FingerprintsArticle- Spring 2006 - Sparks

FingerprintsArticle- Spring 2006 - Sparks - SOLVING THE...

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SOLVING THE MYSTERY OF DISAPPEARING FINGERPRINTS In 1993, an 8-year-old in Knoxville, TN was kidnapped and then luckily escaped. She was able to describe and later identify the car in which she was held captive. When the car was recovered four days later, police were unable to find any of her fingerprints anywhere in the car; it was as if she had never been there. This puzzling fact significantly weakened the prosecution s case against the accused kidnapper. How her fingerprints vanished in such a short time was a mystery that was solved by exploring the associated chemistry. Although the kidnapper was subsequently convicted of the crime, the unexpected behavior of children s fingerprints prompted further research. Fingerprints do not last forever and will smear, fade, or wash away from nonporous surfaces over time. The fading is caused by simple evaporation of the substances composing the fingerprint and, not surprisingly, is accelerated by heat. It has recently been discovered that children s fingerprints fade
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FingerprintsArticle- Spring 2006 - Sparks - SOLVING THE...

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