Paper Example on the Application of Technologies in the Estimation of the Age of Bloodstain

Published: 2023-01-28
Paper Example on the Application of Technologies in the Estimation of the Age of Bloodstain
Type of paper:  Dissertation proposal
Categories:  Forensic science Technology
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1577 words
14 min read

1.1 Introduction and Research Background

The estimation of the age of bloodstain is critical in the determination of a real perpetrator of a crime. Some of the traditional methods used for this purpose are mostly inaccurate and take a long time for results to be released. This has necessitated the use of technology to examine bloodstains left in crime scenes (Thanakiatkrai, Yaodam and Kitpipit, 2013). Therefore, the application of technology will come in handy by helping law enforcers to learn more about a suspect within a shorter timescale.

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Typically bloodstains obtained from crime scenes can be used to obtain a range of information. For instance, a presumptive kit is used to examine whether the stains acquired are real human blood or not (Buck at al, 2011). However, the kit has proved to be unreliable due to several reasons. Sometimes the presumptive kit can show that the stains are human blood when in the real sense it is nothing close to human blood. There is also the use of hazardous chemicals for analysis something that can endanger the welfare of forensic officers. Further, the examination kit is only used one-time and has to be replaced with another in the future. This means extra costs for forensic departments when handling related criminal cases. Another weakness associated with the presumptive kits is that it can only be used to examine a single body fluid. Hence, in cases where there are multiple stains obtained, several kits will be used, thus more expenses. Finally, the presumptive kit requires large amounts of samples. As a result, it can prove an uphill task in obtaining results during instances where not much stains acquired at the scene of a crime.

Conversely, confirmatory tests can be used in place of presumptive kits. Apparently, confirmatory kits are believed to deliver better results as compared to presumptive kits (Buck at al., 2011). This is because the kits can distinguish human blood from fluids of other animals. Confirmatory kits have a few weaknesses similar to those exhibited by presumptive kits but are not exposed to false-positive assignments.

More recently, there has been an invention of technologies that allow the identification of genetic information from bloodstains. This genetic information includes hair colour, age, race, diet, among others.

1.2 Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA) aids forensic investigators in determining the possible action and source that occasioned the bloodstain (Buck at al, 2011). In a bid to this, forensic investigators examine objects near the crime scene. Such items include the clothing of the victim and nearby objects. There is a need to take photographs as investigators try to pull together information that will be useful in determining the events that occurred, resulting in the crime. For instance, the size, shape, and distribution of bloodstains can show investigators the events that took place before the occurrence of a criminal act. More so, BPA shows the position of the victim before the stains were released. Concerning position, investigators seek to know whether the individual was standing or sitting before the occurrence of a criminal act. Also, the process will help investigators to identify the relative position of the affected person as bloodshed occurred. Also, the weapon used to commit an offense can is identified through the BPA. Consequently, investigators will be able to tell the mechanism through which the crime was committed. For instance, it can be through stabbing, hitting, or through cuts.

Research shows that BPA has attracted significant attention since the mid-1900s (Damelio and Gardner, 2001). At the inception stages, investigators used to carry computers to the crime scene as they sought to reconstruct a crime scene. However, traditional mechanisms have proved inconvenient due to several reasons. Firstly, carrying physical computers to the scene of a crime can an enormous task for investigators since the machines are usually bulky. Besides, acquiring such computers is costly, thus rendering the whole investigative exercise expensive (Damelio and Gardner, 2001). More so, investigating officers require intensive training for them to use computers appropriately. Also, there is a lack of alternative formulas for different surfaces. As a result, the findings may be inaccurate since the same formula is repeated for different surfaces. Comparing rough surfaces and cemented floors shows the difference. It is no secret that the movement of fluids on smooth floors cannot be similar in rough surfaces. In the end, the findings may be inaccurate as a result of the lack of well-defined formulas.

