103rd SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Spring 2004)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
May 3-7, 2004
Foster City, California
SEASONAL DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE OF FORENSICALLY IMPORTANT FLIES WITHIN SANTA CLARA COUNTY
Adrienne Brundage, Graduate Student, San Jose State University, Jeffrey Y Honda, P.h.D.
Forensic entomology has become relatively common in criminal investigations. As insects become more common as indicators of post mortem interval, gaps in information at the local level become apparent. While flies as forensic indicators are well studied, they exhibit great variation in both successional patterns and seasonal abundance due to microclimates. It is this variation that causes the forensic entomologist the most difficulty. The entomologist must adapt data from studies that have taken place miles away or create new, tailored studies to gather data specific to the current case. While the second option is ideal, time and monetary constraints can make it impossible, leaving the scientist to glean what general information is available in the literature. This does yield acceptable post mortem interval estimation, but accuracy suffers. These issues were brought to the forefront in the Bay Area by two cases in which general data had to be used due to a lack of local studies. The existence of these cases led to a two year study of seasonal distribution and abundance of forensically important flies in Santa Clara County.
Three areas within the county were identified as common dump sites: urban areas, mountains, and rivers or streams. Four traps baited with liver were placed in each of these areas and checked for flies once a week for two years beginning in 2001. The insects collected were then pinned and stored for identification. The resulting collection consists of over 16,000 flies, and is therefore still in the identification stage. This presentation includes a summary of the two cases that led to the study, as well as the preliminary findings of the project.
AUTHOR, STIFF: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF HUMAN CADAVERS
I'll be talking about the experience of writing Stiff, and about the mysterious world of book publishing and its insatiable appetite for dead body books. I'll talk about the trials and tribulations of being an outsider trying to gain entry into the realm of the research cadaver, and about what I found there. I'll cover the usefulness of research cadavers in furthering forensics techniques-cadavers as helping solve mysteries, as opposed to being the mysteries that need to be solved. Questions and discussion encouraged. Feel free to interrupt me!
"THERE IS MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE" - FRAUD INVESTIGATION
Dinah P. Shaw, Fraud Investigator Citigroup Investigative Services aka Citibank
Tips on what to look for in a search, especially as it relates to electronic/computer crimes.
A NEW FORENSIC ARENA (FORENSIC LOCKSMITHING)
Herbert T. Miller, Sr., CFEI, CFL, CPII, CEP, CFV, Vinlocksmiths
To determine if mechanical locks have been rotated and opened using anything other than a key that has been provided for that lock. Objective: Commonly used in all types of vehicle and structure theft situations involving any type of possible entry that is superstitious and covert. Relevance: Careful dismantling of the component, with a microscopic examination of all relevant parts. Results: The determination if the lock was ever rotated with anything other than the designed key. Conclusions: Forensic locksmithing is an investigative process that can be used on various types of crimes where entry into a vehicle or structure or any type of lock device if necessary.
CASEWORK APPLICATION OF Y-PLEX 12, A Y-CHROMOSOME STR TYPING SYSTEM
Jaiprakash B. Shewale, Sudhir K. Sinha, Huma Nasir, Gina Pineda and Jaiprakash G. Shewale*, ReliaGene Technologies, Inc.
Y-Chromosome Short Tandem Repeats (Y-STRs) have become popular in forensic DNA analysis because of the ability to obtain a male profile from an evidence sample containing mixture of male and female DNA. In addition, the haplotype nature of Y-STRs enables to identify number of male contributors. Further, differential extraction is not required; yet another advantage of Y-STRs.
The Y-STR typing system. Y-PLEX 12, enables simultaneous amplification and analysis for 11 Y-STR loci recommended by the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) namely DYS19, DYS385a/b, DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS39O, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393, DYS438 and DYS439 for forensic analysis. In addition the Y-PLEX 12 system comprises sex determinant locus Amelogenin as an internal control for PCR. Y-PLEX 12 is being used routinely in forensic casework. Several difficult cases have been resolved. Among the evidence and reference samples analyzed, the success rate was 43% and 19% in obtaining complete and partial profiles, respectively. It is possible to obtain a male profile from difficult samples such as azoospermic semen, no sperm fraction ('E' fraction), bite marks, and dried secretion swabs. The study reveals that Amelogenin is a very useful internal control and provides critical evaluation of the extent of amplification of mixture samples containing human male and female DNA. Several forensic casework examples demonstrating the utility of Y-STRs will be presented.
