Journal Cover Forensic Science International
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   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0379-0738
   Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3120 journals]
  • Mechanical properties of silicone based composites as a temperature
           insensitive ballistic backing material for quantifying back face
           deformation
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 285
      Author(s): Tara D. Edwards, Erich D. Bain, Shawn T. Cole, Reygan M. Freeney, Virginia A. Halls, Juliana Ivancik, Joseph L. Lenhart, Eugene Napadensky, Jian H. Yu, James Q. Zheng, Randy A. Mrozek
      This paper describes a new witness material for quantifying the back face deformation (BFD) resulting from high rate impact of ballistic protective equipment. Accurate BFD quantification is critical for the assessment and certification of personal protective equipment, such as body armor and helmets, and ballistic evaluation. A common witness material is ballistic clay, specifically, Roma Plastilina No. 1 (RP1). RP1 must be heated to nearly 38°C to pass calibration, and used within a limited time frame to remain in calibration. RP1 also exhibits lot-to-lot variability and is sensitive to time, temperature, and handling procedures, which limits the BFD accuracy and reproducibility. A new silicone composite backing material (SCBM) was developed and tested side-by-side with heated RP1 using quasi-static indentation and compression, low velocity impact, spherical projectile penetration, and both soft and hard armor ballistic BFD measurements to compare their response over a broad range of strain rates and temperatures. The results demonstrate that SCBM mimics the heated RP1 response at room temperature and exhibits minimal temperature sensitivity. With additional optimization of the composition and processing, SCBM could be a drop-in replacement for RP1 that is used at room temperature during BFD quantification with minimal changes to the current RP1 handling protocols and infrastructure. It is anticipated that removing the heating requirement, and temperature-dependence, associated with RP1 will reduce test variability, simplify testing logistics, and enhance test range productivity.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Finding Makhubu: A morphological forensic facial comparison
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 285
      Author(s): T.M.R. Houlton, M. Steyn
      June 16, 1976, marks the Soweto Youth Student Uprising in South Africa. A harrowing image capturing police brutality from that day comprises of 18-year-old Mbuyisa Makhubu carrying a dying 12-year-old Hector Peterson. This circulated international press and contributed to world pressure against the apartheid government. This elevated Makhubu’s profile with the national security police and forced him to flee to Botswana, then Nigeria, before disappearing in 1978. In 1988, Victor Vinnetou illegally entered Canada and was later arrested on immigration charges in 2004. Evasive of his true identity, the Canadian Border Services Agency and Makhubu’s family believe Vinnetou is Makhubu, linking them by a characteristic moon-shaped birthmark on his left chest. A performed DNA test however, was inconclusive. Following the continued 40-year mystery, Eye Witness News in 2016 requested further investigation. Using a limited series of portrait images, a forensic facial comparison (FFC) was conducted utilising South African Police Service (SAPS) protocols and Facial Identification Scientific Working Group (FISWG) guidelines. The images provided, presented a substantial time-lapse and generally low resolution, while being taken from irregular angles and distances, with different subject poses, orientations and environments. This enforced the use of a morphological analysis; a primary method of FFC that develops conclusions based on subjective observations. The results were fundamentally inconclusive, but multiple similarities and valid explanations for visible differences were identified. To enhance the investigation, visual evidence of the moon-shaped birthmark and further DNA analysis is required.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Comparison of the applicability of Demirjian and Willems methods for
           dental age estimation in children from the Thrace region, Turkey
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 285
      Author(s): N. Ozveren, G. Serindere
      Objectives Dental age (DA) estimation is frequently used in the fields of orthodontics, paediatric dentistry and forensic science. DA estimation methods use radiology, and are reliable and non-destructive according to the literature. The Demirjian method is currently the most frequently used method, but recently, the Willems method was reported to have given results that were more accurate for some regions. The aim of this study was to detect and compare the accuracy of DA estimation methods for children and adolescents from the Thrace region, Turkey. The mean difference between the chronological age (CA) and the DA was selected as the primary outcome measure, and the difference range according to sex and age group was selected as the secondary outcome. Materials and methods Panoramic radiographs (n=766) from a Thrace region population (380 males and 386 females) ranging in age from 6 to 14.99 years old were evaluated. DA was calculated using both the Demirjian and the Willems methods. Results The mean CA of the subjects was 11.39±2.34 years (males=11.08±2.42 years and females=11.70±2.23 years). The mean difference values between the CA and the DA (CA–DA) using the Demirjian method and the Willems method were −0.87 and −0.17 for females, respectively, and −1.04 and −0.40 for males, respectively. For the different age groups, the differences between the CA and the DA calculated using the Demirjian method (CA–DA) ranged from −0.53 to −1.46 years for males and from −0.19 to −1.20 years for females, while the mean differences between the CA and the DA calculated by the Willems method (CA–DA) ranged from −0.19 to −0.50 years for males and from 0.20 to −0.49 years for females. Conclusion The results suggest that the Willems method produced more accurate results for almost all age groups of both sexes, and it is better suited for children from the Thrace region of Turkey, than the Demirjian method.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Age estimation by canines’ pulp/tooth ratio in an Iranian population
           using digital panoramic radiography
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 285
      Author(s): Mahdieh Dehghani, Elaheh Shadkam, Farzaneh Ahrari, Mahboobe Dehghani
      Objective Age estimation in adults is an important issue in forensic science. This study aimed to estimate the chronological age of Iranians by means of pulp/tooth area ratio (AR) of canines in digital panoramic radiographs. Materials and methods The sample consisted of panoramic radiographs of 271 male and female subjects aged 16–64 years. The pulp/tooth area ratio (AR) of upper and lower canines was calculated by AutoCAD software. Data were subjected to correlation and regression analysis. Results There was a significant and inverse correlation between age and pulp/tooth area ratio of upper and lower canines (r=−0.794 for upper canine and r=−0.282 for lower canine; p-value<0.001). Linear regression equations were derived separately for upper, lower and both canines. The mean difference between actual and estimated age using upper canine was 6.07±1.7. Conclusion The results showed that the pulp/tooth area ratios of canines are a reliable method for age estimation in Iranians. The pulp/tooth area ratio of upper canine was better correlated with chronological age than that of lower canine.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Cling film plastic wrap: An innovation for dead body packaging,
           preservation and transportation by first responders as a replacement for
           cadaver body bag in large scale disasters
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 285
      Author(s): Lay See Khoo, Poh Soon Lai, Mohd Hilmi Saidin, Zahari Noor, Mohd Shah Mahmood
      Cadaver body bags are the conventional method to contain a human body or human remains, which includes the use for storage and transportation of the deceased at any crime scene or disaster scene. During disasters, most often than not, the first responders including the police will be equipped with cadaver body bags to do scene processing of human remains and collection of personal belongings at the disaster site. However, in an unanticipated large scale disasters involving hundreds and thousands of fatalities, cadaver body bags supplies may be scarce. The authors have therefore innovated the cling film plastic wrap as an alternative for the cadaver body bag used at the disaster site. The plastic wrap was tested on six different experimental subjects, i.e. both adult and child mannequins; body parts of the mannequin figure (arm and hand); a human adult subject and an unknown dead body. The strengths of the cling film plastic wrap are discussed in comparison with the cadaver body bag in the aspects of costing, weight, duration of the wrap, water and body fluid resistant properties, visibility and other advantages. An average savings of more than 5000% are noted for both adult body wrap and child body wrap compared to the cadaver body wrap. This simply means that the authors can either wrap 25 adult dead bodies or 80 children dead bodies with the cost of 1 cadaver body bag. The cling film plastic wrap has proven to have significant innovation impact for dead body management particularly by the first responders in large scale disasters. With proper handling of dead bodies, first responders can manage the dead with dignity and respect in an overwhelmed situation to facilitate the humanitarian victim identification process later.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Illicit and prescription drug misuse as reported to the Maine Diversion
           Alert Program
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 285
      Author(s): Brian J. Piper, Michael J. Suarez, John P. Piserchio, Dipam T. Shah, Olapeju M. Simoyan, Kenneth L. McCall, Clare E. Desrosiers, Stephanie D. Nichols
      Background The opioid epidemic is rapidly evolving and new tools are needed to combat drug abuse. The Maine Diversion Alert Program (DAP) is an informational resource that facilitates communication about drug arrests between the criminal justice and healthcare fields. The objectives of this report were to: (1) describe the illegal and prescription pharmaceuticals reported to the DAP; (2) determine if the drugs implicated in arrests changed from the first to latter half of 2016; (3) identify the demographic and other characteristics of arrestees; and (4) outline the strengths and limitations of the DAP for other areas considering implementing similar programs. Methods The arrests (N=2,368, 31.4% female, mean age=33.7, SD=9.9, Min=18, Max=71.5) reported to the DAP were examined. Drugs were classified by Drug Enforcement Administration Schedule (I–V, non-controlled prescription) and into families (opioids, stimulants, sedatives, hallucinogens, and other). A comparison between the first and second half of 2016 and arrest by county was completed. Results Arrests involved 2,957 substances (drugs and paraphernalia). Most arrests (80.6%) involved a single drug. One-third (33.2%) of arrests involved illicit drugs (i.e. Schedule I) and three-fifths (59.8%) were for controlled prescription medical drugs (i.e. Schedule II–V), and a minority (6.8%) involved non-controlled prescription drugs (e.g. gabapentin, bupropion). Opioids (e.g. heroin, buprenorphine, and oxycodone) accounted for over-half (51.3%) of arrests followed by stimulants (29.0%, e.g. cocaine), and sedatives (7.6%). Arrests for oxycodone significantly decreased (51.9%) and alprazolam increased (89.3%) during 2016. Arrestees for non-controlled prescription drugs were older than arrestees for illegal drugs. Arrests, correcting for population, were most common in more urban (e.g. Androscoggin and Cumberland) counties. Conclusions Opioids (illicit and prescription) account for over half of all arrests. However, arrests for oxycodone decreased while arrests for benzodiazepines, and especially alprazolam, increased in 2016. The DAP is a novel source of information for healthcare decisions and can empirically inform law enforcement about drug misuse and addiction.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • When is myocarditis indeed the cause of death'
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 285
      Author(s): Alessandro Bonsignore, Cristian Palmiere, Francesca Buffelli, Eloisa Maselli, Andrea Marzullo, Giulio Fraternali Orcioni, Francesco Ventura, Francesco De Stefano, Alessandro Dell’Erba
      Attribution of death to myocarditis continues to be a controversial issue in forensic pathology, despite the existence of established histopathological criteria as well as complementary investigations. The aim of the study was two-fold: (a) to retrospectively analyse the data obtained from a series of clinical and forensic autopsies in order to assess the number of cases with death attributed to myocarditis, and (b) to reevaluate these cases in order to assess how properly the histopathological diagnosis of myocarditis conformed to established criteria and therefore how accurately these were used on the basis of all postmortem investigation findings to conclude the cause of death. 2474 clinical and forensic autopsies were taken into consideration. Myocarditis was recorded as the official, underlying cause of death in 48 cases. Of those, 8 cases were considered to accurately conform to the histopathological Dallas criteria for the presence of myocarditis and could therefore be classified as cases of fatal myocarditis. In 19 out of 48 cases, description of focal myocarditis was considered to accurately fulfill the histopathological Dallas criteria for the presence of myocarditis. However, data provided by histological analysis and virology testing result reevaluation allowed alternative causes of death to be speculated. In another 21 out of 48 cases, description of focal myocardial inflammation was considered to inaccurately meet the histopathological Dallas criteria for the presence of myocarditis. The findings of our own study appear to be in agreement with previous observations in similar study groups and highlight that since myocarditis may occur in association with many diseases, a great deal of evidence is required before settling on categorical conclusions.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • The UK National DNA Database: Implementation of the Protection of Freedoms
           Act 2012
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Aaron Opoku Amankwaa, Carole McCartney
      In 2008, the European Court of Human Rights, in S and Marper v the United Kingdom, ruled that a retention regime that permits the indefinite retention of DNA records of both convicted and non-convicted (“innocent”) individuals is disproportionate. The court noted that there was inadequate evidence to justify the retention of DNA records of the innocent. Since the Marper ruling, the laws governing the taking, use, and retention of forensic DNA in England and Wales have changed with the enactment of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PoFA). This Act, put briefly, permits the indefinite retention of DNA profiles of most convicted individuals and temporal retention for some first-time convicted minors and innocent individuals on the National DNA Database (NDNAD). The PoFA regime was implemented in October 2013. This paper examines ten post-implementation reports of the NDNAD Strategy Board (3), the NDNAD Ethics Group (3) and the Office of the Biometrics Commissioner (OBC) (4). Overall, the reports highlight a considerable improvement in the performance of the database, with a current match rate of 63.3%. Further, the new regime has strengthened the genetic privacy protection of UK citizens. The OBC reports detail implementation challenges ranging from technical, legal and procedural issues to sufficient understanding of the requirements of PoFA by police forces. Risks highlighted in these reports include the deletion of some “retainable” profiles, which could potentially lead to future crimes going undetected. A further risk is the illegal retention of some profiles from innocent individuals, which may lead to privacy issues and legal challenges. In conclusion, the PoFA regime appears to be working well, however, critical research is still needed to evaluate its overall efficacy compared to other retention regimes.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Analysis of illicit drugs seized in the Province of Florence from 2006 to
           2016
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Elisabetta Bertol, Laura Bigagli, Stefano D’Errico, Francesco Mari, Diego Palumbo, Jennifer P. Pascali, Fabio Vaiano
      Comprehension of illicit drug market's features at local level is useful to plan and to correctly set-up specific informative and contrast activities. In this paper we report trends, purities and consumption estimations of illicit substances available on the Florentine territory from 2006 to 2016. These data were obtained by the analysis of 10,451 samples seized by the Law Enforcement Agencies in case of personal use offence. Analytical procedures consisted in targeted and untargeted analyses by gas chromatography-flame ionization detector, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. The most detected substances were: cannabis (78.0%; resin: 51.7%; herb: 26.3%), cocaine (10.4%), opiates (6.6%; heroin: 6.5%; morphine: 0.1%), ketamine (1.4%), amphetamines (1.3%; 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine – MDMA –: 0.7%; methamphetamine: 0.6%; amphetamine: <0.1%) and methadone (1.3%). Cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine purities were higher than their mean values estimated for the Italian and European market, while THC content in cannabis seizures was unexpectedly below the European mean values. Starting from 2015, a total of 5 new psychoactive substances (NPS) were detected in seized material, mainly composed of white powders (pentedrone, 3-methylmethcathinone, 4-fluoroamphetamine, methoxethamine and AB-FUBINACA). Most of the seizures (75.5%) were from young male adults (14–34 years old). These data contribute to highlight new trends in the illicit drug market in the Tuscany area, but also to verify the persistence of old habits of drug consumption, confirming the need for more effective counteraction and prevention plans, especially among young people, where the diffusion of the legal highs is worrisome, also in consideration of the young age and the unconsciousness of the possible health effects.
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      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Diagnosis of drowning by summation of sodium, potassium, and chloride ion
           levels in sphenoidal sinus fluid: Differentiating between freshwater and
           seawater drowning and its application to brackish water and bathtub deaths
           
