Blood Spatter Lab (Awesome Story)

So this morning, in my blood spatter lab we had two different parts. During the first half of the lab, we had all different wood shapes on a spring board and we had to soak a tiny piece of sponge with blood and then let the spring board snap down onto so we could look at high and low velocity blood flow as well as the blood stain pattern. (This procedure works very much like a mouse trap). Of course nobody wanted to volunteer to go in there and hold the spring board because nobody wanted to get blood on them. Of course we had full body tivex suits on so even if you got blood on you you were covered from head to foot anyway. So we had seven different spring boards and we did that. It was fun and I ended up staying pretty much clean.

After everyone was done with that part we moved on to part two. In this part we had one demonstration where they soaked a regular sized sponge with blood and then someone took a lead pipe to the sponge to see how the blood stain pattern would occur. That went well, another girl in my class performed it. The sponge wasn’t staying on the setup very well which made it hard for her to hit it very hard. We did see some good stain patterns especially from blood flying into the air and then coming back down onto the wall. It makes a much different pattern that way then if it just hits the wall as soon as it shoots up and away from the victim or from this case the sponge.

Next was the final demonstration of the day… this is where I come into play. In this demonstration someone would stand in the locker type set up and they would hold their hand up as if they were a victim fighting for their lives. Brittany is the girl who decided to be the victim. The other person (me) was going to hold a sponge of blood and start punching it right in front of her face to see what it would be like if the person were being beat to death when attacked. She stood there back towards the wall, with her right hand up.

Now to interject into the story, I was wearing a tyvek suit that was a little too short for me. My arms were practically sticking all the way out because the sleeves were so short. Go figure. That always happens to me. So Chase, one of the kids in my class (a very funny individual) says, “Cassey, Let me fix you up so you are completely protected.” We immeditely start laughing, but I allowed him to fix me up.

So he puts paper towels on my arms and starts wrapping it up and duct taping me with bright blue tape. I mean this is hillarious. So I have a completely white, full body tyvex suit on, booties on my shoes, papertowels wrapped around my arms with bright blue tape, a face shield, a hood, and to top it off he tapped a paper towel to the front of the face shield and put a paper towel on my neck. How embarassing. It was so funny. Everyone was laughing so hard at what I looked like and of course they were all taking picures. They get me set up and I’m getting ready to go in there and do some damage when I had a great idea that I should take to the streets in this get up. I should get blood all over me and then just go outside and start screaming O MY, WE’RE ALL INFECTED. ITS NOT QUARNTINED! Everyone loved this idea except my lab instructor who said no. Then Chase had a great idea that I should go over to towers (a dorm that I lived freshman year) and I should go to the brew and gold cafe and just order food like nothing wrong. It was quite comical. We laughed about it for ummm like ten minutes. I probably would have done it to. Everyone said they would follow me around just to see everyone’s reaction. Thanks to Ryan my instructor, it was a no go.

Anyway, I got a little side tracked. Back to the bloody sponge. Ryan puts the sponge in my hand and pours an entire vial of blood onto it. He says okay let me do another one. So he pours another vial of blood onto the sponge. Finally he decides one last vial of blood. By this time it is just dripping down my hand (which I was wearing gloves I forgot to mention that) and when he decides that’s enough he steps back and says have at it.

I turned and just smiled at Brittany. Then I took the sponge, held it infront of her face, and punched it as hard as I could. As soon as I punched it the first time the blood sprayed out between my hands and splashed all over her face mask. Then I continued punching it and my hands were so slippery with blood that the sponge fell onto the floor. So I picked it up and punched it somemore. It was AWESOME. Finally I stepped back to assess the damage. We were both completely covered and that stupid paper towel that insisted I tape on my face probably did some good.

The class was laughing having a good time and they took many more pictures and some people even got a video. Now getting out of this mess was a little bit more complex than setting up for it. It was a double effort for both Brittany and I and taking off our bloodied clothes was difficult but after some soap I was pretty cleaned up. It smelled awful though. ugh. I loved it though. It was sooo fun. Soon I will post pictures. I don’t care how embarrassing it is. I’m easy going.

Confessions of a Writer<3

Genetics Test Today.

geneYes, gene mapping, phenotypes, genotypes, all the really great stuff in the human body. As a side note I am actually enjoying this class. It is interesting and I have learned alot or furthered my insight into different genetic mutations and diseases. The test is this afternoon and I’m heading to the library in o 10 minutes so that I may go over all of my notes one more time.

