CHAPTER 8
HAIR
TRACE EVIDENCE
Hair and Fiber
Colin Ross- 1921 Australia
• A 13 year old girl wrapped in a blanket had been
raped,strangled and beaten. She was left wrapped in a
blanket on the ground. But no blood was found- she had
been washed and dried before being left.
• A local bar owner admitted the girl was at his bar that
night.
• Two blankets in his home were analyzed. A 12+ inch
strand of reddish-blond hair was found. It had been
forcibly removed.
• At trial the crime scene hair was distinguishable from other
patrons of the bar. He was convicted and hanged.
John Fiorenza- 1936 NYC
Fibers
• Nancy Titterton,wife of an NBC executive was
found face down in an empty bathtub, raped and
strangled with her own pajama jacket. The
apartment showed signs of a struggle. She also
had ropes about her wrists and a lone, stiff white
hair was located with it.
• The rope was traced to its manufacturer in
Pennsylvania- and sold to the upholsterer who
employed Fiorenza and who worked on the horse
hair sofa in the victim’s home.
• He confessed when confronted with the fiber
evidence. Fiorenza was convicted and executed.
Samuel Morgan- 1940 England
• Mary Hagan, 15, went for a paper and never returned. She
had been raped and strangled and left by the railroad. A
muddy, bloodstained finger bandage was left at the scene.
She had a bloody thumbprint on her neck.
• The bandage had a disinfectant that was used by the
military. Sam Morgan had deserted the military recently
and was suspected in an earlier attack on another woman.
When he was detained his thumb was still injured.
• The bandage was common- military issue- but it was also
stitched by hand. That was the single detail that convicted
him.
• He confessed, recanted, re-confessed, was convicted and
hanged.
John Vollman-1958, Canada Hair
• Gaetane Bouchard was found in a gravel pit near a ‘lover’s lane’ area
in Edmundston, Canada. She had been stabbed and left for dead. Also
found were a few small green flakes of paint, probably from a car.
• Gaetane had met John Vollman earlier and had dated him for a time.
Friends reported seeing them together the night she went missing.
They were in his green 1952 Pontiac.
• The paint chips matched John’s car, but he admitted to parking with
Gaetane.
• Also found was a single strand of hair clutched in the dead girl’s hand.
• A new technique, NAA, was used to identify the hair and link it to
John Vollman.
• He was convicted.
Wayne Williams- 1981 Atlanta
Fibers
From October 1979 to
May 1981, Wayne Williams
killed twenty-seven young
black boys in Atlanta. As
most serial killers are white, it
was thought that the Atlanta
child murderer was a white
racist. Most of the boys were
taken from black
neighborhoods where a white
man would stand out, so
police announced that they
were looking for a probable
black serial killer.
Wayne Williams
• On 22 May 1981 at 2 AM, police heard someone dumping
something in the Chattahoochee river. A black man, 22-yearold Wayne Williams, was found climbing into a station wagon,
and was questioned by police then allowed to go.
• When a body (Nathaniel Cater) turned up in the river a week
later police talked to Williams again. Fibers found on the victim
matched one's found in William's car and he was arrested. At
trial Williams was found guilty and sentenced to life
imprisonment.
• Yellow green fibers had been found on several of the victim’s
bodies.
Wayne Williams
The fibers were manufactured
by the Wellman Corp and sold
during 1967-74 and sold
undyed to other companies.
West Point Pepperell Corp, of
Georgia, made Luxaire carpet
in English Olive green- only
between 1970-1971, That
kind of carpet was found in
Wayne William’s bedroom.
Wayne Williams- The Statistics
• Only about 16,000 yd2 were sold (out of 16 billion
yd2 total) only 82 homes in Georgia should have
that same carpet, ten years later. The odds were 1
in 7,792 now.
• BUT, Jimmy Ray Payne (killed a month earlier)
had fibers that also matched carpets in the
Williams’ car! This was a 1 in 3828 odds.
• SO- the odds of both fibers found on victims
matching Wayne Williams’ carpeting was 1 in 30
million!
Jeffrey MacDonald-1970, NC
Fiber, hair
Fort Bragg, North Carolina saw
the murder of two small girls, and
a young pregnant mother. The
Green Beret father and husband
was knocked out and stabbed in
the mid-chest. His wounds were
minor and he gave a detailed
account of Manson-like hippies
attacking him and his family.
Because he was a physician he
tried to ‘save’ his family when he
came to.
Jeffrey MacDonald
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
The living room was ‘messed up’ in the
struggle.
“Pig’ was written in blood in the master
bedroom.
Both girls and their mother were multiply
stabbed by an ice pick.
Each of the victims had a different blood
group- so their movements could be traced.
