Sasquatch Field

Research Manual

Never stop because you are afraid - you are never so likely to be wrong.

                                                                                                  --Fridtjof Nansen 

HANDLING AND COLLECTING EVIDENCE

by

Jason T. McAvoy

 

Copyright © 2010-2013 Jason T. McAvoy.  All rights reserved.

 

 

When tracking the Sasquatch you are more than likely going to track to some type of evidence rather than the creature itself. Knowing this makes the skill of tracking more important than ever. It also means that you need to have some basic forensic knowledge and skill. Having knowledge about forensics is not enough.  You also need to know how to document and collect the most common types of evidence that you will run across. The most common types of evidence you will run across is DNA, hair, and body impressions (exp. foot tracks, skookum cast, etc.). With this type of evidence there are a few skills that should be practiced and much of the information is the same and has a tendency to overlap some; its importance cannot be stressed enough. Skills, such as, but, not limited too photography, casting, and documentation will be touched briefly in this article but a more extensive explanation is available in their respective articles.

 

General Scene Approach

 

With any type of evidence collection there are basic guidelines that should be applied. These are guidelines and not set in stone as every situation is different and therefore may have to be altered in someway to make them work. There should be a general scene approach procedure that your whole team should be familiar with, when an area possibly containing evidence is found, or suspected. The approach should be as follows:

 

1.       Discuss the approach with everyone who will be involved with it in some way.

2.       Discuss the possible types of evidence that may be found and the locations in which it may be found.

3.       Make sure you have enough equipment to collect the amount of evidence desired (this includes extra batteries, water, and supplies for an extended field stay).

4.       Assign areas or duties depending on the size of the area or the complication of the search. These are best assigned when attitude, aptitude, training, experience, and emotional state are taken into consideration.

5.       Ensure the scene is secure and set a perimeter and a person to ensure the security if the safety of those involved is in question.

6.       Walk cautiously into an area.

7.       When approaching use a search pattern (grid, strip, lane, or spiral).

8.       Photograph everything on your way in and out.

9.       Be alert for all possible evidence.

10.   Be prepared to draw sketches- Draw sketch and mark evidence location on sketch.

11.   Use audio, video, written notes or all of the above while conduction the search and collection.

12.   I.D. evidence, protect it, mark it.

13.   DO NOT excessively handle evidence.

14.   Try to form a theory on what happened - do not be afraid to use your instincts.

15.   Photograph and then collect all evidence.

16.   Document all information - Keep in mind there is no such thing as too much information. Information documented may be but not limited to the following:

A.      Date

B.      Time

C.      Location (GPS coordinates)

D.      Weather

E.      Lighting

F.      Condition of evidence when found

G.     Position of evidence when found

H.      Any anomalies natural or other wise found in the environment

I.         I.D. of the collector/s

 

Write down your account as soon as possible. Remember there is no such thing as too much detail because no detail is insignificant. Use photos and sketches to supplement your account narrative.

 

As I have said before these are some general guidelines to follow. When followed correctly it will save you a lot of time and heartache that can come from destroyed or improperly handled evidence. It also gives you a plan of action to build off of when you get to the scene instead of having to make it up and learn as you go; trial and error is not always the best way to learn. More specifics in certain types of evidence follows below as we get into the most common types of evidence you will find while researching and tracking Sasquatch.

 

DNA

 

There are commonly two types of DNA sources available for testing. The first is Nuclear DNA which resides in blood, semen, saliva, body tissue, and hair that has its roots still attached. This is the most common and easily tested for type of DNA. It is extremely tough and even when dried and exposed to the elements for years when properly collected can still be tested with accurate results. The same can also be said for the second type of DNA which is Mitochondrial DNA. The Mitochondrial DNA is found in hair that is shed naturally, hair fragments, teeth, and bone tissue.

 

Proper collection of DNA is extremely important. If not collected properly the biological activity can be lost, contamination and decomposition can occur. When collecting this type of evidence make sure to follow the guidelines set up in the above “General Scene Approach” then proceed with the following:

 

1.       Photograph - Photo all stages from investigation to collection and photo all evidence in detail.

2.       Document, Draw (optional)

3.       Wear Gloves.

4.       Collect the blood samples one of two ways:

            A.   Collect as much blood as possible (around 5 cc) in a blood tube containing and

                  anti- coagulant.

            B.  Or collect the object that the blood is on, take special care if the blood is wet and

                  fresh.

