Mute Witnesses

Mute Witnesses : Trace Evidence Analysis

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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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 195.6 x 253.5 x 18.3mm | 860.93g
  • Academic Press Inc
  • San Diego, United States
  • English
  • w. numerous figs. (mostly col.)
  • 0123567602
  • 9780123567604

Table of contents

Introduction; Ken Wiggins with Max M. Houck; 1: Fabric Processing and Nubs; Douglas Deedrick, FBI Laboratory; 2: Wigs and the Significance of One Fiber; Susan Ballou, Montgomery County Crime Laboratory; 3: Trace Evidence as Investigative Lead Value; Amy Michaud, FBI Laboratory; 4: Plastics in Automobiles; Brad Putnam, Oregon State Police Crime Laboratory; 5: Finding Trace Evidence; Richard E. Bisbing, McCrone Associates, Inc. 6: Only Circumstantial Evidence; Scott Ryland, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Max M. Houck, FBI; 7: Manslaughter Caused by a Hit-and-Run: Glass as Evidence of Association; Jose Almirall, Florida International University; 8: Feathers; Lee Brun-Conti, Michigan State Police; 9: A Case of Cross-Transfer; Max M. Houck, FBI Laboratory, Washington, D.C. Author Index; Subject Index
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Review quote excellent collection of trace evidence cases that has a truly broad appeal...resplendent with many excellent photographs, charts, diagrams, and references that are good supplements and make complex concepts easily understandable. JOURNAL OF FORENSIC IDENTIFICATION Actual case histories emphasize the recovery and analysis of diverse items such as fibers, paint, glass, plastics, and feathers...each chapter also details applicable analytical methodology and sampling methods, and deals with interpretation and significance invaluable reference source for practicing forensic scientists...The book is carefully styled and crafted so that it will appeal to both technical expert and layperson. -Richard Saferstein, for CHOICE, January 2002 This is one of the best forensic science related books I've ever read. One might think that trace evidence is not the most exciting subject, but once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. The book is edited by Max Houck (formerly of the FBI lab), and the author's are all among the top names in the trace evidence field. Just reading the introduction to this book gives the reader a valuable lesson in the history of forensic science, the importance of trace evidence, it's recovery and evaluation. It's almost worth it's cover price for the introduction alone. In conclusion if you are involved in, or interested in forensic science you should get a copy of this book. - Daryl W. Clemens, Crime and Clues
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About Max M. Houck

Mr. Houck currently heads the forensic Science initiative at West Virginia University. Previously he was a Physical Scientist at the FBI laboratory in Washington, D.C., and Chairman of the Scientific Working Group for Materials (SWGMAT), a peer-consensus group of over 80 trace evidence scientists from around the world. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Science, and an active member of several scientific societies.
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