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Thread: How Luminol Solved a Murder

  1. #1
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    Dec 2004
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    Exclamation How Luminol Solved a Murder

    In a rural community, the dismembered body of a dead woman-a waitress at a local restaurant-was found on the side of a road. The woman had been sexually assaulted and her body mutilated. Neither the victim's clothing nor a murder weapon could be found. There were no witnesses. Examination of the body revealed that the woman's arms and legs had been severed with either a saw or a large knife with a serrated edge.

    Investigators were able to find out that a certain man, who frequented the restaurant where the woman worked, had been unsuccessfully attempting to date the woman. Witnesses told the police that on the night she disappeared, the man appeared to be agitated when she refused to wait his table.

    Several years later, investgators were able to gain further evidence against the man that gave them the necessary facts to obtain a search warrant. While executing the warrant, they found a large table saw in a workshop behind the suspects house. A close examination of the saw led to the discovery of several hairs that appeared to be human. There was no blood visible on the saw or in the workshop.

    The area was then sprayed with Luminol, a substance that when sprayed on an area, produces a luminescence if blood had been there. Luminolis used in cases in which the police believe an attempt was made to hide or alter bloodstains. Based on the Luminol testing it was deternmined that a wall in the workshop contained enough traces of the victim's blood for identification.

    Suspect was arrested and tried for murder. He was found guilty by reason of insanity. He remains confined to a state hospital.

    Source: Adapted with permission from Dusty Hesskew, Law and Order (November 1991), pp.31-33.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    California
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    Joseph,
    Thanks for the story of a murder mystery that finally got SOLVED. It reminds me of a similar murder many years ago, when Dr. Lee (from OJ Simpson case that came later) became FAMOUS for identifying a murder based on tidbits from the victim's FINGERNAILS, based on residue from a recycling machine for leaves or twigs -- I wish I can remember more...

    Anyway, I always love endings where "justice is served." Sometimes I wish people would OWNED up to their mistakes, make corrections or restitutions, and then get on with their lives.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    Susan,

    I'm glad you enjoyed the story, as for the fingernails, two types of evidence can be taken from fingernail scrapings and fingernails at a crime scene. First, when fingernails are trimmed and collected from a victim, scraping of hairs, fibers, skin, or blood under the nail can reveal a variety of information about the crime and the perpetrator, especially in cases which the victim struggled with the perpetrator.

    Second, when a broken fingernail is left at the scene and later compared to the nails of a suspect, it can include or exclude him or her from the list of suspects. Much like fingerprints, nails are unique to each individual and rarely change through a persons lifetime.

    Fingernails can be examined in much the same way as tool marks, bullets, and casings. because the striae on nails is on the same scale as that found on fired bullets, the same type of microscope, that is available in most crime labs, is used. There is software-driven system called Bulletproof which includes a customized microscope, video camera, specimen manipulator, image digitizer, and a series of computers. The system will alert the operator if a possiible match has been already entered into the computer database by providing the examiner with a list of possible matches ranked numerically. The examiner can then retrieve the stored image for a side by side visual comparison, eliminating the need to track down the original specimen. It also allows examiners to greatly magnify any portion of the stored images.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    211
    Hi Joseph,
    or should I call you Mr. Scales?? With your permission -- you said a mouthful, or should I say you SOUND like you're over 100 years young?? I tried to search for your Intro by typing 'Scales' (I found 13 threads) and 'Joseph' under the SEARCH button and five pages showed up...

    Here's my guesses for your dossier. Of course INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW.

    1) Former or Current Mortician
    2) Harvard Professor of Medicine
    3) Writer for CSI series on TV
    4) FBI/Civil Aeronautics Board Examiner on Disaster Recovery
    5) Nerdie PhD candidate for pharmaceutical R&D company
    6) an Axe Murderer in a previous life
    7) Retired LAB Manager from Center for Disease Control
    8) some of the above
    9) ALL of the above

    Once again, with your permission, I am afraid to pick a "number" from the above... Don't disappoint me if any of my guesses are wrong...

