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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 163755 Find in a Library
Title: Human Bitemarks: Recovery of Forensic Evidence for Suspects
Journal: Gazette  Volume:58  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1996)  Pages:2-7
Author(s): D Sweet; H A LeRoy
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 6
Type: Training (Aid/Material)
Format: Article
Language: English; French
Country: Canada
Annotation: This article discusses the issues of informed consent to supply dental exemplars, as well as the collection, preservation, and submission of the suspect biter's dental information and exemplars.
Abstract: A major issue of concern is to ensure that the evidence is legally collected from the suspect prior to undertaking any forensic comparison. The usual requirements of the "duty to inform" and to advise the suspect fully of what evidence is being sought and why still apply when collecting bitemark samples from a suspect. The suspect should only be subjected to the minimum action necessary to collect the evidence and should not have to undergo unnecessary examination and intrusive dental procedures. There are three basic types of evidence that are helpful in any comparative bitemark examination. These include a wax bite exemplar, dental impressions with study casts, and photographs of the suspect's teeth. This article details the procedures for collecting each of these types of bitemark evidence. In addition, forensic personnel should recover saliva deposited by the biter on the skin of the victim, since it contains identifiers such as blood group antigens and DNA, which can be analyzed to identify the specific origin. A buccal swab should be obtained from the inner surface of the suspect's cheek for comparison purposes. All dental comparison materials and photographs from both the victim and the suspect should be considered exhibits and treated with continuity and careful handling according to the standards for the submission of any forensic exhibits. The wax bite exemplar, photographs, and dental study casts should be forwarded to the forensic odontologist as soon as possible after collection. The buccal swab should be submitted directly to the Biology Section of the closest forensic laboratory. This article includes a list of specialists who are capable of examining this evidence or providing technical advice and assistance. A consent form for bitemarks and biological evidence is included.
Main Term(s): Science and Technology
Index Term(s): Dental analysis; Evidence collection; Evidence preservation; Search and seizure; Suspect identification; Waiver of rights
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