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How the US Forest Service’s Forest Products Lab Helped Solve the “Crime of the Century”

In the early 1930’s, before the age of DNA and forensics, piecing together the evidence of a crime scene was a difficult task involving fingerprints (if you could get them), eyewitness accounts (if there were any), or a confession (not likely). Law enforcement had none of these as they tried to convict Bruno Hauptmann, the man they believed was guilty of what was then being called the “crime of the century”-- the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby.

It was amid this national media frenzy that the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Lab would in many ways introduce the concept of forensics into crime solving.