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Forensic Science International
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.981
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Number of Followers: 466  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0379-0738
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3162 journals]
  • Even Judges are CSI fans
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Giuseppe Gennari
  • The effects of household corrosive substances on silver amalgam and
           porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations and non-restored teeth
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Brittany M. Trapp, Sean D. Tallman This study examines the effects of household corrosive products on 105 restored (silver amalgam and porcelain-fused-to metal) and non-restored teeth. Five household products were utilized, including hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid and detergent. Teeth were radiographed before and after exposure and were submerged for 120 or 264 h. Documentation included weight, mesiodistal and buccolingual crown measurements, ordinal scores, and photography at specific hours of exposure. Results indicate that 81.9% of the teeth could be positively matched by radiographs. Hydrochloric acid had the most destructive effects mainly to non-restored and silver amalgam teeth followed by sulfuric acid. Porcelain samples were more resistant to the effects of acid and conferred protection to the underlying teeth. Acid type, acid concentration and the restoration type are statistically significant contributors to alterations and in radiographic matching. Household corrosive substances may affect the morphology of teeth, and in some cases completely destroy teeth, which could conceal identifications.
  • Current Defence Strategies in Some Contested Drink-Drive Prosecutions: Is
           it Now Time for Some Additional Statutory Assumptions'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Paul M. Williams
  • Needed: consensus and classification for terms used in cognitive, forensic
           and clinical bias discussions
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Saty Satya-Murti, Joseph J. Lockhart All evolving disciplines have long grappled with nomenclature inconsistencies. Precise terminology facilitates communication among individuals, clinicians, academics and researchers. To arrive at definitions, the concepts underlying basic scientific vocabularies must be universally acceptable to all users. This is not always easy. Tarachow cautioned in 1965 about how contractions and abbreviations, “…eliminated practically all the associations connected with the original title and did not at all have the evocative impact of the complete word or title”[1] (Tarachow, 1965). Clinical medicine has designed and used with some success disease-diagnosis based classification systems. Forensic science, as does clinical medicine, relies on cognitive processes for its mission to achieve expert accuracy. Both fields are vulnerable to biases and errors in cognition, more so when no terminology standards exist. It is time to develop a nomenclature system in the field of cognitive bias and cognitive errors. This system should build transdisciplinary understanding, at least during expertise-based undertakings in forensic and clinical sciences.
  • Facial Soft Tissue Thickness Trends for Selected Age Groups of Sri Lankan
           Adult Population
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Himashi Sandamini, Aparni Jayawardena, Lochana Batuwitage, Roshan Rajapakse, Damith Karunaratne, Muditha Vidanapathirana, Aruna Pallewatte Facial Soft Tissue Thickness (FSTT), together with the osteological characteristics of the skull, is one of the important factors for facial reconstruction in both forensic anthropology and plastic surgeries. Even though a number of countries around the world have analysed the FSTT data of their own populations and are having a FSTT database, no such dataset or analysis is available in Sri Lanka.In this study, FSTT was measured at 23 standard anthropological landmarks using Magnetic Resonance Images (MRIs) of 243 adult individuals (male − 121, female − 122) of the Sri Lankan population, which were collected from clinical data from the National Hospital of Sri Lanka. For each landmark, basic descriptive statistics were calculated. The FSTT values which were classified according to the gender and age, were analysed to assess the variation of FSTT with those categories.The results of this study indicate that there are certain FSTT attributes which are related to specific landmarks and age groups. For example, data in this study depict that men have higher FSTT than women, in the area along the midline. However, the area around the cheeks shows comparatively large tissue thickness in young women (within 20-39 age range) than in men. Some landmarks indicate a significant variation in values with aging. Finally the results of this study were compared with that of a North West Indian study to evaluate whether a significant difference is present among the two geographically close countries.
  • The Forensic Geophysical Controlled Research Site of the University of
           Brasilia, Brazil: Results from Methods GPR and Electrical Resistivity
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Marcio Maciel Cavalcanti, Marcelo Peres Rocha, Marcelo Lawrence Bassay Blum, Welitom Rodrigues Borges In forensic geophysical research, using controlled experiments assists forensic search practitioners in identifying optimal technique(s) and equipment configuration(s) in different burial scenarios. The objective of the research is to observe the geophysical response to different types of buried wrappings, taking into consideration the influence that the presence or absence of a decomposing body (pig carcass) in a lateritic soil in central-western Brazil can have. In this article, the GPR results are presented after a 15 day burial period during the rainy season, and the results of Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) after a burial period of 6 months during the dry season. The controlled site was built in the research area of the University of Brasília, in a region with soil, typical of the Brazilian savannah. 14 simulated clandestine graves of murder victims were constructed, in which seven pig carcasses were wrapped or covered by: soil (backfill), a plastic bag, a bed sheet, cement block, construction debris, a wooden coffin and hydrated lime, respectively a further seven burials, presenting only the wrappings acted as comparison (control burial). During the GPR survey a 400 MHz frequency antenna was used. The resistivity surveys were carried out before and after the burial of the targets with Dipole-dipole and Wenner-Schlumberger array configurations, with different spacing of electrodes (1.00 and 0.50 meters). The comparison between the various scenarios with and without pig carcasses revealed that good reflection events occurred mainly due to the wrappings and that pig carcasses attenuated the GPR signal. Electrical resistivity results showed that the Wenner-Schlumberger array presents a better resolution of the lateral boundaries of the burials, and the Dipole-dipole array presents a better sensitivity to heterogeneity of the buried materials. The burials with the pig carcasses wrapped in the various materials presented better resistivity contrasts as opposed to the control burials.
  • Details of a Thallium Poisoning Case Revealed by Single Hair Analysis
           using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): R.D. Ash, M. He Heavy metals pose significant morbidity and mortality to humans in connection with both acute and chronic exposures. The often-delayed manifestations of some toxic effects and the wide-spectrum of symptoms caused by heavy metal poisoning may perplex the clinical diagnosis and, when involved in crimes, complicate the forensic investigation. To investigate the original intoxication process of a thallium poisoning case which occurred in China more than two decades ago, laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) was used to analyze several hairs of the victim from before, during and after the poisoning period. Ablation line scans of the entire length of a ∼7 cm hair revealed ∼4 months of repeated exposure to thallium with increased doses and frequency towards the end, while scan of a ∼0.7 cm hair revealed ∼2 weeks of constant ingestions of large doses of thallium accompanied by elevated amount of lead. The endogenous origin of thallium was confirmed by the preservation of the same longitudinal distribution profile in the inner part of hair, but the source of lead could not be unambiguously determined due to the intrinsic limitation of hair analysis to distinguish ingested lead from exogenous contaminants. The overall thallium distribution profiles in the analyzed hairs suggested both chronic and acute thallium exposures that correlated well with the sequential presentation of a plethora of symptoms experienced by the victim. Aligning the time-resolved thallium peaks with symptoms also provided clues on possible routes of exposure at different poisoning stages. This work demonstrated the capability of using single hair LA-ICP-MS analysis to reconstitute a prolonged and complicated heavy metal poisoning case, and highlighted the necessity of assessing multiple elements in the medico-legal investigation of suspicious heavy metal poisonings.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Anaïs Rodrigues, Michel Yegles, Nicolas Van Elsué, Serge Schneider Medical cannabis is becoming increasingly popular for many different ailments and improvement of general well-being. Particularly CBD-rich extracts are easily available via online pharmacies, health stores or directly from producers. However, almost all of the extracts contain small amounts of THC. Thus, in case of continuous or heavy use of CBD rich cannabis, THC concentrations in hair may rise above accepted legal limits.In our study, we investigated THC, CBN and CBD in hair samples from regular CBD rich cannabis users. The goals were to determine levels of the cannabinoids in hair and to evaluate a possible correlation between regular CBD intake and CBD levels in hair. All participants consumed cannabis extracts from the same producer. It contained CBD at different concentrations and small amounts of THC with a CBD/THC concentration ratio of 30. The self-declared CBD dosage ranged from 4 to 128 mg CBD/day, corresponding to a daily THC intake of 0.1 to 4.3 mg. After extraction and derivatization, hair samples were analysed using a validated GC/MS-MS method.CBD concentrations ranged from 10 to 325 pg/mg of hair, but no significant correlation was observed between CBD concentrations and the daily dose. THC was detected in one sample only at a concentration below our cut-off, whereas CBN was not detected.In this study, we showed that even after repeated consumption of CBD-rich cannabis extracts in medium to high doses, consumers are generally tested negative for THC in hair.
  • Nanopathology and its applications within the forensic discipline
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Luca Roncati, Antonietta Morena Gatti, Monica Roncati, Antonio Manenti The impact of nanopathology in medicine necessarily involves also the anatomo-pathological diagnostics, because of the current large spread of nanoparticles in the environment and the wide spectrum of correlated human diseases. The main entrance gates of nanoparticles into the body are respiratory inhalation, gastro-intestinal absorption and injection of polluted drugs. In all these cases, their penetration in the lymphatic or blood streams are possible, with subsequent systemic translocation. Different diseases can be generated by nanoparticles exposure, from a direct contact irritation to the onset of granulomatous diseases. Interestingly, they can also act as endocrine disruptors on the autocrine and paracrine systems. At cellular level, nanoparticles can damage the DNA content leading to a subsequent tumorigenesis. In the forensic setting, they can be searched in case of known exposure to inorganic particulate matter or in case of diseases of unknown origin, from granulomatous reactions to foreign inclusions in neoplastic tissues. The combined physical-histopathological studies allow to relate possible environmental/industrial pollution with the pathology and offer a novel tool for forensic investigations, but, overall, they represent new technical evidences for lawyers to present in a court.
  • Cross Talk in Forensic Science: Commentary on DAG Rosenstein’s Comments
           to the National Symposium on Forensic Science
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Betty Layne DesPortes
  • Age estimation in 5- 16-year-old children by measurement of open apices:
           North German formula
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 October 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Talal Halilah, Nadiajda Khdairi, Paul-Georg Jost-Brinkmann, Theodosia Bartzela The aims of this study were to test the accuracy of Cameriere et al.’s European formula on a sample of North German children based on dental age (DA) for chronological age (CA) assessment and to adapt the formula used, in case of regional peculiarities of this group of children.Orthopantomograms of 1000 children (444 males and 556 females) aged 5–16 years were used. The roots of seven left mandibular teeth were evaluated. The number of teeth with complete root development (N zero (0)) was counted. Teeth with incomplete root development were examined and the distance between the inner sides of the open apex was measured and normalized by dividing it by the tooth length to avoid error due to magnification. Cameriere et al.’s European formula underestimated the mean CA of boys by 0.56 ± 1.04 years and of girls by −0.32 ± 0.96.The results of the regression analysis showed that sex (g), the sum of normalized open apices (s), number of teeth with closed apices (N0) and the first-order interaction between the normalized apex width of the canine (X3) and N0 contributed significantly to the fit. All previously mentioned factors were included in the regression model, yielding to the following formula:DA = 9.829 + 0.632 N0 − 1.037s + 0.686 g − 1.582N0 × X3,where g is a variable: 1 for males and 0 for females.The adapted formula explained 84.1% of the total deviance, with a median age of 0.070 years and 1.185 years interquartile range, (IQR).
  • Real-time detection of GSR particles from crime scene: A comparative study
           of SEM/EDX and portable LIBS system
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Alicia Doña-Fernández, Israel de Andres-Gimeno, Pilar Santiago, Eduardo Valtuille-Fernández, Fernando Aller-Sanchez, Antonio Heras-González The use of modern technologies that can help optimise the collection of evidence that contains Gunshot Residue (GSR) from crime scene investigation leads to obtaining better results in forensic laboratories. With this objective, equipment based on LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) technology has been developed named iForenLIBS. This study intends to evaluate the effective capacity of the aforementioned system. To do this, results were gathered from the analysis of real samples using LIBS equipment and were compared to those obtained by way of Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDX) in the laboratory. The system has verified its capacity to analyse GSR particles through simultaneous detection of the three characteristic elements of ammunition used (Sb-Pb-Ba) even in stub where only a single particle was found.
