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Forensic Science

Forensic Science Patch
Scouts will have the opportunity to solve an interactive murder mystery. They visit a simulated crime scene: a dead body inside a tent in the woods, a gunshot wound, a fingerprint, and a footwear impression. No eyewitnesses. No problem!  In this exhibit, Scouts will learn forensic science through interactive activities and analysis of proxy evidence. They will be given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to identify a possible suspect (who just might be one of the staffers!). 

Alternate Light Source

  • Using an alternate light source and a blackout box, Scouts will examine two objects for the presence of evidence invisible to the naked eye


  • Scouts will engage in an interactive demonstration of a state of the art facial recognition program consisting of two phases. In the first phase they will stand in front of camera and be enrolled into a database. In the second phase they will stand in front of a computer/web camera which will lock in on their face and search it against the database. They will try and hide in a crowd and wear disguises in an attempt to fool the program.

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

  • Using a device called a "modified rat trap," Scouts will examine the affect that force has on blood and how the resulting bloodstain pattern can be used as a part of crime scene reconstruction.
  • Scouts will be provided with a bloodstain pattern, a ruler, a and a marker which they'll use to determine where in three dimensional space a source of blood was when it was impacted.

Digital Evidence

  • Personnel from the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) will demonstrate Advanced Mobile Forensics techniques to the Scouts.  This activity will include utilizing automated tools to extract data from cellular devices, and when those tools are unsuccessful, how to use specialized techniques such as (JTAG) to retrieve the data.  NW3C will also be demonstrating how law enforcement can use specialized tools to analyze and plot communication from Call Detail Records (CDR’s) from a mobile device with NW3C’s PerpHound tool.
  • With most of the world online and using Social Media, it’s easy to overshare information.  NW3C will demonstrate and discuss with the Scouts ways to safeguard personal information from prying eyes.


  • Scouts will use fingerprint ink and an unusual type of magnification to enlarge and classify their fingerprints. 
  • Scouts will deposit their own fingerprints onto a proxy evidence surface and then develop them with a magnetic fingerprint powder applicator and magnetic fingerprint powder.

Firearm Identification

  • Utilizing the class characteristics of a firearm. Scouts will compare a fired evidence bullet from a crime scene to a test fired bullet from a suspect's gun to determine if the evidence bullet could have originated from the suspect's gun.
  • Scouts will be provided with comparison microscope images of the individual characteristics on an evidence bullet from a shooting victim and comparison microscope images of the individual characteristics on a test fired bullet from a suspect's gun. They will compare these images to determine whether or not the evidence bullet originated from the suspect's gun.

Footwear Impression Evidence

  • Comparing the class characteristics from a cast of a footwear impression from a burglary scene to the class characteristics of the known outsoles of the footwear from several suspects, Scouts will attempt to determine which of the suspects shoes can be excluded and which can be included for further study.
  • Utilizing the individual characteristics of footwear, Scouts will compare questioned footwear impressions from an armed robbery scene to footwear exemplars taken from several suspects in an attempt to determine which, if any, of the suspects footwear were responsible.

Who did it?

  • Using the information learned from the various forensic science activities, can you identify a possible suspect for the murder in the woods?

impressions from 2013 jamboree

Ben, Matt, and Natalie from New York

Three Scouts from Long Island, New York discuss the WVU Forensic Science Tentand the challenges of solving the mock crime.

Lars from Norway

A Scout from Europe give his impressions of the WVU Forensic Science Tent.

Andy from the Hudson Valley Council

A Scout from the Hudson Valley Council shares his thoughts about the WVU Forensic Science Tent and the state of West Virginia.