How to Fingerprint a Dead Person

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Obtaining fingerprints of a dead person can provide important evidence in a murder case or other investigation, but it can be a tough task after rigor mortis sets in on the body. The typical way of collecting fingerprints -- a special ink used to obtain prints from living people -- doesn't work so well on mummified fingers. However, using black fingerprint powder most commonly used to collect latent fingerprints at a crime scene is a fairly simple way around that problem.

Sprinkle powder on the fingers of the corpse and brush off excess powder with the camel hair brush.

Take a piece of tape and press the sticky side against the finger; apply pressure first in the center and then work out from there.

Remove the tape from the finger.

Stick the tape flat against the index card to get a clean, legible fingerprint.


About the Author

Based in the Washington, D.C., area, Dan Taylor has been a professional journalist since 2004. He has been published in the "Baltimore Sun" and "The Washington Times." He started as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia and now writes for "Inside the Navy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in government with a journalism track from Patrick Henry College.