skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 159718 Find in a Library
Title: Use of Insects in Death Investigations: An Analysis of Cases in British Columbia Over a Five Year Period
Journal: Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal  Volume:28  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1995)  Pages:277-292
Author(s): G S Anderson
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This paper describes and summarizes 42 death investigations from 1988 to 1994 in British Columbia (Canada); all cases involved the presence of insects in the bodies, which became the focus of this study.
Abstract: The objectives of this study were to begin a database of insect succession on carrion for British Columbia; to indicate the type and range of cases seen by a forensic entomologist in British Columbia; to determine the situational, regional, and seasonal distribution of the insects found; and to indicate the presence or absence of drugs or alcohol in the bodies. In each investigation, insect evidence was collected by trained death investigators at the scene, autopsy, or both. Samples of all species of insects present were collected directly from the remains, the clothing, if present, and the surroundings where the body was found. Samples were collected from all regions of the body. Photographs of the death scene, together with precise details of weather conditions at the time the insects were collected, results of toxicological examination, and determination of manner of death were obtained from investigators. Meteorological data were obtained for the weather station nearest to the death scene. At the end of each investigation, a report of the insects collected from each set of remains and an estimation of the time of death were submitted to the British Columbia Coroners Service. The insects collected from the remains were identified based on species, developmental stage, and age of remains to begin a database for British Columbia. Cases also were summarized by habitat and geographical region, toxicology, manner of death, and season of discovery. Most of the cases were from the Vancouver region and were found in primarily rural areas, although many were found inside dwellings or enclosures. Drugs and/or alcohol were detected in 80 percent of the cases tested. Most of the 42 cases were the result of homicide, and although detected year-round, occurred primarily between June and October. 4 figures, 1 table, and 57 references
Main Term(s): Science and Technology
Index Term(s): Death investigations; Foreign criminal justice research; Homicide investigations; Investigative techniques; Time of death determination
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.