crime science

Crime scene investigators are about to get a helping hand from our ancient ancestors. The earliest known synthetic pigment, Egyptian blue, is found in some of the paint on ancient statues, coffins, tomb walls, and amulets. Most other pigments long ago faded. Modern scientists, intrigued by its longevity, worked out Egyptian blue’s chemical composition decades ago. Recently it was discovered that it emits near-infrared radiation when exposed to certain kinds of light. Basically: it has rare, invisible luminescence.

And why does that help crime-stoppers? Egyptian blue can be dusted onto complicated surfaces where fingerprints are normally hard to retrieve. The surface is then photographed with a modified camera and a filter sensitive to Egyptian blue’s near-infrared rays. If fingerprints are there, they glow clearly in the resulting image. Science is amazing.


Between 1984 and 1985, a ruthless serial killer that became known as the “Night Stalker” instilled fear into the hearts of Southern California residents. He entered homes at nights where he would dispose of any men in the house before sexually assaulting, and quite often killing, the women and ransacking the house. Age was of no consideration to this ruthless killer: he raped and killed children and he raped and killed decrepit elderly ladies. Not following much of a particular modus operandi, he used a wide variety of murder weapons. He slashed throats, he bludgeoned, he shot, and he stabbed. On one brutal occasion, he gouged the eyes out of one of his victims.

The downfall of the Night Stalker commenced after the August 25 murder of Bill Cairns and the sodomy of fiancee, Inez Erickson. As he was fleeing, a neighbourhood boy spotted him and reported him to the police, taking down the registration number of the car in which he fled. Three days later, the aforementioned car was discovered discarded in Los Angeles. A run of the registration confirmed that it was a stolen car. The car was delivered to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department where it would be vehemently combed for evidence. 

Chemical fumes were pumped into the car and as a result, hidden fingerprints reacted to the fumes and turned white. After the fumes dissipated, the fingerprints were investigated with a high-power laser ray. The fingerprints were then analysed and flown to Sacramento, where an Automated Fingerprint Identification system had just recently been installed. The fingerprints uncovered from the car were run against the database of previous offenders.

Moments later, they had a match: Richard Ramirez.

June 15th 1995: O.J. Simpson tries on a new pair of gloves similar to those found at the crime scene of his wife’s murder. Despite compelling evidence, the actor was never convicted for Nicole’s murder. The iconic photograph above shows the dramatic demonstration that devastated the prosecution when the gloves appeared too tight for Simpson’s hands. His defense attorney simply said: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” - And this seemed to remarkably sway the jury into finding him innocent.


A memorial service was carried out for the nine unidentified victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, the majority of which were unearthed from Gacy’s crawlspace, although one was found buried in his backyard. 

The first of these victims to be identified was Timothy Jack McCoy, who happened to be Gacy’s first murder victim. He was identified in 1986, 8 years after Gacy had been apprehended. The next of these unknown victims wouldn’t be identified until 2011, whenever DNA testing revealed the identity of William George Bundy, who had been only 19 years old when he went missing on his way to a part in 1976. Finally, in 2017 another victim was identified, this was 16 year old James Haakenson, who had last spoken to his family in 1976. 

After the police obtained full DNA profiles of the unidentified bodies they were able to put them to good use, confirming the identification of two victims, excluding the possibility of other missing teenagers from that time period being the victims, and closing four unrelated cold cases. They have not, however, managed to identify all of Gacy’s 33 confirmed victims, and a further 6 remain unknown.
SA student battles robbers over thesis
Noxolo Ntusi had the only copy of her master's thesis on a hard drive in her bag.

Ms Ntusi, a medical scientist at the National Health Laboratory Service, had her molecular zoology master’s thesis on a hard drive when a car drew up beside her and two men jumped out, one brandishing a gun.

But while the attackers were able to take her lunch bag, Ms Ntusi refused to let go of the bag containing the hard drive.

“I was thinking about my masters. I’m almost done with what I’m writing, there’s no way I will let them take it,” she said.

“I was just pulling myself into a ball. They were trying to put me in the car, I think, but I made myself so heavy that they just gave up.”

During the attack, one of the robbers pressed a gun to her head and repeatedly threatened to shoot her.

But Ms Ntusi held on. Losing the thesis would have meant having to ask for an extension until next year, she said.

“I really want to finish so badly, I want to do it now. Nothing got in the way of that, but it was very dangerous,” she said.

Footage of the struggle was recorded on security cameras attached to nearby homes in the suburb of Auckland Park.

