Amanda Patrick is a Forensic Science Graduate Student at Texas Tech University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is avid about contributing research that will help the justice system. Her research on condom substrates will give another perspective on profi ling brands. Some of the results may corroborate with other fi ndings involving condom substrates. The compounds found can be compared with those found using different instrumentation or procedures. The results will potentially contribute in implementing new research on how sexual assault evidence can be better utilized.
Condom substrates are likely to be substantial evidence for sexual assault cases or cases that involve using condoms as improvised carrying containers. Forensic evidence found in sexual assault scenes can range from typical evidence (e.g., fi ngerprints, broken glass, or hair) to more sophisticated evidence including saliva, semen or DNA. Condom evidence may become more prevalent as more perpetrators try to outsmart investigators by using a condom to prevent leaving behind their biological fl uid. To piece together a comprehensive investigation, all types of evidence need to be considered, so if any target evidence is misconstrued, other evidence can be used as corroboration. Condom brand information can be useful in providing more clues in the investigation and in providing chemical information about the substrate that could help other procedures such as fi ngerprint development run more successfully. DNA analysis might be able to be done, but other less time-consuming tasks need to be explored. Even though some methods of profi ling condoms brands have been investigated, they either require relatively expensive equipment or time-consuming sample preparation. To make condom brand profi ling more practical, methods that use inexpensive or common equipment need to be explored. Condom odor profi ling was done with a relatively inexpensive sampling procedure, head-space solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME). Sample preparation involved letting the condom sit inside a small vial to allow the chemical odor to build up before sampling with an appropriate SPME fi ber. Th e extracts were analyzed with gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Optimization procedures included diff erent sampling times and fi ber chemistries to evaluate condom volatile odor signatures. Th e optimal sampling time and fi ber are then utilized to sample various condom brands like LifeStyles Extra Strength, Okamoto Crown, and Durex Extra Streng
Lauren Alejandro is a current Graduate Student working on her Master’s degree in Forensic Science at Texas Tech University (TTU). She received her BS from Texas A & M, Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) where she minored in Chemistry and was involved in two professional internships. One of the internships was with the Corpus Christi Police Department, Crime Scene Unit and the other with Nueces County Medical Examiner’s Offi ce to further advance her knowledge within the Forensic fi eld. She is the Co-author of research presented during the 12th annual PATHWAYS student research symposium of 2015. She is a Student Member of the American Academy of Forensic Science (AAFS) and currently serves as Vice President for the Forensic Science Society at TTU.
There has been little research into the use of narcotic training aids in relation to K9 performance, even though they are a pivotal part of the training regimen. Canines are the front line of defense in detecting narcotics by police and military working units all across the nation. Many diff erent associations that certify canines as narcotic detector dogs have very little standards as to the optimal lifespan of their training aids. Emerging research is starting to look into canine detection, but none are looking at the age or lifespan of narcotic canine training aids and their subsequent impact on canine performance. Th e purpose of this study is to monitor and provide a calibration standard of the target odor vapors emanating from the K9 training aids. Th e evaluation process consists of collaboration with the local police department, canine unit and their narcotic training aids that range in age of up to 10 years compared to fresh training aids. Instrumental evaluation utilizes divinylbenzene/carbon/polydimethylsiloxane (DVB/CAR/PDMS) coated solid phase-microextraction (SPME) fi bers to extract the narcotic headspace odor profi le of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. Training aids are sampled in individual mason jars for time increments of 15 min, 30 min, and 1 hr to allow for headspace extraction time optimization. Evaluation of the abundance of target volatiles was performed at each extraction time to measure training aid condition. Th e fi ndings include an assortment of chemical compounds emitted from each narcotic exhibiting diff erent odor profi les as a factor of age. Th e benefi t this has is enhanced knowledge in the realm of optimal canine detection procedures for national security purposes and K9 detection performance. Th is research will ultimately bridge a gap in knowledge about the odor concentration levels for canine narcotic training aids at various ages which have never been done before.