Trace Fiber Evidence Wayne William Case

TraceFiber Evidence: Wayne William Case

TraceFiber Evidence

Inevery crime scene, there are always trace evidence that can beconsidered as useful. Forensic and crime scene investigators mustapply their expertise and knowledge to comprehensively inspect thescene, identifying and gathering the most probative proof, which insome cases encompass fiber traces. This inspection includes an alertexploration and meticulous collection of everything that might yieldtrace or the prospective for discovering key suspects (Deadman,2012). An inspection for trace fiber evidence can take a place at thescene of the crime, on the attire of the key suspects, on thelocation where the players (suspect and victim) have been in recenttimes and on the victim. For instance trace fiber inspectors maysearch for threads of fibers in a crime where the victim has beenstrangled to identify what thing was used to commit the felony(Deadman, 2012).

Incrime investigation where forensic science involving trace fiber isused, the crime investigator should always set a list of preferenceof material that shall be collected and sent to the forensiclaboratory for further examination and processing. Normally, crimeinvestigators use a holistic approach procedure to collect allmaterial evidence, prioritizing every item by weighing its valuepegged on the level of identification it may offer (Ramsland,2013).Thereare special tools and apparatus that are used to gather trace fiberevidence such as swabs, lasers, tweezers and specific vacuums.

ApplicationTrace Fiber Evidence in Wayne William Case

Oneof the recent prominent crime case that entailed trace fiber evidencein living memory is that of William Wayne, who was found guilty oftwo accounts of murder in the iniquitous Atlantachild murder case (Ramsland,2013).Fromthe year 1979 and for about 22 months 30 African-American young boysand men had vanished or passed away under very mysteriouscircumstances (Deadman, 2012). During the period of investigationfederal forensic officers found fibers and human hairs that were verypivotal in tracing the suspects linked to the death of the youngAmericans. The diagram below shows a tiny fiber (Courtesy of NFSTC)collected from a piece of clothing through the use of alternate lightsource technique.


BeforeWilliams Wayne was declared the main suspect, the Georgian CrimeLaboratory had gathered nylon fibers from the bodies of the victimsthat had been murdered within their jurisdiction (Ramsland,2013).After a thorough investigation, evidence pointed to a common source.A few days later the forensic investigators was able to establishthat the fiber was similar to that found on the floor of the house ofthe Wayne Williams and when it was compared to the samples that werecollected from the body of two victims it revealed good consistencywith Wayne’s carpet. In addition, with the use of specialized toolsand equipments and with close discussion with Du Pont, investigatorswere able to establish that the fibers originated from a textile firmlocated in Boston 9Ramsland,2013).The special type of fiber used to make the carpet was referred to asWellman 1818 and to compound the situation this type of fiber hadbeen sold to many carpet firms. Nonetheless, because each companyuses its own dye, it was not difficult to identify the manufacturingcompany, which was West Point Pepperell Corporation (Brian, 2000).

Fiberare more fascinating and in many times an exceptionally helpful itemof trace evidence. In forensic investigation natural fibers vis-à-vissynthetic fibers are not considered excellent as evidence, becausemost of them are almost identical. But because in most of the timesfirms use distinct dyes , which have a specific color and that has adefinite chemical characteristic investigators more often than not donot encounter the identity conundrum (Deadman, 2012). On the otherhand synthetic fibers are easy to identify and trace because they aremade from a petroleum product whose chemical composition is wellknown.

Techniquesand methodologies regarding crime scene investigation

Oneof the fundamental aspects considered in the trace fiber evidence isthe concept referred to as Locard’s Principle (Brian, 2000). Theprinciples states that whenever a criminal act happens there must beat least some transmission of material from the architect of thecrime to the crime scene and/ the victim. Normally, there are twocategories of evidence, individual evidence and class evidence(Brian, 2000). Evidence that belongs to a significant number ofpeople within the population in question such as blood group fallunder class evidence, while that which is unique in every person suchas the DNA and fingerprint fall under the category of individualevidence. Trace fiber evidence belongs to class evidence and as suchinvestigators have to narrow down up to the extent where proofstrongly points only to one direction or person. This technique isvery helpful in narrowing down to the real perpetrator of the crimebut can be very ineffective in circumstance where there are no keysuspects (Deadman, 2012).

Forexample even though it was relatively easy to identify the source ofthe fibre and the companies that were making the carpet that werelinked with the trace fiber gathered on the bodies of the victim, itwould have been a gargantuan task to locate the suspect had thepolice not seen William Wayne near the crime scene (Deadman, 2012).In addition, by identifying the fiber as carpet fiber and locatingthe producer, the process of computing the probability statistics isnot only cumbersome but has slim chances of leading to the realperpetrators of the crime. After establishing the quantity of carpetsold in the affected area, the probability of locating the house withthe carpet was 1/7792. This illustrated how difficult it can be whenthere are no main suspects in a case, it is extremely difficult touse trace fiber to reveal the identity of the criminal (Deadman,2012).

Inaddition transferred fibers can only last for a short period of timeon the person or the crime scene. So time is of essence if thistechnique is expected to yield any meaningful results. Nonetheless,fiber trace evidence offers irrefutable evidence on the identity of aperpetrator of a crime (Brian, 2000). In the William’s case it wasalmost certain that fiber collected from the body of the dead victimswere from his house. When multiple fibers from the victim or crimescene matches that of the suspect like in the Wayne William case,trace fiber evidence can be a reliable technique to trace criminalswho commit heinous offenses (Brian, 2000).


TheWilliam investigation is a classical example, which reveals how tracefiber evidence can be of help in helping investigator locate culpableindividuals in forensic crime investigation. By matching the fiber inthe suspect’s home forensic officers was able to use their evidenceto tie William to the two account of murder in Atlanta. A similarcomparison was made between the hair found on the body of victims andthat of Wayne’s dog, and through calculation with those of thecarpet fiber the trace reliably indicated that William Wayne wasculpable of murder. This case provides a succinct example when tracefiber evidence is used a focal point in prosecution process.


Brian,I. (2000). Bodiesof Evidence.Pleasantville, NY: Reader`s Digest Press.

Deadman,H.A. (2012). FiberEvidence and the Wayne William Trial.FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.53,1019. Retrieved from:,K.(2013).TraceEvidence: Fibersand Probability Theory.Retrieved from: