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A sunny day, perhaps, but my heart is sad. She is gone and I am left with just her memory. Toys left in the kitchen, her favorite blanket on the stair rail. It's as if she wanted her spirit to stay behind and fill the empty house.

I look out in the yard and search for toys she might have abandoned, but there are none. I am thankful for that. I live on a quiet street with little traffic, but I would hate to have something of hers stolen. It wouldn't be right.

I am sure I have all of her things in the box now, so I can take it to the basement, with the others. Each of them have their own cardboard box, each sealed and marked. And upstairs, my little memory book with a single strand of her hair and a button off a blouse. One of eight now, each so special, so perfectly preserved. I can't believe they are all gone.

I wish it was raining, a cloudy day would be much more apropos. Maybe I'll put on some Cole Porter, that will cheer me up.

It wouldn't be necessary to clean her fingerprints off the window; children's fingerprints break down and disappear rather quickly. Crime shows like CSI and it's many spin offs have led the public to believe that fingerprints are commonplace and easy to find and while that may be true in some instances, it's definitely not true with children's fingerprints.

The majority of what's left behind as a human fingerprint is water. These traces of water evaporate within only a few hours, causing the fingerprint to fade. The other major component of fingerprints are skin oils and fatty acids. In several studies, it's been found that children who have not started puberty have a much higher concentration of short-chain fatty acids which are much more volatile than their longer-chain adult counterparts. It's hypothesized that adult skin produces these oils mostly on the face and hair and that these oils are then transferred to the fingertips by the normal touching of these areas.

What this means is that children's fingerprints have a much shorter longevity than adult fingerprints. If you leave a child in a car for an hour, then leave the car in the sun on a hot summer day, you can literally watch as the fingerprints disappear from the windows, eliminating nearly all traces of the child ever being there. This greatly complicates police efforts to solve crimes involving children, especially kidnapping.

Sources:
http://www.osti.gov/bridge/servlets/purl/443195-5WENSh/webviewable/443195.pdf
http://infrared.als.lbl.gov/pubs/Sleuthing_with_Synchrotrons.htm

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