Forensic evidence detailed at Falconer trial in death of Amber Kirwan

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PICTOU - Forensic evidence collected during Amber Kirwan investigation continued to be the focal point of testimony Tuesday in Pictou Supreme Court.

Sheriff's wheel evidence into the courtroom for the murder trial of Christopher Falconer who is charged with killing Amber Kirwan.

Cpl. Matthew Mader of the RCMP forensic identification team told the 13 member jury he became involved in the Kirwan missing person investigation on Oct. 14, 2011 when he was informed that some clothing was found in Heathbell. 

He arrived at the access road in Heathbell where black leggings and earrings were found in the early morning hours of Oct. 15 and seized them as evidence.  He returned to the area later that day to take tire track impressions of the access road and collected a garbage bag from the site as well as a ball cap that appeared to have some staining on it.  He said he was also in charge of extensive line search done at the Heathbell site and examined anything of interest that was found during the search. 

On Oct. 16, Mader was informed that RCMP were seizing Mason Campbell's  car and that took place on Ross Street in New Glasgow. He said he did an examination of the car before it was taken on a flatbed to Bible Hill for further examination.  

He said some staining was tested on the exterior of the vehicle and the presumptive test for blood tested negative. Two other areas were swabbed for further analysis.  Other items seized included duct tape and packing tap as well as a backpack that contained Michelin gloves, a drug bong apparatus, bear spray and a Advil container that looked like it had marijuana residue  in it.

He added the trunk of the vehicle was filled from top to bottom with many items that were very dusty. Mader said he made note of the fact that some of the boxes on the bottom of the trunk were outlined in dust, meaning they had been there for a while, untouched. 

Mader returned to the Kirwan investigation to take part in the autopsy in Halifax on Nov. 7 during which time many hairs and fibers were seized from the front and back of her remains. He said he also attempted to take fingerprints from Kirwan's remains, but the decomposition made it very difficult so he called in an another expert in the field to help. 

On Nov. 8 to the 13, Mader attended the search of a home in Hardwood Hill that had a camper on the property.  He said he arrived there around 4:30 p.m. on the Nov. 8.  He said he took as many exterior photos as he could at the time before light disappeared. 

He said he did a walk through the mobile home on the property first and than the camper trailer.  His testimony was similar to that of Sgt. Darlene MacEachern of the RCMP Ident unit who identified the towels, duct tape and piece of black fabric in the camper. 

Mader said the black material was "sweater-like" material that had visible hemming.  Two water bottles were also located, one Fanta Cream Soda and one Dasni water bottle.  Cream soda bottle had top on slightly, but not secure. Water bottle top on secure and had a bit of water left in bottle. 

Exhibits seized from the Hardwood Hill search included  a piece of black cloth, duct tape on camper floor, towel on bed of camper trailer and duct tape found on counter. 

Mader was also involved in the seizure of items from the grey, Chevrolet Impala driven by Falconer in 2011.  He fingerprinted items such as a laptop computer and plastic bag in the car. Contents of the plastic bag were also fingerprinted. 

Contents of a plastic bag found in the Impala were also reviewed in addition to a long list of receipts. Some of the receipts ranged in date from Oct. 5 at the Circle K for gas to Oct. 16 for Shoppers Drug Mark for the purchase of scissors. 

An XL black tank top was also seized from the vehicle and examined for hair, fibers and staining. The tank top was inside out when it was located in the bag. On bottom of tank top, some debris and staining visible. 

He said staining was on centre of the shirt that works it way down to the bottom.  He said presumptive test done for blood and it came back positive.  It also tested positive for human blood. 

A Sobey's bag inside the plastic bag in the car also tested positive for blood near its handle. Fingerprints were also found on the bag.

Organizations: RCMP, Circle K, Sobey's

Geographic location: Heathbell, Ross Street, New Glasgow Bible Hill Halifax

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