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Forensic Science International
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.981
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 465  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0379-0738
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3162 journals]
  • Quantifying chemiluminescence of the forensic luminol test for ovine blood
           in a dilution and time series
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 290Author(s): Sumiko Polacco, Paul Wilson, Mike Illes, Theresa Stotesbury This study investigates the chemiluminescent reaction of whole ovine blood with a luminol solution in a time and dilution series. Replicate samples of both fresh and dried certified pathogen-free ovine blood were prepared and diluted. Seven dilution conditions from neat to 1:1 000 000 were created for testing. A luminol solution, created using the standard Weber protocol, was applied to all samples in controlled laboratory conditions. A SpectraMax® M3 microplate reader luminometer was used to quantify the chemiluminescence from the reactions as relative luminescence units (RLUs) every four seconds for three minutes. Trends within and amongst the times series, reaction half-lives, and maximum chemiluminescent intensities are discussed. Our research provides a comprehensive dataset derived from instrumental and visual observations on the chemiluminescence resulting from ovine blood’s reaction to luminol. This study has implications in forensic bloodstain pattern analysis as it offers a mixed method approach to characterizing the reaction between blood and a commonly used presumptive testing reagent.
  • Skeletal weathering in central Florida: A preliminary approach for
           developing a scoring protocol to estimate time since death
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 290Author(s): John J. Schultz, Michelle M. Hawkins, Alexander T. Mitchell Regardless of region, skeletal remains deposited in subaerial contexts are subjected to a progression of taphonomic alterations. However, there are limited postmortem interval (PMI) standards developed, particularly in environments where skeletonization can occur quickly. The research purpose was to evaluate the timing and progression of early weathering alterations in two microenvironments (shaded and open) using pig carcasses (Sus scrofa) in the subtropical humid environment of central Florida. Over nine months, sun bleaching was assessed using Munsell® Soil Color Charts (2009) and scored based on percentage of the bone sun bleached, while bone weathering was further evaluated using Behrensmeyer’s (1978) stages. Results indicate that microenvironment has a significant influence, with the onset and progression of sun bleaching and Behrensmeyer’s (1978) Stages 2 and 3 occurring earlier in the open microenvironment. Sun bleaching stages and Behrensmeyer’s (1978) weathering stages can be utilized in conjunction for developing regionally specific PMI taphonomic models for different microenvironments.
  • Determining the number of test fires needed to represent the variability
           present within firearms of various calibers
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 290Author(s): Eric F. Law, Keith B. Morris, Casey M. Jelsema The Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners recommends a minimum of two test fires be performed when an unknown firearm is submitted to a laboratory prior to doing a comparison with a cartridge case collected from a crime scene. Limited research has been performed to determine how many test fires are necessary to be representative of the match distribution of a firearm. Various makes and models of firearms comprising five calibers were tested using a hybrid equivalence test to determine how many cartridge cases were required to represent the match distribution of an unknown firearm based on both breech face and firing pin correlation scores from an IBIS® HeritageTM System. The same general trend was observed for each caliber of firearm where the equivalence percentage increased from 10 to 30 cartridge cases. Overall, 15 cartridge cases are sufficient for above an 80% probability of representing the full match distribution for an unknown firearm. To approach full equivalence, 25 cartridge cases are enough because 30 cartridge cases were not found to be significantly higher in equivalence percentage for any caliber of firearm tested.
  • Oxidized multiwalled carbon nanotubes coated fibers for headspace
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 290Author(s): Aiying Song, Jiankang Wang, Gongxuan Lu, Zongping Jia, Jing Yang, Enlin Shi Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted a lot of attention as effective sorbents due to their strong sorption properties and several potential applications in many fields. In this work, the acid oxidized multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs-COOH) was coated onto a stainless steel wire by a simple physical adhesion approach to develop solid-phase microextraction (SPME) fibers. By combination of the MWCNTs-COOH coated fiber-based headspace SPME and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS), the developed method demonstrates a good enhancement factor (288–651), low limits of detection (LODs, 0.2–1.3 μg/L) for determination of amphetamine-type stimulant drugs (ATSs) in urine samples. The recoveries of the spiked ATSs (5, 50 and 500 μg/L) were in the range of 88–107%, the calibration curve was linear for concentrations of analytes in the range from 0.5 to 1000 μg/L (R = 0.963–0.999). Furthermore, single fiber repeatability and fiber-to-fiber reproducibility were in the range of 2.3%–6.2% (n = 6) and 5.7%–9.8% (n = 3), respectively. The MWCNTs-COOH coated fiber is highly thermally stable and can be used over 150 times. The method was successfully applied to the forensic determination of amphetamine (AMP) and methamphetamine (MAMP) in human urine samples and satisfactory results were achieved.
  • Development and application of a new nose hairs sample collection device
           for GSR Particles by scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive
           X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS)
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 290Author(s): Luis Chávez Reyes, César Elgueta López, Ana Briceño Barrios, Carlos Garrido Soto, Cristian Ibáñez, Fabiola Jamett Díaz When a firearm is discharged, a gaseous cloud containing characteristic particles of gunshot residue (GSR) are released forward and behind at high speed, depositing on clothing, hands, face and hair, as well as being inhaled and therefore retained in the nostrils of the person who fired the weapon. GSRs have characteristic sizes and morphologies and consist of a combination of lead, antimony and barium, as well as other elements. Scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) is a widely accepted technique for the analysis of these residues; however, little has been reported on samples taken from the nostrils of the suspect that discharged the shot. The analysis of residues found on hands has been more frequent. This article presents a device (Nasal Stub) developed by us for the non-invasive collection of GSR particles from the nostrils and a platform also developed by us to contain these devices that is compatible with SEM-EDS. To evaluate the effectiveness of our Nasal Stub to collect GSR particles from nose hairs, four types of firearms of different calibers were utilized. Nasal samples were collected at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 20 h after firing. The results show that the nasal device was able to recover GSR particles from nose hairs for all the weapons used, even, in some cases, over 20 h after firing. It was concluded that Nasal Stub and its methodology proposed for the analysis of nasal GSR from nose hairs by SEM-EDS was effective and that it can complement other traditional analyses of GSR particles, increasing the amount of evidentiary support for the forensic analysis presented in a tribunal or court.
  • Laryngohyoid fractures in suicidal hanging: A prospective autopsy study
           with an updated review and critical appraisal
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 290Author(s): Lenka Zátopková, Martin Janík, Petra Urbanová, Jitka Mottlová, Petr Hejna Laryngohyoid fractures in hanging victims are one of the most studied and paradoxically contradictory topics in forensic pathology. According to literary sources, the incidence of laryngohyoid fractures in hanging varies significantly, from 0% to 100%. To verify the diagnostic significance of these injuries in hanging, we prospectively and consecutively analyzed the occurrence of laryngohyoid fractures in a group of 178 suicidal hanging victims (M/F = 150/28, aged 14–94 years, mean age = 50, complete suspension = 111 cases, partial suspension = 67 cases) in relation to selected variables (age, sex, weight, the completeness of body suspension, and ligature knot location). Altogether, we identified the following types of laryngohyoid fractures in 129 of 178 cases (72.5%): isolated fracture(s) to the thyroid cartilage in 60 cases (33.7%), combined thyrohyoid fractures in 41 cases (23.0%), isolated fracture(s) to the hyoid bone in 28 cases (15.7%), and no fractures to the cricoid cartilage or the cervical vertebrae. The highest frequency of laryngohyoid fractures was found in lateral hangings (right lateral: 26/34, 76.5%; left lateral: 31/37, 83.8%), whereas the lowest rate was found in anterior hangings (4/11, 36.4%). In lateral hangings, fractures more often occurred contralaterally to the suspension point. Statistical analysis revealed significant associations of the occurrence of laryngohyoid fractures with the age of the victim (p = 0.028), with the position of the ligature knot on the neck (p = 0.019) and with the age-corrected weight of the victim (p = 0.026). In addition, we performed a systematic updated review and critical appraisal of relevant literary sources to report the incidence, fracture patterns, and contributing variables of laryngohyoid injuries in hanging. Both the results of our study and the provided literary synthesis show that if evaluated properly, laryngohyoid fractures in hanging may diagnostically offer far more than just evidence that injury to the neck occurred and may also present research opportunities regarding several issues that should be further analyzed and explained.
  • Forensic taphonomy: Scavenger-induced scattering patterns in the temperate
           southwestern Cape, South Africa — A first look
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 290Author(s): Maximilian J. Spies, Devin A. Finaughty, Victoria E. Gibbon The effect of vertebrate scavenging can drastically alter the rate of decomposition and cause skeletal scatter, which hinders human forensic recovery and identification. Patterns of scavenging, disarticulation and scatter in a forensic context are specific to different environments with no known data for South Africa. A better understanding of these patterns can increase the chances of full body recovery and improve identification of human remains. In this preliminary study, the effect of wild vertebrate scavenging on skeletal scatter was examined using a porcine model in the forensically significant thicketed Cape Flats Dune Strandveld habitat. This area is a densely populated part of Cape Town, which suffers from poor socioeconomic conditions and a high murder rate. Ethics was granted for the use of three small (∼20 kg) domestic pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) carcasses as proxies for human decomposition. They were deployed in Delft, Cape Town, and observed by motion-activated cameras to record wild scavenger activity. One pig served as a control and was caged to prevent vertebrate but not invertebrate access; the other two served as experimental treatments. Scatter was recorded every second day by marking the location of skeletal elements and measuring the distance and angle from the centre of each deposition site. No scattering was observed in the control, but notable scattering patterns were observed in the experimental pigs due to Cape grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta) scavenging, the only vertebrate scavenger species observed. No clear pattern of scatter distance over time was followed. Scatter began in the skeletonisation phase (day 25–30), resulting in a maximum distance of 12.67 m and scatter/search area of 504.32 m2. Mongoose-induced skeletal scatter followed a distinct pattern of movement into dense undergrowth, a previously unobserved behaviour and a key finding of this study. These results provide baseline data for sub-adult human scatter, or scatter of smaller components of an adult human skeleton, as demonstrated in the forensic case example provided. Knowledge is provided on locally relevant decomposition patterns and informs search methods for improved human skeletal recovery in forensic cases. There is scope for expansion of this study, with an investigation of seasonal effects, the interaction between invertebrate and vertebrate activity, as well as, the effect of clothing on scavenger access.
  • Male sexual assaults in the Paris, France area: An observational study
           over 8 years
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 290Author(s): Sophie Duchesne, Marie Seyller, Patrick Chariot BackgroundMale sexual assaults were long ignored, possibly because of the myth acceptance that a man can only be the perpetrator of sexual assaults. It is increasingly admitted that all males can be victims of rape. We described the characteristics of a series of male adolescent and adult victims of sexual assault who had a forensic medical examination.MethodsWe conducted an observational study over 8 years.ResultsWe included 98 male patients aged 15 years and older (range 15–66, median 25) at the time of a reported sexual assault. Assailants were known by the victim in 59 cases (60%). Forty-four patients (45%) had physical or mental vulnerability. Anal penetration was reported in 49 cases (50%). Genital examination showed abnormalities compatible with traumatic injuries in 23 cases (24%). Psychological symptoms were found in 81 victims (83%), including shame (39, 40%) and anxiety (38, 39%). Of 98 victims, sperm could be detected in 6 cases (6%) (anal, 4; oral, 1; skin, 1). Male victims were more frequently disabled or vulnerable than female victims examined in the same centre (45% vs. 13%, p 
  • Laryngeal anatomical variants and their impact on the diagnosis of
           mechanical asphyxias by neck pressure
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 290Author(s): João Pinheiro, José Luis Cascallana, Benito Lopez de Abajo, José Luis Otero, Maria Sol Rodriguez-Calvo The aims of this investigation were to determine the characteristics and prevalence of anatomical variants of the larynx apparatus and to evaluate the impact of these variants on the accurate diagnosis of laryngeal fractures.A population-based study was carried out, analyzing a series of 207 consecutive autopsied cases in the Institute of Legal Medicine of Galicia (Northwestern Spain).The prevalence of triticeal cartilage was 52.7% and that of agenesis of thyroid horns 10%. Calcification of the stylo-hyoid ligament accounted for 1.4%. We identified three new anatomical variants: the terminal segmentation of the thyroid horns (11.6%), ectopic superior thyroid horns (8%) and lateral thyrohyoid ossification (5.3%). These three names, based on anatomical criteria, are the author’s proposal to solve the lack of uniformity in the designation of these variants.Agenesis of thyroid horns were related to the presence of ectopic superior thyroid horns in 93% of cases, either uni or bilateral. The combination of variants was present in 6.8% of the cases, being the terminal segmentation of the thyroid horns in association with triticeal cartilage the most frequent (3.8%).The probability of misdiagnosis due to the presence of anatomical variations in deaths by pressure on the neck was high in this population (71.5%). The prevalence of triticeal cartilage in more than half of the sample, determined an important rate of potential errors (46.4%), followed by the mistaken diagnoses induced by terminal segmentation of thyroid horns (7.3%) and by ectopic superior thyroid horns (6.3%).The likelihood of a misdiagnosed laryngeal fracture was greater if the thyroid cartilage was affected, with a higher proportion of false positives comparing to the hyoid bone (p 
  • Forensic taphonomy: Vertebrate scavenging in the temperate southwestern
           Cape, South Africa
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 290Author(s): Maximilian J. Spies, Victoria E. Gibbon, Devin A. Finaughty Vertebrate scavenging can significantly accelerate the rate of decomposition, which can hinder estimating the post-mortem interval (PMI). Patterns of decomposition and scavenging are highly specific to different environments in a forensic context, with no known data for South Africa. A better understanding of local decomposition patterns, taking scavenging into account, could increase the accuracy of PMI estimation and improve identification of human remains. Using a porcine model in the forensically significant thicketed Cape Flats Dune Strandveld habitat, the effect of vertebrate scavenging on the decomposition process was examined. This part of Cape Town suffers from poor socioeconomic conditions and a high murder rate, which is due in part to the dense population. Human decomposition was simulated using three small (∼20 kg) domestic pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) carcasses, with ethical clearance. One pig served as a control and was caged to prevent vertebrate but not invertebrate access; the other two served as experimental treatments. They were deployed in Delft, Cape Town, and observed by motion-activated, time-lapse remote photography to record scavenger species and activity. A rapid increase in the decomposition rate was observed due to Cape grey mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta) scavenging, with early skeletonisation reached by both experimental pigs by day 14, compared to the control remaining in advanced decomposition after 93 days. Mongoose is the primary scavenger in this habitat, and showed notable patterns of feeding behaviour, exclusively within daylight hours. Scavenging activity was only influenced by rainfall later in the cycle. This research provides knowledge on locally relevant decomposition patterns and highlights the necessity for PMI estimation methods to consider vertebrate scavengers. This may improve human skeletal identification in forensic cases. There is scope for expansion of this study, with an investigation of seasonal effects, the interaction between invertebrate and vertebrate activity, as well as, the effect of clothing on scavenger access.
  • The utility of elliptical Fourier analysis for estimating ancestry and sex
           from lateral skull photographs
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Jodi M. Caple, John E. Byrd, Carl N. Stephan Current quantitative methods for estimating ancestry and sex from skulls typically require substantial manual data collection and specialized recording equipment, which can limit analysis to the laboratory. This limitation could be addressed by establishing a faster, more user-friendly, and automatic data protocol as investigated in the current study using elliptical Fourier analysis (EFA). Ancestry and sex were estimated using outlines acquired from standardized photographs of the skull in norma lateralis (left side). In this investigation, training samples comprised anatomical specimens from five collections: the Hamann-Todd Human Osteological Collection, WM Bass Donated Skeletal Collection, Robert J. Terry Anatomical Skeletal Collection, Khon Kaen Osteological Collection, and Chiba Bone Collection. Groups were defined as Black American female (n = 87), Black American male (n = 109), Japanese male (n = 59), Thai female (n = 39), Thai male (n = 47), White American female (n = 97), and White American male (n = 134). EFA was conducted on partial Procrustes-aligned skull outline coordinates, before extracting principal components and using linear discriminant analysis for group assignment. Classification accuracy was determined using the 5-fold cross-validation protocol. Ancestry and sex were classified correctly 73% of the time when all seven reference samples were used. When only Black and White Americans were retained in the reference sample with sex pooled, they were correctly classified 94% of the time. Accuracy of out-of-group ancestry and sex estimation was evaluated using nine White American males from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Laboratory. A seven-way comparison with all reference samples for estimating both ancestry and sex achieved 89% (8/9) correct classifications, with one misclassification as White American female. These out-of-group results, along with initial training group accuracies, indicate that lateral skull outlines can be used to successfully estimate ancestry and sex with similar accuracy to other methods, and set the basis for future cross-validation testing. Further, the reliance on a single easy-to-take photograph and user-friendly open-source R script facilitates easy application and field use. The protocol is freely available from as the SkullProfiler script.
  • Facial ageing in South African adult males
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Estha J. Schmidlin, Maryna Steyn, Tobias M.R. Houlton, Nanette Briers Knowledge of facial ageing is important in forensic facial approximation and photo identification. Previous studies mostly investigated facial ageing in European faces, and this research therefore aims to provide data on patterns of facial ageing in an African sample. One hundred eighty-nine black South African males aged 20 years and older were photographed in anterior and lateral views. Facial images were captured in a consistent position by using a Canon EOS 1300D camera and 18- to 55-mm EFS lens. Thirty individuals per decade were included, with the 80+ age category being limited to only nine participants. A facial ageing scoring system, based on previous research, was constructed for non-metric age changes such as appearance of wrinkles and sagging around the orbital area. Metric age changes such as ear lengthening and lip thinning were investigated separately. Results indicate that the ageing process in black South Africans has both similarities and differences to senescence described for European populations. Although most ageing features showed unidirectional change during time, these changes often occurred at a variable rate. Some features did not show a clear change with increasing age – these include mouth width increase, nasal elongation, nasal tip dropping, ear width increase and ear length increase. In addition to the age-feature correlations, an average face per decade was developed using Abrosoft FantaMorph Deluxe software. This provides a visual approximation of male South African faces captured at a single moment in time, as an aid for craniofacial depictions and facial image ageing in forensic practise.
  • Changes in face topography from supine-to-upright position—And soft
           tissue correction values for craniofacial identification
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Lachlan Munn, Carl N. Stephan Soft tissues of the human face hang from the skull under the downward vector of gravity. Subsequently, the fall of the tissues is not likely the same between supine, prone or upright positions with ramifications for soft tissue measurements such as average soft tissue thicknesses used in craniofacial identification. Here we use high-resolution Dimensional Imaging® DI3D stereo-photographs (Glasgow, Scotland) to map the shape change between upright and supine position in the same 62 participants and encode the surface shell differences as greyscale pixel intensity values. Statistical tests were conducted using MANOVA at 31 capulometric landmarks, with posture as the independent factor in a repeated measures design, and sex, somatotype and age (two groups of 50 years) as independent factors in a between subjects design. Results indicate that facial morphology changed in characteristic fashion between the positions: when supine, the soft tissue extruded inferior and lateral to the eyes (Δmin = +1.2 mm; Δmax = +3.0 mm, p 
  • Skeletal dimensions as predictors for the shape of the nose in a South
           African sample: A cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) study
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): A.F. Ridel, F. Demeter, J. Liebenberg, E.N. L’Abbé, D. Vandermeulen, A.C. Oettlé The profile of the nose is an important feature for facial approximations. Although several manual and semi-automated prediction guidelines exist for estimating the shape of the nose, the reliability and applicability of these methods to South Africans groups are unknown.The aim of this study was to predict the displacements of capulometric landmarks from hard-tissue planes to facilitate nasal soft-tissue reconstruction in a South African sample. Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans of 120 adult South Africans were selected from the Oral and Dental Hospital, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Measurements involving craniometric and capulometric landmarks of the nose were obtained as plane-to-plane distances. Correlation coefficients between hard- and soft-tissue measurements were determined, and regression equations computed to assist in the prediction of the most probable shape and size of the nose. All hard- and soft-tissue measurements appeared significantly different between groups, except for the distance between the pronasale and nasion in the transverse plane and for the distance between the alare and the nasion in the coronal plane. The nasal height, nasal bone length and the nasal bone projection were significant predictors of the pronasale, subnasale and alare positions. More precisely, the nasal height and the nasal bone length were significant predictors of the pronasale position in both groups. Nasal bone projection was only useful for predicting shape in white South Africans. The variation in the skeletal predictors of the external shape of the nose noted between black and white South Africans and the results of the cross-validation testing emphasize the need for population specific guidelines.
  • Digital forensics in a post-truth age
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Hany Farid
  • Digital forensic evidence—Flaws in the criminal justice system
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Jan Collie
  • Judicial primers—A unique collaboration between science and law
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): S. Black, N. NicDaeid
  • Lethal cardiac amyloidosis: Modification of the Congo Red technique on a
           forensic case
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): A. Rancati, S. Andreola, P. Bailo, M. Boracchi, P. Fociani, G. Gentile, R. Zoja Congo Red staining is usually used in diagnosing amyloidosis, a pathology characterized by the storage of abnormal proteins in several human organs. When assessed on samples fixated in formalin and embended in paraffin, this staining can undergo several artefacts, causing diagnostic and interpretative difficulties due to its weak stainability and a consequent reduced visibility of the amyloid. These complications, in time, requested several variations of this staining technique, especially in clinical practice, while in the forensic field no protocols has ever been adapted to cadaveric samples, a material that is already characteristically burdened by a peculiar stainability.In our work, studying a sudden death caused by cardiac amyloidosis and diagnosed only with post-mortem exams, we present a modified Congo Red staining used with the purpose to demonstrate amyloid in cadaveric material after the unsuccessfully use of all standard protocols.
  • The use of warmed ethyl vinyl acetate in reassembling skeletal remains
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Stephen Knott Fragmentation of skeletal material is a common occurrence in archaeological excavations and during forensic investigations. Traditionally the reconstruction of skeletal fragments has relied on the use of adhesive tapes, waxes and glues. The application of warmed ethyl vinyl acetate or EVA enables precise anatomical location without damage to the skeletal material. If reversal is required, the EVA can be removed without damage. This inexpensive technique will enhance the capabilities of research investigators when reconstructing skeletal remains.
  • A comparison between DART-MS and DSA-MS in the forensic analysis of
           writing inks
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Nicholas Drury, Robert Ramotowski, Mehdi Moini Ambient ionization mass spectrometry is gaining momentum in forensic science laboratories because of its high speed of analysis, minimal sample preparation, and information-rich results. One such application of ambient ionization methodology includes the analysis of writing inks from questioned documents where colorants of interest may not be soluble in common solvents, rendering thin layer chromatography (TLC) and separation–mass spectrometry methods such as LC/MS (-MS) impractical. Ambient ionization mass spectrometry uses a variety of ionization techniques such as penning ionization in Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART), and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization in Direct Sample Analysis (DSA), and electrospray ionization in Desorption Electrospray Ionization (DESI). In this manuscript, two of the commonly used ambient ionization techniques are compared: Perkin Elmer DSA-MS and IonSense DART in conjunction with a JEOL AccuTOF MS. Both technologies were equally successful in analyzing writing inks and produced similar spectra. DSA-MS produced less background signal likely because of its closed source configuration; however, the open source configuration of DART-MS provided more flexibility for sample positioning for optimum sensitivity and thereby allowing smaller piece of paper containing writing ink to be analyzed. Under these conditions, the minimum sample required for DART-MS was 1 mm strokes of ink on paper, whereas DSA-MS required a minimum of 3 mm. Moreover, both techniques showed comparable repeatability. Evaluation of the analytical figures of merit, including sensitivity, linear dynamic range, and repeatability, for DSA-MS and DART-MS analysis is provided. To the forensic context of the technique, DART-MS was applied to the analysis of United States Secret Service ink samples directly on a sampling mesh, and the results were compared with DSA-MS of the same inks on paper. Unlike analysis using separation mass spectrometry, which requires sample preparation, both DART-MS and DSA-MS successfully analyzed writing inks with minimal sample preparation.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • The application of low-altitude near-infrared aerial photography for
           detecting clandestine burials using a UAV and low-cost unmodified digital
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Rykker Evers, Peter Masters Aerial photography and remote sensing has been carried out in the past by numerous different platforms, utilizing imaging from across the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum to gain information about the earth. These techniques have additionally been found effective when locating mass graves and single clandestine graves created by perpetrators when concealing homicide victims. Applications for performing aerial photography and remote sensing are costly and therefore usually overlooked by police investigators, resulting in employing more contemporary geophysical methods for locating burials. Recent advances in technology however have seen the development of small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for aerial photography which can be executed at low altitude and controlled remotely from the surface. This development has introduced low-cost approaches in detecting surface features, commonly utilised in the archaeological field for its accuracy in detecting anomalies, particularly when using near-infrared (NIR) photography. NIR aerial images have been shown to expose cropmarks of historical value which are unnoticeable in conventional colour photography, deriving from the visual area of the EM spectrum. However, little attempt has been made to investigate the practice of NIR photography to detect clandestine graves using low-cost aerial platforms in the form of UAVs. This paper considers adopting a low-cost and non-invasive approach to detect clandestine graves through the implementation of a small UAV and an unmodified GoPro camera fixed with a near-infrared filter. The results presented here have recognised real-time suitability for using UAVs as an aerial photographic platform in the forensic archaeological field as well as noting the advantage of NIR photography as an ongoing technique for discriminating recent graves from their surroundings.