  • Possible fatal hyperthermia involving drug abuse in a vehicle: Case Series
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Paolo Fais, Jennifer Paola Pascali, Maria Carla Mazzotti, Guido Viel, Chiara Palazzo, Giovanni Cecchetto, Massimo Montisci, Susi Pelotti Major interplaying causes of heat stroke (HS) and fatal hyperthermia are climate, physical activity, artificial extreme ambient temperatures, confinement in a small compartment, and effects of drugs and chemicals, combined with predispositions and complications. A common and unfortunate cause of HS is vehicular hyperthermia (VH) death. Hyperthermia in a vehicle is a type of environmental thermal disorder, involving victim's susceptibility, confinement with restraint, and possible influences of drugs and poisons, including exhaust gas containing complex fumes, carbon dioxide and monoxide. Whereas VH typically occurs when babies or young children are being left unattended in parked vehicles in direct sunlight, it has been reported only anecdotally for adult subjects. Three cases of adult fatal VH will be herein presented. In each presented case the corpse was found enclosed in a vehicle on spring/summer days. During crime scene investigation (CSI) psychoactive substances were found near to the corpses leading to the suspect of a suicidal fatal drug intoxication. Basing on this misleading suspect in Case 2 and 3 a forensic expert was not charged for the CSI and a fatal VH was not suspected nor properly investigated. Later, a comprehensive autopsy, including biochemical and toxicological analyses, excluded a death related to natural causes, fatal intoxications, ketoacidosis and traumas. On the other hand, the reconstruction of the temperature, the humidity, the heat index and the related risk of HS allowed the diagnosis of fatal VH in all the reported cases. In particular, death occurred because of the long-lasting stay into a hot parked vehicle which was facilitated from self-administration of psychoactive drugs with related neuro-depression. This case series confirms that a comprehensive CSI followed by an autopsy including histology, biochemical and toxicological analysis remains mandatory in cases of forensic interest, as well as when a corpse is found enclosed in a vehicle. Anyway, sometimes the diagnosis of heat-related fatalities remains a medley of investigative and medicolegal observations.
  • A virtual reality method for digitally reconstructing traffic accidents
           from videos or still images
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Peifeng Jiao, Qifeng Miao, Meichao Zhang, Weidong Zhao With an increase in the number of traffic accidents and enhanced attention to the rule of law, technical appraisement to reconstruct traffic accidents is attracting increasing attention. Accident videos are important aspects in identification; however, we cannot reconstruct an accident scene onsite using video for many reasons. In this paper, we introduce a computer-based virtual reality method that can digitally reconstruct a traffic accident. This method employs accident videos to perform a three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of accident scenes. Using video screenshots, it constructs a model of humans and vehicles in 3D space to achieve the goal of dynamic restoration. The results indicate that this method has relatively high accuracy, requires little time and is easy to use. In this paper, we analyse the sources of errors for this method and summarize the application conditions.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Photogrammetry using visible, infrared, hyperspectral and thermal imaging
           of crime scenes
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): G.J. Edelman, M.C. Aalders Photogrammetry is a method for obtaining virtual 3D models of objects and scenes. The technique is increasingly used to record the crime scene in its original, undisturbed state for mapping, analytical and reconstruction purposes. Recently, it was shown that it is possible to visualize and/or chemically analyze latent traces by using advanced cameras which either operate in wavelength ranges beyond the visible range, and/or are able to obtain spectrally resolved images. The combination of these advanced cameras and photogrammetric techniques enables the 3D registration of valuable information. We successfully explored the feasibility to obtain visible, infrared, hyperspectral and thermal 3D registrations of simulated crime scenes using photogrammetry, and demonstrate the possibilities and practical challenges for use in forensic practice.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Population specific data improves Fordisc®’s
           performance in Italians
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Laura Manthey, Richard L. Jantz, Albarita Vitale, Cristina Cattaneo Using discriminant functions based on morphometric data is one of the most approved methods for sex and ancestry estimation on skeletons. Nevertheless, population data from various parts of the world is needed in order to reliably classify an individual into a group. Due to population variation even sex estimation is biased when there is a lack of adequate data. Software that computes discriminant functions based on morphometric data is Fordisc®. Unfortunately, the above mentioned effects reduce its applicability in countries other than the US. For improvement of this situation data collection is currently performed extensively. The present paper shows a comparison of an Italian sample from the identified modern skeletal collection of CAL (Collezione Antropologica Labanof) [1] (Cattaneo, 2018) at the Institute of Legal Medicine Milan, Italy with a Euro-American sample from the Forensic Data Bank at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, USA.Fordisc® 3.1 was used to study population differences and sexual dimorphism. The analyses were performed on a selection of 19 highly influential measurements that are present in most individuals of both groups respectively.Italian crania show in relation to Euro-Americans wider and lower vaults with shorter cranial bases and wider faces. The degree of sexual dimorphism is similar in both groups. Yet there is a shift in the absolute value range for males and females that biases sex estimation by almost 25% when an individual is classified on the respective other discriminant function.Our results provide explanations for Fordisc®’s unsatisfying performance on non-US individuals. At the same time they show that significant improvement is achieved by adding more population samples to its dataset.
  • A forensic investigation on the persistence of organic gunshot residues
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 292Author(s): Matthieu Maitre, Mark Horder, K. Paul Kirkbride, Anne-Laure Gassner, Céline Weyermann, Claude Roux, Alison Beavis Gunshot residues (GSR) are a potential form of forensic traces in firearm-related events. In most forensic laboratories, GSR analyses focus on the detection and characterisation of the inorganic components (IGSR), which are mainly particles containing mixtures of lead, barium and antimony originating from the primer. The increasing prevalence of heavy metal-free ammunition challenges the current protocols used for IGSR analysis. To provide complementary information to IGSR particles, the current study concentrated on the organic components (OGSR) arising from the combustion of the propellant. The study focused on four compounds well-known as being part of OGSR: ethylcentralite (EC), methylcentralite (MC), diphenylamine (DPA), N-nitrosodiphenylamine (N-nDPA). This study assessed the retention of these OGSR traces on a shooter’s hands. The overall project aim was to provide appropriate information regarding OGSR persistence, which can be suitable to be integrated into the interpretation framework of OGSR as recommended by the recent ENFSI Guideline for Evaluative Reporting in Forensic Science. The persistence was studied through several intervals ranging from immediately after discharge to four hours and two ammunition calibres were chosen: .40 S&W calibre, used by the NSW Police Force; and .357 Magnum, which is frequently encountered in Australian casework. This study successfully detected the compounds of interest up to four hours after discharge. The trends displayed a large decrease in the amount detected during the first hour. A large variability was also observed due to numerous factors involved in the production, deposition and collection of OGSR.
  • How tight is the relationship between the skeletal and soft-tissue facial
           profile: a geometric morphometric analysis of the facial outline
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Pavla Zedníková Malá, Václav Krajíček, Jana Velemínská Correlations between facial bony structures and soft facial features are fundamental for facial approximation methods The purpose of this study was to assess the strength of the association between craniofacial shape and the shape of the soft-tissue profile and to determine the extent to which it might be possible to predict the latter from the former. Soft-tissue and skeletal facial profile curves were extracted from 86 lateral head cephalograms of a recent Central European population (52 males and 34 females, aged between 19 and 43 years), divided into five parts, segmented automatically and evaluated using geometric morphometrics. The magnitude of the hard–soft shape association was assessed by principal component analysis and subsequent multiple linear regression (Halazonetis 2007), by partial least square analysis (PLS) (Rohlf − Corti 2000) and the RV coefficient (Klingenberg 2009). The greatest amount of association between the skeletal contour and overlying soft tissues was exhibited by the region of the forehead (predictive power: 95.1%, RV = 0.91, correlation for PLS1 r = 0,96), followed by the region of the nasal root (predictive power: 40.2%, RV = 0.42, rPLS1 = 0.72) and the lower lip and chin (predictive power: 37.3%, RV = 0.41, rPLS1 = 0.65). The smallest statistically significant covariation was displayed by the upper lip and the maxilla (predictive power: 9.6%, RV = 0.14, rPLS1 = 0.43). The shape covariation between the nasal bridge and the tip and lateral border of the nasal aperture was found to be statistically insignificant (predictive power: 5.8%, RV = 0.05, rPLS1 = 0.26). Shape covariation was visualized and described by thin-plate spine grids. These findings correspond with the observation that the shape of the nasal profile and the upper lip contour are difficult to reconstruct or predict reliably in facial approximations. It seems that the shape of soft tissues might not follow underlying structures as closely as expected.
  • An Empirical Cross-Validation of Denoising Filters for PRNU Extraction
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Bhupendra Gupta, Mayank Tiwari The present work is an empirical study to check the importance of widely used PRNU extraction de-noising filters at different stages of source camera identification procedure. The proposed work is unique in the sense that it gives an idea about the choice of the appropriate de-noising filters at the time of PRNU extraction for formation of unique identification pattern of digital camera and noise residue extraction of query image. Also in this work, we have suggested the best values of σ (noise variance) for formation of unique identification pattern of digital camera and noise residue extraction of query image (based on empirical observations). This study has been performed to check that which part (camera unique identification pattern, noise residue, enhancement methods, and value of σ) mostly dominates the performance of source camera identification.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Damned by DNA — balancing personal privacy with public safety
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Kimberlee Sue Moran
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Petteri Oura, Niina Korpinen, Jaakko Niinimäki, Jaro Karppinen, Markku Niskanen, Juho-Antti Junno BackgroundAccurate stature estimation plays an essential role in the identification of unknown deceased individuals. For cases in which conventional methods of stature estimation are not applicable, we studied the stature estimation potential of the fourth lumbar vertebra (L4) among a large living sample of representative contemporary Finns. We also generated stature estimation equations for the middle-aged Finnish population.Material and methodsOur study population comprised the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 for which lumbar magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and objective measurements of stature were available from midlife (n = 1358). After screening the MRI scans for vertebral pathologies, we measured the maximum and minimum widths, depths and heights of the L4 body with high precision and reliability. We then calculated their sums and means together with approximations of vertebral cross-sectional area and volume. By constructing simple and multiple linear regression models around the L4 parameters, we generated equations for stature prediction, and investigated their accuracy on the basis of the adjusted R squared (R2) and standard error of the estimate (SEE) values of the models.ResultsThe multiple linear regression models of the mean width, depth and height of L4 yielded the highest prediction accuracies with the lowest prediction errors (for the entire sample, R2 = 0.621 and SEE = 5.635 cm; for men, R2 = 0.306 and SEE = 5.125 cm; for women, R2 = 0.367 and SEE = 4.640 cm).ConclusionWhen conventional methods for estimating stature are not applicable, the lumbar vertebrae may be utilized for this purpose. Relatively accurate stature estimates can be given on the basis of only L4 dimensions.
  • Bayesian interpretation of discrete class characteristics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Dennis McNevin Bayesian interpretation of forensic evidence has become dominated by the likelihood ratio (LR) with a large LR generally considered favourable to the prosecution hypothesis, HP, over the defence hypothesis, HD. However, the LR simply quantifies by how much the prior odds ratio of the probability of HP relative to HD has been improved by the forensic evidence to provide a posterior ratio. Because the prior ratio is mostly neglected, the posterior ratio is largely unknown, regardless of the LR used to improve it. In fact, we show that the posterior ratio will only favour HD when LR is at least as large as the number of things that could possibly be the source of that evidence, all being equally able to contribute. This restriction severely limits the value of evidence to the prosecution when only a single, discrete class characteristic is used to match a subset of these things to the evidence. The limitation can be overcome by examining more than one individual characteristic, as long as they are independent of each other, as they are for the genotypes at multiple loci combined for DNA evidence. We present a criterion for determining how many such characteristics are required. Finally, we conclude that a frequentist interpretation is inappropriate as a measure of the strength of forensic evidence precisely because it only estimates the denominator of the LR.
