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Forensic Science International
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.981
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 494  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0379-0738
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3161 journals]
  • Application of the Kvaal method for age estimation using digital panoramic
           radiography of Chinese individuals
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Mu-jia Li, Guang Chu, Meng-qi Han, Teng Chen, Hong Zhou, Yu-cheng Guo The Kvaal method as a non-invasive method for age estimation based on the changes of pulpal size caused by secondary dentin deposition has been applied to different ethnics. However, its results are often conflicting and its accuracy is relatively poor. This study aimed to verify the applicability of the Kvaal method to estimate the ages of the Chinese population using digital panoramic radiographs and to formulate specific regression equations for use in Chinese subjects. A sample of 360 digital panoramic radiographs from northern Chinese population were selected, from which the pulpal size and width of six tooth types (maxillary central incisor, lateral incisor, second premolar, mandibular lateral incisor, canine, and first premolar) were measured using Kvaal’s method. Then, inter- and intra-observer reliabilities were calculated to evaluate the reproducibility of those measurements. The correlation between chronological age and measurements was also examined and the Chinese-specific equations for age estimation were conducted. After comparing the accuracy of the Chinese-specific equation with the original Kvaal equation, the age of the Chinese population was clearly overestimated by Kvaal’s equation, and a Chinese-specific equation could ameliorate age prediction accuracy. In addition, the residuals of the Chinese-specific equation were significantly lower than that of the original Kvaal’s method. Thus, we concluded that the original Kvaal equation cannot accurately estimate age in the Chinese population. Although accuracy improved using the Chinese-specific equation that was based on Kvaal’s methodology, the standard deviation remained large. In view of the lack of accurate age estimation methods for adults, we propose finding more correlated variables or combining other age estimation methods to increase the accuracy for adult age estimation.
  • Using genetic genealogy databases in missing persons cases and to develop
           suspect leads in violent crimes
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 14 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Debbie Kennett In the last year direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic genealogy databases have been used to identify suspects and missing persons in over fifty cold cases, many of which have been unsolved for decades. Genealogists worked on these cases in collaboration with law enforcement agencies. Raw DNA data files were uploaded to the genealogy websites GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA, and identification was made by tracing the family trees of relatives who were predicted to be close genetic matches in the database. Such searches have far-reaching consequences because they affect not just those who have consented to upload their DNA results to these databases but also all of their relatives, regardless of whether or not they have taken a DNA test. This article provides an overview of the methods used, the potential privacy and security issues, and the wider implications for society. There is an urgent need for forensic scientists, bioethicists, law enforcement agencies, genetic genealogists and other interested parties to work together to produce international guidelines and policies to ensure that the techniques are used responsibly and effectively.
  • Concentration of microtubule associated protein tau (MAPT) in urine, and
           saliva, as a potential biomarker of traumatic brain injury in relationship
           with blood-brain barrier disruption in postmortem examination
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Mieszko Olczak, Łukasz A. Poniatowski, Justyna Niderla-Bielińska, Magdalena Kwiatkowska, Dominik Chutorański, Sylwia Tarka, Teresa Wierzba-Bobrowicz Traumatic brain injury (TBI) constitutes a frequent finding in medico-legal practice, including forensic autopsy and neuropathological examination. Despite clinico-scientific advances there is a need for identification of novel biomarkers considered for TBI diagnostics in ante- and postmortem cases. The role of Tau protein as a biomarker in case of TBI was investigated in previous studies by examination of blood and cerebrospinal fluid obtained during forensic autopsies whereas less is known concerning its liberation and occurrence in other biofluids. The aim of this study was to elucidate and identify if elevated MAPT levels in other biofluids, such as urine, saliva, and vitreous body are also seen in TBI cases in population-based autopsy screening. The study was carried out using cases (n = 14) of severe head injury suspected as the cause of death and control cases (n = 13) of sudden death in the mechanism of cardiopulmonary failure. The biofluids, such as urine, saliva, and vitreous body were collected within ˜24 h after death and compared using ELISA test. Tissue specimens including brain and kidney were similarly collected during forensic autopsies. Brain specimens were stained immunohistologically with anti-Vimentin (V9) antibody and histologically using Mallory's trichrome method (to assess structural damage to blood-brain barrier elements) whereas kidney specimens were stained immunohistologically with anti-MAPT antibody (to assess the suitability of such a study in the diagnosis of TBI). In our study, we observed the elevated concentration levels of MAPT in saliva and urine. These changes were accompanied by damage to the structural elements of the blood-brain barrier (damage to the vascular endothelium and vascular basement membrane). According to this elevated cencentration levels of Tau protein in this biofluids should be considered as TBI marker in postmortem examination even in cases where the head injury was not supposed to consist the direct cause of death.
  • Incorporation of zolpidem and methoxyphenamine into white hair strands
           after single administrations: Influence of hair pigmentation on drug
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Noriaki Shima, Atsushi Nitta, Tooru Kamata, Keiko Sasaki, Shuntaro Matsuta, Akari Ishikawa, Ryutaro Asai, Misato Wada, Hidenao Kakehashi, Shihoko Nakano, Hiroe Kamata, Takako Sato, Hitoshi Tsuchihashi, Akihiro Miki, Munehiro Katagi In order to investigate the influence of pigmentation on the incorporation of drugs into hair, time-course changes in drug distribution along non-pigmented (white) hairs as well as pigmented (black) hairs plucked from the same subject was observed following single administrations of two basic drugs with different properties, zolpidem and methoxyphenamine. These drugs in 1-mm sections of single hair specimens were each determined by a liquid chromatography − tandem mass spectrometric procedure. During the early stage (12-36 hours) after intake, for black hairs, both drugs were detected over the entire area of hair root (4-5 mm in length), in which notable concentration of these drugs in the hair bulb (0 − 1-mm segment from the bottom of hair root, Region 1) and lower concentrations in the upper dermis zone (1 − 2-mm to 3 − 4-mm or to 4 − 5-mm segments, Region 2) were commonly observed. Meanwhile, for white hairs, high drug concentrations in Region 1 as detected in black hairs were not observed although only small amounts of these drugs were detected over Region 2. Subsequent time-course changes in the concentration of drugs in hair demonstrated that the drugs once incorporated into white hair via Region 2 decreased gradually over the period from 24 hours to 35 days after intake, but those of black hairs remained almost unchanged. These findings revealed here suggest that hair pigments have two important roles in the distribution of drugs: 1) incorporation of drugs into hair via Region 1, and 2) retention of already incorporated drugs in the hair tissue. These findings would be useful for discussing individual drug-use history based on hair analysis in the forensic fields.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Applicability of a pre-established set of facial proportions from frontal
           photographs in forensic age estimation of a Brazilian population
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Carlos Eduardo Palhares Machado, Bianca Marques Santiago, Laíse Nascimento Correa Lima, Paola Sampaio Gonzales, Ademir Franco, Flávio de Barros Vidal, Inmaculada Aleman Aguilera, Marco Aurelio Guimarães Child pornography on the internet is one of the crimes with highest increasing incidence worldwide. In this specific type of crime, the victim’s age has important legal implications. To overcome the lack of scientifically established protocols, European researchers explored and proposed a set of facial proportions obtained from images to estimate age. Within a validation scope, the present study aimed to test the applicability of morphological proportions from frontal photographs of the face to estimate age in a Brazilian population. Standardized frontal view photographs from 800 Brazilians (400 females and 400 males) homogeneously distributed in 4 age groups (6, 10, 14 and 18 years ± 30 days) were randomly selected from a Civilian Database of the Brazilian Federal Police. The selected images were analyzed with the aid of cephalometric landmarks. After landmarking the photographs, eighteen metric relations pre-established by Cattaneo et al. (C. Cattaneo, Z. Obertová, M. Ratnayake, L. Marasciuolo, J. Tutkuviene, P. Poppa, D. Gibelli, P. Gabriel, S. Ritz-Timme, Can facial proportions taken from images be of use for ageing in cases of suspected child pornography' A pilot study, Int. J. Legal Med. 126 2012 139–144) were assessed and analyzed through parametric statistical tests and discriminant analysis. Two indexes had a moderate correlation with age, while ten had a weak correlation and six were not correlated with age. Eleven indexes were statistically different between sexes (p 
  • Sex Estimation Using Sternum Part Lenghts by Means of Artificial Neural
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Zulal Oner, Muhammed Kamil Turan, Serkan Oner, Yusuf Secgin, Bunyamin Sahin In addition to the pelvis, cranium and phalanges, the sternum is also used for postmortem sex identification. Bone measurements may be obtained on cadaveric bones. Alternatively, computerized tomography may be used to obtain measurements close to the original ones. Moreover, usage of artificial neural networks (ANNs) in the field of medicine has started to provide new horizons. In this study, we aimed to identify sex by an ANN using lengths of manubrium sterni (MSL), corpus sterni (CSL) and processus xiphoideus (XPL) and sternal angle (SA) from computerized tomography (CT) images brought to an orthogonal plane. This study used the thin-slice thoracic CT images of 422 cases (213 female, 209 male) with an age range of 27-60 years brought to the orthogonal plane. Measurements of MSL, CSL, XPL and SA were analyzed with a multilayer artificial neural network that used Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) for optimization and two hidden layers. MSL, CSL and XPL were longer, and SA was wider in men (MSLp=0.000, CSLp=0.000, XPLp=0.000, SAp=0.02). In the case of the two hidden layers of the network with 20 and 14 neurons in the hidden layers, respectively, learning rate of 0.1 and momentum coefficient of 0.9, the accuracy (Acc) of sex prediction was 0.906. In order to define a more realistic performance of the network, bootstrap was run with the confidence interval of 94%. A sensitivity (Sen) value of 0.91 and a specificity (Spe) value of 0.90 were calculated. The success rates that were achieved in sex identification with measurements on the skeleton using ANN were observed to be higher than those achieved by linear models. Also, sometimes all parts of the bones may not be found or might be deformed. In this case, the number of parameters used for the estimation will be incomplete. The ANN has the strong advantage to be able to estimate despite the missing parameter.
  • Homicide injury severity in association with the victim-offender
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Fredrik Tamsen, Joakim Sturup, Ingemar Thiblin There are previous studies that have found associations between specific injury patterns and different victim-offender relationships (VORs) in homicides. We have used quantitative injury severity scores to further investigate this issue. The amount and severity of injuries were assessed in 178 Swedish homicide victims, retrospectively included from the years 2007–2009. We analyzed whether different injury measures could be used to predict the VOR. In addition to a deeper understanding of violent behavior, such associations may be of help to homicide investigators for offender profiling. The victims’ injuries were assessed with eleven different methods. The cases with known VORs were divided into four categories: partner, relative, acquaintance, and stranger. The injury severities were then compared between these categories. No relevant differences were found. Thus, the current study does not support the claim that the VOR can be predicted from the injury severity in a general homicide population. These findings are in contrast to the results of some previous studies but confirm those of others.
  • Camera-identification and common-source identification: The correlation
           values of mismatches
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Arjan Mieremet A robust and well-known way to identify the source of an image is the use of Photo Response Non-Uniformity. The ability to be able to extract the PRNU-pattern from images is both used for camera-identification (linking one or more images to a camera) and common-source identification (linking images to images). In this paper we focus on the correlation values of mismatches, i.e. the correlation between images made with different cameras. Although the correlation values of mismatches are close to zero, they are never exactly zero. In this paper we show that it is possible with an extremely simple formula to a priori estimate the typical range for mismatch correlation values. This simple formula can be used as a decision rule in digital camera identification to either perform a complete investigation including reference recordings (which is time consuming) or not. In common-source identification this simple formula can be used to provide a well-educated guess for the threshold value to the cluster algorithm instead of just arbitrarily trying a range of threshold values.
