Volume 21. Number 1
December 2022

Original Articles

Contributions and Current Trends of Forensic Botany in Crime Scene Investigation

Sanskruti C. Raje, M.S.; Devidas S. Bhagat, Ph.D. ; Ranjitsingh K. Nimbalkar, Ph.D. ; Sampada K. Shejul, Ph.D. ; Gurvinder Singh Bumbrah, Ph.D. ; Mahipal Singh Sankhla, Ph.D.

Abstract¡GForensic botany is the field of science that applies the knowledge, techniques, and study of plant science to legal matters. The term forensic botany proves that plants can provide forensic evidence, as various plant species occur in the environment, which is limited to specific geographic locations. Besides, every species has unique characteristics. Hence, these features make plants be useful evidence for solving criminal and civil cases. However, forensic botany remains an underutilized field in forensic casework. Furthermore, although most forensic scientists are familiar with methods for human identity testing, the use of the plant, animal, and insect evidence is yet unknown. This low knowledge is due to a lack of awareness by evidence collection teams, who do not necessarily know the importance of collecting botanical trace evidence. Therefore, this review article encompasses different subdisciplines that come under forensic botany along with case reports and proper collection procedures of botanical evidence. Overall, this article gives the importance and applications of botanical evidence during criminal and civil case investigations.

Keywords: forensic botany, botanical evidence, crime scene investigation

The Development of X-Ray Fluorescence for Trace Evidence Detection and Documentation Analysis in Forensic Science

Ying-Ling Shih, B.S. ; Yung-Fou Chen, Ph.D

Abstract¡GX-ray fluorescence (XRF) is a non-destructive technology for quick multi-element analysis that requires minimal sample preparation. The spectra obtained by X-ray excitation can supply us with information complementary to those from other wavelengths. In recent years, the rapid advancement of XRF devices has led to an improvement in resolution, delivering better precision and accuracy. In addition, relevant XRF-based devices and methodologies have been developed for numerous applications. For example, portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) detectors make compositional information of evidence readily available by enabling on-site detection at crime scenes. There are several studies that use XRF in forensic science research, especially involving trace evidence and questioned documents. Common trace evidence includes glass, soil, fiber, hair, paint, gunshot residue, and explosives. Questioned document frequently involve coins, ink, and paper. The element compositional profile of the evidence helps to trace the source of the evidence. Furthermore, it can also be checked against standards to determine whether the analysis results are consistent. These studies are summarized to demonstrate the discriminating power of elemental analysis by XRF. XRF is likely to be increasingly explored and developed for forensic science applications in the future.

Keywords: forensic science, trace evidence, questioned documents, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), meta-analysis

Pedological Studies of Forensic Soil Evidence in Singapore Using Statistical Approach

Kwok-Pui Choi, Ph.D. ; Stella Wei Ling Tan, M.Sc., LLB. ; Wenjie Fan, M.S. ; Jariah Bte Abdul Nassar, B.Sc. ; Mandi Suet Ning SEE, B.S.; Shi Yun Tan, B.S.

Abstract¡GSoil is inconspicuous evidence that is often overlooked, yet it is a critical object in linking evidence. Quick and non-destructive Scanning Electron Microscope/Energy Dispersive X-ray (SEM/EDX) analysis was paired together with various statistical analyses (agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis via Canberra distance and minimax linkage, Shannon Index, and cluster classification) on soil samples from various parks across Singapore. The samples were found to be consistently classified into two clusters based on the diversity of the elemental compositions detected. Based on these two clusters of Data 1A, a classification tree was constructed. The performance of this classification tree was used to classify the soil samples in Data 1B and Data 2, the resulting misclassification rates were found to be 0% and 6%, respectively. Clustering was also mainly representative of the geographical area. The permanence of soil evidence within a six-month period was tested via Hotelling T-squared test with additive log-ratio transformation, which resulted in a p-value of 0.1084. The non-destructive analysis allows evidence to be stored and reanalyzed again later. Statistical analysis of soil samples was shown to complement soil analysis techniques, improving the reliability, and ease of making predictive outcomes for a preliminary analysis of casework in Singapore.

Keywords: forensic science, trace evidence, questioned documents, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), meta-analysis

Technological Innovations in Cybercrime Investigation

Hsiang-Wei Huang, M.S. ; Chien-Lung Lin, M.S. ; Han-Wen Huang, M.S.

Abstract¡GIn response to the increase of cybercrime cases and rapid evaluation of tactics, it is necessary for the police to enhance the capabilities of technological investigation. In recent years, a large quantity of e-commerce personal data has been leaked and provided to fraudulent groups that then use this data for conducting telephone scams. In fact, even Taiwan¡¦s First Bank¡¦s ATM has been hacked and heisted. Police have the responsibility to develop more advanced cybercrime investigation technology to prevent and combat high-tech crime. To develop high-tech investigation technology, we have proposed the ¡§Advanced Technology in Criminal Investigations Project¡¨. This project aims to solve various cybercrimes and enhance the capabilities of high-tech investigation. Our goal is to use this technology to improve the efficiency of investigation skills to combat cybercrime, data exfiltration, and advanced persistent threat cases.

Keywords: forensic science, digital forensics, cybercrime investigation

Overview of the Methods for Saliva Identification

Yi-Che Hsu, B.S. ; Li-Chin Tsai, Ph.D. ; Kuo-Lan Liu, Ph.D. ; Yu-Sheng Lu, B.S. ; Hsing-Mei Hsieh, Ph.D.

Abstract¡GBody fluids, such as blood, semen and saliva, are frequently encountered at a crime scene. Therefore, it¡¦s important to identify the body fluids unambiguously for criminal investigation. In addition to the individual identification, determination of the type of body fluid can also provide important clues. Forensic scientists have spent many years dedicating to developing methods for identifying the specific body fluid. However, most of the studies focused on blood and semen identification. In this paper, we review the methods for saliva identification, including traditional color tests, immunoassays, microbiological assays, molecular biological assays, spectroscopy-related assays and alternative light source (ALS) screening.

Keywords: forensic science, body fluid, saliva identification, criminal investigation, biological assays