Some people are so adept at disguises
that you might not recognize them even if you were holding their Most Wanted
photo right in front of their face. So here are some tips to consider
when you are trying to ID someone you think may be a fugitive but the
photo doesn't match their current appearance.
After reading the tips below, click here:
Disguises to see how some fugitives have
tried to disguise their appearance. Do you think you would recognize
|PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS THAT DO NOT
Sex Age Height Head
Shape Facial Features
there are ranges in age appearance depending on genetic and health
factors, but most people are able to pinpoint a person's age within five
years and, certainly, within ten years.
cannot change (with the exception of the elderly) but some things can deceive or mislead an observer: High
heels, Long hair, Hair styles that add height to the head. Hair that
is shoulder-length and longer can make a person appear shorter.
Upswept hair on a woman or a man's style that brushes the hair upward such
as a flattop or spiked style can appear to add height because the observer's
eye is naturally led upward.
you are unsure of someone's height in feet and inches, wait until the
person is standing near an object, such as a door frame, and visually
memorize where the top of his head is against the object. When he is
gone, measure the distance from the floor to the spot where the top of his
Human beings have nine basic head
shapes: Oval, Narrow Oval, Moon Shaped, Heart Shaped, Triangular,
Bullet-Shaped, Egg-Shaped, Squared and Rectangular. Look carefully
at your subject's photo to determine the head shape. If necessary,
trace the face on the photo.
| FACIAL FEATURES THAT DON'T CHANGE
person is generally said to have wide-set eyes if the distance between
each eye is wider than an eye socket. Conversely, eyes that are
"close together" are generally separated by a distance that is
shorter in width than an eye socket. People with average eye
distance have eyes that are separated by a distance equal to the width of
an eye socket. Eyes can be bulging, open wide, deep set or
"squinty." Eye lids can be hooded, partially hooded or not
hooded at all. Eye lids can be changed with cosmetic surgery, but
the odds of changing distance and set of the eyes is extremely slim.
can be changed with cosmetic surgery, but the distance between the bottom
of the nose and the upper lip is unlikely to change. This area is
usually about one-fourth of the distance between the base of the nose and
the bottom of the chin in males and about one-third in
females. The filtrum is the groove that extends from the
bottom of the nose to the top of the upper lip. It can be wide,
deep, narrow or shallow. This area can be concealed by a mustache to
some extent, but the actual distance cannot be concealed. Observe
the nostrils carefully as they can be shaped in a variety of ways.
Are they straight across? Do they form an angle with the sides
higher than the center or with the center higher than the sides. Is
the tip of the nose even with the nostrils or does it overhang or curve
upward? Is it wide, thin, pointed, rounded or hooked?
lips thick or thin? Is one lip thick and the other thin?
rounded, angular, square, jutting, double? Does the person have a
cleft? Obviously, a beard can partially conceal these features.
flare away from the head? Are they flat against the head? Are
they large or small? Are the earlobes extra large?
these are prominent, they are a distinctive identity feature.
thick, muscular, thin, fat? The appearance depends a lot of the
person's weight and physical condition.
Although eyebrows can be plucked
and reshaped, very rarely will men and only occasionally will women bother
to do this
for the sake of disguise. Are the eyebrows arched,
thick, thin, fat, straight across, angled up from the far side to that
closest to the nose? Do they have irregularities?
hair is combed back from the hairline, this area is a distinctive identity
feature. Note whether the hairline is straight across, arched or
receding. If it is arched, is there a "widow's peak" - a short
v-shaped growth of hair in the middle of the hairline?
Glasses with small frames like "granny
glasses" tend to make the face seem fuller and the eyes closer
together. Glasses with large frames that extend down the cheek tend
to make the face appear thinner and the eyes wider apart.
hair is dyed, the eyebrows, mustache or beard may remain natural. Long
hair may conceal the shape of the head, hairline and ears.
To identify a fugitive from a photo, select three of the head shape and
facial features above and compare them to the subject. For example,
if the subject has a beard that conceals his chin and long hair that
covers his ears and hairline, pay attention to the shape of his eyebrows,
his mouth and nose. Carefully note the description of each.
Write them down when he is not watching, if necessary. Then compare
them to the photo. Or reverse the procedure and note these features
on the photo, then spend some time casually observing the subject in order
to compare these features. If you match three of these
unchangeable features exactly, then you have either found your subject or
you have found his or her twin.