MacDonald’s blood was limited.
Jeffrey draped his blue pajama top over her
body after he found his wife stabbed 21 times.
Blue fibers were found in each of the victim’s
rooms.
The 48 holes in the pajama top were all
smooth and round.
MacDonald was convicted, but released on
appeal. He is now serving three life sentences.
Introduction
Trace Evidence--any small pieces of material,
man-made or naturally occurring (animal,
plant or mineral)
Most common examples:
u Hair
u Fiber
Test Questions for Trace
Evidence
•
What is it?
•
Is it man-made or natural?
•
What is its source?
•
How common is it?
•
Can it be identified to a single source?
Hair
Human hair is one of the most frequently found pieces of
evidence at the scene of a violent crime. It can provide a link
between the criminal and the act.
From hair one can determine:
u Human or animal origin
u Race
u Body region
The age of an individual cannot be determined
u Manner in which hair was removed
definitively by a microscopic examination;
however, the microscopic appearance of certain
u Treated hair
human hairs, such as those of infants and
elderly individuals, may provide a general
u Drugs ingested
u
BUT NOT- age or sex of origin
indication of age. The hairs of infants, for
example, are generally finer and less distinctive
in microscopic appearance. As individuals age,
hair can undergo pigment loss and changes in
the configuration of the hair shaft to become
much finer and more variable in diameter.
Removal of Hair
Naturally
shed
Forcibly removed
Forcibly removed
with root tissue
DNA test can be
done
When hairs
originate from a
body in a state of
decomposition, a
dark band may
appear near the
root of the hair.
This characteristic
has been labeled a
postmortem root
band.
Hair Stages
• Hair goes through phases- growth,
resting, and dying/loss.
8090%
2%
10-18%
The average period of growth for scalp hair is approximately
1,000 days; the resting phase lasts about 100 days.
Approximately 10 percent of the hairs on a human head
(100/1000), therefore, are in the quiescent telogen phase, and a
minimal amount of force—such as that from combing—is
required to dislodge the hairs from the dormant follicle.
Hair Growth
•
•
Terminology
u
Anagen--hair that is growing
u
Catagen--hair at rest
u
Telogen--hair that is dying
Length--00.5 mm per day or 1 centimeter
per month; approximately one half to
one inch per month
MORPHOLOGY OF HAIR
•
•
Hair is often found as PE at a crime scene
Hair cannot be individualized yet
–
•
•
•
•
(unless DNA is present in root ball/follicular tag)
Must be properly collected and can then, be
used as corroborative evidence
Hair is an appendage of the skin, and grows
out from a HAIR FOLLICLE
Parts of hair are: root (or bulb), shaft, and tip
end
Shaft has 3 layers- cuticle, cortex, and
medulla
Hair Morphology
The Study of Structure and Form
Parts of the hair
u
u
Shaft--part of the hair that
sticks out of the skin
Tip – end point of hair
shaft
u
Root--lies below
the epidermis
u
Follicle--structure from
which the hair grows
THE CUTICLE
•
•
•
•
•
2 characteristics that make hair good evidence are- 1)
resistance to chemical decomposition and 2) ability
to retain structural features over long period of time
These characteristics are due to the cuticle
Cuticle is formed by overlapping scales that point
toward the tip end
Cuticles are formed as special cells that keratinize
(harden) and flatten as they form in the follicle
Pattern of the scales are sometimes useful in
determining species of animal
Hair Cuticle
The cuticle is the outermost layer of hair which is
covered with scales. Scales also always point toward
the tip of the hair. These scales differ between species
of animals and are names based on their appearance.
Some of these scales are variations of the same and
include:
Mosaic
Pectinate
Imbricate
Petal
Diamond petal
Chevron
Cuticle Patterns
• Each species has different patterns.
• Cannot determine the specific animal from the
hair.
Scale Types
Mosaic
Chevron
Scale Types (cont)
Pectinate
Imbricate
Scale Types (cont)
Petal
Diamond
Petal
Animal Cuticles
Human, Dog, Deer
Rabbit, Cat, Horse
HUMAN SCALES
In order to visualize the
scales
– paint fingernail polish on
a slide
– place a hair on the polish
– lift off the hair and
observe the scale imprints
What pattern is seen in this
slide?
Human Cuticle
Tip
end
Tip end
Imbricate pattern
THE CORTEX
This is the layer below the cuticle
•
Made up of spindle-shaped
cortical cells that are
parallel to the cuticle
•
Pigment granules here give
hair its color
•
Color, shape, and
arrangement of granules
give points of comparison
between individuals
•
Must use microscope to
view the cortex
Hair Cortex
The cortex gives the hair its shape.