  • d-glucitol+in+vitreous+humor+and+cerebrospinal+fluid+—+A+helpful+tool+for+identification+of+diabetes+and+diabetic+coma+post+mortem&rft.title=Forensic+Science+International&rft.issn=0379-0738&">1,5-Anhydro-d-glucitol in vitreous humor and cerebrospinal fluid — A
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Konrad Sydow, Theresa Kueting, Frank Musshoff, Burkhard Madea, Cornelius Hess Since there are no characteristic morphological findings post mortem diagnosis of diabetes mellitus and identification of diabetic coma need to be confirmed by suitable biomarkers. The postmortem identification of preexisting hyperglycemia or diabetic coma can be difficult if the matrices for the determination of the established biomarkers are not available or the obtained results are close to the established cut-off values. 1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG), the 1-deoxy form of glucose, competes with glucose for renal reabsorption. Therefore low serum concentrations of 1,5-AG, reflect hyperglycemic excursions over the prior 1–2 weeks in diabetic patients. To evaluate postmortem 1,5-AG concentrations in vitreous humor (VH) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a liquid chromatographic mass spectrometric method for the quantification of 1,5-AG in VH and CSF was developed and validated according to international guidelines. In order to establish a cut-off for the identification of an ante mortem existing diabetes and the diagnosis of a diabetic coma in deceased the relationships between 1,5-AG concentrations in VH and CSF to other diabetes associated biochemical parameters of 47 non-diabetic, 86 diabetic and 9 cases of diabetic coma were examined. In 83 of these cases, both matrices could be obtained and analyzed. Comparisons of the respective HbA1c, Glucose in VH or Sum-formula of Traub to 1,5-AG concentrations in VH and CSF resulted in correlation coefficients R2 ≤ 0.2. For the application of 1,5-AG concentrations in VH against CSF, a linear regression gave a correlation coefficient of R2 = 0.955. Comparable linear correlations of 1,5-AG concentrations could be observed between VH and femoral venous blood (FVB) (R2 = 0.839) as well as between CSF and FVB (R2 = 0.756). Due to overlapping concentration ranges, the determination of a reliable cut-off for the differentiation of diabetic disease to diabetic coma cases was not possible. However, the 1,5-AG concentrations in VH and CSF in cases of deceased diabetics were significantly lower (p 
  • Ecological aspects of unusual findings of animals nesting inside a
           mummified human corpse in natural conditions
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Łukasz Szleszkowski, Marcin Kadej, Agata Thannhäuser, Dariusz Tarnawski, Tomasz Jurek We report, for the first time, a case of nesting by Apis mellifera mellifera (L., 1758) (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Apidae), Vespula vulgaris (L., 1758) (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Vespidae), and Sciurus vulgaris L., 1758 (Mammalia: Rodentia: Sciuridae) inside a mummified human corpse in natural conditions (Lower Silesia province, south-western Poland). A case history, autopsy findings, and biological observations are provided. A list of the insect species found in the corpse is provided and compared with available data. Other zoological findings are mentioned and briefly discussed.
  • Investigation of some of the factors influencing fingermark detection
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Scott Chadwick, Sebastien Moret, Nilesh Jayashanka, Chris Lennard, Xanthe Spindler, Claude Roux The primary aims of fingermark detection research are to improve the quality and increase the rate of detection of identifiable impressions. This is usually performed through the development of new methods and technologies to provide alternatives to or improve current procedures. While research of this nature is important to pursue, it fails to address the underlying question related to the factors that affect the detection of a latent fingermark. There has been significant research that has examined the differences between techniques, donors and fingermark age, as well as the composition of latent fingermarks. However, they tend not to focus on determining how these factors influence the quality of the developed mark.This study involved the development and evaluation of over 14,000 natural fingermarks deposited on a variety of surfaces to examine the effect of substrate, age, donor variability (both inter- and intra-), depletions and type of finger on fingermark development. Fingermarks were deposited on four substrates (two non-porous and two porous) and developed with either indanedione-zinc (IND-Zn) or cyanoacrylate followed by rhodamine 6G staining (CA + R6G). Three independent assessors graded each mark on the quality of development using an absolute scale proposed by the UK Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST). The data generated from these assessments were then analysed for trends or other useful insights.The results from this work reaffirm that individual substrate characteristics (and the choice of development technique) play a significant role in determining the number and quality of marks developed. It was found that fingermarks were more likely to be detected on porous substrates and to also be of a higher quality than on non-porous. The effect of fingermark donor variability was also explored, with significant differences observed between donors and within donors. This research shows that current detection techniques do not detect all available fingermarks, reinforcing the need for further research into the fundamentals of fingermark detection in order to gain a better understanding of the techniques currently used. The study has identified considerations for the development of novel techniques and how we need to account for variability when designing fingermark research experiments.
  • Alcohol consumption or contamination: A preliminary study on the
           determination of the ethanol origin by stable carbon isotope analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Hang Chen, Baohua Shen, Sujing Zhang, Ping Xiang, Xianyi Zhuo, Min Shen The origin of ethanol detected in bio-samples whether it be from the consumption of alcoholic beverages or contamination with disinfectants has been questioned in court cases in China recently. The stable carbon isotope naturally occurs in carbon-containing compounds and can help determine the origin of the compound in question. In total, 42 types of beers and 11 types of disinfectants were analyzed by gas chromatography-isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Consumption and contamination experiments were carried out with 6 volunteers. The δ13C values of ethanol ranged from −29.51‰ to −18.36‰ for the beer samples, which reflected the botanical features of C3 plants or mixtures of C3 and C4 plants. The δ13C values of ethanol ranged from −17.7‰ to −14.4‰ for disinfectants, which reflected the different origins of ethanol in disinfectants from those in beer. The δ13C value did not change in vivo after being consumed within the time limit used in this study. These characteristics of the δ13C values will facilitate to interpret whether the ethanol detected in bio-samples originated from consumption or contamination.
  • A comparative study to investigate the effect of orthodontic treatment on
           the uniqueness of the human anterior dentition
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Alice Elizabeth Catherine Dyke, Susan Cunningham, Nigel Hunt, Clifford Ruff AIMThe human dentition contains many features which can be used to identify an individual from the dentition or from bite marks created and bite mark evidence may be used to link a suspect to a crime.The aim of this research was to investigate the effect of orthodontic treatment on the uniqueness of the human anterior dentition by comparison of the number of dental shape matches between pre- and post-treatment dental casts for a group of patients who have undergone orthodontic treatment (dental braces) to improve the alignment of their teeth.METHODThis comparative study utilised pre- and post-orthodontic treatment dental casts from 36 patients. The dental casts were scanned and the anterior 6 teeth landmarked with 24 landmarks in total. The dental casts were divided into 4 groups: pre-orthodontic upper jaw (maxillary) and lower jaw (mandibular) and post-orthodontic maxillary and mandibular. Partial and full Procrustes analyses were undertaken to investigate the similarity between dental casts within each group and whether any of the comparisons were similar enough to be classified as a match. A landmarking repeatability study performed on a set of digitised dental casts determined the error of the landmarking procedure and allowed a proposed match threshold to be established.RESULTSOrthodontic treatment reduced the uniqueness, and increased the similarity, between dentitions, as evidenced by a reduction in the maximum partial Procrustes distances in the post-orthodontic dental cast groups. None of the dental cast comparisons in the pre- or post-orthodontic maxillary or mandibular groups were classified as a match with the partial Procrustes analysis. However, many false positive matches (between 35 and 61) were identified within the post-orthodontic maxillary and mandibular groups using the full Procrustes analysis.CONCLUSIONSOrthodontic treatment reduced the uniqueness of the human anterior dentition between different patients. There were no matches identified with the partial Procrustes analysis, but a large number of false positive matches were identified using the full Procrustes analysis. It is therefore proposed that full Procrustes analysis is unsuitable for this type of work and that only partial Procrustes analysis should be utilised.
  • Development and application of a method for ivory dating by analyzing
           radioisotopes to distinguish legal from illegal ivory
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Andreas Schmidberger, Bernhard Durner, David Gehrmeyer, Robert Schupfner The age determination of elephant ivory provides necessary and crucial information for all criminal prosecution authorities enforcing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The knowledge of the age of ivory allows to distinguish between pre-convention, hence legal material and ivory deriving from recent, illegal poaching incidents. The commonly applied method to determine the age of ivory is radiocarbon dating in the form of bomb pulse dating, which however will fade out soon. This work provides an enhancement of the radiocarbon dating method by supplementary determination of the isotope profile of 90-Sr and the two thorium isotopes 228-Th and 232-Th. This combined analysis allows for a precise and unambiguous age determination of ivory. We provided calibration curves for all involved radionuclides by analyzing ivory samples with known age and investigated a new method for the extraction of strontium from ivory.
  • A fast and reliable method for quantitation of THC and its 2 main
           metabolites in whole blood by GC–MS/MS (TQD)
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): André L. Castro, Sónia Tarelho, Paula Melo, João Miguel Franco An analytical method was developed for the simultaneous determination of Δ9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 11-hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC) and l1-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH) in whole blood samples, for identification and quantitation purposes. Samples were prepared using solid-phase extraction, followed by gas chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (GC–MS/MS) analysis in multiple reaction monitoring mode, with a total run time of 7.6 min. MS/MS detection was achieved with two ion transitions per substance. The method was fully validated, including selectivity and capacity of identification, limit of detection and limit of quantitation, recovery, carryover, linearity (1–100 ng/mL), intra-assay precision, inter-assay accuracy. The obtained results allowed its use in routine forensic analysis, with the application to real samples, both clinical and post-mortem.
  • Accuracy of dental identification of individuals with unrestored permanent
           teeth by visual comparison with radiographs of mixed dentition
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Ludovica Gorza, Scheila Mânica Forensic dentistry plays a major role in human identification. Teeth carry individual characteristics that differ among different individuals. Dental radiographs depict reality objectively, being the most reliable tool for dental identification. The first aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of dental identification of individuals with permanent unrestored teeth by visual comparison with radiographs of mixed dentition. The second aim was to learn which anatomical features were compared by examiners with different backgrounds. A total of 19 forensic experts participated in a web-based questionnaire to assess identification of 12 simulated cases; each case required the radiographic comparison of 1 dental PM radiograph to 3 dental AM radiographs, of which only one was the correct match. The examiners were given four options following the ABFO guidelines: established identification, possible identification, insufficient data and exclusion; the participants also explained the reason for each of their conclusions. The accuracy of the methodology was 75,4%, the sensitivity was 53,5% and the specificity was 86,4%. Overall, there was a tendency of the observers to overlook non-dental characteristics. Not surprisingly, dental identification by visual comparison of radiographs was not immune to subjectivity and, even analysing the same category of features, different conclusions and consequently different percentages of accuracy were reached. When matching the correct AM radiograph, most examiners compared the root morphology of the first molars and the shape of the maxillary sinus. When one of the AM radiographs was not matched, the examiners mostly asserted that there was insufficient data to reach a conclusion due to the lack of distinctive and comparable features. With AM and PM radiographs showing different development stages, accuracy was correlated to the age of the AM radiograph.
  • The use of longwave reflected UV imaging for the enhancement of
           cyanoacrylate developed fingermarks: A simple, safe and effective imaging
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Roberto S.P. King, Lloyd W.L. Davis, Daniel A. Skros Longwave ultraviolet reflection (LWUVR) imaging is reported as a simple, safe and non‐invasive technique that significantly aids in the visualisation of cyanoacrylate developed latent fingermarks. The process can precede traditional cyanoacrylate dye staining and often removes the necessity to use these chemical contrast reagents, saving time, cost and eliminating mess. The non-destructive nature of the process and high resolution images that are obtained, builds upon issues that surround shorter-wavelength UV imaging. It has been demonstrated that, for most samples tested (a range of non-porous and semi-porous evidence), LWUVR imaging provided superior or similar results to those obtained using the traditional BY40 dye stain. The lack of penetration depth by LWUV radiation means that only the features of the surface under observation is detected by the camera, meaning that interference that may otherwise arise from fluorescence on the reverse side of the evidence (BY40 or fluorescent inks) under conventional fluorescent dye stain imaging modes, is mitigated. A new sequential processing workflow is proposed that does not impede with the conventional and widely adopted fume > stain > fluorescence sequence, but in fact allows LWUVR imaging to be conducted in a manner that serves to benefit the sequence and, ideally, save time during the examination and treatment of evidence.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • An automated approach to the classification of impact spatter and cast-off
           bloodstain patterns
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): R.M. Arthur, J. Hoogenboom, M. Baiker, M.C. Taylor, K.G. de Bruin In the forensic discipline of bloodstain pattern analysis, it has been suggested that there is a blurred boundary between characterising the features of a bloodstain pattern and determining the mechanism(s) that led to its deposition. This study proposes that bloodstain pattern classification can become a distinct and logical process by implementing an automated approach. To do this, an automated bloodstain pattern recognition system was developed to enable the distinction of two types of spatter bloodstain patterns. First, global pattern features based on common bloodstain pattern properties were extracted from laboratory-generated impact spatter and cast-off bloodstain patterns. Following this, automated feature selection methods were used to identify the combination of features that best distinguished the two bloodstain pattern types. This eventually led to the training and testing of a Fisher quadratic discriminant classifier using separate subsets of the generated bloodstain patterns. When applied to the training dataset, a 100% classification precision resulted. An independent dataset comprising of bloodstain patterns generated on paint and wallpaper substrates were used to validate the performance of the classifier. An error rate of 2% was obtained when the classifier was applied to these bloodstain patterns. This automated bloodstain pattern recognition system offers considerable promise as an objective classification methodology which up to now, the discipline has lacked. With further refinement, including testing it over a wider range of bloodstain patterns, it could provide valuable quantitative data to support analysts in their task of classifying bloodstain patterns.
