Photo: Library of Congress

t the 1937 International Association Identification (IAI) Convention in Washington, D.C., attendees gazed upon death masks of nameless criminals. Before the widespread availability of photograph and fingerprint databases, death masks were often used to identify unknown deceased criminals. Stored in police bureaus, the masks allowed law enforcement personnel from other areas to match them against perps with which they were familiar. Once dependent on such primitive methods, the IAIís 7,000 members today specialize in high-tech forensic sciences such as blood-splatter analysis.

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