After, I’m hoping to do some running on the rail trail if its not too cold. Hopefully I own the test. ha.

Confessions of a Writer<3

Is CJIS really the way to GO?

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For those of you don’t know, this is CJIS, located in Clarksburg, WV. CJIS stands for Criminal Justice Information System. Now their headquarters is wayyy out in the woods, and its pretty hard to get to unless you have a pass or work there. I went on a tour there last year and its nice… but probably not something I’m looking for.

CJIS is where the main server/all files for AFIS are secured and stored. Meaning, CJIS is where the majority of all of the fingerprint analyzers are located and where all the ten print cards are analyzed. (All latent Prints are classified and analyzed in Quantico Va.) If you are getting a background check, your fingerprints are sent to CJIS to be compared with the AFIS system to see if you were every arrested before. If you are in the military then your prints are in this sytesm for identification purposes.

[on a side note, we also toured the archives of CJIS where they have original ten print cards that were not uploaded into the system from like the 1940’s. I was actually able to locate my grandfather’s ten print card from the military section when he was in Wold War II. crazy right? Well I thought so.]

Why I am even venturing to bring this up, is because there were almost 15 positions offered to us at CJIS by my university because we took classes on fingerprint analysis by people from CJIS. YEs this might seem glamorous and awesome but let me tell you, analyzing thousands of ten print cards everyday is probably not for me.

I am only graduating with 27 forensic science students this year and 15 of them appear to be taking the job down at CJIS. Everyone keeps questioning me, asking why I’m not interested. Its kind of upsetting because I don’t know what I want.

I mean money wise this would be a good choice. As a beginner fingerprint analyzer you’ll start off at G6 which is about 30,000 and after only one year you’ll move up to about 40,000. That’s not too bad, but I just don’t think its right for me.

I have plans to work in intelligence with the navy and then get a masters in counterintelligence. I can’t be held back. Yes, I might not do any of the things I had planned because of what not, but I at least have to take a chance right?

I’m definitely going to be going and living in Russia for some time. I will speak that language fluently before I die. With all of these ideas and hopes I am sticking to MY path, but I just don’t want to be unjustified. I don’t want to lose oppurtunities for a job when things are so bad with the economy when I have them. AGH!

My decision to stick to the path I want to be on might be selfish and in the end might get me nowhere, but at least I have to try. Worse comes to worse I can apply to CJIS myself right?

I don’t know if I believe in fate, but if I look back in a few years and I’m doing everything I said I would be doing, I couldn’t be more satisfied.

Confessions of a Writer<3

TODAY is the DAY!

Many things are happening today. yay!

First off I teach a crime scene class (well the lab for it) at my University which is turning out to be a lot of fun.

We set up six crime scenes yesterday and they will be processed today for the junior class. That, let me tell you, was alot of fun. We had a suicide, a drug ring gone bad, a girl killed with an axe, guy died in his bed, man killed on a couch, and a woman sitting on a computer chair that was shot. Of course the victims are all dummies and the guns are safe to deal with, but overall you really have to think outside the box if you want to find all the clues to the murders.

For example we did hide a gun up in a bowl light on the ceiling because it slipped right in, and my personal favorite, a note that I hid in a projector slide. In case you don’t understand, you must be familiar with overheads and the slides that pull down from the ceiling? Well we pulled the slide down taped a note to it and then rolled it back up. If they find the note I’ll be very impressed.

After lab today, I have two other classes, molecular genetics, and a professional writing class. Not interesting for most people but I really do like genetics. True Nerd, I know.

Later on this evening I am meeting my navy contact to go over the last few things before I go for a physical. woo. I’m getting a littler nervous. Not going to lie. This would mostly be due to the fact that everyone I know is getting a job even in terrible times. Because of this I feel a little rushed to find out about the navy because I really don’t know what I’m going to do if I don’t decide to go into it. I have no other plan. Don’t worry though I really am not going to do it if I don’t feel that it will be right for me. I’m good a picking up on things like that. We’ll just have to see… Please don’t let me come down to the wire. argh.

Finally, best feature of the night is the season premiere of BURN NOTICE! Wooo.  Its coming on, Its coming on. Sooo excited.

And,

BURN NOTICE!!!

In case you are skeptical and haven’t really watched it too much. Today on USA they will be playing the entire second season leading to the Season 3 Premiere. This started at 8am. Sooo, if you have nothing else better to do, get to USA and watch some awesome scenes made by awesome people.