  • Simple detection of bacterioplankton using a loop-mediated isothermal
           amplification (LAMP) assay: First practical approach to 72 cases of
           suspected drowning
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Eiji Kakizaki, Ai Sonoda, Masahiro Sakai, Nobuhiro Yukawa We developed a novel molecular tool for assisting the diagnosis of death by drowning and evaluated its validity in forensic practical cases. Two novel sets of loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) primers were designed to detect either representative freshwater (Aeromonas) or marine (Vibrio, Photobacterium, Listonella) bacterioplankton (aquatic bacteria) in one tube using the LAMP technique. The assay involves only mixing template DNA with seven reagents and incubating at 64 °C for 80 min and does not require special or expensive equipment because detection is based on visual observation under natural light. The assay’s excellent specificity was also demonstrated using 17 standard (control) strains and 124 other bacterial strains cultured from drowning and non-drowning victims in our previous studies. We then assayed 299 specimens (135 lung, 164 blood) from 72 victims, including 45 who had drowned in rivers, ditches, seas, and around estuaries. LAMP assay results could provide effective information to assist the diagnosis of death by drowning in practical cases. The LAMP assay would be useful for suspected drowning cases, as it is a less-laborious and less-expensive minimal test when death by drowning is sufficiently confirmed or negated from only autopsy findings and environmental data or when diatom testing is not performed due to logistic, personnel, or budgetary limitations. Moreover, the assay could serve as a simple additional test when the density of diatoms in the lungs is very low due to low density in the water.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Pistol bullet deflection through soft tissue simulants
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): W. Kerkhoff, A. Bolck, I. Alberink, E.J.A.T. Mattijssen, R. Hermsen, F. Riva Trajectory deflections of pistol bullets from four different firearms, fired through soft tissue simulants under two different incidence and exit angles were studied. The data from this study can be used in reconstructions of shooting incidents where human soft tissues (not bones) were perforated with pistol bullets and assumptions must be made about bullet deflection in order to correctly reconstruct trajectories. The results demonstrate that deflection was influenced by the length of the “wound channel” through the simulants. In short, deflection was small to virtually absent with 5 and 10 cm channel lengths. With channel lengths of 15, 20 and 25 cm, there was a clear increase in deflection and/or a more erratic deflection behaviour with most shots. The data also suggest an influence of the angle of incidence and/or exit on both the direction and the magnitude of the deflection.
  • Aerosol production during autopsies: The risk of sawing in bone
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Jip M.E. Pluim, Lucas Jimenez-Bou, Reza R.R. Gerretsen, Arjo J. Loeve When sawing during autopsies on human remains, fine dust is produced, which consists of particles of sizes that may fall within the human respirable range, and can act as vectors for pathogens. The goal of this study was to explore the potential effects of saw blade frequency and saw blade contact load on the number and size of airborne bone particles produced. The methodology involved the use of an oscillating saw with variable saw blade frequencies and different saw blade contact loads on dry human femora. Released airborne particles were counted per diameter by a particle counter inside a closed and controlled environment. Results corroborated with the hypotheses: higher frequencies or lower contact loads resulted in higher numbers of aerosol particles produced. However, it was found that even in the best-case scenario tested on dry bone, the number of aerosol particles produced was still high enough to provide a potential health risk to the forensic practitioners. Protective breathing gear such as respirators and biosafety protocols are recommended to be put into practice to protect forensic practitioners from acquiring pathologies, or from other biological hazards when performing autopsies.
  • Development and validation of the RapidHIT™ 200 utilising NGMSElect™
           Express for the processing of buccal swabs
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): David Shackleton, Jenny Pagram, Lesley Ives, Des Vanhinsbergh The RapidHIT™ 200 System is a fully automated sample-to-DNA profile system designed to produce high quality DNA profiles within 2 h. The use of RapidHIT™ 200 System within the United Kingdom Criminal Justice System (UKCJS) has required extensive development and validation of methods with a focus on AmpFℓSTR® NGMSElect™ Express PCR kit to comply with specific regulations for loading to the UK National DNA Database (NDNAD). These studies have been carried out using single source reference samples to simulate live reference samples taken from arrestees and victims for elimination. The studies have shown that the system is capable of generating high quality profile and has achieved the accreditations necessary to load to the NDNAD; a first for the UK.
  • High-sensitive cardiac troponin hs-TnT levels in sudden deaths related to
           atherosclerotic coronary artery disease
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Tim Beausire, Mohamed Faouzi, Cristian Palmiere, Tony Fracasso, Katarzyna Michaud IntroductionIschemic heart disease (IHD) related to atherosclerotic coronary artery disease (CAD) is one of the most prevalent causes of death in Europe. Postmortem evaluation of IHD remains a challenge because of possible non-specific autopsy finding in some autopsy cases, especially in early myocardial ischemia. High-sensitive cardiac troponin T (hs-TnT) is used today in clinical practice as the “gold standard” to diagnose the myocardial ischemia, and might also be applied as an ancillary tool for post-mortem evaluation.PurposeThe goal of this study is to evaluate the diagnostic value of post-mortem serum hs-TnT assay in cases of sudden death related to IHD. We will also investigate the influence of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) attempts on post-mortem hs-TnT levels.MethodsThe hs-TnT values in serum were retrospectively analysed in 85 autopsy data. 52 cases with clinical history and morphological results suggesting cardiac ischemia were included in the study group (mean age 53.5; age range 34–75) and 33 cases in the control group (mean age 40.4; age range 15–69). The group’s statistical comparison was performed using logistic regression model.ResultsOur study showed a significant non-linear association between hs-TnT serum values and post-mortem diagnosis of sudden deaths related to IHD (p-value 0.005). The shape of the relationship is showing that the probability of death due to IHD increases quickly with a light level of hs-TnT (maximum around 90 ng/L) then decreases slightly while remaining at high in values. No significant difference in the hs-TnT serum values was found between the CPR and the non-CPR cases (p-value 0.304).ConclusionThe measurement of hs-TnT serum values might be considered as an ancillary tool for the evaluation of death related to IHD, while taking necessary precautions in the interpretation of the results.
  • Analysis of volatiles in fire debris by combination of activated charcoal
           strips (ACS) and automated thermal desorption–gas chromatography–mass
           spectrometry (ATD/GC–MS)
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Marie Martin Fabritius, Alain Broillet, Stefan König, Wolfgang Weinmann Adsorption of volatiles in gaseous phase to activated charcoal strip (ACS) is one possibility for the extraction and concentration of ignitable liquid residues (ILRs) from fire debris in arson investigations. Besides liquid extraction using carbon dioxide or hexane, automated thermo-desorption can be used to transfer adsorbed residues to direct analysis by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS). We present a fire debris analysis work-flow with headspace adsorption of volatiles onto ACS and subsequent automated thermo-desorption (ATD) GC–MS analysis. Only a small portion of the ACS is inserted in the ATD tube for thermal desorption coupled to GC–MS, allowing for subsequent confirmation analysis with another portion of the same ACS. This approach is a promising alternative to the routinely used ACS method with solvent extraction of retained volatiles, and the application to fire debris analysis is demonstrated.
  • Are soil testate amoebae and diatoms useful for forensics'
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Manfred Wanner, Elisa Betker, Satoshi Shimano, René Krawczynski Two of the main goals of forensic science are (1) to estimate the time since death, or post mortem interval (PMI) and (2) to find the site where a dead body was buried. Soil testate amoebae and diatoms may be useful indicators for these goals. However, the structure and patchiness of the habitat appears to be a main driver for the amoeba and diatom soil communities (e.g., individual density). In case the soil substrate is very dry and nutrient-poor (as in our study), the influence of a dead body on the soil microfaunal community may be superimposed by natural environmental heterogeneity, especially soil moisture content. Further studies are necessary to clarify if protist abundance data are helpful for forensic investigations.
  • Resolving latent conflict: What happens when latent print examiners enter
           the cage'
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Alicia Rairden, Brandon L. Garrett, Sharon Kelley, Daniel Murrie, Amy Castillo Latent print examination traditionally follows the ACE-V process, in which latent prints are first analyzed to determine whether they are suitable for comparison, and then compared to an exemplar and evaluated for similarities and differences. Despite standard operating procedures and quality controls designed, in part, to mitigate differences between examiners, latent print processing and review are inherently subjective. The ACE-V process addresses subjectivity, and the possibility of error, in the verification stage in which a second examiner repeats the analysis, comparison, and evaluation steps in a given case. Other procedures outside the ACE-V framework, such as consultation and conflict resolution, provide further opportunity to understand how differences between latent print examiners emerge. Despite the growing body of research on latent print examination, questions have emerged about how these procedures work in practice. This study reviews case processing data for two years of casework at the Houston Forensic Science Center (HFSC). We describe these data as cases proceed through each step of the ACE-V process, with a particular focus on verification, consultation, and conflict resolution. We discuss trends in these processes regarding modal types of disagreements, modal outcomes, and roles of the examiners involved. Results reveal implications for improving the practice of latent print examination.
  • Detection of inter-frame forgeries in digital videos
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Sitara K., B.M. Mehtre Videos are acceptable as evidence in the court of law, provided its authenticity and integrity are scientifically validated. Videos recorded by surveillance systems are susceptible to malicious alterations of visual content by perpetrators locally or remotely. Such malicious alterations of video contents (called video forgeries) are categorized into inter-frame and intra-frame forgeries. In this paper, we propose inter-frame forgery detection techniques using tamper traces from spatio-temporal and compressed domains. Pristine videos containing frames that are recorded during sudden camera zooming event, may get wrongly classified as tampered videos leading to an increase in false positives. To address this issue, we propose a method for zooming detection and it is incorporated in video tampering detection. Frame shuffling detection, which was not explored so far is also addressed in our work. Our method is capable of differentiating various inter-frame tamper events and its localization in the temporal domain. The proposed system is tested on 23,586 videos of which 2346 are pristine and rest of them are candidates of inter-frame forged videos. Experimental results show that we have successfully detected frame shuffling with encouraging accuracy rates. We have achieved improved accuracy on forgery detection in frame insertion, frame deletion and frame duplication.
  • Preliminary investigation of aircraft mounted thermal imaging to locate
           decomposing remains via the heat produced by larval aggregations
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Michael J. Lee, Sasha C. Voss, Daniel Franklin, Ian R. Dadour This study investigated the potential of aircraft mounted thermal imaging (AMTI) to locate surficial decomposing remains (clothed and unclothed) through detection of heat generated by larval aggregations of carrion feeding insects. Two trials were carried out, each utilising four pig cadavers (40–45 kg) as human analogues and exposing them to insect activity in autumn and winter on the Swan Coastal Plain, Western Australia. The Western Australia Police Air Wing helicopter, fitted with a forward looking infrared radiometer (FLIR) camera, was utilised to obtain the AMTI footage of carcasses over time. The helicopter obtained footage on six occasions during Trial 1 and 22 times during Trial 2. The carcasses were visited daily to record temperature data, insect activity and the state of decay. Activity of blow fly larval aggregations and corresponding heat generation was greatest during the active decay stage; in this period surficial remains were strongly detectable by AMTI at distances of up to one kilometre away. The average ambient daytime temperature during autumn was 27.6 ± 3.4 °C and AMTI was most effective 3–8 days after death. During winter the average daytime temperature was 14.2 ± 2.6 °C and AMTI was most effective 10–23 days after death. As the timing of larval aggregation activity varied significantly in different seasons, climatic conditions must be considered when assessing the window of opportunity for AMTI as a viable search technique. Despite climatic variation, the temperature difference between larval aggregations and surrounding soil was remarkably consistent across both seasons (8.9 ± 1.0 °C). AMTI was determined to be most effective between 9 pm and 5 am. A predictive tool for determining the window of opportunity for the successful detection of larval aggregations under Western Australian environmental conditions is provided.
