The Trace Evidence Unit (TEU) identifies and compares specific types of trace materials that could be transferred during the commission of a violent crime. These trace materials include human hair, animal hair, textile fibers and fabric, rope, feathers, soil, glass, and building materials.
The physical contact between a suspect and a victim can result in the transfer of trace materials. The identification and comparison of these materials can often associate a suspect to a crime scene or with another individual. Physical anthropology (skeletal remains) examinations are also performed. These examinations are conducted to assist in the identification of human remains.
Physical scientist, geologist, and forensic examiners.
Hair examinations can determine if a hair is animal or human. If animal, the species and possibly breed of the animal can be determined. If human, the racial characteristics, body area, length, root type (naturally shed/forcibly removed), and any artificial treatment or damage can be determined. Hairs associated by microscopic comparison are also examined by the Mitochondrial DNA Unit.
Fiber examinations can determine if a fiber is natural or manmade. Questioned fibers can be compared to fibers from a known source to determine if they are consistent with having originated from that source. Questioned fibers can also be compared to other questioned fibers to determine if they are consistent with originating from the same source, though that source is not known.