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Detection of Latent Bloodstains Beneath Painted Surfaces Using Reflected Infrared Photography

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Abstract

Bloodstain evidence is a highly valued form of physical evidence commonly found at scenes involving violent crimes. However, painting over bloodstains will often conceal this type of evidence. There is limited research in the scientific literature that describes methods of detecting painted-over bloodstains. This project employed a modified digital single-lens reflex camera to investigate the effectiveness of infrared (IR) photography in detecting latent bloodstain evidence beneath a layer or multiple layers of paint. A qualitative evaluation was completed by comparing images taken of a series of samples using both IR and standard (visible light) photography. Further quantitative image analysis was used to verify the findings. Results from this project indicate that bloodstain evidence can be detected beneath up to six layers of paint using reflected IR; however, the results vary depending on the characteristics of the paint. This technique provides crime scene specialists with a new field method to assist in locating, visualizing, and documenting painted-over bloodstain evidence.

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