  • Effects of tanning on the stable isotopic compositions of hair
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Geoff Koehler, Keith A. Hobson We investigated the effect of tanning on the stable isotopic compositions (CNHOS) of hair keratin. Samples of hair from polar bear (Ursus maritimus) hides were collected before and after the tanning process from a commercial tannery. With the exception of sulphur isotopes, tanning did not alter the stable isotopic compositions of hair. δ34S values were slightly more positive (1 per mil) in hair that had gone through the tanning process, likely as a result of the tanning agent, alum (Al2(SO4)3) or exposure to sulphuric acid (H2SO4). This indicates that, with the exception of sulphur isotopes, hair keratin is resistant to subsequent isotopic alteration by the techniques used in tanning of animal hides and thus the original stable isotopic information is likely to be preserved in archived samples, such as taxidermic mounts and museum specimens. This is an important consideration when dealing with ecological and forensic applications to wildlife, such as evaluating provenance or migratory reconstructions, and so will assist in conservation efforts and investigations of trafficking and poaching.
  • Forensic science needs both the ‘hedgehog’ and the
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): R.M. Morgan Forensic science faces many challenges, some high profile and others that are less visible. It is argued that a holistic understanding of the complex matrix of forensic science is critical to robust and transparent forensic reconstruction approaches. This paper explores the value of incorporating the contrasting approaches to complexity of the ‘hedgehog’ and the ‘fox’, by illustrating their comparative strengths. The value of such collaboration in the context of a holistic understanding of the complex interactions that exist within forensic science, offers insights for developing approaches that can be taken to address the visible and less visible challenges at their root cause.
  • Fatal penetrating neck injury due to defective airbag inflator
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Shatishraj Jothee, Mohamed Swarhib Shafie, Faridah Mohd Nor We present a case of a fatal motor vehicle collision of a 22-year-old car driver, who died at the scene after losing control of his car, and subsequently collided with a tree by the roadside. The subsequent autopsy revealed penetrating injuries on the neck, severing the larynx, carotid artery, jugular vein and fracturing the cervical vertebrae. Internal examination showed the offending material to be a semi-cylindrical metal fragment, which had lodged within the paravertebral muscle. Examination of the car with the authorities found that the metal fragment originated from a defective airbag booster cannister, which shattered upon deployment.
  • Law and policy oversight of familial searches in recreational genealogy
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Erin Murphy
  • Time to exonerate eyewitness memory
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): John T. Wixted Understandably enough, most people are under the impression that eyewitness memory is unreliable. For example, research shows that memory is malleable, so much so that people can come to confidently remember traumatic events that never actually happened. In addition, eyewitness misidentifications made with high confidence in a court of law are known to have played a role in more than 70% of the 358 wrongful convictions that have been overturned based on DNA evidence since 1989. However, recent research demonstrates that eyewitness confidence is highly indicative of accuracy on an initial, uncontaminated, properly administered photo lineup. In other words, low confidence indicates that the test result (i.e., the ID) is inconclusive, whereas high confidence indicates that the test result is far more conclusive. Critically, for the DNA exonerees who were misidentified by an eyewitness in a court of law, in every case where their initial confidence can be determined, the eyewitness appropriately expressed low confidence. For any other kind of evidence (e.g., DNA, fingerprints), an inconclusive test result like that would have been the end of it. By contrast, in the case of eyewitness evidence, investigators repeatedly tested (and therefore unwittingly contaminated) memory until a seemingly conclusive high-confidence ID could be presented to the jury. Blaming eyewitness memory for the failure of the criminal justice system to accept the inconclusive nature of the initial (uncontaminated) eyewitness evidence seems misguided. In addition to exonerating the innocent defendants who were wrongfully convicted, the time has come to exonerate eyewitness memory too.
  • Population specificity of sex estimation from vertebrae
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Martin Hora, Vladimír Sládek Vertebral measurements have been shown to provide accurate classification of sex. However, the use of vertebral discriminant functions (DFs) in forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology is limited due to the unknown degree of their population specificity. Additionally, the performance of vertebral DFs has not yet been assessed at higher posterior probability thresholds. In this study, we tested the performance of previously published DFs for sex classification from Th12 and L1 vertebrae within a range of 0.5–0.95 posterior probabilities in a model of geographically distant population based on an autopsy Central European (CE) sample (Czech Republic; n = 72) from the 1930s. Further, we derived new pooled DFs from a sample representing ecogeographically diverse populations, new DFs derived from the autopsy CE sample, and new Medieval CE DFs derived from the Pohansko sample (n = 129) and evaluated their performance at our testing autopsy CE sample. Most vertebral measurements showed population specificity in sex assessment. However, we identified two Th12 measurements (anteroposterior body diameter and mediolateral body diameter) usable for sex estimation across populations. We showed that the accuracy of vertebral DFs can be increased to 95% of correctly classified individuals in up to 64% of the studied sample by setting a higher posterior probability threshold. Finally, we showed that even the DFs derived from relatively small subsamples (30% of the population size) can provide accurate sex classification. This finding highlights the applicability of the hybrid approach in sex classification from vertebrae. To facilitate sex classification from vertebrae, we provide a software tool for sex classification from any vertebral measurement and reference samples tested in this study including the previously published DFs.
  • Applicability of Willems methods and Demirjian’s four teeth method for
           dental age estimation: Cross sectional study on Tunisian sub-adults
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Hichem Nemsi, Malek Ben Daya, Nidhal Haj Salem, Fatma Masmoudi, Inès Bouanène, Fethi Maatouk, Abir Aissaoui, Ali Chadly This study aims to evaluate and compare the applicability of three dental methods for age estimation, including Demirjian’s four teeth, Willems I, and Willems II methods in a sample of Tunisian children. Panoramic radiographs of 500 children (241 females, 259 males) aged between 5 and 15 years were examined. The mean absolute error (MAE) was performed to assess the accuracy of age estimation. Independent samples t-test was employed to compare the differences, the chronological age minus dental age (CA-DA), between sexes for the three methods.All of the three methods underestimated the chronological age on the average, and almost for all age groups. The discrepancy between the chronological age and the estimated age was most frequently observed for ages above 8 years for all methods.In our study, the Demirjian’s four teeth method underestimated the chronological age by 0.45 years for males and 0.32 years for females, with no significant difference (p = 0.124). Whereas the Willems I method is indicted for underestimating the chronological age by 0.40 years for males, and by 0.69 years for females. Willems II method underestimated age by 0.91, and 0.64 years for males and females, respectively.It is established that the Demirjian’s four teeth method was more accurate in estimating the dental age than the Willems I and II methods, with a mean absolute error of 0.76 years for males and 0.79 years for females (MAE = 1.10, and 0.98 years for the Willems I/1.02, and 0.92 years for the Willems II).According to the results, it is highly recommended that the Demirjian’s four teeth method should be applied when estimating the dental age in Tunisian males and females. In forensic cases, when the sex is unknown or doubted, the Willems II method could be appropriate.
  • Forensic thanatology and the pink tooth phenomenon: From the lack of
           relation with the cause of death to a potential evidence of cadaveric
           decomposition in dental autopsies — Case series
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Ademir Franco, Solon Diego Santos Carvalho Mendes, Fernando Fortes Picoli, Livia Graziele Rodrigues, Rhonan Ferreira Silva Forensic thanatology comprises the investigation of every phenomenon related to death performed through cadaveric exams. The pink tooth phenomenon (PTP) emerges as a thanatological finding registered during medical or dental autopsy. The PTP consists of a reddish or pink coloration caused in the teeth by the penetration of pulpal hemoglobin in the dentinal tubules. Initially, the PTP was associated with specific violent deaths, such as drowning, hanging and poisoning. However, scientific reports have pointed towards the occurrence of PTP as an expression of cadaveric decomposition regardless of the cause of death. The present study aims to report eight dental autopsies of victims of violent death that presented the PTP. The autopsies were conducted by forensic pathologists and dentists between 2013 and 2018. Seven victims were males and one was female. The age ranged above 6 years old. Cranio-encephalic trauma, firearm shooting and asphyxia figured as the causes of death. All the victims were in advanced decomposition. The PTP was detected in deciduous and permanent, anterior and posterior and maxillary and mandibular teeth. Forensic experts, especially dentists, must be aware of the PTP for more detailed registration of postmortem findings and more accurate cadaveric exams.
  • Facial approximation of Tycho Brahe’s partial skull based on
           estimated data with TIVMI-AFA3D
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Pierre Guyomarc’h, Petr Velemínský, Jaroslav Brůžek, Niels Lynnerup, Martin Horak, Jan Kučera, Kaare Lund Rasmussen, Jaroslav Podliska, Zdeněk Dragoun, Jiří Smolik, Jens Vellev The virtual approach in physical and forensic anthropology is increasingly used to further analyze human remains, but also to propose new didactic means for visualization and dissemination of scientific results. Computerized facial approximation (FA) offers an alternative to manual methods, but usually requires a complete facial skeleton to allow for the estimation of the facial appearance of an individual. This paper presents the case of Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer born during the XVIth century, whose remains were reanalyzed at the occasion of a short exhumation in 2010. Cranial remains of Brahe were poorly preserved, with only a partial facial skeleton, and virtual anthropology tools were used to estimate the missing parts of his skull. This 3D restoration was followed by a FA using TIVMI-AFA3D, subsequently textured with graphic tools. The result provided an interesting estimate that was compared with portraits of the astronomer. The impact of the missing data estimation was investigated by performing FAs on 10 complete test subjects and the same 10 subjects after cropping and estimating 50% of the landmarks (reproducing the preservation state of Tycho Brahe’s cranial remains). The comparison between the FA based on the complete and incomplete skulls of the same subject produced a visual assessment of the estimation impact on FAs which is relatively low. This procedure is an alternative to manual methods and offers a reproducible estimate of a face based on incomplete cranial remains. Although the case report concerns a historical individual, the robust automatic estimation of missing landmarks followed by a FA has value for forensic caseworks as a support to the identification process.
  • Chemical profiling of the street cocktail drug ‘Nyaope’ in South
           Africa using GC-MS I: Stability studies of components of ‘Nyaope’ in
           organic solvents
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): PM Mthembi, EM Mwenesongole, MD Cole Nyaope, a street drug commonly found in South Africa, is a mixture of low grade heroin, cannabis products, antiretroviral drugs and other materials added as cutting agents. It is a highly physiologically addictive substance which is smoked by users. Little work has been published on the chemical analysis and profiling of nyaope. Sample preparation prior to chromatographic or spectrometric analysis normally involves dissolution of the sample in an organic solvent. This study determined the most suitable organic solvent in which the common components of nyaope, namely Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, diamorphine, caffeine, dextromethorphan, phenacetin and the antiretrovirals efavirenz and nevirapine, which have different chemical characteristics, are stable during extraction and prior to analysis of nyaope samples i.e. autosampler stability. Street samples of cannabis (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol), heroin (diamorphine) and antiretrovirals were mixed to mimic a nyaope sample and dissolved in the organic solvents dichloromethane, ethanol, ethyl acetate, hexane, isopropanol and tertiary butyl alcohol. Analysis was performed after intervals of 0, 1, 6, 8, 24, 48 and 72 hours, prior to analysis by gas chromatography − mass spectrometry. Tertiary butyl alcohol resulted in the most stable extracts of the main nyaope components after 72 hours of storage. The analysis was also repeated on actual street samples of nyaope. These results show that tertiary butyl alcohol is a suitable solvent for sample preparation for the identification, comparison and profiling of nyaope samples.
