Developing Investigative Leads – Finding a Serial Rapist

A serial rapist is on the loose.  In two of the attacks, athletic jerseys from the suspect were recovered.  The jerseys were submitted to Microtrace without comparison samples, with the goal of determining if anything could be established about the identity or habits of the attacker.   Following our recovery and analysis of dust recovered from the clothing, we presented investigators with the following:

  • One of the crimes occurred during March or April,
  • The person you are looking for is a drywall installer who works on large scale commercial projects.

A short time after this description was released to public, police were notified of a suspicious man fitting this description by an elderly woman. When pulled over in a commercial drywall truck and confronted by the police, the driver confessed to the crime on the spot.  Although he later withdrew this confession, he was, on the basis of DNA, convicted of several attacks.

While this is an advanced application of microscopy, it illustrates many of the strengths of our laboratory’s approach:   The analysis was fast, the particles were identified very specifically, and no comparative samples were required.

While some labs have some, or even most of the equipment that we have, very few can combine the technical expertise and broad range of materials experience with the ability to synthesize seemingly disparate types of information into a practical result with an immediate, real world application.  And in this instance, the findings of our laboratory were verified through the confession of the criminal.

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