2001 Fall Meeting Abstracts

Abstracts From Fall 2001

Toxicology | Alcohol | Firearms | Drugs / Clan Labs | Trace / ScenesArson | Wildlife | Serology | Other
Pick your section


No toxicology papers were submitted.


No alcohol papers were submitted.

Firearms and related topics

1.  Lead Cloud From A High Velocity Bullet Through A Windshield

Mike Howard, Oregon State Police – Bend Forensic Laboratory, retired

The victim was found sitting behind the steering wheel of his vehicle with bullet wounds to his head. He had been there two and a half to three days. There were three bullet holes in the windshield. It was later determined that the weapon used in this case was a .22 Hornet which has a muzzle velocity of approximately 2200 ft./sec.

At autopsy it was determined there were three major wounds. One to the forearm, one immediately adjacent to the right eye next to the nose, and one on the right face. There were also numerous small wounds and stippling on the face. Darkening was noted on the nose and around the eye wound which appeared to be sooting. The skin immediately around this wound was also black and somewhat shriveled. The medical examiner called this a close contact wound and the state proceeded with their case based on that conclusion.

This presentation will discuss the experiments done to prove or disprove the conclusion that this was a close contact wound.

Drug Chemistry and Clandestine Labs

1.  Analysis Of Inorganic Salts By FT Raman Spectroscopy

Arnold Melnikoff, Spokane Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory

Raman Spectroscopy is very useful in distinguishing inorganic salts, which are difficult or not possible to do by Infrared Spectroscopy. Paper will compare the advantages of the analysis of inorganic salts by FT Raman Spectroscopy as compared to FT Infrared Spectroscopy of carbonates, nitrates, chlorates, sulfates and phosphates, etc.

Trace Evidence and Crime Scenes

1.  Thurston High School Shooting

Lieutenant Mike Hurley, Oregon State Police Springfield Forensic Lab
Chief Jerry Smith, Springfield Police Department
Deputy District Attorney Caren Tracy, Lane County

Our keynote speakers for Thursday morning will present an overview of the Kip Kinkel case, the 1998 shooting at Thurston High School that left 2 students dead and 25 wounded. Kinkel’s parents were also victims of the 15-year-old’s shooting spree. The presenters will discuss the entire process as it evolved, from the initial 911 report to the final agreement on sentencing. Operational issues relating to the multi-agency, multiple scene investigation will be addressed as well as some of the technical aspects.

2.  Gender Determination From the Distal Humerus: Techniques and Challenges

Nici Wanek, Oregon State Police – Portland Forensic Laboratory

In Volume 44, Number 1 of the Journal of Forensic Sciences, published in January 1999, a study was done by the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto in which gender determination was accomplished by visual assessment of the distal humerus. A population of 39 European (Caucasian) specimens was utilized to observe four characteristics, with the goal being the successful and accurate determination of male or female. Definitions and distinctions were given to the features deemed the “trochlear image”, “trochlear symmetry”, “olecranon fossa shape and depth”, and the “angle of the medial epicondyle”. When analyzed by a trained observer using the proper techniques, the assessment of these four features was said to result in 88.6% accuracy. Examination of the methods and characteristics used in the original study was initiated primarily to test the theory of gender determination from an alternative element. Two questions arose: are the methods used in the first study reproducible? Can they be used to determine the gender of an individual through assessment of the distal humerus with a reasonable amount of accuracy? These questions were answered and certain challenges recognized in Oregon State Police’s second study of the distal humerus.

3.  Tales From The Dead

Jon Spilker, Oregon State Police – Pendleton Forensic Laboratory, retired

Several cases of decomposed bodies will illustrate the importance of finding the unexpected.

4.  Analysis Of Forensic Data From The 137 Year Old H.L. Hunley Confederate Submarine Opened On February 16, 2001
Doug DeVine, Pacific Survey Supply, Medford, OR

The basis of the presentation will be our involvement and implementation of several new technologies involved in the opening and conservation of the Confederate Submarine CSS H.L. Hunley.

On February 17, 1864 the Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley rammed her spar torpedo into the hull of the Union warship USS Housatonic, sinking her moments later. The first successful military mission with a submarine.

Hunley’s triumph would prove to be one of the most valiant missions ever, but one from which the ship and her crew would never return. To this day, the actual fate of the Hunley remains clouded in mystery. The Hunley was located in Charleston harbor buried in silt. It was raised and transported to the Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston.

