A Further Look at Collecting Evidence Related to Knots and Ligatures

Dealing with knots and ligatures at the scene of an investigation may seem like a straightforward and obvious task, however great care and observation is required to ensure all knots, ligatures and related evidence are observed and accounted for respectively. Just looking for knots and ligatures at the scene of an investigation may not be sufficient investigation coverage. Good private investigators and forensic knot investigators must be aware of a great deal of knot and ligature related information and be able to apply that working body of knowledge to the scene of the investigation. Private investigators and forensic knot investigators must be aware that knots and ligatures can be utilized for any number of household items, hobbies, recreational equipment and work equipment.
Dealing with knots and ligatures at the scene of an investigation may seem like a straightforward and obvious task, however great care and observation is required to ensure all knots, ligatures and related evidence are observed and accounted for respectively. Just looking for knots and ligatures at the scene of an investigation may not be sufficient investigation coverage. Good private investigators and forensic knot investigators must be aware of a great deal of knot and ligature related information and be able to apply that working body of knowledge to the scene of the investigation. Private investigators and forensic knot investigators must be aware that knots and ligatures can be utilized for any number of household items, hobbies, recreational equipment and work equipment.

In his book, The Forensic Analysis of Knots and Ligatures, Robert Chisnall proposes an in depth detailed recommended search system for knot and ligature related evidence at the scene of an investigation. If necessary, the search system can be modified according to each particular investigation scene. When using Chisnall’s recommended search system, private investigators and forensic knot investigators should look for the following at the scene of the investigation:

- Knots and ligatures on the decedent

- Knotted materials at the scene (near the decedent and on the premises)

- Shoelaces and knotted articles of clothing (such as ties, aprons and belts) from the decedent, the decedent’s place of residence, any suspect’s clothing and shoes, and suspect’s home

- Books, video tapes, articles, software and reference materials pertaining to esoteric hobby and occupational knots, or deviant interests (like fishing videos, macrame books, caving journal, climbing magazine, safety manuals, job-site procedural guides, and pornographic material depicting bondage practices).

- Specialized recreational equipment (such as running shoes, skates, roller blades, fishing tackle, sailing and boating lines, camping equipment and backpacks, tarps and tents, caving and climbing equipment, macrame and leather-working supplies, parachutes, hang gliders, and water-skiing ropes).

- Specialized work equipment (such as safety harnesses and lanyards, industrial rope gear, tree pruning and logging equipment, fishing nets and hoisting tackle).

- Certain household items that may have knots (like string and cord, first aid kits, full garbage and laundry bags, extension ladders, electrical cords, sewing kits, tatting and needlepoint supplies, gardening supplies such as situ stakes and vine trellises, and cords from blinds and curtains).

- Unusual materials, whether knotted or unknotted (like baling twine, nylon cords, rolls of handicraft and leather-working cord and lace, duct tape, chain, cable, wire, utility rope, specialized cordage, and so forth).

Knottable materials within the average household are overwhelming and surprising. Private investigators and forensic knot investigators must be aware of all potentially knottable materials. They also must be aware of any hobbies, recreational activities and work activities that may indicate a proclivity or advanced knowledge of knots and ligatures.
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