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PubMed | Forensic Science SA, Victoria Police Forensic Services Center and University of South Australia
Type: | Journal: Forensic science international | Year: 2016

When considering the impact and value of gunshot residues (GSR) as forensic trace evidence, the likelihood of a suspect producing a positive GSR analysis result without having direct exposure to a firearm is a major consideration. Therefore, the random prevalence of GSR and GSR-like residues in the wider population is a highly pertinent question when considering the probative value of such evidence. The random prevalence of GSR in two Australian jurisdictions - Victoria and South Australia - was assessed through the collection and analysis of GSR samples obtained from randomly selected members of the public. Volunteers were asked to declare any firearms use, hobbies or potential firearms exposure before allowing their hands to be sampled using aluminium GSR sample stubs coated in adhesive tape. A total of 289 samples, 120 from Victoria and 169 from South Australia were collected and analysed using scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis (SEM-EDS). Across all samples, three characteristic three-component Pb/Ba/Sb particles were detected from a single subject in South Australia, corresponding to an overall prevalence of 0.3%. Two-component consistent particles were more prevalent, with Pb/Sb particles being the most frequently occurring, in 8% of samples, and in South Australia only. A number of samples, approximately 7%, showed populations of single element particles of Pb, Ba and Sb, which has the potential to generate a false positive for GSR if using a bulk analysis technique such as NAA or AAS. The prevalence of GSR or GSR like particles in this study matches closely with similar surveys conducted in other jurisdictions. Such surveys are a useful foundation for the creation of a probabilistic method for the assessment of GSR evidence.


Chang J.Y.M.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | Michielsen S.,Deakin University | Michielsen S.,North Carolina State University
International Journal of Legal Medicine | Year: 2016

Textiles may provide valuable bloodstain evidence to help piece together events or activities at violent crime scenes. However, in spite of over 75 years of research, there are still difficulties encountered in many cases in the interpretation and identification of bloodstains on textiles. In this study, we dripped porcine blood onto three types of fabric (plain woven, single jersey knit, and denim) that are supported in four different ways (hard, taut, loose, and semi-hard, i.e., fabric laid on denim). These four mounting methods represent different ways in which a textile may be present when blood from a violent act lands on it. This study investigates how the fabric mounting method and backing material affect the appearance of drip stains on textiles. We found that bloodstain patterns formed on fabric lying flat on a hard surface were very different from when the same fabric was suspended loosely. We also found that bloodstains formed on the technical back of single jersey knit were vastly different from those on the technical face. Interestingly, some drip stains showed blood passing through the textile and leaving a stain behind it that resembled insect stains. By observing, recording, and describing how a blood stained textile is found or presented at the scene, the analyst may be able to better understand bloodstains and bloodstain patterns on textiles, which could be useful to confirm or refute a witness’s account of how blood came to be where it was found after a bloodshed event. © 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Lehmann V.J.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | Lehmann V.J.,University of Vic | Mitchell R.J.,University of Vic | Ballantyne K.N.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | van Oorschot R.A.H.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center
Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series | Year: 2013

The issue of DNA transfer is becoming increasingly important in crime scene situations, as DNA analytical techniques now detect tiny amounts. Whereas primary and secondary DNA transfers have been well studied, subsequent transfer steps have received much less focus. This study aimed to measure the detectability of a DNA source after multiple transfer events. Transfer of wet blood gave a full genetic profile well beyond the secondary transfer events on both cotton and glass substrates. Dry blood gave a full profile well beyond the secondary transfer events on glass only, but to a lesser extent than wet blood. Touch DNA only produced a full profile on the primary substrate on both cotton and glass, and detectable quantities beyond the secondary transfer event on glass only. Our results will contribute to a better understanding of the tertiary and subsequent transfer of DNA, which will allow for improved evaluation of the likelihood of alternative scenarios explaining why an individual's DNA was found at a crime scene. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Verdon T.J.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | Mitchell R.J.,La Trobe University | van Oorschot R.A.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center
Legal medicine (Tokyo, Japan) | Year: 2015

