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Forensic Trace Analysis Laboratory, Lab Report Example

Pages: 8

Words: 2107

Lab Report

Circumstances of the Case

The purpose of the present analysis is to examine the relationship between the actions of Ken Long, a male suspect aged 28 years and a burglary that occurred on 14 October 2015 at 02:47 hours. The burglary required the breaking of the front shop display window at Gem’s Jeweller’s on Grey Street in Newcastle Upon Tyne. A large quantity of watches was stolen and security footages shows a male, wearing a black balaclava driving away in a red Renault Clio towards the Quayside, alone. The registration number of the vehicle was RT55 LNT. After the police made chase, the suspect left his vehicle on Durham road and escaped to hide. An individual by the name of Ken Long was arrested when he was found hiding under a car located on the nearby Summerfield Road and was arrested in connection with the offense. Evidence taken in for analysis includes a black balaclava, which was found in a nearby garden, in addition to tapings of the headrest found in the abandoned car.

Purpose of the Examination

Using the collected evidence, it is necessary to determine if Ken Long is the man identified in the surveillance video. Ken Long is being held as a suspect due to his proximity during the crime in addition to the suspicious behavior he exhibited when he was found. First, it is necessary to determine whether Ken Long meets the racial profile of the suspect. In the surveillance videos, the black balaclava reveals a portion of the suspects face, so it is necessary to determine whether Ken Long’s skin tone matches that of the individual in the video. Next, it is necessary to determine whether the black balaclava found in the garden is the same one worn by the criminal. To do so, a fiber analysis should be conducted to determine whether the fibers contained on the back seat of the abandoned red Renault Clio match the trace fibers contained on the back of the black balaclava. It would also be necessary to determine whether the balaclava contains trace amounts of glass to determine if the wearer was involved in breaking the window at the jewelry store. Next, it would be beneficial to determine whether any of Ken Long’s hair can be found in the red Renault Clio, indicating whether or not he had made use of the car previously. Next, it would be beneficial to determine the name and address of the individual that is connected to the license plate RT55 LNT. If the individual that is pulled up in the search is found not to be Ken Long, it would be helpful to search stolen vehicle records to determine if it is plausible for the car to have entered Ken Long’s possession and how. Last, it would be valuable to take Ken Long’s fingerprints and determine whether they match up to any fingerprints at the scene of the crime or on the evidence, including the wheel of the car and the stolen watches. By utilizing this analyses to piece together the crime, it will be possible to either have enough evidence to lead to Ken Long’s guilt or prove his innocence, indicating the need to search for other suspects related to the crime.

Items Examined and Recovered

Given the available items recovered, the black balaclava found in the garden, the fiber taping from the driver’s seat, and control glass from the store’s window, it is possible to determine whether the black balaclava found in the garden was connected to the crime and whether the wearer was in fact the driver of the red Renault Clio. The presence of trace glass on the black balaclava would indicate that the wearer either broke the glass of the store window or was within the proximity of breaking glass. Furthermore, provided that the fibers from the seat of the car are contained in trace evidence on the black balaclava, it could be concluded that the same individual that was associated with breaking the store window is the individual who drove the car. To take this a step further, the hair contained within the black balaclava can be examined and compared to a sample of Ken Long’s hair to determine if a match is present. This would then match Ken Long as the individual driving the car and as the one who broke the store window.

Examined Evidence and Employed Methods

Car seat fibers were carefully lifted from the black balaclava and placed onto a microscope slide for further analysis. This slide was then compared to the fibers lifted off the car using tape. The analysis was conducted by specifically assessing the pattern of the fibers, their color, and size. NMR spectroscopy was also carried out to confirm the identity of these fibers. Several samples of fibers were used from each source to confirm the comparison. Next, a hair analysis was conducted to compare the hair from the inside of the black balaclava to hair samples obtained from Ken Long. A similar process was used; samples from the black balaclava were mounted onto slides and then hair retrieved from Ken Long was used as a control and point of comparison. Several samples were used to ensure the consistency of the results. Primarily physical properties were examined, including the color of the hair and its degree of transparency. Last, the trace samples of glass found on the black balaclava were removed for analysis. Only ten pieces of glass were identified. These pieces of glass were mounted on microscope slides and compared to the glass retrieved from the crime scene as a standard. Microspectrophotometry was also used to make this comparison. The refractive index was then calculated to quantitatively determine the identity of the glass shards. If the results of this analysis need to be confirmed with more accuracy, it would be possible to conduct a DNA test comparing the DNA found in the hair follicles of the evidence found in the black balaclava compared with the DNA contained in the follicles of hair retrieved from Ken Long. However, the present analysis has not deemed this to be necessary.