  • Chemical profiling of the street cocktail drug ‘Nyaope’ in South
           Africa using GC-MS II: Stability studies of the cannabinoid, opiate and
           antiretroviral components during sample storage
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): P.M. Mthembi, E.M. Mwenesongole, M.D. Cole Nyaope is a mixture of low grade heroin, cannabis products, antiretroviral drugs and other materials added as bulking agents. It is a highly physically additive mixture which is smoked by users. As part of the development of a method for the analysis and profiling of nyaope this study evaluates the stability of the cannabinoid, opiate and antiretroviral components of nyaope during storage following seizure. Conditions used were those typically used for storage of drug seizures: in a desiccator in a refrigerator, in a desiccator in the dark at room temperature, in a desiccator in daylight at room temperature and ambient room temperature in the dark in a cabinet used for storage of drug seizures. Street samples of cannabis (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and heroin were mixed with efavirenz and nevirapine tablets to mimic a nyaope sample. The samples were homogenized and transferred into glass bottles and extracted with tertiary butyl alcohol (tBuOH) and analysed by gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS) after the powdered drugs had been stored for intervals of 0 and 24 hours under each storage condition. The data obtained indicates that the target drug components in nyaope samples decompose and that for comparison purposes the drug extracts should be prepared in tBuOH immediately after seizure because of the decomposition of the drug components during storage prior to extraction and analysis. The implications of this work are that law enforcement agencies dealing with nyaope and wanting to compare drug samples may need to change their practice around how the drug is handled after seizure but prior to analysis.
  • The effect of fabric mass per unit area and blood impact velocity on
           bloodstain morphology
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): L. Dicken, C. Knock, D.J. Carr, S. Beckett This paper discusses the effects of thickness, mass per unit area, sett, yarn linear density and twist of calico fabrics (100% cotton, plain woven) on the morphology of passive bloodstains. Horse blood was dropped vertically onto three calico fabrics with different mass per unit areas (85.1 g/m², 163.5 g/m² and 224.6 g/m²). Six different impact velocities were used (1.7 ms-1, 2.9 ms-1, 4.1 ms-1, 4.9 ms-1, 5.1 ms-1 and 5.4 ms-1). The dry bloodstains were largest on the calico with the lightest mass per unit area. The low yarn linear density and large inter-yarn spaces meant that the blood could wick into the yarns from all directions and along the intra-yarn spaces. The calico with the middle mass per unit area had the smallest mean dry bloodstain area for four out of the six velocities. The twist level for this calico was greater than for the calicos with a heavier or lighter mass per unit area. This reduced the amount of wicking which occurred along the yarns due to the tighter yarn structure. The calico with the heaviest mass per unit area had the highest yarn linear density resulting in a thicker fabric, so the blood could not as easily penetrate into the fabric. This resulted in a thicker wet blood layer remaining on the fabric surface, where it gradually wicked vertically into the yarns under gravity. Less wicking along the yarns occurred, resulting in a smaller bloodstain than on the fabric with the lightest mass per unit area. The correlation between impact velocity and mean dry bloodstain area was greater for the calicos with the medium and heaviest mass per unit area than for the calico with the lightest mass per unit area. For the calicos with the medium and heaviest mass per unit area, the distance the blood spread laterally at impact, which increased with the increase in impact velocity, had a greater influence on the dry bloodstain area than the amount of wicking.
  • Non-contact and non-destructive detection and identification of Bacillus
           anthracis inside paper envelops
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Shai Kendler, Ran Aharoni, Shay Cohen, Raviv Raich, Shay Weiss, Haim Levy, Ziv Mano, Barak Fishbain, Izhar Ron Efficient and safe detection of Bacillus anthracis spores (BAS) is a challenging task especially in bio-terror scenarios where the agent is concealed. We provide a proof-of-concept for the identification of concealed BAS inside mail envelopes using short-wave infrared hyperspectral imaging (SWIR-HSI). The spores and two other benign materials are identified according to their typical absorption spectrum. The identification process is based on removal of the envelope signal using an automatic new algorithm. This method may serve as a fast screening tool prior to using classical bioanalytical techniques.
  • Characterizing drip patterns in bloodstain pattern analysis: an
           investigation of the influence of droplet impact velocity and number of
           droplets on static pattern features
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Kristine Boos, Amanda Orr, Mike Illes, Theresa Stotesbury This work characterizes fundamental features of static drip patterns simulated for forensic bloodstain pattern analysis. The purpose of this study was to determine if and how two independent variables, impact velocity and droplet number, influence the parent stain size, shape and satellite spatter distribution of drip patterns created with whole ovine blood. To do this, 500 drip patterns were created in a controlled environment at five varying impact velocities and ten different droplet numbers on a hard paper surface. Digital images of the dried patterns were processed and analyzed using Fiji (ImageJ). The data collected from each pattern support the hypotheses that drip patterns contain predictable and reproducible elements based on impact velocity and droplet number. Basic fluid dynamic principles demonstrate that the size of the parent stains, as well as the number and distribution of satellite stains increase with increasing Weber number. A decrease in the circularity of the parent stains was also noted. This study provides fundamental qualitative and quantitative data on observable elements of drip patterns that can be used practically by bloodstain pattern analysts for pattern identification and classification.
  • Three-dimensional analysis of bitemarks using an intraoral scanner
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Géromine Fournier, Frédéric Savall, Karim Nasr, Norbert Telmon, Delphine Maret Conservation of the three-dimensional aspect of bitemarks is important to optimize their correct analysis. Bitemarks could be recorded with a surface scanner. In clinical dentistry, optical cameras are used as an alternative to conventional dental impressions. They scan the dental relief for prosthetic design. We propose a three-dimensional bitemark analysis protocol using an intraoral scanner. Eight volunteers bit on different materials: dental wax and hard cheese. Then, bitemarks and dentitions were scanned with the intraoral scanner. The scans obtained were exported into the mesh comparison software, CloudCompare®, which can automatically generate overlays. For this purpose, dentition were aligned and compared with indentations. The meshing and non-meshing areas were easily visualized using a colorimetric scale. This protocol made it possible to exclude incorrect dentitions in about twenty minutes. Moreover, dentitions corresponding to bitemarks all matched. In order to refine this protocol, it must be tested with morphologically close dentitions and on the skin as well.
  • Ethyl glucuronide hair testing: A review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Anna Biondi, Francesca Freni, Claudia Carelli, Matteo Moretti, Luca Morini Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is a minor, non-oxidative ethanol metabolite that can be detected in several matrices (e.g. blood, urine, hair, meconium) for variable periods of time. Quantification of EtG in hair (hEtG) has established itself, over recent years, as one of the most reliable biomarkers of long-term alcohol consumption habits, with the Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) offering cut-off values for assessment of both abstinence and heavy drinking (> 60 g/day). Despite its high diagnostic performance, however, issues concerning inter- and intra-laboratory variability as well as data interpretation are still being investigated and represent the ultimate barrier to widespread acceptance of hEtG in the forensic context. The aim of this review is to summarize currently available analytical methods of hEtG testing, provide a framework to understand current hEtG cut-offs and their possible upcoming changes (in particular, a lower abstinence cut-off has been proposed for the 2019 revision of the SoHT consensus), and offer a schematic but exhaustive overview of the pitfalls in result reproducibility and interpretation that may limit applications of hEtG testing in the forensic context. Ultimately, the purpose of the authors is not to undermine the reliability of hEtG as an alcohol use marker, but rather to enhance it by promoting familiarization with all aspects related to it, from ethanol pharmacokinetics and EtG incorporation into hair, to sample preparation and analytical methods, to specific cases warranting close attention and additional tests for correct interpretation of hEtG results.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Application of a chemiluminescence immunoassay system and GC/MS for
           toxicological investigations on skeletonized human remains
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): P. Basilicata, M. Pieri, A. Simonelli, D. Faillace, M. Niola, V. Graziano Hair, larvae and cardiac muscle, the only biological samples present on a skeletonized human body found in a rural area, were used for forensic toxicological analyses in order to determine possible causes of death. Since no information about the victim or the circumstances of death was available (except for the place where the corpse was found, known to be a gathering place for drug addicts), the first approach for the analysis of non-conventional matrices involved the screening of different classes of active principles, using a chemiluminescence-based screening assay designed for whole blood. The immunoassay test results showed positivity to amphetamines, cocaine and opiates on water/methanol extract from cardiac tissue, larvae and hair samples. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analyses confirmed the immunoassay results, except for amphetamines. The minimal sample preparation (hydration and extraction in an ultrasonic bath), the reduced sample volume required for the analyses, together with the correctness of results as confirmed by GC/MS, showed the suitability of the screening test for forensic applications on non-conventional matrices. Quantitative analyses in GC/MS allowed the cause of death to be ascertained on the basis of the ratio between parent drugs and metabolites.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • The expression of 10 candidate specific microRNA markers for human body
           fluid identification in animal buccal swabs
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Duo Peng, Ningbao Wang, Zhilong Li, Huan Tian, Weibo Liang, Lin Zhang MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been of interest in forensic science for body fluid identification with recent years. However, there is no study investigating the species specificity of miRNA markers by the SYBR Green method. Due to the conservation of miRNAs across species, miRNA markers maybe less species-specific than mRNA markers, and in forensic cases, animal buccal swabs are more likely to appear. Therefore, in this study we addressed the influence of 8 kinds of animal buccal swabs on human saliva, semen, vaginal secretion swabs and blood identification with 10 candidate specific miRNA markers by the SYBR Green quantitative PCR. Our data showed that the expression levels of the candidate specific miRNA markers miR-124a and 372 in the cat, dog, mouse and rabbit buccal swabs were in the same range as the human vaginal secretion swabs; buccal swabs from these animals also showed similar expression levels to human saliva for the candidate specific miRNA markers miR-200c, 205 and 658. These results indicated that biomaterials of buccal swabs from cats, dogs, mice and rabbits may be mistaken for human saliva or human vaginal secretion swabs, both of which could result in false positives for human body fluids. Thus, the interpretation of these miRNA profiles for human body fluid identification can be inaccurate in the presence of these animal buccal swabs. Therefore, we suggested performing species tests before human body identification with miRNA markers.
  • Criminal corpse dismemberment in Hamburg, Germany from 1959 to 2016
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): N. Wilke-Schalhorst, A.-S. Schröder, K. Püschel, C. Edler Cases of corpse dismemberment are rare, but occur most frequently in urban agglomerations. A distinction is made between defensive and offensive corpse dismemberment. This systematic review retrospectively assesses the phenomenology of 51 cases of corpse dismemberment (30 defensive and 21 offensive), which occurred in a period of 57 years and were subject to medico-legal autopsies performed at the Departement of Legal Medicine in Hamburg, Germany. The victims’ gender ratio was 1.7:1 female to male. In most cases, the perpetrators were middle-aged men from the close social environment, who had no psychiatric primary illnesses, no experience in the medical sector, and had not worked professionally as a butcher. In 80% of the cases it was possible to establish the cause of death; the most frequent cause was injuries sustained through sharp force (15 cases). The cases are discussed within the context of the existing international literature on corpse dismemberment.
  • A validated GC-MS method for ketamine and norketamine in hair and its use
           in authentic cases
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): J.M. Matey, M.D. Moreno de Simon, C. Garcia-Ruiz, G. MontalvoGraphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Probabilistic approaches to interpreting two-person DNA mixtures from
           post-coital specimens
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Jae Joseph Russell B. Rodriguez, Jo-Anne Bright, Jazelyn M. Salvador, Rita P. Laude, Maria Corazon A. De Ungria Biological samples submitted for sexual assault investigation typically involve mixtures of DNA from the victim and the assailant/s. Providing a statistical weight to such evidence may be mathematically complex and may be affected by subjective judgment of a human analyst. Software tools have been developed to address these issues. To contribute towards improving the system for routine DNA testing of sexual assault cases, we evaluated two likelihood ratio (LR) approaches: a semi-continuous model using LRmix Studio, and a fully continuous approach employed in STRmixTM for interpreting two-person DNA mixtures. LRs conditioned on the presence of the receptive partner’s DNA were calculated for a total of 102 two-person DNA samples from simulated mixtures and various post-coital samples. Our results highlight the importance of maximising information provided into the LR calculation to generate strong support for the true hypothesis. This can be achieved by recovering sufficient DNA from a sample to minimise drop-out and increase peak intensities, and by implementing a statistical model that utilises as much of the electropherogram information as possible. LRmix is open-source and can handle profiles with allelic drop-out and drop-ins, however stuttering is not modelled and requires manual removal by a DNA analyst especially for mixtures with low template components. STRmixTM makes effective use of all available information by incorporating into its biological model complicating aspects of a DNA profile such as degradation, allele drop-out and drop-in, stutters, and peak height variability.