The figure below illustrates outcomes as a result of using mobile technology to conduct blood spatter analysis.1.2 Determination of Centers of Origin of BloodstainsAccording to Buck et al. (2011), there exists significant literature concerning the subject of bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA). This analysis seeks to identify features of bloodstains. Also, it seeks to establish the direction followed by the body fluid before it strikes the target object, and the determination of the most appropriate documentation schemes to be used for a bloodstain to determine its origin. These steps will culminate into the crime scene reconstruction by forensic experts.

Primarily, crime scene reconstruction delve into the analysis of observations made by forensic investigators from the bloodstains recovered from a crime scene. Also, forensic experts do pay attention to the evidence presented by the victims as they try to figure out any useful investigative information (Damelio and Gardner, 2001).

1.2.1 3D Ballistic Determination of Bloodstains

According to Buck et al. (2011), the pattern of bloodstains at the point of incident is critical for investigations in homicide crime scene investigations. The outcomes of evaluation serve to show the likely location of source of bloodstain, number of hits suffered by a victim, and the location of the victim.

Forensic investigators use ballistic software to determine ballistic trajectories. The Ballistic softwares are used because they give more accurate results. Hence, it is easier for the investigators to approximate trajectories. Also, the photogammetry software is used to determine the points of origin of bloodstains. On the other hand, virtual stringing is used to determine the point of origin for blood that has fallen on a flat ground. It gives an insight into both horizontal and vertical movement of blood stains. Moreover, there is tachymetry which employs electro-optical laser distance to determine the origin and distance moved by bloodstains (Pizzola et al., 2012).

This method has a number of advantages. First, the preparation time for conducting evaluation is short. Besides, the techniques makes use of a non-contact measurement method. Hence, the bloodstains are not tampered with and can be used for future investigations. Finally, the ballistic technique results into accurate results. For instance, the ballistic method of bloodstain analysis gives more accurate results with regard to the vertical component of blood movement compared to other conventional methods (Buck at al., 2011).

1.3.1. Cylindrical Capture Method

Due to the inconsistencies associated with traditional mechanisms, there is a need to use advanced technologies when conducting BPA. One of the methods that have been put forward to correct these inconsistencies is the cylindrical capture method (Williams et al., 2019). Investigators are in a better position to identify the angle of incidence of bloodstains using the theory of cylindrical drop paths, compared to the digital caliper method used currently. As a result, they can tell the origin of a bloodstain. This shows that there is a need to adopt advanced technologies.

1.4 Estimation of Suspects' Age

According to Laan et al. (2015), blood tests play a critical role in the determination of the age of suspects. As mentioned earlier, blood tests conducted at the scene face significant challenges. For instance, some tests take a long time for results to be out. Additionally, there is a chance that the testing exercise itself can tamper with and destroy the samples themselves, thus dealing a significant blow to the investigations. Investigators mostly rely on fingerprints and other DNA information to establish the age of the culprit, something that is a tall order. This is because the suspects could be at large. Even if their DNA information is available in databases available for use by investigative officers, DNA profiling has proven unreliable in determining the age of suspects. Hence blood tests will come in handy in determining the age of criminals. Unlike DNA and fingerprints, blood and other body fluids change as a person ages (Shiri, Martin and Bird, 2019).

1.4.1. Raman Spectroscopy

Notably, hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color fits the bill in the determination of the age of a suspect (Strasser et al., 2007). Stresser and his colleagues have put forward Raman Spectroscopy as a method of determining the age of individuals. The technique allows forensic experts to examine the structural component of blood. Primarily, the technology involves experts shining lasers on sample blood obtained from the crime scene. Notably, unlike the usual blood tests, Raman spectroscopy does not destroy the blood sample (Strasser et al., 2007). Hence, the very samples are useful for further forensic analysis. Besides, the technology provides accurate results since two different compounds cannot produce similar results whatsoever. However, it is worth noting that the chemist approach can only be used for samples not older than two years old. This can be a problem, especially in cases where there are no accurate witness accounts of the exact time a crime took place.

1.5 Determining the Point of Convergence in Bloodstain Pattern

According to Camana (2013), investigative experts are also concerned with the determination of the point of convergence of bloodstains. This is because the bloodstains vary in amount and pattern. For instance, the droplets can be in large visible patters or as microscopic spatters on the clothing of the victim.

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