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Forensics Europe Expo

2017 FEE Conference


Fingerprints, the source and beyond - innovative research into the unique composition of fingerprints

Conference Theatre

At the Netherlands Forensic Institute we are currently analysing the chemical composition of 1800 fingerprints with the purpose of building a database.

We have collected 4 different fingerprints from 450 individuals at a music festival in the Netherlands, resulting in a collection of 1800 fingerprints.

In an earlier study we have shown that the chemical composition of fingerprints can be retrieved in a rather easy manner. A further analysis of this data has shown that the compositional analysis can reveal a lot about the donor of the fingerprint.

In casework we regularly get the question if we can determine whether a pillow was used to smother a victim. As visualisation techniques for fingerprints (or grab marks) on fabrics aren’t very common, we have sought to determine what the most common location of contact is when a pillow is used for smothering a victim.

At the same festival we have asked volunteers to carry out two different activities with a pillow, under two different hypotheses:

  • H1 - the pillow has been used to smother a victim and
  • H2 - the pillowcase has been changed on this pillow.

Preliminary results have already shown that there are different locations on the pillow case that would support either hypothesis.

In this presentation an short overview of the experimental set up is given and the forensic application will be highlighted.

Authors: Ward van Helmond, Anouk de Ronde and Marcel de Puit

Marcel de Puit, Forensic Chemist - Netherlands Forensic Institute

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