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Daisuke Yajima, Go Inokuchi, Yohsuke Makino, Ayumi Motomura, Fumiko Chiba, Suguru Torimitsu, Rutsuko Yamaguchi, Yumi Hoshioka, Dalė Malakienė, Romas Raudys, Hirotaro Iwase
      Analysis of ions in sphenoidal fluid can be a useful index for the diagnosis of drowning. We evaluated the reference ranges of non-drowning cases using statistical methods and three indices: sodium ion (Na+), summation of sodium and potassium ions (SUMNa+K), and summation of sodium, potassium and chloride ions (SUMNa+K+Cl). The reference ranges were 96≤Na+ <152, 139≤SUMNa+K <179, 243≤SUMNa+K+Cl <311(mEq/L), respectively. Victim indices outside of the reference ranges indicate that the victim probably inspired water with higher or lower ion concentrations than those of body fluid in sphenoidal sinuses. Compared to the SUMNa+K+Cl index, the Na+ and SUMNa+K indices could distinguish among seawater drowning, freshwater drowning, and non-drowning. In drowning cases, sphenoidal fluid volume and time since death were not correlated, which suggests that water does not enter the sphenoidal sinuses after death and there is a different process for water accumulation in drowning and non-drowning cases. In bathtub cases, this method was not valid for the estimation of inspired water. Although it is necessary to observe the classical signs of drowning, this method is suitable for the estimation of drowning, especially in cases where pleural fluid or diatom tests are not available.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Improving stomach content based death time determination by Maximum
           Probability Estimation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 February 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): M. Hubig, H. Muggenthaler, S. Schenkl, G. Mall
      Stomach content based death time estimation (SCE), is a well-known technique in forensic sciences. Among more qualitatively oriented approaches the content percentage based method SCE by Tröger, Baur and Spann yields quantitative results and gives stochastic error measures for its outputs. This is possible since the methods estimator, which we call transformed expectation estimator (TEE) as well as the probability distribution of the time between last meal and death are determined numerically, though in SCE the estimator and confidence intervals are presented graphically only. Our articles outcomes are: - Explicit formulae of the TE estimator for SCE and of its probability distribution - Introduction of the maximum probability estimation (MPE) concept as well as of a MP estimator formula for SCE - Evidence that TEE > MPE, that the difference is more than ca.15% of the TEE and the difference can rise up to ca. 1 h - Evidence that MPE is more relevant in forensic contexts than TEE

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Analysis of cocaine adulterants in human brain in cases of drug-related
           death
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 February 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Marianne Knuth, Oliver Temme, Thomas Daldrup, Evelyn Pawlik
      For different reasons, street cocaine is often diluted with pharmacologically active substances, the so-called adulterants such as levamisole or hydroxyzine. A controversial debate exists currently on the uptake of adulterants from cocaine preparations and drug-related death. Previous research convincingly argues that serious adverse side effects that affect the central nervous and cardiovascular systems can be a consequence of adulterated cocaine. Aims Having identified the presence of adulterants in lung tissue and blood, the concentrations of these substances in brain, an important target location, was of interest. This provides an opportunity to assess their role in cases of drug-related deaths. Materials and Methods We developed and validated a method for the analysis of cocaine, two cocaine metabolites and six adulterants, which can typically be found in cocaine preparations, and one adulterant metabolite in brain tissue by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) 1 1 Abbreviations: GC-MS, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; SPE, solid-phase extraction; MSTFA, N-Methyl-N-(trimethylsilyl)trifluoroacetamide; COC, cocaine; BZE, benzoylecgonine; EME, ecgonine methyl ester; DIL, diltiazem; HYD, hydroxyzine; LEV, levamisole; CET, cetirizine; LID, lidocaine; PHE, phenacetin; PRO, procaine; COC-d3, cocaine-d3; BZE-d3, benzoylecgonine-d3; HYD-d8, hydroxyzine-d8; LEV-d5, levamisole-d5; EME-d3, ecgonine methyl ester-d3; SIM, selected ion monitoring; T, target; Q, qualifier ion; GTFCh, German Society of Toxicological and Forensic Chemistry; LoD, limit of detection; LoQ, limit of quantification; ULoQ, upper limit of quantification; RSD, relative standard deviation; ALC, alcohol; COD, codeine; FLU, fluoxetine; IBU, ibuprofen; 6-MAM, 6-monoacetylmorphine; MID, midazolam; MOR, morphine; NOS, noscapine; NRD, nordazepam; NRT, nortilidine; PAR, paracetamol; SIL, sildenafil; TIL, tilidine; THC, tetrahydrocannabinol; ZOP, zopiclone. . Ten brain samples which were tested positive for cocaine were analyzed. The homogenized brain tissue was embedded into drying paper for protein precipitation. During a subsequent solid-phase extraction (SPE), the eluate and one of the wash fractions were collected. After derivatization with N-Methyl-N-(trimethylsilyl)trifluoroacetamide (MSTFA) in pyridine and isooctane, the extracts were analyzed by GC-MS. Results and Discussion The method was fully validated for cocaine (COC), benzoylecgonine (BZE), ecgonine methyl ester (EME), diltiazem (DIL), hydroxyzine (HYD), and levamisole (LEV) and partly validated for cetirizine (CET), lidocaine (LID), phenacetin (PHE), and procaine (PRO) in brain material. By analyzing post-mortem brain tissue of ten cocaine users, LEV, LID, and HYD as well as PHE were identified in contrast to DIL, PRO, and the HYD metabolite CET. HYD and LEV were found in moderate to high concentrations in some cases. Therefore, it cannot be excluded that they have caused adverse side effects. Conclusion Because adulterants can potentially affect the central nervous and cardiac systems, it is likely that they enhance COC toxicity.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Detailed Investigations into the Akabori-Momotani reaction for the
           Synthesis of Amphetamine Type Stimulants: Part 2
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 February 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): David Doughty, Emma Kent, Ben Painter, Paul E. Pigou, Martin R. Johnston
      The Akabori-Momotani reaction can be used to synthesise pseudoephedrine in 50% yield from N-methylalanine and benzaldehyde. This paper investigates electronic effects of substituted benzaldehydes on the reaction to synthesise amphetamine type stimulants and identifies several new Akabori-Momotani by-products, 1-[(4-methoxybenzyl)(methyl)amino]ethanol (11c), 2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-3,4-dimethyl-1,3-oxazolidine (12c), 1,2,3,4-tetramethyl-5,6-di-(4-methoxyphenyl)piperazine (13c) and 1,2,4,5-tetramethyl-3,6-di-(4-methoxyphenyl)piperazine (14c). This paper also investigates pseudoephedrine and methamphetamine isomeric distribution from the Akabori-Momotani reaction with the aid of molecular modelling to understand why more pseudoephedrine than ephedrine is produced.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Monitoring the extent of vertical and lateral movement of human
           decomposition products through sediment using cholesterol as a biomarker
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 February 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Susan Luong, Shari L. Forbes, James F. Wallman, Richard G. Roberts
      Due to the lack of human decomposition research facilities available in different geographical regions, the extent of movement of human decomposition products from a cadaver into various sedimentary environments, in different climates, has not been able to be studied in detail. In our study, a human cadaver was placed on the surface of a designated plot at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER), the only human decomposition facility in Australia, where the natural process of decomposition was allowed to progress over 14days in the Australian summer. Sediment columns (approximately 1m deep) were collected at lateral distances of 0.25m, 0.5m, 1.0m and 2.5m in each of four directions from the centre of the torso. Plot elevation and weather data were also collected. Each sediment column was subdivided, dried and homogenised. A sample was isolated from each sediment subdivision, extracted with hexane, and the hexane extract cleaned with citrate buffer (pH 3), filtered and spiked with cholesterol-D7 internal standard. After derivatisation with BSTFA+1% TMCS, cholesterol was monitored in the samples using targeted gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry analysis. A positive result for decomposition products was given if the cholesterol abundance in the test sample was higher than that detected in the ‘control’ samples of a similar substrate type collected prior to cadaver placement. Within the confines of the experimental design and the measured parameters, lateral leaching was observed over distances of up to 2.5m from the centre of the torso, which was the maximum distance tested in the study. Vertical leaching was detected to depths of up to 49cm below the ground surface. Such data can aid the development of policies related to plot sizing and sediment renewal and regeneration at other human decomposition facilities and at cemeteries. The density and distribution of cholesterol surrounding the cadaver in this study can also help forensic investigators interpret cases involving remains that have been moved or scavenged.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Challenges in the identification of dead migrants in the Mediterranean:
           the case study of the Lampedusa shipwreck of October 3rd 2013
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 February 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Lara Olivieri, Debora Mazzarelli, Barbara Bertoglio, Danilo De Angelis, Carlo Previderè, Pierangela Grignani, Annalisa Cappella, Silvano Presciuttini, Caterina Bertuglia, Paola Di Simone, Nicolò Polizzi, Agata Iadicicco, Vittorio Piscitelli, Cristina Cattaneo
      Every year thousands of migrants die during the endeavour to reach the Italian coasts, making the Mediterranean the theatre of one of the greatest tragedies of mankind. Over 60% of these victims is buried unidentified: one of the reasons behind this is related to the specific difficulties and lack of strategies concerning AM and PM data collection. The present article describes how Italy is trying to face the problem of migrant identification, thanks to the collaboration between government, the Italian national police and universities. In particular, this is the first pilot study carried out to identify the victims of the second greatest tragedy of its kind off the Italian coast, near Lampedusa, on October 3rd, 2013, which caused 366 victims. The present article shows the strategies conceived to collect postmortem and especially antemortem data and to compare them to identify matches, using medicolegal, anthropological, odontological and genetic approaches. Thirty-one victims out of 53 missing sought by relatives were identified (58.5%). The type and the quality of antemortem data available, generally photos and videos, pinpoints the importance of the face and the body for identification when the bodies are well preserved and how DNA analyses may at times present difficulties. In fact, critical points emerged concerning especially the lack of genetic information of the populations to which the victims belonged, the number of genetic markers needed to reach a statistical support for the identification and the need to adopt lineage markers such as mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome polymorphisms to identify parental relationships. This pilot study however has proven that families continue to seek their relatives and that it is possible, as well as mandatory, to identify migrant victims in spite of the difficulties in the collection of antemortem and postmortem data. In addition, considering the peculiar scenario, novel strategies for positive identification have to be defined in each field (anthropological, odontological and genetic) as well as in combination.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Forensic Image Analysis - CCTV Distortion and Artefacts
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 February 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Dilan Seckiner, Xanthé Mallett, Claude Roux, Didier Meuwly, Philip Maynard
      As a result of the worldwide deployment of surveillance cameras, authorities have gained a powerful tool that captures footage of activities of people in public areas. Surveillance cameras allow continuous monitoring of the area and allow footage to be obtained for later use, if a criminal or other act of interest occurs. Following this, a forensic practitioner, or expert witness can be required to analyse the footage of the Person of Interest. The examination ultimately aims at evaluating the strength of evidence at source and activity levels. In this paper, both source and activity levels are inferred from the trace, obtained in the form of CCTV footage. The source level alludes to features observed within the anatomy and gait of an individual, whilst the activity level relates to activity undertaken by the individual within the footage. The strength of evidence depends on the value of the information recorded, where the activity level is robust, yet source level requires further development. It is therefore suggested that the camera and the associated distortions should be assessed first and foremost and, where possible, quantified, to determine the level of each type of distortion present within the footage. A review of the ‘forensic image analysis’ review is presented here. It will outline the image distortion types and detail the limitations of differing surveillance camera systems. The aim is to highlight various types of distortion present particularly from surveillance footage, as well as address gaps in current literature in relation to assessment of CCTV distortions in tandem with gait analysis. Future work will consider the anatomical assessment from surveillance footage.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Hair analysis in toxicological investigation of drug-facilitated crimes in
           Denmark over a 8-year period
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 February 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Xin Wang, Sys Stybe Johansen, Marie Katrine Klose Nielsen, Kristian Linnet
      Hair can serve as a specimen for identifying past drug exposure. Segmental hair analysis may differentiate a single exposure from chronic use. Consequently, segmental hair analysis is useful for disclosing a single drug ingestion, as well as for determining repeated exposures in drug-facilitated crimes (DFCs). This paper presents an overview of toxicological investigations that have used hair analysis in DFC cases from 2009 to 2016 in Denmark. Hair concentrations were determined for 24 DFC-related drugs and metabolites, including benzodiazepines and other hypnotics, antihistamines, opioid analgesics, antipsychotics, barbiturates, and illicit drugs from DFC cases. Drug detection in hair in DFC cases following a single or few intakes of chlorprothixene, codeine, diphenhydramine, oxazepam, oxycodone, promethazine, and phenobarbital is reported for the first time in forensic toxicology. A literature review on concentrations in the published DFC-related hair cases and on concentrations in hair of these substances after single and multiple doses is included. These cases demonstrate the value of segmental hair analysis in DFCs and facilitate future interpretations of results.

