Microscopic Evidence from the Other Side of the International Dateline

It was a cold December morning when a young girl was found dead under a tree at the park. A coroner’s inquest determined that she had been strangled. Unfortunately, was little trace evidence at the crime scene and it was expected that the investigation would be very difficult. Nevertheless, upon close observation, a little bloody dirt was located under eight of her finger nails and collected carefully.

An image of one of the clipped nails (Figure 1) illustrates the appearance of the bloody dirt and how the nails were clipped, instead of scraped, in order to preserve the microscopic evidence.

Figure 1

The “dirt” was bloody human skin tissue. A sample of the tissue is depicted in Figure 2. Immediately, ABO blood grouping determined that the blood was different from the victim. Several days later, her boyfriend was interviewed at the police station. Although he denied any involvement completely, the scratches on his face indicated otherwise. DNA analysis confirmed the blood under the victim’s fingernails was the boyfriend’s.

Figure 2

This case demonstrates once again the value of microscopic evidence exchanged between victim and suspect.

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