  • Determination of cocaine, metabolites and a crack cocaine biomarker in
           whole blood by liquid–liquid extraction and UHPLC–MS/MS
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Juliana Takitane, Vilma Leyton, Gabriel Andreuccetti, Hallvard Gjerde, Vigdis Vindenes, Thomas Berg Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug widely abused that exists in two forms: as a hydrochloride salt and as a free base (crack). Cocaine and the inactive metabolite benzoylecgonine can be determined to reveal any kind of cocaine use, whereas the pyrolysis product anhydroecgonine methyl ester (AEME) can be determined to reveal crack smoking. There are many bioanalytical LC–MS/MS methods used for the determination of cocaine, metabolites and AEME. In these methods, chromatographic separation is usually performed by HPLC and sample preparation by solid phase extraction. For the first time, an UHPLC–MS/MS method for the simultaneous determination of cocaine, benzoylecgonine, cocaethylene and AEME in blood using a sample preparation by liquid–liquid extraction was developed and validated. Extraction recoveries were approximately 80%, 40%, 80% and 80%, respectively, obtained by using a mixture of MTBE/2-propanol (70:30, v:v). Chromatographic separation was performed on a core shell biphenyl UHPLC column (100 × 2.1 mm ID, 1.7 μm particles). Method validation showed that the method is precise, accurate, robust and sensitive for its purposes. Limit of quantification (LOQ) concentrations were 0.7–1.5 ng/mL. The method was used to determine cocaine, benzoylecgonine, cocaethylene and AEME in 22 blood samples collected from victims of sudden, unexpected or violent death in Sao Paulo (Brazil). Concentrations ≥LOQ were observed in 19, 21, 10 and 10 of these samples, respectively.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • In vitro metabolism of desomorphine
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Jessica Winborn, Donovan Haines, Sarah Kerrigan Desomorphine is reported to be the principal pharmacologically active opioid in Krokodil, a homemade injectable drug that is perceived to be a cheaper alternative to heroin. There have been limited studies regarding its pharmacology or detection in biological matrices. The goal of this study was to contribute further knowledge regarding its metabolism. Recombinant human cytochrome P450 enzymes (rCYPs) and recombinant uridine 5′-diphospho-glucuronosyltransferases (rUGTs) were used to investigate the biotransformational pathways involved. Samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography/quadrupole-time of flight–mass spectrometry (LC–Q/TOF–MS). Seven rCYP (rCYP2B6, rCYP2C8, rCYP2C9, rCYP2C18, rCYP2C19, rCYP2D6 and rCYP3A4) enzymes were found to contribute to desomorphine metabolism and eight phase I metabolites were identified, including nordesomorphine, desomorphine-N-oxide, norhydroxydesomorphine, and five hydroxylated species. Inhibition assays were used to confirm individual rCYP isoenzyme activity. Nine rUGTs (rUGT1A1, rUGT1A3, rUGT1A8, rUGT1A9, rUGT1A10, rUGT2B4, rUGT2B7, rUGT2B15, and rUGT2B17) were found to contribute to the formation of desomorphine-glucuronide.
  • Inorganic elemental analysis of decomposition fluids of an in
    animal burial
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Henry C. Dick, Jamie K. Pringle In homicide investigations, it is critically important that post-mortem (PMI) and post-burial interval (PBI) of buried victims are determined accurately. However, clandestine graves can be difficult to locate; and the detection rates for a variety of search methods can be very low. This paper presents elemental analysis results of 18 months of decomposition fluids from an in situ buried animal cadaver used as a human clandestine burial proxy. Study results showed potassium, sulphate and sodium are key detectable elements which mirror observed conductivity temporal changes from this and other studies. Seasonal rainfall has a strong influence on both fluid generation and subsequent concentration which needs to be accounted for. Study implications suggest inorganic elements could provide both detection and potential dating of discovered clandestine burials.
  • Algorithm for establishing the time of death of a dog based on temperature
           measurements in selected sites of the body during the early post-mortem
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): P. Listos, M. Gryzinska, J. Batkowska, M. Grela, A. Jakubczak Post-mortem measurements were made of the body temperature of dogs. The aim of the study was to evaluate and verify a reliable mathematical model that can be used to establish the time elapsed since the death of a dog during the initial post-mortem period at room temperature, using the eye (vitreous body), internal organs (heart, liver, kidney and lung), and rectum as sites for temperature measurement. The measurements were performed at six points in the body using an electronic thermometer in conjunction with a temperature probe. The method of temperature measurement is simple and does not cause perceptible macroscopic changes or disfigure the carcass. Multiple regression analysis was shown to be suitable for estimating the time elapsed from death to the discovery of the body for a period up to 12 h post-mortem. The proposed multiple regression equation using body weight and the temperature at a specific site reduces manipulation of the carcass to a minimum and thus reduces error in establishing the time of death. The multiple regression model makes it possible to precisely estimate the time elapsed since the death of the animal.
  • Discrimination and classification among common items of evidence using
           particle combination profiles
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): David A. Stoney, Cedric Neumann, Paul L. Stoney This project used established analytical tools and statistical methods to determine the evidential value of very small particle (VSP) profiles found on handguns, cell phones, drug packaging, and ski masks.Sampling protocols were designed, tested and used to sample VSP from evidence items from a single county-level crime laboratory: 30 handguns, 31 cell phones, 36 drug packaging specimens and 32 ski masks. Specimens were prepared for analysis employing established protocols for semi-automated scanning electron microscopy with elemental characterization by energy dispersive x-ray analysis (SEM/EDS).Statistical methods of particle combination analysis were applied to (1) remove particle “noise” from the datasets, (2) define a set of highly discriminating target particle types, (3) measure the strength of correspondence between profiles, and (4) measure the potential of VSP as an evidence type under defined experimental conditions.Most (84%) of the VSP specimens recovered from common evidence items showed sufficient variety and complexity in their VSP profiles to allow meaningful classification among closed sets of approximately 30 specimens. Correct associations were achieved for 93.5% of test specimens (drug packaging: 97.2%; cell phones: 92.6%; handguns: 92.9%; ski masks 88.2%). Test specimens with VSP numbers greater than 125 showed predominantly correct classifications.These findings establish (1) that VSP are present on the surfaces common items of physical evidence, (2) that the VSP can be efficiently recovered, prepared and analyzed by computer-assisted SEM/EDS analysis, (3) that the variety of particles is sufficient for the definition of classifiers based on reference sources, and (4) that the classifiers perform very well for these particle sets, showing that VSP recovery, analytical methods and computational methods are working effectively.The use of adhering VSP to establish quantitative associations among items of physical evidence is a new approach, exploiting a form of trace evidence that is typically ignored. It is highly significant for its potential to expand the number of cases to which trace evidence can meaningfully contribute and for its ability to include a quantitative statistical approach to data interpretation.
  • Testing the efficiency of soil recovery from clothing for analysis by
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Duncan Pirrie Soil forensics is widely used to test associations between questioned samples and known locations. Improvements in analytical techniques mean that increasingly small amounts of soil can be analysed. This is particularly important as individual traces of soil relate to individual geographical locations and need to be analysed separately. However, improved analytical capability means that methods of soil recovery also need to improve. Three different methods of recovering soil from clothing for subsequent analysis by scanning electron microscopy with linked energy dispersive spectrometers (SEM-EDS) were tested. Three fabric types were analysed with duplicate samples being recovered by (a) dry brushing, (b) direct sticky tag lifting and (c) washing. The resultant soil samples were analysed using automated scanning electron microscopy with linked energy dispersive spectrometers. All three methods recovered a population of particles, the mineralogy of which corresponded with the control soil sample. However, the sticky tags recovered between 6 and 8× more particles than either the dry brushings or the washing samples. The direct lifting of trace soil evidence using sticky tags also has the advantage that the context of the analysed soil sample can be clearly imaged prior to recovery. Any soil evidence can be observed in context with the surface it is to be removed from, and as such, sampling can be targeted to specific areas or specific phases of soil deposition on a surface.
  • A comparison study of the detection of bloodstains on painted and cleaned
           surfaces with luminol
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Valentina Brenzini, Rahul Pathak There seems to be a limited amount of research about the detection of concealed bloodstains on painted surfaces. The bloodstains on walls and floors are often removed by cleaning, in some cases the surfaces are painted by the perpetrator after committing a violent crime in order to hide the crime that has occurred. The study hereafter extends and deepens on previous researches by investigating the detectability of horse bloodstains on painted ceramic tiles as a function of the number of layers of paint. In this study luminol was used as a reagent to detect the bloodstains. The study focuses on two types of paints: water based and solvent based paint. This study also investigates the effectiveness in reducing the detectability of bloodstains on ceramic tiles using four different cleaning methods pure water, soap with water, wet wipes, and bleach. In the experiment the bloodstains were cleaned at various intervals of time after the deposition (two minutes, fifteen minutes and one hour). The study concluded that the bloodstains concealed by layers of solvent based paint are less likely to be detected by luminol compared to water based paint. The study also concluded that the tiles cleaned with bleach are recognisable from the other ones cleaned using other methods. In each study the duration of the reaction was timed, highlighting the differences in the cleaning methods.
  • Direct analysis of textile dyes from trace fibers by automated
           microfluidics extraction system coupled with Q-TOF mass spectrometer for
           forensic applications
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Nadia Sultana, Sean Gunning, Stephen J. Furst, Kenneth P. Garrard, Thomas A. Dow, Nelson R. Vinueza Textile fiber is a common form of transferable trace evidence at the crime scene. Different techniques such as microscopy or spectroscopy are currently being used for trace fiber analysis. Dye characterization in trace fiber adds an important molecular specificity during the analysis. In this study, we performed a direct trace fiber analysis method via dye characterization by a novel automated microfluidics device (MFD) dye extraction system coupled with a quadrupole-time-of-flight (Q-TOF) mass spectrometer (MS). The MFD system used an in-house made automated procedure which requires only 10 μL of organic solvent for the extraction. The total extraction and identification time by the system is under 12 min. A variety of sulfonated azo and anthraquinone dyes were analyzed from ∼1 mm length nylon fiber samples. This methodology successfully characterized multiple dyes (≥3 dyes) from a single fiber thread. Additionally, it was possible to do dye characterization from single fibers with a diameter of ∼10 μm. The MFD-MS system was used for elemental composition and isotopic distribution analysis where MFD-MS/MS was used for structural characterization of dyes on fibers.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • A pilot study: The effects of repeat washing and fabric type on the
           detection of seminal fluid and spermatozoa
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): A. Nolan, Samuel J. Speers, Julie Murakami, Brendan Chapman In sexual assault cases and more specifically those involving childhood sexual abuse (CSA), victims may have had their potentially semen-stained clothing washed multiple times before a criminal investigation commences. Although it has been previously demonstrated that spermatozoa persist on cotton clothing following a single wash cycle, items of clothing washed multiple times are not routinely examined in these cases because of the assumption that the laundering process would have removed all seminal fluid and spermatozoa. The aim of this study was to examine the persistence of seminal fluid and spermatozoa on a range of fabric types including cotton, nylon, terry towel (100% cotton), polyester fleece, satin and lace which were laundered up to six times. Three techniques were used for the detection of seminal fluid and spermatozoa: an alternative light source, acid phosphatase test and microscopy. The study demonstrated that spermatozoa persisted on cotton and terry towel following six wash cycles. This data emphasises the need to recover and examine items of clothing and bedding of victims for semen, even if the item has been washed multiple times.
  • Association between cytochrome P450 2D6 polymorphisms and body fluid
           methamphetamine concentrations in Japanese forensic autopsy cases
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Aya Matsusue, Tomoya Ikeda, Naoto Tani, Brian Waters, Kenji Hara, Masayuki Kashiwagi, Mio Takayama, Natsuki Ikematsu, Shin-ichi Kubo, Takaki Ishikawa Methamphetamine (MA) is an illicit stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) plays an important role in MA metabolism. Numerous allelic variants confer substantial variation in CYP2D6 activity among individuals. In the present study, we examined the frequencies of CYP2D6 alleles, including CYP2D6*1, *2, *4, *5, *10, *14A, *14B, *18, and *36, and multiplication, in 82 forensic autopsy cases of MA abusers and 567 autopsy cases in which MA was not detected (controls). Ultrarapid metabolizer (UM), extensive metabolizer (EM), intermediate metabolizer (IM), and poor metabolizer (PM) phenotypes were predicted from CYP2D6 genotypes. Of MA abusers, 64 subjects were predicted to be EM, 17 were IM, and 1 was UM. No MA abuser had the predicted PM phenotype. No significant differences in CYP2D6 phenotype frequencies were found between MA abusers and controls. MA and amphetamine (AMP) concentrations were measured in the right heart blood, left heart blood, peripheral external iliac blood, urine, pericardial fluid, and bone marrow of MA abusers. MA concentrations in urine and bone marrow were significantly higher in IM than in EM. AMP concentration was not associated with CYP2D6 phenotype in any body fluid. These results suggest that the MA concentration in body fluids is influenced by CYP2D6 phenotypes in the Japanese population.
