U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Recovery of Fingerprints From Arson Scenes: Part 2--Fingerprints in Blood

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 58 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2008 Pages: 83-108
Jennifer Moore; Stephen Bleay; Jack Deans; Niamh NicDaeid
Date Published
January 2008
26 pages
In an attempt to establish the range of temperatures and exposure times for which fingerprints in blood could survive exposure and the best practice for soot removal and subsequent fingerprint development, this study examined the recovery of fingerprints in blood from fire scenes.
Using articles placed in simulated fire scenes, this study successfully demonstrates the practicality of the combined use of soot removal techniques and subsequent enhancement of marks in blood. The best performing soot removal techniques included silicone rubber casting compound and Absorene. For development of marks on nonporous surfaces, acid violet 17 was most effective, whereas the best technique for porous surfaces was acid black 1. Vacuum metal deposition was capable of detecting the position of marks on surfaces exposed to 900 C. The exposure temperature appeared to be the major factor affecting the development of marks, with results being virtually unaffected by the exposure times used (the minimum exposure time being 1 hour). Increasing the exposure temperature reduced the number of marks developed for all types of substrates studied. This second in a two-part study sought to determine the temperatures to which fingerprints in blood could be exposed before it was no longer possible to develop identifiable marks. Of primary interest were the temperatures at which the protein dyes acid black 1, acid violet 17, and acid yellow 7 currently recommended by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) ceased to detect blood and which reagents performed more effectively on a range of surfaces exposed to fire conditions. Tables, figures, references and appendix