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Blood, Fingerprints, and DNA

The forensics workshop at Moonlight and Magnolias conference.

For me, at least, the most fascinating workshop at Moonlight & Magnolias was Junkyard Forensics given by Sheryl McCollum . Fellow CARA members Laurie White, Kelle Z. Riley, and I had a great time learning.

Sheryl showed us how to take everyday materials and use them for forensic tools. Who knew cinnamon would show if there were fingerprints on a plate? Or that you could put food coloring in milk and use rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip, or even your finger, to make it spread out into a rainbow design? I didn’t, but I do now.
Other things I learned: fingerprint powder is really messy. Superglue really can uncover fingerprints. I got to see footprint casting powder. Found that 24 hours in a trunk and anyone can tell there was a dead body there. Flies tell the story of a dead body. That 24 hours is the life cycle of a maggot/fly. You can test ink and know if a pen wrote a certain document. That DNA can be processed in one day, but usually takes about 6 weeks.
We got to see touch and use those special flashlights (can’t remember the name) that show blood and stuff. Actually, they show blood, urine, bleach, and scorpions. Honest. And a few other things we won’t talk about. We  got to play a bit and discovered that the public bathrooms at our hotel were cleaned very well.

Food coloring and milk.

Sheryl is a wonderful speaker, and I learned a lot and had a great time. If I ever get another chance to hear her speak, I’ll be there.

 

Have a great week!
Cheryel

 

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