  • Forensic epidemiology: Harnessing the power of public DNA sources to
           capture career criminals
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Matt DeLisi
  • Recognizability of computer-generated facial approximations in an
           automated facial recognition context for potential use in unidentified
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Connie L. Parks, Keith L. Monson Currently in the United States, the remains of thousands of unidentified human decedents are housed in medical, law enforcement, and forensic facilities throughout the country. A number of digital data repositories have been established to curate and disseminate the details of these unidentified decedent cases; some repositories also maintain records of missing persons. Although a cross-reference for textual data similarity occurs between the missing persons and unidentified decedent records in some repositories, no repository is currently known to employ an image analysis technology for cross-referencing image data. Results suggest that the computer-generated facial approximations used in this research were consistently included in prioritized candidate lists when used in an automated facial recognition context.Two concurrent studies exploring the specific use-case discussed here were executed. The first employed an optimally-conditioned facial image gallery (g = 6159) (i.e., a gallery comprised of highly consistent facial images), a research design intended to establish the ceiling performance of the combined use of the two software programs employed. The second employed a gallery (g = 1816) compiled from a real-world dataset of missing persons’ facial images, a research design intended to inform potential operational performance when using the highly varied facial images typically comprising public databases. Multiple types of facial approximations (reconstructions) with varying degrees of weight adjustments, age adjustments, or the presence (or absence) of visible eyes, and combinations of these variables, were evaluated. Overall, in the larger, optimally modeled study, 53% of the facial approximations for the t = 159 test subjects examined were matched to his or her corresponding life photo within the top 50 images of a candidate list generated from a blind (unrestricted) search of the highly consistent gallery (g = 6159). In the operationally modeled study, 31% of the test subjects’ (t = 16) facial approximations were matched to their corresponding life photos within the top 50 images of a candidate list generated from a blind search of the gallery populated with images from an operational dataset (g = 1816). As anticipated, candidate list inclusion rates improved with the use of demographic filters. No significantly different inclusion rates were observed between the sex or age cohorts examined. Significant differences were, however, observed across population cohorts.Entities curating missing and unidentified decedent records may benefit from a paired implementation of facial recognition technology and computer-generated approximations as part of a comprehensive investigative strategy for the specific envisioned use-case discussed in this research.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Identification of the skeletal remains of the Czech communist regime crime
           victim, priest Josef Toufar
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 20 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): T. Pexa, J. Krajsa, M. Šaňková, P. Velemínský, J. Havrda, T. Kotrlý, J. Drábek Parish priest Josef Toufar died as a direct consequence of torture committed by Communist State Security Service agents, forcing him to confess that “miraculous” movement of crucifix above the main altar during the Holy Mass held in the Roman-Catholic church in Číhošť was staged by using a technical equipment. Josef Toufar was presumably buried in a mass grave at the cemetery in Prague-Ďáblice under a false name Josef Zouhar. In 2013 the Czech Bishops’ Conference grant an approval to begin the process of his beatification. However, the beatification required the exhumation and identification of the remains.In this case report, we describe the process of searching, exhumation, and the combined A-STR/Y-STR DNA analysis of remains of Pater Josef Toufar. His identification was feasible due to kinship analysis: buccal swabs of three family members (niece, grand-niece, and grand-nephew) were available for testing.
  • A Validation Study of the 1,2-Indandione Reagent for Operational Use in
           the UK: Part 3—Laboratory Comparison and Pseudo-Operational Trials on
           Porous Items
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 20 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Aoife Luscombe, Vaughn Sears Laboratory trials, followed by a comparative pseudo-operational trial of a 1,2-indandione/zinc formulation and 1,8-diazafluoren-9-one (DFO) was carried out on a range of realistically-handled papers, card and cardboard. In laboratory trials over 7,500 split marks were assessed and in the pseudo-operational trial in excess of 400 samples were treated with each of these processes before all the samples were then treated with ninhydrin.The results presented from both stages of the trials establish that 1,2-indandione was the most effective single process and that 1,2-indanedione followed by ninhydrin the most effective process sequence, with ninhydrin developing a significant number of new marks after 1,2-indandione.
  • A Validation Study of the 1,2-Indandione Reagent for Operational Use in
           the UK: Part 1 – Formulation Optimization
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Niko Nicolasora, Rory Downham, Laura Hussey, Aoife Luscombe, Kelly Mayse, Vaughn Sears This paper contains details of work carried out to examine the composition of 1,2-indandione formulations and to develop the most effective 1,2-indandione/zinc formulation for use under UK conditions. Previous research into the reactions of 1,2-indandione without zinc ions have concluded that formulations containing methanol produce stable hemiketals, which are less reactive to amino acids, resulting in reduced fluorescence intensity of developed fingermarks. In this study, fingermarks were treated using varying formulations of 1,2-indandione, with and without the presence of methanol and zinc ions. It was found that both were beneficial in producing marks of the highest fluorescence intensity, although too much methanol could have a detrimental effect on the quality the mark due to diffusion of ridge detail. Therefore the 1,2-indandione formulation recommended for further trials has been modified to contain both zinc ions and methanol.
  • Application of the Injury Scales in Homicides
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Feng Li, Sihai Liu, Xuesong Lu, Ying Ou, Paul S.F. Yip Injury scales have two main applications on homicide investigations, namely, to evaluate the severity of the victims’ injuries and to identify the profiles of the offenders. However, few studies have examined the quality of the various injury scales in serving the two purposes. In this study, homicides from Shanghai and Wuhan, China (n = 439) have been used to examine nine injury scales. The results showed that seven out of the nine scales were useful. Compared to one-to-one homicides, offenders who killed two or more people tended to inflict more fatal injuries and made fewer number of attacks on the victims’ heads and necks. Among all homicide cases, victims of stranger homicides tended to have fewer total number of wounds, as well as less severity of wounds on the heads, necks, and faces compared to those of intimate partner homicides. As to one-to-one homicides, only the severity of wounds on the face could assist to distinguish stranger homicides from intimate partner homicides. When a male victim died in a one-to-one homicide, the high number of total wounds along with the high number and severity of wounds on the head and neck could indicate that the offender was a female.
  • Dynamic signatures: A review of dynamic feature variation and forensic
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 291Author(s): Jacques Linden, Raymond Marquis, Silvia Bozza, Franco Taroni This article focuses on dynamic signatures and their features. It provides a detailed and critical review of dynamic feature variations and circumstantial parameters affecting dynamic signatures. The state of the art summarizes available knowledge, meant to assist the forensic practitioner in cases presenting extraordinary writing conditions. The studied parameters include hardware-related issues, aging and the influence of time, as well as physical and mental states of the writer. Some parameters, such as drug and alcohol abuse or medication, have very strong effects on handwriting and signature dynamics. Other conditions such as the writer’s posture and fatigue have been found to affect feature variation less severely.The need for further research about the influence of these parameters, as well as handwriting dynamics in general is highlighted. These factors are relevant to the examiner in the assessment of the probative value of the reported features. Additionally, methodology for forensic examination of dynamic signatures is discussed. Available methodology and procedures are reviewed, while pointing out major technical and methodological advances in the field of forensic handwriting examination. The need for sharing the best practice manuals, standard operating procedures and methodologies to favor further progress is accentuated.
  • Sensitive Determination of Nine Anticoagulant Rodenticides in Blood by
           High Resolution Mass Spectrometry with Supported Liquid Extraction
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Xue Gao, Hongge Li, Hui Li, Shuai Dong, Junhao Chu, Hao Guo, Qingbiao Zhao Anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) have been widely used for controlling rodents in agriculture and households. It often occurs that non-target animals are poisoned by ARs. Also, the abuse of ARs has been often encountered in poisoning and suicide cases. Herein we report the determination of nine commonly used ARs by high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) with supported liquid extraction (SLE) pretreatment. The factors affecting SLE (elution solvents and pH values) were systematically tested and optimized. The application of parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) mode led to the highest sensitivity obtained for these compounds, with LODs ranging for 0.006–0.02 ng/mL. Reasonable extraction recoveries for all the analytes were obtained ranging in 73.9%–110.7%. Good precision was achieved for the spiked blood samples, with intra-day RSD ranging in 5.0%–9.2% and inter-day RSD ranging in 6.3%–10.5%. The values of ME ranged in 82.9%–103.2% for QC sample, which are reasonable. The application of HRMS in PRM mode also resulted in high selectivity. The method was applied to the detection and quantification of ARs in blood samples from real forensic cases. This methodology possesses high potential for determination of rodenticides in clinical and forensic cases.
  • Applicability and accuracy of Demirjian and Willems methods in a
           population of Eastern Chinese subadults
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Jian Wang, Xuebing Bai, Miaochen Wang, Zijie Zhou, Xiaohe Bian, Che Qiu, Changyi Li, Zhao Yang, Guangcan Chen, Fang Ji, Jiang Tao BackgroundTo assess the validity of the Demirjian and Willems dental age estimation methods in a population of Eastern Chinese 11-18-year-old subadults.Samples and methodsA total of 1622 orthopantomograms (787 boys and 835 girls) aged from 11.00 to 18.99 years old from a Chinese Han population were evaluated in the study. Dental ages were calculated using both Demirjian and Willems method. Statistical significance was set at p 
  • A review on the abuse of three NPS (synthetic cannabinoids, kratom,
           poppers) among youths in Asia
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Kyungeun Bae, Nam ji Kwon, Eunyoung Han Abuse of new psychoactive substances (NPSs) among youths is increasing at an unprecedented rate all over the world. In Asia, abuse of synthetic cannabinoids (SCs), kratom, and poppers has been reported, but up to date information related to abuse of these three NPSs is lacking. This literature review focuses on the recent abuse of these three NPS among Asian youth. Many studies have been conducted to investigate the abuse statuses of SCs in Asian youth in Turkey, Japan, and Korea, and many cases of kratom abuse have been reported in Malaysia and Thailand. In addition, concerns have been expressed about the use of kratom in combination with other substances by teenagers. Popper abuse has been reported among many young people in Asia, including Korea and China, and many studies on popper abuse have focused on men who have sex with men in China and Malaysia. Since NPS abuse can have severe adverse effects and create social problems, there is a continuing need to investigate NPS abuse status continuously among young people.
  • Development of a Solid-Phase Microextraction (SPME) Fiber Protector and
           its Application in Flammable Liquid Residues Analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Arnon Grafit, Dan Muller, Sarit Kimchi, Yaniv Y. Avissar Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) has been established as a very powerful alternative to traditional extraction methods since its introduction in the early 1990s. The heart of the SPME device is an expensive thin and very delicate fused-silica fiber, coated with a thin polymer film. When extracted, the fiber may bend and break. Due to the fragility of the SPME fiber, a fiber protector device is proposed. The protector is easily assembled on the SPME device and can easily be removed by unscrewing for sampling to the injector. The SPME with the fiber protector was tested by headspace-SPME (HS-SPME) gasoline and diesel fuel vapor analyses. The results of the extractions with the SPME protector were compared with the results of the extractions by SPME without the protector. An enhancement to the lighter hydrocarbons was observed in the results with the protector but the method sensitivity was not altered. The SPME protector was easily cleaned from contaminant residues by ethyl acetate washings. The protector can be used for years and the fibers remain intact for hundreds of samplings.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • The use of cardiac troponin T (cTnT) in the postmortem diagnosis of acute
           myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death: a systematic review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Caterina Barberi, Karen E. van den Hondel Being sudden cardiac death (SCD) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) frequent occurrences in forensic medicine, extensive research has been published about the use of cardiac troponin T (cTnT) as a potential specific postmortem biochemical marker. However, cTnT has produced uncertain results, leading to the lack of a standardized application in routine postmortem examinations. The present systematic review focuses on the determination of whether cTnT may be considered as a suitable marker for the postmortem diagnosis of AMI and SCD, analysing the literature according to the following criteria: only human experiments, published from 1 st January 2001 to 12th April 2018, available in English, on the following databases: 1. Medline/PubMed/MeSH search words: ((“heart”[MeSH Terms] OR “cardiac”[All Fields]) AND (“troponin”[MeSH Terms] OR “troponins”[All Fields]) AND forensic[All Fields] AND “postmortem”[All Fields]); 2. Embase, Lilacs and Cochrane Library. 16 full-text articles were included. cTnT has been demonstrated to be elevated in a variety of pathological conditions, not strictly related to cardiac causes, but rather to the severity and extent of myocardial damage from various causes. cTnT levels have been consistently found higher in pericardial fluid than in the peripheral blood. Reviewed studies showed that the most suitable biological sample for cTnT evaluation seems to be pericardial fluid, since it may be less affected by haemolysis of blood. cTnT seems to be quite stable up to a PMI (postmortem interval) smaller than 48 hours; after this time, a mild time-dependent increase has been demonstrated. CPR seems to have no influence on cTnT values. The postmortem cut-offs differ from clinical ones, and at present no consensus has been reached concerning the postmortem ranges. Further research needs to be carried out in order to establish a common accepted cut-off value for forensic use.
