Forensic Reports and Photographic Analysis

On April 8, 1910, Toledo, Ohio, police arrested Francis Schlatter for fraud. During the arrest procedure, station officers photographed him and entered information on a standardized form that included typical body measurements and physical characteristics. His residence was given as Miamisburg, Ohio, and his nationality (“Descent”) was listed as German—“speaking English.”

Over the past twenty years, five forensic experts have compared the 1910 mug shots to 1895 photographs of the original Francis Schlatter. Four of the five experts have concluded that the man in the Toledo mug shots is not the original healer. Their opinions rest on everything from the Toledo healer’s pendulous earlobes, which do not appear in photographs of Denver’s healer, to differences in facial structure based on biometric measurements.

Only one forensic expert, the late Dr. Michael Charney of Colorado State University, determined in 1994 that it was highly probable the two men were the same (read his report here). The other experts were:

  • Dr. Robert Pickering, then at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, who commented in 1996 on the pendulous earlobes.
  • Dr. Barry Bullard, chief scientist for the Institute for Forensic Imaging (IFI) at Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis, who conducted a study in 1998.
  • Stephen Mancusi, a certified forensic artist who worked for nearly thirty years for the New York City Police Department, who provided a detailed report in 2009.
  • Dr. Robert M. George of Florida International University, a physical anthropologist with an expertise in craniofacial identification, who also conducted his study in 2009.

The reports of all but Pickering’s unrecorded comments can be found through links in the list above.

All five forensic scientists examined comparative photographs of the 1910 healer arrested in Toledo, Ohio, with the original 1895 healer of Denver. Four of the five determined that the two men were not the same. Their findings were based on measurements, visual observations, and detailed analysis of individual facial features. The only forensic expert to conclude that the Toledo healer and Francis Schlatter were the same man was Michael Charney, who found the connection highly probable. Two of the scientists, however, stated that comparisons of facial biometrics alone did not go far enough, in most cases, to warrant a definite conclusion. Dr. Bullard said that “the scientific community…have not come to a conclusion that facial biometric measurements alone can be used to identify a given human being,” and Dr. George commented that a comparison between the Toledo healer and the 1895 image of Schlatter was “inaccurate due to head tilting and foreshortening problems.”