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Forensic textbook study comes to life with hands on analysis of the everyday world.
Instructor Dr. Lin Davis-Stephens
Introducing Dr. Lin
To inquire about course content ask Dr. Lin Davis-Stephens, call 785-460-5528
From Kansas to the USA
Forensics For Dummies
Book Review 1
For the first book review I have decided to read “Forensics For Dummies” by D. P. Lyle, MD. This book covers many of the parts pertaining to Forensic investigations but I will be covering just a few of them. First covers working the scene, then comes Fingerprinting, and how to trace drugs and poisons in the body. Working the scene starts from the moment you arrive police officers have to follow strict protocols when it comes to an investigation they must be careful to not disturb anything and preserve it for when forensic workers arrive. When they do they them must document the procedure tis includes taking any pictures and or photos of the scene before sketching it. Once the crime scene has been booked and documented then you start to look for evidence. If you are to come across fingerprint you must be careful to not disturb it. There are many different parts to fingerprinting including Marking and matching fingerprints long with classifying them. You can determine a fingerprint and who it belongs to through ridge parents and submitting the fingerprint to the criminal data base. Finals one of the points that this book covers is blood stains. Blood is more thick than water witch but they share the same type of spatter and physical properties than water. When someone is stabbed or shot blood follows the rules of gravity. It moves downhill and accumulates in low spots. The size and shape of the blood spatter can revel the angle at witch they struck the object they were projected on.
Dead Men Do Tell Tales
I read and reviewed the book Dead Men Do Tell Tales The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist by William R. Maples, PH.D. and Michael Browning. Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist is a mixture of William Maples's most famous and interesting cases and the story of his career. It starts with his interests in forensics as a young boy going all the way to cases he worked on in the 1990s before he died in 1997. Maples's book is for those with strong stomachs, he goes into very detailed descriptions of rotting skeletons and how the human body burns when cremated. The explanations of how murder weapons can be identified by the markings they make in human bones and the reconstructed murder cases are pretty gruesome. However, they are an integral part of a tale about a man intimately connected to the human body and its core structure, the skeleton. The book is very well written, and it is not meant to confuse the reader with the large words and how detailed it is but to strike an interest in young readers who want to be a forensic anthropologist.
Maples, William R., and Michael Browning. Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist. New York: Doubleday, 1995. Print.Lexy Meyer
Book Review 2
During Race Week a body is found in a barrel of asphalt near Charlotte Motor Speedway. The next day a NASCAR crew member, Wayne Gamble comes to Temperance’s office at the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner and tells her the story of his sister’s disappearance 12 years ago. He was wondering if the body could be his sister Cindi Gamble or her boyfriend Cale Lovette. Lovette kept company with the Patriot Posse, a group of right wing extremists. At the time of his sister’s disappearance the FBI joined the investigation, ending it weeks later. No conclusion was found regarding the disappearance of the two young adults. At the same time an employee of the Center for Disease Control goes missing during Race Week. Tempe cannot overlook the coincidence.
Once the body was extracted from the barrel it was determined using the skull and other skeletal analysis that it was a male adult 30 to 40 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches tall. Using additional forensic analysis Tempe determined that the victim had poor oral health and was a smoker. An autopsy was performed and stomach lesions were found, but the cause of death was not determined. The body then disappeared from the lab. After checking with staff it was discovered that the FBI had confiscated the body, taking the case file and all forensic evidence on the case. The body was later accidentally cremated, destroying all forensic evidence. Tempe and her boss were angry about this and became determined to discover why this case was of so much interest to the FBI. (It was later determined that ricin poison caused the stomach lesions and could have been the cause of death. That played a major part in the FBI’s interest in the case.)
The body in the barrel appears to be somehow connected to the disappearance of Cindi Gamble and Cale Lovette. There were several possible theories about what had happened to the Cindi and Cale. One, they left voluntarily either to join the militia or to marry or that Cale killed Cindi and then went into hiding. Two, Wayne Gamble thought that his sister had dumped Cale and feared for her life. Three, either Cindi or Cale were working under cover for the FBI. It was theorized that the Patriot Posse learned of this and killed them both. Four, learning that Cindi or Cale had been compromised as a confidential informant, the FBI had placed them into witness protection. Five, Cale did something illegal with the Patriot Posse, then he and Cindi went into hiding.
