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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222169 Find in a Library
Title: Investigation of Homicides Interred in Concrete--The Los Angeles Experience
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:53  Issue:1  Dated:January 2008  Pages:203-207
Author(s): Carla Toms M.D.; Christopher B. Rogers M.D.; Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran M.D.
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 5
Type: Case Study
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In presenting five case studies of homicide victims interred in concrete examined by the Los Angeles County Department of the Coroner from 1987 to 2000, emphasis is given to a multidisciplinary approach to the victims' bodies, as well as the value of examining remains under optimum conditions.
Abstract: Examining the remains under optimum conditions meant transporting the heavy cement or concrete blocks to the medical examiner's office for evaluation. This allowed for fluoroscopy to be performed before disturbing the cement encasing the decedent. Information from the fluoroscopy showed the location of the body within the cement casing, so that efforts to dismantle the concrete block could be directed away from the remains. A multidisciplinary team was essential. It involved the extensive use of consulting professionals in the disciplines of criminalistics, anthropology, odontology, and radiology. This enabled the collection of potentially valuable evidence, such as concrete molds, artifacts, and trace evidence. Specimens were dismantled layer by layer, allowing for orderly evidence collection. When age estimates differed among experts, the widest range was given to law enforcement personnel, so as to increase the chances of identifying the decedent. DNA analysis was used to establish the sex of the decedent. In each of the cases, the killers placed their victims in a grave of some type and then covered them with wet cement or concrete, leaving impressions of the victim that could, at times, be used to identify the victim. In two cases, usable fingerprints were recovered from the concrete molds of the fingers. If the mold is of fine quality, casts may be made of the face and/or fingers in order to aid in identification. In the cases examined, silicone rubber was the material of choice for such castings. 5 figures and 7 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Autopsy; California; Homicide investigations; Homicide victims; Investigative techniques
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