  • A coupled physical-computational methodology for the investigation of
           short fall related infant head impact injury
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Ghaidaa A. Khalid, Raj K. Prabhu, Owen Arthurs, Michael D. Jones Head injury in childhood is the most common cause of death or permanent disability from injury. However, insufficient understanding exists of the response of a child’s head to injurious loading scenarios to establish cause and effect relationships to assist forensic and safetly investigations. Largely as a result of a lack of availability of paediatric clinical and Post-Mortem-Human-Surrogate (PMHS) experimental data, a new approach to infant head injury experimentation has been developed. A coupled-methodology, combining a physical infant head surrogate, producing “real world” global, regional and localised impact response data and a computational Finite-Element (FE-head) model was created and validated against available PMHS and physical model global impact response data. Experimental impact simulations were performed to investigate regional and localised injury vulnerability. Different regions of the head produced accelerations significantly greater than those calculated using the currently available method of measuring the global, whole head response. The majority of material strain was produced within the relatively elastic suture and fontanelle regions, rather than the skull bones. A subsequent parametric analysis was conducted to provide a correlation between fall height and areas of maximum-stress-response and fracture-risk-probability. The FE-head was further applied to investigating fracture risk, simulating injurious PMHS impacts and a good qualitative match was observed. The FE-head shows significant potential for the study of infant head injury and is anticipated to be a motivating tool for the improvement of head injury understanding across a range of potentially injurious head loading scenarios.
  • 50 years later, insect evidence overturns Canada’s most notorious case
           — Regina v. Steven Truscott
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): S.L. VanLaerhoven, R.W. Merritt
  • The link between traumatic injury in soft and hard tissue
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Gérald Quatrehomme, Véronique Alunni Forensic pathology and forensic anthropology are inherently related fields. The observations made during the autopsy and the conclusions from the anthropological analysis highlight the complementarities between the two approaches. In this review, gunshot wounds, sharp force injuries, chop wounds, blunt trauma, burned bodies, mechanical asphyxia and dismemberment will be analyzed from both perspectives. The result of this systematic review is that the conclusions stemming from the presence or absence of bone injuries must be very cautious because the observation of severe bone lesions does not always mean that this trauma was the cause of death; conversely, traumatic death, and even homicide, can be associated with a complete absence of bone lesions.
  • Vehicle stiffness assessment for energy loss evaluation in vehicle impacts
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Dario Vangi, Carlo Cialdai, Michelangelo-Santo Gulino The energy loss in a vehicle-to-vehicle impact is an important compatibility indicator between the real event and the reconstruction made by the expert. For its estimate, stiffness characteristics for the vehicle are typically referred to, evaluated by the residual deformation obtained in a crash test. In frontal vehicle into rigid barrier crash tests, residual deformation on the vehicle front is generally measured as the bumper displacement in respect to its undeformed shape; nevertheless, in real crashes the bumper is subject to a restitution differing from the rest of the vehicle structure, or is often detached. For these reasons, the present work proposes a methodology for vehicle stiffness calculation based on the dynamic crush experienced by the vehicle in a crash test; this datum is independent from restitution of the bumper. To apply such methodology, a video analysis approach is proposed for the derivation of dynamic crush: dynamic crush can be obtained without the processing of accelerometer signals, which are not always publicly available from consumer programs. The proposed video analysis approach represents a valid alternative to already existing procedures, because of its superior accuracy. By application of this approach to dynamic crush calculation in some crash tests, the drawbacks deriving from the possible use of residual deformation of the bumper are shown; consequently, it is highlighted how residual deformation measures should be cautiously employed in the accident reconstruction process.
  • Enhancement of fingermarks and visualizing DNA
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): P Kanokwongnuwut, KP Kirkbride, H Kobus, A Linacre A novel method for detection and visualization of latent DNA using Diamond™ Nucleic Acid Dye (DD) staining has been developed. Applying DD to an object has the real potential to visualize DNA on a substrate from which a DNA profile can be generated, but it is important to determine whether this staining will adversely affect other forensic investigational techniques and vice versa.The aim of this study was to examine the interactions between staining a fingermark to detect DNA and then generate a DNA profile in combination with several standard latent fingermark enhancement methods. Six common fingerprint enhancements processes were chosen; 1) black powder, 2) black magnetic powder, 3) red magnetic powder, 4) white powder, 5) aluminum powder and 6) cyanoacrylate fuming. For all six methods, mark enhancement was carried out before DD staining and vice versa. DD is effective in detection of DNA in the presence of both aluminum and white finger mark powders and DD does not compromise the subsequent detection of ridge patterns if DD is applied first. Whilst magnetic powders could be used to successfully enhance latent fingermarks even after DD had been applied to them, latent DNA could not be observed in the marks irrespective of whether magnetic powder was applied before or after DD treatment. Magnetic powders did not adversely affect the profiling of DNA present in the marks. The application of DD to fingermarks did not adversely affect the enhancement of fingermarks using cyanoacrylate fuming. Whilst fluorescent particles resembling cells stained with DD were observed in marks either post-treated or pre-treated with cyanoacrylate vapor, DNA amplification and profiling was not successful.While it may be important in particular investigations to collect DNA profiles from latent fingermarks with continuous ridges and clear minutiae, the main utility of the technique described here would be in relation to investigations where enhancement has resulted in only partial or smudged marks. The results presented here indicate that if it is desirable to visualize latent DNA on an object but it is also planned to treat the object with cyanoacrylate vapor or magnetic powders then it is important to apply DD first, record the location of DNA and then apply the mark enhancement technique. For aluminum and white powder mark treatments such precautions are not important.
  • Forensic Clinical Anatomy of the Spleen in Medical Malpractice
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Andrea Porzionato, Veronica Macchi, Raffaele De Caro
  • Variability of stamp impression measurements under different apposition
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Patrizia Rulli, Raymond Marquis, Martin Fürbach, Céline Weyermann When a forensic document examiner obtains differences in size measurements between a questioned and reference stamp impressions, it may be difficult to assess whether such findings might be due to the use of the same stamp in different apposition conditions or are due to the use of different stamps. To address this issue, the present work has studied the variability of size measurements of stamp impressions apposed in various (pressure, humidity and temperature) conditions. Different stamps were also used to evaluate the influence of the fabricant, the matrix (photopolymer or rubber) and the inking type (self-inking and handstamp). While statistical tests sometimes indicated differences in the results, the measurement distributions overlapped for all kind of conditions (same stamps, different stamps), except for the two stamps produced by different manufacturers. Based on the findings of this study, a difference above 0.09 cm would support the hypothesis that two different stamps were used to produce the impressions. However, size differences below 0.09 cm were also encountered for impressions made using different stamps. The maximal size difference was actually measured for two stamps produced by different manufacturers (up to 0.29 cm).Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Revealing a decades-old fingermark with Cyanoacrylate fuming and Rhodamine
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Maralee Tapps, Laurence McMullen, Marie-Eve Gagné, Alexandre Beaudoin Cyanoacrylate fuming, rhodamine 6G staining and 532 nm laser light visualization were used to reveal a thirty-year-old fingermark on a plastic bag discovered at a double homicide scene.
  • Toxicological Investigations in a Fatal and Non-Fatal Accident due to
           Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) Poisoning
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Elvira Ventura Spagnolo, Guido Romano, Pietro Zuccarello, Antonino Laudani, Cristina Mondello, Antonina Argo, Stefania Zerbo, Nunziata Barbera Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is one of the most toxic natural gas and represents a not rare cause of fatal events in workplaces. We report here a serious accidental poisoning by hydrogen sulphide inhalation involving six sailors. Three of them died while the other three survived and were transported to the emergency room. No greenish discolouration of the body, that could be a feature of these type of deaths, was observed at autopsy. Given that blood and/or urine H2S detection doesn’t allow to discriminate if it is related to inhalation or to putrefactive processes, the determination of thiosulphate, H2S main metabolite, is decisive.The succession of fatal events reported here can be rebuilt by toxicological data interpretation: the subject 1 died after a longer interval of time as demonstrated by the highest blood and urine thiosulfate concentrations; the subject 2 died after a short interval of time as showed by a lower blood and urine thiosulfate concentrations than subject 1; the subject 3 died almost immediately after H2S inhalation since he showed the lowest blood thiosulfate concentration, and no trace of sulphide and thiosulfate was found in the urine.
  • Fatal attack on a pedestrian by an escaped circus elephant
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): A. Heger, C.-S. Schwarz, A. Krauskopf, S. Heinze We report the case of a 65-year-old man who was attacked and killed by a female elephant that had previously escaped from a nearby circus. According to a witness the man was lifted up by the tusks, flung into the air and stomped upon. At autopsy the body showed signs of severe blunt force trauma and impalement, including multiple lacerations of the skin, a crushed thorax, a spinal fracture and a fractured humerus. The spinal cord and the major abdominal vessels were severed. There have been very few elephant attacks in Europe; this is the first reported case in Germany.
  • The Role of the Gunshot Residue Expert in Case Review – A Case Study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Angela Shaw This paper details the review of the gunshot residue (GSR) evidence relating to a 2002 murder involving the discharge of a pistol where the Prosecution used the GSR findings together with voice identification evidence and obtained a conviction in the case of R v Dwaine George. Mr George was subsequently represented by Cardiff University Law School’s Innocence Project who made representations to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) based on issues relating to the GSR evidence. The CCRC commissioned their own expert review and based on these findings referred the conviction to the Court of Appeal stating that in their opinion the weight of the GSR evidence was not appropriately conveyed to the jury at the original Trial and there should have been a warning relating to the limited significance that could be attached to the evidence. The Court of Appeal concluded that had the jury been aware of the full extent of the potential alternative sources of GSR in the case and the limited number of particles found on a jacket related to Mr George then this would have affected the decision of the Trial jury. The appeal was allowed and the convictions were quashed.
  • Muscular hemorrhages around the scapula resulting from excessive upper
           extremity motion in cases of fatal drowning: autopsy findings for insights
           on manner of death
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 May 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Toru Oshima, Maki Ohtani, Sohtaro Mimasaka Muscular hemorrhages around the scapula are frequently found in fatal drowning cases without injuries in the upper back at time of autopsy. The present study investigated the frequency of muscular hemorrhages around the scapula and determined the mechanism responsible for this phenomenon. Muscular hemorrhages around the scapula were found in 104 of 164 (63.4%) bodies assessed. Hemorrhage in the infraspinatus muscle was most common, followed by the supraspinatus muscle. These muscular hemorrhages were not associated with upper extremity injuries and were most frequently found in accidental drowning cases (78.7 %), followed by cases of suicide (56.0 %), and in natural disease prior to drowning (19.0 %). We examined muscular hemorrhage around the scapula and cervical injuries that restricted the active motion of upper extremities in drowning cases. The vertebral level of cervical injuries were related to muscular hemorrhages around the scapula. These results suggested that muscular hemorrhages around the scapula were not a result of agonal convulsions but were caused by consciously active excessive motion of the upper extremities while drowning. Investigations of the muscular hemorrhages around the scapula can provide insights towards the manner of fatal drowning.
  • Homicidal strangulation and subsequent hanging of the victim to simulate
           suicide: Delayed elucidation based on reassessment of the autopsy findings
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Dorothee Geisenberger, Stefan Pollak, Annette Thierauf-Emberger In many countries, hanging is the most common suicide method. When a person is found hanged however, one always has to consider that the alleged suicide scene possibly covers up a homicide. In such cases, hanging may have been the actual method of killing or the victim may have been harmed by a different method and was subsequently hanged. Apart from the inspection of the scene, the autopsy findings are of great importance to differentiate between suicide and homicide. Up to now, a considerable number of cases have been observed in which suicide by hanging was wrongly assumed at first.In the case presented, there were some facts raising doubts about a suicidal act already at scene. Nevertheless the forensic pathologists erroneously assumed that the findings on the corpse were consistent with suicide. The later elucidation of the case as a homicide by manual strangulation with subsequent suspension of the victim was essentially based on a new assessment of the autopsy findings in a second opinion.
