Where Gum Can Become Evidence
The Syracuse, N.Y.-based Wallie Howard Jr. Center for Forensic Sciences, which has been around for eight years, announced on Jan. 31 that the center’s DNA study on the saliva of a piece of gum had helped identity a victim’s attacker.
Last August, a man who had been beaten, tied up, and robbed in his Syracuse apartment told police that his attacker had spit his gum out while there. The attacker was already in police custody for two separate felonies.
The center performs other studies besides DNA analysis. The 28 scientists and technicians working at the center use ovens and special lighting to obtain usable fingerprints off weapons.
Guns are reconstructed and bullets discharged into water tanks so special markings on the bullets can be contrasted with bullets located at a crime scene. Suspected drugs are also tested, and debris from questionable fires is analyzed for chemicals that could reveal a cause.
Proof from over 20 law enforcement agencies is sent to the center, where it is studied and used to make cases.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Syracuse Post-Standard (NY); 01/31/07; P. B1; Baker, Robert A.