  • Third molar development in a contemporary Danish 13–25 year old
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Sara Arge, Jesper Lier Boldsen, Ann Wenzel, Palle Holmstrup, Niels Dyrgaard Jensen, Niels Lynnerup We present a reference database for third molar development based on a contemporary Danish population. A total of 1302 digital panoramic images were evaluated. The images were taken at a known chronological age, ranging from 13 to 25 years. Third molar development was scored according to the Köhler modification of the 10-stage method of Gleiser and Hunt. We found that third molar development was generally advanced in the maxilla compared to the mandible and in males compared to females; in addition, the mandibular third molar mesial roots were generally more advanced in development than were the distal roots. There was no difference in third molar development between the left and right side of the jaws. Establishing global and robust databases on dental development is crucial for further development of forensic methods to evaluate age.
  • Exposing splicing forgery based on color temperature estimation
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Peng Sun, Yubo Lang, Shu Fan, Zhe Shen, Lei Liu, Daguo Shan, Silong Peng Splicing is one of the most common tampering techniques for image manipulation in many forensic cases. Normally color shift in images due to color temperature of illumination can be seen as intrinsic features relative to imaging process. In splicing forgeries, copied area and pasted target image come from different imaging process, and are likely to have different color shift. In this paper, a novel automated authentication method is presented to expose splicing manipulation and locate manipulated areas by discriminating the inconsistencies of color shift in an image. In order to minimize human interaction on detection of splicing forgeries as well as localization of manipulated areas, a forensic image is divided into blocks with grid-based strategy. After calculation on color temperature of each blocks with white-point algorithm, reference color temperature is obtained with a random restricted algorithm. Then color temperature distance between each block and reference area is calculated sequentially. At last, by comparing color temperature distance with an optimized threshold determined by OSTU algorithm. This method enables us to judge if splicing has occurred and furthermore localize manipulated area simultaneously. Experiments show that the proposed method can speed up the quantitative detection of possible splicing manipulation and localize manipulated area automatically.
  • The current state and future directions of skeletal toxicology: Forensic
           and humanitarian implications of a proposed model for the in vivo
           incorporation of drugs into the human skeleton
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Katie M. Rubin At present, the inability to meaningfully and reliably conduct toxicological testing on human skeletal material represents a significant gap in forensic practice, especially in a time when the U.S. has declared opioid use a public health emergency and chemical weapon use in both mass and isolated attacks is prevalent in international news. In recent years, an increasing number of case studies and experiments have been published in an attempt to fill this knowledge gap. These papers are reviewed, and their valuable and pertinent findings discussed. However, the lack of an established model for the incorporation of drugs of forensic interest into bone has limited interpretation of results and delayed adoption of skeletal toxicology methods into accepted forensic practice. A model for the in vivo incorporation of drugs of forensic interest into bone tissue is proposed herein. This model is derived from known pathways for in vivo incorporation of compounds and analytes not of traditional forensic interest into bone tissue and is based on principles of ionic exchange, adsorption, and substitution. Testing and understanding these pathways may better guide skeletal toxicological experimentation, resulting in methods more tailored to human bone as a unique, largely inorganic matrix, as well as in increased interpretability of results. Further, the proposed model suggests possible novel applications for the field of skeletal toxicology on the humanitarian stage. Indeed, based on their chemical properties, chemical weapon nerve agents should be investigated as xenobiotics that may incorporate into the human skeleton at relatively elevated levels. If nerve agents can be isolated from skeletal remains, the field of skeletal toxicology may be able to offer important contributions to human rights investigations of mass graves.
  • Abuse of fentanyl: An emerging problem to face
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2018Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 289Author(s): Katarzyna Kuczyńska, Piotr Grzonkowski, Łukasz Kacprzak, Jolanta B. Zawilska Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid used as a narcotic analgesic supplement in general and regional anesthesia as well as in management of persistent, severe chronic pain. Alarming epidemiological and forensic medicine reports, accumulated mainly during the last two decades, point to a growing increase in illicit use of fentanyl, mainly in North America and Europe. Toxicological data indicates that fentanyl use is inextricably linked with polydrug use. There are two main sources of fentanyl on the “recreational” drug market. First, the most common, combines illicitly manufactured fentanyl from clandestine sources. The drug is often mixed up with heroin (“fake heroin”) to increase its potency at a little cost, or included in cocaine products. It can also be mixed into and sold as oxycodone-, hydrocodone- or alprazolam-containing tablets. The other way to gain fentanyl is through the diversion of fentanyl-containing medicines, especially transdermal patches (FTPs). Fentanyl extracted from FTP can be administered intravenously, insufflated or inhaled after volatilization. The drug can also be delivered by oral or transmucosal application of the whole patch, or by rectal insertion. The most common overdose symptoms are coma, lethargy, respiratory depression and arrest. Although naloxone, an opioid receptor antagonist, is the standard drug for fentanyl overdose rescue, attempts to revive patients with naloxone could be unsuccessful, due to the rapid onset of fentanyl’s action. As the fentanyl problem is constantly growing, there is an urgent need for new, effective harm-reduction strategies and technologies, as well as overdose maintenance.
  • Proactive response to tackle the threat of emerging drugs: synthesis and
           toxicity evaluation of new cathinones
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Helena Gaspar, Soraia Bronze, Catarina Oliveira, Bruno L. Victor, Miguel Machuqueiro, Rita Pacheco, Maria João Caldeira, Susana Santos The emergence of potentially dangerous new psychoactive substances (NPS) imposes enormous challenges on forensic laboratories regarding their rapid and unambiguous identification. Access to comprehensive databases is essential for a quick characterization of these substances, allowing them to be categorized according to national and international legislations. In this work, it is reported the synthesis and structural characterization by NMR and MS of a library encompassing 21 cathinones, 4 of which are not yet reported in the literature, but with structural characteristics that make them a target for clandestine laboratories. This in-house library will be an important tool accessible to forensic laboratories, for the quick identification of seized NPS. The in vitro cytotoxicity of all cathinones was assessed in HepG2 cells, to have a preliminary but effective indication of their human hepatotoxicity potential. The two new cathinones DMB (8) and DMP (9) were the more cytotoxic, followed by the already seized mephedrone (2), 3,4-DMMC (3), 4-MDMC (7), NEB (12) with EC50 values ranging from 0.81 mM for (3) to 1.28 mM for (2). Results suggest an increase of cytotoxicity with the increase of the chain length of the acyl moiety and with the substitution (with one or two methyl groups) in the aromatic ring. The nature of the amine moiety seems to play only a minor role in the cytotoxic effect. Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to evaluate the molecular details related with the observed cytotoxicities. Although these studies indicated that cathinones are able to cross lipid bilayers with relative ease, when in their neutral forms, it was observed only a partial correlation between lipophilicity and cytotoxicity, indicating that membrane trafficking may not be the only key factor influencing the bioactivity of these compounds. This work is a valuable contribution to the forensic science field since a quick identification of novel cathinones is urgent to match their rapid increase in the market.
  • Cut Costs at All Costs!
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): R.J. Flanagan
  • Total tryptase or β-tryptase in post mortem settings: which is to be
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Simona Zaami, Francesco Paolo Busardò
  • Application and validation of Diagnose Sexuelle Probabiliste V2 tool in a
           miscegenated population
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Marcos Paulo Salles Machado, Sarah Teixeira Costa, Alexandre Rodrigues Freire, David Navega, Eugénia Cunha, Eduardo Daruge Júnior, Felippe Bevilacqua Prado, Ana Cláudia Rossi The hip bone (os coxae) is the skeletal element that presents the greatest level of sexual dimorphism. Therefore, methods involving the analysis of the os coxae provide the most accurate sex estimation, and DSP2 (Diagnose Sexuelle Probabiliste v.2) is one of the most accurate tools used in this identification. The goal of this study is to apply and validate DSP2 in the identification of 103 os coxae (53 male and 50 female) belonging to a Brazilian-identified skeletal collection. Differences between sexes were statistically significant for all measurements, except for the acetabulo-symphyseal and spino-auricular lengths. From the 103 os coxae analyzed, there was a 9.43% error in male individuals and a 14% error in females. The results revealed that DSP2 can be applied to Brazilian-mixed populations with a good index of accuracy, although at a lower accuracy than other population samples. This study also clearly demonstrates that metric variation of the os coxae is extremely useful in sex estimation and reinforces the notion that pelvic sexual dimorphism is not population-specific.
  • Fatal zolpidem poisoning due to its intravenous self-injection: postmortem
           distribution/redistribution of zolpidem and its predominant metabolite
           zolpidem phenyl-4-carboxylic acid in body fluids and solid tissues in an
           autopsy case
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Koutaro Hasegawa, Amin Wurita, Hideki Nozawa, Itaru Yamagishi, Kayoko Minakata, Kanako Watanabe, Osamu Suzuki We experienced a curious fatal case, in which a male in his 20 s self-administered zolpidem intravenously. The victim was found dead lying on floor of his apartment room, with a tourniquet band and new injection marks on his right forearm. Nearby the body, a medical disposal syringe containing small-volume solution dissolving crushed zolpidem tablets was found. The postmortem interval was estimated at about two days.The direct cause of his death was judged as asphyxia due to the aspiration of stomach contents into the trachea and bronchi. The specimens dealt with were body fluids and solid tissues including femoral vein blood, right and left heart blood, pericardial fluid, urine, bile, stomach contents, the brain, lung, heart muscle, liver, spleen, kidney, pancreas and skeletal muscle. For the extractions of zolpidem, zolpidem phenyl-4-carboxylic acid, deuterated internal standards zolpidem-d7 and zolpidem phenyl-4-carboxylic acid −d4, a modified QuEChERS method was used, followed by the analysis by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Because this study included various kinds of human matrices with quite different properties, the standard addition method was most preferable to overcome the matrix effects and recovery rates, and also did not need to use blank human matrices for validation experiments. The concentration of zolpidem and its phenyl-4-carboxylic acid metabolite in various specimens tested were generally extreme higher than those of reported fatal cases, supporting that the victim had died of intravenous zolpidem injection. The concentrations of zolpidem in femoral vein blood and right and left heart blood specimens in the present case were 9.55, 28.5 and 46.9 μg/mL, respectively, which far exceeded estimated fatal levels. The present study also showed the postmortem distribution/redistribution of zolpidem and its phenyl-4-carboxylic acid metabolite in 15 body fluid and solid tissue specimens including stomach contents. Although a number of published literatures dealt with zolpidem poisoning cases due to oral ingestion of the drug, this is the first report on fatal intravenous zolpidem injection case and postmortem distribution of zolpidem and its predominant metabolite.
  • Forensic Science in England & Wales, a Commentary
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Gillian Tully
  • Can measurements of heroin metabolites in post-mortem matrices other than
           peripheral blood indicate if death was rapid or delayed'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Cecilie Hasselø Thaulow, Åse Marit Leere Øiestad, Sidsel Rogde, Jannike Mørch Andersen, Gudrun Høiseth, Marte Handal, Jørg Mørland, Vigdis Vindenes BackgroundIn heroin-related deaths, it is often of interest to determine the approximate time span between intake of heroin and death, and to decide whether heroin or other opioids have been administered. In some autopsy cases, peripheral blood cannot be sampled due to decomposition, injuries or burns. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether measurements of heroin metabolites in matrices other than peripheral blood can be used to differentiate between rapid and delayed heroin deaths, and if morphine/codeine ratios measured in other matrices can separate heroin from codeine intakes.MethodsIn this study, we included 51 forensic autopsy cases where morphine was detected in peripheral blood. Samples were collected from peripheral and cardiac blood, pericardial fluid, psoas and lateral vastus muscles, vitreous humor and urine. The opioid analysis included 6-acetylmorphine (6-AM), morphine, morphine-3-glucuronide (M3G), morphine-6-glucuronide (M6G) and codeine. Urine was only used for qualitative detection of 6-AM. 45 heroin-intake cases were divided into rapid deaths (n = 24), based on the detection of 6-AM in blood, or delayed deaths (n = 21), where 6-AM was detected in at least one other matrix but not in blood. An additional 6 cases were classified as codeine-intake cases, based on a morphine/codeine ratio below unity (
  • Stability of amphetamine impurity profiles during 12 months of storage
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Louise Stride Nielsen, Palle Villesen, Christian Lindholst Impurity profiling is a well described forensic tool that may be applied to gain information about the illegal drug market. However, it requires experience to assess the correlation between chemical profiles thereby separating linked from unlinked samples. One of the challenges in this context is that the chemical profiles may change over time, thus complicating an assessment if samples are stored under different conditions. In this study, the impact of different storage conditions on the stability of amphetamine impurity profiles was investigated. We examined the influence of storage time, temperature, sample purity, sample quantity and the presence of methanol on the amphetamine profile stability when stored for up to 12 months.We find that the target compounds in amphetamine impurity profiles are susceptible to all the examined storage conditions. Consequently, this unstable nature of amphetamine profiles may complicate the assessment when comparing amphetamine seizures that has been separated for longer time periods or stored under different conditions prior to seizure. Knowledge about the seizure history is rarely available to the forensic analyst. Therefore, sample stability issues should be taken into account when comparisons of chemical profiles are made.
