ABSTRACT

Footwear examination can provide an important link between the crime scene and the suspect. Casts have been taken from snow, soil, and sand substrates to assist with the examination and to accurately depict the impression. However, there has been some discrepancy on what kind of fixative, if any, should be used with impressions present in sand. This study tested four different fixatives on three sandy substrates. Eight gross characteristics were added to a boot sole, and thirty sand impressions were created in each substrate. Except for one control set that remained untreated, the impressions were treated with a fixative agent before casting. The ninety shoe casts were examined by a qualified footwear examiner and scored based on his ability to see the eight characteristics. The results indicated that pump-action hairspray was the most successful on play and construction sand, while beach sand impressions without any fixative scored highest.