Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Forensic Students Have Fun Processing Fake Crime Scene

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Forensic Students Have Fun Processing Fake Crime Scene

Article excerpt

Byline: John Carter, Times-Union staff writer

Mock murder was on the syllabus as forensic students processed their own CSI -type crime scene on a grassy knoll at the University of North Florida Friday.

"This is really cool," said Amanda Ludy as she placed evidence in a glass tube. "It feels very realistic and you see how tricky a crime scene can be."

That was the whole idea, said anthropology professor Gordon Rakita, who has been working with the honors class all semester to develop skills such as fingerprinting, mapping, evidence collection, photography, videography and other skills associated with crime-scene processing.

"It's one thing to talk about processing a crime scene and quite another to deal with a simulation of the real thing," he said. "I think the students are realizing how complicated a crime scene can be."

The professor said he also hopes the forensic class will inspire the students to learn more about other sciences, particularly biology, chemistry and anthropology.

The forensic exercise began with a 10-student crime-development team gathering near UNF's North Campus to create a crime scene, planting a bloody murder weapon (a golf club), leaving fingerprints and positioning the bodies.

An hour later, the crime-processing team arrived to find a police cruiser's flashing lights, yellow crime tape, a bloody golf cart and two bloody "corpses," one in the cart and one on the lawn, portrayed by stoic students with seemingly infinite patience.

Laura Davie, the student chief crime-scene investigator, said she loved overseeing all aspects of the investigation.

"I guess I have this sense of power being in charge," she said. "But the main thing is that we're really learning a lot from being in this realistic setting."

She said a main part of a real investigation would involve forensic serology, the study of blood to determine type and other information, or obtain DNA samples. …

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