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April 2014

Batter Up – A Case Study in Forensic Science

Canaan M. Andrews, Lucy L. Hornback, Taylor M. Rivera, and Madison N. Scoggins, PhD. Department of Forensics Science Cass High School, White

Case Summary: 22-year-old Taylor Rivera was beaten by her alleged friend, 23-year-old Canaan Andrews. At 6:30 p.m. on April 24th2014, Rivera and Andrews were going for a friendly “girl’s night” at dinner. The two friends were getting ready together at Andrews’ household for a scheduled dinner at 7:30 p.m. at Longhorns. That abruptly changed when the two got into an argument so heated that the neighbors later reported they heard them yelling. Outside by the front door at about 7 p.m., a neighbor overheard Andrews demand her friend leave. The neighbor, Madison Scoggins, 23, stated that the two argued outside for about fifteen minutes. Andrews then grabbed a nearby bat and swung at Rivera’s face. Rivera, knocked to the ground, lay unconscious for 20 minutes before the police arrived from a call from Scoggins. Andrews fled the scene before help arrived. Forensic investigators found a bloody scene when they arrived at 7:38 p.m., including hair, fiber, and a fingerprint on the weapon. Rivera claims her memory of the previous argument between the two is vague, but she does remember the two getting

1 ready together before the planned dinner date. When questioned, Andrews confirms the argument between the two and stated that she had just gained knowledge that Rivera had had an affair with her fiancé; however, Andrews denies the accusation of attacking Rivera and leaving her unconscious. In an interview, Andrews stated, “I picked the bat up because my yard was messy and I had realized the yard needed some cleaning up. By that point, the argument had been long over. She had already left and went home.” The conflicting stories of Scoggins and Andrews created the question: Who caused Rivera’s wound, and why? Results and Discussion: Evidence found at the scene includes hair, fiber, fingerprint, a weapon, and blood spatter. The hair evidence at the scene was analyzed via a micro and macroscopic analysis. These tests are used to determine a match of the hair to a person or animal. The medullary index of the hair found at the scene was smaller than at least half of the width of the strand, making the strand human. The medulla was continuous. The black and curly hair’s cuticle layer was flattened. The victim’s and suspect’s hair was sampled and found to be an exact match with Rivera’s. A tan-colored fiber found at the scene was analyzed to determine its association between the victim, suspect, or neither. A microscopic analysis, or analyzing the fiber under a microscope, was conducted. The type of fiber was determined by its weave pattern.


Because the weave pattern was plain, the fiber found from the scene was concluded to be cotton. A sample from Andrews’ scarf was taken, tested, and showed positive results. Because the fiber that identifies with Andrews’ clothing was found at the scene, this identifies Andrews was in her yard before, after, or during the crime scene. Authorities found a fingerprint on the weapon used to wound Rivera. The print was lifted from the bat using tape and magnetic powder and then taken to the lab for further analysis. The print from the scene was identified as a loop from the level one analysis and further identified as a radial loop from the level two analysis. This means that the loop is toward the little finger. The third and final classification of fingerprints is the level three analysis. This analysis is achieved through the identification of minutiae. Minutiae are the ridge dimensions that can positively or negatively identify fingerprints. An ending of a ridge is a type of minutiae, along with a bifurcation, the splitting of a ridge into two ridges. Another type of minutiae is called an eye, or where two bifurcations open toward one another and enclose a space in the print, causing an “eye” to occur. Eight to ten minutiae are required to positively identify a print. Prints were collected on ten cards of the Rivera, Scoggins, and Andrews and compared to that of the scene. The photo below shows a significant resemblance between the print left on the bat and Andrews’ right thumb print. Andrews; print in very unique, containing four eyes. Seven bifurcations and three ridge endings were identified between the two prints. This gives fourteen positively

identifying minutiae to Andrews’s print, further connecting her to the crime scene. Blood was the last type of evidence found at the scene. The blood spatter was analyzed to determine the points of origin. The length and width of the blood droplets were measured to determine the R value (w/l). Using a ruler, a straight line was drawn from the opposite end of the tail of every drop. This was done for other drops as well. The lines were then measured to the first intersection point of another line. This is how the distance is measured. Once the distance has been determined, the tangent of the angle is calculated to determine the height. This process determines the point(s) of origin. The low angle of impact implies that the victim was on the ground when hit. This could mean the victim had tripped or was already hit or pushed onto the ground before wounded. The angles of impact, one set being in a range of 30 to low 40’s and the second being in the higher 40’s to lower 50’s, suggest that there were two instances where the victim was hit. Conclusion: At the trial, Andrews testified her innocence. Her neighbor, Scoggins, gave her direct testimony of watching Andrews hit Rivera with a bat. The trial included Andrews’ significant matching fingerprint to the print of the bat, how she decided after she found out Rivera had been cheating with her fiancé to “clean up her messy yard”, and how Scoggins, an eyewitness, saw the entire crime and noted the intense rage from Andrews following the argument. The jury deliberated for two hours and found Andrews guilty. The