  • Analysis and classification of smokeless powders by GC–MS and
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Emily Lennert, Candice Bridge Partially burned smokeless powder particles may be present as a form of evidence following a shooting or explosive event, such as the explosion of a pipe bomb. The characterization and classification of residual smokeless powers may allow for a known sample, i.e. sample collected from a suspect, to be connected to an unknown sample, i.e. sample obtained from a crime scene. In this study, thirty-four (34) smokeless powders were analyzed using GC–MS and DART-TOFMS to determine how comparable the discriminatory power of each instrument was based on the smokeless powder constituents identified within each sample. Analysis of smokeless powders by DART-TOFMS generated comparable results to GC–MS in a fraction of the time (∼30 seconds). Most peaks observed between the instruments were the same; however, N-nitroso-DPA was only observed in the DART-TOFMS spectra but was not a significant contributor. Samples were naturally grouped together using hierarchical cluster analysis and principal component analysis, based on underlying features in the resulting spectra. Samples were placed into groupings based on significant peaks observed and relative intensities. Classification models were presented for both GC–MS and DART-TOFMS and subsequently tested and compared. The classification models used in this study were linear discriminant analysis, k-nearest neighbors, and random forest modeling. The groups observed were similar between the two instruments, indicating that DART-TOFMS provides comparable data to GC–MS and could be used as a rapid screening technique.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Alexander Badu-Boateng Crime scene investigation is an important step in the entire criminal investigation process because this is where evidence is gathered. Blood from the perpetrator or victim of a crime can be left at crime scenes or transferred to other materials such as clothing, knives and guns. Most often, this body fluid is contaminated with soil at outdoor crime scenes but this might be the only or the most important evidence in solving a crime. This work aimed at identifying the most appropriate method of storing crime scene soil-blood mixed sample prior to analysis at the laboratory. Human blood was mixed with soil and stored at three different storage conditions (i.e., Room temperature/25 °C, 4 °C and −20 °C). Samples stored at room temperature saw significant reduction in DNA concentration as storage time increased (P = 0.001). Samples stored at 4 °C saw a drastic decrease in DNA concentration just after two weeks of storage. By the eighth week of storage at 4 °C, there was no detectable DNA (P = 0.000). Samples stored at −20 °C recorded no specific pattern in decrease or increase in DNA concentration for the entire 12 week storage (P = 0.324). There were full STR Profiles generated for room temperature stored samples and −20 °C stored samples throughout the study. There were full, partial and null Profiles generated for 4 °C stored samples depending on the sample storage duration. In conclusion, −20 °C was identified as the best storage condition for soil-blood mixed sample followed by room temperature and 4 °C, respectively.
  • Comparison of dental maturation in Hong Kong Chinese and United Kingdom
           Caucasians populations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): J. Jayaraman, G.J. Roberts Understanding dental maturation in ethnically distinct populations is important in forensic age estimations and the presence of population differences in dental maturation was highly debated. No such comparison had been performed between two major populations; Caucasian and Chinese. This study aims to analyse and compare the maturation of permanent teeth from a sample of Caucasians and Chinese populations. Dental panoramic radiographs of subjects aged 2 to 24 years belonging to United Kingdom (UK) Caucasians and Hong Kong (HK) Chinese populations were obtained from a teaching hospital. The teeth were scored and reference datasets were developed separately for males and females. Statistical significance was set at p 
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Michele Boracchi, Salvatore Andreola, Federica Collini, Guendalina Gentile, Giorgio Lucchini, Chem Francesca Maciocco, Gian Attilio Sacchi, Riccardo Zoja IntroductionIn a previous work, we wanted to evaluate if the histochemical determination of lead in Gunshot Residues (GSR) on firearm wounds could be misled due to possible environmental contamination produced by heavy metals and, in particular, by lead. The Sodium Rhodizonate test and its confirmation test with 5% HCl Sodium Rhodizonate resulted to be negative and therefore we wanted to verify if these techniques were sensible enough in order to evaluate this element. We have assessed, on these same samples, a more sensitive technique, as inductive coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is. This technique is able to detect elements in solution at concentrations as low as 10−15 g L−1.Materials and methodsSkin samples taken from two groups of victims, whose cause of death was not related to gunshot wounds were analyzed using ICP-MS: group A included 25 corpses found in open spaces after a long time; group B included 16 corpses exhumed after a period of 11 years. As a positive control group we used skin samples from two subjects that had died due to firearm wounds: as a negative control group we used three different types of plain paraffin slides without included biological material.ResultsAt the analysis by ICP-MS, the evaluation of the samples belonging to groups A, B and for the negative control groups resulted to be negative for traces of lead (Pb), barium (Ba) and antimony (Sb). On the other hand, high concentrations of GSR could be found in the positive control group were victims died for firearm wounds.ConclusionsOn these basis, we can state that environmental Pb does not contaminate cadavers exposed to open air nor those buried in soil, as confirmed using to ICP-MS technique. Sodium Rhodizonate and 5% HCl Sodium Rhodizonate confirmation test have therefore a high sensitivity, highlighting GSRs, for the diagnosis of death caused by firearm wounds.
  • Jurors’ perceptions of forensic science expert witnesses: Experience,
           qualifications, testimony style and credibility
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 291Author(s): A. McCarthy Wilcox, N. NicDaeid The judicial system calls upon expert witnesses to testify in court when complex or specialized knowledge, beyond that of the lay person, is needed to interpret the evidence. Previous research has indicated that particular traits of the expert witness can affect their credibility in the eyes of the jury, however most of this research has been undertaken using mock jurors. In contrast, this study investigated the perceptions of real jurors. In particular, the research focused on the juror’s perception of the forensic scientists’ expertise and credibility during testimony in homicide cases. Data was gathered from jurors after nine homicide trials using both questionnaire (n = 29) and direct one to one interviews (n = 22). The jurors defined what they thought an expert witness was and what attributes were important in a forensic scientist. Jurors suggested that the expert witness’s education and years of experience were more important than certification or laboratory accreditation. The jurors’ perceptions of the credibility of the expert was based upon the academic qualifications of the expert, the confidence they portrayed in answering the questions ask of them, their demeanor and their status of being government employee.The use of narrative language and demonstrative aids by the forensic science expert witness to explain the evidence was explored. Jurors described a deeper understanding as a result of narrative testimony and this was reported to be a key factor in the juror’s acceptance that the witness was credible.
  • A fatal blood concentration of 5-APB
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Maja Krpo, Hege Cathrine Luytkis, An-Magritt Haneborg, Høiseth Gudrun For the new psychoactive drug 5-(2-aminopropyl) benzofuran (5-APB), very limited knowledge is available regarding lethal concentrations. We present a case and report the post mortem blood concentration of a fatal outcome for a 25 year old man related to the consumption of 5-APB. After intake, he became unconscious and stopped breathing. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was started without success. After 30 minutes he was declared dead at the scene. During autopsy, whole blood from the femoral vein was collected and screened for a wide range of medicinal drugs and drugs of abuse. 5-APB was initially identified by ultra high performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF-MS) and subsequently confirmed by using ultra high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS).The only toxicological findings were ethanol 0.6 g/L, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 0.0024 mg/L and 5-APB 0.86 mg/L. The cause of death was attributed to intake of 5-APB. Only one previous report of a fatal 5-APB concentration as the main toxicological agent exist in the literature, and the present concentration indicated that 5-APB could be lethal in lower concentrations than previously reported.
  • Identification of trichothecene-type mycotoxins in toxic mushroom
           Podostroma cornu-damae and biological specimens from a fatal case by
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Sanggil Choe, Sangwhan In, Youngjoon Jeon, Hyeyoung Choi, Suncheun Kim In some autopsy cases, there are unknown natural toxins that are suspected to cause serious damage to the person. However, without reference materials, it is almost impossible to identify the suspicious natural toxins by GC–MS or LC–MS. In this case, a man drank mushroom −liquor with a meal at his home. Seven hours later, he was transported to the emergency room, and 12 hours later, he died. In the ingested mushroom-infused −liquor, there were pieces of mushroom that were estimated to be Podostroma cornu-damae (Hypocreaceae) based on their morphological characteristics. To identify the species, chemical component analysis was conducted using LC–QTOF–MS/MS. Monoisotopic mass, fragment ions, and isotope distributions were obtained from the LC–QTOF–MS/MS analysis. In addition, fragment ions and structure matching were tested for target compound confirmation. In this analysis, several toxic trichothecene-type mycotoxins were identified including roridin D, roridin E, roridin Q, satratoxin G, satratoxin H, satratoxin H 12′-acetate, satratoxin H 13′-acetate, satratoxin H 12′,13′-diacetate, and verrucarol. At autopsy, heart blood, peripheral blood, and the stomach contents were collected, and only satratoxin H was detected in these samples. This is the first finding of a trichothecene-type mycotoxin in a human biological sample from an expected case of P. cornu-damae intoxication. We demonstrated that LC–QTOF–MS/MS analysis was an effective method for mushroom intoxication cases in the absence of reference materials. Additionally, the experience, knowledge, and analytical methods we obtained in this study will be great assets for solving other cases of possible natural toxin intoxication.
  • Impact of mechanical force on posterior hymen — Implications for sexual
           abuse injury interpretations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Minna Joki-Erkkilä, Elina Suikki BackgroundResidual anogenital findings following sexual abuse are rare. There is a need for further understanding of the interpretation of hymenal findings.ObjectivesThis study evaluates which is more significant with respect to posterior hymenal tissue morphology - previous consensual penile vaginal penetrations or vaginal delivery.DesignA post hoc study comparing nulliparous and parous hymen in heterosexually active female volunteers, with the focus on healed hymenal defects. Adult posterior hymen configuration was evaluated using labial separation or traction. When needed, the hymenal status was evaluated using a swab. A colposcopy with photography was used for documentation. Experts reviewed all taken photographs and recorded the posterior hymenal defects. Photographs were analyzed to determine the level of agreement.ParticipantsEighty-seven adult female volunteers were recruited to participate in the study by a personal invitation to a gynecological examination to document anogenital findings. The examination was performed following consensual vaginal intercourse. Age ranged from 20 to 53 (median 26.6 years).ResultsSingle site posterior hymenal transections were significantly more likely in the nulliparous volunteers, compared to the parous volunteers (22/51, 43.1% vs. 4/36, 11.1%, p 
  • Changes in thallium distribution in the scalp hair after an intoxication
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Takehisa Matsukawa, Momoko Chiba, Atsuko Shinohara, Yuki Matsumoto-Omori, Kazuhito Yokoyama In cases of criminal thallium poisoning, forensic investigation is required to identify the amount and time of thallium exposure.Usually, blood and urine thallium levels are respectively used as biomarkers. Additionally, hair has the unique potential to reveal retrospective information. Although several studies have attempted to clarify how thallium is distributed in hair after thallium poisoning,none have evaluated the time course of changing thallium distribution. We investigated changes in the distribution of thallium in hair at different time points after exposure in five criminal thallotoxicosis patients. Scalp hair samples were collected twice, at 2.6 and 4.2-4.5 months after an exposure incident by police. Results of our segmented analysis, a considerable amount of thallium was detected in all hair sample segments. The thallium exposure date estimated from both hair sample collections matched the actual exposure date. We found that determination of thallium amounts in hair samples divided into consecutive segments provides valuable information about exposure period even if a considerable time passes after exposure. Moreover, when estimating the amount of thallium exposure from a scalp hair sample, it is necessary to pay sufficient attention to individual differences in its decrease from hair.
