Basic Information

Abstract Number: 1320 - 2
Author Name: Brian Eckenrode - Federal Bureau of Investigation
Session Title: New and Emerging Analytical Technologies in Forensic Science
Event Type: Symposia
Event Title: Progress in Laboratory and Field-Based Instrument Strategies That Integrate Canine Capabilities for Forensic Applications

Presider Name:Ruth Smith
Affiliation:Michigan State University

Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Start Time: 02:05 PM (Slot #2)
Location: 118C

Abstract Content

Relatively recently there has been interest from science and legal-based initiatives to provide additional corroborative support to canine alerts in situations that strain traditional forensic field investigations while searching for anything probative. Analytical instrumentation and methods are used routinely to verify the presence or absence of specific forensic chemical or physical markers gleaned from evidence at a scene or from an item. Instruments are typically used to generate data provided to examiners that is scrutinized for analytical robustness and integrity. In many field deployments, canines can be used to effectively screen wide areas for missing persons or to provide focus to an investigation that would otherwise be very difficult to solve using current field forensic strategies. Integrating the strength of analytical instrumentation with the rapid screening and exceptional detection capabilities of canines will provide a science-based verification of canine alerts and build confidence in field investigations.

It is well known that humans generate odor signatures that can be both specific and general in either living or deceased states. However, qualitative and quantitative characterization of the VOCs using instrumental methods resulting from human decomposition has been elusive and complicating the situation, difficulties arise in forensic investigations when a significant amount of time has elapsed and the odor has dissipated considerably. Analytical instrumental methods have constantly been trying to rival canines for their ability, to not only detect, but to differentiate specific human decomposition from other forms or odor profiles. Determining the relevant VOCs amidst a wide array of potential markers for human evidence, both living and deceased, has not been adequately achieved and an important step towards the integration of analytical instrumentation methods with canine capabilities will assist with these determinations.