Wavy or curly
hair is oval in
cross section.
Kinky or
woolly hair is
flat in cross
section,
Straighttextured hair is
round in cross
section,
THE MEDULLA
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Collection of cells that run in the center of the
shaft
Many animals have a prominent medullahumans do not
Medullae vary from person to person and from
hair to hair
Medullae classified as: continuous, interrupted,
segmented/fragmented or absent
Humans usually have fragmented or absent
medullae
Mongoloid race usually has continuous medulla
Shape of medullae are also significant- usually
cylindrical in humans but can be patterned in
animals
Hair Medulla
The medulla is the hair core, but is
not always present. The medulla
comes in different types and patterns.
Types:
u
Continuous
u
Intermittent or interrupted
u
Fragmented
u
Absent--not present
Medulla Patterns
Hair Medulla Patterns
Uniserial
Multiserial
Vacuolated
Lattice
Amorphous
(without a distinct pattern)
Medulla Patterns in Different
Species
Human head hair
Rabbit Hair
Dog Hair
Cat Hair
Deer Hair
M ous e Hair
RABBIT MEDULLA
Rabbit medulla is different depending on
the type (location on the rabbit) of hair. The
one to the left is multiserial. The one to the
right is a uniserial ladder and is found in
guard hair.
Bat
Brown Bear
Fur Seal
Gorilla
Orangutan
Lion
HUMAN MEDULLA
Human medulla may be continuous, fragmented
or absent.
Medullary Index
Determined by measuring the diameter of
the medulla and dividing it by the diameter
of the hair.
Medullary Index for human hair is generally
less than 1/3.
For animal hair, it is usually greater than 1/2.
IDENTIFICATION AND COMPARISON
OF HAIR
Using Comparison Microscope
•
•
•
•
•
In trials usually just identify hair as human
or animal.
Identifying which human the hair belongs to
is much harder.
Need many standards (samples) for
comparison to suspect.
Can compare scalp or pubic hairs.
Again, probability that sample is PE from the
suspect is the question in a trial.
Hair and Racial Origin
Caucasoid (European)
Hairs of Caucasoid or
Caucasian origin can be of fine
to medium coarseness, are
generally straight or wavy in
appearance, and exhibit colors
ranging from blonde to brown to
black. The hair shafts of
Caucasian hairs vary from
round to oval in cross section
and have fine to medium-sized,
evenly distributed pigment
granules.
Mongoloid (Asian)
Hairs of Mongoloid or Asian origin are
regularly coarse, straight, and circular
in cross section, with a wider diameter
than the hairs of the other racial
groups. The outer layer of the hair, the
cuticle, is usually significantly thicker
than the cuticle of Negroid and
Caucasian hairs, and the medulla, or
central canal, is continuous and wide.
The hair shaft, or cortex, of Mongoloid
hair contains pigment granules that
are generally larger in size than the
pigment granules of Caucasian hairs
and which often appear to be grouped
in patchy areas within the shaft.
Mongoloid hair can have a
characteristic reddish appearance as a
Negroid (African)
Hairs of Negroid or African origin are
regularly curly or kinky, have a
flattened cross section, and can
appear curly, wavy, or coiled.
Negroid pigment granules are larger
than those found in Mongoloid and
Caucasian hair and are grouped in
clumps of different sizes and shapes.
The density of the pigment in the hair
shaft may be so great as to make the
hair opaque. A Negroid hair shaft
exhibits variation or apparent
variation in diameter because of its
flattened nature and the manner in
which it lies on the microscope slide.
Twisting of the hair shaft, known as
buckling, can be present, and the
hair shaft frequently splits along the
length.
Hair Comparison
u
u
u
u
Color
Length
Diameter
Distribution, shape and
color intensity of
pigments granules
u Dyed hair has color
in cuticle and cortex
u Bleaching removes
pigment and gives
yellow tint
u
u
u
u
u
Scale types
Presence or absence of
medulla
Medullary type
Medullary pattern
Medullary index
Collection of Hair Evidence
• Questioned hairs must be accompanied by an
adequate number of control samples.
– from victim
– possible suspects
– others who may have deposited hair at the scene
• Control Sample
– 50-100 full-length hairs from all areas of scalp
– 25-50 full-length pubic hairs
IDENTIFICATION AND COMPARISON OF HAIRUsing Comparison Microscope
•
•
•
•
Age and sex CANNOT be determined
by hair (sex can be determined by
DNA analysis if root tissue is present).
Hair root with follicular tissue may
indicate hair was pulled out forciblyby a person or comb, etc.
Currently trying to individuate hair
by using mitochondrial DNA test.
Routinely collected during autopsy of
victim of unnatural causes.
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