Development of latent fingerprints on wet non-porous surfaces with SPR based on basic fuchsin dye

Development of latent fingerprints on wet non-porous surfaces with SPR based on basic fuchsin dye

Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences (2015) xxx, xxx–xxx Contents lists available at ScienceDirect H O S T E D BY Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sci...

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Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences (2015) xxx, xxx–xxx

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

H O S T E D BY

Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences journal homepage: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/egyptian-journal-of-forensic-sciences

ORIGINAL ARTICLES

Development of latent fingerprints on wet non-porous surfaces with SPR based on basic fuchsin dye Richa Rohatgi *, A.K. Kapoor Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, Delhi 110007, India Received 13 April 2015; accepted 22 May 2015

KEYWORDS Fingerprints; Forensic science; Small particle reagent

Abstract Small particle reagent (SPR) is a technique performed to detect latent fingerprints left on wet and moist surfaces based upon the reaction between fatty acid residuals present in the traces and hydrophobic tails of the specific reagent. Those tails are linked to a hydrophilic head of zinc carbonate based formulation to give coloured precipitate. In the present study, we have prepared a novel SPR formulation constituting of zinc carbonate based on basic fuchsin dye for development of latent fingerprints on wet surfaces. It was shown to develop clear, sharp and detailed fingerprints on non-porous surfaces after these were immersed in water for up to 45 days. The ability of the present formulations to detect weak and chance prints not only enhances its utility, but also its potentiality in forensic case work investigations. The raw materials used to prepare the SPR are cost-effective and non-hazardous. ª 2015 Hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The International Association of Law and Forensic Sciences (IALFS).

1. Introduction Criminals usually tread carefully and try not to leave any traces at the scene of crime. Investigators are frequently faced with the fingerprint detection and their subsequent development tasks. In some cases offenders try to destroy the traces by throwing items, e.g., bottles, firearms, plastics, foils, etc. in water or by exposing scene and objects to extreme

* Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: [email protected] (R. Rohatgi), [email protected] (A.K. Kapoor). Peer review under responsibility of The international association of Law and Forensic Sciences (IALFS).

conditions like arson. Previously many researchers have developed and used fingerprint powder formulations, with each formula consisting of a colourant for contrast and a resinous material for good adhesion. Hundreds of fingerprint powder formulas have been developed over the years. In the past, powder dusting, ninhydrin dipping, iodine fuming and silver nitrate soaking, cyanoacrylate fuming were the most commonly used techniques for latent print development. These traditional techniques are quite effective for many surfaces.1–5 However, these traditional methods for latent print detection are not always effective and scientists have attempted to improve the existing methods for the visualization of latent prints. The list of different powders which have been used by various workers6–28 for the development of latent fingerprints on different surfaces is shown in Table 1.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejfs.2015.05.007 2090-536X ª 2015 Hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The International Association of Law and Forensic Sciences (IALFS). Please cite this article in press as: Rohatgi R, Kapoor AK Development of latent fingerprints on wet non-porous surfaces with SPR based on basic fuchsin dye, Egypt J Forensic Sci (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejfs.2015.05.007

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R. Rohatgi, A.K. Kapoor Table 1

Displays various chemical powders used by different workers for development of latent fingerprints.

Sudan III Lead powder Rhodamine 6G Titanium oxide powder Rhodamine B dye Rhodamine 6G Fluorescein dye Basic fuchsin dye Eosin blue dye Eosin yellow dye Phloxine B dye Guinea green dye Aniline blue dye Azure I dye Azure II dye Basic yellow 40 Basic red Congo red dye Cyano blue dye Crystal violet dye

SPR is a technique performed to detect latent fingerprints left on wet or moist surfaces based upon the reaction between the fatty-acid residuals present in the traces and hydrophobic tails of the specific reagents. Those tails are linked to a hydrophilic head, which reacts with metal salt to give coloured precipitate. In conventional small particle reagent, a suspension of molybdenum disulphide in a surfactant solution is used as a base material. Zinc carbonate, titanium dioxide and ferric oxide are some other materials used in SPR. However, as the base material is grey in colour, the fingerprints developed on dark coloured surfaces are not sufficiently clear due to lack of contrast.29–31 Therefore, a formulation based on white coloured basic zinc carbonate, basic fuchsin and a commercial liquid detergent was prepared for developing latent fingerprints on crime scene evidence that were exposed to water