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Fast screening tests for the simultaneous detection of 11 drugs of abuse
           in urine specimens. A forensic epidemiology study of 28,298 cases in
           Tunisia
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 283
      Author(s): B. Moslah, M. Araoud, M.A. Nouioui, S. Najjar, D. Amira, N. Ben Salah, A. Hedhili
      Forensic investigation performed on people suspected to be drug abusers covering all Tunisian cities was conducted by monitoring an epidemiological study of human urine samples surveying positive rates of consumption for drugs of abuse. The forensic investigations were conducted on a total of 28,298 arrested individuals suspected to be drug addicts during five years (January 2010–December 2015). An immunoassay screening tests to detect elevated levels of drugs classes in urine samples was performed. These screening assays provide a preliminary qualitative test result. Only positives urine specimens were analyzed with GC–MS for confirmation. Except for cannabis, the results showed insignificant number of positive cases for cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA) and amphetamine consumptions (<1%).

      PubDate: 2018-02-15T03:32:46Z
       
  • Photoanthropometric face iridial proportions for age estimation: An
           investigation using features selected via a joint mutual information
           criterion
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Díbio L. Borges, Flávio B. Vidal, Marta R.P. Flores, Rodolfo F.H. Melani, Marco A. Guimarães, Carlos E.P. Machado
      Age assessment from images is of high interest in the forensic community because of the necessity to establish formal protocols to identify child pornography, child missing and abuses where visual evidences are the mostly admissible. Recently, photoanthropometric methods have been found useful for age estimation correlating facial proportions in image databases with samples of some age groups. Notwithstanding the advances, newer facial features and further analysis are needed to improve accuracy and establish larger applicability. In this investigation, frontal images of 1000 individuals (500 females, 500 males), equally distributed in five age groups (6, 10, 14, 18, 22 years old) were used in a 10 fold cross-validated experiment for three age thresholds classifications (<10, <14, <18 years old). A set of novel 40 features, based on a relation between landmark distances and the iris diameter, is proposed and joint mutual information is used to select the most relevant and complementary features for the classification task. In a civil image identification database with diverse ancestry, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were plotted to verify accuracy, and the resultant AUCs achieved 0.971, 0.969, and 0.903 for the age classifications (<10, <14, <18 years old), respectively. These results add support to continuing research in age assessment from images using the metric approach. Still, larger samples are necessary to evaluate reliability in extensive conditions.

      PubDate: 2018-02-04T18:08:02Z
       
  • Dental age assessment: Which is the most applicable method'
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Luciana Jácome Lopes, Helena Aguiar Ribeiro Nascimento, Giovanna Panebianchi Lima, Luís Antônio Nogueira dos Santos, Dagmar de Paula Queluz, Deborah Queiroz Freitas
      To evaluate which method is the most applicable for estimating estimate dental age in Brazilian children, Nolla or Demirjian. For this purpose, both methods were reviewed and the differences between them brought to light. A total of 403 healthy children between the ages of 7 and 13 years with satisfactory panoramic radiographs, similar socio-economic background and ethnic origin were included. Panoramic radiographs were examined by the Nolla and Demirjian methods. Dental age was calculated for both methods, and the differences between the dental age and the chronological age were compared with analysis of variance with post hoc Dunnett. The Nolla method showed no significant difference in relation to chronological age in the majority of age groups for boys and girls, except for 12-year-old boys (over-estimation of 1.00) and between 11- and 12-year-old girls (over-estimation of 0.51 and 0.59, respectively). An over-estimation of the dental age was observed by using the Demirjian method (for boys 0.89–1.84 and for girls 0.69–1.97) for all age groups. The Nolla method is suitable for Brazilian children when it comes to age estimate with care to growth spurt beginning (around 11 and 12 years). However, the Dermijian method should not be used, because it over-estimated the age in both sexes.

      PubDate: 2018-02-04T18:08:02Z
       
  • Forensic genetic analysis of bone remain samples
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): T. Siriboonpiputtana, T. Rinthachai, J. Shotivaranon, V. Peonim, B. Rerkamnuaychoke
      DNA typing from degraded human remains is still challenging forensic DNA scientists not only in the prospective of DNA purification but also in the interpretation of established DNA profiles and data manipulation, especially in mass fatalities. In this report, we presented DNA typing protocol to investigate many skeletal remains in different degrees of decomposing. In addition, we established the grading system aiming for prior determination of the association between levels of decomposing and overall STR amplification efficacy. A total of 80 bone samples were subjected to DNA isolation using the modified DNA IQ™ System (Promega, USA) for bone extraction following with STR analysis using the AmpFLSTR Identifiler® (Thermo Fisher Scientific, USA). In low destruction group, complete STR profiles were observed as 84.4% whereas partial profiles and non-amplified were found as 9.4% and 6.2%, respectively. Moreover, in medium destruction group, both complete and partial STR profiles were observed as 31.2% while 37.5% of this group was unable to amplify. Nevertheless, we could not purify DNA and were unable to generate STR profile in any sample from the high destroyed bone samples. Compact bones such as femur and humerus have high successful amplification rate superior than loose/spongy bones. Furthermore, costal cartilage could be a designate specimen for DNA isolation in a case of the body that was discovered approximately to 3 days after death which enabled to isolate high quality and quantity of DNA, reduce time and cost, and do not require special tools such as freezer mill.

      PubDate: 2018-02-04T18:08:02Z
       
  • The pathology of torture
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Michael S. Pollanen
      Detainees may be subjected to torture and extra-judicial execution by State actors and terrorists. But, the pathology of torture has not been well-described. This is due to the lack of autopsies performed on victims of torture, mostly due to the disposal of the bodies of the victims by their torturers. On this basis, the cause of death of detainees subjected to torture is often a matter of speculation or remains obscure. This paper provides an overview of the pathology of torture based on the authour’s experience with the autopsies of torture victims. At autopsy, many different types of inflicted injuries may be observed, often ranging in severity. However, three recurrent patterns of trauma that are the hallmarks of torture were recognized by the authour: (1) blunt impact trauma characterized by bruises, patterned injuries, and internal injuries; (2) electrical and thermal injuries; and (3) injuries from stress positions that occur from prolonged suspension. The most under-recognized form of fatal torture are the complications of stress positions related to suspension of the victim’s body by the upper, or lower extremities. For example, prolonged suspension by reverse hanging (suspension of the victim’s body by the wrists or forearms with the arms extended backward at the shoulder joint) can cause over-stretching and necrosis of the muscles of the shoulder, resulting in fatal myoglobinuric renal failure. It is essential that autopsies be performed on all detainees who die in custody, to determine if torture played a role in death. Furthermore, the true nature of the injuries sustained often remains obscure unless a musculocutaneous dissection is performed. Specifically, dissection of the back, limbs and the soles of the feet, as well as the shoulders and knees is essential to determine if specific forms of torture have been applied. This is especially true for fatal complications of stress positions. Seeking the truth about the medical consequences of fatal torture will raise awareness about torture-related injuries, assist in rehabilitation of torture survivors, and strengthen forensic humanitarian action.

