Local father son team fight crime from behind microscopes

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A local father and son team are credited with cracking some of the most notorious crimes.

Edmond Locard, a French forensic scientist formulated the “exchange principle” which says that the murderer brought something into the crime scene when he arrived and took something away when he left. When you enter a crime scene – you bring with you, dust, fibers, pollen, hairs and other sometimes microscopic material that you unintentionally leave there and take with you material from the scene – thus, its call the “exchange principle.”

The father and son team of Skip and Chris Palenik are two of the best crime fighters in the world. At their company, Microtrace, the scientists have helped to solve some of the toughest cases where other law enforcement technicians had hit a wall.

Gary Leon Ridgway, the Green River Killer, is behind bars today because of evidence uncovered by Microtrace using their high powered microscope.

Other high profile cases they worked on included the Atlanta Child Murders, where the fiber evidence was compared at Microtrace to fibers found in the suspect’s car. Sometimes the fibers or pollen or metal fragments are so small that their electron microscope is used.

Skip and Chris often testify for either the prosecution or the defense, since their findings could help this side today and the other side tomorrow.

WGN’s Robert Jordan has more.

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