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Forensic Science International 158 (2006) 913

www.elsevier.com/locate/forsciint

Criminalystic: Effectiveness of lysochromes on the developing


of invisible lipstick-contaminated lipmarks on human skin
A preliminary study
Esperanza Navarro, Ana Castello, Jose L. Lopez, Fernando Verdu *
Facultad de Medicina, U.D. Medicina Legal, Av/Blasco Ibanez, no. 15, Valencia 46010, Spain
Received 1 March 2005
Available online 13 June 2005

Abstract
Latent prints are an important evidence for identification. Nowadays, the technical means, the implementation of image
processing techniques and the use of database makes it possible to detect and get information from some prints that seem to be
useless at first sight. On the other hand, the possibility of using the print as a DNA source has to be considered, so as to double its
identifying value. Human skin is a particularly difficult surface for developing this kind of evidences. Although different
methods for locating and developing latent fingerprints on the skin have been already described, it has not been found any
method, at the revised bibliography, to obtain and develop invisible lipmarks, that is, lipmarks from protective lipstick, or
permanent or long-lasting lipstick. The aim of the work that follows is to determine the effectiveness of several reagents for
developing invisible lipmarks on the corpses skin. Preliminary results show that, under the described experimental conditions,
the reagents used, Sudan III, Oil Red O and Sudan Black, are effective for obtaining recent latent lip prints on corpses skin.
# 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Crime investigation; Latent lip prints; Lysochromes; Human skin; Cosmetics; Lipstick

1. Introduction
Since, in 1905, a fingerprint was admitted as a piece of
evidence in a case, and up to now [1], the technical means
have been spectacularly developed. This makes it possible to
detect prints, even those invisible, by sophisticated methods.
On the other hand, by the implementation of image processing techniques, it becomes possible to get information from
some prints that seem to be useless at first sight [2]. In
addition, database provide the way to get quickly an identification. On the other hand, the possibility of using the print
as a DNA source has to be considered, so as to double its
identifying value [3,4].
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 963864820;
fax: +34 963864165.
E-mail address: Fernando.Verdu@uv.es (F. Verdu).

Undoubtedly, the main difficulty that investigators confront derives from the different substrates on which the print
can be found: porous, non porous, rough, smooth, coloured,
etc.
For this reason, the investigation of news reagents is very
interesting. The reagents must be useful on different surfaces, even when the prints are old or damaged [5].
Human skin is a particularly difficult surface for developing this kind of evidences because the same organic
elements that generate the prints and are used for detection
can also be found on the skin. Therefore, interferences in
developing are frequent.
Although different methods for locating and developing
latent fingermarks on the skin have been already described
[610], it has not been found any method, at the revised
bibliography, to obtain and develop invisible lipmarks, that
is, lipmarks from protective lipstick, or permanent or long-

0379-0738/$ see front matter # 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2005.05.002

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E. Navarro et al. / Forensic Science International 158 (2006) 913

lasting lipstick (leaving no visible marks). And if these could


be obtained, they could also supply a valuable information to
solve a criminal case [11,12].
Different works recently published [13,14] have shown
that conventional powders and reagents are less effective
than lysochromes in developing invisible lipmarks, and
some reagents to searching and developing invisible lipmarks have been proposed. These reagents make possible
the developing on different substrates.
The aim of the work that follows is to determine the
effectiveness of these reagents for developing invisible lipmarks on the corpses skin. With this purpose has been
planned the following method.

2. Material and method


2.1. Materials
 Standard protective lipstick (Protector labial Deliplus1
BCM 35500 VITRE. France).
Major ingredients: pentaerytrityl tetracaprylate, octyl
hidroxysterate, bis-diglyceril caprylate, syntetic wax,
ozokerite, hydrogenated castor oil, cetearyl isononanoate,
benzophenone-3-butyl methoxydibenzolymethane, dicaprylyl maleate, cera microcrystallina, octyl methoxycinnamate, titanium dioxide, octyldodecanol, propylparaben,
BHA, alumina, silica, BHT.
 Long-lasting lipstick (Lipfinity, Max Factor1 no. 19,
brown).
Major ingredients: trimethylsiloxisilicate, dimethucone, mica, quaternium-18-hectorite, propylne carbonate,
aluminium hydroxide, propylparaben, barium sulfate,
colophonium, sucrose polycottonseedate, ozokerite, cera
alba, tocopheryl acetate, tocopherol, ethylene brassylate,
propylparaben, propyl gallate.
 Brushes.
 Mould to make the lipmark in the skin: has been created a
mould made of special silicone used in Odontology
(laboratory Protesicos Reunidos C.B.) which perfectly
reproduces the shape and the outline, as well as the lips
lines and wrinkles.
 Ultraviolet light.
 BluemaxxTM (alternate light source that works between
390 and 520 nm).

2.2. Reagents
 Sudan III (CI 26100) for microscopy, fatty acid and
neutral fats staining (Panreac).
 Oil Red O for laboratpry use (Fluka Chemica reference
75087).
 Sudan Black (CI 26150) for microscopy fat staining
(Panreac).
 Distilled water.

