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Criminalistics Laboratory - Trace Evidence Section

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The Trace Evidence Section of the DCI Crime Laboratory examines a wide variety of materials, from crime scenes, submitted as evidence. In the course of committing a crime, small amounts of material may be transferred from one surface to another. Being able to establish a source for the transferred material may help connect the individuals involved to the crime scene. The Trace Evidence Section is set up for comparing the physical and chemical properties of questioned samples to the known samples and the identification of unknown materials.

At this time, the Trace Evidence section only performs analyses on Adulterated Food Stuffs (TR-AF) and General Unknowns (TR-M). We anticipate bringing the analyses for Paint (TR-P) and Fibers/Textiles (TR-F) back online in early 2024. 

If the analysis of Bulb Filaments, Glass, or Soil is needed, you may be able to reach out tot eh FBI Laboratory for assistance. 

Please contact the Trace Section Supervisor at 515-725-1500 with any questions. 


The following is a list of the types of materials that can be encountered in a transfer of evidence and their possible sources:

  • Fibers - clothing, carpet, upholstery
  • Paint - vehicle, architectural, tools
  • General Unknowns