      PubDate: 2018-02-04T18:08:02Z
       
  • Post-mortem quetiapine concentrations in hair segments of psychiatric
           patients — Correlation between hair concentration, dose and
           concentration in blood
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 February 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Kamilla Nyborg Günther, Sys Stybe Johansen, Marie Katrine Klose Nielsen, Petra Wicktor, Jytte Banner, Kristian Linnet
      Drug analysis in hair is useful when seeking to establish drug intake over a period of months to years. Segmental hair analysis can also document whether psychiatric patients are receiving a stable intake of antipsychotics. This study describes segmental analysis of the antipsychotic drug quetiapine in post-mortem hair samples from long-term quetiapine users by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS) analysis. The aim was to obtain more knowledge on quetiapine concentrations in hair and to relate the concentration in hair to the administered dose and the post-mortem concentration in femoral blood. We analyzed hair samples from 22 deceased quetiapine-treated individuals, who were divided into two groups: natural hair colour and dyed/bleached hair. Two to six 1cm long segments were analyzed per individual, depending on the length of the hair, with 6cm corresponding to the last six months before death. The average daily quetiapine dose and average concentration in hair for the last six months prior to death were examined for potential correlation. Estimated doses ranged from 45 to 1040mg quetiapine daily over the period, and the average concentration in hair ranged from 0.18 to 13ng/mg. A significant positive correlation was observed between estimated daily dosage of quetiapine and average concentration in hair for individuals with natural hair colour (p=0.00005), but statistical significance was not reached for individuals with dyed/bleached hair (p=0.31). The individual coefficient of variation (CV) of the quetiapine concentrations between segments ranged from 3–34% for individuals with natural hair colour and 22–62% for individuals with dyed/bleached hair. Dose-adjusted concentrations in hair were significantly lower in females with dyed/bleached hair than in individuals with natural hair colour. The quetiapine concentrations in post-mortem femoral blood and in the proximal hair segment, segment 1 (S1), representing the last month before death were also investigated for correlation. A significant positive correlation was observed between quetiapine concentrations in blood at the time of death and concentrations in S1 for individuals with natural hair colour (p=0.003) but not for individuals with dyed/bleached hair (p=0.31). The blood concentrations of quetiapine ranged from 0.006 to 1.9mg/kg, and the quetiapine concentrations in S1 ranged from 0.22 to 24ng/mg. The results of this study suggest a positive correlation of quetiapine between both concentrations in hair and doses, and between proximal hair (S1) and blood concentrations, when conditions such as hair treatments are taken in to consideration.

      PubDate: 2018-02-04T18:08:02Z
       
  • Is LSD toxic'
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): David E. Nichols, Charles S. Grob
      LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) was discovered almost 75 years ago, and has been the object of episodic controversy since then. While initially explored as an adjunctive psychiatric treatment, its recreational use by the general public has persisted and on occasion has been associated with adverse outcomes, particularly when the drug is taken under suboptimal conditions. LSD’s potential to cause psychological disturbance (bad trips) has been long understood, and has rarely been associated with accidental deaths and suicide. From a physiological perspective, however, LSD is known to be non-toxic and medically safe when taken at standard dosages (50–200μg). The scientific literature, along with recent media reports, have unfortunately implicated “LSD toxicity” in five cases of sudden death. On close examination, however, two of these fatalities were associated with ingestion of massive overdoses, two were evidently in individuals with psychological agitation after taking standard doses of LSD who were then placed in maximal physical restraint positions (hogtied) by police, following which they suffered fatal cardiovascular collapse, and one case of extreme hyperthermia leading to death that was likely caused by a drug substituted for LSD with strong effects on central nervous system temperature regulation (e.g. 25i-NBOMe). Given the renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of LSD and other psychedelic drugs, it is important that an accurate understanding be established of the true causes of such fatalities that had been erroneously attributed to LSD toxicity, including massive overdoses, excessive physical restraints, and psychoactive drugs other than LSD.

      PubDate: 2018-02-02T18:05:10Z
       
  • Development and validation of a solid phase extraction sample cleanup
           procedure for the recovery of trace levels of nitro-organic explosives in
           soil
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Jennifer L. Thomas, Christopher C. Donnelly, Erin W. Lloyd, Robert F. Mothershead, Mark L. Miller
      An improved cleanup method has been developed for the recovery of trace levels of 12 nitro-organic explosives in soil, which is important not only for the forensic community, but also has environmental implications. A wide variety of explosives or explosive-related compounds were evaluated, including nitramines, nitrate esters, nitroaromatics, and a nitroalkane. Fortified soil samples were extracted with acetone, processed via solid phase extraction (SPE), and then analyzed by gas chromatography with electron capture detection. The following three SPE sorbents in cartridge format were compared: Empore™ SDB-XC, Oasis® HLB, and Bond Elut NEXUS cartridges. The NEXUS cartridges provided the best overall recoveries for the 12 explosives in potting soil (average 48%) and the fastest processing times (<30min). It also rejected matrix components from spent motor oil on potting soil. The SPE method was validated by assessing limit of detection (LOD), processed sample stability, and interferences. All 12 compounds were detectable at 0.02μg explosive/gram of soil or lower in the three matrices tested (potting soil, sand, and loam) over three days. Seven explosives were stable up to seven days at 2μg/g and three were stable at 0.2μg/g, both in processed loam, which was the most challenging matrix. In the interference study, five interferences above the determined LOD for soil were detected in matrices collected across the United States and in purchased all-purpose sand, potting soil, and loam. This represented a 3.2% false positive rate for the 13 matrices processed by the screening method for interferences. The reported SPE cleanup method provides a fast and simple extraction process for separating organic explosives from matrix components, facilitating sample throughput and reducing instrument maintenance. In addition, a comparison study of the validated SPE method versus conventional syringe filtration was completed and highlighted the benefits of sample cleanup for removing matrix interferences, while also providing lower supply cost, order of magnitude lower LODs for most explosives, higher percent recoveries for complex matrices, and fewer instrument maintenance issues.

      PubDate: 2018-02-02T18:05:10Z
       
  • Detection of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in oral fluid, blood and
           urine following oral consumption of low-content THC hemp oil
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Amie C. Hayley, Luke A. Downey, Glyn Hansen, Ashley Dowell, Dale Savins, Richard Buchta, Reinilda Catubig, Robert Houlden, Con K.K. Stough
      Hemp-derivative (Cannabis sativa L.) food products containing trace levels of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are proposed for consumption in Australia and New Zealand; however, it is unclear whether use of these products will negatively affect existing drug screening protocols. This double-blind, within-subjects, cross-over trial assessed 35 adults (17 male; 18 female), aged 22–52 years [Mean=30.7, Standard Deviation (S.D)±7.6]. Low dose THC oil [5mL bearer sesame oil containing 10mg/kg THC (0.046mg THC per 5mL dose)]; high dose THC oil [5mL bearer sesame oil containing 20mg/kg THC (0.092mg THC per 5mL dose)]; and a placebo oil (THC negative) was consumed during a three-week protocol. The Securetec Drugwipe® II Twin device assessed THC presence (cut-off 20ng/mL) in oral fluid at baseline, at 5, 30, 60, 120 and 240min post-treatment. Blood was drawn at baseline, 30, 120 and 240min post-treatment, and urine at baseline and 240min post-treatment. No THC was detected in oral fluid, blood or urine samples at any time-point following consumption of the low or high THC dose. Trace concentrations of 11-nor-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (THCa) were detected in blood 4-h after consumption of the high THC treatment (M =0.0001mg/L) and in urine at 4-h post consumption of both low and high THC treatments (M =0.0001mg/L and 0.0004mg/L, respectively). Consumption of low-content THC oil does not result in positive biological assessments. It is therefore highly unlikely that ingestion of products containing these levels of THC will negatively impact existing region-specific drug driving enforcement protocols.

      PubDate: 2018-02-02T18:05:10Z
       
  • The distribution and redistribution of fentanyl &amp; norfentanyl in
           post mortem samples
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): C.N. Chatterton, M. Scott-Ham
      This article compares 249 post mortem case reports that were positive for fentanyl/norfentanyl. All the cases were submitted to, and analyzed by, the toxicology department of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This study highlights the varied distribution of fentanyl in the body after death as a result of misadventure, i.e., these are accidental drug overdose cases as opposed to a study of analytical data resulting from fentanyl use/administration in a clinical environment and/or death as a result of suicide. Post mortem samples were collected from more than one anatomical site and analyzed for fentanyl and norfentanyl using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Ante-mortem samples were available in 4 of these cases and were also analyzed. Post mortem mean blood fentanyl concentrations were found to be 13.2ng/mL (femoral), 19.1ng/mL (iliac) and 42.0ng/mL (subclavian). For norfentanyl the mean concentrations were 4.6ng/mL (femoral), 4.6ng/mL (iliac) and 7.4ng/mL (subclavian). Mean vitreous fentanyl and norfentanyl concentrations were 10.8ng/mL and 3.5ng/mL respectively. Mean liver fentanyl and norfentanyl concentrations were found to be 185.5ng/g and 18.8ng/g respectively. This study demonstrates the importance of multi-site sample collection and subsequent analysis for a thorough post mortem toxicological investigation. The study also highlights the risks and limitations associated with the interpretation of post mortem analytical results concerning fentanyl.

      PubDate: 2018-02-02T18:05:10Z
       
  • Impact of carpet construction on fluid penetration: The case of blood
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Chengcheng Feng, Stephen Michielsen, Daniel Attinger
      Bloodstains and bloodstain patterns are often observed at crime scenes and their analysis through bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA) can assist in reconstructing crime scenes. However, most published work related to BPA only deals with hard, non-porous surfaces and none of the studies have carefully characterized carpets. Soft and porous carpets are often encountered at crime scenes since they are common in American homes accounting for 51% of total U.S. flooring market; this has motivated the research described herein. To assess fluid penetration into tufted carpers, a new method for determining porosity and pore size distribution in tufted carpets has been developed for bloodstains on carpet. In this study, three kinds of nylon carpet were used: a low, a medium and a high face-weight carpet. Each carpet had an antistain treatment, which was removed from half of each carpet by steam-cleaning with a pH 12 NaOH solution. This resulted in six carpet samples. Yarn twist, carpet weight, pile height, water contact angles on carpets, water contact angles on individual fibers, and fiber cross-sectional shapes were characterized. Porosity and pore size distribution were analyzed using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Porcine blood was used as a human blood substitute at three liquid volumes (30μL, 10μL, and 2μL). Analysis showed that porous carpet construction and antistain finishing both affected penetration. The depth of blood penetration decreased with the increase of carpet face-weight but increased with increased drop height. The removal of antistain treatment increased blood penetration into the carpets and changed the pore size distribution. Effects of antistain treatment, porosity and pore size distribution of tufted carpet, and blood wicking behaviors on carpets were found to strongly affect blood penetration into the carpets.