  • X-ray features to predict ankle fracture mechanism
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Andrzej Boszczyk, Marcin Fudalej, Sławomir Kwapisz, Marcin Błoński, Maciej Kiciński, Bartłomiej Kordasiewicz, Stefan Rammelt IntroductionThe genetic Lauge-Hansen classification has been traditionally used for reconstruction of the mechanism of ankle injury. The ability of the Lauge-Hansen classification to predict actual mechanism of the injury has been questioned in recent studies, leaving a void in medicolegal reasoning. The aim of this study is to identify morphologic features of malleolar fractures on plain x-rays that may be used to reveal the fracture mechanism.Material and methodsRadiographs of 78 patients with acute malleolar fractures were analyzed and compared with fracture mechanisms reported by these patients.ResultsA modified Pankovich classification of medial malleolus fractures and the presence of a posterior malleolus fracture were able to significantly predict the mechanism of fracture reported by the patient (p
  • The effect of hydrochloric acid on microstructure of porcine Sus scrofa
           domesticus cortical bone tissue
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Veronika Sabolová, Adam Brinek, Vladimír Sládek We evaluated the degradation of cortical bone tissue by hydrochloric acid (HCl) since intentional bone decalcification in a forensic context has not been studied on a histomorphological level. We used 70 pig metatarsal bones split into subsamples and immersed in one of three concentrations of acidic solutions (0.5 M, 1 M, 2 M HCl) for two and four hours. We analyzed the cortical thicknesses on transversal cross-sections, thicknesses of the three histomorphologically distinct zones present in acid-immersed bones, and number and area of crystals present in one of the zones. Furthermore, we analyzed the ratio of calcium to phosphorus (Ca:P). We observed a division of the cortical bone cross section into three distinctive zones: demineralized matrix (DM) in the periosteal part of bone, middle contact zone (CZ), and mineralized matrix (MM) in the endosteal part of bone. With increasing acid concentration and time of immersion (from 0.5 M HCl for 2 h to 2 M HCl for 4 h), the thickness of DM increased by 67%, the thickness of CZ increased by 56%, and the thickness of MM decreased by 32%. The Ca:P ratio in the contact zone of acid-treated samples did not change significantly with changing acid concentration and time of immersion. The Ca:P ratio of the CZ decreased by 10% when compared to the Ca:P ratio of MM in acid-treated samples. Moreover, we observed crystals on the outer periosteal border of the DM zone, in the CZ, and in the MM Haversian/Volkmann’s canals. The size and number of the crystals in the CZ of acid-treated bones increased with acid concentration and time of acid immersion. Moreover, we also observed significant differences in all analyzed properties between anatomical regions. Due to varying reactions to acid immersion among anatomical regions, bone micro-degradation should be observed separately for each region.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Recent advances in understanding hard tissue alterations related to trauma
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Douglas H. Ubelaker This special issue of Forensic Science International presents diverse perspectives and detailed information on the many factors involved in trauma analysis of the skeleton. Topics covered include nomenclature, antemortem timing, post-mortem loss of plasticity, terminal ballistic/gunshot trauma, sharp force trauma, heat-induced fracture, non-metric traits and pseudo-trauma, taphonomic alterations, microscopic evidence for hemorrhage, imaging of perimortem trauma, dental trauma and linkages between soft and hard tissue.
  • When does absence of evidence constitute evidence of absence'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): William C. Thompson, Nicholas Scurich Negative forensic evidence can be defined as the failure to find a trace after looking for it. Such evidence is often dismissed by referring to the aphorism “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” However, this reasoning can be misleading in the context of forensic science. This commentary is designed to help forensic scientists understand the probative value of negative forensic evidence.
  • A multifactorial critical appraisal of substances found in Drug
           Facilitated Sexual Assault cases
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Agatha Grela, Lata Gautam, Michael D. Cole Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA) is a sexual act in which the victim is unable to give or rescind consent due to intoxication with alcohol and/or drugs that have been self-administered (opportunistic DFSA) or covertly administered by the perpetrator (predatory DFSA). The drugs that are most commonly associated with DFSA are flunitrazepam and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). They cause sedation and amnesia, are readily dissolved in beverages and are rapidly eliminated from the system. However, drugs such as amphetamine and cocaine, which are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants, have also been encountered in DFSA cases.This paper critically evaluates trend data from cohort studies, identifying drugs that have been detected in DFSA cases and reports on the differences in drugs used between opportunistic and predatory DFSA. This is the first time that a critical multifactorial review of drugs used in DFSA has been conducted. The pharmacology of each identified group of drugs is presented, showing why these compounds are of interest and used in the perpetration of DFSA. Furthermore, the pharmacology and mechanisms of action are described to explain how the drugs cause their effects. It is also apparent from this study that if meaningful data is to be exchanged between law enforcement agencies then it is necessary to agree on protocols for the collection of evidence and the drugs for which analysis should be performed and indeed on the analytical methods used.
  • When is myocarditis indeed the cause of death' Reply to R.B.
           Dettmeyer, J. Lang, and C.G. Birngruber
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Cristian Palmiere, Francesco De Stefano, Alessandro Bonsignore
  • Novel validity evidence of the Psychopathy Checklist- Revised (PCL-R) in a
           representative sample of Spanish inmates
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Gerardo Flórez, Ventura Ferrer, Luis S. García, María R. Crespo, Manuel Pérez, Pilar A. Saiz, David J. Cooke Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) validation studies have been conducted mainly in non representative samples of North American adult male serious offenders. Research in other samples is needed to test the generalizability of PCL-R construct validity.PCL-R psychometric properties and construct validity were evaluated in a representative sample of 204 Spanish sentenced inmates. These inmates had served at least 6 months of their sentence at Pereiro de Aguiar prison. This sample was heterogeneous with respect to type of official charges and was representative, as all offenders who met the inclusion and exclusion criteria were invited to participate.Classical test theory indexes of reliability, correlations between PCL-R items, factors and facets, external correlations, and factor structure analysis demonstrated that PCL-R affective, interpersonal and lifestyle dimensions were more reliable and valid for the psychopathy than the antisocial construct in this Southern European sample.
  • Light motor vehicle collisions with heavy vehicles — psychosocial and
           health related risk factors of drivers being at-fault for collisions
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Sonja Sassi, Helinä Hakko, Esa Räty, Pirkko Riipinen BackgroundFatal head-on collisions between passenger cars and trucks are sometimes thought as self-inflicted death of the passenger car drivers.MethodsA total of 378 Finnish drivers of light motor vehicles (LMV) died in collisions with heavy vehicles between the years 2002–2011. These male and female drivers, who were considered as being at fault, and whose collisions with heavy vehicles occurred in the oncoming vehicle’s lane, were explored in relation to information on their socio-demographics, physical and mental health condition and driving-related factors.ResultsCause of death of at-fault LMV drivers, as defined in medico-legal examination, was most commonly accidental (51%), followed by suicide (32%), undetermined intent (17%) and acute illness (0.3%). Ten-year time trend in rates of LMV drivers has remained stable (Annual Percentage Change, APC = −0.03; p = 0.983), the annual proportion varying between 14%–21%. However, a statistically significantly increasing time trend was observed in fatal accidents due to suicides (APC = 5.31, p = 0.028). Generally, at-fault LMV drivers were characterized as having mental health problems susceptibility to risk (44%), personal relationship problems (33%), long-term physical illness (68%) or medication (35%) or driving under influence of alcohol (24%). Male LMV drivers, compared to women, were more commonly unmarried, farm/wood/industrial workers and drove alone and without a planned destination. Female LMV drivers were, more commonly than men, widowed, third degree students, skilled workers, had long term mental illnesses/disturbances, drove with family member(s) and their fatal accidents occurred in winter.ConclusionThe findings give support to the recommendation that suicidal ideation must be considered when assessing fitness-to-drive.
  • Shorter pregnant women restrained in the rear seat of a car are at risk
           for serious neck injuries: biomechanical analysis using a pregnant crash
           test dummy
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Masahito Hitosugi, Takeshi Koseki, Tomokazu Hariya, Genta Maeda, Shingo Moriguchi, Shiho Hiraizumi IntroductionWhen considering seat belt contacts to the neck in pregnant woman of shorter height sitting in the rear seat of a vehicle, subsequent injuries after a collision must be understood in the context of both maternal and fetal outcomes. To determine likely injuries to a pregnant woman sitting in the rear seat, we determined the kinematics of a “pregnant” crash test dummy by measuring neck compression forces and biomechanical parameters acting on the head and neck.MethodsSled tests using a shorter-height pregnant woman crash test dummy (Maternal Anthropometric Measurement Apparatus, ver. 2B) were performed at the HYGE sled test facility representing full frontal impact at target velocities of 29 km/h and 48 km/h. Kinematics of the dummy and biomechanical parameters of the head, neck, and chest were measured. Pressure to the neck was measured using Prescale (Fujifilm, Tokyo, Japan).ResultsDuring frontal collision tests, the shoulder belt compressed the neck at a pressure>12.8 MPa, even during the low-velocity impact. In addition to neck flexion, right side bending and the head and chest moving in opposite directions were observed, with maximum differences of 42.4 mm at high velocity and 33.7 mm at low velocity.ConclusionsThis study provides data on the kinematics of pregnant women of short height sitting in the rear seat during a frontal collision using a pregnant woman crash test dummy. The knowledge gathered from this study should be useful for determining pregnant women passengers’ kinematics at the time of collision and evaluating the relationship between the vehicle collision and fetal outcomes.
  • Methods for describing different results obtained from different methods
           in accident reconstruction
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Tiefang Zou, Fenglin He, Ming Cai, Yuelin Li There is always more than one method can be employed to reconstruct a traffic accident and then more than one result can be obtained. How to describe these different results becomes an issue. Two solutions were given, the first is to fuse different results to one result, while the other is to rank different results according to their credibility. Methods based on the Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) operator and Uncertain Ordered Weighted Averaging (UOWA) operator were proposed to fuse different certain results and different interval results to one result, respectively. And methods based on the Combination Weight Arithmetic Average (CWAA) and OWA operators were proposed to rank different certain or interval results. Finally, a true vehicle-motorcycle accident was given to demonstrate these proposed methods, results showed that all methods work well in practice. If the calculation uncertainty was not considered, the fused result 64.56 km/h and a ranked vector can be obtained; if the calculation uncertainty was considered, the fused result [62.13, 68.13]km/h and a ranked interval number set can be obtained. Because that all final results were obtained by employing widely used mature operators, they deserve to be trusted. The research provides more reliable choices to describe different results obtained from different methods in accident reconstruction.
  • Identification and characterization of an indazole-3-carboxamide class
           synthetic cannabinoid:
           acid (DMBA-CHMINACA)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Ji Hyun Lee, Aeran Jung, Han Na Park, Changhee Lee, Suresh Mandava, Sung-jun Lim, Byoung-bok Lim, Sung-Kwan Park, Jongkook Lee, Hoil Kang Illicit psychoactive substances have threatened public health worldwide. An active metabolite of ADB-CHMINACA and MDMB-CHMINACA was identified for the first time in a powder-type product found in an airmail package. The structure of compound 1 was elucidated by a combination of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS), infrared (IR) spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Compound 1 was proven to be an analogue of MDMB-CHMINACA, an indazole-based synthetic cannabinoid. The methyl ester group in MDMB-CHMINACA was replaced with a carboxylic acid group in compound 1. Compound 1 was determined as 2-[1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamido]-3,3-dimethylbutanoic acid and named as DMBA-CHMINACA.