On February 16th, 2001 the sub was opened and the excavation and preservation of the crew and artifacts began. Several revolutionary technologies were utilized to help define and understand the correlation of the artifacts and human remains from this 137 year old undersea tomb and the events of that fateful day in 1864. We will present our techniques and findings to date on this historic project.
5.  The Forensic Analysis Of Soil By Raman Spectroscopy

M.L. Bestwick (2) and E.O. Espinoza (1)
(1) National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory, Ashland, Oregon, USA
(2) University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

The analysis of over 50 soil samples collected from the Rogue valley was completed, with particular attention being directed toward the forensic discriminating power. Conventional analytical techniques, such as color density gradient, and infrared spectroscopy, were used. A novel Raman technique was developed in which the aqueous spectrum of a soil sample was collected. This resulted in a Raman spectrum of all of the symmetrical organic and inorganic components in soil.
We will illustrate the usefulness of the Raman analysis by demonstrating that soil samples that are otherwise indistinguishable can be characterized by Raman and FTIR analysis.
6.  The Significance of Outsole Size and Designs in Footwear Comparisons

Bradford A. Putnam, Oregon State Police – Springfield Forensic Laboratory

Often footwear comparisons fall short of a positive identification and the examiner is left with a correspondence in physical size and outsole design. What does this mean and what is the significance? Similar questions are encountered in many forensic disciplines and are especially true when dealing with products that are mass-produced such as footwear.

While the knowledge that multiple shoes having the same size and outsole design were manufactured and exist in the population is unsettling, comfort should rest in the incredible size of that population. Estimates of the number of different outsole designs have been placed in the “10 of thousands”, and reports from the Footwear Industries of America (FIA) have placed production numbers at 1.5 billion pairs of shoes annually. American consumers alone purchased 350,752,000 pairs of athletic shoes alone in 1995, down from 360,362,000 pairs in 1994 .

A study was conducted by the Oregon State Police Forensic Services Division to obtain outsole designs from a population of individuals gathered at specific events. 80 outsoles were collected at a local university, 100 outsoles were collected at a softball tournament, 35 outsoles were collected at a tennis club and 42 were collected from casework for a total of 257 individuals. The samples were evaluated based on size and outsole design and were compared to the samples collected from all events. No shoes were found that matched in size and design.


No Arson papers were submitted.

Wildlife Forensics

No Wildlife forensic papers were submitted.

DNA and Conventional Serology

1.  California’s Missing Persons DNA Program

John Tonkyn, California Department of Justice – DNA Laboratory

As a result of a recently passed law, SB 1818, the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensic Services has established a Missing Persons DNA Program. This program will work closely with the Department’s Missing and Unidentified Persons Section, which utilizes photographs, fingerprints, dental records and other conventional methods to match unidentified human remains with missing persons. In conjunction with another law, SB 1736, autopsy practices for unidentified remains and sample retention for DNA testing has been standardized. In California, there are over 2100 sets of unidentified human remains dating back to 1959, as well as more than 3100 long-term missing individuals dating back to 1972. This program will receive oral swabs from family members of missing persons as well as personal items from the missing person, and compare the DNA profiles to those from human remains that were unidentifiable by conventional methods. A couple of successful case examples will be discussed.
2.  California’s Convicted Offender DNA Program

John Tonkyn, California Department of Justice – DNA Laboratory

The California Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensic Services DNA Laboratory operates the statewide Convicted Offender DNA Databank. Samples have been collected since the late 1980’s from certain classes of felons, but until recently, the program has not been fully funded to analyze all of the samples received. To date, over 200,000 felon samples have been received and the backlog for analyzing these samples has recently been eliminated. Approximately 38,000 samples were typed using the older Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism method. All of the samples have been analyzed at 9 loci and eligible samples have been placed into the statewide CODIS database (SDIS). We are currently profiling these samples utilizing an additional 4 loci so that these profiles can be uploaded into the nation-wide CODIS database (NDIS). In order to achieve high throughput DNA typing, various automated systems needed to be developed, including bar-coding of all samples, liquid-handling robotics, software to track samples as well as to interface with the FBI’s CODIS database. To date, there have been 61 cold hits and 85 investigations aided. In conjunction with another new program to analyze backlogged rape cases, it is expected that hundreds of cases will be solved utilizing this database.