THE ZODIAC CASE: WHERE IT STANDS NOW
Susan E. Morton, Forensic Document Examiner, San Francisco Police Crime Lab
Objective: To describe the current status of the unsolved Zodiac case.
Relevance: To provide historical perspective of a long unsolved case of public interest and describe how the forensic evidence is being preserved.
Methodology: Paper items have been stored in archival materials.
Results: Fragile items have been preserved to the best of current capabilities.
Conclusions: If this case is ever solved, it will likely be by a scholar or historian. The physical evidence must be preserved for possible future use.
THE CALIFORNIA FORENSIC SCIENCE INSTITUTE RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Katherine A. Roberts, Ph.D., California State University, Los Angeles, California Forensic Science Institute, Director of Research Development
The California Forensic Science Institute (CFSI) is a partnership involving the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Scientific Services Bureau; the Los Angeles Police Department, Scientific Investigations Division; and California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). The Institute is dedicated to the advancement of forensic science and criminalistics. Specifically, four central objectives have been identified: In-Service Training, Research Development, Career Development, and Public Education.
The Institute will serve as the training, research, and development arm of the Los Angeles Regional Crime Laboratory. In addition to LAPD and LASD, the Laboratory will house the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics, CSULA. The construction of this facility, to be located on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles, is scheduled to begin in Fall 2004.
The objective of this presentation is two-fold: to promote the services and mission of the CFSI and to solicit information for the purpose of building a program of research development. The goal is to collaborate with crime laboratories in designing and testing research in the application of advanced technology to forensic services. The CFST will be conducting a survey to identify the needs of state and local law enforcement agencies, and private organizations. This includes obtaining information on research interests and priorities (individual and agency), technology development, and training needs.
LC/MS/MS FOR ANALYSIS AND SCREENING OF DRUG COMPOUNDS
Tania A. Sasaki, Applied Biosystems
Objective: To detect, verify, and quantify a variety of drug compounds in a complex biological matrix utilizing LC with mass spectral detection.
Relevance: LC/MS/MS can successful screen for a large number of compounds in a single analysis. Furthermore, quantitative and qualitative information can be obtained in a single experiment.
Methodology: Liquid chromatography with mass spectral detection.
Results: A method to successfully screen 23 drugs of abuse from several different classes in a single experiment was developed. Furthermore, simultaneous detection, confirmation, and quantitation of 6 opiates was performed.
Conclusions: LC/MS/MS is a useful analytical technique that can be used for both screening and quantitation of analytes.
THE EFFECT OF WINDSHIELDS ON A BULLET'S TRAJECTORY
Michelle L. Dilbeck, Alameda County Sheriff's Office
Objectives: The purpose of the study was to determine how much a deflection of a bullet's trajectory is caused by striking the windshield of a vehicle. Is there any reproducibility in the direction of deflection and the angle?
Methodology: Four different pistols of different calibers were used. Bonded ammunition and conventional jacketed-hollow-point ammunition were also used. Each pistol was placed horizontally into a vice and fired at least six times into a windshield set at a 30-degree angle and later a 0-degree angle and a foam board witness panel (one shot for each witness panel). A bore laser was used after each shot to determine the "expected" impact on the witness panel. Measurements were taken and the angle of deflection was calculated using simple trigonometry.
Results: The angle of deflection was very small, less than 2-degrees in most cases. The conventional jacketed-hollow-point bullets deflected more than the bonded bullets, but the largest angle was still around 6-degrees. There was no predictable pattern with any of the firearm-ammunition combinations. Some bullets deflected up and some down. The left-to-right deflection was also random and did not appear to be dependent on the direction of twist in the rifling.
Conclusions: Windshields do have an effect on a bullet's trajectory. This effect is minimal for the ammunition and firearms tested and the distances commonly encountered in a vehicle shooting reconstruction. You cannot predict the direction of deflection based on the rifling in the firearm used.
BATTING ON PERSONAL SAFETY IN ARCHEOLOGY
LindaWraxall, Criminalist Safety Officer, California Department of Justice, Jan Bashinski-DNA Laboratory
The DNA Lab staff who volunteered to assist the Human Rights Center in the identification of human remains in clandestine graves in Guatemala had little or no outdoor crime scene experience. Therefore I did some background research on personal safety during exhumations, using the Internet to find published safety requirements for archeological digs. Most of these publications are generated from universities in the UK and provided a good framework for coping with adverse conditions. Information from two such safety manuals was given to our staff for their use and are presented here.
