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Evaluating the efficiency and sensitivity of one-step cyanoacrylate fuming methods in the detection and visualisation of latent fingerprints on the adhesive side of tape

Van Der Spil, Krystal (2019) Evaluating the efficiency and sensitivity of one-step cyanoacrylate fuming methods in the detection and visualisation of latent fingerprints on the adhesive side of tape. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

The evidential value of adhesive tape recovered from a crime scene plays a critical role in the criminal investigation as it could potentially contain things such as fibres, hair, DNA evidence, or fingerprints. Adhesive tape is a ubiquitous material that can be used in crimes that involve kidnapping and murder, as well as used to house cables in acts of terrorism. With regards to the adhesive side of tape, the sticky nature of this surface not only increases the likelihood of latent fingerprint deposits but has routinely proved to be a problematic substrate to work with. As latent fingerprints are generally invisible to the eye, enhancement methods are required to conduct adequate analysis on the fingerprint details. Despite several methods of fingerprint enhancement available, common issues including high background staining and low selectivity of fingerprint deposits create a difficult problem for forensic investigators to solve. Studies have shown that these issues can be overcome by utilising aqueous solutions of fingerprint powders, as well as traditional dye methods like gentian violet. Fluorescent dyes have also been explored and shown to be very effective when used on darker-coloured adhesive tapes. With regards to aged latent fingerprints, sticky-side powder and phase transfer catalysts have proven to be viable methods of detection and development. Traditional cyanoacrylate fuming was observed to be the best method of development in all reviewed cases, but the requirement of subsequent dye staining poses potential health issues to the user and the environment. One-step cyanoacrylate fuming has been proposed as a method incorporating the staining step into the cyanoacrylate fuming step, thus completing both steps simultaneously. As one-step cyanoacrylate fuming is a relatively new method of development, its potential application to the development of latent fingerprints on the adhesive side of tape has not been explored to its full extent and should be researched more extensively.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor(s): Coumbaros, John, McLaren, C. and Cottrill, E.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/46924
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