How 3D Printing Can Help Solve Cold Cases

True crime has always been a subject of fascination for many people. What happened? Who did it? And why? These are the questions that people yearn to find answers to.

But what happens when the perpetrator gets off scot-free? Bill Kurtis has another episode of Cold Case Files, and with the advent of 3D printing, the legendary host may finally get the rest he deserves by solving the unsolvable.

3D printing technology has the potential to revolutionize how forensic scientists uncover details and solve mysteries that have long gone cold. Let’s dive into how 3D printing can help solve cold cases, breathing new life into old evidence and bringing criminals to justice.

Improved Forensic Reconstructions

Forensic scientists often reconstruct the faces of unidentified victims using drawings or clay models. These traditional methods can be time consuming and may not perfectly reflect reality.

But with 3D printing, new technological advancements are making it possible to create extremely accurate facial reconstructions. With just a few scans and a 3D printer, investigators can create a three-dimensional image of the facial bone structure of a victim or suspect. Having a highly detailed physical model of an individual’s face can help investigators identify the victim or suspect and potentially solve the cold case.

Reconstructive Surgery and Bullet Wounds

Another of the applications for 3D printers you likely haven’t considered goes beyond facial reconstruction. A 3D printer can reconstruct impacted parts of the human body, giving more insight into what happened at the crime scene.

A 3D-printed replica allows investigators to better study the impact angle and entry and exit points to determine the grisly outcome. This data proves crucial in determining the type of weapon, the shooter’s distance, and the shot’s angle if the assailant used a firearm. With this information, the investigators can narrow down suspects, establish a timeline, and pursue the case with fresh eyes.

Trace Evidence Analysis

The key to solving a cold case is in the details that investigators perhaps overlooked in years past, such as fibers or hair found at the scene. But how do we analyze and preserve these samples, especially rare ones? The answer is simple: 3D printing.

Forensic scientists can use 3D printing technology to recreate the micro-surfaces of a sample to study in further detail. This technology allows scientists to study samples in a nondestructive way, preserving crucial evidence while being able to analyze it closely and potentially identify a match.

Enhanced Training and Identification

Apart from using 3D printing to recreate evidence and reconstruct crime scenes, law enforcement agencies can use it to train forensic investigators. The goal is to allow investigators to study samples in a near-lifelike environment, allowing them to practice and learn from more immersive scenarios.

3D printing is an emerging technology that is showing great promise in the field of forensics. Advances in this technology are opening new avenues for discovering and presenting evidence in ways that were once impossible. Now you know how 3D printing can help solve cold cases, helping dedicated investigators find answers for families who desperately need them, as somber as that is.

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