  • A fluvoxamine-related fatality: Case report with postmortem concentrations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Jenna Otter, Iain M. McIntyre, Jacquelyn Morhaime, Lee Cantrell Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that has been considered relatively safe in overdose. At therapeutic and supratherapeutic concentrations, fluvoxamine affects cardiac conduction, prolongs QTc interval, causes hypotension, obtundation, and can increase propensity for seizures. A man in his 60s was found dead at his home with a postmortem fluvoxamine peripheral blood concentration of 4.9 mg/L, and a liver concentration of 440 mg/kg. His cause of death was determined to be acute fluvoxamine toxicity.
  • A fatal case of poisoning of a 19-year-old after taking 3-MMC
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 28 February 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Joanna Margasińska-Olejak, Rafał Celiński, Agnieszka Fischer, Jerzy Stojko The significant increase in the number of new psychoactive substances on the drug market has recently been a serious problem. The manuscript presents a fatal case of suicide poisoning with 3-MMC (3-methylmethcathinone). The biological material collected during the autopsy of a 19-year-old woman, transferred to the toxicological Laboratory in Katowice ToxLab, was subjected to a chemical and toxicological analysis. The toxicological analysis of blood, vitreous humor and gastric contents revealed 3-methylmetcatinone at a concentration of 800 ng/ml, 153 ng/ml and 5,5 mg, respectively. The presence of 3-MMC has also been confirmed in physical evidence secured on site. 3-methylmethcathinone is a dangerous psychoactive substance that caused the death of the 19-year-old.
  • Introduction to the special issue
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 February 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Robert C. Davis
  • Introduction to the Special Issue for Forensic Ecology
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 January 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Patricia E.J. Wiltshire
  • Recent advances in understanding hard tissue alterations related to trauma
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 September 2018Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Douglas H. Ubelaker This special issue of Forensic Science International presents diverse perspectives and detailed information on the many factors involved in trauma analysis of the skeleton. Topics covered include nomenclature, antemortem timing, post-mortem loss of plasticity, terminal ballistic/gunshot trauma, sharp force trauma, heat-induced fracture, non-metric traits and pseudo-trauma, taphonomic alterations, microscopic evidence for hemorrhage, imaging of perimortem trauma, dental trauma and linkages between soft and hard tissue.
  • Disrupting wildlife crime: The benefits of meaningful collaboration
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): P.A. Smith, N. Pamment, C. Cox, J. Reed, B. Chappell, C. Plowman
  • From stable isotope ecology to forensic isotope ecology - isotopes' tales
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Wolfram Meier-Augenstein Stable isotope ecology and forensic isotope ecology are not only linked by name. More often than not, knowledge and insights gained through the former serve as a springboard for application focused work of the latter. This review aims to offer a glimpse into the fascinating world of both though with more emphasis on forensic isotope ecology. To this end a selection of past and recent published work is presented and discussed to highlight both potential and limitations of isotopic analytical approaches to the detection of illegal trade in plants and animals.
  • Using the information embedded in the mixed profiles to assist in
           determining the identity of the deceased and the suspect in a deficiency
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Chao Xiao, Yanwei Jiang, Man Liang In the present case, due to the lack of database matches and available relatives, the use of single-source DNA profiles from the unidentified deceased and the suspect was not yet able to determine the identity of them, resulting in the inability to continue the investigation. However, by interpreting a simple mixture on the penile swab of the deceased and a complex mixture on the prayer flag wrapped around the ankles of the deceased, the information embedded in these two mixtures provided us with a breakthrough point for addressing the identity determination. Preliminary analysis using the separating method or based on imbalanced peaks at the Amelogenin locus revealed that each of the two DNA mixtures should have a female minor contributor, who were likely to be sex workers according to the investigation results. Consequently, blood samples from fifty-two women were collected for STR genotyping. The analysis results of the two mixtures using LRmix Studio showed that the probability of the simple mixture that if it came from the deceased and the female numbered P0053 is 4.7078 × 1012 times more likely than if it came from the deceased and an unknown female, while the probability of the complex mixture that if it came from P0062, the deceased and the male suspect is 8.1777 × 107 times more likely than if it came from the deceased and two unknowns. Subsequently, based on the clues provided by P0053 and P0062, the identity of the deceased and the suspect was successfully determined and the case was finally resolved. These results suggest the valuable evidence that can be obtained from mixtures and the high priority that should be placed on the analysis of mixtures, especially those that may be considered unlikely to derive complete single-source profiles by interpretation. In addition, the occurrence of a secondary DNA transfer was confirmed.
  • Triacetone triperoxide characterization by FT-ICR mass spectrometry:
           Uncovering multiple forensic evidence
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Ana Cristina Almeida Assis, José Caetano, Maria Helena Florêncio, Carlos Cordeiro Triacetone triperoxide is one of the most common used explosives by terrorist and criminal groups, being easily synthesised with over the counter reagents. Moreover, it’s difficult to detect since it contains no nitrogen. Extreme resolution mass spectrometry, based on Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry provides a way to established its composition, being able to detect its presence in complex matrixes. In this work, we investigated the detailed chemical composition of triacetone triperoxide and analysed latent fingerprints for evidence of its handling. Our results allowed the characterization of the oligoperoxides formed in the synthesis of triacetone triperoxide: oligomers dihydroperoxy terminated [H(OOC(CH3)2)nOOH] and the oligomeric acetone carbonyl oxides terminated as hydroperoxides [H(O2C(CH3)2)nOOC(O)CH3]. The discrimination between the different synthetic routes using different acid catalysts is possible given the clear differences between the mass spectrum corresponding to each case. Moreover, we identified triacetone triperoxide in latent fingerprints following its manipulation. For criminal investigation, in addition to the unambiguous detection and identification of the explosive, it is of the highest interest to identify the reagents used, who produced it and who used it for criminal purposes.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Experimental Investigation of Cranial Fracture Initiation in Blunt Human
           Head Impacts
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Mariyam I. Isa, Todd W. Fenton, Feng Wei, Roger C. Haut The relationship between the point of blunt impact and the location of cranial fracture initiation continues to be poorly understood. The current study used high-speed video to capture cranial fracture initiation and propagation in impact experiments on twelve unembalmed, intact human cadaver heads. Video footage provided direct evidence that blunt cranial impacts can produce linear fractures initiating peripheral to the impact site. Four tests produced only remote peripheral linear fractures with no damage at the known point of impact, demonstrating that the pattern of linear fractures does not necessarily indicate impact site. The range of variation observed in these experiments suggests that cranial fracture formation is more complex than it is typically described in the current literature. Differences in biomechanical and fracture results obtained with three different shaped implements provided evidence that impact surface is one important factor influencing the outcomes of blunt cranial impacts.
  • A practical study on direct PCR amplification using the GlobalFiler™ PCR
           Amplification Kit on human bloodstains collected with microFLOQ™ Direct
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Kevin Wai Yin Chong, Yongxun Wong, Boon Kiat Ng, Wei Siong Holden Lim, Afiqah Razanah Rosli, Christopher Kiu-Choong Syn Rapid DNA profiling of casework samples is a powerful tool that can support law enforcement agencies in the quick apprehension of perpetrators before they re-offend or escape the jurisdiction. This present study evaluated the feasibility of direct PCR amplification, using the microFLOQ™ Direct swab, for generating DNA profiles (from bloodstains) within 3 hours. The swab tip is coated with nylon fibers pre-treated with cell lysing agent, which allows for the direct PCR amplification of collected samples without DNA extraction and quantification, thereby shortening the time required to obtain a DNA profile. Samples collected were directly amplified using GlobalFiler™ PCR Amplification Kit with and without the presence of a PCR additive. Addition of the PCR additive enhanced the peak heights of DNA profiles by approximately 2 fold. Hence, an additive could improve results obtained in the absence of a DNA purification step, especially since casework samples may contain PCR inhibitors. Subsequently, these swabs, amplified using the GlobalFiler™ PCR Amplification Kit with PCR additive, were evaluated on common substrates encountered in routine casework samples submitted with bloodstains, such as denim jeans, knife blade, tissue paper, leather belt, shirt, and blood swabs. The minimum peak heights observed were generally above the analytical and stochastic thresholds established by the laboratory. Finally, the microFLOQ™ Direct swab workflow was compared to the laboratory’s standard workflow of DNA profiling comprising of conventional processing steps such as extraction using the DNA-IQ™ chemistry on Maxwell® 16, followed by quantification, amplification and capillary electrophoresis. The average peak heights of the DNA profiles generated by direct PCR amplification were similar or exceeded those generated using the standard workflow. This study clearly demonstrates that direct PCR amplification using microFLOQ™ Direct swab can be used in a rapid workflow to obtain DNA profiles from casework samples.
  • Postmortem Change in Bone Biomechanical Properties: Loss of Plasticity
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Daniel J. Wescott Bone is a hierarchical composite material composed primarily of collagen molecules, mineral crystals, and water. The mineral phase confers strength and stiffness while the organic matrix provides toughness. As a result, living bone is very capable of absorbing energy and resisting fracture. After death, the bone often becomes dehydrated and the collagen degrades causing greater stiffness and reduced toughness. These changes in mechanical properties are augmented due to the combined effects of water loss and collagen degradation. As a result, bone becomes more brittle postmortem, which causes the changes in fracture characteristics that are commonly used to estimate the timing of the fracture. However, because the loss of moisture and collagen degradation are influenced by taphonomic conditions, anthropologist must use caution when interpreting the timing of fractures based solely on fracture characteristics. As part of this special volume on hard tissue alterations associated with trauma, the aim of this article is to provide an overview of the mechanical changes that occur in bone postmortem and summarize major works in bone biology and anthropology examining the cause and timing of plasticity loss in bone after death.
  • 3D Mug Shot – 3D head models from photogrammetry for forensic
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Anja Leipner, Zuzana Obertová, Martin Wermuth, Michael Thali, Thomas Ottiker, Till Sieberth No human face is like another, not even in monozygotic twins, which makes the face one of the most individualizing characteristic. It is for this reason that the human face is commonly used for identification purposes and police officers take portrait photographs of arrested persons, so-called mug shots. The disadvantage of these 2D mug shots is that the perspective, in which they are taken (usually frontal and lateral-right, left or both), cannot be changed after acquisition, thus limiting a potential comparison between a mug shot and surveillance footage or other visual recordings.Documenting a face in 3D would reduce this problem as it allows adjusting the perspective of the face for image comparisons depending on the needs of the investigator. We have developed a 3D mug shot system containing 26 digital single-lens reflex cameras arranged semi-circularly in a 200° arc with a 1.46 m radius around a height-adjustable chair. We generated photogrammetric models of a test person’s face captured by the mug shot system using three different focal lengths settings as well as 3D models of the same face with GOM Atos Triple Scan and Artec Space Spider. The 3D models were then analysed regarding the visibility of detailed morphological features in different regions of the face compared to 2D mug shots.Our results showed that our 3D mug shot system with its photogrammetric documentation generates 3D models with comparable surface quality to Artec-generated models, or even better quality, compared to GOM-generated models. The results of the morphological assessment were affected by the focal length and availability of texture information.In conclusion, the 3D mug shot system is a fast and efficient tool to generate 3D models of the face and may be used in addition to 2D photographs for the purpose of visual forensic identification based on images.
