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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 169837 Find in a Library
Title: Use of Embalming Fluids in the Restoration of Mummified Fingers
Journal: Journal of Forensic Identification  Volume:46  Issue:5  Dated:(September/October 1996)  Pages:529-541
Author(s): S M Cook
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 13
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The Permaflow embalming solution proved to be an effective means of restoring softness and pliability to mummified skin, so as to permit the securing of fingerprint images adequate for the purposes of victim identification.
Abstract: The work described in this article was based on that initially done by Bryan Stones which involved mixing two embalming fluids -- "Restorative," an anti-dehydration colloid, and "Metaflow," an arterial conditioner -- in equal parts and soaking mummified skin that had been removed from the pattern area of a finger. In Stones' experiments, the skin cells re-bonded, color was restored, and the skin looked like living tissue. He placed the skin between two glass slides and photographed it using transmitted light. The current author contacted Dodge Chemical Company, the manufacturer of the embalming fluids, and was advised by a sales representative that a third chemical called "Rectifiant" should be added to four parts each of the Restorative and Metaflow. Since these chemicals were sold only in case lots by the manufacturer, the author contacted a local funeral home and was able to obtain a bottle of each chemical. The chemicals obtained, however, were not the same ones used by Bryan Stones. Instead of "Plasdoform-based Metaflow," the author received "Permaflow V2," a coinjection and preinjection fluid that does the same thing as Metaflow, but is less hazardous. This article describes the technique for using a mixture of the three embalming fluids and also presents the results of a comparison of a Metaflow mixture and the Permaflow mixture. In one experiment, there was no difference in the effect or the time needed to obtain usable results between the two solutions. In the second experiment, the Metaflow solution swelled the tissues of the finger so completely that there was no finger ridge detail. 10 illustrative photographs, appended specifications on the Permaflow V2 solution, and 8 references
Main Term(s): Science and Technology
Index Term(s): Death investigations; Fingerprint image quality; Fingerprints; Victim identification
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