University of Miami Chapter 16 Blood Spatter in Crime Scene Questions 1) Read Chapter 16 in your text. 2) Answer the following questions. 3) Comment on a

University of Miami Chapter 16 Blood Spatter in Crime Scene Questions 1) Read Chapter 16 in your text.

2) Answer the following questions.

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3) Comment on at least 2 of the answers of your fellow students.

a) If there are a number of blood spatters concentrated in one area of your crime scene, how can we locate their point of origin?

b) What is a blood swipe? What is a blood wipe? What type of activity at your crime scene will cause each one?

c) What type of activity at your crime scene causes a cast-off spatter type? What types of objects may be involved in cast-off spatter? Forensic Science: The Basics, Third Edition
Chapter 16
Chapter Outline
Mini Glossary
Analysis of Blood
Preliminary Considerations
Locating Blood on Objects
Confirmatory Tests for Blood
Species Determination
Genetic Markers in Blood
Other Biological Fluids and Stains
Seminal Fluid
Vaginal Secretions
Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
Physical Properties of Blood
Geometry of Bloodstains
Bloodstain Patterns
Appendix A: Trigonometry Calculation for Locating a Bloodstain
Try It Yourself: The Genetics of Blood Typing
Test Yourself
Further Reading
Useful Websites
Mini Glossary
Agglutination: The coming together or clumping of antigen bearing red blood cells
and the antibodies specific to that antigen.
Altered bloodstains: Shed blood that has been changed physically or
Antibody: Antibodies are found in the blood serum and are specific to a blood type.
They serve as protection from noncompatible blood types.
Antigen: Antigens in blood are inherited substances on the erythrocyte (red blood
cell) that are responsible for eliciting a blood group reaction to specific
Blood: A solution of various materials important for sustaining life.
Bloodstain pattern analysis (BSPA): An area of forensic science that interprets
the patterns seen in deposited blood and relates them to the actions that
could have caused the pattern.
Confirmatory test: A test that used to identify the specific fluid or material
Erythrocytes: A component of the solid part of the blood responsible for carrying
oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the cells, commonly called red
blood cells.
Forensic serology: The examination and identification of body fluids as they relate
to a crime scene.
Leucocytes: A component of the solid part of the blood responsible for fighting
infection, commonly called white blood cells.
Passive bloodstains: Blood that is shed and travels under the influence of gravity
Plasma: The liquid portion of the blood, which has, in suspension, blood cells and
platelets along with water, glucose, proteins, and other chemical compounds.
Spatter bloodstains: Blood that moves due to a force in addition to gravity which
exhibits directionality and specific distribution patterns.
Screening (presumptive) test: A test that establishes the possibility that a spe-
cific type of fluid or substance is present in the sample.
Serology: The examination and identification of body fluids.
Thromobocytes: A component of the solid part of the blood that assists in the clot-
ting process. They are commonly called platelets.
Viscous: A term used to describe a liquid that has a resistance to flow.
BSPA: Bloodstain pattern analysis
CSC: Criminal sexual conduct
DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid
PIC: Picroindigocarmine (dye)
PSA: Prostate-specific antigen
SAP: Seminal acid phosphatase
One of the first blood spatter cases in the United States took place in Utah. The case
involved the admissibility of blood spatter evidence. A man was seen entering the
home of his girlfriend and then, a few minutes later, exited carrying the girl in his
arms. He put her in the back seat of his car and drove off. A neighbor witnessed this
and called the police, who located his car and stopped him. He claimed that he had
found the girl lying on the floor and picked her up to take her to the hospital. The
crime laboratory for analysis. The serologist examined his shirt and pants and
As part of the investigation, the accused’s blood-stained clothes were sent to the
determined that the blood stains were the result of blood spurting out under pres-
sure from a source in front of him which then landed on his clothing. At his trial for
murder, the defendant sought to exclude the blood spatter evidence on the grounds
admitted the blood spatter evidence. The defendant was convicted. He appealed to
that its underlying basis had not been proven. The court rejected the argument and
the Utah Supreme Court, which upheld the admissibility of the evidence.
