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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Lifting Latent Fingerprints

     We got a call. There had been a break-in and a murder of a man in his cabin. This was in the North Woods; there were still some cabins up there without electricity. We went up there, and it was about ten or twenty degrees below.

     The first thing we had to do was build a fire in the old wood stove to get the cabin up to heat. When it's that cold, you can't do any latent fingerprint processing. The reason is, if you put a fingerprint down in freezing temperature, the moisture you transfer, perspiration, is going to freeze. And the fingerprint powder will not stick to the print. It'll run right off. You basically need a little bit of humidity in the air to process latent prints. If it's cold, you warm the area up, and what your doing is, you're thawing the fingerprint out.

     We spent the first five hours at the scene building a fire and warming the place up just so we could go through and process the cabin for fingerprints.

Crime Scene Investigator in Connie Fletcher's, Crime Scene, 2006

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