Mute Witnesses: Trace Evidence Analysis

ISBN 13: 9780123567604

Mute Witnesses: Trace Evidence Analysis

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9780123567604: Mute Witnesses: Trace Evidence Analysis

Trace evidence is small, even microscopic remnants of materials found at a crime scene or on a victim. The term "mute witnesses" is commonly used to refer to these small bits of evidence such as paint smears, fibers, hair strands, dirt particles, glass fragments, and other items.

Trace evidence can be used to tell the story of how a crime was committed and to identify and convict suspects. Recent improvements in the techniques used to collect and analyze trace evidence have played a key role in solving many cases that might have gone unsolved just a few years ago.

Mute Witnesses: Trace Evidence Analysis presents intriguing case studies from well-recognized experts and bright young stars in the field. Each chapter presents the facts of one or more prominent cases (particularly cases where DNA evidence was not available or was inconclusive), follows the progress of the investigation and how trace evidence assisted, and highlights important aspects for teaching. The cases cover carpet "nubs," hair and wig fibers, plastics in automobiles, glass, feathers, cross-transfer evidence, and more.

This unique book shows how the latest analysis techniques can provide new leads, detect evidence that has been transferred from one place to another, and closely link suspects, victims, and crime scenes. Numerous photographs and illustrations are included throughout the text. The material is written in a style that is accessible to trace analysts, crime scene specialists, police officers, lawyers, and students. This book is ideal for training, review, or general interest.

* Real case studies show how trace evidence was used to help solve difficult cases
* Written by top investigators from the FBI, crime labs, state police, etc.
* Outlines how the latest analysis techniques can provide new leads and closely link suspects, victims, and crime scenes
* Includes numerous color photographs and illustrations
* Designed for training, reference, or general interest

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From the Back Cover:

“Yet, upon reflection, one is astonished that it has been necessary to wait until this late day for so simple an idea to be applied as the collecting, in the dust of garments, of the evidence of the objects rubbed against, and the contacts which a suspected person may have undergone. For the microscopic debris that cover our clothes and bodies are the mute witnesses, sure and faithful, of all our movements and of all our encounters.“

-- Professor Edmond Locard (1930)
Trace evidence is a part of almost every investigation, due to the ubiquitous nature of the materials that comprise trace evidence: Paint, hair, fibers, glass, and soil, among others. Although “common”, these materials are by no means uniform. Varying in size, color, type, intentional additives, accidental characteristics, batch formulations, end-use products, and applications, trace evidence materials present an almost limitless combination of traits for identification and comparison. Correspondence between known and questioned materials can closely link suspects, victims, and crime scenes. Trace evidence can corroborate witnesses’ stories, provide leads, and change the course of investigations.

Mute Witnesses: Trace Evidence Analysis corrects the misconception that DNA evidence is the forensic science Each chapter presents a case review, particularly those where DNA evidence was not available, did not work, or was not probative. Each chapter presents the facts of the case, the progress of the investigation, and how trace evidence assisted. Every case also highlights some important aspect of trace evidence, such as instrumentation, sampling methods, interpretation, significance, research to answer a case-related question, or a manufacturing process. The chapters are self-contained and written for both technical expert and layman alike.

Mute Witnesses: Trace Evidence Analysis will be of interest to:

- scientists
- attorneys
- investigators
- students

About the Author:

Max M. Houck is the Director of the Forensic Science Initiative at West Virginia University, a program that develops research and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Mr. Houck is a trace evidence expert and forensic anthropologist who was assigned to the Trace Evidence Unit at the FBI Laboratory from 1992 to 2001. While at the FBI, Mr. Houck worked over 800 cases, including several major cases. Before joining WVU, he was assigned to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, to assist with the examination and identification of the victims of the 9-11-01 Pentagon attack. Mr. Houck is the recipient of an FBI Performance Award and the ASTM Forensic Sciences Award in 2000. Mr. Houck is the editor of two volumes of case reviews, Mute Witnesses and Trace Evidence Analysis, both published with Academic Press.

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Published by Academic Press Inc (2001)
ISBN 10: 0123567602 ISBN 13: 9780123567604
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Max M. (Editor) Houck
Published by St Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.: Ac (2001)
ISBN 10: 0123567602 ISBN 13: 9780123567604
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Book Description St Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.: Ac, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0123567602

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