Direct Transfer: Obtaining Latent Prints from the Skin of a Living Person




Hinze, Dustin

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Fingerprint identification has been at the core of Forensic Science for more than 100 years. It remains one of the most valuable tools to assist law enforcement in identifying suspects and solving crimes. Over time techniques have made it possible to recover latent prints from the skin of human remains and, in some cases, a living person’s skin. Identifying latent prints from human skin could directly corroborate or refute statements or provide investigative leads. One technique is called direct transfer, in which paper is pressed against the skin to transfer latent prints present on the skin. The paper is then processed with various techniques to develop the potential latent prints. This study examined the direct transfer technique in obtaining latent prints deposited on the skin of a living person utilizing kromekote, thermal, and ink/laser jet paper. Magnetic powder and Indanedione were utilized to process each type of paper to develop the potentially transferred latent prints. This research consisted of 1,035 trials conducted at several time intervals: immediately after print deposit, 5, 10, 15, and 30 minutes after deposit. The purpose of this research was to identify the most effective transfer paper substrate, fingerprint development technique, and timeframe to recover latent prints from the skin. The substrate and development technique did not have a significant impact on the results; however, time of recovery after deposition had a significant impact. After five minutes, there was a drop in the level of identification which grew more significant over time.



Latent print, Skin