judge sentenced Andrews to eighteen months in jail with a $20,000 fine and also to twelve months probation due to causation of amnesia and brain damage to the left temporal lobe in attempt to murder. References 1. Crime Scene Forensics, LLC. (2012). Fingerprints. Retrieved from www.crimesceneforensics.com/fingerprints.html 2. Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. (2014). Bloodstain Pattern Analysis. Retrieved from https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/bca/bcadivisions/forensic-science/Pages/forensicprograms-crime-scene-bpa.aspx 3. Freeman, S. (nd). How Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Works. Retrieved from http://science.howstuffworks.com/bloodsta in-pattern-analysis.htm 4. 5. Ramsland, K. (nd). Trace Evidence. Retrieved from http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_min d/forensics/trace/3.html 6. Deedrick, D. (2000 July). Hairs, Fibers, Crime, and Evidence Part 2: Fiber Evidence. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/aboutus/lab/forensic-sciencecommunications/fsc/july2000/deedric3.htm / 7. Gautam, L., Cole, M. (2013 September 3). Hair Analysis in Forensic Toxicology.

Hair Analysis Lab Report Hornback, Lucy. Certified Forensics Analyst, PhD.

Retrieved from http://www.forensicmag.com/articles/2013 /09/hair-analysis-forensic-toxicology 8. 9.


Evidence of hair was found at the crime scene. The hair will undergo a macro and microscopic analysis to determine the person or animal of origin. The hair from the scene was examined for Macroscopic Data. The hair was black and curly. It did not have any miscellaneous characteristics such as color changes, split ends, etc. After, the hair evidence was microscopically analyzed to determine the medulla type, cuticle, and medullary index. The medulla was continuous and the cuticle was flattened. If the medullary index is larger than half the hair’s width, then the hair is an animal’s. The medullary index in size is usually .33 or less if it is human. In this case, the medullary index was human. A sample of the victim’s and suspect’s hair were taken and analyzed. The suspect’s hair noticeably differed from the hair taken from the scene due to her color and cuticle type. The victim had samples taken and analyzed also. The hair from the victim matched the hair from the crime scene indefinitely. It can be concluded that the hair from the crime scene belongs to the victim, Taylor Rivera. Macroscopic Analysis Color Black

Straight or Curly Curly

Other None

Cuticle Flattened

Medullary Index .33 (human)

Microscopic Analysis Medulla Type Continuous

Blood Spatter Lab Report


Rivera, Taylor. PhD.

The blood spatter from the crime scene was investigated to determine the angle of impact and point(s) of origin. The data showed that there were two points of origin. This implies that the victim was hit more than once. This conclusion was drawn from the analyzing the blood spatter. Rulers were used to measure the length and width of the blood droplets. Using the length and width, the R value was found and thus used to find the angle measure. Using a ruler, a straight line was drawn from the opposite end of the tail of every drop. This process was conducted for other drops as well, excluding drops that had an R value of one. The lines from the drops were then measured to the first intersection point of a line of a different drop. Once a line intersects a line from another drop, the distance is measured. Once the distance is has been determined, the tangent of the angle was found to determine the height. This process is used to determine the point of origin. The low angle of impact implies that the victim had to have been on the ground when hit both times. This indicates some type of struggle occurred between the two. For example, the victim could have been pushed, hit, or have fallen down, causing the victim to be on the ground before wounded. Furthermore, the angle of impacts suggest a range of 30 to low 40’s and another measure from the higher 40’s to mid- 50’s, this suggests two points of origin. The data is located in the table below. Drop Number

Width (mm)

Length (mm)

R(W/L)

1 2 3 4 5 6

2 8 1 2 2 6

3 11 2 3 3 8

.667 .727 .5 .667 .667 .75

Angle Measure (in degrees) 41.81 46.66 30 41.81 41.81 48.59

Distance (mm)

Tan. Of Angle

Height (mm)

