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NCJ Number: 229259 Find in a Library
Title: Soft Tissue Decomposition of Submerged, Dismembered Pig Limbs Enclosed in Plastic Bags
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:6  Dated:November 2009  Pages:1223-1230
Author(s): Caitlin M. Pakosh, H.B.Sc.; Tracy L. Rogers, Ph.D.
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Toronto Police Service Marine Unit
Toronto, ON , M5V 1A2 ,
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined underwater soft tissue decomposition of dismembered pig limbs deposited in polyethylene plastic bags, in order to address the degree of influence that disposal method had on underwater decomposition processes.
Abstract: The analysis of the initial and final weight measurements indicated that both the length of time in the water and the enclosure for the soft tissue affected sample weight. This suggests that the extent of sample decomposition was affected by submersion time and enclosure. Nonenclosed samples used in the experiment decomposed in an open aqueous system, while the enclosed samples decomposed in the relatively closed system of the doubled plastic bags. Unexpectedly, the enclosed samples lost less weight on average as time increased. Possible reasons for this are offered. Temperature was found to be the most important factor that determined the speed of tissue decomposition. Due to low temperatures in both the water and ambient air, adipocere formation was extremely rare and largely nonexistent. This finding reflects the findings of other freshwater and marine studies that exhibit extreme variability in the time required for adipocere to form. Implications are drawn for future research. The sample consisted of 120 dismembered pig limbs divided into subsamples of 30 pig limbs per recovery period for each treatment. Initial and final sample measurements of weight, length, diameter, and largest circumference area were measured in order to quantify soft tissue loss. Qualitative measures of decomposition were recorded as either absent or present. The measures pertained to hair, liquification, discoloration, skin slippage, wrinkling, marbling, and postmortem hemolysis. The lake’s temperature and pH were monitored weekly. 3 figures, 6 tables, and 31 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Death investigations; Time of death determination; Underwater recovery
Note: Research was completed as part of the "FSC481Y5Y: Internship in Forensic Science" course at the University of Toronto Mississauga in the 2007-2008 academic year.
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