Friday, September 12, 2008

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

This last week I attended a 40 hour bloodstain pattern analysis class taught by Mike Van Stratton, Holly Wasinger, and Kevin Winer. They are three of only 32 certified bloodstain pattern analysis experts in the United States. Maybe some day I will join their ranks, because I know that I would love to.

The class involved lecture and practical exercises where we broke into teams to observe first hand what types of patterns blood makes when certain events occur. After learning all of the various patterns possible, we determined the characteristic size, shape, appearance, and distribution of stains, learned how to describe them, and how to document a scene.

The final exam included a written test and a practical exercise where we had a staged crime scene. This was probably the most fun and educational training I've ever had. Where else do you get to throw blood around?

Here are some pictures of my team in action. Here we are observing target surface effects on the bloodstain patterns.

This is an experiment observing blood dripping from tools or other possible beating instruments. It's surprising how much blood must be on an item to actually drip off of it.

Here we are putting blood on objects and looking at transfer and contact patterns. I also had my hand in blood, which makes this picture of a bloody hatchet even cooler.

We also did impact pattern studies where we made our own stains. I just got finished hitting a pool of blood with a hammer. Don't try this at home. It's really messy. Even in my Tyvek suit and face shield, I still managed to get blood on my neck. You can see the stains on my clothing and face shield, but if you look closely, there are even impact stains on my neck. Awesome.

This is a projected bloodstain, and a really neat picture. There was some force here, as seen by the spines and radiating stains.

Here one of our instructors is demonstrating another kind of projected blood characteristic of arterial spurts.

This was our first stringing project. We did really well on it, as our area of convergence and area of origin are relatively small. Turns out trigonometry is useful after all.

This is my favorite target. I made it myself! This was blood dripping down a pipe which was then rolled across the floor. Notice the repeating pattern and dilution as it moves on. Someone else liked it too because I didn't take this picture, another team did. Obviously I have a future in modern art.

We did some other experiments as well, but I either didn't want to bore you or didn't have really good pictures of them.

The last pictures are of our final scene. It was a domestic dispute in the kitchen. We determined it was a beating with a cast iron frying pan.

This says: KU, KSU: A marriage made in heaven. Heaven was crossed out in blood and hell was written by it. I pretty much just laughed the whole time. Also - see the phone on the floor in the picture above? When we turned it over, the 9 and 1 had blood on them: Somebody called 911. I thought that was a pretty nice touch for a mock crime scene.

Here is our scene as we started stringing the impact sites. We had three of them in all, which was the most out of everyone. I think they just like making me do math a lot.

Overall it was an excellent class. I had fun learning (because I'm a big dork) and met some great people. I think my team did a good job as well, minus that pairing knife that was stuffed inside the oven mitt that took us forever to find.

I think I'm now one step closer to having my own TV show. Just call me Dexter.

End Blog.

1 comment:

Bren said...

So now you can tell me how correct or incorrect Dexter is... awesome.