The careful examination of blood stained clothing can potentially provide information regarding the movements and activities of the wearer during a bloodshed event. The goal of this study is to aid the bloodstain pattern analyst during such examinations. Spatter and transfer stains were created on eleven types of fabric used commonly in the manufacture of clothing. The physical characteristics of the resulting stains including size, shape and penetration of the fabric structure were compared. Results indicate that physical characteristics alone may not be sufficient for distinguishing spatter from transfer stains. Others factors such as the quantity and distribution of stains and case factors should be carefully considered when making this distinction.
Examination of blood stained clothing is a common request of the bloodstain pattern analyst. Given its potential to provide information about the movements and activities of the wearer, bloodstain pattern analysis may confirm or refute explanations for the presence of blood on his or her clothing. Of particular interest are spatter and transfer stains. These two broad categories of stains are commonly present in a bloodshed event, but are created by very different mechanisms. The ability to distinguish and correctly identify these stains is an important skill for any bloodstain pattern analyst who routinely examines clothing. The recent case of the Indiana v. Camm (1) brought this issue to the forefront of the bloodstain pattern community.
Much research has been published in other areas of bloodstain pattern analysis. However, the resources and reference material for examination of clothing are more limited. As with any other bloodstain, the target surface must be considered prior to evaluating the stain. Research has been published indicating that both texture and composition of a fabric will affect the resulting shape of a bloodstain. (2-4) This study will revisit the topic of fabric (5) as a target surface with a focus on spatter and distinguishing spatter from transfer.