Deceitful Shoeprint

March 17, 2023

Have you ever been curious about how to analyze a distorted shoeprint found at acrime scene? Today, I will demonstrate how to examine and utilize this type of evidence. 

Recently, we received a shoeprint from a CSI who entrusted us to searchfor the shoe model in our database. As shown in figure 1, the shoeprint pattern appeared to consist of dots and short lines.

Despite searching our database, we were unable to find a matching shoe model. To gather more information about this shoeprint, we requested another picture taken at the crime scene, as seen in figure 2.

Things are not always what they seem. After conducting multiple experiments, we discovered that the short lines should be formed of twisting the dots. They were formed when the suspect wiggled their feet while gripping the edge of the balcony to maintain balance after climbing up the water heater. Eventually, we were able to match the shoeprint with a pair of slippers in our database. See figure 3.

Dayslater, the police arrested the suspect and found a pair of shoes in his home that had the same outsole patterns as the identified shoe model, as in figure4.

This case highlights the importance of analyzing shoeprints in detail and being mindful of the possibility of deformation, as well as utilizing shoe model databases to identify potential suspects.