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Compilation of Techniques for Processing Deceased Human Skin for Latent Prints

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 41 Issue: 2 Dated: (March/April 1991) Pages: 111-120
D S Bettencourt
Date Published
10 pages

A recent study was conducted to determine historical and current methods for processing human skin for latent prints and a laboratory method and procedure to use when processing human skin for latent prints without the use of a laser or alternate light source.


Several methods are described in general terms and with regard to necessary equipment and safety considerations: iodine/silver plate transfer, magna brush/tape lift, magna brush/color photography, magna brush/kromekote, cyanoacrylate/magna brush, cyanoacrylate/dye stain/laser, lead powder/x-ray (electrography), and silicone cast (plastic impressions). Under test conditions, fingerprints were developed on skin by all of the techniques described. Reports are included for successes which have been documented in actual cases in Canada, Japan, and the United States. Latent friction ridge detail may be developed on deceased human skin under some conditions, and factors to consider are outlined. 11 references