  • Forensic case coordination in Europe – their role within 5 European
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Sonja Bitzer Forensic science faces a range of new challenges this past decades, including a change in definition of the scope of the roles of the actors in the criminal justice process. A decentralisation process has been occurring, leading to non-specialists using forensic capabilities. This shift in responsibility has led to a lack of global view of the case which has been remedied by some forensic science laboratories by the creation of a (new) role, that of forensic case coordinator (i.e. forensic coordinator or advisor). In the scope of this study, their role and position within five forensic science laboratories is presented and compared. Although some differences exist (e.g. judicial framework, training, cases involved in and manner of involvement), a common understanding of the supportive role of the forensic case coordinator within the criminal justice system and their actors can be devised and an increasing growth of the number of these positions emphases the demand and need for a centralising role.
  • Decomposition of hanging pig carcasses in a forest habitat of Poland
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 20 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Mateusz Jarmusz, Daria Bajerlein We present the results of the first study on the decomposition of hanging carcasses in a forest habitat of Poland. The decomposition of 12 hanging pigs and 12 ground pigs, which were used as control, in spring, summer, and autumn was examined during a two-year study. Mosaic decomposition was observed with bloating, active decay, and advanced decay irrespective of the carrion treatment (hanging vs ground). Bloating was less visible or did not occur at all in hanging pigs. After undergoing advanced decay, carcasses became mummified and remained in the hanging position. Complete skeletonization was observed only within the head in one case in summer. Irrespective of the carrion treatment, the active decay was driven by the same blow fly species with a similar seasonal pattern of larval dominance. The season was found to affect the decomposition of the hanging carcasses as revealed by a distinct delay in the onset of bloating in autumn and the late onset of active decay in spring. The duration of active decay was the shortest in summer and the longest in autumn. The effect of carrion treatment on the rate of decomposition was statistically insignificant. Nevertheless, some differences in the duration of decomposition between hanging and ground pigs were observed. The most distinct difference was that earlier decomposition proceeded faster in hanging pigs in spring and a delayed decomposition was observed in autumn. In summer, decomposition was similar in all the carcasses. The presented results are largely in contrast to the findings of previous studies on decomposition of hanging pig carrion.
  • Performance of dental pattern analysis system with treatment chronology on
           panoramic radiography
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Chena Lee, Sang-Hyun Lim, Min-Suk Heo, Sang-Sun Han, Jo-Eun Kim, Kyung-Hoe Huh, Won-Jin Yi, Sam-Sun Lee, Soon-Chul Choi The present study was conducted to improve human identification based on dental pattern with adopting chronology of dental treatment within the system. Five hundred adult patients were randomly selected, and their initial and recent panoramic radiography images were assumed as antemortem (AM) and postmortem (PM) images, respectively. For each radiographic image, the dental pattern was analyzed. The analysis system was newly developed considering sequence of dental treatment in time order. AM and PM databases were constructed with information of dental patterns, patient age, and gender. For the PM database, age information was stored
as the actual age ± 10 years, which was defined as the estimated
age. According to dental pattern of PM record, the possible
AM records were selected as candidates. Then candidates were sorted in order of dental pattern similarity to the PM record, and the rank of the true AM record was identified. The total 500 A M records were reduced to 14.5 ± 13.4 candidates in average when the dental pattern, gender, and estimated age were considered. When the candidates were sorted in order of similarity, the true AM record received an average ranking of 2.0 ± 2.6. When dental pattern and gender were considered, 46.7 ± 42.3 candidates were selected among 500 records and the true AM record was ranked at 3.0 ± 5.0, in average. The dental pattern analysis adopting dental treatment chronology was
contributed to reduce the sample population. This method would become more efficient and comprehensive if the dental pattern analysis process is automatized in the near future.
  • Dental development in cleft lip and palate patients: a systematic review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Julie Van Dyck, Maria Cadenas de Llano-Pérula, Guy Willems, Anna Verdonck ObjectiveTo investigate a potential delay in dental development in cleft patients compared with non-cleft patients.Search methodsAn unlimited electronic search was performed in four databases (PubMed, Embase, Lilacs and OpenGrey), from inception until October 2018. Full text articles concerning dental development or tooth eruption of non-syndromic children with cleft lip and/or palate (CL(P)) were included and reviewed. Case reports/series, review articles, articles in languages other than English, Dutch, French or Spanish and studies considering the eruption of deciduous teeth were excluded. Data extraction followed the PRISMA guidelines and study quality was assessed using MINORS.ResultsThe primary search resulted in 991 citations, of which 36 studies were finally analyzed. Most articles were retrospective studies based on panoramic radiographs. A delay in tooth development or -eruption in CL(P) patients was found in 32 out of the 36 included articles. The amount of delay varied from 0.20 to 0.90 years, with a mean delay of 0.56 years for all types of clefts. In UCLP patients, a mean delay of 0.53 years was found. The lateral incisor at the cleft side was generally the most delayed. Conflicting results were found regarding the influence of sex and age. The amount of delay was reported to be independent of the cleft severity or type. The teeth near the cleft generally showed a greater delay than the teeth further away from it. Finally, an increased risk of asymmetrical tooth development in CL(P) patients was observed in all publications studying this aspect. 31 articles were comparative, 5 were non-comparative; with a median MINORS score of 16/24 (range 10 to 18) and 10/16 (range 8 to 10) for both groups respectively.ConclusionsThe majority of the included articles reports a delay in dental development or tooth eruption in CL(P) patients compared to non-CL(P) patients. The obtained results could be important for forensic age estimation outcomes and for orthodontic and surgical treatment planning in CL(P) patients. The delay in tooth development implies a delay in start of orthodontic treatment. Moreover, CL(P) patients could falsely be considered to be a minor when applying the existing reference tables for dental age estimation.Systematic review registrationInternational prospective register of systematic reviews (PROSPERO: CRD42018082106).
  • Quantification of age-related changes in midsagittal facial profile using
           Fourier analysis; a longitudinal study on Japanese adult males
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Ashraf I. Shaweesh, Harold Matthews, Anthony Penington, Yi Fan, John G. Clement ObjectivesThe aim of the present study was to use Fourier analysis to quantify and study age-related changes in midsagittal facial profile.Materials and methods: Midsagittal facial profiles were extracted as lists of x and y coordinates from 125 pairs of 3D facial scans captured at an average of 10.5 years apart for adult Japanese males aged 23-52 years. These were categorized into three 10-year-long age groups. Files of x and y coordinates underwent Fourier analysis at 30 harmonic levels. Paired t-tests were used to determine statistical significance of differences across corresponding harmonic coefficients. Mean harmonic coefficients were used to construct mean pre and post ageing profiles for each age group for qualitative comparisons.ResultsFull detail of facial profile was described by the first 20 harmonics. With increasing age, there was a trend of longitudinal changes involving more midsagittal shape features with increased magnitudes. However, all changes were lower than 1 mm.ConclusionsFourier analysis is a useful morphometric approach to quantify age-related midsagittal facial changes. The small variations in the study groups prompt for testing Fourier analysis on the elderly and on other parasagittal and transverse facial features.
  • Acceleration effect of the forensic luminol reaction induced by visible
           light irradiation of whole human blood aqueous solutions
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Saaya Hayashi, Eiji Kakizaki, Ai Sonoda, Norihiro Shinkawa, Tsutomu Shiragami, Nobuhiro Yukawa The first quantitative study on the effect of visible light irradiation on the luminol reaction, used forensically, was conducted using whole human blood aqueous solutions (hemolytic state) and an LED lamp. Whole human blood aqueous solutions under an air atmosphere were irradiated with visible light, resulting in the maximum chemiluminescence (CL) intensity (@ 440 nm) increasing about 1.7-fold due to acceleration of the luminol reaction rate. No acceleration effect was observed under an argon (Ar) atmosphere, or under an air atmosphere in the presence of sodium azide (NaN3; a scavenger of singlet oxygen (1O2)). Furthermore, no conversion from Fe(II) hemoglobin to Fe(III) hemoglobin (methemoglobin) was observed in the absorption spectrum following irradiation. We suggest that these effects are due to easier approach of the luminol reagents to heme following damage of the globin protein around the heme, or damage to the red blood cell membrane, induced by 1O2 generated by an excited state of heme.
  • A validated method for the quantification of mitragynine in sixteen
           commercially available Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) products
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Kristen L. Fowble, Rabi A. Musah The recent rise in the recreational use of plant-based “legal highs” has prompted the development of methods for the identification of the bulk material, and quantification of their psychoactive components. One of these plants is Mitragyna speciosa, commonly referred to as Kratom. While traditional use of this plant was primarily for medicinal purposes, there has been a rise in its recreational use, and as a self-prescribed medication for opioid withdrawal. Although Kratom contains many alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are unique psychoactive biomarkers of the species, and are responsible for its psychoactive effects. A rapid validated method for the quantification of mitragynine in Kratom plant materials by direct analysis in real time-high-resolution mass spectrometry (DART-HRMS) is presented. It has a linear range of 5-100 µg mL-1, and a lower limit of quantification of 5 µg mL-1. The protocol was applied to determination of the mitragynine content of 16 commercially available Kratom plant products purchased online. The mitragynine amounts in these materials ranged from 2.76-20.05 mg g-1 of dried plant material. The utilization of DART-HRMS affords a mechanism not only for the preliminary identification of bulk plant material as being M. speciosa-derived (with no sample preparation required), but also provides the opportunity to quantify its psychoactive components using the same technique.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Single shot, single sample, single instrument detection of IGSR and OGSR
           using LC/MS/MS
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Suzanne Bell, William Feeney, C. Eugene Bennett
  • The Rorschach Butterfly, understanding bone biomechanics prior to using
           nomenclature in bone trauma interpretations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): EN L'Abbé, SA Symes, DE Raymond, DH Ubelaker Blunt traumas are the most common injuries observed and reported in medical examiner settings. Two common methods to describe bending bone fractures in the anthropological literature include the application of morphology nomenclature and describing characteristic fracture morphology. A nomenclature descriptor of blunt trauma, the butterfly fracture, is commonly used to describe broken long bones. In this paper, a case study of a fractured long bone in a pedestrian vehicle accident is used to highlight the complex interplay of factors involved in bone fracture formation. The application of a butterfly fracture pattern in trauma analysis is useful in establishing the bending direction of a bone, in identifying failure modes, and is valuable in teaching. Yet, butterfly fracture characteristics need to be examined in 3-dimensions for diagnosis of modes of failure, tension, shear and compression, and even then, the bending direction of a broken bone may not provide a reliable indicator of the point of impact (POI); this is especially true when a priori knowledge of the injury is unknown. Common fracture nomenclature, such as oblique, transverse and/or comminuted, as well as eponyms, are medical descriptions of an injury which are impractical to use for interpreting a broken bone from fleshed or skeletonized remains, in establishing a POI and in evaluating total bone trauma (TBT). The examination ofcharacteristic features on the surface of a broken bone associated with the modes of failure is the best approach for establishing the bending direction of a long bone.
  • DNA Extraction from soil by EZ1 Advanced XL (Qiagen)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): A. Barbaro, P. Cormaci, A. La Marca EZ1 Advanced XL (Qiagen) is an instrument designed to purify automatically nucleic acids from a wide variety of samples: different protocols for DNA extraction from forensic samples are pre-loaded into special EZ1 Advanced XL DNA Investigator Cards.The present study focuses on DNA extraction from biological samples (blood, saliva, sperm) mixed with 3 different types of soils (loam, silt, sandy), using a modified version of the Manufacturer standard protocol.In order to create several traces in the soil, we used biological samples (blood, saliva, sperm) from known donors.Quantification data, reliability and trends in STRs typing success rates using two different commercial multiplexes were evaluated. EZ1 modified DNA extraction protocol allows to recover DNA free of inhibitors and in good quantity for downstream applications.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Lucia Fernandez-Lopez, Manuela Pellegrini, Maria Concetta Rotolo, Aurelio Luna Maldonado, Maria Falcon, Rosanna Mancini A method based on gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) is described for the determination of venlafaxine, amitriptyline and duloxetine in human bone. Pulverized samples were incubated in methanol for 1 h under ultrasonication, after the addition of sertraline as internal standard. The samples were centrifuged, and the supernatants were evaporated. Samples were then resuspended in 0.1 M phosphate buffer pH 6 and subjected to solid phase extraction.Chromatography was performed on a fused silica capillary column and analytes were determined in the selected-ion-monitoring (SIM) mode. The assay was validated in the range 0.3-1 ng/mg (depending on the drug) to 500 ng/mg. The mean absolute recoveries ranged from 92.6 % to 96.2 %, the matrix effect from 76.9 % to 103.3 % and process efficiency from 74 % to 95.9 % depending on the analyte. The intra- and inter-assay accuracy values were always better than 20%. The validated method was then successfully applied to real bone samples from forensic cases in which toxicological analysis for these drugs in blood had been positive. Drugs were detected in bone in all blood positive results, the approximate concentrations being 36.4 ng/mg for amitriptyline, 19.3–3 ng/mg for duloxetine and 4.6–2 ng/mg for venlafaxine.