  • Gammahydroxybutyrate in hair of non-GHB and repeated GHB users: a new and
           optimized method
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Nicolas Van Elsué, Cleo L. Crunelle, Cor A. Verbrugge, Kim van Baarle, Anaïs Rodrigues, Hugo Neels, Michel Yegles Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is a short-chain fatty acid used recreationally as a drug of abuse due its strong suppressive effect on the central nervous system. The detection window of GHB in blood and urine is very narrow (t1/2 = 30 min) but can be substantially prolonged using alternative matrices such as hair. We here present a newly developed and limited validated method with a solid phase extraction (SPE) using GC-MS/MS to determine concentrations of GHB in hair samples. The soft extraction technique (water and 90 min ultrasonic bath) preserves GHB with a high yield and clean extracts. In addition, endogenous GHB can be detected in hair of non-GHB users. However, little is known about GHB concentrations in hair of abstinent, frequent and chronic GHB users. Therefore, we present data from hair samples of healthy volunteers to evaluate the proposed endogenous GHB ranges, and from GHB-dependent patients to address GHB concentrations in hair with GHB intake. In 20 non-GHB users, a mean endogenous concentration of 1.1 ± 0.6 ng/mg hair (range of 0.3–2 ng/mg) was found. In GHB-dependent patients, concentrations between 6.3 - 239.6 ng/mg hair were found, with no correlation between concentrations in hair and dose of GHB intake. In summary, we present a new and limited validated method, adequately sensitive for the detection of GHB in hair, as well as first-time measurements of GHB concentrations in dependent patients in order to better understand the relationship between the frequency of use/dose and concentrations observed in hair samples.
  • Packaging analysis of counterfeit medicines
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Klara Dégardin, Aurélie Guillemain, Philippe Klespe, Florine Hindelang, Raphaël Zurbach, Yves Roggo The authentication of the packaging represents an important step in the investigation of suspected counterfeits of pharmaceutical products. The visual comparison with a retained sample is the first step to detect a counterfeited packaging. Due to the improvement of technologies like printing, the emergence of counterfeits with a better appearance can be observed. Moreover counterfeits are nowadays often a combination of fake and genuine parts that have been manipulated. Authenticating each part of the product is important in the frame of the investigation to understand how the counterfeiters proceed, and which prevention measures should be taken. Lab instruments like spectrometers can help confirm counterfeits of packaging for packaging components on which visually, no difference with a reference would be observed. In this study several analytical tools were evaluated to help support the authentication of the primary and secondary packaging of one medicinal product as an example using seven reference materials and five counterfeits. In some cases, visual examination of the packaging already enabled to detect counterfeits of the studied features. Also the boxes, leaflets and vials have been analysed with Infrared (IR) spectroscopy, Raman microspectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and microcomputed tomography (microCT). According to the obtained results, IR and XRF could support the visual examination of the different packaging components. Despite the small amount of counterfeits, relevant links could also be detected between the studied cases based on the packaging characteristics.
  • Rifle bullet deflection through a soft tissue simulant
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): F. Riva, E.J.A.T. Mattijssen, W. Kerkhoff Trajectory deflections of 5.56 NATO and 7.62 × 39 mm rifle bullets, fired through 7.5, 15 and 22.5 cm of gelatine, were studied. The magnitude of the deflections from the bullets’ original trajectories after perforation are related to the length and the profile of the (wound) channels through gelatine. After 7.5 cm of penetration depth, deflection was less than 1°. With the longer channel lengths, bullet instability set in and subsequently, deflection was much larger. Deflection was highest with fragmented 5.56 NATO bullets after perforating 22.5 cm of gelatine. The data from this study can be used to assess the degree of bullet deflection in trajectory reconstructions after incidents where human bodies were perforated with rifle bullets of the respective calibres and cartridge types.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): P. Kanokwongnuwut, P. Kirkbride, A. Linacre Collection for touch DNA either at scenes or on items submitted to a forensic laboratory is based on assumptions as to where a person made direct contact. In many instances a swab may be applied to an area where no contact has been made. Many swabs may therefore be submitted for DNA profiling on which no DNA is present, resulting in the loss of both time and resources by analysing such swabs. This study has developed a simple, fast, DNA-staining and fluorescence microscopy-based screening method for swabs to indicate if there is any DNA from which to generate a profile.Ten different types of swabs were tested covering the major types used (foam, cotton and nylon). Each swab was treated by: no addition of dye or DNA, addition of dye only, addition of known DNA and addition of dye and DNA. The stain used was Diamond™ Nucleic Acid Dye (DD) and fluorescence microscopy was achieved with a digital microscope equipped with a blue LED light source (480 nm) for excitation and an emission filter of 510 nm. Two types of samples were tested, either buccal swabs or swabs collected from areas touched by volunteers and all analyses were performed in triplicate. The samples were collected and retained at room temperature with time intervals of 0 day, 7 days, 14 days, 21 days, and 28 days before detection using DD staining and fluorescence microscopy.Seven of the swab types used were found to be unsuitable due to the lack of any difference in the fluorescence detected when no DNA, or only the dye, or a combination of DNA and dye were added. Three swab types (black cotton swab, Ultrafine dental applicator, and Cylinder dental applicator) were found to be much more effective for collection of DNA. Further, stained cellular material retained its fluorescence for up to 4 weeks and swabs containing cellular material that had been stored for four weeks could be stained and visualised. Additionally, DD did not affect DNA profiling.This screening method has the potential to be a routine step in a forensic laboratory to save costs of processing samples where swabs are devoid of any DNA. This technique is rapid, easy, cheap, non-destructive and safe.
  • Carcass concealment alters assemblages and reproduction of forensically
           important beetles
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Lena Lutz, Jens Amendt, Gaétan Moreau Most forensic studies have examined decomposition and insect colonization for estimating the minimum postmortem interval (PMImin) using carcasses that are readily accessible to insects but in homicides, cadavers are often concealed to a certain extent. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the type of concealment of a decomposing resource and the permeability of the material used affect to different extents the animals attracted to the resource. To this end, beetle assemblages were documented for 100 days on 15 domestic pig carcasses, placed individually in soft shell suitcases, trashcans with a hinged lid, and sealable drums in an untended open field in New Brunswick, Canada. Five pigs were allocated to each treatment. During the study, almost 33,000 insect occurrences from 50 recognizable taxonomic units were documented around containers that concealed carcasses. Results indicated that trashcans, drums, and suitcases had different effects on the patterns of beetle arrival and departure from the vicinity of concealed carcasses, on beetle assembly, on their breeding strategies, as well as on the interspecific relationships between beetles of forensic importance. Of the 50 recognizable taxonomic units, only six species exhibited a somewhat predictable occurrence and yielded information about the time of placement or the type of container. Results also suggested that some of the abundant Silphidae species opted to breed or feed in suboptimal conditions or at a later period to avoid competing with the dominant silphid Necrodes surinamensis (Fabr.). This suggests the occurrence of preferential colonization and/or asymmetrical competition between beetle species, which would affect the potential of these species for PMI estimations on concealed carcasses.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Chromatographic separation of R/S-enantiomers of amphetamine and
           methamphetamine: Pathways of methamphetamine synthesis and detection in
           blood samples by qualitative enantioselective LC-MS/MS analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 20 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Alexandra Maas, Moritz Losacker, Cornelius Hess Methamphetamine can be synthesized either enantiopure or in its racemic form. We separated (R)- and (S)-enantiomers of methamphetamine and amphetamine by a fast LC-MS/MS-method using a Lux® 3 μm AMP 150 × 3,0 mm analytical column after simple protein precipitation with methanol. Sufficient resolution could be achieved. Method validation for qualitative detection showed limits of quantification < 5 ng/mL while only little (maximum 14.5%) ion suppression could be shown. Stability in the processed sample could be achieved using isotopically labelled internal standards. Plasma samples of police cases from the german regions of Franconia and Northrhine revealed that in the majority of 106 tested samples (> 99%) only (S)-methamphetamine was detected which leads to the conclusion that, in Germany, predominantly enantiopure (S)-methamphetamine is consumed which is synthesized via (1R,2S)-ephedrine or (1S,2S)-pseudoephedrine. However, racemic methamphetamine seems also to be on the market.
  • The forensic spleen: morphological, radiological, and toxicological
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Cristian Palmiere, Camilla Tettamanti, Maria Pia Scarpelli, Rexson Tse The spleen is infrequently investigated in forensic pathology routine. Thorough examinations are performed in very specific situations such as splenic trauma (including iatrogenic trauma from cardiopulmonary resuscitation attempts), anaphylaxis-related deaths, drowning and sepsis. The purpose of this review article is to provide a general overview of available literature focusing on a few selected splenic diseases as well as available forensic investigation techniques performed on the spleen in order to summarize the most frequent situations of forensic interest in which this routinely unexplored organ may merit more extensive examination.
  • Comparison of Scanning Kelvin Probe with SEM/EPMA Techniques for
           Fingermark Recovery from Metallic Surfaces
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): S.E. Challinger, I.D. Baikie, G. Flannigan, S. Halls, K. Laing, L. Daly, N. Nic Daeid Most traditional techniques to recover latent fingermarks from metallic surfaces do not consider the metal surface properties and instead focus on the fingermark chemistry. The scanning Kelvin probe (SKP) technique is a non-contact, non-destructive method, used under ambient conditions, which can be utilised to recover latent prints from metallic surfaces and does not require any enhancement techniques or prevent subsequent forensic analysis. Where a fingermark ridge contacted the metal, the contact potential difference (CPD) contrast between the background surface and the fingermark contact area was 10–50 mV.Measurements were performed on the untreated Brass, Nickel-coated Brass and Copper metal surfaces and compared to traditional forensic enhancement techniques such as vacuum metal deposition (VMD) using Au-Zn and Au-Ag. Using VMD, the CPD change ranged from 0 to 150 mV between the dissimilar metal surfaces affected by the fingermark. In general, SKP worked best without additional enhancement techniques.Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) scans were used to identify the fingermark contact areas through a Sodium, Chlorine and Oxygen electron probe micro-analyzer (EPMA). The fingermark was observed in the backscattered electron image as the carbon deposits scattered the electrons less than the surrounding metal surface. The fingermark is shown clearly in a Cathodoluminescence scan on the Copper sample as it blocks the photon emission at band gap (2.17 eV) from the underlying Copper Oxide (Cu2O) surface. For the first time, SEM, EPMA and Cathodoluminescence techniques were compared to SKP data.Visible and latent fingermarks were tested with latent, eccrinous fingermarks more easily imaged by SKP.Resultsobtained were very encouraging and suggest that the scanning Kelvin probe technique, which does not need vacuum, could have a place as a first stage analysis tool in serious crime investigation.
  • Child sexual abuse − initial suspicion and legal outcome
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Minna Joki-Erkkilä, Jenni Niemi, Noora Ellonen ObjectivesTo evaluate the association of primary reason to suspect child sexual abuse with the legal end-point in medically examined, police reported cases.Study designObservational post hoc analysis of retrospective review of records of 155 medically examined, police reported alleged child sexual abuse (CSA) cases during 2001-2009. Primary referral indications for medical examinations or criminal investigations were analyzed with an end-point in the legal process. The data consists of official investigation documents from University Hospital records, Police, crime laboratories, State Prosecutor, and Courts of Law.ResultsThe median age of the children was 7.1 years (range 11 months-17.5 years) at the time when suspicion of sexual abuse was reported to police. Conviction of the alleged perpetrator was significantly more likely in cases where the child's disclosure was the reason for the initial suspicion of CSA, compared to cases with referrals for “suspicious circumstances” (39/92, 42.4% v. 7/37, 19%, p
  • Determining the initial impact of rear-end collisions by trace evidence
           left on the vehicle from tires: A case report
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 20 March 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): T. Hugh Woo, Chun Liang Wu If an automobile happens to crash into the back of another vehicle while travelling at high speeds, both vehicles will be seriously damaged. Consequently, it is not easy to reconstruct the initial collision state between the two vehicles or determine whether or not the risk perception of the driver is normal. The entire picture of the accident cannot be fully understood and thus clarifying the relevant legal responsibility is difficult. The trace evidence of tires, such as pattern, direction, and impression examination as well as other characteristics, can be carefully observed and used as evidence in accident reconstruction. A case report of a fatal collision involving a bus crashing into the frame of a full trailer on a freeway is examined in this study. The police agency used the characteristics of the trace evidence of the bus tires to reconstruct the initial collision state of the two vehicles to clarify the cause of the accident, and these determination guidelines can be used by police while handling similar cases in the future. This case uses new information regarding the initial collision state of road traffic accidents for reconstruction and provides knowledge and interest for the forensic community.
