Human Scent Evidence  book cover
1st Edition

Human Scent Evidence

ISBN 9781466583955
Published October 14, 2014 by CRC Press
228 Pages 20 Color & 55 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

During the last decade, a significant number of scientific studies have supported the use of human scent as a biometric tool and indicator of the presence, or absence, of an individual at a crime scene. These findings even extend to conducting scent identification line-ups with suspects. Human Scent Evidence focuses on some of these recent advances in the use of human scent as forensic evidence and as an identifier. Topics include:

  • Various theories of human odor production
  • The variability, stability, and persistence of human scent
  • Historical aspects of the use of human scent in police work in the United States and internationally
  • Current trends in scent collection techniques, including devices, materials, and storage protocols
  • Chemical aspects of the evaluation of human scent, including instrumental methods for odor detection and analysis
  • The legal significance of human scent evidence results
  • Canine scent work from multiple search categories as described in the Scientific Working Group on Dog and Orthogonal detector Guidelines (SWGDOG)

Human scent evidence may be of critical use in many cases where other types of evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, or fibers are not readily available. As such, it can be a valuable tool in forensic investigations. With examples from North and South America and Europe, this book draws upon an extensive literature review of past and current research and is enhanced with findings from the authors’ own research. It concludes with a glimpse of the future direction of human scent evidence in the forensic field and its application as a biometric and diagnostic tool.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Historical Perspectives
Principle of Human Scent as Trace Evidence
Human Scent Discriminating Canines: The Line-Up History
Human Scent as a Forensic Tool: A Brief Historical Overview in Different Countries
Human Scent Evidence in the Courtroom
Production of Human Scent
Genetic Origin
Human Skin
Skin Microbiota
Human Axillary Odor
Chemical Composition of Human Scent: A Volatile Perspective
The Quest for Nonaxillary Skin Volatiles
At the Forefront of a Lab-Based Scent Discrimination Method
Variability of Human Scent
Scent Transfer
Factors Influencing Human Scent
Patterns of Scent Distribution
Collection of Human Scent as Forensic Evidence
Methods of Scent Collection
Laboratory Studies: Collection Materials
Police Work in Collecting Crime Scene Articles
Field Work in Scented Articles/Trailing
Field Work in Scent Line-Ups
Persistence and Stability of Human Scent
Scent Durability in the Field
Laboratory Perspectives on Scent Stability
Human Scent Canines
Article Search
Avalanche Search
Prescented Canines—Location Check
Nonspecific Human Scent Wilderness Area Search (Air Scent)
Prescented Canine—Aged Trail Search
Scent Identification Line-Ups
Searching for Live People in Disaster Environments
Tracking/Trailing People Based on Last Known Position
Human Remains Detection
Future Biometric and Diagnostic Applications
Scent as a Biomarker of Disease
Biometric Potential
Concluding Remarks
Appendix A: Argentina Human Scent Evidence Standard Operating Procedures
Appendix B: Finnish Regulations for Scent Identification
Appendix C: SWGDOG SC2—General Guidelines
Appendix D: SWGDOG SC8— Substance Detector Dogs
Appendix E: SWGDOG SC9— Human Scent Dogs

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Paola A. Prada, Ph.D., is an intelligence community postdoctoral research fellow. Her studies encompass interdisciplinary areas such as chemistry, animal behavior, and national security to address issues that are critical to effective intelligence and defense capabilities. She has worked extensively on developing instrumental methods for human odor identification for criminal investigations. Dr. Prada has also worked with canine scent detection in the context of optimizing odor collection techniques for scent training.

Kenneth G. Furton, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida International University. His research has focused on the canine and instrumental detection of accelerants, biotoxins, currency, drugs, explosives, and humans (dead and alive). Dr. Furton’s expertise in forensic science has been sought by the legal system for which he has testified dozens of times as an expert witness in state and federal courts.