Born Without Fingerprint Patterns

(Reprinted from the January `96 issue of the Chesapeake Examiner.)

Fingerprint Specialist

Can fingerprint patterns tell all?  What if you were born with a rare skin disease, which left you without fingerprint patterns?  Could you be identified anyway?  Certainly.  In fact, this is what happened to the man without fingerprint patterns.

At approximately 11:30 am on the first day of July 1995, Officer Sylvia Boone, from the Central Cell Block, of the Metropolitan Police Department (DC) was faced with such a predicament.  The paperwork on John Doe needed to be processed, but Mr. John Doe did not possess any fingerprint patterns.  Officer Boone then consulted fingerprint specialist, Mr. Willie Higginbotham.

Since there were no apparent fingerprint patterns or friction ridges on the rolled or plain impressions of the fingerprint card, Mr. Higginbotham recognized this as a case of unusual circumstances.  In the absence of friction ridges on the fingers, the fingerprint specialist decided to get prints from the sole of his feet.  Unfortunately, the results were negative.

Following this dilemma, Mr. Higginbotham questioned Mr. Doe and discovered that he had been born with a skin disease.  As a result, Mr. Higginbotham chose to obtain palm prints from Mr. John Doe.  The LEFT palm displayed no friction ridge detail, but the RIGHT palm revealed very faint characteristics near the bottom, known as the HYPOTHENAR AREA of the PALM.  (Photographs were included in the original article.)

Mr. John Doe was positively identified by Mr. Willie Higginbotham and verified by Tom Burse III.

For further information please contact:
Mr. Benjamin F. Mazyck
Mr. Willie Higginbotham
Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Ave., N.W. Room #168
Washington, DC 20001
Telephone (202) 727--4081

(Editor--�This story illustrates an unusual example of the prenatal influence on fingerprints and Tom Jones' article on the front page provides a useful application for this knowledge.  For further study, see �Disease Inheritance and Race Determination by Fingerprints� by Donald McBride in the August 1987 issue of Identification News, reprinted in volume 11 issue 2 of The Print in March/April 1995 and  on the  following pages, one of the many superb articles by the renowned researcher Harold Cummins.)




This article was reprinted in �THE PRINT�
Volume 13(1) January/February 1997, pg 2
and has been obtained from the online library provided by the

Southern California Association of Fingerprint Officers