  • Cannabinoid Concentrations in Blood and Urine after Smoking Cannabidiol
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Ulf Meier, Franz Dussy, Eva Scheurer, Katja Mercer-Chalmers-Bender, Sarah Hangartner In Switzerland, the sale of cannabis with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content less than 1% has recently been legalized. As a consequence, cannabis with low THC and high cannabidiol (CBD) values up to approximately 25% is legally available on the market. In this study, we investigated cannabinoid blood and urine concentrations of a naive user and of a modeled chronic user after smoking a single CBD joint. Chronic use was modeled as smoking 2 joints per day for 10 days. Joints contained 200 mg of cannabis with THC concentrations of 0.94% and 0.8% and CBD concentrations of 23.5% and 17% in the naive-smoker and chronic-smoker experiment, respectively. After smoking, blood and urine samples were collected for 4 and 20 hours after smoking start, respectively. THC blood concentrations reached 2.7 and 4.5 ng/mL in the naive and chronic user, respectively. In both cases, the blood THC concentration is significantly above the Swiss road traffic threshold of 1.5 ng/mL. Consequently, the user was legally unfit to drive directly after smoking. CBD blood concentrations of 45.7 and 82.6 ng/mL were reached for the naive and chronic user, respectively. During the 10-day smoking period, blood and urine samples were regularly collected. No accumulation of any cannabinoid was found in the blood during this time. Urinary 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC concentrations seemed to increase during the 10-day period, which is important in abstinence testing.
  • Metal-Organic Frameworks for fingermark detection – A feasibility
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Sébastien Moret, Esther Scott, Adrian Barone, Kang Liang, Chris Lennard, Claude Roux, Xanthe Spindler Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are porous crystalline structures, currently used as sensors, separators in membranes, and as catalysts. Due to their physicochemical and optical properties, they have been recently proposed for fingermark detection. This study further explored their potential for fingermark detection. Natural fingermarks, as well as charged and protein-enriched marks, were used to test the efficiency of the technique. Various parameters, such as precursor concentration, pH, immersion time and detection protocols, were investigated and optimised. The performance of the optimised MOF-based method was then compared to that of routinely used techniques.The results obtained indicated that MOFs can effectively detect fingermarks, especially protein-rich marks such as marks contaminated with body fluids. However, after comparison and evaluation against benchmark techniques, results were judged to be inferior to those from currently employed detection methods However, with further research and optimisation MOFs may be promising as an alternative to current powder suspension techniques.
  • Genetic polymorphism analysis of 40 Y-chromosomal STR loci in seven
           populations from South China
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Changhui Liu, Xiaolong Han, Yunbing Min, Hong Liu, Quyi Xu, Xingyi Yang, Shuqin Huang, Zhucong Chen, Chao Liu China is a multi-ethnic country. Due to its diverse terrain, many ethnic groups are geographically isolated within China. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in southern China. As Y-STR loci are paternally inherited, they can be used to effectively understand the genetic relationship between different populations and thus aid in forensic science. In this study, forty Y-STR loci were analysed in 2018 unrelated male individuals from the following seven ethnic populations in South China: Yao (n = 147), Zhuang (n = 225), Gelao (n = 156), Miao (n = 186), Maonan (n = 133), Gin (n = 160) and Guangxi Han (n = 1011). Using both AGCU Y24 STR and GFS Y24 STR genotyping kits, a total of 335 alleles and 141 haplotypes of three multi-copy loci were observed in these seven populations. The highest GD value of the 40 Y-STR loci in the overall population was 0.9643 for DYS385a/b, while the lowest was 0.4101 for DYS438. Out of the 2018 samples analysed, 1935 distinct haplotypes and 1858 unique haplotypes were observed. The HD value of the total samples was up to 0.9994 and ranged from a low of 0.9908 in the Yao to a high of 0.9999 in the Han population. We found using population structure analysis that the genetic distance is smaller among the seven southern populations (Guangxi Han, Gelao, Yao, Miao, Zhuang, Jing and Maonan) than the northern populations (Tibetan, Korean, Mongolian, Uygur and Hui). We show that the 40 Y-STRs have a high level of polymorphism in the South China ethnic groups and there is a high degree of differentiation among ethnic groups located in geographically distributed and densely populated areas. These data may provide additional resources for forensic applications and population genetic studies.
  • Analysis of vehicle collision accidents based on qualitative mechanics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Inhwan Han In this paper, a method for vehicle collision analysis based on qualitative mechanics is presented. In collisions where accurate quantitative information is difficult to gather, this analytic method can act as a useful complement. Based on qualitative dynamic theories, reasonings of various factors including qualitative vector, collision behavior, translational and rotational motion are suggested. Using the law of momentum conservation within the frame of rigid-body dynamics, vehicle collision analyses based on this qualitative reasoning were developed into an accident analysis tool. This newly developed qualitative collision analysis tool was verified using 45 cases of vehicle-to-vehicle collision test data, and its practicality was proved by performing analyses of various vehicle collision accidents.
  • Development of simple and accurate detection systems for Cannabis sativa
           using DNA chromatography
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Tadashi Yamamuro, Shigehiko Miyamoto, Masashi Kitamura, Tomonori Muro, Yuko T. Iwata, Hiroki Segawa, Kenji Kuwayama, Kenji Tsujikawa, Tatsuyuki Kanamori, Hiroyuki Inoue In recent years, the need for analyzing cannabis DNA has increased in order to accommodate the various types of cannabis samples encountered in forensic investigation. This study was aimed to establish a simple and accurate cannabis DNA detection system using DNA chromatography. Two chromatography chip systems with different features were successfully developed. One system (the “four-line version”) involves tetraplex PCR amplification, which could be used to detect cannabis DNA and distinguish between drug-type and fiber-type cannabis using the tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase gene sequence. The other system was the “three-line version” with triplex amplification, which was specialized to distinguish cannabis from other plants, and had a sensitivity (10 fg DNA/reaction) that was 100 times greater than the four-line version. In both versions, no false positives were observed for 60 medicinal plants, and accurate detection could be performed for several simulated forensic samples such as cannabis leaves, buds, stems, roots, seeds, resin, and cannabis leaves blended 1/100 in tobacco. Detection could be performed by the naked eye and only a thermal cycler was required for operation. Thus, DNA chromatography systems for cannabis detection are expected to contribute to the analysis of cannabis DNA in forensic chemistry laboratories without extensive equipment.
  • Analysis of chemical warfare agents by portable Raman spectrometer with
           both 785 nm and 1064 nm excitation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Tomohide Kondo, Ryota Hashimoto, Yasuhiko Ohrui, Ryoji Sekioka, Taro Nogami, Fumihito Muta, Yasuo Seto The Raman spectra of twenty-two chemical warfare agents (CWAs) were measured: eleven nerve agents and their precursor, five blister agents, three lachrymators, one choking agent, and one vomit agent, in liquid or solid state in colorless transparent vials were analyzed using a portable Raman spectrometer, Xantus-2 from Rigaku Corporation, equipped with selectable excitation lasers (785 nm and 1064 nm). With 785 nm excitation, characteristic Raman spectra composed of many sharp peaks were observed for twenty CWAs, but nitrogen mustard 3 (HN3) and adamsite (DM) did not show particular peaks owing to broad and intense mountain-like baselines. With 1064 nm excitation, Raman spectra similar to those with 785 nm excitation were observed for the twenty CWAs, where the wavenumbers of the peak tops and comparative heights were similar to those with 785 nm excitation. Characteristic Raman spectra with several sharp peaks could be even obtained for HN3 and DM with 1064 nm excitation. The resolutions of the peaks in the spectral region below 1000 cm−1 were higher with 785 nm excitation than those with 1064 nm excitation. In contrast, those above 1000 cm−1 were almost compatible with both excitations. The heights of the peaks in the spectral region lower than 1000 cm−1 were significantly higher with 785 nm excitation than those with 1064 nm excitation, but those higher than 1000 cm−1 were almost compatible with both excitations. The CWAs could be discriminated based on the Raman spectra showing respective unique fingerprint patterns, even among six alkyl methylphosphonofluoridate congeners. Structural assignment to Raman bands observed in the spectra was also proposed. The influence of mixing with gasoline to match the quality of library search was examined for seven representative CWAs. With 785 nm excitation, the hit quality index (HQI) of sarin was higher than 50% when the concentration (V/V) was higher than 25%. Meanwhile, with 1064 nm excitation, HQI of sarin was higher than 50% even when the concentration was as low as 15%. With 785 nm excitation, the HQI of L1 was higher than 50% when the concentration was higher than 80%. However, with 1064 nm excitation, the HQI of L1 was higher than 50% when the concentration was 20%. Measurements with 1064 nm excitation seemed superior in identifying CWAs in a gasoline mixture using the library search. The Raman spectra with 785 nm and 1064 nm excitation were compared in the measurement in the amber glass containers.
  • Fluorescent Metal Organic Frameworks for the visual enhancement of latent
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): R. de Jong, M. de Puit Lanthanide-based (Eu and Tb) metal organic frameworks (MOFs) synthesized in this work are highly fluorescent crystalline structures that form through a self-assembly process in an aqueous environment. Various bio-organic molecules, including proteins and amino acids, can act as inducing agents for this process. The fact that these components are present in fingermark secretions, in combination with the excellent luminescent properties of the MOFs, create a visualisation method for (latent) fingermarks. The aqueous MOF precursor solutions are not ideal for the visualisation of latent fingermarks on non-porous surfaces, such as aluminium foil and glass. However, they offer a simple, non-toxic, long-lasting and effective approach for the visibility enhancement of fingermarks treated with cyanoacrylate fuming on aluminium foil and glass and latent fingermarks on the adhesive side of a transparent tape. The luminescent properties of MOF-treated fingermarks persevered for at least 12 months, providing great alternative for commonly used organic dyes such as Basic Yellow 40 and Gentian Violet. In this communication we evaluate the applicability of the proposed method for the forensic fingermark workflow.
  • An evaluation of Bayesian age estimation using the auricular surface in
           modern Greek material
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 August 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Efthymia Nikita, Panagiota Xanthopoulou, Elena Kranioti Pelvic morphology is highly reflective of both sex and age changes in humans, making it a popular research focus in forensic anthropology. Relevant studies range from traditional descriptive to more complicated approaches involving statistical modeling, with the latter having become excessively popular in the last decades. The present study examines the performance of Bayesian statistics in age estimation based on the morphological changes observed on the iliac auricular surface. The aim is two-fold: a) to test whether a Bayesian approach can improve age-at-death estimation compared to the original Lovejoy et al. (1985a) and Buckberry and Chamberlain (2002) methods, and b) to explore the impact of adopting different samples as informative priors as well as for obtaining the transition analysis parameters. For this purpose, two modern Greek documented collections have been used, the Athens and the Cretan Collection. Our results found no clear improvement in age prediction when adopting Bayesian age estimation, with only one exception: Athenian males for the Buckberry and Chamberlain (2002) method. The choice of samples for transition analysis and as informative priors affected the results but this effect was statistically non-significant.
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