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Methods of DNA Recovery

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You are a crime scene investigator on a homicide, and you find that you have several types of evidence that must be photographed, logged, and recovered from that scene. More specifically, there is drying blood on the floor that needs to be collected, a handgun and several shell casing near the victim, and several hairs that are still in the hand of your deceased victim. For this assignment, you are to do the following:
Explain how you would recover dried blood, a handgun, shell casings, and hairs that are at the crime scene.
What tools you would use to recover the evidence?
How would you package the evidence for safekeeping and transportation?
What types of tests could be performed on this evidence at the crime lab?
Provide APA citation and references for your material.

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Solution Preview

I have explained in details the methods of recovery of various samples found in a crime scene, their packaging & transportation protocols & the various tests that are performed once they reach the lab.

It is very common to find dried blood sample in a crime scene. Police investigators make it certain that the sample reaches the lab taking the utmost care with the least possible harm to the sample.
If the blood is found on clothes then the investigator should carefully take a non-absorbent paper and wrap it and then place it in a box, seal it. Investigator at the crime scene should never try to remove the blood from the cloth and try to put in any other solution. After sealing the box it needs to be properly labeled. If blood is somehow collected on a large object then the object needs to be properly wrapped and the edges sealed with a tape to avoid any sorts of contamination that might alter the result. If however, the blood lands on a very large object which is not practical to carry, then investigators should scrape off the sample on a piece of paper and wrap and put the paper in an envelope. A freshly sterile knife should be used to scrape off the sample from the large object.
Blood samples collected on small objects should also be carefully wrapped and the whole object should be transported to the lab. Moist cloth should never be used to collect blood sample.

Hair samples are also very important since it can tell investigators about the race of the individual and also from which part of the body the hair originated. It is important to collect all the hairs present in the crime scene using gloved hands or sterile tweezers. The hair samples should be then kept carefully in envelopes, sealed and labeled properly before transporting to the lab. If the hair is not free but attached to any object like glass, or on any metal, investigators should not attempt to remove the hair but take the whole object to the lab. Just like blood collection procedure, hairs stuck to large objects should be properly wrapped and taped to avoid any sort of contamination from occurring. In rape cases hair from the pubic portion should be combed and collected in an envelope. Around 30-60 pubic hairs are needed for proper examination. If hair need to be collected from the victim or the suspect's head then the person should be asked to bend over a paper and hair over the head should be combed gently and all loose hairs should be collected on a paper and the paper should be properly sealed and put inside an envelope. Hair from the suspect should be collected from all parts of the body.

Firearm recovered from a crime scene can provide very valuable information to solve the murder mystery. The type of firearm used, the number of bullets fired and the angle from which the shot/shots were fired to kill the victim can give out very precious and useful information to investigators. When dealing with firearm the rule is to never submit a loaded gun to a lab unless it is delivered in person. Cartridges should never be removed from the magazine and the magazine should be always removed from the gun before transferring the gun to lab. Even if a gun is on safety mode still guns should not ...

Solution Summary

The material here explains the various methods to recover dried blood samples, hair samples, firearm & shell casings found at the crime scene. Also explained in details are the methods of storage, packaging and transportation of these samples to the lab, the tools required in a crime scene for properly collecting these samples and how DNA samples are isolated and tested once they reach the lab.

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Forensic investigation procedures on skeletal remains

Background Information
Listed below are the details outlining a crime scene that occurred over a period of time. You are to investigate and evaluate the crime and be prepared to present your information in a court in the form of a written document. You will have to use entomology, odontology, anthropology, pathology, and microbiology techniques to complete your investigation.

Carl and Joseph were in the woods of Georgia in early fall. They had set up a camp because they were both deer hunters. In the fall of years when the weather is cooler, deer are very prevalent. On this cool November morning, the men were walking through the woods in their quest for deer. On the second day of being in the woods, walking through what was really thick brush and uneven terrain, one of the men slipped and fell into what appeared to be a covering of a hole in the ground. As he began to try and pull himself out, he saw several skulls and bones lying around. He immediately screamed for his friend, who assisted him in getting out of the hole. Together, they looked in and saw skeletons and what appeared to be a decomposing body.

The two men called the local police. The police arrived, secured the area, and called for the forensic team to come and investigate. You are the forensic person that has been asked to identify the 5 skeletons in the grave and the body that was only partially decomposed.

Address the following:
Why will this particular case require the use of forensic biology? Explain in detail.
When you arrive on the scene, what is your first course of action? Describe your process, and be specific.
How will you avoid contamination at this stage of the investigation? Explain.
How will you control the other first responders or law enforcement officers? What challenges do they pose to a forensic investigator? Explain.
What will you do to identify the remains at this crime scene? Explain.
What is the documentation process for collecting and preserving this type of evidence? Explain.
How will you transport your evidence to the lab safely? Explain.
Once you arrive back at the lab, what significant risks of contamination exist? Explain.
How will you avoid this contamination? Explain.
What is the process for DNA analysis on the decomposing body?
What specific tests will you use? Explain.
How will serology play a role in the selected testing processes? Explain.
Using this decomposing body as an example, what is the process that you will follow to properly conduct this DNA test?
What challenges or barriers exist when you begin to interpret the results of your DNA test? Explain in detail.
How large of a role will facial reconstruction play in this investigation? Explain.
Next, provide 2 scenarios of court case outcomes regarding this investigation.
One scenario must result in the successful identification and conviction of the perpetrator. You will need to fill in the blanks with regard to physical evidence and other necessary details.
The other scenario must result in a wrongful conviction. You will need to identify the elements that lead to this wrongful conviction.
Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.

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