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A Headache to Die For

A Case Study in Forensic Science



Author:

Wayne Shew
Department of Biology
Birmingham-Southern College
wshew@bsc.edu

Abstract:

This case, based on an actual case of product tampering that occurred in Seattle in 1986, was designed for use in an introductory course in forensic science for non-science majors. By working through the case, students gain an understanding of the variety of strands of evidence that have to be woven together in order to develop a case against someone who has committed a crime, specifically a murder. It also touches on the importance of communication between different law enforcement agencies in solving crimes. In addition, students consider how probability can play a role in crime investigations and learn what latent fingerprints are and how an investigator collects them and uses them in an investigation.

Objectives:
  • To present a criminal case and have students compare their strategy for solving it with the steps actually conducted by the FBI.
  • To develop problem-solving skills by learning how law enforcement agents solve crimes.
  • To have students consider how probability can play a role in crime investigations.
  • To have students better understand what latent fingerprints are and how an investigator collects them and uses them in an investigation.
Keywords: Product tampering; criminal investigation; jurisdiction; criminal investigation; crime science; physical evidence; fingerprint analysis; latent fingerprints; cyanide; FBI; Chicago
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Forensic Science  
Date Posted: 11/18/06
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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