17.4 10 212 259 259 273

0.8944 1.0597 .5774 .8944 .8944 1.1339

155.6256 101.597 122.4088 231.6496 147.576 365.547


7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

5 1 1 4 1 2 1 3 4 4 3 4 3 5

7 2 2 5 2 4 2 4 7 6 4 5 5 6

.714 .5 .5 .8 .5 .5 .5 .75 .571 .666 .75 .8 .6 .833

45.58 30 30 53.13 30 30 30 48.59 34.81 41.75 48.59 53.13 36.86 56.40

343 223 175 215 120 301 177 220 115 142 173 157 415 307

1.020 .5774 .5774 1.333 .5774 .5774 .5774 1.133 .695 .8925 1.133 1.333 .749 1.505

Fiber Analysis Lab Report Hornback, Lucy. Certified Forensics Analyst, PhD.

Fiber was another type of evidence collected at the crime scene. This evidence is important because it ties together multiple aspects to this case. A Thin Layer Chromatography of Dyes Test will be conducted then the type of fabric will be determined. This fiber it is unknown where the fiber came from. It is believed to come from the suspect’s clothing. The Thin Layer Chromatography test is a chromatography technique used to separate non-volatile mixtures. Thin-layer chromatography is performed with a thin layer of fiber and helps to identify substances and test the purity of compounds. Essentially, the test is a mixture of two or more substances between a stationary phase and a mobile phase. The stationary phase is a thin

349.86 128.7609 101.045 286.595 69.288 173.797 102.199 249.26 79.925 126.735 196.009 209.281 310.835 462.035


layer of adsorbent coated on a plate. The mobile phase is a developing liquid, which travels up the stationary phase, carrying the samples with it. Components of the samples will separate according to how strongly they adsorb on the stationary phase versus how readily they dissolve in the mobile phase. The outcome was a tan spot that was darker towards the end of the circle. The second test done was a microscopic analysis, or looking under the microscope, in order to discover what material the fiber was. When looking in the microscope the fiber looked like flat ribbons that have been slightly twisted. This indicates that the fiber was cotton. With the results from both the Thin Layer Chromatography of Dyes Test and the microscopic analysis, it has been proven that the fiber from the suspect and her scarf match up exactly. The fiber is from Andrews’ scarf.

Fingerprint Lab Report Andrews, Canaan. PhD.

The print from the scene was lifted from the weapon and analyzed for identification. The victim and suspects were all fingerprinted on ten cards to make identifications. Each fingerprint was thoroughly examined via level one, two, and three identifications. The crime scene print below was identified with the right thumb print of the suspect, Canaan Andrews. A fingerprint leaves an imprint from the sweat and residue from the fingers. Friction ridges are ridges and furrows on the fingerprint that make up the print itself. Friction ridges are reflections of the structures from the inside layer of the skin, also known as the basal layer. All attempts to change a fingerprint by burning and scarring result in a fingerprint’s heightened uniqueness. It is


easier to make an identification to a suspect when the fingerprint is scarred in some way. Therefore, all fingerprints are infinitely unique. The first classification for a fingerprint is the level one analysis. In this examination, a print is placed into one of three categories: arch, loop, or whorl. The classification of the fingerprint depends on the pattern of the friction ridges. When examined, the print from the crime scene was identified as a loop. Similarly, Andrews’ print from her right thumb is identified as a loop as well. A level two classification is made by identifying the specifics of the identification made in level one. Andrews’ right thumb print is identified as a loop; however, this is classified into further detail be identifying it as an ulnar or radial loop. An ulnar loop suggests that the loop is away from the little finger. When the loop is toward the little finger, it is identified as a radial loop. Andrews’ print was classified in the level two analysis as a radial loop. The third and final classification of the fingerprint is achieved by identifying minutiae. Eight to ten minutiae are required in order for a fingerprint to be identified as a positive match. Minutiae are the ridge dimensions that can positively or negatively identify a fingerprint. An ending in a ridge and a bifurcation, the splitting of a ridge into two ridges, are considered minutiae. An eye is a unique minutiae type in which two bifurcations form at two separate ends of the ridge endings. They open toward the other and enclose a space in the print, causing an “eye” to occur. The suspect’s fingerprint is very unique, albeit it contains all four eyes that were identified in the print from the scene. Seven bifurcations and three ridge endings were also identified. The fourteen minutiae identified in total gives this print from the crime scene a positive match to the suspect’s. The picture below shows a comparison between the print left on the weapon to the right thumb print of Andrews. After the three characterizations of Andrews’ fingerprint, it was positively identified with the print left on the weapon. Although Andrews’ fingerprint was identified with the


weapon, this does not prove Andrews is the suspect. Her fingerprint suggests merely an association with the weapon at some point in time, either before or after the scene and a possible connection with the crime.

