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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 210836 Find in a Library
Title: Body of Evidence: The Dead Man's Story
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:32  Issue:7  Dated:July 2005  Pages:58,60,65
Author(s): Doug Hanson
Date Published: July 2005
Page Count: 7
Document: HTML
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes the work of the forensic anthropologist in finding, retrieving, identifying, profiling, and interpreting evidence from a body.
Abstract: Means of locating a body are information provided by an informant or the perpetrator, the use of cadaver dogs, and the presence of flies and certain insects in a search area. Because of the activity of animals, weather, and environmental factors over time, a complete skeleton is rarely found when a body has gone undetected for a long period. Once bones have been found, the forensic anthropologist may be called to the scene to verify that the remains are human. After being identified as human, the forensic anthropologist may work with an evidence-collection team in excavation and recovery procedures. These procedures are described. In addition to determining whether the bones are from a human or an animal, the forensic anthropologist can determine the approximate time when the victim died; the victim's age, sex, height, and ethnic background; and in some cases, the types of trauma to which the victim was exposed. The latter may indicate the cause of death, notably when a bullet hole is in the skull or vertebrae in the neck are crushed. Fractures and holes left in a skull can often be matched to a possible murder weapon. Also, if a victim is stabbed with a knife, hatchet, or other sharp weapon, the blade may leave distinctive marks on bones contacted by the weapon. The forensic anthropologist must distinguish between markings on the bones due to animal activity after death and markings made from a weapon at the time of death.
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Bone analysis; Death investigations; Forensic sciences; Homicide investigations; Investigative techniques; Time of death determination; Victim identification; Weapons; Weapons identification
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