Artifact Retention

During the course of a forensic examination, artifacts are located that must be documented, preserved, and secured for future examinations and testing. All artifacts subject to litigation must be properly documented as to their condition and location prior to removal from the scene, and they must be assigned a unique numeric or alphanumeric identifier that is traceable to the incident. The chain of custody documentation that defines the relationship of the artifact to the incident must be developed and maintained throughout the course of the investigation and subsequent litigation.

Webster Mechanical Engineering (WME) develops the documentation and chain of custody required to maintain the authenticity and validity of each artifact collected. All collected and documented artifacts are placed into secured storage at our facilities in New Baden, Illinois. The documentation of all stored artifacts is maintained in our case files.

WME conducts all examinations, testing, retrieval, and storage of artifacts in accordance with the following ASTM International standards:


  • ASTM E860 Standard Practice for Examining and Preparing Items That Are or May Become Involved in Criminal or Civil Litigation
  • ASTM E1188 Standard Practice for Collection and Preservation of Information and Physical Items by a Technical Investigator
  • ASTM E1459 Standard Guide for Physical Evidence Labeling and Related Documentation
  • ASTM E 1492 Standard Practice for Receiving, Documenting, Storing and Retrieving Evidence in a Forensic Science Laboratory