This edition of Forensic Friday comes to you from the heart of downtown Richmond and The Department of Forensic Science at Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU boasts one of the oldest forensic science programs in the country and members of Sisters in Crime Central Virginia were invited to spend the evening VCU log 2with them this past Tuesday, 3/22.


What a time we had. A thank you and shout out to Dr. Marilyn Miller and her students. There’s too much info for one Forensic Friday post, so I’m sharing some today and will follow up with more next week.



VCU Forensic Fact #1: Developing Latent Fingerprints with Magnetic Powder

Mary Burton Forensic Facts VCU fingerprints


Forensic scientists can use magnetic powder and a magnetic powder wand to develop latent fingerprints.   At the end of the wand there is a magnet that when exposed will “grab” the magnetic powder so it can be gently brushed over surfaces.  Magnetic powder works well on plastics and textured surfaces, and because a brush is not used, there’s less chance of damaging the print. Once the fingerprints are developed and the excess powder removed with the tip of the magnet, an investigator can capture the fingerprint on a clear piece of tape and affix the tape to a white card.