Bridges (1963)6 Graham (1969)7 Almog and Gabay (1980)8 Goode and Morris (1983)9 Kerr et al. (1983)10 and Sodhi et al. (2003)21 Sears and Fitzgerald (2003)11 and Exline et al. (2003)22 Kerr et al. (1983)12 Howard (1993)13and Sodhi et al. (2004)25 Sodhi et al. (1997)14 and Dhall et al. (2013)27 Sodhi and Kaur (1999)15 and Dhall et al. (2013)27 Sodhi and Kaur (2000)16 Sodhi and Kaur (2001)17 Sodhi and Kaur (2002)18 Sodhi et al. (2003)19 Sodhi and Kaur (2004)20 Exline et al. (2003)22 Exline et al. (2003)22 Sodhi et al. (2003)23 Sodhi and Kaur (2004)24 Sodhi and Kaur (2012)26 and Rohatgi et al. (2014)28

for varied time periods. The present study is done to investigate if novel SPR formulation prepared can recover latent fingerprints on glass and metal surfaces submerged in stagnant water at various time intervals. The subsequent results were compared with already in use SPR formulation based on crystal violet dye to conclude its efficacy.28 2. Materials and methods 2.1. Materials Basic zinc carbonate was purchased from Glaxo Laboratories, while basic fuchsin and crystal violet were procured from Sigma–Aldrich32 and GenteelR liquid detergent was used as

Picture 1 Latent prints developed on non-porous metallic surfaces after immersion in water (a) 5 days with formulation A; (b) 10 days with formulation B.

Please cite this article in press as: Rohatgi R, Kapoor AK Development of latent fingerprints on wet non-porous surfaces with SPR based on basic fuchsin dye, Egypt J Forensic Sci (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejfs.2015.05.007

Development of latent fingerprints on wet non-porous surfaces with SPR

Picture 2

3

Fingerprints developed by formulation A, after immersion for (a) 10 days and (b) 20 days, respectively.

Picture 3 Latent prints developed with formulation A, after immersion for (a) 30 days on glass slide and (b) 35 days aluminium foil slide respectively.

the surfactant solution. 20 individuals, both males and females, with variable donor capabilities, were asked for their consented groomed fingerprints for the study. Latent fingerprints were developed on metallic spoon, aluminium foil and glass slide simulating metal body firearms, knives, door knobs, bottles etc. where there is higher probability of culprit leaving chance impressions. The fingerprints were impinged on selected non-porous surfaces. These were immersed in clean water for 45 days and their development through SPR composition was done every day. The experiment was conducted in summer season in Delhi, India when the temperature was 40–43 C and relative humidity was 26–34%. For evaluating shelf life, the composition was stored in glass beaker covered with an aluminium foil under ambient

laboratory conditions. The test solution remained stable for about 50 days. 2.2. Method Two formulations A and B were prepared. For formulation A, a suspension of 5.0 g of basic zinc carbonate in 75 ml distilled water, 100 mg basic fuchsin dye and 0.3 ml commercial liquid detergent was added. Formulation B was prepared by adding 100 mg crystal violet to a suspension of 5.0 g of basic zinc carbonate in 75 ml distilled water followed by 0.3 ml of commercial liquid detergent. About 200 ml of clean water was taken in separate containers, so as to simulate conditions of a suspected weapon recovered, from a flowing river or a stagnant pool of

Please cite this article in press as: Rohatgi R, Kapoor AK Development of latent fingerprints on wet non-porous surfaces with SPR based on basic fuchsin dye, Egypt J Forensic Sci (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejfs.2015.05.007

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R. Rohatgi, A.K. Kapoor

Picture 4 Images of latent prints developed with formulation B, after 40 days of immersion in water on spoon and glass slide respectively.

Table 2

3. Results and discussion

Finger mark quality scale.

