Time surely slips by! It has been our 4th week in Forensic Investigators.  It means we’ve got to prepare our court presentation.  From evidence analysis to court script-writing.  Yes, we are bringing our case to the court and presenting the case before an actual Judge!  With physical evidence collected last week, we have gathered all the information we needed: victim’s information, suspect information, weapon analysis, DNA analysis and blood result, and fingerprints.

On Monday morning, we started out the process by analyzing the fingerprint patterns on water bottles collected from the crime scene last week.  Last Friday, Mr. Pete helped us develop fingerprints from water bottles so that we could see clear fingerprint patterns on the bottles.  Mr. Pete had these water-bottles inside a fish-tank with a beaker of hot water and a drop of super-glue set aside in it.  He covered the fish-tank with a lid then let those sit over the weekend.  Since these fingerprints had been developed over the weekend, we could see the clear fingerprint patterns on the water-bottles.  Some of our crews started classifying the patterns as an arch, a loop, or a whorl.  Trying to match with the suspects’ fingerprint data as well.  With all information gathered, other crews were working on narrowing down one or two suspects from the potential suspect list.  We were almost close to find out who had committed the crime.

Most of the morning sessions this week, we have spent some time work on the script-writing.  Each crew had their part to take as a state-lawyer, an officer, weapon specialist, fingerprint analyst, and forensic biologist.  It was such fun, but surely a professional experience for all the crews!  Towards the end of the week, our Executive Director Ms. Natasha Smith-Walker wanted to check in how we were doing with our final project—Court Presentation.  She wanted herself to be the Judge when our crews were having a rehearsal.  Our other staff members even had a role as well:  Ms. Syda Taylor as a state-attorney, Miss Jacki Carmichael as a defense lawyer, and I as a court sheriff.  Our crews did such an amazing job.  The crews started developing self-confidence while presenting the case before the Judge Natasha Walker.  I am very proud of each one of our crews.

For the afternoon sessions, we were beyond privileged to have wonderful guest-speakers from everywhere!  We had Mr. Boyd back from Illinois State Police, a plastic surgeon, Dr. Mussat, and Mr. Pete again for Friday session.  Mr. Boyd brought such inspiration into our room on the first week.  So we were very glad to have him back.  He shared his experience as an expert witness.  “I’m always nervous standing in the courtroom.  I’m a state police, but the courtroom always makes me nervous,” said Mr. Boyd.  He taught us the court etiquettes—how you dress up does matter.  Your facial expression does matter.  “Even if you are a visitor, they might see you as a suspect or a criminal based on how you present yourself.”  The court etiquette and rules weren’t very pleasant to hear since no cell phones are allowed.  Our crews had a hard time accepting these rules, but it was still a learning experience for them.

On a little cloudy Thursday, a very elegant French surgeon brought light into our room.  Dr. Mussat, of the University of Chicago, spent her afternoon with us to give us basic emergency treatments.  She had simple scenarios for our crews to figure out which emergency treatment is needed most in each case.  One of our fabulous students, Jocelyn, who wants to be a plastic surgeon took the lead in finding the right treatment.  Amazing job, Crews!  One last guest-speaker session during the week including information on forensic entomology!  It might sound gross, but such a fascinating world of forensic science.  All about bugs!  Mr. Pete brought maggots that he actually had them grow at home over a week.  When we saw all little maggots, we just screamed.  Yikes!  The bravest student, Tanaya was so engaged in observing these maggots.  She was very brave enough to move these baby maggots to the open plate from the little glass bottle.  Yes, with only a set of forceps!  You can check out a photo of her in action below.  We all got to see different stages of these maggots.  These maggots are a crucial evidence in forensics.  These are ones that “determine” the time of death when the dead body or the bones is found on or underground or somewhere in the forest.  These maggots, a certain spicy of fly does eat only the dead.  These little maggots do really help forensic investigators create the timeline.  I guess Forensic Entomology, although it sounds gross, is the most interesting session our students enjoyed.

Such an amazing week for our Forensic students! Here’s some great photos of them working and learning:

Week 4 - j Week 4 - i Week 4 - h Week 4 - g Week 4 - e Week 4 - d

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