A Headache to Die For
A Case Study in Forensic Science
Department of Biology
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.
- 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.
KeywordsProduct tampering; criminal investigation; jurisdiction; criminal investigation; crime science; physical evidence; fingerprint analysis; latent fingerprints; cyanide; FBI; Chicago
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division
Subject HeadingsForensic Science
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