under discussion. The jury was instructed that they could request a viewing of the Adobe Photoshop presentation during deliberation. However, the evidence was also presented to the jury as a photo display. Adobe Premier can be used to animate the presentation and allows for a more controlled fade from 100% to 0% opacity. However, neither Adobe Premier nor PowerPoint allows the expert to go to a specific area of a specific image in order to answer unexpected questions. When multiple impressions are present in one lift or photograph, color can be used to track the impression being discussed.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BARROSO HOMICIDE: FIREARMS EVIDENCE AND SHOOTING SCENE RECONSTRUCTION
James L. Roberts, Ventura County Sheriff's Department Forensic Sciences Laboratory
This paper will look at the firearms analysis and reconstruction of the shooting scene in the homicide of Megan Barroso. It will present a short overview of the crime and crime scene. It will focus mostly on the trajectory analysis and the interpretation of the pattern of shots into the front of the Barroso vehicle. It will present the animation developed by the District Attorney's Office to convey and illustrate the laboratory findings. It will then touch on other firearms analysis conducted. An additional presentation by Edwin Jones will follow, providing additional analytic work on the case; this presentation will provide some background for that paper.
TRACE EVIDENCE AND BLOODSTAIN INTERPRETATION FROM THE SANCHEZ/BARROSO CASE
Edwin L. Jones, Jr., Ventura County Sheriff's Laboratory of Forensic Sciences
This talk will cover the trace evidence of this case which included red hexagonal glitter, paint transfer, bumper rub strip plastic transfer, analysis of car wax, identification of almond bits and comparison of road dirt. The techniques used in the analysis and comparison of these varied substances will be discussed. Photos used to make courtroom displays will be shown. Analysis of the blood stains on the victim's jacket recovered from the suspect's residence and the bloodstains in the victim's vehicle led to the opinion that the victim had a replenishing wound on her hand. The victim was celebrating a 4th of July party with friends and was sprinkled with red hexagonal glitter that was approximately 250 microns in diameter. The empty bottle used to sprinkle the victim was recovered. The victim's vehicle (engine running and lights on) was recovered stuck on a median strip in the early morning hours of July 5th with bullet holes, accident damage and a small amount of blood. The decomposed body of the victim was recovered with a bullet wound in the abdomen a month later. Glitter was recovered from the tape lifts of the suspect's vehicle, the victim's jacket (with bullet damage) recovered from the suspect's residence and the victim's scalp. Comparison was done with microscopy and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). The victim's vehicle had fresh accident damage (side swipe) running almost the entire length of the vehicle. Examination of the damage and foreign material abraded onto the victim's vehicle showed that the victim's vehicle was going faster than the object or vehicle that caused the damage. One piece of gray plastic recovered from the leading edge of the driver's door had three molded edges with lots of road dirt. The morphology of this piece of plastic was eventually matched to the inside tabs of a bumper rub strip that was missing from the suspect's vehicle. The height of recovery of this plastic matched the height of the missing bumper rub strip. The road dirt on the piece of plastic was compared against the road dirt on the underside of the suspect vehicle's front bumper. A small amount of paint was missing from the suspect's vehicle at the same height where matching paint was recovered from the victim's vehicle. Comparisons were done with microscopy and FTIR. Witnesses saw the suspect cleaning and waxing his vehicle on July 5th. Recovery of wax from the chrome lettering corroborated the witnesses. Wax was identified with FTIR. The suspect's defense wanted to know what the small off white chunks of material in the victim's purse were. They were unhappy with a report saying that no controlled substance was detected. The off white chunks were identified as pieces of almond with FTIR and microscopy. The suspect was found guilty of murdering Megan Barroso and sentenced to death.
