Forensic Science Service Results - HELP WANTED

Discussion in 'Madeleine McCann' started by Tony Bennett, Sep 18, 2008.

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  1. Tony Bennett

    Tony Bennett Former Member

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    I should be grateful if anyone could please look over this point from our proposed booklet: "What happened to Madeleine McCann: 30 Reasons which suggest she was not abducted". Is what we say (a) correct and (b) reasonably comprehensible?

    It deals with the forensic findings of the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham.

    Or if anyone could please piont me to a good source where their findings are discussed, I'd be grateful also:

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    30 Reasons

    Reason (x). The forensic evidence of the DNA of blood found in the living room of the McCanns’ apartment, and in the boot of the McCanns' hired car, analysed by the Forensic Science Service here in England

    ANSWER:

    There have been claims and counter-claims about the significance of the forensic evidence obtained by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in Birmingham on samples of blood or body fluids found in the McCanns’ apartment and in the boot of the car they hired. The Doctors McCann and their spokesmen have claimed that the FSS results did not confirm that it was Madeleine’s dead body in the apartment and in the car.

    So let us look carefully at what the FSS found.

    In Apartment 5A, Eddie, the 'cadaver dog' and Keela, the 'blood-hound’ both clearly marked precisely the same location - behind the sofa in the living room (which had been moved by the McCanns from its original location). The tiles where Keela scented the blood were carefully removed and sent to FSS. The blood found by Keela was by then degraded, quite possibly s the result of cleaning agents having been used, and the FSS lab was able to check only 5 markers. Each one of those 5 markers exactly matched Madeleine's DNA.

    As for the Renault Scenic, registration no. 59-DA-27, Eddie, the 'cadaver dog' and Keela, the 'blood-hound’, both clearly marked the same car and the same location within the car. The blood found there by Keela (beneath the carpeting in the boot) was also degraded. But the FSS lab was able, on its first analysis, to check 15 markers. All of these 15 markers matched Madeleine's DNA.

    A second result showed the same 15 markers, but among a total of 37. An individual only has 19 ‘markers’. That means that the sample from the car had been contaminated by DNA from another individual. However, with 15 markers all matching Madeleine’s DNA, that would still give analysts 99.9% confidence that the samples were from Madeleine.

    The DNA of the degraded blood was found not to match with the DNA of the twins, Sean and Amelie.

    The law differs from country to country as to how many out of an individual’s 19 DNA ‘markers’ are needed to prove that any DNA sample comes from that individual. Many countries accept 15 markers as sufficient proof. Under Portuguese law, however, the courts require all 19 markers to be confirmed.

    This was ‘Low Copy Number’ DNA and so all 19 markers could not be obtained.

    The FSS were able to confirm that the results of the analysis were ‘indicative’ that the blood found was Madeleine’s. We might, without exaggeration, that these DNA results were ‘highly indicative’ that it was Madeleine’s blood that was found. But the FSS felt unable to say that these DNA results, on their own, were ‘conclusive’.

    The key point to be made is this. The FSS results, on their own, do not provide absolute proof that the blood in the apartment and in the hired car was Madeleine’s. But the strongly indicative results, with all 5 markers being Madeleine’s in one sample and all 15 in another, must be taken together with all the other evidence in this case. And we can say without fear of successful contradiction that it is another piece of evidence in the case that points very strongly in the direction of Madeleine being dead in her holiday apartment on 3rd May 2007, the day she ‘disappeared’.

    ENDS
     
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  3. Salem

    Salem Former Member

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    I agree it points very strongly towards a deceased Maddie. I don't know much about all these tests, but I am very curious why the FSS changed their minds about the DNA samples. They led PLE to believe they had strong samples, PLE makes the McCanns suspects and the the FSs backs off their original position. What happened?

    Salem
     
  4. Tony Bennett

    Tony Bennett Former Member

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    Salem, thank you.

    One explanation I have heard is that in extracting DNA from the samples during the first round of testing, the cells became depleted or weakened in some way (i.e. due to the extracting of material for testing) and that therefore the second sample would not yield such conclusive results.

    Not being technical on these matters, I am not sure if that is correct or not

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  5. colomom

    colomom Inactive

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    Forget about the blood.....what about the hair??

    I read numerous times that hair can be tested to show if it came from a deceased person. What happened to the hair that was sent to the FSS? I read somewhere that the FSS did not have the capability to do the test. Does this make sense? I seriously doubt that one of the finest forensics labs in the world would not have this test.

    We need to find out what happened to the hair!!
     
  6. Tony Bennett

    Tony Bennett Former Member

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    REPLY: Yes. I have scoured the published police reports, colomom, but I cannot so far find any reference to the hair said to have been found in the car boot

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  7. Gatinho

    Gatinho New Member

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    I think that is an excellent summary. However I would question this statement :

    "Each one of those 5 markers exactly matched Madeleine's DNA."

    I'm not sure whether you can have an 'exact' match form 5 markers - I think the point is that there were no markers that could not have come from Madeleine so the idea that it was her blood could not be discounted - but that 5 markers does not give positive identification either.
     
  8. Barnaby

    Barnaby New Member

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    I agree that it is an excellent summary Tony.

    Colomon, I believe that I read somewhere that the hair samples were lost. I am so sorry I cannot think where I read this or I would provide link.
     
  9. rashomon

    rashomon New Member

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    The Caylee Anthony Case is interesting in that respect:

    http://www.wftv.com/news/17315205/detail.html
    So it seems if the hair contains the root, it can be determined whether it is from a a living or a deceased person.
     
