How Did The Microscope Become An Integral Part Of The Forensic Science, Thanks To A Kidnapping Case From Nearly A Century Ago!

In order to emphasize the significance of the microscope, directly related to the police and forensic science, we’ll have to go (way) back in the time, some 90 years ago, and connect it with a true crime story that was published in the American Journal of Police Science, regarding a man who got arrested and convicted of kidnapping.

The year was 1928, and in the center of the story was a little girl, who was kidnapped by an unknown assailant, who obviously knew her routine of coming back home from school, through the wooded area which lead to her home. The kidnaper waited hidden till she passed by, and then grabbed her, put a dark cloth on her head, and mistreated her badly. Afterwards, he released her, and the little girl’s parents reported the case to the police, but the only thing she knew what to tell them was that her assailant also wore clothed mask on his face, and nothing more!

Although the description was very poor and the authorities didn’t have a lot to work with, the sheriff, along with his deputies, examined the scene of the crime and found a blindfold, similar to the ones which hunters use when they’re shooting birds. They noticed that it had branches on it, the kind that could be found on the forest trail, which the kidnapper used to thrust into the ground, to better conceal himself.

Approximately at the same time, a person named Clark got arrested at the nearby hotel, for unconnected crime. But what was interesting is that the police found 3-bladed pocket knife in him, as well as a couple of cedar branches in his room. During the questioning, the suspect admitted that he indeed cut those cedar branches himself, but under any circumstances, he didn’t want to admit that they had anything to do with kidnapped girl, but that he did it for Christmas decoration at his home.

However, the sheriff wasn’t planning to give up, but took the knife and those two cedar decoration branches, taken from Clark’s room, along with the items found at the kidnapping crime scene, in the police laboratory. And after careful microscopic examination, it was undoubtedly revealed that the pitch, like the exudes from fir trees, upon one of the three blades of Clark’s knife. None of the other two smaller blades had even similar pitch-stains or residue. Furthermore, that same big blade revealed microscopic irregularities at the edge of the blade, which were consistent with a knife that’s been previously used to cut the branches at the girl’s crime scene. In order to prove beyond any suspicion, the blade was put on additional tests, like forcing it through several cedar sailings and fir boughs, which were the same size, like the ones found at the crime scene. When they were put under a magnascope, it was determined beyond any doubt that it was the same knife that was used to create those ambush branches. In other words, the markings seen under the microscope, matched perfectly with the prisoner’s knife. And that was his ending.

In other words, this technique is practically the same with the one which in the modern forensic science is used to determine whether a bullet matches with the gun that is suspected to be used in a certain crime. Or, this case was one of the pioneers, when it comes to the microscopic analyzes of the found evidence.