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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229406 Find in a Library
Title: Tying Anomalies and Their Significance in Analysing Knot Evidence
Journal: Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal  Volume:42  Issue:3  Dated:September 2009  Pages:172-194
Author(s): Robert Chisnall
Date Published: September 2009
Page Count: 23
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English; French
Country: Canada
Annotation: Since the configuration of knots found at a crime scene can be significant in identifying a suspect, this study used 562 volunteers to determine whether there were some individuals who tied notes that differed from the knot-tying patterns of most people, which is to tie "granny" or "reef" ("square") knots for parcels.
Abstract: In executing the instructions to tie shoelace and parcel knots, the study found that 70 of the participants tied knots that departed from the dominant knot-tying patterns of the participant sample. Of particular significance was the fact that 19 out of the 528 participants (3 percent) produced "figure eight" and "figure nine" hitches in combination with normal half knots, and 15 out of these 19 used a "figure eight" or "figure nine" hitch in tying shoelaces. Only 4 out of the 19 participants used these types of knots in tying knots for parcels. This latter finding is significant, because parcel knots are most likely to be used by an offender in homicide ligatures. There are at least 64 possible combinations of paired half knots and figure eight or figure nine hitches. Although not unique, these unusual knot configurations are noteworthy and could reduce the field of possible knot tiers in the course of a criminal investigation. The volunteers were drawn from police officers, teenagers, university students, graduate students, and random members of the public. The findings are reported over an 18-year study (1988-2006) of knot-tying habits. Most of the participants were Canadian, some were British, and a few may have been American. Both males and females participated, ranging in age from 5 to 17. 5 tables, 32 figures, and 14 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Crime scene; Evidence identification; Forensic sciences; Homicide; Investigative techniques; Suspect identification
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