Photo log: 41 Cox Road Cartersville, GA 30121 4-24-14 Photographer: Canaan Andrews

Camer

NO.

Nature

Setting

Item

Type

Page

Sketch

a I-Phone

n IMG_0001 Picture Crime Scene Overall

s Normal

All

Standar

2

# 1

All

d Standar

2

2

2

3

I-Phone

IMG_002

Mode

Descriptio

Picture Crime Scene Side/ Overall

Normal

I-Phone

IMG_003

Picture Weapon

Midview

Normal

Bat

d Standar

I-Phone

IMG_004

Picture Weapon

Close-up

Normal

Bat

d Standar

3

4

Hair

d Standar

3

5

3

6

I-Phone

IMG_005

Picture Hair

Midview

Normal

I-Phone

IMG_006

Picture Hair

Close-up

Normal

Hair

d Standar

I-Phone

IMG_007

Picture Fiber

Midview

Normal

Fiber

d Standar

4

7

Fiber

d Standar

4

8

d Standar

4

9

I-Phone I-Phone

IMG_008 IMG_009

Picture Fiber Picture Fingerprint

Close-up Midview

Normal Normal

Fingerprint


I-Phone

IMG_010

Picture Fingerprint

Close-up

Normal

Fingerprint

IPhone

IMG_011

Picture Fingerprint

Close-up

Normal

Fingerprint

I-Phone

IMG_012

Picture Fingerprint

Close-up

Normal

Fingerprint

I-Phone

IMG_013

Picture Fingerprint

Close-up

Normal

Fingerprint

I-Phone

IMG_014

Picture Fingerprint

Close-up

Normal

Fingerprint

I-Phone

IMG_015

Picture Victim

Close-up

Normal

Victim

d Standar

5

10

d Standar

5

11

d Standar

5

12

d Standar

6

13

d Standar

6

14

d Standar

7

15

d IMG_001

IMG_002

IMG_003

Crime Scene Overall

Crime Scene Side View Overall

Weapon Midview

IMG_004

Weapon Close-up

IMG_005

Hair Midview

IMG_006

Hair Close-up


IMG_007

Fiber Midview

IMG_008

Fiber Close-up

IMG_009

Fingerprints Overall

IMG_010

Thumb Print Close-Up

IMG_011

Index Print Close-Up

IMG_012

Middle Print Close-Up

IMG_013

Ring Print Close-Up

IMG_014

Little Print Close-Up

IMG_015

Victim Close-Up


CASS HIGH SCHOOL FORENSICS RECEIPT FOR PROPERTY CASE NUMBER: _12345_ BIN#:__1234__ DATE OBTAINED: _April 24, 2014_ TIME: 9:18 p.m._ FELONY_____MISD_____FOUND PROPERTY_____OTHER X_ Taylor Rivera 678-555-5555 21 Eagles View Drive VICTIMS NAME ADDRESS PHONE Canaan Andrews 770-888-8888 41 Cox Road SUSPECT/OFFENDER NAME ADDRESS PHONE Canaan Andrews 770-888-8888 41 Cox Road PROPERTY OBTAINED FROM ADDRESS PHONE Andrews’ House 770-888-8888 41 Cox Road LOCATION WHERE PROPERTY OBTAINED ADDRESS PHONE Canaan Andrews 770-888-8888 41 Cox Road PROPERTY OWNER’S NAME ADDRESS PHONE ______________________________________________________________________________________ _______ ITEM # QTY DESCRIPTION OF PROPERTY SERIAL # 0001 1 Hair 0002

1

Fiber

0003

1

Weapon, Bat

NAME AND BADGE NUMBER OF OFFICER OBTAINING PROPERTY


PRINT NAME:

Dr. Andrews

SIGNATURE:

BADGE# 1122

CHAIN OF CUSTODY ______________________________________________________________ ITEM# DATE 0001

PRINT NAME TIME FROM: Dr. Andrews

SIGNATURE Hair

REASON Evidence

TO: Mr. Bohannon

ITEM# DATE 0002

PRINT NAME TIME FROM: Dr, Andrews

SIGNATURE Fiber

REASON Evidence

TO: Mr. Bohannon

ITEM# DATE 0003

PRINT NAME TIME FROM: Dr. Andrews TO: Mr. Bohannon

SIGNATURE Weapon, Bat

April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014

REASON Evidence

April 24, 2014


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