How did the person die? There are lots of different clues that the experts will look for. For example:

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1 How Detectives Work My name is Joe Jackson. I'm a detective with the police department. I love this job because I try to solve a new puzzle every day. My job takes me lots of different places. One day I get called to a house where there has been a robbery. I walk into the home, and the family is sitting there sad, confused and angry. All the furniture has been turned upside down, and just about everything valuable has been taken. There's a ton of evidence, but you have to know where to look for it. Another day, I'm looking at a warehouse that has burned to the ground. There's ash and soot everywhere, and most of the building is gone. The warehouse used to be full of furniture; it all burned hot and fast, so there aren't many clues. All that's left of the merchandise is a pile of springs, nails and tacks. Was it an accident, or could it have been set on fire? Another day, I'm deep in the woods looking at a skeleton that someone found buried in the leaves. The victim's body has completely decayed, but the clothing is still there because it's made of polyester. The person has been dead for quite a while, so clues will be difficult to find. But they're there if you know how to find them. To some people, this kind of work does not sound like much fun. It can get a little gruesome. But to me, it's all fascinating. Every case is a new, special puzzle, and my job is to help solve it. I do that by looking for evidence, carefully collecting it and then studying it to see what it tells me. The evidence can come from a million different places. I work with all sorts of scientists and experts to help analyze the evidence and figure out what happened. One of the most important parts of my job is to ask questions and then try to piece together the answers. Take the case of the skeleton in the park. I've got lots of questions: The first one is pretty obvious: who died? If things follow the normal pattern, I have a pretty good chance of finding the answer to this question. The second question is, When did the person die? With a skeleton it is difficult to get a precise time of death. But I know that it takes at least six months for a body to completely decompose -- which is what happened here. But without studying things a lot more carefully, it can be hard to tell much more than that. So how did this person die? That's another good question. But the most important question may be why this person died. Since we have only a skeleton to work with, finding answers can be tough. But you never know - sometimes you get lucky. Did someone kill the person? Did the person die of natural causes while hiking in the woods? Maybe a wild bear is responsible? (Not likely - not too

2 many bears in a city park.) But you never know. What if a bear escaped from the circus two years ago and was loose for three days before being recaptured? I have to think about stuff like that and follow any leads. Let's start with the question of who this person is. If you have an intact body or even a skeleton, this question is usually pretty easy to answer with today's technology. Believe it or not, there are people who specialize in analyzing skeletons. A skeleton expert can look at the remains and tell quite a bit about the person, including height, gender and sometimes age. Obviously, kids have much smaller skeletons than adults do. You can use that kind of information in a database of missing persons to narrow things down. The easiest way to find the specific identity of the victim is to use dental records. Every time you go to the dentist, your dentist takes X-rays and keeps track of all the fillings you get. An expert can match the teeth of the skeleton with those dental records pretty easily. But that is true only if the person has been reported missing. If not, then it may be impossible to ever discover the identity. Right now, there is no system to check the dental records of every person in the United States. How did the person die? There are lots of different clues that the experts will look for. For example: Are there any holes in the clothes? Small holes can mark a place where a bullet passed through, while large holes could come from a knife or a bite. Knives, bites and bullets might also leave marks on the bones. If a bullet hits or grazes a bone, it will leave a mark. If someone hits a person on the head with a bat, that might leave a mark on the skull. What is in the soil under the skeleton? We will sift the soil very carefully. A bullet lodged in the body will fall out when the body decays. It is also possible to find jewelry, coins, or even something that a murderer might have dropped accidentally. Another part of the detective work in a case like this is simply called "investigation." The discovery of the skeleton may make it into the newspaper or appear on the evening news. Frequently, the public is our best source of information and provides lots of tips. Part of my job is to follow up on these tips. I'll interview the victim's family to find out who may have been with the victim around the time of the disappearance. Then, I'll question each person individually. I might even sit in the park for a couple of days near the place where we found the skeleton and ask people who walk by if they might have seen anything. You never know what you'll learn. Every single case is different. In the next few sections, we'll look at some of techniques detectives use when investigating a crime.

3 Fingerprints Fingerprints have been used for over a hundred years to positively identify criminals. You can leave a fingerprint on almost everything you touch. Because everyone's fingerprints are unique, they are of great use to detectives. Photo courtesy Arkansas State Crime Laboratory To find these prints, crime scene investigators dust an area with special powder. This powder sticks to the oil put down by the finger ridges, revealing the fingerprint. Sometimes, investigators also spray a chemical that reacts to the oilcoated areas. Then, the investigators photograph the visible prints or lift them with a piece of tape, and scan them into a computer. The computer compares them to millions of fingerprints already on record. (The FBI has almost 100 million people's prints on file!). Not everyone is in these databases because not everyone has been fingerprinted, but millions of people have been. For example, anyone who has ever been sent to jail or prison has his or her fingerprints in the system. It is easy

