First fingerprint

The first criminal fingerprint bureau was set up in Argentina in 1892 by police chief Juan Vucetich. That year, an officer used Vucetich’s techniques to catch the first criminal to be found guilty because of fingerprint evidence.

Metrónomo [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
It was a particularly gruesome case: two children were murdered and their mother was seriously wounded. The investigating officer, Alvarez, found a bloody fingerprint on a door and sent it to the newly formed fingerprint bureau for testing. They got a match: Francisca Rojas, the mother.

Confronted with the evidence, she confessed – she had murdered the children and cut herself in an attempt to blame someone else. Vucetich’s methods were validated and fingerprinting became the technique of choice in Argentina… and eventually the rest of the world.

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