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Investigative Studies into the Recovery of DNA from Improvised Explosive Device Containers

Authors

  • Shane G. Hoffmann M.S.,

    1. Forensic Science Program, School of Criminal Justice, 560 Baker Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
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    • Present address: Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135.

  • Shawn E. Stallworth,

    1. Bomb Squad, Michigan State Police, 333 S. Grand Ave., Lansing, MI 48909.
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  • David R. Foran Ph.D.

    1. Forensic Science Program, School of Criminal Justice and Department of Zoology, 560 Baker Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
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  • Funded in part by the School of Criminal Justice and the Graduate School, Michigan State University.

  • Presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 18–23, 2008, in Washington, DC.

Additional information and reprint requests:
David R. Foran, Ph.D.
School of Criminal Justice and Department of Zoology
560 Baker Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
E-mail: foran@msu.edu

Abstract

Abstract:  Apprehending those who utilize improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is a national priority owing to their use both domestically and abroad. IEDs are often concealed in bags, boxes, or backpacks to prevent their detection. Given this, the goal of the research presented was to identify IED handlers through postblast DNA recovery from IED containers. Study participants were asked to use backpacks for 11 days, after which they served as containers for pipe bombs. Eleven postdeflagration backpack regions likely to be handled were swabbed and analyzed via mini-short tandem repeats (miniSTRs) and alleles were called blind. An experimental consensus method was examined in which profiles from all regions were considered, to help identify spurious drop-in/out. Results were correct for all loci, except one that remained ambiguous. The results show that recovering DNA from IED containers is a viable approach for aiding in the identification of those who may have been involved in an IED event.

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