Yasmin EL Sawi, National University, San Diego
The investigation of condom traces and their subsequent characterization serve as valuable evidence in sexual assault cases and will help characterize the specific brand of condom. Through the creation of a database of the various brands of condoms available on the market and with the help of investigators, victims of sexual assault will be able to put their attacker behind bars. It is important that victims come forth immediately because there is valuable evidence to the investigator. Some examples of this evidence are the actual condom and packaging found at the scene and any evidence yielded from a dead victim. When an attacker uses a condom they usually think that they are protecting their identity, but this is not so because condom brands have a particular signature. Exchangeable traces from a condom may include particulates, lubricants, and spermicides, which vary between brands and can be identified. Using the catalogue or CD the investigator will be able to obtain information from the victim as well as utilize condom trace evidence found at the scene to identify the brand of condom used. In doing so it is possible to draw a correlation between the brand and suspect, and then further investigation can lead to an arrest and hopefully a conviction.
BEYOND LACI: CALIFORNIA'S MISSING PERSONS DNA PROGRAM
John Tonkyn, CA Dept. of Justice, Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory
This presentation will describe the development and implementation of the California Missing Persons DNA Program (MPDP). The MPDP was created by SB 1818, and became effective on January 1, 2001 (as Penal Code Sections 14250- 14251). The law mandated the DOJ to create a database of DNA profiles from unidentified human remains for comparison to DNA profiles from "high risk" missing persons or their families. "High risk" is defined as someone missing as a result of a stranger abduction, missing under suspicious circumstances or missing and presumed in danger or deceased at the discretion of the law enforcement agency. Before case analysis could begin, numerous administrative issues needed to be addressed: Kits were developed for the submission of skeletal remains and for buccal swabs from family members, a training video was developed with POST to train officers to collect reference samples, databases were created to track both remains and references, and several publications were developed (a pamphlet for public distribution and information bulletins for law enforcement agencies). Technical advances include the use of a freezer mill to prepare samples for extraction, the validation and implementation of mitochondrial DNA sequencing and the development, along with the FBI and the Texas and New York missing persons DNA programs, of CODISmp, a new application developed specifically for missing and unidentified persons. Finally, both STR and mitochondrial DNA case examples will be discussed.
OBSERVATIONS ON ENDOGENOUS LEVELS OF GHB IN URINE OVER TIME
Negin Aghdaie, LAPD - SID, Toxicology Unit
Gamma-hydroxy butyric acid (GHB) is a central nervous system depressant with hallucinogenic and euphoric effects. In a criminal context, it can be used along with alcohol for its incapacitating effects in drug facilitated sexual assaults. Forensic toxicologists commonly receive requests to analyze urine for the presence of GHB in sexual assault cases. The interpretation of the quantitative results in these cases can be ambiguous. This is due to the fact that GHB is an endogenous compound in human urine. It has also been demonstrated that the concentration of endogenous GHB varies between subjects. Therefore, it is essential to verify the amount of GHB found in urine as endogenous or exogenous in origin. To date, there is no widely accepted concentration threshold that distinguishes endogenous levels from ingested levels of GHB in urine. Inter- and intra-individual variations of endogenous urine GHB levels were evaluated. The first goal of the study was to compare urine GHB concentrations between subjects. The second goal was to determine if an individual's endogenous GHB concentration is consistent over time. The establishment of a fixed endogenous GHB concentration level per individual would be valuable for forensic casework. The ability to compare the GHB concentration of a background sample obtained from a victim with the forensic sample, obtained from the same victim at the time of assault, would simplify the interpretation of the results. This study was divided into two parts. One hundred forty seven urine samples from five individuals (non GHB users) were collected over a 30 day period and subsequently analyzed. During the first 48 hours of the study, an aliquot of every urine void from each subject was collected and analyzed. The second part of the study involved analysis of samples collected from the remaining 28 days, at which time only an aliquot of the daily morning first void from each individual was collected and analyzed. Fluctuations of endogenous urine GHB concentrations in both the two-day study as well as the month long period appear random in all participating individuals. No clear concentration pattern was observed. This implies that it is not feasible to try to establish a fixed background endogenous GHB level for any one individual. The average GHB concentration among all individuals in the study was 3.2μg/mL. The highest concentration found among all samples was 9.8μg/mL. Several specimens in this study approached 10μg/mL, which some analysts consider a threshold level indicative of GHB ingestion. Findings of endogenous urine GHB concentration at such levels suggest necessary reassessment of 10μg/mL as the threshold level of endogenous urine GHB.