  • The diatoms test in veterinary medicine: a pilot study on cetaceans and
           sea turtles.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Silva Rubini, Paolo Frisoni, Chiara Russotto, Natascia Pedriali, Walter Mignone, Carla Grattarola, Federica Giorda, Alessandra Pautasso, Stefania Barbieri, Bruno Cozzi, Sandro Mazzariol, Rosa Maria Gaudio Fishing activities are considered one of the most relevant threats for cetaceans and sea turtles conservation since these animals are sometimes found dead entangled in fishing gears. Currently, postmortem diagnosis is based mainly on the presence of nets and lines on the body and the related marks and injuries evident at gross examination. A more detailed and objective evidence is needed to clarify doubts cases and the diatoms technique, used in forensic human medicine, could support drowning diagnosis also in this field. Diatoms’ investigation was implemented to be applied in marine vertebrate on 8 striped (Stenella coeruleoalba) and 1 bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) dolphins and 5 sea turtles (Caretta caretta) stranded along the Italian coastlines with a likely cause of death hypothized on necropsies carried out by veterinary pathologists. Diatoms were microscopically searched in the bone marrow collected from long bones implementing protocols used in human medicine and their presence was observed in 4 cetaceans and 2 sea turtles. Despite a clear relation between diatoms’ presence and amount and the likely cause of death was not proved due to the poor number of samples, the higher burden of diatoms was found in 3 animals deemed to be death for the interaction with human activity. Despite more studied are necessary to identify the possible relation between the cause of death and diatoms’ findings, the present study implemented this technique to be adapted to marine animals, confirming its possible application also in veterinary forensic medicine.
  • Study of the in vitro and in vivo metabolism of 4-HO-MET
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Pia Simona Bruni, Katharina Elisabeth Grafinger, Susanne Nussbaumer, Stefan König, Stefan Schürch, Wolfgang Weinmann 4-Hydroxy-N-methyl-N-ethyltryptamine (4-HO-MET) is a new psychoactive substance (NPS) of the chemical class of tryptamines. It shows structural similarities to the endogenous neurotransmitter serotonin, and is a serotonergic hallucinogen, affecting emotional, motoric, and cognitive functions. The knowledge about its biotransformation is mandatory to confirm the abuse of the substance by urine analysis in forensic cases. Therefore, phase I metabolites were generated by the use of the pooled human liver microsomes (pHLM) in vitro model and analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry with information-dependent acquisition (HPLC-IDA-HR-MS/MS). Furthermore, three authentic urine samples was analyzed and results were compared: 12 different in vitro and 4 in vivo metabolites were found. The predominant biotransformation steps observed in vitro were mono- or dihydroxylation of 4-HO-MET, besides demethylation, demethylation in combination with monohydroxylation, formation of a carboxylic acid, deethylation, and oxidative deamination. In vivo, monohydroxylation, and glucuronidation were detected. A metabolic pathway based on these results was proposed.For the analysis of urine samples in forensic cases, the N-oxide metabolite and the HO-alkyl metabolite are recommended as target compounds, besides the glucuronides of 4-HO-MET and the parent compound 4-HO-MET itself.
  • Sexual Dimorphism of the First Deciduous Molar: A Geometric Morphometric
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Sandra López-Lázaro, Inmaculada Alemán, Joan Viciano, Javier Irurita, Miguel C. Botella Estimating the sex of immature skeletal remains is important when reconstructing the biological profile of unknown individuals in anthropological practice. Teeth have a distinct importance as they are the most frequently recovered physical elements of an individual. They persist after death due to their hardness and resistance to postmortem insults. The aim of this study was to analyse the sexual dimorphism of the occlusal surface of the first deciduous molar using geometric morphometric techniques. This study evaluated 38 first maxillary deciduous molars (21 males, 17 females) and 30 first mandibular deciduous molars (15 males, 15 females) from the Granada osteological collection of identified subadults (Granada, Spain). The landmark and semilandmark coordinates were analysed by principal components analysis, canonical variate analysis and discriminant analysis. Only the first maxillary deciduous molar showed a significant sexual dimorphism, with cross-validation values for shape variables of 93.23% for males and 83.17% for females, and 100% for males and 87.50% for females when both shape and size variables were considered. Despite there being acceptable cross-validation classification for the first mandibular deciduous molar (82.35% for males and 92.31% for females for shape variables and 82.35% for males and 92.31% for females for shape and size variables), no significant differences indicating sexual dimorphism were identified. The results show that the first upper deciduous molar can assist in sex estimation, and that geometric morphometric analysis is a suitable technique to answer questions related to shape that cannot be observed with the naked eye.
  • Intentional Heroin Administration Resulting in Homicide in a 10-month old
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Anthea B. Mahesan Paul, Lary Simms, Althea M. Mahesan Homicide occurs in approximately one in five injury-related deaths among infants in the United States and studies suggest that male caretakers (fathers or mothers’ intimate partners) are the perpetrators of the majority of infant homicides. Opioid abuse is common and it is estimated that between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide. In this case report, we add to the literature the first reported homicide by intentional heroin administration in a 10-month old infant. Toxicology revealed morphine 1092 ng/L, codeine 74 ng/mL, and 6-monoacetyl-morphine 359 ng/L in cardiac blood. Morphine 803 ng/g, codeine 54 ng/g in liver tissue, and morphine 181 ng/mL was found in vitreous humor. With the prevalence of opioid abuse on the rise accidental opioid ingestions in the pediatric population have increased. However, forensic personnel must recognize the possibility of intentional poisoning in this vulnerable population.
  • Validity of the third molar maturity index I3M for indicating the adult
           age in the Polish population
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 July 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Ingrid Różyło-Kalinowska, Paweł Kalinowski, Magdalena Kozek, Ivan Galić, Roberto Cameriere This study aimed to assess the application of Cameriere’s third molar maturity index (I3M) to select an individual of 18 years or older (adult) from younger than 18 years (minor) in a sample of Polish individuals. The final sample of 982 panoramic images aged between 15 to 24 years was analyzed. The specific cut-off value of I3M 
  • 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
  • Commercial cannabis consumer products part 2: HPLC-DAD quantitative
           analysis of cannabis cannabinoids
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Laura A. Ciolino, Tracy L. Ranieri, Allison M. Taylor Quantitative analysis for the cannabis cannabinoids such as cannabidiol and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in commercial products is necessary for evaluating label information, and assessing dosages and exposures when the products are consumed. Herein is presented a broadly applicable HPLC-DAD method for the determination of cannabis cannabinoids in commercial consumer products and traditional plant-related substances. The current method provides chromatographic resolution of 11 cannabinoids using a commercial, mixed C18-aromatic functionality stationary phase. The method uses 95% or pure ethanol for extraction, and certain modifications which address specific matrix types are detailed herein. Extensive method validation including precision and accuracy was conducted for five cannabinoids of primary interest (CBD, Δ9-THC, CBDA, THCA, and CBN). UV detection provided excellent sensitivity with limits of quantitation (LOQs) of 10 μg/g across cannabinoids. The method was applied to about 60 commercial products representing diverse product types and a broad range of cannabinoids amounts (0.01–350 mg/g).
  • A case of alleged discharge of a firearm within a vehicle
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Bryan R. Burnett A road-rage altercation occurred between two vehicle drivers. The driver of vehicle 1 stopped and allegedly fired two shots from within his vehicle over the heads of the driver and passenger of vehicle 2 when they were out of their vehicle. The driver of vehicle 2, an off-duty police officer, fired his .45 calibre pistol at the driver of vehicle 1. The bullet went through the windshield and lodged in the instrument panel. Eight gunshot residue (GSR) samples were taken from the interior of vehicle 1 and analysed by automated scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. The results show for vehicle 1 that a firearm discharged with its breach or cylinder gap within the vehicle was unlikely to have occurred and the .45 calibre bullet which impacted five surfaces of vehicle 1 was accompanied by GSR throughout its travel. A recreational shooter is shown in this study to transfer GSR to the seat of his car. The driver of vehicle 1 visited a recreational gun range prior to the altercation, which would explain the significant GSR contamination of the driver’s seat of his vehicle.
  • The use of stereological methods in the histomorphometric assessment of
           bone for age-at-death estimation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): D. Botha, A. Bhagwandin, N. Lynnerup, M. Steyn Stereological examination of the anterior femur was done for the estimation of age-at-death. The aim of this study was to assess particular bone microstructures that change with advancing age and use these variables to create revised regression formulae applicable to the black population of South Africa. A sample of 99 bone sections (n = 60 males and n = 39 females) that had previously been analysed using 2D methods, were re-analysed using the optical fractionator and nucleator sampling methods Single and multiple regression analyses were performed to assess the strength of the relationship between known age and all independent variables. For sex-pooled data, the average number of osteons per grid area (Avg_OPD) showed the highest correlation with age (r = 0.528; r2 = 0.278), followed by average osteon volume (r = −0.383; r2 = 0.146). The remaining variables reflected a low correlation with age. Pooled, as well as sex-specific single regression formulae were constructed. Multiple regression formulae were constructed for pooled sexes only, as there were no significant difference between males and females overall. Although the employment of stereological methods ensured that the results are accurate and unbiased, the outcome was on par with previously reported SEE’s and SD’s for this population.
  • Saw marks in bones: a study of “secondary features” of false
           start lesions
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Luísa Nogueira, Véronique Alunni, Caroline Bernardi, Gérald Quatrehomme In this experiment, 170 experimental false starts on human (120 lesions) and pig bones (50 lesions) were analyzed under stereomicroscope. The goal was to evaluate the potential of three “secondary” features (patterns of striae on the kerf floor, blade drift and bone islands) to diagnose saw class and saw set. We also assessed the performance of each of these features in ambiguous cases observed in a previous study, based on three main characters (minimum width of the kerf, shape of the kerf walls, and shape of the kerf profile). Among these three “secondary” features, striae on the kerf floor proved to be useful: the undulating or undulating/straight pattern of the striae on the kerf floor indicates an alternating set whereas thin and straight striae indicates a wavy set. Blade drift and bone islands may be indicative of large teeth size. These secondary features, in combination with the three main characters previously studied, may help identify the class of the saw.
  • 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.
  • Multicomponent characterization and differentiation of flash bangers −
           Part I: Sample collection and visual examination
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Karlijn Bezemer, Rikus Woortmeijer, Mattijs Koeberg, Peter Schoenmakers, Arian van Asten To continue to assist law enforcement agencies in counteracting the illegal use of fireworks new forensic methods have to be developed. In the Netherlands, many incidents involve powerful flash bangers mainly due to irresponsible behavior and misuse for criminal activities. Obtaining tactical information for differentiation of these flash bangers is of high priority in forensic casework. A representative sample set of a certain type of flash bangers, confiscated by the Dutch police, has been collected in a time period of one year and initial characterization has been performed based on visual examination. The individual components of the flash bangers already allow for a high degree of differentiation. Ultimately, combining all visual characteristics of pyrotechnic charges, labels, fuses and caps resulted in the classification into 24 groups out of 30 seized sets of flash bangers. In addition to visual examination, this unique sample set offers a wide variety of research opportunities that could be further explored and that might prove essential in case scenarios were visual characteristics are more difficult to assess or are completely absent.
