News from Microtrace

Chris Palenik Discusses Investigation into Child’s Disappearance

Last week, senior research microscopist Chris Palenik was interviewed about Microtrace's investigation into the 2011 abduction of 6-year-old Timmothy Pitzen. Microtrace was tasked with analyzing and tracing key evidence in the investigation- soil and gravel found under the SUV of Timmothy's mother, which she likely used when the child went missing. Read More

Flashback: First Committee on Forensic Hair Comparison in the U.S.

A recent article on microscopical hair examinations in current forensic science practice includes a photograph of the first committee on forensic hair comparison in the U.S., taken in the basement of the FBI Academy at Quantico in May of 1983. Read More

Silky Smooth Chocolate

A confectionery was receiving recurring complaints of mold in one of their products. Microtrace was asked to investigate the complaints and identify the foreign material. Read More

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Recent Publications

Skip Palenik to Lead Workshop on Trace Evidence in Animal Abuse Cases

On Monday, May 15th, Microtrace founder Skip Palenik will lead a one-day workshop on the role of trace evidence in the investigation and prosecution of animal abuse casework. Read More

Skip Palenik Interviewed on FBI Mishandling of Hair Evidence

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism recently published a nationally syndicated article covering the FBI's much-publicized mishandling of hair evidence in the 1980s and 1990. The article features an interview with Microtrace founder Skip Palenik on the FBI's treatment of hair evidence, as well as the uses and limitations of hair comparison and analysis. Read More

Article: RI Variation Within Container Glass

This quarter's issue of The Microscope (V. 64, Second Quarter) features an article co-authored by Microtrace microscopist Joseph Insana and Patrick Buzzini of Sam Houston State University. In the article, entitled "The Differences Between Refractive Index Measurements of the External Surface and Bulk Area of Container Glass," the authors demonstrate that in some cases, the refractive index of glass (a prime optical characteristic used for distinguishing one glass from another) is not uniform, but instead shows differences depending upon the sampling area. Read More

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