  • The analysis of organic and inorganic gunshot residue from a single sample
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Ellen Goudsmits, Lauren S. Blakey, Kal Chana, George P. Sharples, Jason W. Birkett The detection and interpretation of gunshot residue (GSR) can play an important role in the investigation of firearm related incidents. Recently, the potential of organic compounds to provide an additional means to discriminate between GSR and environmental particles, in particular in cases where lead-free ammunition is used, has been highlighted. This work describes a method for the extraction and detection of complementary organic and inorganic compounds from a single GSR sample, using a methodology that makes implementation in the current standard procedure feasible. GSR samples were collected from the shooter’s hands following double and single discharges, using the traditional adhesive carbon aluminium stubs. Analysis of organic compounds was performed using solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS), followed by analysis of the traditional inorganic particles using scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX). Detection of both categorised organic GSR compounds (e.g. ethyl centralite, diphenylamine and 2-nitrodiphenylamine) and characteristic inorganic GSR has been achieved. Given the fact that the detected organic GSR compounds are relevant with respect to the confirmation of GSR materials, this method has successfully demonstrated the ability to obtain a total chemical profile from a single GSR sample, which has the potential to increase the probative value of GSR evidence.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Computer-aided Image Analysis of Crayfish Bitemarks – Reinterpreting
           Evidence: A Case Report
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): John R. Wallace The discipline of forensic odontology is at a crossroads with the application of bitemark evidence in the court of law. In the last decade, the increase in the number of cases in which bitemarks were the ‘smoking gun’ to a conviction being appealed and verdicts reverse is alarming and due in a large part to the lack of validated rules and scientific rigor needed to evaluate this evidence objectively. In some cases, post-mortem trauma to human remains has been misinterpreted as human bitemarks. This case report illustrates how bitemarks misinterpreted as human-caused were reevaluated by a computerized imaging analytical method and determined to be consistent with those caused by crayfish scavenging on the remains. Fetal pigs were exposed to crayfish native to the crime scene for a period of 72 hours. Crayfish bitemarks on the pigs were compared to marks on the victim and the bite width of the crayfish and found to be statistically the same. These findings led to the exoneration of the convicted individual. Such computer-aided pattern recognition protocols are necessary in traditional forensic identification sciences such as forensic odontology to minimize biased conclusions by extraneous evidence and preconceived assumptions and replace subjective guesswork with sound scientific protocols.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Paul Calle, Kristof Maudens, Sabine Lemoyne, Simon Geerts, Diederik Van Sassenbroeck, Peter Jensen, Jorne Van Overloop, Eric Deconinck, Peter Blanckaert Medical problems related to illicit drug use are frequently encountered at electronic dance music (EDM) events. In this prospective study, the medical problems and toxicological analyses on intoxicated persons and seized materials are described jointly. The aim of this study is to find out to what extent these efforts may assist in developing prevention strategies and organising on-site care at EDM events.The most frequently encountered clinical presentation in the 121 included patients was: agitation/aggression (26%), drunkenness (25%), depressed level of consciousness (24%) and hallucinations (9%). Only five patients were transported by ambulance to a hospital.In 100 of the 121 included patients (83%) an ethanolemia of at least 0.50 g/L was measured (with ethanol as the only drug found in 47 cases). 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) was detected in 54% of the blood samples, cocaine in 11%, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) in 11%, amphetamine in 7%, ketamine in 6% and a new psychoactive substance (NPS) in 4%. Except for 8 MDMA-users poly drug use was found in all these cases.The 178 seized samples most frequently contained MDMA (31%), cannabis (28%) or no active substance (15%). In 11 samples (6%) an NPS was detected. Of particular interest was a tablet containing 4-chloromethamphetamine (a previously unknown neurotoxic NPS), 4-chloroamphetamine, para-methoxyamphetamine, para-methoxymethamphetamine and ethylone.Our data show that at EDM events ethanol and MDMA are still the party drugs causing most health hazards and that NPS only play a minor role. Regarding the toxicological efforts, we recommend to analyse all seized materials from an EDM event, but only blood samples from the most severely intoxicated patients.
  • Development of “Quick-DB Forensic”: a total workflow from
           QuEChERS-dSPE method to GC-MS/MS quantification of forensically relevant
           drugs and pesticides in whole blood
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Maiko Kusano, Yuki Sakamoto, Yujin Natori, Haruhiko Miyagawa, Hitoshi Tsuchihashi, Akira Ishii, Kei Zaitsu Trends in forensic toxicology show the advancement of rapid and sensitive analytical methods for qualitative and quantitative analysis of drugs of abuse. However, forensic toxicologists are continuously faced with the challenges of identifying and quantifying drug blood concentration while simultaneously struggling with manpower shortage. In view of developing a simple and productive toxicological analysis method encompassing total workflow from sample preparation to quantitative analysis, here we describe a simple, robust, and sensitive method for the simultaneous determination and quantification of 63 forensically relevant drugs and pesticides in human whole blood. The method is based on sample preparation by a modified QuEChERS extraction and dispersive solid-phase extraction (dSPE) clean-up followed by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) analysis. Limits of detection of the target analytes in whole blood ranged in the few ng/mL-order levels. Intra- and inter-day validation result ranges were 0-24% for accuracy (% error) and 0.8-26% for precision (%RSD). Recovery rates ranged from 66% to 84% for barbiturates, 36% to 110% for benzodiazepines, 41% to 86% for tri/tetracyclic antidepressants, 15% to 81% for drugs of abuse, 28% to 44% for phenethylamines, and 25% to 118% for pesticides. The validated results were used to develop a user-friendly, systematic, and quantitative toxicological GC/MS/MS system and software “Quick-DB Forensic”.
  • Quantitative determination of CBD and THC and their acid precursors in
           confiscated cannabis samples by HPLC-DAD
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Marianne Hädener, Stefan König, Wolfgang Weinmann Analysis of cannabis has gained new importance worldwide, mainly for quality control within the legalized recreational and medical cannabis industry, but also for forensic differentiation between drug-type cannabis and legal products such as fiber hemp and CBD-rich/THC-poor cannabis. We herein present an HPLC-DAD method for quantitative analysis of major neutral and acidic cannabinoids in herbal cannabis and hashish: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A (THCA), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabinol (CBN). Plant material was dried, homogenized and extracted with a mixture of methanol/hexane. Chromatographic separation of the analytes was achieved on a core-shell C8 column using gradient elution with water/acetonitrile containing 0.1% formic acid. The analytical run time was 13 min and analytes were detected at 210 nm. The method is selective, sensitive, accurate, and precise, as confirmed through validation according to ICH and AOAC guidelines. Linearity in herbal cannabis ranged from 0.04 – 4.00% for the neutral cannabinoids, and from 0.40 – 20% for the acids. Linear ranges in hashish samples were 0.13 – 13.33% and 1.33 – 66.66%, respectively. The presented method was successfully applied to characterize 110 cannabis samples seized by the Swiss police, demonstrating its applicability for routine cannabis potency testing in the forensic setting.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Fatal acute arsenic poisoning by external use of realgar: case report and
           30 years literature retrospective study in China
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Jing Zheng, Kaiqiao Zhang, Yan Liu, Yunyun Wang Realgar (arsenic sulfide) is widely used in combination with other herbs as Chinese patent medicine to treat a variety of diseases in China. As a mineral arsenic, its mild toxicity was also well known. Longtime over-dose usage or wrongly oral intake of realgar can cause chronic arsenic poisoning and/or death, but acute fatal arsenic poisoning resulted from short-term dermal use of realgar-containing medicine was very rare.Here, we present the case of a 35-year-old Chinese man, who was diagnosed with severe psoriasis and died of fatal acute arsenic poisoning after he applied a local folk prescription ointment containing mainly the realgar to the affected skin for about 4 days. The autopsy showed multiple punctate hemorrhages over the limbs, pleural effusion, edematous lungs with consolidation, mild myocardial hypertrophy and normal-looking kidneys. The histopathological examination of renal tissue showed severe degeneration, necrosis and desquamation of renal tubular epithelial cells, presence of protein cast and a widened edematous interstitium with interstitial fibrosis. The presence of arsenic in large amount in the ointment (about 6%), in blood (1.76 μg/mL), and in skin (4.71 μg/g), were confirmed analytically.We also provide the clinical records of the deceased and briefly reviewed 7 similar cases in literature (6 in Chinese and 1 in English) in the past 30 years in China.
  • Postmortem distribution of acephate and its metabolite methamidophos in
           body fluids and organ tissues of an intoxication case
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Tatsunori Takayasu, Hiroki Yamamoto, Yuko Ishida, Mizuho Nosaka, Yumi Kuninaka, Emi Shimada, Mariko Kawaguchi, Akihiko Kimura, Toshikazu Kondo We herein report an intoxication case caused by the ingestion of the pesticide Ortoran®, which consists of 50% acephate aqueous solution. A man in his 60 s was found dead in his car with a 100-mL bottle containing approximately 50 mL of Ortoran®. In a gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS) screening test, acephate and its metabolite methamidophos were qualitatively detected in his stomach contents. The amounts of acephate and methamidophos (µg/g) in the extract of each body fluid or organ tissue were measured using GC-MS and were as follows: 35.8, 2.84 (heart blood); 44.0, 2.26 (peripheral blood); 2,240, 2.79 (urine); 53.1, 8.91 (brain occipital lobe); 43.7, 2.95 (liver); 102.3, 8.02 (right kidney); and 5,450, 22.9 (stomach contents). Based on these results and autopsy findings, the cause of death was concluded to be acute fatal intoxication caused by the pesticide containing acephate and its active metabolite, methamidophos. Concentration ratios between acephate and methamidophos in each body fluid and organ tissue showed higher relative concentrations of brain methamidophos to acephate than those of other organ tissues. A high relative concentration of brain methamidophos may contribute to the intoxication of acephate in humans.
  • Identification of closely related new psychoactive substances (NPS) using
           solid deposition gas-chromatography infra-red detection (GC–IRD)
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 299Author(s): Hui Zhi Shirley Lee, Hui Boon Koh, Sylvia Tan, Ben Justin Goh, Rachael Lim, Jong Lee Wendy Lim, Tiong Whei Angeline Yap The challenges associated with the identification of new NPS have become more apparent with the increasing number of new drugs in the market and the need to identify the specific isomer due to legislation concomitant with the lack of reference standards for comparison. A recent new tandem technique, solid deposition gas chromatography–infra red detection spectroscopy (GC–IRD), which incorporates the GC for the separation of the different components in the sample matrix and infrared red (IR) spectroscopy which provides unique IR spectra of each component, has provided the necessary discrimination for the identification of isomers. This paper presents the identification and the application of an algorithm-based criteria (ABC) for the evaluation of the quality match factor (QMF) as an objective critical criteria in determining the correctness of an identification of close analogues in four classes of compounds; namely the JWH-018 and its structural isomers, AM-2201 and its fluoro positional isomers in the pentyl group, methylmethcathinone (MMC) and its methyl positional isomers in the phenyl ring, and dibutylone and its close analogues.