      PubDate: 2018-02-02T18:05:10Z
       
  • ASSESSMENT OF ADULTHOOD IN THE LIVING SPANISH POPULATION BASED ON
           OSSIFICATION OF THE MEDIAL CLAVICLE EPIPHYSIS USING ULTRASOUND METHODS
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 January 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): María Benito, Alexandra Muñoz, Isabel Beltrán, Elena Labajo, Bernardo Perea, José Antonio Sánchez
      It is a fact that in recent years requests have greatly increased to obtain estimates of the legal age of undocumented individuals alleged to be minors who have been forced to enter different European Community countries for socioeconomic reasons or due to war. Spain is one of the countries most affected by this illegal immigration because of its proximity to North Africa. Therefore, it has become necessary to develop new standards which help provide a response to the demands of the justice administration. In recent years, the Superior Justice Court has rejected several pieces of expert evidence on the grounds that the age intervals therein were not sufficiently reliable and that the radiographic techniques used to determine age were invasive, potentially causing harm to the alleged minor. These sentences have caused interest in this field of work to increase within the scientific community. As a result, in order to improve age predictions and, above all, reduce minors’ exposure to radiation, this study was created for completion on the Spanish population, using the ultrasound scan as a diagnostic technique. Used as a study sample were the ultrasound images of the proximal sternal epiphysis of the clavicle among 221 individuals of both sexes, of ages ranging from 5 to 30 years. All of the images were classified into 4 stages of fusion, in accordance with the development of metaphyseal closure proposed by Schulz et al. in 2008. The results show differences among the 4 proposed groups for each of the stages of fusion, with the results found in Stage II being especially important because, for both sexes, they would imply that the patient studied has reached an age of over 18 years, which is the legal age of adulthood in Spain, as established by the Spanish Constitution of 1978. Though further research is still recommended, these results, coupled with the use of ultrasound as a non-invasive diagnostic technique, could help solve some of the problems currently arising in justice courts.

      PubDate: 2018-02-02T18:05:10Z
       
  • Disappearance of R/S-methamphetamine and R/S-amphetamine from human scalp
           hair after discontinuation of methamphetamine abuse
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 January 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Ting Wang, Baohua Shen, Hejian Wu, Jingying Hu, Huili Xu, Min Shen, Ping Xiang
      Methamphetamine (MA) and amphetamine (AM) are widely abused drugs. These compounds contain a chiral center, and their enantiomers exhibit different pharmacologic, pharmacokinetic, and metabolic properties due to differences in binding affinities to their receptor sites. Until now, there was a lack of information on the decline in the concentration of drugs in hair after abstinence. A simple procedure for the chiral separation and determination of methamphetamine (MA) and its metabolite amphetamine (AM) enantiomers by LC-MS/MS in hair samples has been developed and fully validated. The LODs and LLOQs were 0.02ng/mg and 0.05ng/mg for all analytes, respectively. This method was successfully applied to both real hair specimens from chronic MA users and after the discontinuation of MA. The concentration of total MA, and total AM in fifty-eight authentic hair specimens ranged from 7.8ng/mg to 521.0ng/mg, and from 0.3ng/mg to 84.0ng/mg, respectively. Both enantiomers of MA and/or AM were detected in seven of fifty-eight authentic hair specimens. Hair specimens were from thirteen women with a known history of MA abuse, who went to a rehabilitation center and ceased consuming MA (for 4-5months). The S-isomers of MA and AM were detected in all the 5-6cm segments. Both enantiomers of MA were detected in nine of the 5-6cm segments and the enantiomers of AM were found in only five of the nine samples. Assuming a hair growth rate of 1cm/month, The mean hair elimination half-lives of S-MA, R-MA, S-AM, and R-AM were 0.64(95% CI, 0.46-0.96), 0.58(95% CI, 0.41-0.93), 0.62(0.49-0.88), and 0.50 months (95% CI, 0.42-0.56), respectively. With the developed method, R/S-MA and R/S-AM could be detected in the hair of former drug users for approximately 4 months after abstinence. S-MA is the most commonly found analyte in hair segments and is principally used by abusers. Our results suggest that to evaluate the discontinuation of MA abuse after a 6-month period of abstinence, a 3-cm proximal hair segment should be free of MA at the SOHT proposed cut-off level.

      PubDate: 2018-02-02T18:05:10Z
       
  • Establishing state of motion through two-dimensional foot and shoe print
           analysis: a pilot study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 January 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Fernando Bueno Neves, Graham P. Arnold, Sadiq Nasir, Weijie Wang, Calum MacDonald, Ian Christie, Rami J. Abboud
      According to the College of Podiatry footprints rank among the most frequent forms of evidence found at crime scenes, and the recent ascension of forensic podiatry reflects the importance of footwear and barefoot traces in contemporary forensic practice. In this context, this pilot study focused on whether it is possible to distinguish between walking and running states using parameters derived from two-dimensional foot or shoe prints. Eleven subjects moved along four tracks (barefoot walking; barefoot running; footwear walking; footwear running) while having their bare feet or footwear stained with artificial blood and their footstep patterns recorded. Contact stains and associated bloodstain patterns were collected, and body movements were recorded through three-dimensional motion capture. Barefoot walking prints were found to be larger than barefoot static prints (1.789±0.481cm; p<0.001) and barefoot running prints (0.635±0.405cm; p=0.006). No correlation was observed for footwear prints. Running trials were more associated with the presence of both passive and cast off stains than walking trials, and the quantity of additional associated stains surrounding individual foot and shoe prints was also higher in running states. Furthermore, a previously proposed equation predicted speed with a high degree of accuracy (within 6%) and may be used for clinical assessment of walking speed. Contact stains, associated bloodstain patterns and stride length measurements may serve to ascertain state of motion in real crime scene scenarios, and future studies may be capable of designing statistical frameworks which could be used in courts of law.

      PubDate: 2018-02-02T18:05:10Z
       
  • Potential Effects of Ionizing Radiation on the Evidentiary Value of DNA,
           Latent Fingerprints, Hair, and Fibers: A Comprehensive Review and New
           Results
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 January 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Keith L. Monson, Sherine Ali, Michael D. Brandhagen, Martine C. Duff, Constance L. Fisher, Karen K. Lowe, Carna E. Meyer, Maria A. Roberts, Kyle R. Tom, Aaron L. Washington
      An extensive literature review and new post-irradiation experimental results are presented of genotyping blood stains and hair, and physical examinations of latent fingerprints, hairs, and fibers. Results indicate that successful development of nuclear short tandem repeat (STR) and mitochondrial DNA sequence profiles from human blood and hair evidence is possible—up to a point—following exposure to gamma, neutron, beta, and alpha radiation at several levels that would most likely be present at this type of crime scene (i.e., a “dirty bomb,” etc.). Commencing at gamma radiation levels between 90 and 900 kGy, DNA analysis using conventional DNA techniques was unsuccessful. In general, irradiation negatively affected the quality of latent fingerprints. All four radiation types degraded most fingerprint samples at all doses; nevertheless, many fingerprints remained of value for potential use in comparison. Although variable from one hair to another, microscopic changes observed for all types and levels of irradiation could potentially result in false exclusions. Negligible microscopic changes were observed in papers and fibers (used as substrates for fingerprints and bloodstains) up to 90 kGy gamma, but fluorescence of fibers began to change above that dose. Paper and fibers, as well as plastic evidence enclosures, became extremely brittle leading to breakage after a gamma dose of 900 kGy.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-02-02T18:05:10Z
       
  • Estimating error rates for firearm evidence identifications in forensic
           science
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): John Song, Theodore V. Vorburger, Wei Chu, James Yen, Johannes A. Soons, Daniel B. Ott, Nien Fan Zhang
      Estimating error rates for firearm evidence identification is a fundamental challenge in forensic science. This paper describes the recently developed congruent matching cells (CMC) method for image comparisons, its application to firearm evidence identification, and its usage and initial tests for error rate estimation. The CMC method divides compared topography images into correlation cells. Four identification parameters are defined for quantifying both the topography similarity of the correlated cell pairs and the pattern congruency of the registered cell locations. A declared match requires a significant number of CMCs, i.e., cell pairs that meet all similarity and congruency requirements. Initial testing on breech face impressions of a set of 40 cartridge cases fired with consecutively manufactured pistol slides showed wide separation between the distributions of CMC numbers observed for known matching and known non-matching image pairs. Another test on 95 cartridge cases from a different set of slides manufactured by the same process also yielded widely separated distributions. The test results were used to develop two statistical models for the probability mass function of CMC correlation scores. The models were applied to develop a framework for estimating cumulative false positive and false negative error rates and individual error rates of declared matches and non-matches for this population of breech face impressions. The prospect for applying the models to large populations and realistic case work is also discussed. The CMC method can provide a statistical foundation for estimating error rates in firearm evidence identifications, thus emulating methods used for forensic identification of DNA evidence.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-01-23T06:43:36Z
       
