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Cover image for Every contact leaves a trace : crime scene experts talk about their work from discovery through verdict
Every contact leaves a trace : crime scene experts talk about their work from discovery through verdict
Every contact leaves a trace : crime scene experts talk about their work from discovery through verdict
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2006.
Physical Description:
x, 386 pages ; 22 cm
Crime scene processing -- Crime scene interpretation: inside scenes, outside scenes -- Trace evidence -- The body of evidence -- DNA -- Crime lab -- Cold cases -- Criminal trials -- Career sketches of contributors.
Real crime scene investigation is vastly more complicated, arduous, bizarre, and fascinating than TVs streamlined versions. Most people who work actual investigations will tell you that the science never lies -- but people can. They may also contaminate evidence, or not know what to look for in crime scenes that typically are far more chaotic and confusing, whether inside or outside, than on TV. Forensic experts will tell you that the most important person entering a scene is the very first responding officer - the chain of evidence starts with this officer and holds or breaks according to what gets stepped on, or over, collected or contaminated, looked past, or looked over, from every person who enters or interprets the scene, all the way through the crime lab and trial. And forensic experts will tell you the success of a case can depend on any one experts knowledge of quirky things, such as: "The Rule of the First Victim": (the first victim of a criminal usually lives near the criminals home); Criminals snacking habits at the scene; "Natures Evidence Technicians," the birds and rodents that hide bits of bone, jewelry, and fabric in their nests; The botanical evidence found in criminals pants cuffs; Baseball caps as prime DNA repositories; The tales told by the application of physics to falling blood drops. Forensic experts talk about their expertise and their cases here. They also talk about themselves, their reactions to the horrors they witness, and their love of the work. For example, a DNA analyst talks about how she drives her family crazy by buccal-swabbing them all at Thanksgiving dinner. A latent print examiner talks about how he examines cubes of Jell-O at any buffet he goes to for tell-tale prints. A crime scene investigator gives his tips on clearing a scene of cops: he slaps "Bio-hazard" and "Cancer Causing Agent" stickers on his equipment. And an evidence technician talks about how hard it is to go to sleep after processing a scene, re-living what youve just witnessed, your mind going a hundred miles an hour. This is a world that TV crime shows cant touch. Here are eighty experts - including beat cops, evidence technicians, detectives, forensic anthropologists, blood spatter experts, DNA analysts, latent print examiners, firearms experts, trace analysts, crime lab directors, and prosecution and defense attorneys - speaking in their own words about what theyve seen and what theyve learned to journalist Connie Fletcher, who has gotten cops to talk freely in her bestsellers What Cops Know, Pure Cop, and Breaking and Entering. Every Contact Leaves A Trace presents the science, the human drama, and even the black comedy of crime scene investigation. - Publisher.