Detecting the Organic Constituents of Gunshot Residue

Organic gunshot residue (OGSR) analysis may improve the reliability of determining whether a suspect has discharged a firearm because OGSR materials are less likely to be contaminated by the environment. A new In Brief from NIJ’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence examines how ion mobility spectrometry and mass spectrometry can be used to detect OGSR. Portable x-ray fluorescence has promise as a rapid screening method for detecting inorganic constituents.

The evaluation, conducted by West Virginia University, found that performance of any instrument was more likely to be affected by the hand swabbing technique used rather than instrument limitations. All three instruments showed promise for detecting OGSR, but significant work remains to fine tune these approaches.

Read Organic Gunshot Residue Analysis for Potential Shooter Determination.

 
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Digital-Image Management at Mass Gravesites

SKELETONIZED REMAINS that were carefully unearthed from the desert sands of Iraq tell their own story: the bones of an adult, still dressed in a woman’s apparel, lie supine. The skull is perforated by a bullet hole. Tucked in the space between the ribs and the left humerus is a much smaller skeleton, bones in the skull un-fused, and the fully clothed body partially swaddled in a blanket.

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