The Burned Palm

Moshe Spitsen, Uri Argaman, Alan Chaikovsky, Ran Shelef, Aharon Levi, David Attias, Dalia Hermon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


All the evidence in this case showed that the suspect was the arsonist. It was determined that gasoline had been poured on the restaurant floor, and by the time it was lit, some of it had vaporized, which caused the explosion to occur. The suspect was injured directly after he ignited the fire. He ran away from the scene in a panic, leaving a trail of blood drops, one kilometer (1000 meters) long. The pattern discovered in the trail of blood drops indicated that he ran in circles, ending up 200 meters from the restaurant. The palm skin probably peeled off his left hand because he tried to grasp something, but, because of the depth of the burn injuries, the skin peeled off. Even though DNA reference samples were unavailable, the positive identification of the burned palm skin as the left palm of the suspect, achieved by comparing palm prints, allowed the palm skin to be used as a reference for DNA testing. The positive palm print comparison was the first evidence to show that the suspect was involved with the arson and that he was, in fact, the arsonist. This case is unique because of the palm skin evidence that made the arsonist's identification possible, using fingerprint identification and the subsequent DNA matching. This report again emphasizes the importance of cooperation between the forensic laboratories, which leads to quality results. High-quality crime scene investigation, as well as obtaining the right evidence, is the key to solving any complex crime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic Identification
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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