Forensic Evidence Chain Of Custody And Preservation Essay

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Forensic Evidence Chain of Custody and Preservation of Evidence in the JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case

The objective of this study is to discuss how criminalists protect evidence from contamination and to demonstrate appropriate techniques for handling evidence. This study will differentiate between latent and visible evidence and advocate for the necessity of proper procedures to uphold evidence findings. Specifically, this study will review a known criminal case involving chain of custody and preservation of evidence and will answer as to how significant the physical evidence was in the criminal investigations of this case. As well this study will answer what type of evidence was involved in the case, latent, visible, or both and if the secure chain of custody was followed. Finally this study will answer whether the legal integrity of all evidence was upheld through proper possession, handling, storing, and documentation and answer why it is important and necessary to maintain accurate written records and processes while tracking the possession, handling, and storage of evidence from collection through report. Part II of this study will involve the creation of a chain of custody policy that reflects on the proper procedures for accepting and handling evidence including: (1) chain of custody procedures; and (2) upholding evidence integrity.

Introduction

The case chosen for review in this study is the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, a female child eight years of age in Boulder Colorado. JonBenet was found murdered in the family home on December 26, 1996, following her mother first finding a ransom note. It was hours later until the body of the child was actually discovered in a basement room of the family's home.

I. Chain of Custody in Evidence in the Ramsey Case

The chain of custody evidence in the Ramsey case was form the very beginning a terribly handled process as the Boulder, Colorado police did little to secure the murder scene and are reported to have allowed many people to come and go from the family's residence.

The Virginia Department of Forensic Science...

...

This sadly, was not the case when Boulder, Colorado police investigated the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
II. Latent and Visual Evidence

Visual evidence is just as it sounds, evidence that is visible to the naked eye however, latent evidence is that which is not readily seen by the human eye but is still present and able to be detected by criminological tools and methods. (Virginia Government Online Services, Department of Forensic Science, 2012, p.1) Evidence in the case was both visual in nature and latent. The stated evidence gained during the investigation of the murder scene is stated to include the following evidence;

(1) A footprint made by a Hi-Tec stamped hiking boot was found in the concrete dust of the wine cellar. The boot has not been connected to any of the Ramseys or to the 400 people or more who have been to the Ramsey house;

(2) An unidentified palm print was found on the door of the wine cellar. It does not belong to John, Patsy or Burke Ramsey.

(3) A pubic hair was found on the blanket in which JonBenet was wrapped. It does not belong to John, Patsy or Burke Ramsey.

(4) A piece of broken glass was found under a basement window. The window was open and the sill showed signs of disturbance.

(5) There was a scuff-mark on the basement wall below the window. Someone had to have climbed in or out of this window (however, no footprints were found outside the window).

(6) The duct tape and the cord used in the murder were not found in the Ramsey house. The offender must have brought them in and taken them out when he/she left the house after the murder. ( )

In addition, the body of the murdered child was reported as being in an advanced state of rigor mortis at the time the body was found and a smell of decomposition was…

Sources Used in Documents:

Bibliography

Bardsley, M and Beliamy, P. (2012) Murder of JonBenet Ramsey. True Crime Library. . Retrieved from: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/famous/ramsey/index_1.html

EVIDENCE HANDLING & LABORATORY CAPABILITIES GUIDE (2010) Virginia Department of Forensics. Feb 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.dfs.virginia.gov/services/evidencehandling/EvidenceGuide.pdf


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