As rumors flew Wednesday that a suspect had been identified in the Boston Marathon bombing, investigators continued their careful analysis of evidence. Adam B. Hall, an instructor in the biomedical forensic sciences program at Boston University School of Medicine who previously worked in the Massachusetts State Police crime laboratory, described how such investigations are likely to unfold and why they will be essential in coming days and weeks.
Reconstructing the specifics of the bomb and discerning its components may seem tangential to the primary goal of finding the perpetrator and healing the wounded. But such evidence can help law enforcement officials build their case against a suspect and may provide leads in identifying who, how, and why the perpetrator did it.