Just Footwear Impressions on Fabric

Just Footwear Impressions on Fabric

Original Release Date: November 24, 2023

In episode 8 of our Case Studies season, Just Science sat down with Brian McVicker, a Forensic Footwear and Tire Examiner at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to discuss developing shoe and tire impressions on fabric using ninhydrin.

When a victim is stomped or runover, the transfer of skin cells onto the inside of the victim’s clothing can leave an impression of the shoe or tire that was used. Due to the valuable information this can provide to investigations, the FBI Laboratory’s Footwear and Tire Group performed a validation study exploring the efficacy of ninhydrin to develop footwear or tire impressions on the inside of clothing, specially focusing on using an iron as a heat source and dark fabrics. Listen along as Brian describes how the study has expanded existing ninhydrin processing procedures, scenarios in which ninhydrin processing would be helpful to a case, and the value of involving interns in this type of research.

This episode is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (Award No. 15PNIJ-21-GK-02192-MUMU). 

Some content in this podcast may be considered sensitive and may evoke emotional responses, or may not be appropriate for younger audiences. 

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Episode Citation

McKay, J. & McVicker, B. (2023, November 24). Just Science. Just Footwear Impressions on Fabric. [Audio podcast episode]. Forensic Technology Center of Excellence.

Guest Biography

Brian C. McVicker is employed at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia as a practicing Forensic Footwear and Tire Examiner as well as the Technical Leader and Research and Technology Program Manager for the Footwear and Tire Discipline. Mr. McVicker has been conducting footwear and tire examinations since 2007. He is a member of the International Association for Identification Footwear and Tire Track Examination Subcommittee, a current affiliate and past member of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science Footwear and Tire Subcommittee, and a past member of the Scientific Working Group for Shoeprint and Tire Tread Evidence (SWGTREAD). Mr. McVicker received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida. He co-authored Accuracy, Reproducibility, and Repeatability of Forensic Footwear Examiner Decisions, the 2022 publication produced from the FBI Laboratory’s footwear black box study. He is the lead author on the U.S. National Footwear Database System Feasibility Study, a 2021 publication on the FBI Laboratory’s investigation into the current state of footwear intelligence in the U.S.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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