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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229289 Find in a Library
Title: Estimating the Time of Death in Domestic Canines
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:6  Dated:November 2009  Pages:1433-1442
Author(s): Keith W. Proctor, M.S.; William J. Kelch, D.V.M., Ph.D.; John C. New, Jr., D.V.M., M.P.H.
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Because the determination of time of death (TOD) of dogs at crime scenes can be useful in forensic investigations, this study monitored the postmortem reduction in rectal, liver, brain, and aural temperatures in 16 dogs for 32 hours after death.
Abstract: Assuming a dog is found dead in still air at approximately room temperature with a rectal temperature of 34.5 degrees C, the mean time of death based on this study’s data would be 3.2 hours. The range within one standard deviation (68 percent of the observations) would be 2.1-4.7 hours, and for two standard deviations (95 percent of observations) 1.0-6.2 hours, assuming an underlying normal distribution. Although the usefulness of the graphs developed from this study is limited to room temperature and still air, other studies could produce similar graphs for other temperature and air conditions. This study does not conclude with certainty which site - rectum, liver, brain, or ear - would be most reliable for measuring core body temperature in deceased dogs; however, the authors suggest that, considering both the accuracy of measurement and ease for the forensic investigator, the rectal temperature can be used for dogs. Results indicate that sex does not influence the rate of body temperature reduction. The forensic investigator should also ignore the effects of body mass and hair-coat density on the rate of body temperature reduction; however, this study did not consider every factor that might be related to the postmortem reduction of body temperature. This study confirms previous study results that left and right eyes have the same potassium ion concentration and that the concentration increases after death. 1 table, 5 figures, and 13 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Evidence identification; Forensic sciences; Homicide investigations; Investigative techniques; Time of death determination
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