Results

The car fiber matches the fibers found on the black balaclava in pattern, color, and general appearance. The microspectrophotometery analysis of the second and third glass sample found on the balaclava yielded two peaks; at 450 nm, there was an absorbance of 0.9. At the second peek at 625 nm, there is an absorbance of 0.8 (KF1_REC3). The first and fourth sample had less distinct peaks, but the first was located at 1.1, and the second was located at 0.9 (KF1_REC1 and KF1_REC4). These patterns match the patterns of the glass that was taken directly from the crime scene to serve as a standard. The calculation of the refraction index of the glass demonstrated that the refraction index of all samples taken from the black balaclava was 1.51. The same value for the refractive index of the standard samples was also retrieved. Thus, it is evident that the glass taken from the black balaclava is the same glass that was found at the scene of the crime at the jewelry store. The NMR spectroscopy conducted on the fiber sample from the red car yielded eight distinct peaks, with the most characteristic peak present at around 1230 cm-4 for all three samples analyzed. The other characteristic peaks are similar, indicating that all fibers tested are conclusively derived from the same source. Furthermore, the physical pattern of the glass retrieved from the crime scene matches the glass found on the black balaclava. Last, the hair samples retrieved from the black balaclava appear to match the hair retrieved from Ken Long.

Evaluation of Evidential Significance

Based on the collected evidence, it appears that Ken Long’s hair matches the identity of the hair found on the black balaclava. Furthermore, the trace glass indicates that the black balaclava was present at the scene of the crime and the fiber analysis indicates that the black balaclava had made direct contact with the red Renault Clio. A combination of the microspectrophotometry analysis of the glass evidence in addition to the NMR spectroscopy of the fiber evidence helped confirm the chemical identity and physical composition, respectively, of the glass and fiber samples. Therefore, the belief that Ken Long is the proper suspect associated with the watch thievery at Gem’s Jeweller’s on Grey Street in Newcastle Upon Tyne is therefore supported. In order to confirm this belief, however, it would be valuable to conduct further analysis with regards to this case. However, this is enough evidence to reveal that Ken Long should not be released from his arrest and be required to face a trial. It would be beneficial to bring additional evidence to the trial, however, in order to be certain of Ken Long’s conviction.

To further support the claim that Ken Long is responsible for this crime, it would be beneficial to confirm the identity of the hair found on the black balaclava using DNA analysis. Although this procedure is time consuming, DNA evidence would help confirm the match and tie back the black balaclava directly to Ken Long. Since an individual with the black balaclava was seen in the surveillance video, DNA evidence would create greater certainty regarding the suspect’s guilt. Furthermore, it would be valuable to determine the identity of the owner of the car with the registration labeled RT55 LNT. If the car is registered to Ken Long, then this will contribute to evidence against him. Otherwise, exploring this information may reveal that the vehicle is stolen, adding to Ken Long’s list of crimes, or reveal an accessory to the crime. Thus, in order to understand all of the facts of the crime, it is necessary to evaluate the evidence that was presented more significantly. Last, it would be beneficial for the forensics team to return back to the red Renault Clio to determine if any fingerprint evidence can be revealed. Although it would have been more beneficial for this to have been done during the initial evidence screening, it would be valuable to have this information to either determine whether Ken Long’s fingerprints are present or to help determine the identity of the owner of the car. While the present evidence is sufficient to confirm Ken Long’s connection to the crime, it is apparent that more analysis needs to be conducted to be certain of the specifics of the case.

Overall, this case demonstrates that it is beneficial to use a combination of chemical, physical, biological, and information technology techniques in order to confirm or deny the guilt of an individual that has been arrested in association with a crime. While the focus of this crime scene analysis was physical evidence, it would be beneficial to include the additional recommended interpretations of the data to ensure that there is enough evidence to convict Ken Long without doubt and to take action to provide him with the correct rehabilitative plan once he is imprisoned.

Conclusion

The purpose of this analysis was to determine whether the red Renault Clio and black balaclava could be traced to Ken Long in connection with the watch burglary at Gem’s Jeweller’s on Grey Street in Newcastle Upon Tyne. To do so, microscopy was used to compare the glass fibers found on the black balaclava to the glass found at the store to determine whether the black balaclava was connected to the crime. Microspectrophotometry was also used for this purpose. The connection was confirmed. Next, microscopy was used to compare the car seat fibers found on the black balaclava to the fibers removed from the red Renault Clio with tape. NMR spectroscopy was also used for this purpose. The connection was confirmed. Last, microscopy was used to determine the match between the hair found on the inside of the black balaclava with a hair sample from Ken Long’s head. The connection was confirmed. Overall, the analysis of this evidence indicates that the belief that Ken Long is the perpetrator of this crime is supported. However, there is a need to conduct an analysis of additional evidence that was found at the crime scene to support this belief and ensure that the correct verdict is carried out at Ken Long’s trial.

Works Cited

Haag, Michael G. and Haag, Lucien C. Shooting Incident Reconstruction: Second Edition. New York: Academic Press, 2011.

Holt, Cynthia. Guide to Information Sources in the Forensic Sciences Libraries Unlimited, 2006.

Jamieson, Allan; Moenssens, Andre (eds). Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2009.

Kind, Stuart; Overman, Michael. Science Against Crime Doubleday, 1972.

Lewis, Peter Rhys; Gagg Colin; Reynolds, Ken. Forensic Materials Engineering: Case Studies CRC Press, 2004.

Nickell, Joe; Fischer, John F. Crime Science: Methods of Forensic Detection, University Press of Kentucky, 1999.

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