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 “As I was examining and dissecting the cranium or head area I noticed that there was some hemorrhage around a hole that had been drilled into the skull and hemorrhage in a forensic sense means that an injury occurred when there was a blood pressure. When a person is injured and they’re in a postmortem state or after they’re heart stops beating, there’s not a lot of blood that gets pushed into the tissue. But the fact that there was hemorrhage around the area led me to believe that it may have been an injury that had been incurred before death. And so I examined the brain tissue and I did find that there was a wound track or a track through the brain tissue that looked hemorrhagic and so I recovered that area, photographed it and then looked at it under the microscope and what I found was that there was an inflammation in that track and so when we see inflammation that means that there was a time factor that happened between the time of obtaining the injury and the time the person died. “

“We looked at that with a neuropathologist who is an expert in brain anatomy and tissue and we made the diagnosis that this injury had been inflicted while the person was alive and that the person had survived for some time after receiving that injury.”

Medical Examiner Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen on finding the holes drilled in the skulls of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims (The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, 2013)

The murder of Louisa Luetgert by her husband, Adolph, is known as the ‘Sausage Vat Murder’ because of the location where her body was found. Adolph Luetgert was known as the ‘sausage king’ of Chicago, as a result of the sausage company that he ran. His wife, Louisa, went missing in 1897. During the investigation the police discovered that Adolph had a history of domestic violence against his wife, and there were rumours that he was having financial problems and was planning to marry a rich widow once he got rid of his current wife. They also found that Louisa had been seen entering the sausage factory with her husband on the night that she disappeared.

After searching the factory they found human remains in a furnace amongst burned sausages. Forensic experts were able to identify metatarsal bones, a toe phalanx, rib and a human, female skull. It was one of the first cases to use forensic evidence during the trial. 

There were many rumours and myths surrounding this case, the main one being that Adolph had turned his wife’s remains into a sausage and sold this sausage to unknowing consumers. This is false, as Louisa’s body was dissolved in lye in one of his sausage vats before being burned. There are also rumours that the ghost of Louisa haunts the site of the old sausage factory where her body was discovered.

The coroner system was founded in England before the tenth century. British common law was the initial law for the American colonies and later the laws of the states. Death investigations in the United States were considered a local, county, and later state function. Every state maintained its own laws in the matter. Today, the United States still recognises two systems in death investigation: the coroner and the medical examiner. But what is the difference between the two?

A coroner is an elected official who does not necessarily possess a medical background of any kind. They are responsible for the identification of a body, the notification of the next-of-kin, the collection and return of personal effects from the body to the family, and the signing of the death certificate. A coroner cannot perform autopsies, but is able to determine if an autopsy is required.

A medical examiner, on the other hand, is a medical doctor. They have often had extensive training in forensic pathology and are thus the ones who get called to perform an autopsy. Medical examiners are appointed by the governor of the state. Their districts can therefore also span several counties within the state. The duties of the medical examiner are to investigate any death that occurred under suspicious circumstances and perform autopsies to determine the manner, cause, and mechanism of death.

[source: Real World Crime Scene Investigation, by Gabriele Suboch, PhD.]

Criminologist Adrian Raine was the first person to conduct a brain imaging study on murderers, violent criminals and psychopaths. His research convinced him that while there is a social and environmental connection to violent behavior, there is also a biological component. Raine says this re-visioning of violent criminals could potentially help direct how we approach crime prevention and rehabilitation.

He tells us about working with psychopaths:

“The most striking thing I found working one-to-one with psychopaths is … how I really liked being with them, which is shocking and at the time surprising to me but, gosh, I loved dealing with the psychopaths because they were great storytellers. They were always fun. They were always interesting, and I was fascinated most of all with how they could con and manipulate me.”

photo via aei

Kay motherfuckers I need more interesting shit on my blog. Please like / reblog if you post, study or are interested in;

- Criminology
- Forensic psychology
- Justice system
- Prison
- Behavioural science
- MO / signatures
- Forensic science (including scene of crime work, pathology, anthropology, toxicology, ballistics, literally anything)
- Related photography (crime scene pictures, blood spatter, autopsy pictures, medical science, etc)
- Serial killers
- True crime literature (props for John Douglas and Paul Britton yo)
- Crime news or analysis - Gunther von Hagens

You get the idea. If you think i’ll be interested then like and I’ll probably follow.

Also if you’re interested in or studying this shit say hi, especially if your living in the UK.

Arrested  While In Virtual Reality In A Public Space

Russian police detained a woman in Moscow wearing VR glasses.  Since June 12 she had been walking around Moscow wearing VR glasses, which showed Moscow’s daily life to patients at psychiatric clinics. Clinic patients determined her actions and itineraries. The activist-artist stood near the Kremlin walls as part of her performance, “Between here and there.”

Police arrested her, saying “This is reality.” Then they took the artist to a psychiatric clinic for a check-up. “In which reality are you? That one, or this one? How can you move about groping your way? You are harming people around you, do you understand?” she was asked during interrogation.