Forensic Science: The Basics, Third Edition
In recent times, DNA testing has received a great deal of attention. The pulse
of this attention has been quickened by media publicity. The public has learned
of DNA’s ability to identify someone from traces of biological material left at
crime scenes and of cases where wrongly imprisoned people have been set free
by postconviction DNA typing. Many people, including some law enforcement
, believe that the only test necessary for blood analysis is DNA typ-
ing. The public is unaware of how blood was analyzed in a crime lab before DNA
typing and what tests are still necessary to fully characterize blood and other
body fluids. Many of these tests are still used in modern crime labs. These older
techniques are still valuable in cases where DNA typing cannot be done or is
of limited use for one reason or another. In those cases where DNA typing has
caused the reversal of a conviction, it means that pre-DNA serological testing
was done at the time of the crime. In most cases, this testing was done prop-
erly and proper interpretations were made concerning the likelihood that the
evidence came from the suspect or victim. The problem is that the serological
evidence is not as powerful as DNA evidence and cannot individualize blood to a
particular person. If a case is reopened because of DNA typing, testimony may
be required concerning the serological analysis that was done before the
trial. Thus, a good working knowledge of forensic serology can be very important
to a forensic biologist.
This chapter has three parts: the analysis of blood, the identification of other bio-
logical fluids and stains, and the analysis of bloodstain patterns. All of these areas
of inquiry make up the science of forensic serology. Serology is defined as the exami-
nation of body fluids. These include blood, saliva, seminal fluid, vaginal secretions,
urine, feces and even tissues and organs. The majority of serological evidence con-
sists of blood and the body fluids that are generated by sexual assault cases: semen,
saliva, and vaginal secretions. Bloodstain pattern analysis is an emerging forensic
science that has become quite popular in the past 30 years or so. Figure 16.1 shows
an example of an impact pattern bloodstain due to gunshot.
Figure 16.1 Bloodstains produced by a bullet traveling through a blood-soaked sponge. (Photo
courtesy Forensic Science Educational Consulting, LLC, Portage, Michigan.)
Before discussing the analysis of blood, it is important to understand the basics
responsible for blood clotting za
of blood. Blood is a solution of various materials in water. It is also a suspension
whereby insoluble materials are carried through the body by the water. The liq-
uid portion of blood is called plasma. It comprises about 55% of the total volume of
blood. The substances dissolved in the plasma include proteins, carbohydrates, fats,
salts, and minerals and antibodies. In addition, plasma contains materials that are
The suspended materials in blood make up the other 45% and include red blood
cells, white blood cells and platelets. Red blood cells erythrocyte) are formed in
bone marrow and are primarily responsible for transporting oxygen to cells and
carrying away carbon dioxide as waste. They have no nucleus, so therefore they do
not possess nuclear DNA. White blood cells Teukocytes) are normally formed in the
lymph nodes and are primarily involved in the body’s immune system. Leukocytes
do have a nucleus and can therefore contain nuclear DNA. Platelets thrombocytes)
are a major part of the blood clotting process. Figure 16.2 is an electron micrograph
of these three blood components.
Analysis of Blood
The purpose of analyzing blood at a crime scene is to determine its source. The blood
may be on the floor, wall, or an object at the scene. It may be on clothing worn by
the victim or the suspect of the crime. It may be wet or dry. Blood may be partially
degraded or putrefied. Depending upon the conditions of the scene, there may be a
very small amount of blood present, limiting the types of analysis that can be done
or, in some cases, may not permit any analysis. Blood is a perishable biological mate-
rial and failure to properly collect and preserve it may result in spoilage, inability to
analyze it, or inadmissibility of the analytical results in court.
Figure 16.2 These are single examples of the solid parts of the blood as seen under an electron
microscope. The red blood cell (erythrocyte) is on the left, the white blood cell (leukocyte) is on the
right, and the platelet (thrombocyte) is in the middle. As a group, these solid materials constitute
45% of human blood. (Produced by Electron Microscopy Facility at the National Cancer Institute,
Bethesda M

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