5.   I.D. each sample with

A.      Date.

B.      Time.

C.      Location (GPS coordinates).

D.      Collectors name.

E.      Refrigerate using cold packs, not ice or dry ice as this can cause freezing.

F.      Place the samples or object that the sample is on in a paper bag or similar container. DO NOT use plastic.

G.     Get the sample to a lab as soon as possible.

 

Hair Samples

 

Next to tracks or impressions hair samples are probably one of the most common types of evidence found. This is arguably the most important type of evidence that you can find due to the fact it can rule out animals, humans, or unknown primate. Therefore the collection of this is just as if not more important that any other type of evidence.  When collecting this type of evidence make sure to follow the guidelines set up in the above “General Scene Approach” Then proceed with the following:

 

1.       Photograph - Photo all stages from investigation to collection and photo all evidence in detail.

2.       Document, Draw (optional).

3.       Wear gloves.

4.       Collect the sample using tweezers.

 

If there is anything such as tissue attached take special care to make sure it remains attached during the collection process. Place the same in a paper container such as a pill envelope (works best) and seal it with tape. Make sure that all of the corners and seams are sealed with tape, envelopes with metal clasps are not secured and DO NOT lick an envelope to seal it.  Document the sample/s with:

 

  1. Date.

  2. Time.

  3. Location (GPS coordinates).

  4. Collectors name.

  5. If there are any hairs that are wet allow to air dry in a safe secure place prior to collections and sealing the sample as this will cause degradation of the sample.

  6. Get the sample to a lab as soon as possible.

 

Tracks and Impressions

 

Tracks and impressions be it from the foot or the body are the most common types of evidence found while doing Bigfoot research. When track or a track line is found special care needs to be taken while documentation and collection is occurring.  When documenting this type of evidence there are two main ways that you will do it.  They are photographing and casting. The validity of your find and your results rests entirely on the quality of the pictures and casts. So once again the importance of proper collection is enormous. When collecting this type of evidence make sure to follow the guidelines set up in the above “General Scene Approach” Then proceed with the following:

 

  1. Photograph (ASAP) - Make a photo log for each picture and describe each photo all stages from investigation to collection and photo all evidence in detail. Photography the most fragile or mostly likely to be damaged evidence first.  Do this using any or all of the following:

    1. Color.

    2. U.V.

    3. Infrared.

    4. Digital.

    5. Standard 35 mm.

    6. Black and White.

  2. Fill the frame with the whole impression and include a ruler or something of standard known size such as a dollar bill.

  3. For all pictures intended for examination, place as close to the evidence as possible without touching or disturbing the impression.

  4. When taking the picture the lens must be parallel to impression to give it an eye angle view. Angled pictures distort the image.

  5. Use a flash, external flash, or flashlight to illuminate the track from different directions. Make sure the light source is approximately 5 ft away.

  6. Consider using different color light sources as different colors will bring out different details.

  7. If possible photograph impression from the North and label it on the picture.

  8. Photograph as many angles as possible (12 minimum)

  9. Note the:

    1. Date.

    2. Time.

    3. Location (GPS coordinates).

    4. Camera settings.

    5. Photographers name.

    6. Document and Draw (optional).

  10. Casting - Do this ONLY AFTER all photos have been taken and sketches made.

  11. Use 1/2lbs of dental stone per 9 oz of water.

  12. Mix in a type of plastic bag or container.

  13. Pour mix into impression using a stick or other object to prevent stream from damaging impression.

  14. Wait a minimum of 20 minutes before attempting to lift it.

  15. DO NOT clean the cast.

  16. Label the cast with a pencil or permanent black marker.

  17. Allow to dry 24 hours then wrap in paper, NEVER use plastic.

 

Evidence and its proper collection is arguably one of the most important yet least understood, practiced, and under utilized skill set that a researcher has at his/her disposal. The finding, collection, and analysis of this evidence can be invaluable, however if done incorrectly can undermine your research, reputation, and further efforts.  Therefore guidelines and rules for collection should be followed to the best of your ability. These guidelines are flexible and allow for addition of further methods to be added as the situation sees fit. Remember your research is only as good as the evidence you find because it is not what you know it is what you can prove. For more on photography and casting see the respective articles, as this is a general guideline and overview.

 

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For additional information, be sure to read the following manual:

FBI Forensic Services Manual

 

FBI Forensic Services Manual

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