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Investigator: Anne Chase

Crime Scene: #1
Evidence being examined: Tequila Bottle
Forensic science used: Superglue Fuming
Summary of the Science:
Fingerprinting analysis has been used in law enforcement for centuries. It is the basis for
criminal history and identification in every law enforcement agency worldwide. Ancient
Babylonians used fingerprints in clay to record business transactions and the Chinese
used ink on paper to identify children. Fingerprinting wasnt used for criminal
identification until the 19th century. Henry Faulds and Sir Francis Galton were among the
first people to begin investigating fingerprints. Galton published the first fingerprint
classification system in 1892. Of all the billions of fingerprints collected in the world, no
two have ever been found alike. Each fingerprint has tiny details in the print called
Minutia. These Minutiae are what makes each fingerprint unique. Fingerprinting
analysis remains the most commonly used method in identification of criminals.
There are three different types of fingerprints, visible, impression and latent prints.
Visible prints are a result of a stained finger leaving a print visible to the naked eye such
as prints with ink, blood, grease or other colored materials. When a print is visible on
clay, soap, wax or other soft surfaces, an impression print is present. Latent prints are
invisible prints made by the bodys natural greases and oils and are not visible under
normal lighting. Latent fingerprints are made of several chemicals and are left on every
object touched. Sweat, amino acids, glucose, lactic acid, peptides, ammonia, riboflavin,
isoagglutinogens, potassium, sodium, carbon trioxide and chlorine are the chemicals
existing in latent prints. Whenever you touch something, a transfer of materials is made.
This exchange is called Locards Exchange Principle. Whenever contact is made,
something is taken and something is left behind. Fingerprints are categorized into three
different formations, loops, whorl and arches. Loops are lines that start and end on the
same side of the print. Whorl is circles that dont exist on either side of the print. Arches
are lines that start on one side and end on the other and curve in the center of the print.
Fingerprints are used as associative evidence that can link persons to the crime.
One of the techniques to make latent prints visible is through the chemical process of
cyanoacrylate fuming or also called superglue fuming. The super glue chemically reacts
with the amino acids, fatty acids, and proteins in the latent print. It also reacts with the
moisture in the air that creates white material on the ridges of the print.

The cyanoacrylate must be heated to its gaseous form in order for the reaction to take
place. The surfaces being checked for latent fingerprints are placed into an airtight tank.
In a tiny, open container, a very small amount of superglue is placed. The container is
placed into the airtight tank and begins to be heated to around forty-nine and sixty-five
degrees Celsius. Once the cyanoacrylate is in its gaseous state, it fills the tank and
adheres to the latent print.
Once the superglue fuming is completes, the latent print now has a white coating. It can
then be dusted with black powder to become more visible. Using tape, the fingerprint
can be lifted and transferred to a computer for further analysis.
Currently, the process of cyanoacrylate fuming is being taken one step further to make
the print fluoresce. Additional research is being conducted to shorten the process and
increase the precision and quality of the print and fluorescence.
Based on the analysis of the fingerprints, it can be determined Aaron Lee, Michelle Lee,
and Scott Henderson were present during the time of the crime. By taking the
fingerprints form the tequila and rum bottle, it was discovered Michelle and Aaron came
in contact with both bottles. Scott Henderson, Michelle Lee and Aaron Lees
fingerprints were present on the cup on the floor and Michelles and Scotts were found
on the prescription bottle. Aaron and Michelles fingerprints were found on the cup on
the counter as well as on the eviction notice.
Sources:
http://science.howstuffworks.com/fingerprinting3.htm
Fingerprinting by Colleen Dunning

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