  • Post mortem tryptase cut-off level for anaphylactic death
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): R. Tse, C.X. Wong, K. Kesha, J. Garland, Y. Tran, S. Anne, H. Elstub, A.D. Cala, C. Palmiere, K.L. Patchett
      Serum mast cell tryptase is used to support the diagnosis of anaphylaxis. The recommended clinical cut-off for total tryptase (<11.4μg/L) appears unsuitable in the post mortem setting due to largely unknown processes which result in significantly elevated levels in these samples. Consequently there is no widely accepted tryptase cut-off level for diagnosing an anaphylactic death. This 5-year retrospective study compared total tryptase levels in post mortem femoral blood in anaphylactic deaths and control. Univariate and multivariate analysis was used to assess the relative contribution of other factors (age, gender, post mortem interval, and presence of resuscitation) on post mortem tryptase levels. Nine anaphylactic deaths and 45 controls were identified. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis identified an optimal cut-off of 53.8μg/L, with sensitivity of 89%, and specificity of 93%, for total post mortem tryptase in femoral blood to diagnosis anaphylaxis. No other factors showed any statistical significant contribution to post mortem tryptase elevation. Femoral total post mortem tryptase level of 53.8μg/L and above is a useful ancillary test in diagnosing an anaphylactic death.

      PubDate: 2018-01-23T06:43:36Z
       
  • Post mortem vitreous magnesium in adult population
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): R. Tse, J. Garland, K. Kesha, P. Morrow, L. Lam, H. Elstub, A.D. Cala, C. Palmiere, S. Stables
      Background The study of post mortem vitreous magnesium (Mg) is less common than sodium (Na), chloride (Cl) and potassium (K) in the forensic literature. There is no accepted normal range for post mortem vitreous Mg and the relationship between post mortem vitreous Mg levels and post mortem interval (PMI), other electrolyte levels, disease conditions, age and sex have not been fully established. Aim To investigate the relationship of post mortem vitreous Mg with age, sex, PMI, vitreous electrolyte levels and diabetic status. Methods A retrospective study of 20 consecutive cases of diabetics and 20 non-diabetic adult deaths was performed. Spearman correlation and the permutation test were used to explore the relationship between post mortem vitreous Mg and continuous and categorical variables respectively. Results The mean post mortem vitreous Mg was 1.03mmol/L (95%CI: 0.98–1.08mmol/L). The absolute Spearman correlation coefficients (rho) between post mortem vitreous Mg with PMI, age, and other vitreous electrolytes (Na, Cl, and K) ranged between 0.04–0.21 (p>0.19). Post mortem vitreous Mg was statistically higher in diabetics (mean difference: 0.08mmol/L; area-under-the-curve=0.65 on receiver-operator-characteristic curve). No statistical difference was demonstrated between sexes (p=0.92). Conclusions In our adult population, post mortem vitreous Mg did not correlate with age, PMI, other vitreous electrolytes (sodium, chloride and potassium) or sex. It was higher in diabetics, however had limited utility as a surrogate marker. Overall, post mortem Mg is steady in the early post mortem period with a mean of 1.03mmol/L.

      PubDate: 2018-01-23T06:43:36Z
       
  • Functional characterization of a novel hERG variant in a family with
           recurrent sudden infant death syndrome: Retracting a genetic diagnosis
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Valentine Sergeev, Frances Perry, Thomas M. Roston, Shubhayan Sanatani, Glen F. Tibbits, Thomas W. Claydon
      Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is the most common cardiac ion channelopathy and has been found to be responsible for approximately 10% of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) cases. Despite increasing use of broad panels and now whole exome sequencing (WES) in the investigation of SIDS, the probability of identifying a pathogenic mutation in a SIDS victim is low. We report a family-based study who are afflicted by recurrent SIDS in which several members harbor a variant, p.Pro963Thr, in the C-terminal region of the human-ether-a-go-go (hERG) gene, published to be responsible for cases of LQTS type 2. Functional characterization was undertaken due to the variable phenotype in carriers, the discrepancy with published cases, and the importance of identifying a cause for recurrent deaths in a single family. Studies of the mutated ion channel in in vitro heterologous expression systems revealed that the mutation has no detectable impact on membrane surface expression, biophysical gating properties such as activation, deactivation and inactivation, or the amplitude of the protective current conducted by hERG channels during early repolarization. These observations suggest that the p.Pro963Thr mutation is not a monogenic disease-causing LQTS mutation despite evidence of co-segregation in two siblings affected by SIDS. Our findings demonstrate some of the potential pitfalls in post-mortem molecular testing and the importance of functional testing of gene variants in determining disease-causation, especially where the impacts of cascade screening can affect multiple generations.

      PubDate: 2018-01-23T06:43:36Z
       
  • Endogenous cortisol in keratinized matrices: Systematic determination of
           baseline cortisol levels in hair and the influence of sex, age and hair
           color
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): T.M. Binz, L. Rietschel, F. Streit, M. Hofmann, J. Gehrke, M. Herdener, B.B. Quednow, N.G. Martin, M. Rietschel, T. Kraemer, M.R. Baumgartner
      The measurement of hair cortisol is increasingly used to measure long-term cumulative cortisol levels and investigate its role as an important stress mediator. In this study a comparative statistical analysis of five independent studies (all analyzed in our laboratory) was performed to investigate baseline ranges of cortisol values in hair and evaluate potential influences of sex, age and hair color. Cortisol concentrations in hair of 554 subjects were measured and a comparative statistical analysis was performed. The analysis showed that cortisol levels significantly differ depending on age. The toddler group (7 months (0.6 years) to 3 years) showed significantly higher values (median 10pg/mg, p-value<0.0001, d =0.78) than the adolescent group. The adolescent groups showed significantly lower (p-value<0.0001, d =0.58 and p <0.0001, d =0.13) values (median 2.4pg/mg and 2.8pg/mg) than the adult group (median 5.8pg/mg). Furthermore, in the adult group men showed significantly higher cortisol values than women (p-value<0.05, d =0.17). This effect could not be seen in the adolescent group. Black hair showed higher cortisol concentrations than blond hair (p-value<0.0001, d =1.3). In addition, two rounds of interlaboratory comparisons for hair cortisol samples between four laboratories revealed very consistent results. Our results demonstrate that baseline cortisol levels are generally low in hair thus making a standardized and well-elaborated analytical method indispensable for accurate determination. Age-dependent normative baseline cortisol levels (toddlers, adolescents and adults) are highly recommended based on the comparative analysis comprising five independent studies.

      PubDate: 2018-01-23T06:43:36Z
       
  • An alternative carrier solvent for fingermark enhancement reagents
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 284
      Author(s): Izabela Olszowska, Paul Deacon, Maurice Lindsay, Adam Leśniewski, Joanna Niedziółka-Jönsson, Kevin Farrugia
      Solstice® Performance Fluid (PF), trans-1-chloro-3,3,3-trifluoropropene, is presented as an alternative to HFE7100, methoxy-nonafluorobutane, as a carrier solvent in a number of chemical formulations used for the visualisation of latent fingermarks. The supply of HFE7100 may be at risk due to a recent European Union regulation to control global warming. Laboratory trials using split depletions and a pseudo-operational trial of 1000 porous samples have shown that Solstice® PF is a viable alternative to HFE7100 for the chemical formulations of ninhydrin and 1,2-indanedione. Other preliminary trials have also indicated that Solstice® PF can be used as a carrier solvent for the zinc toning of marks found using ninhydrin as well as the α-naphtholflavone fixative solution for iodine developed marks. Results from the pseudo-operational trial demonstrate that the number of marks detected by ninhydrin and 1,2-indanedione formulations for each carrier solvent is comparable. When compared to HFE7100, advantages of Solstice® PF include a very low global warming potential and atmospheric lifetime in addition to a higher wetting index and lower costs. This study also provides a validation study that supports the potential replacement of DFO with 1,2-indanedione.

      PubDate: 2018-01-23T06:43:36Z
       
  • Fit for purpose quality management system for military forensic
           exploitation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 January 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Lauren Elizabeth Wilson, Michelle Elizabeth Gahan, James Robertson, Chris Lennard
      In a previous publication we described a systems approach to forensic science applied in the military domain. The forensic science ‘system of systems’ describes forensic science as a sub-system in the larger criminal justice, law enforcement, intelligence, and military systems, with quality management being an important supporting system. Quality management systems help to ensure that organisations achieve their objective and continually improve their capability. Components of forensic science quality management systems can include standardisation of processes, accreditation of facilities to national/international standards, and certification of personnel. A fit for purpose quality management system should be balanced to allow organisations to meet objectives, provide continuous improvement; mitigate risk; and impart a positive quality culture. Considerable attention over the last decades has been given to the need for forensic science quality management systems to meet criminal justice and law enforcement objectives. More recently, the need for the forensic quality management systems to meet forensic intelligence objectives has been considered. This paper, for the first time, discusses the need for a fit for purpose quality management system for military forensic exploitation.