  • Presepsin: A potential superior diagnostic biomarker for the postmortem
           differentiation of sepsis based on the Sepsis-3 criteria
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Forensic Science International, Volume 299Author(s): Kana Unuma, Yohsuke Makino, Yoshiyuki Sasaki, Hirotaro Iwase, Koichi Uemura Diagnosis of sepsis-related death by autopsy is often a complex process. Presepsin (PSEP) is typically used as a marker for diagnosing sepsis after death; however, its efficacy remains unclear. In the present study, we compared the levels of PSEP, C-reactive protein (CRP), and procalcitonin (PCT) in the postmortem serum of femoral blood to determine their efficacies as biomarkers for the postmortem differentiation of sepsis. Patients (n = 93; 48 males, 45 females with a mean age: 62.8 ± 19.2 years) who were admitted to and died in hospitals were screened for sepsis based on the sequential organ failure assessment score, and those with clinically confirmed sepsis were assessed in this study. All patients underwent autopsy within 48 h (n = 44 patients) or 48–96 h (n = 49 patients) of death. The cadavers were divided into two groups using the Sepsis-3 criteria: control group (n = 74) comprising patients without clinically diagnosed sepsis, and the group of patients who were clinically diagnosed with sepsis (n = 19). The area under the curve values (AUCs) for CRP, PCT, and PSEP levels in the sepsis group were 0.83, 0.817, and 0.977, respectively, with optimal cutoff levels of 7 mg/dL (sensitivity: 78.9%, specificity: 77.0%) for CRP, 0.07 ng/mL (sensitivity: 84.2%, specificity: 68.9%) for PCT, and 1250 pg/mL (sensitivity: 100.0%, specificity: 91.9%) for PSEP. No significant differences were noted for PSEP levels for gender, age, elapsed time after death, and the presence or absence of postmortem trauma. The present study demonstrated that compared to CRP and PCT, PSEP is a superior biomarker for the postmortem differentiation of sepsis and that a concentration>1250 pg/mL is highly likely to indicate sepsis within 96 h of death. This is the first report confirming the superiority of PSEP for diagnosing sepsis after death.
  • Metric variation of the tibia in the Mediterranean: implications in
           forensic identification
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Elena F. Kranioti, Julieta G. Garcia-Donas, Mara A. Karell, Liliana Cravo, Oguzhan Ekizoglu, Mario Apostol, Eugénia Cunha Ancestry estimation from skeletal remains is a challenging task, but essential for the creation of a complete biological profile. As such, the study of human variation between populations is important for the fields of biological and forensic anthropology, as well as medicine. Cranial and dental morphological variation have traditionally been linked to geographic affinity resulting in several methods of ancestry estimation, while the postcranial skeleton has been systematically neglected. The current study explores metric variation of the tibia in six Mediterranean populations and its validity in estimating ancestry in the Mediterranean. The study sample includes 909 individuals (470 males and 439 females) from Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Turkey. The sample was divided in two subsamples: a reference and a validation sample. Multinomial regression models were created based on the reference sample and then applied to validation sample. The first model used three variables and resulted in 57% and 56% accuracy for the two samples respectively, while the second model (6 variables) resulted in 80% and 74% respectively. Classification between groups ranged from 28% to 95% for the reference sample and from 15% to 91% for the validation sample. The highest classification accuracy was noted for the Greek sample (95% and 90% for the reference and validation sample respectively), followed by the Turkish sample (74% and 78% respectively). The Spanish, Portuguese and Italian samples presented greater morphological overlap which resulted in lower classification accuracies. The results indicate that although the tibia presents considerable variation amongst neighbour populations is not suitable as a sole skeletal element to separate all groups successfully. A combination of different skeletal elements may be required in order to achieve the levels of reliability required for forensic applications.
  • Analysis of hypoxanthine and lactic acid levels in vitreous humor for the
           estimation of post-mortem interval (PMI) using LC-MS/MS
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 April 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Goa Ahra, Shima Geunae, Parka Jiwon, Hwanga Jinwoo, Nama Mihyun, Jeonga Hankyung, Chunga Heesun Hypoxanthine (Hx) is produced during terminal stages of purine catabolism in humans. The concentrations of Hx and l-lactic acid in vitreous humor highly correlate with post-mortem interval (PMI). In this study, we measured the concentrations of Hx and l-lactic acid in uncontrolled authentic vitreous humor from cadavers, and investigated the correlation between these molecules and PMI. A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was used for the quantitative analysis of Hx and l-lactic acid in vitreous humor. These concentrations were also corrected by four seasons such as spring, summer, autumn, and winter and temperatures on the day of death such as −10-5 °C, 6-15 °C, 16-25 °C, and 26-32 °C that may affect the biomarker concentrations. Vitreous humors were collected from cadavers with known time of death at the National Forensic Service (NFS), Republic of Korea. The correlation between the concentrations of Hx and l-lactic acid in vitreous humors and PMI was evaluated using 79 corpses (53 males and 26 females), with sampling time ranging from 13 to 103 h after death. The average daily ambient temperature at the time of death of each sample was investigated to calibrate the correlation with PMI. Following correction of the concentrations of Hx and l-lactic acid with temperature, the correlation of Hx and l-lactic acid with PMI increased from 0.53 to 0.59 for Hx and 0.38 to 0.42 for l-lactic acid. The highest correlation of Hx and l-lactic acid concentrations with PMI was observed in the winter season, with an R2 value of 0.80 and 0.71 for Hx and l-lactic acid, respectively. The correlation of Hx and l-lactic acid with PMI was corrected by ambient temperature for each season, resulting in an increase in the R2 value to 0.88 for Hx and 0.72 for l-lactic acid. The best correlation was observed when the temperature was corrected after dividing by season.
  • Using tibial fragments to reconstruct the total skeletal height of black
           South Africans
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Amy Joy Spies, Mubarak Ariyo Bidmos, Desiré Brits Stature is an important component of the biological profile of unknown skeletal remains and regression equations for estimating stature have been derived for a number of bones. However, bones are rarely recovered intact in both forensic and archaeological cases, and regression formulae for fragmentary remains have therefore been developed. These equations are, however, both sex- and population-specific, and while formulae exist for many populations, those using fragmentary tibiae do not exist for black South Africans. The aim of this study was therefore to establish regression equations for estimating total skeletal height (TSH), and thereby stature, from tibial fragments in a black South African population. A sample of 99 male and 99 female black South African skeletons were obtained from the Raymond A. Dart Collection of Human Skeletons and the TSH of each skeleton was calculated using the anatomical method. Eleven additional measurements representing tibial fragments were taken on each tibia, and both uni- and multivariate equations were established for estimating TSH from these fragments. All tibial variables were significantly, positively correlated with TSH, and equation correlations ranged between 0.41 and 0.91. The range of standard errors of estimate for the derived sex-specific (3.43-5.06 cm) and sex-pooled (3.44-5.94 cm) multivariate equations were slightly larger than those reported for intact tibiae in black (2.78-3.06 cm) and white (2.59-3.16 cm) South Africans. All uni- and multivariate equations estimated TSH with moderate to high accuracy, which indicates that in the absence of intact tibiae, the equations presented in this study can be used to give accurate estimates of TSH, and thereby stature, for black South Africans.
  • Detection of a new allele variation in Chinese Han population at the STR
           locus SE33 (ACTBP2)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Xiao Lei, Wang Yu, Wang Shengqi, Ping Yuan In order to apply a useful STR system in DNA database construction, we performed a population study in China. Allele and genotype frequencies for STR SE33 were obtained for a sample of 213 random Chinese in view of application in personal identification. And we observed a new structural variation of 21.2 allele at SE33 locus which is described here for the first time.
  • Forensic investigation of incidents involving chemical threat agent:
           presentation of the operating procedure developed in Belgium for a
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Natalie Kummer, Benoît Augustyns, Diederik Van Rompaey, Katleen De Meulenaere The GIFT CBRN project (Generic Integrated Forensic Toolbox for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents), funded under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission, has been set up to find solutions for investigating incidents involving CBRN agents. Regarding the forensic point of view, specific tools and procedures to assist forensic investigators to perform a crime scene investigation (CSI) and methodologies to enable the subsequent analysis of the evidences (contaminated with CBRN agents) seized at the crime scene have been developed. To validate the procedures and methods developed within this project and to test them, three field-exercises engaged with one type of agent at the time (i.e. a RN-agent, a B-agent or a C-agent) has been held. The Belgian Defence Laboratories (DLD) in collaboration with Royal Military Academy (RMA) and the National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology (NICC) has organized the chemical field exercise in Belgium. CSI teams of the Belgian Federal Police (experienced in crime scene investigation, fingerprints and digital forensics but at the time of the exercise not trained to perform their activities in CBRN conditions), SIBCRA teams (experienced in the sampling and identification of CBRN agents in hazardous environments) and the Civil Protection (experienced in entering zones with potential chemical hazards in full individual protective equipment) were involved. Since those teams never worked together in CBRN conditions, the exercise was used to establish the first operating procedure for CSI and laboratory analysis for CBRN and forensic materials in Belgium. The main steps of the procedure applied during this filed-exercise are described is this manuscript. The first step was the reconnaissance performed to i) identify/quantify the threat agent involved, ii) to document the scene and iii) to collect priority forensic evidences. The second step focused on the collection of other forensic evidences, the sampling of DNA traces and the revelation of fingerprints at the scene. The collection of CBRN agents was performed during step 3. Step 4 concentrated on the decontamination and transport of evidences and traces sampled in the contaminated zone. The revelation of fingerprints in a glovebox (step 5) was finally demonstrated.In conclusion, this field-exercise was an opportunity for the different Belgium services to work together, to learn from each other, and to work towards the establishment of a national operating procedure to manage investigations in CBRN conditions.
  • Greytak et al., 2018Genetic genealogy for cold case and active
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Ellen M. Greytak, CeCe Moore, Steven L. Armentrout Investigative genetic genealogy has rapidly emerged as a highly effective tool for using DNA to determine the identity of unknown individuals (unidentified remains or perpetrators), generating identifications in dozens of law enforcement cases, both cold and active. The amount of press coverage of these cases may have given the impression that the analysis is straightforward and the outcome guaranteed once a sample is uploaded to a database. However, the database query results serve only as clues from which in-depth genealogy and descendancy research must proceed to determine the possible identities of an unknown individual. While there certainly will be more announcements of cases solved using this new technique, there are many more cases where identification has not yet been possible due to the wide variety of complications present in these investigations. This paper lays out the fundamentals of genetic genealogy, along with the challenges that are encountered in many of these investigations, and concludes with a set of case studies that demonstrate the variety of cases encountered thus far.
  • Forensic Analysis of Tor Browser: A Case Study for Privacy and Anonymity
           on the Web
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Abid Khan Jadoon, Waseem Iqbal, Muhammad Faisal Amjad, Hammad Afzal, Yawar Abbas Bangash Web browsers are among the most commonly used applications to access the web from any platform nowadays. With recent digital incidents involving breach of data, users are becoming more cognizant of the threat posed by malicious actors having access to personal data as well as vulnerable applications which may compromise their data. For this very reason, users are being offered privacy preserving solutions for trust maturity. The Onion Router (Tor) browser is one such application which not only ensures the privacy preservation goals but also provides promising anonymity. Due to this feature, majority of the users use Tor browser for normal use as well as malign activities. In order to validate the claims of Tor browser and help digital forensic investigators and researchers, we created different scenarios to forensically analyze the Tor browser privacy and anonymity. As a result of the findings, it can be concluded that the Tor browser leaves plethora of sensitive digital artifacts on host machine, which can be further used to compromise user data.
  • Sharp Force Trauma Analysis in Bone and Cartilage: A Literature Review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Jennifer C. Love Sharp force trauma (SFT) in bone and cartilage has been studied extensively. This literature review summarizes knife and saw mark research. Researchers have documented several features of cut surfaces and successfully associated them with various tool characteristics. Most study designs are based on light microscopic examination, but other technologies such as micro-computed scanning, scanning electron microscope, and epifluorescence microscopy have been investigated. Researchers have worked with human and non-human material, and found that the presentation of SFT differs between the two. Furthermore, they have designed studies to control the parameters surrounding SFT (e.g., tool angle, force, direction) as well as not to control these parameters (real-world scenario) and have found that the trauma produced in the two scenarios differ considerably. Researchers have attempted to calculate the error rate associated with cut and saw mark analysis and have reported very different results. Several high profile cases of successful SFT analysis have been published and are briefly reviewed. Expert testimony based on cut and saw mark analysis has been found admissible, but not in all cases. Unfortunately, researchers have not consistently used standard terminology, a list of terms gathered from the literature is provided. Despite the extensive research, more work is needed. Methods that mitigate potential sources of error that are not dependent on analyst’s experience must be developed.