    But, you know what, we have a little in common - state of PA. The one and only time I travelled to Valley Forge Convention Center for a week long seminar, and arriving at the hotel late around 1:30 a.m. they placed me in a FANTASY ROOM -- WOW, what a spectacular suite!!...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    34
    Hi Susan,

    Sorry I have to burst your bubble but it's none of the above. My dossier reads more like this:

    1) Former Undercover Investigator
    2) Former Chief Investigator/Security Director
    3) Former Corporate Security Specialist/ Investigator/Manager
    4) United States Marine for Life
    5) Currently Semi-Retired
    6) Currently taking a P.I. refresher course in order to further my investigative skills
    7) Working on starting my own Investigative/Security Consulting Firm
    8) I Love The Kind of Work I Do

    Thanks for the compliment about me sounding like being a 100 years young, I'm only half that plus 2. Over the years in the business I have been blessed with very good Mentors who has taught me very well, and everyone of them stressed that when conducting an investigation make sure that you do it right, leaving nothing uncovered, always keeping an open mind, and always continue to learn new aspects and techniques in the field of P.I. work ( because things are continually changing almost on a daily basis) as an investigator you must be able to adapt, improvise, and react in a moments notice.

    Susan, I'm glad you enjoyed your stay in PA. I'm a former New Yorker myself who chose to retire from Corporate America in 2003 to relocate to the Keystone state of PA to get married and settle down in a small in a western PA mountian town, (I first visited the town in 1999 to be my brothers best man at his wedding, the next thing you know I found out was that I liked the kind of laid back, city/country atomosphere that the area had to offer, then the next thing you know I'm starting to visit my brother on a more than regular basis, then the next thing you know my brother and my new sister in law starts playing matchmakers, then the next thing you know I'm engaged to be married and making plans to moving to the town, I then take an early retirement from a good paying job in coporate america, get married, and go for my lifelong dream of opening my Investigative/Security Consulting Firm). End of story!

    Susan, you can call me Joe, throughout my career in the business I've always insisted that people just call me by my first name, titles are unimportant to me, but being and acting very professional in the field of P. I. work is very important to me. My Motto is: Always Conduct First Class Investigations and Security Services in A First Class Way.

    Also, I 've been wondering about the posts that I've made, at one time I had almost 100 posts, but when the upgrade on the system was done I noticed that they had been reduced and I was back at as being a New Forum member instead of an Associate Member, and now I find that if I don't check in into the site and do some posts or replies say within a week or so I find that I'm back to being New Forum Member, I see that you have been a Forum member since Feb 2004, maybe you could give me some insight as to why this is happening, if not then maybe someone other Forum members out there who reads this can enlighten me as to why this is happening. It's not that I'm concerned about how many posts that I have,that's unimportant, but I'm just kind of curious to know why this is occurring.

    Joe,
    Badge # 10596

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    211
    Joe,
    CONGRATS to your new career, new life, and new wife!! When you wrote -
    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Scales
    ...and go for my lifelong dream of opening my Investigative/Security Consulting Firm). End of story!
    I think your OTHER STORIES are just unfolding... think about being a MOVIE-wright instead of playwright, Professor in Forensics Criminology, or a mystery NOVELIST!!

    I wondered why I couldn't find your Intro, unless it was CLASSIFIED, or you didn't write one... With your Badge # I would think you’re a Professional Member with IPIU and having a ‘Law Enforcement Member’ user title…(just trying to think logically and logistically…)

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Scales
    Also, I 've been wondering about the posts that I've made, at one time I had almost 100 posts, but when the upgrade on the system was done I noticed that they had been reduced, <<.....>> It's not that I'm concerned about how many posts that I have,that's unimportant, but I'm just kind of curious to know why this is occurring.
    Joe,
    Badge # 10596
    Before writing this reply - I had to do some INVESTIGATIVE work myself – and this is what I found:
    1) that THIS ARTICLE (and ‘Testing A Tail’) is on the front page of the IPIU Home Page, WOW, you can be my CELEBRITY P.I. AMERICAN IDOL anytime!!
    2) you posted an inquiry to Technical Support about this (hopefully a Moderator or Admin will come along and guide you…)
    3) this post started by Robert Donovan (Admin of IPIU) may help to clarify your IPIU membership – “Level 1, Level 1-Professional, 2, 3, and 4 Access to all forums” - http://www.ipiu.org/forums/showthread.php?t=3062
    LOOK at the post on 10-10-2003 by Technical Support. I’m NOT sure if it applies to you or not…

    My KUDOS to you, maybe you can be the next Ernest Hemingway!! Here’s a thought, how about writing PI stories for HOLLYWOOD?? And then becoming the next Joe Ezterhaus who wrote ‘Basic Instincts’?? ummmmm, another JOE??

    p.s. when you have time maybe you should check into William Wacyk's Intro -- it LOOKS awfully similar to yours
    I’ll check back on you… I may have to use a LIFELINE call (from TV show 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire') to my friend TJ the Moderator for some help...

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