Identification of a Substance found in Hair, Pillow and Sheet after a Bizarre Spraying Event (July 24, 2008 Wilcox, Arizona)

Identification of a Substance found in Hair, Pillow and Sheet after a Bizarre Spraying Event (July 24, 2008 Wilcox, Arizona)

Case File Information

Date of Event / Case File: 07/24/2008

Background

A woman woke up on July 34, 2008 around 1-2 a.m. in Wilcox, Arizona. She heard a loud spraying noise which lasted about 30 seconds and felt mist on her face. She was alone and turned on the night.

The noise stopped. Her hair, pillowcase and sheet were wet. The hair stuck together similar to the effect that a mousse/gel would impart. Following is a narrative written by Nancy Talbott along with a photograph of the back of house showing the three bedroom windows from the outside.

The objective is identify the substance imparting the stickiness to the hair and stains on the pillowcase and sheet.

Conclusions

  • The analysis identifies the foreign substance causing the hair to clump, and stains on the pillowcase and sheet, as a carbohydrate which is probably starch. It is speculated that an aqueous solution of starch (spray starch) was sprayed on the witness.
  • Shampoo residue (major component sulfonate detergent) and mousse/gel components (major components are usually synthetic polymers e.g. acrylates are a common type) are not detected on the hair.

The Analysis

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Originating Organization: Phyllis Budinger


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