The analysis of DNA mixtures can be problematic, especially when in trace quantities such as when a biological sample is deposited onto a substrate which contains background DNA (for example, in the case of touch DNA deposited onto a garment containing the wearer's DNA). We conducted a preliminary investigation into the possibility of removing such multi-donor deposits layer by layer using a differential tape-lifting method. Two types of tape were tested using two different numbers of applications for sampling layered deposits of touch DNA/touch DNA and touch DNA/saliva, both on the same polyester-cotton plain woven material. The data showed that there was no significant increase in the ratio of secondary to primary deposit when sampled in this manner, compared to direct extraction from cuttings of the touched fabric. A similar result was also obtained even when the deposits were on opposing surfaces of the fabric and the sampling was carried out on the secondary deposit side. These findings indicate that biological material, whether touch DNA or saliva, does not predominantly remain on the side of the fabric on which it is deposited (at least for plain-woven polyester-cotton). They also highlight the importance of considering substrate properties when making assumptions as to the resulting location of biological materials from a deposition event, and the necessity to conduct further research on the interactions between substrates and deposits. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Durdle A.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | Durdle A.,La Trobe University | Mitchell R.J.,La Trobe University | van Oorschot R.A.H.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center
Forensic Science International | Year: 2013

Adult flies of some species are known to be attracted to crime scenes where they feed on the proteinaceous decomposition products of dead bodies. The flies leave deposits through excretion and regurgitation, and these artifacts often appear morphologically similar to bloodstains. To date, little consideration has been given to the possibility of the fly artifacts containing forensically useful levels of human DNA, or of flies as vectors of human DNA. In the present study, groups of artifacts collected after the adult blowfly Lucilia cuprina fed on biological fluids were examined and found to contain human DNA sufficient for profiling. Random samples from each group of artifacts were then subjected to human DNA profiling. Of the samples analysed, full or partial human DNA profiles were found in 57% of samples deposited by flies after blood meals, 92% after semen meals, 46% after saliva meals, 93% after blood/semen meals, 58% after blood/saliva meals and 95% after semen/saliva meals. DNA from artifacts deposited after flies were fed blood, semen, saliva, blood/semen, blood/saliva or semen/saliva was extracted at various time points up to 750 days, and the human DNA component quantified. The human DNA extracted from blood- and semen-based fly artifacts demonstrated a clear trend in which the amount of DNA extracted increased over the first 400 days, and full human DNA profiles were still obtained 750 days after artifact deposition. Saliva- and blood/saliva-based samples were tested at intervals up to 60 days and generated partial profiles at this final time. Blood/semen- and semen/saliva-based samples generated full profiles at 250 days. The presence of human DNA in fly artifacts has considerable forensic significance. Fly artifacts could potentially compromise crime reconstruction, and/or contaminate DNA evidence, up to at least two years after their deposition. Alternatively, fly artifacts may be a useful source of DNA if an offender has attempted to clean up a crime scene. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Marise C.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | Ross P.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center
Forensic Science International | Year: 2011

This paper describes the examination and analysis of 1-methylaminoanthraquinone dye staining on Australian polymeric bank notes. © 2010.


Lehmann V.J.,La Trobe University | Lehmann V.J.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | Mitchell R.J.,La Trobe University | Ballantyne K.N.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | And 2 more authors.
Forensic Science International: Genetics | Year: 2015

Abstract DNA transfer is of increasing importance in crime scene situations, partly due to analytical techniques detecting profiles in ever declining amounts of DNA. Whereas the focus has previously been DNA transfer of target sources, the effects of background DNA on transfer and detection of DNA after multiple contact situations have been much less investigated. This study measured the transfer and detection rates of a specific DNA source in the presence of background DNA sources. The presence of background DNA influenced the transfer of DNA differently depending on the combination of biological material and surface type. The detection of a profile from the target DNA decreased after multiple contact situations, due to the reduced total and relative quantity of target DNA, and the increasing complexity of the mixture. The results of this study contribute to a greater understanding of the effects of background DNA sources on DNA transfer and detection. © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Verdon T.J.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | Verdon T.J.,La Trobe University | Mitchell R.J.,La Trobe University | Van Oorschot R.A.H.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center
Forensic Science International: Genetics | Year: 2014