EXPLODING GAS CANS AND OTHER FIRE MYTHS
John D. DeHaan, Fire-Ex Forensics, Inc.
Criminalists who become involved with fire investigations are often faced with hypotheses about fire ignition and behavior that are accepted as fact by investigators, judges and juries. Some of these hypotheses are wildly misleading and can derail an investigation if not corrected. This paper will explore some of these myths and offer the results of tests that disprove them.
Myth 1: Gasoline cans or vehicle gas tanks explode when exposed to any flame, engulfing the unfortunate bystander. Tests: A variety of containers full of gasoline were ignited by application of open flame to the vapors being emitted. Results: No explosions occurred.
Myth 2: Gasoline is readily ignited by a glowing cigarette discarded nearby or by someone actively puffing on it. Tests: A variety of glowing/hot surface ignition sources have been applied to gasoline vapors under a variety of conditions. Results: No ignitions occurred.
Myth 3: Gasoline vapors mix readily with air and form a widely dispersed ignitable vapor/air mixture. Tests: Ignition sources were applied to various mixtures. Results: Ignition occurs only where the layer of vapor is in the flammable range.
Myth 4: A heavier-than-air vapor mixture will push out the bottoms of walls of a confining structure when deflagrating, while a lighter-than-air mixture will push out the tops of the walls. Tests: Deflagrations in a test compartment having a highly stratified hexane:air mixture were ignited and the pressures produced were measured by transducers. Results: Pressures on all internal surfaces were equal in magnitude and coincidental in time. Pressures equilibrate too rapidly in a typical deflagration to produce structural effects. Conclusions: Unless the criminalist is prepared to counter these myths in an investigation, he or she may be ignored in the face of the "common knowledge" about fuels, fires and explosions.
FORENSIC COMPUTER EXAMINATION RELATED TO PORNOGRAPHY TOOLS TO THE TEST - PEOPLE V. JACOBS
Mario Soto, Criminalist, Santa Clara Co. District Attorney's Office, Silicon Valley Computer Forensic Laboratory
See how various computer forensic techniques were used in this particular case, and how this evolving discipline assisted in the investigation.
TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TO FIX YOUR THREE MOST COMMON GC & GC/MS PROBLEMS
Greg Halstead, Service Representative, Full Spectrum Analytics, Inc.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of problems an analytical chemist may encounter in the process of performing analyses. Other than hardware failures, software problems, and user errors, when you get down to it there are only three basic problems. These problems are: high background, poor chromatography, and low sensitivity. High background exists in the three basic forms of elevated background, baseline rise, and ghost peaks. Poor chromatography manifests itself in the form of poor separation, poor peak shape or peak tailing. Low sensitivity can show up in the form of small peaks and/or high noise and system activity. This presentation will outline a logical approach from perceiving a system problem, to determining and/or isolating the actual problem, to formulating a solution and testing the fix.
FORENSIC SCIENTISTS WITHOUT BORDERS AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INVESTIGATIONS
Brian Harmon, Criminalist, Nicole Inacio, Criminalist, Christian Orrego, Criminalist, California DOJ, BFS, Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory
Guatemala suffered 36 years of civil war from 1960- 1996 resulting in some 200,000 persons missing and presumed dead. Forensic scientists have a unique opportunity to aid justice and reconciliation in Guatemala through the collection and presentation of evidence from clandestine graves. The exhumation and identification of victims can also provide invaluable training to the forensic scientist. In October of 2003, a team of volunteers from the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensic Services (BFS), traveled to Guatemala to assist the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG). The team was lead by Bureau Chief Lance Gima and accompanied by Isabel Reveco, a Chilean forensic anthropologist, and Michel Huneault, a social scientist/photojournalist with the Human Rights Center (HRC) at the University of California, Berkeley. The HRC sponsored the trip and has previously arranged visits and DNA training to Chile and Guatemala. This trip served to open the lines of communication between the U.S. and Guatemala forensic community, to assist and in turn be trained by the FAFG, and to explore the use of DNA identification when conventional anthropological methods fail. The FAFG's highly skilled anthropologists and archeologists have spent years tracking down clandestine graves and identifying victims at the request of the courts. Over the past 11 years, the FAFG has recovered, analyzed, and reported on the remains of over 2,300 individuals from clandestine graves. In one study of 1,817 skeletons analyzed, 56% were successfully identified. The FAFG received the California team with great enthusiasm and worked together to recover twelve bodies at three gravesites in the Quiche region of Guatemala. The work was conducted under threats of violence to the foundation staff during one of the most controversial presidential elections in Guatemalan history. Our presentation will discuss the volunteer trip, a photo documentation of the California team's experiences, and ongoing collaborations with the FAFG. We advocate that members of the forensic community can be "forensic scientists without borders" by aiding organizations that bring justice and reconciliation to the victims of human rights abuses.