Grade

Description

0 1 2

No visible prints Poor quality, very few visible ridges Poor quality, some ridge details visible or partial mark with limited characteristics Reasonable quality, ridge-details and some characteristics visible, identification possible Good quality prints, ridge-details and characteristics visible, probable identification Excellent quality, very clear prints, identification assured

3 4 5

Small particle reagent technique has proved its worth in detecting fingerprints on moist, non-porous smooth surfaces. In the present experimental study both formulations A and B provide evidence of clear, sharp and good contrast results on aluminium foil, metallic spoon and glass surfaces. The results shown for first 20 days have been excellent by both formulations A and B on all three surfaces. Thereafter a considerable decrease in the quality of prints developed by both formulations was observed. Composition A developed sufficiently clear and identifiable fingerprints on all three non-porous surfaces which had remained in clean water for up to 30 days (mean 3.33) while composition B gave reasonably good results up to 20 days on all three surfaces (mean 3.33). The most suitable surface which showed reasonable quality of ridge-details and identifiable characteristics with mean 3.8 was aluminium foil that is to say, there was no one instance when prints developed on aluminium foil gave print grading below 2. On the contrary, glass slide was found to be the least productive surface in terms of developing latent prints under wet conditions. It was observed from the experiment that the clarity of the prints decreases with an increase in immersion

water, for two dye solutions, respectively. Thirty sets of three surfaces, impinged with latent fingerprints were immersed in both containers for 45 days. One set of three surfaces was taken out and sprayed with both SPR formulations separately every day for 45 days. The formulations were given one minute to react with the wetted latent fingerprint. The surfaces were washed under a gentle stream of water for 20–30 s and then dried for 40 s. Clear and sharp fingerprints could be observed as in Pictures 1–4. To determine the quality level of fingerprint development a Finger mark Quality Scale assessment33 was used Table 2.

Table 3

Quality (grades) of developed fingerprints on wet non-porous surfaces.

Immersion period (in days)

1–5

6–10

11–15

16–20

21–25

26–30

31–35

36–40

41–45

Formulation A Metallic spoon Aluminium foil Glass slide

5 5 5

5 5 4

5 5 3

5 5 2

5 4 2

5 4 1 and 0

4 3

3 2

2 1 and 0

Formulation B Metallic spoon Aluminium foil Glass slide

5 5 5

5 5 4

5 5 3

5 4 2

4 3 2

3 2 1 and 0

2 1 and 0

1 and 0

Please cite this article in press as: Rohatgi R, Kapoor AK Development of latent fingerprints on wet non-porous surfaces with SPR based on basic fuchsin dye, Egypt J Forensic Sci (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejfs.2015.05.007

Development of latent fingerprints on wet non-porous surfaces with SPR

5

6 5 4

1-10 days

3

11-20 days

2

21-30 days 31-40 days

1

41-50 days

0 Formulaon A Formulaon B Formulaon A Formulaon B Formulaon A Formulaon B Metallic spoon

Graph 1

Aluminum Foil

Shows the comparative of two formulations A and B on different surfaces w.r.t. immersion period.

time irrespective of the surface type. Thus, it can be concluded from the above experiment that formulation A develops excellent results on aluminium foil immersed in water for up to 30 days. It may also be concluded from the above experiment that SPR based on basic fuchsin and crystal violet can be a good substitute to conventional SPR because of their fluorescent contrasting and non-toxic properties. Results are presented in Table 3 and Graph 1. 4. Conclusion The aim of this study was to evaluate the possibility of developing fingerprints with uniquely formulated composition A on surfaces submerged in water. It can, therefore, be concluded that this aim has been achieved, showing that, even under wet and moist conditions, it is possible to develop finger marks and that infallible evidence such as fingerprints should not be overlooked on physical evidences found in drainage water, pool, river etc. The results showed that the most effective method for developing finger marks on non-porous surfaces exposed to water is SPR.30 The new SPR composition proved to give better results when compared with results given by formulation B. The raw materials used for preparing the present small particle reagent are cost-effective and easily available. These pose no occupational hazard to the user. Funding UGC assisted this study financially in the form of Junior Research Fellowship to the corresponding author. Informed consent Informed consent was obtained from the participants of the study. Ethical approval Necessary ethical approval was obtained from the university’s ethical committee. Conflict of interest None.

Glass slide

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