  • Multicomponent characterization and differentiation of flash bangers —
           Part II: Elemental profiling of plastic caps
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Karlijn Bezemer, Rikus Woortmeijer, Mattijs Koeberg, Wim Wiarda, Peter Schoenmakers, Arian van Asten This study builds on the multicomponent analysis strategy for flash bangers which was previously introduced and where a representative sample set has been collected of a certain type of flash bangers. To expand the forensic strategy, elemental analysis of the plastic caps which are present in these items was performed. Both x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analysis was performed to explore the possibilities for differentiation. The inherent inhomogeneity of the plastics resulted in high variations, especially for LA-ICP-MS trace analysis. In addition, due to the lack of suitable reference materials the LA-ICP-MS results can only be used for qualitative comparisons. Although XRF is less sensitive it allows for semi-quantitative analysis and the effect of inhomogeneity is significantly reduced due to the larger sample areas. Therefore, XRF is the method of choice for elemental analysis of intact plastic caps. In this scenario initial differentiation based on visual examination is combined with elemental analysis to obtain the highest degree of discrimination. In post-explosive scenarios, using XRF is not as straightforward due the irregular shapes of the burned plastic cap residues and contamination by explosive residues. For the analysis of these post-explosive caps, LA-ICP-MS proved to be useful for characterization and differentiation. Overall, it was found that blue caps contain a considerable higher amount of elements than the white caps, mainly due to additives related to the coloring process. This limits differentiation for the flash bangers containing white caps. Therefore, isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) analysis was performed to increase the differentiation potential. Based on carbon and hydrogen isotope ratios additional sets could be distinguished, both for flash bangers containing white and blue caps, that otherwise have similar visual and elemental characteristics. With the elemental and isotopic analysis of the plastic caps, an analysis strategy has been introduced that is not based on the pyrotechnic charge and therefore provides a unique opportunity to perform characterization and differentiation of flash bangers in pre- and post-explosive casework.
  • Post mortem tryptase cut-off level: Significance of statistical
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Ashish Saraf, Navneet Ateriya, Tanuj Kanchan, Vikas P. Meshram
  • Accuracy of clinical methods of age estimation based on permanent teeth
           present as erupted: A study on the coastal population of India
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Neil De Souza, Manju R., Amitha M. Hegde IntroductionThe role of age estimation in paediatric dentistry has been well documented with an onus being placed for the development of methods independent of radiographic analysis. The study was done to evaluate the accuracy of previously established clinical methods of age estimation in Indian children and to derive new methods for use in an Indian subpopulation.Materials and methodsFoti’s clinical method of age estimation based on the eruption status of permanent teeth was tested for accuracy in a sample comprising 1000 children within the age group of 6–14 years encompassing five different southern states of India. A comparative evaluation of Foti’s methods and new regressive models developed for an Indian subpopulation was conducted in a sample size comprising 100 children reporting to the department of pedodontics, A.B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore.ResultsStatistical analysis revealed greater correlation between chronological and estimated dental age using the newer formulae as compared to the original formulae.ConclusionHence it is derived that the new population specific methods can help ascertain an individual’s age with relative accuracy, even in the absence of radiographs, and hence can be of considerable importance in a rural setup.
  • Response to “post mortem tryptase cut-off: statistical
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): R. Tse
  • 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.
  • Commercial cannabis consumer products part 1: GC–MS qualitative analysis
           of cannabis cannabinoids
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Laura A. Ciolino, Tracy L. Ranieri, Allison M. Taylor The recent surge in the sale of cannabis-based consumer products in the US includes foods, candies, beverages, topicals, vapes/eliquids, oral supplements in various forms, recreational marijuana plants, and plant extracts or preparations. The wide variety of product and sample types has resulted in a host of new matrix interferences when conducting qualitative testing for the cannabis cannabinoids such as cannabidiol and d9-tetrahydrocannabinol. A qualitative GC–MS method is presented in this work, which uses a commercial 35% silphenylene phase to provide chromatographic resolution for 11 target cannabinoids as their trimethylsilyl derivatives (CBD, CBDA, d9THC, THCA, CBN, d8THC, CBG, CBGA, CBDV, THCV, and CBC). The method uses variants of ethanol- and acetonitrile-based extractants to successfully minimize or eliminate several types of interferents, and also provides protocols to address specific interferents such as glycerin and lactose. Method validation included spike/recovery for five cannabinoids of primary interest (spiking level 50 μg/g) from a series of edible oils, foods, beverages, candies, topicals, oral OTC pharmaceuticals, glycerin, and propylene glycol. The minimum detectable concentration was established as 1.0 μg/g. The method was applied to about sixty diverse commercial products, as well as to recreational marijuana plants, plant preparations, hempseed oils, and dronabinol capsules.
  • Post-mortem fungal colonization pattern during 6 weeks: Two case studies
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Simone Di Piazza, Mirca Zotti, Rosario Barranco, Grazia Cecchi, Giuseppe Greco, Francesco Ventura The present study reports the mycological data collected from two corpses preserved in controlled conditions and monitored for 6 weeks at the mortuary. On the whole during the monitoring more than 70 fungal CFU (Colony Forming Units) were sampled from the corpses. The data collected were used to map the body fungal colonization of the corpses during 6 weeks. The two body maps show a huge difference between these cases, mainly due to the perimortem conditions. In particular, in the case one the facial area colonised by fungi rose from 15% to 63% in six weeks, while the fungal colonization of case two was about 1% for the whole monitoring period.This work shows, for the first time, the data about the pattern of colonization and distribution of fungi on real corpses after death and argues about the influence of perimortem settings on fungal colonization. Moreover, the paper suggests exploiting the study of fungal colony development and maturation to assess post-mortem interval (PMI).
  • Accidental fatal craniocerebral injury caused by broken chain of sawing
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Jozef Sidlo, Henrieta Sidlova The case of an accidental fatal penetrating craniocerebral injury to a 26-year-old man at work when cutting wood is reported. There was used an angle grinder with an accessory for cutting similar to a chainsaw. The injury was caused by a fragment of the broken chain. The chain fragment broke through the facial part of the head to the left and penetrated the brain in the region of the left parietal bone of the cranial vault. The immediate cause of death was a failure of the central nervous system (brain death). The toxicological analysis of biological materials was negative. The death occurred as a result of a triple violation of safety precautions. The presented case is extremely rare in terms of fatal injuries caused by power tools for sawing having been published in the forensic literature.
  • An unusual case of suicide by methanol ingestion
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 June 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Brian Waters, Kenji Hara, Natsuki Ikematsu, Mio Takayama, Aya Matsusue, Masayuki Kashiwagi, Shin-ichi Kubo A female in her late teens purposely ingested alcohol fuel containing methanol to commit suicide, which she admitted on social media. She was found in distress by her parents and died at the hospital some hours later. Autopsy revealed swelling of the brain and edematous and congestive lungs. No other trauma or unusual findings were revealed at autopsy. Methanol was detected upon routine screening for alcohols by headspace gas chromatography with flame-ionization detection. To confirm the presence of methanol and its metabolite formic acid, a method with detection by mass spectrometry was used. Methanol and formic acid were quantitated in body fluids and tissues by headspace gas chromatography with flame-ionization detection. Formic acid was converted to isopropyl formate by reaction with isopropanol and concentrated sulfuric acid. Acetonitrile was used as the internal standard. The methanol and formic acid concentrations were analyzed in peripheral blood, heart blood, cerebrospinal fluid, liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, lung, muscle, and fat. Successful confirmation and quantitation of methanol and formic acid, a methanol metabolite, in postmortem specimens was achieved on an uncommon case of suicide by methanol ingestion.
  • The Brazilian identified human osteological collections
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 May 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): E. Cunha, T.T. Lopez-Capp, R. Inojosa, S.R. Marques, L.O.C. Moraes, E. Liberti, C.E.P. Machado, L.A.S. de Paiva, L. Francesquini Júnior, E. Daruge Junior, E. Almeida Junior, E. Soriano This short communication aims to inform the scientific community of the existence of seven identified osteological collections in Brazil, most of which are housed in universities: 21st Century Collection of the Center for Studies in Forensic Anthropology, Recife; Identified Skeletal Collection of Sergipanos of the University Tiradentes, Aracaju; Identified Skull Collection of the State of Bahia, Aracaju; Osteological and Tomographic Collection – Prof. Dr. Eduardo Daruge, Piracicaba; Osteological Collection of the Institute of Teaching and Research in Forensic Sciences, Guarulhos; Identified Skull Collection of the Anatomy Museum Alfonso Bovero, São Paulo; and the Identified Skull Collection, São Paulo. Three of these collections are from a northeast population, whereas the others are from individuals from the southeast region. Altogether, there are 925 skeletons and more than 998 skulls (three of the referenced collections have only skulls). Data on the number of individuals, sex, age, origin, and dates of inhumation and exhumation are available. This large quantity of identified skeletal remains is a fundamental source of research material that can be used to characterize the Brazilian population and facilitate the development of forensic anthropology. When contextualized within the reference series from South and Central America, it is clear that the Brazilian skeletal reference series hold a position of prominence.
  • Sex Determination of Han Adults in Northeast China Using Cone Beam
           Computer Tomography
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 May 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Jilong Zheng, Shoutao Ni, Yunxin Wang, Biao Zhang, Yue Teng, Shuo Jiang The purpose of this study was to obtain the morphological data of the maxillofacial region of Han nationality adults in Northeast China, and to explore the methods and appropriate variables of three-dimensional reconstruction technology for sex determination using Cone beam computer tomography (CBCT). The CBCT images of 420 adults (210 males, 210 females) aged 18–70 years were reconstructed by MIMICS 17.0 software and sixteen observation indexes were measured and analyzed statistically. The results demonstrated that twelve of sixteen variables expressed significant sexual difference (p 
  • Digital transformations and the viability of forensic science
           laboratories: Crisis-opportunity through decentralisation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 May 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Eoghan Casey, Olivier Ribaux, Claude Roux
  • Morphometric analysis of the humerus in an adult South African cadaveric
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 April 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Petra Maass, Louise Jacqui Friedling Recent studies using geometric morphometrics have shown that estimations of demographic parameters can be made using skeletal elements previously not thought useful for such purposes.This study used geometric morphometrics to assess humeral morphological variation in an adult South African sample, and evaluated the accuracy of sex and ancestry estimations based on this variation.Humeri of 1046 adult South African individuals (464 females, 582 males) were digitized. Data sets were rotated and scaled to a common centroid using Generalized Procrustes Analysis. Mean centroid sizes between groups were compared using parametric tests, while morphological variation was evaluated using multivariate analyses. Discriminant Function Analysis coupled with leave-one-out cross-validation tests were used to assess the reliability of sex and ancestry classifications based on this variation.Male humeri were relatively larger and presented with morphological features indicative of larger muscle mass and smaller carrying angles than females. White individuals had relatively larger but morphologically less robust humeri than Black or Coloured individuals, likely a reflection of both genetic and socio-economic differences between the groups as enforced under Apartheid law. When sex and ancestry were assessed together, similar variations were detected than when either parameter was individually assessed. Classification accuracy was relatively low when sex was independently assessed (73.3%), but increased when considered in conjunction with ancestry, indicating greater variation between-groups (ancestry) than within-groups. Ancestry estimation accuracies exceeded 80%, even for the highly diverse Coloured group. Classification accuracies of sex-ancestry groups all exceeded 76%.These results show that humerus morphological variation is present and may be used to estimate parameters, such as sex and ancestry, even in complex groups such as the Coloured sample of this study.
  • Bayesian modeling predicts age and sex are not required for accurate
           stature estimation from femoral length
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 14 April 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Mikaela S. Reynolds, Donna M. MacGregor, Clair L. Alston-Knox, Matthew Meredith, Mark D. Barry, Beat Schmutz, Laura S. Gregory Despite the recognized flaws in applying traditional stature estimation equations such as those of Trotter and Gleser (1952) [5] to a contemporary population, there are currently no available alternatives for stature estimation in Australia that address these limitations. Post mortem computed tomography (PMCT) DICOM scans of the left and right femora were acquired from 76 Australian deceased individuals aged 17–76 years for metric analysis. Femoral bicondylar length, femoral epicondylar breadth and anterior–posterior (AP) diameter, medial-lateral (ML) diameter, circumference and cortical area at the femoral midshaft were measured on three-dimensional (3D) models to build statistical models for estimating stature. In addition, Australian individuals aged 16–63 years (n = 111) were measured in standing and supine positions to aid in the adjustment of supine stature of deceased individuals utilized in this study to standing stature. The results of this preliminary evaluation strongly indicate that the optimal model for estimating stature includes bicondylar femoral length and epicondylar breadth, that the effect of sex as an independent variable is very low, and there is limited practical benefit in including age in the estimation of stature. Our study indicates that the Australian population sampled represents a small yet significant shift in stature from the original Trotter and Gleser sample. Additionally, in the case of fragmentary remains, it was found that epicondylar breadth and AP diameter had the highest probability of accurate stature estimation in the absence of bicondylar femoral length. As stature forms a significant component of a biological profile and therefore aids in the personal identification of human remains, it is important that forensic anthropologists utilize the most accurate methodologies available. Stature estimation of Australian individuals is therefore achieved with higher accuracy through utilizing the femoral equations proposed in this study.
  • 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.
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