Thanks to the work of the Kentucky State Police Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) unit, a Fort Thomas, Ky. man pled guilty to sex abuse charges on April 28, 2017 and was sentenced to 27 years in prison.
The investigation began in January of 2016 when Det. Adam Noe, of the Fort Thomas Police Dept., contacted KSP Forensic Latent Examiner Supervisor Paul Dorman in reference to a sex abuse case in which he needed assistance. The case involved a young girl who reported that her step father had sexually assaulted her and had taken photographs of the assaults.
Noe requested and received a search warrant to recover the suspect’s cell phone and other electronic devices, which revealed a large number of images that depicted what the victim had reported. While reviewing this photographic evidence, Noe determined that while the suspect’s face was not visible in the images, his fingers were shown in incredible detail.
Noe brought the images to KSP’s lab in Frankfort where Forensic Latent Fingerprint Analyst Fred Crane used a computer to isolate the fingerprints shown in the photos. Several of the sexually exploitive photographs depicted the ridges of the photographer’s fingers and finger joints.
Crane and fellow fingerprint analyst Keith Dollinger assisted Noe in the service of a search warrant and collected inked finger and palm prints and detailed photos of the suspect’s hands. “They examined the photographic images taken as part of the search warrant and the original case images and were able to identify the suspect as being the person in both photographs,” said Dorman.
According to Dorman, the techniques used in this case are quite rare with only three occurrences in the U.S. prior to this instance.