Tempe continues to track leads in the case working with a colleague named detective Slidell. Together they continuing to investigate the disappearance of Cindi and Cale. They discover people that knew Cindi and Cale said they loved NASCAR and wouldn’t leave Charlotte. Grady Winge, a worker at the track, said he saw Cale and Cindi get into a blue Mustang at six o’clock the day they disappeared. The blue Mustang could not be found after the disappearance and no license plate number was noticed. Also that day, Cale clocked into his job at the race track but didn’t clock out. However, another witness, Poteat, said he had seen Cindi and Cale after the left the track at the airport. Meaning they could both still be alive!
An ex-cop named Cotton Galimore now joins Tempe in her pursuit of the truth. He was unhappy with the lack of closure in the disappearance of Cindi and Cale years ago when he had been on the task force. Following up on a lead they interview a Mr. Fries. Mr. Fries offers contradictory information about Cindi and Cale. He said he served them food at the snack bar at eight o’clock. When he told his story to the authorities he was threatened by an anonymous caller who said he better change his story or his life would be destroyed. Fries later found his dog dead on his porch with a slug in his head. Two days after that, his house burned down. Fries had left town fearing for his life. He had lived in the west for several years, only recently returning to the Charlotte area. If Fries was being truthful, then Grady was lying.
Galimore and Tempe then find out that Poteat had opened up an account for his daughters with a large sum of money after he said he had seen Cindi and Cale at the airport. Wayne Gamble, Cindi’s brother is then murdered. Galimore and Tempe then talked with Cale’s father, Craig Bogan, who still lives in the area. Bogan has a landscaping business and a large greenhouse. Bogan is a racist, a NASCAR fanatic, and manages the grounds for the race track. After their talk with Bogan, Tempe gets a phone call that threatens her life.
Grady Winge has been put under surveillance. That surveillance results in the discovery of the bodies of Cindi and Cale. They had been shot execution style and buried in the forest in a shallow grave. The police now think they have the killer and have solved the disappearance of the couple. They have not! The protection provided to Temperance is discontinued and she goes out to the track to talk with Galimore who has not returned her calls. At the race track she is drugged by a poison dart. The dart was an attempt to kill her, but the dosage was weak and she is very sick and struggles to escape. When trapped in a metal groundkeepers building she finds Galimore barely breathing and incapacitated on the floor of the building. Someone did not want the case investigated any further. As it turned out, Tempe was being stalked by Cale’s father. Cale’s father was attempting to bury Tempe alive in a sink hole at the race track. Detective Slidell rescued Tempe at the last minute. Galimore and Tempe recovered, Bogan was arrested.
Bogan, Cale’s father, was the killer. He did not want Cindi and Cale to run away together. Cale’s father despised Cindi and thought Cale could be a great race car driver without her. He had killed his own son and Cindi, paid Poteat to lie about seeing them at the airport, he also killed Wayne Gamble, threatened and manipulated Grady Winge into lying about seeing the couple leave in the blue Mustang as well as making Grady bury the bodies in the woods.
Forensic terms discussed in this book include:
Immuno-assay: chemical tests used to detect a specific substance in a body fluid collection.
