This week MOLA osteologists have been studying the feet of a 19th-century Londoner, a woman who died between the ages of 26-35 years. In both feet, the proximal and distal first phalanges (big toes) are not straight but angled laterally towards the other toes (not pictured).
This is a condition called hallux valgus. Although it can occur in individuals who do not wear shoes, it is often associated with footwear featuring pointed toes. The fashion in modern urban populations of wearing ill-fitting, high-heeled shoes has led to a particular association of the condition with adolescent girls. Before the mechanisation of shoe manufacture in the later 19th century, it was common for the right and left shoes to be identical in form, increasing the chances of developing toe deformities.
What is the cause of this patient’s floating teeth?
Forensic gait analysis is the identification of gait features and patterns of subjects seen on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and from footprints forming a gait pattern left at the scene of a crime. Studies have shown that more than 30% of people wear shoes that are within a two shoe size differential, which can affect the gait phase and gait time parameters and impact on the class level distinction during forensic examination.
Forensic gait analysis was first defined by “Kelly (2000) as the identification of a person or persons by their gait or features of gait, usually from closed circuit television (CCTV) footage and comparison to footage of a known individual. Gait recognition was later defined by Grant (2006) as the process of identifying people by the unique characteristics of their manner of walking, where features are extracted from a person’s gait in order to recognize them.”1
The height of an individual can be determined by his/her footprint and shoeprint.2,3 The foot tends to be approximately 15% of the person’s average height.4,5 At times series of footprints are left at the scene of a crime forming a recognizable gait cycle. The information gathered during examination of footprints and also on closed circuit television (CCTV) may be of value for forensic application. Individual characteristics of the footprints and gait, like numerous creases, flatfoot character, horizontal and vertical ridges, corns, deformities, step length, stride length, and stance phase, swing phase, step time, stride time, cadence, and velocity observed on CCTV can help the forensic examiner in cases pertaining to criminal identification.4
Studies by Schwartzkopf have shown that 34.9% of the subjects wore shoes within a two full shoe size differential, and 11.9% wore shoes within a full three shoe size differential.6 A study by Nixon showed that shoeprints left at the scene of a crime may be from shoes fitted properly only 25–33% of the time.7 Studies by Kagan8,9 showed that osseous and soft tissue changes occurred, affecting the plantar weight distribution when an individual wore different sized shoes within three full sizes. These plantar weight pressure distribution changes occurred in the areas of digital impression, web ridge line, web space, and arch line so that comparison of footprints and “exemplars” would be more difficult to verify degrees of certainty.
Would wearing shoes sized within a three full size differential also affect the parameters of gait or would the gait pattern remain consistent regardless of shoe size?
Gunshot residue (GSR) analysis can be a critical piece of evidence in criminal investigations, but over the last several years many government laboratories have discontinued GSR analysis due to a lack of funding or re-prioritization. By understanding the science behind GSR and what can be learned from its analysis, investigators can make informed decisions regarding the collection of gunshot residue evidence.
When someone pulls the trigger of a gun, a chain reaction occurs causing the firing pin to strike the primer cap on the base of the cartridge. The compounds in the primer cap react and ignite gunpowder contained in the body of the cartridge. When the gunpowder ignites, a high temperature and pressure reaction occurs, propelling the bullet out of the firearm. During this reaction, typically elements of lead (Pb), barium (Ba), and antimony (Sb) from the primer compounds escape the firearm from any opening that is not airtight, forming a vaporous cloud called the plume. As the temperature decreases in the plume, the elements of lead, barium, and antimony can and will condense together to form a primer gunshot residue (GSR) population consisting of several particle types.2,4 (See Table 1.)It should be noted that most primers found in ammunition in North America consist of lead styphnate, barium nitrate, and antimony sulfide. Therefore, a combination of the three elements of lead (Pb), barium, (Ba), and antimony (Sb) from these compounds is significant. However, there are rare ammunition types that may contain additional elements such as tin (Sn). Analysts are trained to look for these elements found in rare ammunitions and an analyst may ask to perform a comparison of the fired-cartridge casing from the investigation.
When you’re called to a crime scene, you never know what you’re going to find. But no matter the scene, it’s important to recover as much evidence as possible. Sometimes we get so caught up in looking for DNA and other obvious evidence that we overlook other evidence that can be just as important. Collecting impression evidence is definitely worth the effort — once you do so, you have duplicate evidence that can help make your case.
The 21-year-old had been drinking and didn’t realize the pistol was loaded. He died on his way to the hospital.
But first, let me take a selfie.
Patent prints are readily visible because they contain a contaminant like blood or grease. Bloody or greasy prints left on walls or floors should be photographed, processed, and lifted at the scene if possible.
The tattoo has not previously been seen widely by the public because cameras are not allowed inside Indiana courtrooms. The Indiana Office of the Courts released the photo on July 30 as part of evidence logged in by police and presented to the court by the Floyd County Prosecutor’s Office.
Dissection of a human heart - showing the chambers