4 for the computer to match a fingerprint from the scene of the crime with a fingerprint in the database, if it exists. They can also match the fingerprint directly with the prints of the suspect. Try This: Fingerprinting The first known use of fingerprints is the ancient Chinese custom of signing legal documents. However, fingerprints weren't actually classified until the 19th century. In 1892, Sir Francis Galton, a British scientist (and Charles Darwin's cousin), published a book that classified all fingerprints into three basic types: loops, arches and whorls (see below). Over the years, law enforcement authorities have studied millions and millions of fingerprints. In fact, the FBI adds about 7,000 new fingerprints to its computerized database each day! Out of all fingerprints: percent of are classified as loops are classified as whorls. 5 percent are classified as arches. Let's try an experiment to see how the fingerprints from your classmates compare to the overall population. Have each person make their own fingerprint sheet, following these simple instructions: With a standard no. 2 pencil, draw a box about two inches high and one inch wide on a white sheet of paper. Fill in the box with the pencil, making sure to keep it dark and even. We'll use this box like the police use their ink pad to take fingerprints. Beginning with your index finger, gently rub the pad of each of your fingertips over the penciled-in rectangle, being careful not to rub it too hard (it smudges if you rub it too hard). Now, take a piece of clear tape and press it on your fingertip. Lift the fingerprint off and apply the tape to a piece of white paper. Mark what finger it came from. Repeat the step for each finger. Now you have a complete set of fingerprints! Finally, determine if you have a loop, whorl or arch by comparing it to the samples below.

5 Total up all of the results for your class and convert your data into percentages (loops, whorls and arches). Graph your results on a chart and compare your results with the overall population. How does your class compare with the national average?

6 0 to 36 Hours: Initial decay The body starts to cool, and bacteria begin to digest the internal organs. Rigor mortis (body stiffening) starts in approximately 3 hours and subsides after 36 hours. The first insects arrive. Bloating begins at about three days. 3 Days to 10 Days: Decay The body cavity inflates from the foul-smelling gases released by bacteria, bloating the body and attracting a wave of insects. 10 days to 21 Days: Active Decay The body cavity has collapsed with a strong, decaying smell. Several generations of fleshconsuming insects are now present. The greatest percentage of biomass removal occurs during this time. 3 Weeks to 7 Weeks: Advanced Decay The remaining soft tissue is removed, and the body starts to dry out. A foul odor, something like rancid butter, is caused by the formation of butyric acid. Beetles and other organisms are attracted to this smell. 7 weeks +: Dry decay Decay is very slow. Mostly dry skin and bones remain. Photos courtesy Manuel Castillo Miralbés Time of death

7 Lie detectors How can a machine tell if a person is lying? The key to a lie detector is that people's bodies give off signals when they try to tell lies. If you're not a very good liar, then you know what some of these signals are - you get sweaty, and your heart beats faster. Professional liars can hide some of it, but their bodies still give off subtle signals. A lie detector is a machine that records things like heart rate, breathing rate, skin resistance (which tells you how much the person is sweating) and blood pressure. The examiner asks the subject a few simple questions to find the baseline (the standard or normal state). Then, additional, more difficult questions are asked. The expert looks at how the person's body responds. The key, or at least the hope, is that even someone trying very hard to cover something up, won't be able to hide the physical signs of distress that go with lying.

8 Luminol In Shakespeare's play Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is consumed with guilt over a murder. Her mind plays tricks on her: She imagines that her hands are covered in blood and tries without success to wipe it off, muttering to herself, "Out damned spot, out I say!" If Lady Macbeth were around today, she might not seem so deranged. It's easy enough to clean up the visible signs of blood, but it's nearly impossible to remove all recognizable blood traces. Crime scene investigators can find hidden blood even if the criminal has cleaned a room from top to bottom - even if several years have passed! The magic tool is a chemical called luminol. When luminol comes in contact with hemoglobin (a protein found in blood), it triggers a chemical reaction. This reaction generates a greenish-blue light, illuminating even the smallest bit of blood. The investigators turn down the lights and reexamine the crime scene as it once was.

9 DNA investigation A technique that has helped to solve many crimes in recent years is DNA evidence. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, (what a word!) is the genetic material that tells cells how to develop and what to do. In other words, DNA is the stuff that determines who you are. DNA is in absolutely every cell that makes up a person's body. People leave a trail of cast-off body cells wherever they go, which means they also leave a trail of DNA. When criminals leave behind hair, blood or skin at a crime scene, they have left a DNA record of their presence. For crime scene investigators, the basic idea is pretty simple. Let's say that you have a person who is the suspect - you think he might have committed the crime you are investigating. You can get a sample of his DNA by swabbing the inside of his cheek with a cotton swab. Now you try to gather DNA from the scene of the crime. It could come from blood, Image courtesy U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program A DNA double helix hair, or even skin cells left on a variety of things, even a cigarette butt. Then, using laboratory procedures, you can compare the two DNA samples - from the suspect and the scene -- and see if they match. If they do, there's a good chance that you have found the criminal. Another way to use DNA evidence is to look for the victim's DNA on or around a suspect. For example, a murderer might pick up a drop of the victim's blood in his clothing.

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