Proteomics: study of proteins
Genomics: study of genomes within an organism
Metabolomics: study of cellular metabolites within cells or tissues
Automated Fingerprint Identification System: AFIS, national fingerprint database
Book Review 1
In reading the book “Death Investigation” By Brad Randall I had learned many different things about Anthropology including How to identify a decomposed body, how to determine the range of fire of a shotgun, and how to establish time of death. This book has many more things to talk about but I figured I would pick just 3. First off identifying a decomposed body can be very simple yet difficult. In trying to identify a decomposed body you need to find where the victim was last seen, where the body was found, and if the person has any identification on them. There is different kinds of identification processes such as, Visual identification, if the body is recognizable a family member can be brought in to identify the body. When a body is badly decomposed or unrecognizable you can use fingerprint analysis or dental records to determine who the victim is. If the none match records kept in the data base. You must come up with a list of missing persons and try to match the detentions of the body to that of the missing persons. Determining the range of fore can be tricky. You must take a close look at the evidence at the scene and on the victim. If there is gunpowder residue on the victim that matches up with a close range shot. This is called powder burn. When shot from a further range you are less likely to find evidence of Powder burn due to the fact that the powder will fall behind the bullet. With a shot gun the wad that carries the pellets out the mussel of the gun will fall short of the target. Depending on the range of the wad it could help you determine how far away the shooter was from the victim. Establishing the time of death can be tricky. This is because it always depends on the circumstances surrounding the death and decomposition of the body. Knowing when the last time the victim was alive and when the victim was found helps aid in determining time of death. Just a few rules to follow when trying to see what time it happened is if the body is warm and still limp it could have only been a couple hours. A cool and stiff body it’s more than a few hours. While a cold and limp body is generally around a day or more. Generally, the best way to determine time of death can be founded by a autopsy. This book only covers the basics of death investigation but it is a good book for people who are just starting to get in to forensic anthropology.
Trail of Bones
About the author:
Mary Manhein has been in the field and anthropology for 24 years, she has assisted with the hunt of two serial killers, she assisted with recovering the seven bodies of the astronauts that were killed in the Colombia space shuttle crash in 2003. She is the director of the Forensic Anthropology and computer enhancement laboratory of Louisiana State University and director of the Louisiana repository for unidentified and missing person information program.
The book Trail of Bones by Mary Manhein is about some of the human remains she has worked with in her lab in Louisiana. Manhein talks and explains about what her job as an anthropologist consists of what her daily tasks are, she explains what her duty is in a crime scene, or what she has to do to help law enforcement explain to the family or loved ones what happened to their deceased family member. She talks about in one of the chapters her encounters about women going missing a lot of women in a town called Durango in the state of Louisiana and how she helped investigators pin point who the perpetrator was causing so much grief in the small town of Durango.
Content of student mock scenarios, critical incident management, and practice drills.
Case Studies, videos, links post here.
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Book Review 2
For the second book review I have decided to read “Forensics For Dummies” by D. P. Lyle, MD. This book covers many of the parts pertaining to Forensic investigations but I will be covering just a few of them. First covers working the scene, then comes Fingerprinting, and how to trace drugs and poisons in the body. Working the scene starts from the moment you arrive police officers have to follow strict protocals when it comes to an investigation they must be careful to not disturb anything and preserve it for when forensic workers arrive. When they do they them must document the procedure tis includes taking any pictures and or photos of the scene before sketching it. Once the crime scene has been booked and documented then you start to look for evidence. If you are to come across fingerprint you must be careful to not disturb it. There are many different parts to fingerprinting including Marking and matching fingerprints long with classifying them. You can determine a fingerprint and who it belongs to through ridge parents and submitting the fingerprint to the criminal data base. Finals one of the points that this book covers is blood stains. Blood is more thick than water witch but they share the same type of spatter and physical properties than water. When someone is stabbed or shot blood follows the rules of gravity. It moves downhill and accumulates in low spots. The size and shape of the blood spatter can reviel the angle at witch they struck the object they were projected on.
Flesh and Bone, Dr. Bill Bass
Forensic Science-Forensic Anthropology
CJ DC Tour 2012
All New Forensic Anthropology Lab
(open through January 2013)
The all new Forensic Anthropology Lab is part of the temporary exhibition Written in Bone.
In the Lab, students will learn that forensic science is far more mysterious and engaging than forensic fiction. They will use real human bones to identify and describe the gender and status of people from the past and draw conclusions about their lives. The focus of the Lab programs is to help students to use the tools and problem solving skills of forensic anthropology to collect and analyze data the way that forensic anthropologists do.
Written in Bone Exhibit Links
Serial Killer—J. W. Gacy
Intro to Crime Scene Processing