WOODS CROSS -- Cases involving children are the most difficult to handle, say forensic specialists with the Utah State Crime Lab.
Two forensic specialists spoke about their jobs before 300 Woods Cross High School science students Thursday.
"The goal is to get kids excited about science and understand what it takes to work in forensics," said Michelle Harward, one of the forensic specialists.
Harward, along with Bonnie Holden, used a PowerPoint presentation to show a sampling of why biology, chemistry and physics are important in the real world.
When asked about the most "gruesome scene" she had witnessed, Harward said when it comes to bloody crime scenes, "we think that is really cool."
And Holden agreed.
"But the hardest ones are the ones that include children," Harward said. "We're both moms, and our goal then is to find out who did this to this child."
Harward and Holden also emphasized that what they do is totally different from what is glamorized on popular TV shows like "CSI" and "NCIS."
"We don't wear heels, and we don't drive Hummers," Holden said.
She said they don't just put a fingerprint into a computer and it pops out a "picture, the dog's name and the address. We just get a number."
It also takes more time to match fingerprints in a computer software program that operates local, state, and national databases of convicted felons than what is featured on the TV shows.
Students also watched a PowerPoint presentation displaying a caution that "gruesome images" were about to be shown.
Holden explained that the images were hands found on the side of a road a few years ago by a motorist who happened to pull over.
"There were a pair of hands just chilling by the side of the road," Holden said.
The state crime lab soaked the hands, then used a substance similar to Silly Putty to see the fingerprints, she said. Those fingerprints helped the crime lab identify the victim.
Students learned super glue also is used to get fingerprints off of objects. Forensic specialists or crime scene investigators will not powder everything down to find fingerprints, Holden said.
"We do that as the last resort," she said.
Students also learned that having just one piece of evidence is enough to convict someone of a crime.
Both Holden and Harward said that even though they know what forensic specialists look for at crime scenes, neither would consider committing a crime "because we would still forget something," Harward said.