So keep it real. Keep you updated soon enough!

Confessions of a Writer<3

Forget the little stuff, Let’s burn a Car.

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img_1326Author’s NOTE: Please DO NOT try this at home. This was done in the presence of trained individuals and there was EMS staff on standby.

So, this is what I got to do Sunday with my forensic’s class 🙂 We lit a car on fire using a bag of potato chips as accelerate, we had the firefighters come in and put the fire out, and then we processed the scene like it would be done in a real life situation. There was a dummy in the car but I didn’t want to post pictures because people might think its a real dead body and that probably would not be good.

I was in charge of the narrative so I went and talked to all of the firemen at the scene and interviewed them for any importanat information. Surprisingly we found quite a few things in the car after the smoke died down. Proof that not everything goes right up in flames, like on tv.

Most importantly we found a gun in the bag of potato chips and that is a big piece of evidence. This could have been a suicide.

Can I just say one thing. It was absolutely positively freezing where we were and I was not prepared at all. I came straight from work and I had to drive up into the mountains and it was so cold I thought my fingers and toes were going to fall off. Ridiculous.

I survived though. One thing I do ask, please don’t die when I’m not prepared because it sucks. k thanks. haha.

Confessions of a Writer<3

Fingerprint Residue

New item of the week or the next month should I say… the new topic of my research paper. Petitioning to a judge (my teacher) that the techniques in fingerprint residue using Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometry, should be admitted into court on a certain case.

Wow. Mouth full. I know right. I’ve already started doing the research, and it is quite interesting. A nerd like me would say, anyway. haha. I had to get a head start on this paper, when normally I’m a slacker, because I have alot of things coming up in the next few weeks like Halloween and many more fun things, so I want to get the paper pretty much written and out of the way so I don’t have to stress while I’m doing the fun things. Get it?

Now the coolest part about this process, is that they are using it to analyze your fingerprints for drugs, nicotine from smokers, and explosives and bombs.

In case you didn’t know you leave natural compounds when you touch your fingerprints, such as cholesterol, amino acids, fatty acids, etc.

Using a complicated extraction method, you can extract residues that are left in fingerprints after you lift them, and using a mass spectrometer, you can analyze the residues and determine if the person was touching illegal substances prior to their arrest.

The best part, those substances mold to your fingerprint, so that even if you think you can fight it, how can you, your pattern, that is unique to you and no one else in the world, is now holding the evidence for you. Amazing! Yeah yeah, getting excited over all of the little things. I know.

P.S. I testify for real in court testimony tomorrow. AAHH. I just need to be confident, be confident, be confident.

Confessions of a Writer<3

R.F.I.D. Radio Frequency Identifiers: The new Crime Scene Future.

Today at crime scene lab we were introduced to our first look at R.F.I.D.’s [Radio Frequency Identifiers]. Very unique and if I must be like a child, very cool. We were each given a badge with an R.F.I.D. chip in it and of course our pictures and names. The pictures were absolutely terrible. As soon as I got home today I switched it out because it was that bad.

These chips, when placed directly onto a radio frequency will tell you all the information they contain. On our chips they have our information. Quite creepy I know, but it is so interesting

This is a picture of the chip that is now our badge.

When we collect evidence and information at crime scenes we can take an RFID chip, input all of the evidence information such as the time it was collected, the day, by whom, what evidence number it is, all of the important information that we used to have to fill out on forms previously.

Now, you simply type in that information slap one of these babies right onto the bag that contains the evidence, and away you go.

This is crazy. They have even attached all of these tags to our Nikon D80’s so that they will be able to keep track of who has cameras so no more will be stolen. [There was an incident last year when one of the cameras disappeared and they still haven’t located it yet.]

The best part about the chips is assigning something under ID badge. What you do is put the chip of whatever you are checking out, ex. a piece of evidence, one of the forensic laptops, or a camera, put your badge onto the Radio frequency plate with it and it automatically puts your name as the person in charge of that piece of evidence.

Think about this in terms of chain of custody. We will be able to transfer evidence easily and efficienly while still establishing the basic principles of forensic science. This is definatley going to be something that will become much more wide spread in the future. I do believe that we are one of the first universities to even try out the radio frequencies.

I love being able to test out new technology. Understanding something that inadvertantly is very complex, but can be so simple, as I just explained the whole gist of it to you, is both scary and exciting.

Confessions of a Writer<3