Mrs. Mackanin mimics real-life CSI investigation for forensics students

Dr. Sforza handcuffs those found guilty with great disappointment.

Richard Gbaguidi

Mrs. Mackanin’s CSI investigation project for all students enrolled in Becton’s forensics elective came to a close on May 23 when the science teacher announced that Mr. Caputo, Mr. Matos and Mrs. Trause were all guilty in taking part in the crime. With 44 out of 49 students able to convict the guilty staff members, the investigation concluded with a great amount of success.

According to Mrs. Mackanin, “When comparing the results to last year, the students did much better, and I believe that is a result of the teachers and staff members who made their characters more believable. Not only that, but we also added the use of fingerprints to the mix, which likely helped the students single out any suspects.”

The synopsis for the investigation was that Mrs. Trause wanted to go on a vacation to Hawaii; however, she did not have enough money to do so. Mr. Caputo had a crush on Mrs. Trause and wanted to impress her, so he hired Mr. Matos to steal $2,000 from the fundraiser cash box, which was located in Mrs. Tabaka’s desk, with the hopes that he would be able to fund her vacation and in turn, gain her affection. Mr. Matos, however, was trying to frame Ms. O’Driscoll to make it appear as if she stole the funds.

Setting up the entire investigation took approximately three months and included writing the story for the case and being able to find staff members who were willing to participate.

“I sent an email asking anyone who wanted to participate to send me a hair sample. Then I tried my best to work everyone who sent me a sample into the story one way or another,” said the forensics instructor. “Throughout the process, Mr. Caputo was very eager to know when the investigation would start, since he really wanted to play the bad guy.”

The entire project was designed by Mrs. Mackanin to include clues along the way that lead the students in the right direction. Even if the students were being driven the wrong way, the clues were created to help steer them back on track. This vital information consisted mainly of specific answers to questions assigned to the participants; however, there were also many clues scattered around in each environment where students were most likely to investigate. Several pointers included a brochure for Hawaii on Mr. Caputo’s desk and two plane tickets to Hawaii on Mrs. Trause’s desk.

Overall, to solve the case, Becton students examined hair samples collected from the participants to compare them to the hair found at the crime scene in order to hone in on the possible suspects. The students were also given a fingerprint, which was found at the crime scene, so that they may collect various suspects’ fingerprints in hope for a match.

In addition, they used a magnetic dust solution that attaches to the oils secreted by the skin to create a visible print for record. This technique, along with the information taken from interviewing suspects, gave the forensics students enough information to solve the crime.