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Soil as significant evidence in a sexual assault/attempted homicide case

By
Marianne Stam
Marianne Stam
California Department of Justice, Riverside Criminalistics Laboratory
7425 Mission Boulevard, Riverside, CA 92509, USA
(e-mail: marianne.stam@doj.ca.gov)
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Published:
January 01, 2004

Abstract

In October 1999, a woman and her two small children were assaulted by a male acquaintance on the banks of the New River in the Imperial Valley desert region of California, USA, approximately 160 km east of San Diego. The area includes a number of agricultural fields, old lake deposits, sand dunes and the Salton Sea, a large saline inland sea. The victims escaped from the suspect and hid for 30 h in the New River, thus diminishing the possibility of obtaining physiological fluids as evidence for DNA testing. Wet and soiled clothing and shoes were collected from a suspect's residence within hours of the assault being reported. The suspect denied any contact with the victims or with the crime scene. Analyses of the soil on the suspect's clothing and shoes, and of crime scene soil using microscopical methods and X-ray diffraction, indicated that the soil from the crime scene and soil on the suspect's clothing and shoes were similar. Predominant wind directions and observations of the soil distribution at the crime scene added significance to the observed similarities between the soil samples at the crime scene and the soil on the suspect's clothing and shoes.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Forensic Geoscience: Principles, Techniques and Applications

K. Pye
K. Pye
Kenneth Pye Associates Ltd & Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
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D. J. Croft
D. J. Croft
Croft Scientific and Technical & Kenneth Pye Associates Ltd, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
232
ISBN electronic:
9781862394803
Publication date:
January 01, 2004

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