Welcome to the
Evidence Room

This is where your Web Quest Team can select four pieces of evidence to analyze. Each of the descriptions below tells something about what you are to identify. You should decide which test(s) you would need to prove or disprove the identity of the evidence. Good luck detective!

Exhibit A: you've just received 10 mL of a fluid that was extracted from the liver of a recent victim. You are looking for signs of heavy metal poisoning that may appear to be from a food source. What do you find?

Exhibit B: a deadbeat dad has been forced by family court to take random drug tests. It is suspected he has been somehow beating the system. You have received randomly plucked pieces of hair from the dad, each about 4 inches long and relinquished in court. What drugs might you find evidence for?

Exhibit C: blood drops leading away from the scene of a homicide led detectives to the car of their suspect where a badly cleaned hunting knife was found. Prove the blood belonged to the victim and not to a rabbit allegedly caught for dinner by the suspect.

Exhibit D: federal investigators tracking an alleged kidnapper need to identify the brand of ink used to write the ransom note. Prove the pen was a specific, blue colored, felt tip variety.

Exhibit E: a drug raid turned up narcotics believed to have been produced in a designer laboratory busted the previous night. What tests will prove that the drugs have come from the lab in question and not from an unknown site?

Exhibit F: police are investigating allegations that a man has poisoned his neighbor's dog for excessive barking. The dog's owner believes the dog ingested ethylene glycol. Prove he did and that it came from the neighbor's garage.

Exhibit G: arson investigators suspect the same person is responsible for a fire that claimed the life of a homeless man who died in an abandoned warehouse and a series of fires that have plagued the city since the beginning of the summer. What tests should be performed to identify the accelerant used at each site?

Exhibit H: seed pods found in the bed of a pickup truck belonging to a murder suspect would place him at the scene of the rape and murder of a young woman if you can prove they came from a tree growing near her body. Prove the seed pods are specific to that tree.

Exhibit I: insurance investigators believe that the family of a recently deceased coronary patient may have caused her death. What should you look for in a blood sample removed at the time of the autopsy to successfully prosecute the family for murder?

Exhibit J: hair samples taken to your laboratory for identification are alleged to have come from an escaped circus gorilla. How do you prove the hair was from an ape costume constructed using horse hair?

Exhibit K: investigators of a hit and run accident leading to the death of an elderly couple need to prove the car belongs to their suspect. Tire marks at the scene and some paint flakes where the car hit the wife's walker are the only evidence to convict.

Exhibit L: feathers collected from the tire well of a car by investigators of the U.S. Department of Fish, Game and Wildlife are suspected of belonging to an illegally imported species of South American parrot. Prove the case.

Exhibit M: counterfeiters using high tech equipment have been passing bogus twenties and fifties. How would you test the paper?

Exhibit N: several children became ill after a birthday party. Prove their illness was not caused by undercooked hamburgers, but by strawberries served with their dessert.

Exhibit O: following the explosion and crash of TWA Flight 800, investigators found evidence of nitroglycerine. Prove it was from medicinal tablets taken by an unfortunate victim of the crash and not the cause of the explosion.

Exhibit P: brown colored spots found in the deep pile of a carpet and on the wall of a suspect's living room may be the blood of her murdered husband. You've also found what appears to be blood on a baseball bat hidden in her son's bedroom closet. Identify the brown material as blood and prove it belongs to her missing husband.

Return to the Forensic Science Web Quest

WebQuest originally developed by Linda Stefaniak at Allentown High School in Allentown, New Jersey, USA and adopted as appropriate by Michael Russell at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon, USA