The use of tapelifting for collection of touch DNA from fabrics is routine in many jurisdictions. However, there is a paucity of data relating to the effectiveness of different types of tapes for tapelifting, the amount of tapelifting required to generate a useful profile, and whether or not tapelifting is more effective than swabbing from various substrates. This research investigates these questions by comparing two tapes of different adhesive strength currently used in forensic casework (Scotch® Magic™ tape and Scenesafe FAST™ minitapes), for sampling from touch deposits on four different fabrics-cotton flannelette, cotton drill woven fabric, polyester/cotton plain woven fabric and polyester strapping. Touch DNA was deposited on four replicates of each substrate. Separate areas of each substrate replicate were sampled, either by taping with one of the two tapes or by wet/dry swabbing with cotton swabs. Tape was applied over the defined sampling area once or repeatedly for various numbers of applications. DNA was extracted, quantified and profiled from all tape and swab samples as well as the corresponding sampled substrates. Significantly more DNA was extracted, and a higher proportion of alleles detected, from Scenesafe FAST™ tape than from Scotch® Magic™ tape. The amount of DNA and number of donor alleles detected generally increased as the tape was reapplied to the surface, although a threshold of collection was seen for both types of tape. For two out of four substrates, taping with Scenesafe FAST™ collected more DNA than swabbing and, for three substrates, generated a greater median number of donor alleles. There was no significant difference in numbers of alleles between swabbing and taping from flannelette. Based on these findings, it is recommended that a tape with stronger adhesion (such as Scenesafe FAST™ tapelifters) is generally preferable; that more than one application of tape is suggested (however, increasing the amount of times the area is sampled can diminish collection efficiency); and that there is an advantage using tapelifting rather than swabbing for fabrics unless, such as with flannelette, there are many loose fibres easily removed during the sampling process. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Verdon T.J.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | Verdon T.J.,La Trobe University | Mitchell R.J.,La Trobe University | Van Oorschot R.A.H.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center
Forensic Science International: Genetics | Year: 2013

The circumstances surrounding deposition of DNA profiles are increasingly becoming an issue in court proceedings, especially whether or not the deposit was made by primary transfer. In order to improve the currently problematic evaluation of transfer scenarios in court proceedings, we examined the influence a variety of nine substrate types (six varieties of fabric, plywood, tarpaulin, and plastic sheets) has on DNA transfer involving blood. DNA transfer percentages were significantly higher (p = 0.03) when the primary substrate was of non-porous material (such as tarpaulin, plastic or, to a lesser degree, wood) and the secondary substrate porous (such as fabrics). These findings on transfer percentages confirm the results of previous studies. Fabric composition was also shown to have a significant (p = 0.03) effect on DNA transfer; when experiments were performed with friction from a variety of fabrics to a specific weave of cotton, transfer percentages ranged from 4% (flannelette) to 94% (acetate). The propensity for the same nine substrates to impact upon the efficiency of DNA extraction procedures was also examined. Significant (p = 0.03) differences were found among the extraction efficiencies from different materials. When 15 μL of blood was deposited on each of the substrates, the lowest quantity of DNA was extracted from plastic (20 ng) and the highest quantities extracted from calico and flannelette (650 ng). Significant (p < 0.05) differences also exist among the DNA extraction yield from different initial blood volumes from all substrates. Also, significantly greater (p < 0.05) loss of DNA was seen during concentration of extracts with higher compared to lower initial quantities of DNA. These findings suggest that the efficiency of extraction and concentration impacts upon the final amount of DNA available for analysis and that consideration of these effects should not be ignored. The application of correction factors to adjust for any variation among extraction and concentration efficiencies among substrates is proposed. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Verdon T.J.,Victoria Police Forensic Services Center | Verdon T.J.,La Trobe University | Mitchell R.J.,La Trobe University | Chen W.,La Trobe University | And 2 more authors.
Forensic Science International: Genetics | Year: 2014

Although focusing attention on the statistical analysis of complex mixture profiles is important, the forensic science community will also benefit from directing research to improving the reduction of the incidence of mixtures before DNA extraction. This preliminary study analysed the use of fluorescence assisted cell sorting (FACS) for separation of cellular mixtures before DNA extraction, specifically mixtures of relatively fresh blood and saliva from two donors, prepared in 14 different mixture ratios. Improvements in the number of detectable alleles from the targeted cell type and overall profile quality were seen when compared to the results from unseparated samples. STRmix calculations revealed increases in likelihood ratios after separation, demonstrating the potential for higher probative values to be obtained from forensically relevant mixtures after subjecting them to FACS than from unsorted samples. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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