Volume 49, Issue 4 (July 2004)
Evaluation of Iodine-Benzoflavone and Ruthenium Tetroxide Spray Reagents for the Detection of Latent Fingermarks at the Crime Scene
The performance of two spray reagents, iodine-benzoflavone and ruthenium tetroxide (RTX), was evaluated and compared with the conventional technique currently used at the crime scene, that is, powdering. Neither the spray techniques nor powdering were shown to be suitable for all surfaces and ages of marks tested. On some surfaces such as glass and treated wood, powdering was still the superior technique, whereas the spray techniques produced better development on wallpaper, vinyl, and brick. Sequencing work showed that RTX was incompatible with powdering and cyanoacrylate (with a rhodamine 6G stain). Iodine-benzoflavone can be used successfully either before or after powdering in a sequence; however, it was incompatible with cyanoacrylate. Two non-CFC formulations of iodine-benzoflavone using HFC4310mee and HFE7100 solvents were tested and shown not to be as effective as the original Arklone (CFC-113) formulation; however, the HFC4310mee solvent is recommended as the most suitable replacement solvent. Due to the expense of the commercial RTX spray, attempts at formulating a more cost-effective version were also carried out. A formulation was developed that gave comparable development to the commercial version but at a much cheaper cost, and with a shelf life of up to two months. Recommendations are presented for which techniques are suitable for different surfaces and ages of marks. Powdering was shown to be the best technique on all ages of marks tested on treated wood, glass, and also on marks aged three days and older on paint. Iodine-benzoflavone was the best technique on wallpaper, vinyl, brick, and raw wood. RTX was the best detection technique for fresh marks and marks aged up to one day on wallpaper and paint.