THE CRITERIA FOR THE IDENTIFICATION OF FIREARMS IN THE UNITED STATES 1870 TO 1935
Paul M. Dougherty, DWM Laboratory, LLC
The earliest reported case of firearms identification, which would be comparable to what is done today, occurred in Mariposa County, California, in late 1877. This was a case where a "shell" (cartridge case) was identified as coming from a particular rifle, resulting in a first degree murder conviction. The publication of a paper by Dr. A. L. Hall in 1900 set forth some basic principles of identification and made an identification based on "rifling marks". In August 1906, the "Affray at Brownsville", TX, occurred when the town was "shot up" and one civilian was killed by soldiers from the 25th Infantry. An effort was made to determine which rifles fired the recovered shells. This task fell to First Lt. Wilford J. Hawkins, Ord. Dept. and Mr. G.A. Spooner, Inspector of Gauges at Springfield Armory, MA. The resulting report with illustrations indicates what was relied upon for an identification of a particular rifle. In 1925, the publication in the Saturday Evening Post of an article by Wesley W. Stout, "Fingerprinting Bullets", was the first public discussion of firearms identification as practiced today. This article was very specific on the lack of an identification in the Stielow case. The following week a second article was published which went into greater detail on the identification process, and Charles Waite's research up to 1925. Additional published and unpublished materials will be reviewed from 1925 to 1935, which outline the criteria in a fragmentary form. Studies by Goddard will be given in order to give a picture of the thinking during this period. Goddard's background and education will be discussed showing what a remarkable person he was in firearms identification.
IDENTIFICATION OF HUMAN BLOOD: AN IMMUNOASSAY UTILIZING ANTI-HUMAN HEMOGLOBIN
Susannah Jarvis, MS* and Paul Colman, Ph.D.
The conclusive identification of human blood has been an often contested issue among forensic scientists. Current analysis usually consists of presumptive testing such as Kastle-Meyer (phenolphthalein) or o-tolidine and a human protein immunoassay. Due to lack of specificity in these procedures, a positive result from these tests does not make conclusive identification of human blood possible. A new crossover immunoelectrophoretic assay was developed involving an anti-human hemoglobin antibody. Specificity testing established the antibody to be specific only to primates. Cross reactivity was not seen with other body fluids nor was inhibition seen in body fluid mixtures with blood. Sensitivity testing demonstrated that the antibody detected hemoglobin at very low concentrations. False negative issues arising from high concentrations of hemoglobin were resolved by running the assay in parallel with an anti-human serum antibody. By detecting the presence of human hemoglobin, which is specific to human blood, the conclusive identification of human blood is now possible.
DID THIS CASE SHOW FLAWS IN BLOOD EVIDENCE HANDLING? CASE REVIEW OF PEOPLE V. BERGAMO
A typical DUI arrest that turned bad when the arrestee claimed that the lab results were wrong and then notified the media that the lab must have mixed up his sample. The talk goes into the investigation of the arrestee's claim by the department, the interaction between the lab and the city attorney's office, and the final outcome of the case. The objective of the talk is to stress the importance of good communication between the lab and the prosecuting attorney, and also to stress the importance of following your department's protocols.
PDQ (PAINT DATA QUERY) - WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT CAN DO FOR YOU?
