Developing Latent Fingermarks on Thermal Paper: Comparison of the 1,2-Indanedione-Zinc Chloride Dry Contact Method to the Hot Print System

Goel, Tara L.
January 2015
Journal of Forensic Identification;2015, Vol. 65 Issue 1, p34
Academic Journal
Developing latent fingermarks on thermal paper has become an issue for forensic investigators, because using organic development methods causes a premature discoloration on the heat-sensitive layer of the thermal paper. The purpose of this study was to experimentally determine whether there was a statistical difference in the development of latent fingermarks on thermal paper between the 1,2-indanedione-zinc chloride (IND-Zn) dry contact method and the Hot Print System (HPS). One participant deposited 100 fingermarks on thermal paper 24 hours and 5 days before development. The fingermarks were then cut in half lengthwise for a total of 200 half prints. Of these half prints, 100 from the left side of the paper were developed by the HPS (50 were developed 24 hours after deposition and 50 were developed 5 days after deposition). The same procedure was applied with the IND-Zn method, but using the right side of the paper. Fingermarks were then graded using the CAST scale criteria. Conducting a binary logistic regression showed that the IND-Zn method enabled the development of superior prints (p<0.05) at both time intervals. A binary logistic regression was also used to determine whether time since deposition affected ridge detail development, regardless of method used. It was thus determined that fingermarks developed 24 hours after deposition had more ridge detail visibility (p<0.05) than those developed 5 days after deposition. Once developed, the prints developed by the IND-Zn method had improved ridge detail visibility over time, whereas prints developed using the HPS faded with time.


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