Trace evidence analysis topic of URI’s Feb. 12 Forensic Science Seminar

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KINGSTON, R.I. – February 4, 2010 – “Hair, Fibers & Paint Analysis” will be the topic of discussion Friday, Feb. 12 at the University of Rhode Island’s Forensic Science Seminar Series.

Amy Duhaime, a criminalist at the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory at URI, will speak from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Room 124 Pastore Hall, 51 Lower College Road. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Duhaime has been a member of the state crime laboratory since 1996 and later in 2004, became the safety officer, quality manager, and supervisor of trace evidence. Responsible for physical and chemical analyses on hairs, fibers, and debris, Duhaime will provide an overview of trace evidence analysis.

The process starts with collecting various types of evidence, such as clothing impressions on the bumper of a car, from the scene by a specialized team of police investigators.

“Occasionally the crime lab team is called to the scene especially for shootings or hit-and-run accidents, but mostly we rely on the police for the reports and photos of the scenes,” says Duhaime. “It’s important to stay in contact with the investigators to get a full report on what’s going on and what specifically they are looking for.”

The seminar will touch upon key aspects of the analysis process, including types of equipment used as well as examples from various cases, which show the way evidence can be analyzed. Paint found on a pedestrian caused by friction and impact or small fibers compared to the samples from the suspect help to get the full story and can ultimately solve a case.

Duhaime is an experienced trace evidence analyst and has received extensive training through the FBI, Connecticut State Police Forensic Laboratory, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as numerous other organizations. She is also a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Rhode Island Criminalist Associates, and New England Trace Evidence Examiners. Duhaime holds a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Indiana University and a master’s degree in forensic sciences from George Washington University.