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Facial comparison as intelligence: Using facial biometrics on sexually motivated serial killer victims as an investigative tool

Hackett, Sarah Bernadette (2019) Facial comparison as intelligence: Using facial biometrics on sexually motivated serial killer victims as an investigative tool. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Some sexually motivated serial killers target victims on the basis of appearance. Therefore, multiple victims of a single serial killer are likely to have some facial features and geometries that are similar. The current research was undertaken to propose a technique, termed Face Similarity Linkage (FSL), to evaluate whether victims of a serial killer have statistically more similar facial measurements than a randomly chosen person of the same gender. To test this, three of Ted Bundy’s victims were randomly selected and anatomical landmarks were located and measured to produce proportionality indices of their faces. A random subject from an online database was used as a comparison. The results showed there were no statistically significant differences between the three of Bundy’s victims; however, there was significant difference between eleven of the seventeen facial measurements of Bundy’s victims when compared to a random person. This research serves as a proof of concept that, with more advanced means of data collection, FSL may be a useful tool for law enforcement for linking serial homicides. The current method is relatively novel, and in need of expert systems interfaces to improve speed and application, which is outlined in the current study.

Keywords:
Serial Killer, Homicide, Biometric, Crime Linkage, Victim, Sexual Homicide, Face Similarity Linkage

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Supervisor(s): Chapman, Brendan and Keatley, David
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/53846
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