A medical condition that occurs after death and results in the stiffening of muscle mass.
Any object that can establish that a crime has been committed or can link a crime and its victim or its perpetrator.
A technique used especially for identification by extracting and identifying the base-pair pattern in an individual's DNA.
A process that uses strict guidelines to ensure careful and systematic collection, organization, and analysis of information.
The application of science to the criminal and civil laws that are enforced by police agencies in a criminal justice system.
The application of scientific techniques in collecting and analyzing physical evidence in legal cases involving a crime.
An act or the commission of an act that is forbidden by public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by law.
The study of teeth and bite marks to identify a body or tie a suspect to a crime.
The study of the nature of disease and especially the structural and functional change that causes them.
Inference in which one draws a conclusion about particulars from a general premise.
The first to use a comparison microscope to determine if a particular gun fired a bullet.
Wrote the first treatise describing the application of scientific principles to the field of criminal investigation in 1893.
Locard's Exchange Principle
States that when a criminal comes in contact with an object or person, a cross-transfer of evidence occurs.
Physical Science Unit
Incorporates the principles of chemistry, physics, and geology to identify and compare physical evidence.
Applies the knowledge of biological sciences in order to investigate blood samples, body fluids, hair, and fiber samples.
Provides the skills needed for handwriting analysis and other questioned-document issues.
Applies specialized photographic techniques for recording and examining physical evidence.
The application of science and mathematics by which the properties of matter and sources of energy in nature are made useful to people.
The science concerned with the comparative study of human evolution, variation and classification through measurement and observation.
An individual whom the court determines to possess a particular skill or knowledge in a trade or profession that is not expected of the average person.
A serial killer believed to be responsible for 40 murders between 1964 and 1978 who was ultimately convicted based on forensic odontology.
An instrument used to transform speech into a visual graphic display called a voiceprint.
A specialized area that examines the relationship between human behavior and legal proceedings.
Forensic Computer Science
Involves identifying, collecting, preserving and examining information derived from digital devices.
A dried aqueous extract of a vine used as a poison that paralyzes muscles and causes death by suffocation.
This means to make the crime scene safe and is usually accomplished by the first officer arriving on the scene.
Record the Scene
Investigators have only a limited amount of time to work the site of a crime in its untouched state, so this time must not be lost.
The art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface.
A graphic drawing made at the crime scene that contains an accurate depiction of the dimensions of the scene and shows the location of all objects having a bearing on the case.
A precise, often computer-aided draft, rendering of the crime scene, usually drawn to scale.
A computerized sketching program that has become the standard method for reconstructing crime scenes from rough sketches.
A constant activity occurring throughout the processing of the crime scene that provides a detailed written description of the scene with the location of items of physical evidence recovered.
Integrity of Evidence
Special procedures used for finding, collecting, and transporting physical evidence that preserves its evidentiary value.
A minute and often barely detectable amount or indication of a chemical constituent not always quantitatively determinable.
An analysis that determines the presence or absence of an item or substance but does not determine the amount.
A physician, functioning as a public officer, who conducts autopsies on bodies to find the cause of death.
An elected public officer whose principal duty is to conduct an inquest into the cause of any death which there is reason to suppose is not due to natural causes.
Chain of custody
Establishing continuity of possession, through a complete list of all people who came into possession of an item of evidence, essential whenever evidence is to be presented in court.
Physical evidence whose origin is known, that can be compared to crime scene evidence.
A sample of the inner portion of the cheek, performed to collect cells for use in determining the DNA profile of an individual.
Uncontaminated surface material close to an area where physical evidence has been depositied; used to ensure that the surface itself does not interfere with laboratory tests.
An aggregate of cells together with their intercellular substance that form one of the structural materials of a plant or animal.
Involves the study of medicine as it relates to the application of the law, particularly in the investigation of sudden, unnatural, unexplained, or violent death.
Cause of death
Classified into five categories: natural, homicide, suicide, accident, or undetermined, based on the circumstances surrounding the incident.
A medical condition that occurs after death and results in the settling of blood in areas of the body closest to the ground.
A process that occurs after death in which the body temperature continually cools until it reaches the ambient temperature.
Ocular fluid, used for measuring potassium levels, that can be helpful in estimating the time of death
Primarily concerned with the identification and examination of human skeletal remains, which can be used to reveal the sex, approximate age, race, and the presence of skeletal injury of a subject.
John Wayne Gacy
The worst American serial killer, who brutally raped and murdered 28 young men and buried them in the crawl space under his house.
An overview of the crime scene as it was left by the perpetrator, prior to the thorough and systematic collection of evidence.
The unintentional transfer of a substance from one object to another through direct, indirect or casual contact.
The green river killer who confessed to the murder of 48 women after forensic DNA typing confirmed the presence of his semen in three of the women.
Qualified Evidence Collector
An investigator thoroughly familiar with the recognition, collection, and analysis of physical evidence who can make innovative, on-the-spot decisions at the crime scene.
A medical science dealing with blood fluids and especially their immunological reactions and properties.
Any and all forms of tracks, glove and other fabric imprints, as well as bite marks in skin and foodstuffs.
Properties of evidence that can be attributed to a common source with an extremely high degree of certainty.
Properties of evidence that can be associated only with a group and never with a single source.
States that the probability of two independent events occurring simultaneously is the product of their individual probabilities.
States that the probability of an event occurring that can do so in more than one way is the sum of their individual probabilities.
An automated national fingerprint and criminal history system maintained by the FBI and launched in 1999.
A combined DNA indexing system that enables federal, state, and local crime laboratories to electronically exchange and compare DNA profiles, linking crimes to each other and to convicted offenders.
A national ballistics information network which allows firearms analysts to acquire, digitize, and compare markings made by a firearm on bullets and cartridge casings recovered from crime scenes.