  10. Texana

    Texana Overreaching

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    I remember we went through the discussion about the hair sample a month or so ago but I can't remember who gave us the links--I thought it was Tony B. but I could be wrong.

    The FSS reportedly did not have the capacity to test for whether or not the hair was from living or deceased person. They refused to release the sample to another European lab that could test, as requested by the Portuguese authorities. They basically shut down on making any conclusions about the sample stating only the number of matching markers and that a definitive identification as Madeleine's could not be made.

    However, they did NOT say that Madeleine was ruled out.

    I thought of this immediately when the news about Caylee Anthony surfaced.
     
  11. colomom

    colomom Inactive

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    That's what I remember too Tex.

    Rashomon, do you think it is because there was no root attached to the Scenic hair sample? I seem to recall this being reported too.
     
  12. Texana

    Texana Overreaching

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    That could possibly be it...but the FSS also stalled in a very obvious way. They didn't announce that they couldn't rule out Madeleine and said only that they couldn't positively (99% match) identify the evidence as Madeleine's.
     
  13. CaliKid

    CaliKid Former Member

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    From what I've learned through the Caylee case, the root is tested to determine whether the hair is from a dead or living person. In decomposition, black rings begin to form around the shaft of the hair at root level. So if the lab didn't have any roots for Madeleine's hair sample, it would be impossible to determine death.
     
  14. colomom

    colomom Inactive

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    But Cali, even if the lab could not confirm decomposition couldn't they test for sedatives? I remember reading that the hair tested positive as belonging to someone from Kate's lineage.

    There are so many tests that can be done and yet we do not hear word one about the results of the tests on the hair.

    There should be some report with some sort of results.....
     
  15. rashomon

    rashomon New Member

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    Possibly this was the case - that there was no root attached.

    If they had found out the hair was form a dead Madeleine, the McCanns' story would have collapsed like a house of cards.

    How many hairs were found in the trunk? One or more?
    And where excactly was the hair (or were the hairs) found? Under the carpeting of the boot?
     
  16. rashomon

    rashomon New Member

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    So there is the high probability that hair was Madeleine's.
    I only know little about DNA, (therefore correct me if I'm wrong) but I think if they had had the root they could have done nuclear DNA testing which would yield more info.
    So it seems they only did mitochondrial (?) DNA tests on the hair.
    Have the other family members been ruled out?

    Did the sniffer dog Eddie find cadaver odor in the trunk also?
     
  17. twinkiesmom

    twinkiesmom New Member

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    I wish they would tell or show us the hair....Cadavers shed scalp hair in clumps during decomp...If it was a large clump of hair rather than a few strands, it would have been obvious to investigators they were investigating a homicide.

    The other thing they should have been able to tell is if the hair was pulled out or cut.
     
  18. Salem

    Salem Former Member

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    I think it was because someone bought off the FSS. Might be the most famous lab in the country/world, but I will never believe results from them again.

    There is no "test" for the hair. You put the hair under the microscope and look at it. Test done! That's all there is to it. Now if they were going to test for drug remnants in the hair, that might be harder and actually require some kind of test.

    From all reports, there was more than one strand of hair. I honestly believe someone interfered with the work and the results of the FSS leaving me to conclude that if any politics are involved in a case at all, the FSS can not be trusted. Very sad comment on what supposedly is an outstanding lab with great capability and the ability to use the greatest and lastest research tools and techniques.

    I don't see any other reason for not being able to "test" the hair?:eek:

    Salem
     
  19. rashomon

    rashomon New Member

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    I know from another criminal case (the Jeffrey MacDonald case) that DNA tests can be conducted on hair so there is much more to it than mere microscopic comparison.
    Convicted family murderer Jeffrey MacDonald claimed for decades that the alleged 'mystery hair' found in his dead wife's hand was from an intruder. For back in 1970 when she was killed, DNA analysis did not yet exist, and the lab tech (having only microscopic analysis as a tool) had concluded the hair was not MacDonald's.
    A few yers ago, the hair was finally DNA tested and the result was unequivocal: the 'mystery hair' WAS Jeffrey MacDonald's own hair. The lab tech had made a mistake back in 1970.
    But I think a lot depends on whether or not the lab techs have the root of the hair.
     
  20. colomom

    colomom Inactive

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    I know for a fact that you can do drug testing from cut hair so, at minimum, we should have an absolute positive or negative for drugs on the hair.

    I find it difficult to believe that the FSS has been bought but, if they have, I will become a very suspicious person....
     
  21. Salem

    Salem Former Member

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    You guys are right - but if I remember correctly, FSS was asked to determine if the hair was pre- or post- mortum. That can be done by looking under a microscope. You or I could do it according to the forensic experts on Nancy Grace discussing Caylee's hair. It is my recollection that FSS said they could not do this "test" because they did not have the equipment. They never indicated that they did not have a "root" and supposedly there was a clump of hair, not just one strand. So... in my mind, FSS's response is highly suspect. Why do they not come out and say there were no hair roots or that there was only one strand of hair? Why say they don't have the equipment? Also, if I recollect, they said they could not distinguish the DNA of the hair with certainty from that of Kate or the twins. However, if the hair was from a post mortum body, it would go a long way toward establishing who's hair it was, because Kate and the twins are still alive.

    Just my opinion, of course. And Colomom, I'm like you in that I try hard to discount conspiracy theories. Generally I trust LE and those associated with the investigation to be truthful and forthcoming. But in this case, I just don't believe the response that came from FSS. I think the final results were contradictory to their early responses.

    Salem
     
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