2.3. Method
 Sample preparation.
The protective lipstick or long-lasting lipstick is spread
on the mould and according to the manufacturers instructions has been waited between 2 and 3 min for fixing.
Then the mould is pressed on the corpses skin. An
invisible lipmark is obtained. The areas selected to form
the print were the right side of the neck and the anterior
region of the forearm.
The supports for the prints have been 17 corpses of
people deceased of natural or violent causes. In order to
consider in the experience the ageing effects, the age at the
death moment is comprised between 30 and 75 years old.
So as to determine possible variations on the reagents
effectiveness, it is worked on corpses previously kept in
cold storage room and on not refrigerated ones. Both the
date and cause of death are also variable. Annex 1 include
a table which shows each corpses characteristics.
 Reagent preparation.
Reagents have been used in powdered form, without
any additional preparation.
 Processing procedure.
For the examination of the corpse, the following
sequence has been applied:
(a) Previous examination using UV light and an alternate
light source (BluemaxxTM).
(b) Development with and powder lysochromes (Sudan
III, Sudan Black and Oil Red O): using a brush, a
small quantity of reagent (Sudan III, Oil Red O or
Sudan Black) is spread on the surface where the mark
was formed. After spreading the reagent carefully, it
is washed with distilled water. The wash eliminates
the reagent in excess and the print can be seen better.
Marks appear in black when Sudan Black was
used and in red when reagents used were Sudan III
and Oil Red O and can be photographed.
(c) Swabbing for cosmetic analysis and DNA profiling
(a recent work [4] show that invisible lip marks
made on paper and developed with Sudan Black can
be used as a possible DNA source for forensic
identification).

3. Results
(a) Previous examination using UV light and an alternate
light source (BluemaxxTM).
With UV light and Bluemaxx TM, all invisible lipmarks made have been located before applying the
reagents. Lipmarks from protective lipsticks can be
visualized more easily than lipmarks from permanent
lipsticks.
(b) Development with and powder lysochromes (Sudan III,
Sudan Black and Oil Red O).

E. Navarro et al. / Forensic Science International 158 (2006) 913

11

Fig. 1. Invisible lipstick contaminated lip mark before developing.

We have obtained a positive development for all of


the lipmarks prints tested. A positive development
means that the shape and the lips outline that are
perfectly noticed and can be seen and also some lip
lines and wrinkles.
Figs. 1 and 2 show an invisible lipstick-contaminated
lip mark before and after developing.

4. Discussion
From the results the following can be deduced.
The developing has been obtained from all of invisible
lip marks, so the originated with protective lipstick as
those formed from long-lasting one. The developing quality is good enough to detect the shape and the outline, as

Fig. 2. Invisible lipstick contaminated lip mark after developing.

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E. Navarro et al. / Forensic Science International 158 (2006) 913

well as some lips lines and wrinkles that may allow


identification.
Sudan Black produce better developments than Sudan III
and Oil Red O.
The factor of the corpses refrigeration has not influenced
at the results, probably because, as bibliography recommend
[15], it has been taken precaution to wait until the corpses
skin to be completely free of humidity before developing the
print.
It is needed to point out that the results of the work are
related to the reagents effectiveness on recent invisible
lipmarks. The investigation of old lipmarks is very difficult
on this type of surface. However it is planned to put into
effect in a near future. Also, there are other factors that must
be evaluated like times for deposition of the lip mark on de
cadavers skin.

5. Conclusion
Under the described experimental conditions, the
reagents used, Sudan III, Oil Red O and Sudan Black, are
effective for obtaining recent invisible lipstick-contaminated
lip mark on corpses skin.
The possibility of using these reagents on latent lip prints
produced without lipsticks (normal lipmarks) should be
studied.

Acknowledgments
To the Centro Clnico Oral S.L. in Alicante (Spain); to the
laboratory of Protesicos Reunidos C.B. in Alicante (Spain);
to the Institut of Legal Medicine in Alicante (Spain).

Appendix A. ANNEX 1: Information about the corpses used as substrat for the invisible lipmarks

Number

Date
(day/month/year)

Age

Gender

Time since
death (h)

Cause of death

Body refrigerated
(yes/no)

1
2
3
4
5
6

12/12/2003
22/12/2003
28/12/2003
14/1/2004
14/1/2004
6/2/2004

Masculine
Masculine
Masculine
Masculine
Masculine
Feminine

3841
24
2428
12
20
8

Digestive hemorrhage
Heart attack of myocardium
Cardiac insufficiency
Heart attack of myocardium
Poisoning with corrosive liquid
Multiorgan failure

No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No

7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

14/2/2004
14/2/2004
14/2/2004
22/2/2004
22/2/2004
22/2/2004
9/3/2004
25/3/2004
26/4/2004
26/4/2004

30
48
60
47
75
Unknown
information
51
3540
60
42
50
4045
36
61
63
57

Masculine
Masculine
Masculine
Masculine
Masculine
Masculine
Masculine
Masculine
Feminine
Masculine

21
18
21
1620
16
4
3
4
6
22

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes

17

25/6/2004

78

Masculine

24

Hypertensive cardiovascular Diseases


Epileptic status
Polytrauma
Hanging
Polytraumatism
Waiting for toxicological results
Destruccion of vital encephalic centers
Traumatic shock
Acute respiratory insufficiency
Asphyxia by thoracic - abdominal
compression
Ischemic heart disease

Yes

E. Navarro et al. / Forensic Science International 158 (2006) 913

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