Marianne Stam, California Department of Justice, Riverside Criminalistics Laboratory
PDQ is an automotive paint database that is used to provide investigative information on makes, models and years of vehicles that could have left paint at a crime scene. This paper discusses the history and contents of the database, special materials that are required, two basic search methods, limitations, training, and a case example. At hit-and-runs, homicides or other crime scenes, investigators may find paint chips from an unknown perpetrator's vehicle. Prior to PDQ, the criminalist could only provide limited automotive information to investigators, such as color and layer structure of the paint. With the introduction of PDQ to United States crime laboratories in 1997, the make, model and year information can now be provided to investigators if the paint left at the crime scene is original ('OEM') automotive paint. PDQ was developed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and contains data from the 1970s to the present. In 1996, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in conjunction with funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) entered into an agreement with the RCMP to provide PDQ to laboratories in the U.S. There are currently several U.S. laboratories that are participating in the PDQ program, as well as laboratories in the European Union, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. The basic contents of the database include layer colors and structures, layer chemistries, as well as infrared spectra of each layer in a particular sample. In order to run the PDQ, current computer technology is required, as well as an infrared spectral search program such as Bio-Rad's IR SearchMaster, color refinish books from the major automotive paint suppliers (e.g. PPG, BASF, and Dupont), and Munsell color books. When an unknown paint sample is received in a laboratory, the analyst must determine the layer structure and colors of each layer as well as the chemistry of each layer using infrared spectroscopy. The data is then entered into the PDQ for searching. There are two basic search methods. One involves a search using the analyst's chemical interpretation for each layer; the other is to search the actual infrared spectra of each layer in the PDQ database via the infrared spectral search program. Best search results are obtained when the primer layer is present on the unknown sample because the primer chemistries tend to be more specific to the automotive manufacturer. PDQ requires that each participating laboratory have a trained representative and that each laboratory collects sixty 'street samples' of automotive paint per year. These samples are sent to the FBI and the RCMP for analysis and entry into the database. In addition to these 'street samples', the RCMP receives and analyzes paint samples directly from automotive companies. The analytical results are also entered into PDQ. Currently, PDQ contains information on approximately 13,400 samples.
METHOD VALIDATION FOR FORENSIC CASEWORK: A COMPARISON OF LASER ABLATION AND SOLUTION NEBULIZATION FOR THE FORENSIC ANALYSIS OF GLASS BY INDUCTIVELY COUPLED PLASMA MASS SPECTROMETRY (ICP-MS)
Abbegayle J. Dodds* (1,2); Edward "Chip" Pollock (2)
(1) UC Davis, Department of Chemistry, Graduate Group in Forensic Science,
(2) Sacramento County DA, Laboratory of Forensic Services
A brief overview of the methods used to validate Sacramento County's inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) and laser ablation (LA) system for glass analysis will be presented in the context of forensic casework applicability. The benefits and shortcomings of forensic glass analysis by LA-ICP-MS will be compared to that obtainable by solution nebulization, a more common sample introduction technique. Finally, general recommendations for sample preparation and data handling will be provided.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE IDENTIFICATION AND INDIVIDUALIZATION OF HUMAN URINE AS APPLICABLE TO FORENSIC CASEWORK
Alexa Calderaro, Los Angeles Police Department, Scientific Investigation Division
Urine is routinely submitted to forensic laboratories as evidence. Tests for positive urine identification have not been evaluated and explored for use in forensic laboratories. Additionally, DNA testing of urine specimens has not been thoroughly investigated. In this study, a crossover immunoelectrophoresis technique was developed that examined the sensitivity and specificity of an antibody for THG. Additionally, the following components of urinary sediment were examined for their potential use in the identification of urine: renal tubule epithelial cells, transitional epithelial cells, oval fat bodies, casts, and crystals. Urine was evaluated for any variations in DNA content during the process of urination. An entire first morning void was collected from six males and four female subjects in approximately 50 ml sequential aliquots. The DNA from each aliquot was measured. A greater number of males were chosen given the reported difficulty of DNA typing of urine from males. The protein assay for THG proved to be a useful test for urine identification. Precipitant bands were observed with urine. Weak urine specimens resulted in incomplete bands. Weak precipitation was observed when the following substances were tested with antiserum to THG: sweat, semen and vaginal specimens. However, the activity observed with these specimens is distinct from the precipitant band observed with urine samples. The author recommends caution in interpretation of THG results, particularly with weak precipitant bands. The components of urinary sediment provided limited use in identification of urine. The cells observed in the microscopic preparations of urine resemble cells present in other body fluids. Likewise, oval fat bodies and urinary casts lack identifying characteristics. Moreover, a combination of tests is recommended to provide positive identification of urine. Urine collected during different stages of urination varied in DNA content. Seventy percent of the subjects had most of their DNA in the first portion of their void. These findings suggest that the method of sample collection can have an impact on the success of DNA typing. Additionally, knowledge of the heterogeneous nature of urinary DNA content can have an impact on how urine stains are sampled.