All That Glitters Might be Evidence
Expert to discuss glitter as forensic tool
An expert in trace evidence will discuss the use of glitter as a forensic tool at Florida Southern College on January 21 as part of a lecture tour sponsored by the American Chemical Society.
Robert D. “Bob” Blackledge, retired senior chemist with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Regional Forensic Laboratory in San Diego, Calif., has more than 30 years’ experience in forensic science. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from The Citadel in 1960 and a master’s in chemistry from the University of Georgia in 1962. He has written or co-written more than 40 journal articles and book chapters.
Although Blackledge’s experience is wide-ranging, his passion is the study of trace evidence.
Blackledge will address Locard’s Exchange Principle, which states, “Every contact leaves a trace.” The best-known examples of trace or associative evidence are hairs, fibers, paint chips, and broken glass fragments – microscopic-sized items that help investigators prove a suspect’s connection to a place or item.
Blackledge, however, will talk about glitter, the sparkly substance most commonly known for its use in arts and crafts projects. Glitter also is found in every variation of cosmetics, on apparel, and in many clear plastic commercial products. Blackledge says in many respects, glitter is the ideal “contact trace.”
He will discuss what glitter is, how it is made, how it varies, how it can be collected at crime scenes, and how it can be characterized and distinguished from other glitter samples. He will use several case histories where glitter was used as key associative evidence.
Blackledge’s lecture will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Polk Science Building Room 152.