skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 221668 Find in a Library
Title: New Method of Reproduction of Fingerprints From Corpses in a Bad State of Preservation Using Latex
Journal: Jpurnal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:52  Issue:6  Dated:November 2007  Pages:1319-1321
Author(s): Davide Porta B.Sc.; Monica Maldarella B.Sc.; Marco Grandi M.D.; Cristina Cattaneo M.D., Ph.D.
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 3
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In order to facilitate fingerprinting corpses in a bad state of preservation, especially in cases of mummification and carbonization, this paper describes an innovative technique that uses latex film.
Abstract: The latex technique was found to be easy to apply while being cheap and quick, and it was helpful when treating badly charred hands and mummified or decomposed fingertips. In handling deformed skin (mummification, dehydration, or charring), the latex technique was found to offer a considerable benefit compared with Lee and Gaensslen's method. A smooth, folds-free copy of the ridge pattern was obtained in a short time, ready to put either on a shaped medium or on a slide, to be inked or photographed. The latex technique can produce the final print in one step, avoiding the loss in definition caused by Ineichen's casting procedure. The only restriction imposed by the latex technique is that the mummified or charred fingertip be previously treated with sodium hydroxide, because it prevents the rubber from vulcanizing. The preliminary step involved cleaning the fingertip with a brush soaked in ether to remove the grease from the skin. A thin layer of liquid latex was then spread on the finger using a wooden rounded rod. In order to distribute the liquid into all the introflections of the plica, researchers blew on it, paying attention not to create residues in every fold. A wrinkle-free and protrusion-free elastic film reproduced the fingertip dermatoglyphics. No longer than 10 minutes was required for the solvent present in the latex to dry, leaving behind the thin elastic semitransparent film needed. This was removed and placed over a medium fit for the fingerprint identification procedure. The two cases in which this technique was successfully used involved a mummified body and a burned corpse. 3 figures and 7 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Death investigations; Fingerprint image quality; Fingerprints; Foreign criminal justice research; Forensic sciences; Investigative techniques; Italy; Victim identification
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.