           Case Investigations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Jim Stokes Ever changing technology is allowing law enforcement/crime laboratories the ability to use new advances to solve old cases. Exonerations through advances in DNA testing have become increasingly common. However, other forensic disciplines are also utilizing new technologies, which are providing investigative leads and case closures. One advancement is the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometric system, which has enhanced the field of print identification. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) Latent Evidence Unit is utilizing NGI to assist in solving “Cold Cases.” While the OSBI cold case project has been successful, reviewing old evidence and case files, while keeping up with current casework, can be challenging. However, the recognition and application of such powerful technology is warranted, as demonstrated by the success that has been achieved.
  • Case report: Another death associated to γ-hydroxybutyric acid
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Theresa Küting, Michael Krämer, Wolfgang Bicker, Burkhard Madea, Cornelius Hess We report a fatal γ-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) intoxication of a forty-year old man. According to an acquaintances’ statement, the deceased had drunk a beverage containing GHB approximately five hours before he was found. Postmortem GHB concentrations were determined using gas chromatography coupled to single quadrupole mass spectrometry after simple protein precipitation with methanol and derivatization with BSTFA (1% TMCS). Concentrations in body fluids and tissues of the deceased were as follows: cardiac blood 384 mg/L, femoral blood 358 mg/L, urine 864 mg/L, brain tissue 211 mg/kg, liver tissue 201 mg/kg, kidney tissue 492 mg/kg, bile 334 mg/L and gastric content 2025 mg/L. In an exhibit (liquid in a plastic bottle found next to the decedent) analyzed 29 days after the intake 27.6 g/L GHB were found with an increasing content during storage depending on the pH of the liquid (17 months after the intake: 70.0 g/L GHB and 121.2 g/L after adjusting the exhibit to a pH of 10 before extraction). GHB concentrations in head hair of the deceased (overall length approx. 4 cm, measured in segments of 0.5 cm) were measured using liquid chromatography coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. Concentrations in unwashed and washed hair samples were 91.9 to 174 ng/mg and 49.2 to 134 ng/mg, respectively. All cut-off values for postmortem matrices generally used for the identification of an exogenous GHB intake, which are further discussed within this publication, were exceeded. A lethal GHB intoxication can be assumed by a combination of toxicological findings, police investigations and exclusion of other causes of death.
  • Death following consumption of MDAI and 5-EAPB
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Marine Deville, Nathalie Dubois, Ewa Cieckiewicz, Pascal De Tullio, Eric Lemaire, Corinne Charlier 5-(2-ethylaminopropyl)benzofuran (5-EAPB) and 5,6-methylenedioxy-2-aminoindane (MDAI) are two new psychoactive substances (NPS) exhibiting MDMA-like properties. In this paper, we report the case of a 28-years old man, known as drug addict, found dead at home, with two unidentified powders next to him. External examination by the forensic pathologist was unremarkable but no autopsy was performed. Powders, blood and urine (which were the only samples available) were submitted to general unknown screening by high pressure liquid chromatography with a diode array detector (HPLC-DAD) and ultra high pressure liquid chromatography with a time-of-flight detector (UPLC-TOF-MS), after liquid-liquid extraction for biological samples, or simple dilution for powders. Analysis revealed 68% of MDAI in one powder and 87% of 5-EAPB in the other one. Significant levels of the same substances were found in blood (MDAI: 2.09 mg/L and 5-EAPB: 6.45 mg/L). The cause of death was therefore attributed to the consumption of these NPS since screenings for other drugs of abuse and for alcohol were negative (oxazepam was found in urine only). 5-methylaminopropylbenzofuran (5-MAPB) and 5-aminopropylbenzofuran (5-APB) were also found in blood (0.089 and 0.546 mg/L, respectively) and urine (1.00 and 4.88 mg/L, respectively). In addition to the inherent complexity of NPS identification by itself, another analytical difficulty in this case was the identification of the EAPB positional isomer. Our routine screening methods were not able to distinguish the positional isomer, but an additional classical gas chromatography technique was able to make the distinction. Anyway, in our case, this issue was simplified thanks to the availability of a relatively pure powder that was analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).
  • A Review of Forensic Analysis of Dental and Maxillofacial Skeletal Trauma
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Joe Adserias Garriage
  • DNA Testing in Sexual Assault Cases: When Do the Benefits Outweigh the
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Robert C. Davis, William Wells ObjectivesWe examined 1,200 sexual assault cold cases from Denver, Colorado to ascertain the rate of successful prosecution in which there was a DNA suspect match and the cost per conviction.ResultsNearly 40% of the cases in which there was a DNA match failed to result in an arrest or prosecution primarily because victims were uncooperative or their testimony was judged to be unreliable. Other factors affecting conviction included crime context, victim availability, and the ability of the defendant to mount a consensual sex defense. Once an arrest hadbeen made, however, the conviction rate exceeded 90%. We estimate that Denver's sexual assault DNA testing program cost roughly $16,000 per conviction.ConclusionOur results lend strong support to the value of testing sexual assault kits (SAKs) even in cold cases. This suggests that programs such as Federal Solving Cold Cases with DNA Program are well worth the investment.
  • Application of micellar electrokinetic capillary chromatography to the
           discrimination of red lipstick samples
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Marta Gładysz, Małgorzata Król, Karolina Mystek, Paweł Kościelniak The main aim of this study was to apply capillary electrophoresis (CE) to the discrimination of red lipsticks – the first step towards developing the methodology for forensic purposes. The separation method was optimized using a mixture of eight dyes and micellar electrokinetic capillary chromatography (MEKC). The influence of the buffer pH and the concentration of SDS on the separation of dye mixtures was investigated. The best separation (highly efficient with the large resolution capacity in relatively short time) was accomplished using a buffer at pH 9 enriched with 80 mM SDS. The developed separation method was evaluated, determining the stability of sample (5 h) and buffer (10 h), the limit of detection of dyes (LOD 
  • Forensic anthropology and missing persons: A Brazilian perspective
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Melina Calmon The problem of the missing persons phenomenon in Brazil in the 21 st century has become apparent, and the responses to the issue are still under development. The relatively new field of forensic anthropology and its trained professionals occupy an essential place in the investigation of cases of missing and unidentified individuals. The development of forensic anthropology in Brazil is unique among Latin American countries, who improved their expertise during the investigations of political crimes that occurred between the 1960 s and 1980 s in most places. The qualifications and the paths to become a forensic anthropologist in Brazil are different from other professionals who work in the field worldwide. This article addresses the issue of missing person investigations and details the work of forensic anthropologists in such cases in Brazil.
  • Vehicle accident reconstruction by a reduced order impact model
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 20 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Dario Vangi, Filippo Begani, Florian Spitzhüttl, Michelangelo-Santo Gulino Road accident reconstruction by simulation represents an important step to determine what happened, as well as responsibilities of subjects involved in the event. To allow the reconstruction, a large variety of well-established simulative approaches are available on the market, e.g., impulse-momentum models, finite element method and multi-body systems: the choice on the appropriate methodology mainly depends on the reconstruction expert’s needs in terms of calculation time and accuracy in the description of the event’s overall dynamics. Most of the available techniques do not simultaneously provide detailed information about kinematics and deformation due to the impact, or considerable calculation resources are required to accomplish the task. The present work thus introduces a special-purpose, reduced order model devoted to accident reconstruction: discretization in a 2D domain of the sole vehicle contour allows to limit the calculation time. The ruling equations on which the 2D road accident reconstruction is based are given in detail, to demonstrate the approach. Referring to five vehicle-to-vehicle impact cases, the compatibility between the actual event dynamics and the results of simulations allowed to emphasize the method potential in the application field.
  • Response to: Biedermann & Hicks (2019), Commentary on “Dennis McNevin,
           Bayesian interpretation of discrete class characteristics, Forensic
           Science International, 292 (2018) 125–130”
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 14 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Dennis McNevin This letter is a response to the commentary by Biedermann & Hicks (2019) on “Dennis McNevin, Bayesian interpretation of discrete class characteristics, Forensic Science International, 292 (2018) 125–130”.
  • DNA Barcode reveals mislabelling in the identification of marine fish
           swimming bladders for commercialization
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Caio F. da Silva, Cahique M. Daneluz, Raul B. Camacho-Oliveira, Fernanda D. do Prado, Fausto Foresti, Carlos E. Rodrigues, Fábio Porto-Foresti Sequences of the mitochondrial gene COI (DNA Barcode) were used to identify marine fish swimming bladders commercialized in Brazil. The comparisons of the obtained sequences of the samples registered as catfish for the commerce with previously published data available in NCBI and BOLD showed that the fish products commercialized corresponded to two Perciform species, Pogonias cromis and Micropogonias furnieri. These results besides contradicting the formal identification of the species included in the fisheries control revealed an illegal trade of one of these species, M. furnieri that is threatened and consequently have its capture prohibited.
  • Forensic classification of black inkjet prints using fourier transform
           near-infrared spectroscopy and linear discriminant analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Michal Oravec, Anel Beganović, Lukáš Gál, Michal Čeppan, Christian W. Huck This work presents a study regarding the forensic discrimination of black inkjet-printed documents in question. Nondestructive Fourier transform near-infrared (FT-NIR) spectroscopy in combination with supervised classification method Discriminant Analysis (DA); Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) and Quadratic Discriminant Analysis (QDA) were utilized to investigate 22 different prints of the three most sold office printer brands. The spectra were acquired using the FT-NIR spectrometer NIRFlex N-500 (Büchi Labortechnik AG, Flawil, Switzerland) with the Fiber Optic Solids measuring cell in the spectral region of 10,000 to 4,000 cm-1. Each sample was printed on the same type of office paper. The spectra were 45 times acquired on 3 separate printed squares of each sample. It results in 990 acquired spectra for the presented experiment. The FT-NIR spectra of the printed squares were split into calibration and test sets with which the Classification accuracy (CA) value of unknown samples was evaluated. In order to increase the significance, three different compilations of calibration and test sets were realized. The performance of three different Discriminant model methods; LDA (Euclidean and Mahalanobis algorithm) and QDA were compared to each other. Furthermore, the CA of each DA method was examined using 1-5 principal components (PCs) in the construction of the respective DA model. Two groups of models, according to the ink subset (Carbon black and Black colorant), were performed in raw and Standard Normal Variate (SNV) correction spectra alternations. The results showed that the Euclidean method yielded the highest accuracy in predicting independent test samples and thus clearly outperformed the QDA and Mahalanobis algorithm DA method. It was also determined that the ink type Carbon black had higher CA values than the ink type Black colorant. This work demonstrated the special ability of FT-NIR spectroscopy in combination with DA to examine inkjet-printed documents in a fast and non-destructive fashion.
  • Radiocarbon dating of ivory: potentialities and limitations in forensics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 March 2019Source: Forensic Science InternationalAuthor(s): Gianluca Quarta, Marisa D’Elia, Eugenia Braione, Lucio Calcagnile The determination of the age of elephant ivory is a crucial aspect in the fight against illegal ivory trade which is still a relevant problem having triggered the decline of Elephant populations due to poaching in different areas of the globe. Indeed, the absolute dating of the ivory allows, in forensics practice, to establish whether a determined sample or object was obtained and imported illegally, violating the international trade ban. In this frame the use radiocarbon dating has surely a great potential and is widely used. In this paper we review the potential of the method in this field, highlighting its advantages and drawbacks. In particular we show, through the discussion of real cases, how it is possible to improve the achievable chronological resolution by refining the obtained ages trough the proper use of available information and considerations.
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