After undertaking an assessment of the hair collected from the crime scene, we observed the following morphological characteristics; the form of the hair was curly and the color was black. The medulla structure of the hair was vacuolated: it had a combination of large and small holes. This observation was clearly made with10X magnification of the microscope. The medulla pattern of the hair was characterized by irregular waves: intermittent. We were able to eliminate two of the three reference slides provided to us in the lab. Elimination of the two slides was based on color. In both slides, the hair color was grey. The third reference slide matched all the morphological characteristics of our specimen slide.
Based on our microscopic evaluation, we concluded that the victim animal was an American black bear, scientifically known as Ursus americanus. We were able to arrive at this conclusion since, scientific findings of the morphological characteristics of hair in an American black bear indicate that, the color of the hair is usually black, has a curly form, and its medullar structure is vacuolated. In addition, microscopic evaluation of the medulla pattern indicates that, American black bear’s hair cuticle has an irregular wave pattern. Moreover, the morphological characteristics of our specimen slide matched with those of the reference slide (not eliminated), which belonged to American black bear’s hair.
After a close evaluation of the crime scene and the crime suspect, we concluded that three pieces of evidence that would be present for genetic testing would include, blood samples from the suspect’s cloths, samples of blood from the crime scene, and hair samples collected from the crime scene and the suspect’s clothes. Both samples of blood would be tested for DNA, to provide a basis for comparing their DNA structures. Hair samples would be tested for morphological characteristics (color, form, medulla structure and medulla pattern), and DNA structure as well.
Our experience in the outdoor crime scene investigation was different from indoor experience. Unlike in indoor crime scene investigation, where the probability of contamination from natural causes is low, we encountered contamination issues on the second day after occurrence of the crime. It rained on the night of the crime and most of the evidence was washed down stream. Moreover, since the crime scene was in a woody area inhabited by different animals, we encountered safety issues since we feared possible attacks by bears or other wild animals.
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