GSR: AN AIRBONE PARTICLE RETENTION STUDY
Chip Pollock, Criminalist, Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, Laboratory of Forensic Services
This presentation will discuss the results from an airborne gunshot residue (GSR) retention study. The purpose of this study was to determine a time interval in which airborne GSR particles are likely to be present in the air after an individual has discharged a firearm. Our study consisted of an individual firing a single shot from a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and then collecting the airborne GSR particles on Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) disks over a specified time period. The SEM disks were examined by SEM-EDS and the results of this analysis will be discussed.
HPLC/MS MSN DYE IDENTIFICATION: FROM FIBER TO MS "FINGERPRINT"
Lauren M. Petrick, Sacramento County District Attorney's, Laboratory of Forensic Services
The use of a high performance liquid chromatograph-ion trap mass spectrometer (HPLC/MS) in a forensic context is a new and potentially powerful tool, combining the flexibility of LC with the specificity of MS. Its application in textile dye identification will be discussed. The dye in a fiber was first extracted with minimal manipulation, and then analyzed with HPLC/MSn in order to characterize its dye components. A case study was performed using acrylic reference and suspect fibers where data from both the MS and an UV/Visible spectrometer was collected and compared. The information allowed for an additional layer of discrimination that otherwise could not be obtained.
ELEMENTAL ANALYSIS IN FORENSIC SCIENCE: THE APPLICATION OF INDUCTIVELY COUPLED PLASMA MASS SPECTROMETRY (ICP-MS)
Abbegayle J. Dodds, Senior Student Intern, Trace Evidence, Sacramento County District Attorney's Laboratory of Forensic Services, UC Davis, Graduate Group in Forensic Science, Forensic Chemistry
An introduction to elemental analysis by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) will be presented in conjunction with its application to analyses of forensic importance. Emphasis will be placed on its use for sample types commonly encountered in trace evidence, especially glass. In conclusion, a very brief overview of the research efforts hosted by Sacramento County will be given regarding the use of laser ablation
(LA) ICP-MS. TRACE EVIDENCE RESOURCE CENTER UPDATE: THE USE OF PYROLYSIS GC/MS AND RAMAN IR IN THE TRACE SECTION
Raquel Paez, Senior Student Intern, Sacramento County District Attorney's Laboratory of Forensic Services
The Trace Evidence Resource Center grant has given the Sacramento County Laboratory of Forensic Services the ability to investigate the value of cutting edge instrumentation in the Trace section. This short presentation covers the use of both the Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry and Dispersive Raman Infrared Microspectrophotometry. Spectral libraries have been created on both instruments with standards such as polymers, fibers, automobile paints, minerals and low explosives. Sample preparation, method development, general data analysis and interpretation will be discussed.
AN EVALUATION OF INSTANT SHOOTER IDENTIFICATION (3 MINUTE FIELD TEST) GUNSHOT RESIDUE (GSR) KITS
Angela M. Hanson, Sacramento County District Attorney, Laboratory of Forensic Services
Instant Shooter Identification Kits (ISid) were evaluated and compared to standard gunshot residue testing by scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS). The ISid kit tests for nitrates using diphenylamine and sulfuric acid. ISid swabs and SEM samples for gunshot primer residue analysis were used to collect simultaneous samples from the shooter's hand at various post-shooting time intervals. The manufacture's 'screening instructions' were followed and all positive results were then prepared for SEM confirmation using the manufacturer's recommended procedures. All of these samples were then analyzed by SEM/EDS. We also evaluated the ability to confirm a positive nitrate test with SEM/ EDS after the ISid kit had been stored for extended periods of time. Results of both of these studies will be discussed in this presentation.
FORENSIC ODONTOLOGY FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, EMERGENCY MEDICAL PERSONNEL AND THE MILITARY
Dr. George Gould, DDS, Diplomate, ABFO, Northern California Deputy Director, California Dental Identification Team
This presentation will demonstrate the recognition, appropriate collection and scientific photography of dentally related evidence in pattern injuries believed to be bitemarks. In addition, there will be a discussion of my duties as an identification scientist at the US Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, related to the recovery of US military personnel from Vietnam, Korea, and World War II.