      PubDate: 2018-01-23T06:43:36Z
       
  • Diagnosis Of Electrocution: The Application Of Scanning Electron
           Microscope And Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy In Five Cases
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 January 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): S.D. Visonà, Y. Chen, P. Bernardi, L. Andrello, A. Osculati
      Introduction Deaths from electricity, generally, do not have specific findings at the autopsy. The diagnosis is commonly based on the circumstances of the death and the morphologic findings, above all the current mark. Yet, the skin injury due to an electrocution and other kinds of thermal injuries often cannot be differentiated with certainty. Therefore, there is a great interest in finding specific markers of electrocution. The search for the metallization of the skin through Scanning Electron Microscope equipped with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS) probe is of special importance in order to achieve a definite diagnosis in case of suspected electrocution. Materials and Methods We selected five cases in which the electrocution was extremely likely considering the circumstances of the death. In each case a forensic autopsy was performed. Then, the skin specimens were stained with Hematoxylin Eosin and Perls. On the other hand, the skin lesions were examined with a scanning electron microscope equipped with EDS probe in order to evaluate the morphological ultrastructural features and the presence of deposits on the surface of the skin. Results The typical skin injury of the electrocution (current mark) were macroscopically detected in all of the cases. The microscopic examination of the skin lesions revealed the typical spherical vacuoles in the horny layer and, in the epidermis, the elongation of the cell nuclei as well as necrosis. Perls staining was negative in 4 out 6 cases. Ultrastructural morphology revealed the evident vacuolization of the horny layer, elongation of epidermic cells, coagulation of the elastic fibers. EDS-MICROANALYSIS In the specimens collected from the site of contact with the conductor of case 1 and 2, the presence of the Kα peaks of iron was detected. In the corresponding specimens taken from cases 2, 4, 5 the microanalysis showed the Kα peaks of titanium. In case 3, titanium and carbon were found. Conclusions In the suspicion of electrocution, the integrated use of different tools is recommended, including macroscopic observation, H&E staining, Iron-specific staining, scanning electron microscopy and EDS Microanalysis. Only the careful interpretation of the results provided by all these methods can allow the pathologist to correctly identify the cause of the death. Particularly, the present study suggests that the microanalysis (SEM-EDS) represents a very useful tool for the diagnosis of electrocution, allowing the detection and the identification of the metals embedded in the skin and their evaluation in the context of the ultrastructural morphology.

      PubDate: 2018-01-23T06:43:36Z
       
  • Development and validation of rapid and simultaneous method for
           determination of 12 hair-growth compounds in adulterated products by
           UHPLC-MS/MS
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 January 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Han Na Park, Ji Hyun Lee, Sung-Kwan Park, Sun Young Baek, Yong-Moon Lee, Hoil Kang
      Synthetic hair-growth compounds have been illegally used in diverse products to enhance the short-term efficacy of these products. In this study, a rapid and simultaneous method for the determination of hair-growth compounds in adulterated products based on ultra high pressure liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) was developed and validated. The limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantitation (LOQs) of the method were 0.08–43.6ng/mL and 0.27–145ng/mL for the solid-, liquid-, and cream-type samples, respectively. Good calibration linearity for all compounds was demonstrated with a correlation coefficient (r2) higher than 0.997. The intra- and inter-assay precisions were within 11%. The corresponding accuracies were 86–117% and 81–113%, respectively. The mean recoveries obtained for the solid-, liquid, and cream-type samples ranged from 87 to 114%, with a relative standard deviation (RSD) within 6%. The RSD of the stability evaluated at 4°C for 48h was less than 6%. The established method was used to screen 76 samples advertised as hair- growth treatments, from online and offline markets, over the course of two years. In 10% of the samples, four compounds, including triaminodil, minoxidil, finasteride, methyltestosterone, and testosterone-propionate were detected. The concentrations were in the range of 0.5–16.4mg/g. This technique provides a reliable platform for technical analysis for continuous monitoring of adulterated products to protect public health.

      PubDate: 2018-01-10T09:47:09Z
       
  • Quantification of spheno-occipital synchondrosis fusion in a contemporary
           Malaysian population
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 January 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Salina Hisham, Ambika Flavel, Nurliza Abdullah, Mohamad Helmee Mohamad Noor, Daniel Franklin
      Timing of fusion of the spheno-occipital synchondrosis (SOS) is correlated with age. Previous research, however, has demonstrated variation in the timing of closure among different global populations. The present study aims to quantify the timing of SOS fusion in Malaysian individuals as visualised in multi-detector computed tomography (CT) scans and to thereafter formulate age estimation models based on fusion status. Anonymised cranial CT scans of 336 males and 164 females, aged 5 to 25 years, were acquired from the National Institute of Forensic Medicine, Hospital Kuala Lumpur and Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Hospital Sultanah Aminah. The scans were received in DICOM format and reconstructed into three-dimensional images using OsiriX. The SOS is scored as open, fusing endocranially, fusing ectocranially or completely fused. Statistical analyses are performed using IBM SPSS Statistics version 24. Transition analysis (Nphases2) is then utilised to calculate age ranges for each stage. To assess the reliability of an observation, intra- and inter-observer agreement is quantified using Fleiss Kappa and was found to be excellent (κ=0.785-0.907 and 0.812). The mean (SD) age for complete fusion is 20.84 (2.84) years in males and 19.78 (3.35) years in females. Transition ages between Stages 0 and 1, 1 and 2, and 2 and 3 in males are 12.52, 13.98 and 15.52 years, respectively (SD 1.37); in females, the corresponding data are 10.47, 12.26 and 13.80 years (SD 1.72). Complete fusion of the SOS was observed in all individuals above the age of 18 years. SOS fusion status provides upper and lower age boundaries for forensic age estimation in the Malaysian sample.

      PubDate: 2018-01-10T09:47:09Z
       
  • Molecular identification of forensically important calliphoridae and
           sarcophagidae species using ITS2 nucleotide sequences
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 January 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Ji Hye Park, Yu-Hoon Kim, Chan Seon Ham, Sang Eon Shin, Hyun Ju Lee, Kwang Soo Ko, Jinhyuk Choi, Gi Hoon Son, Seong Hwan Park
      The application of insect evidence to forensic investigations is mainly based on the estimation of postmortem interval and the identification of insect species from samples that are collected from the crime scene. Due to the limited number of expert taxonomists, species identification is one of the major barriers for crime scene investigators to utilize forensic entomology. Therefore, the molecular identification of species, using mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene, has been suggested as an alternative strategy. However, in some cases, these maternally inherited markers cause confusion; hence, nuclear DNA markers such as ITS2 are also required as supporting tools. Eleven Calliphoridae and 5 Sarcophagidae fly species collected from Korea were utilized for PCR amplification and nucleotide sequencing of ITS2 locus. Species Identifier software was used for sequence analysis and comparison. The results demonstrated that 11 Korean Calliphoridae and 5 Korean Sarcophagidae fly species could be distinguished using ITS2 nucleotide sequences. In particular, the sister species, Lucilia illustris and Lucilia caesar were also distinguished, despite the very low level of interspecific diversity. However, when compared with previously reported ITS2 nucleotide sequences, several identification failures were noted. This is the first study that widely analyzed nucleotide sequences of the ITS2 locus from Calliphoridae and Sarcophagidae fly species collected in Korea.

      PubDate: 2018-01-10T09:47:09Z
       
  • Internal validation of two new retrotransposons-based kits (InnoQuant® HY
           and InnoTyper® 21) at a forensic lab
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 283
      Author(s): Cátia Martins, Paulo Miguel Ferreira, Raquel Carvalho, Sandra Cristina Costa, Carlos Farinha, Luísa Azevedo, António Amorim, Manuela Oliveira
      Obtaining a genetic profile from pieces of evidence collected at a crime scene is the primary objective of forensic laboratories. New procedures, methods, kits, software or equipment must be carefully evaluated and validated before its implementation. The constant development of new methodologies for DNA testing leads to a steady process of validation, which consists of demonstrating that the technology is robust, reproducible, and reliable throughout a defined range of conditions. The present work aims to internally validate two new retrotransposon-based kits (InnoQuant® HY and InnoTyper® 21), under the working conditions of the Laboratório de Polícia Científica da Polícia Judiciária (LPC-PJ). For the internal validation of InnoQuant® HY and InnoTyper® 21 sensitivity, repeatability, reproducibility, and mixture tests and a concordance study between these new kits and those currently in use at LPC-PJ (Quantifiler® Duo and GlobalFiler™) were performed. The results obtained for sensitivity, repeatability, and reproducibility tests demonstrated that both InnoQuant® HY and InnoTyper® 21 are robust, reproducible, and reliable. The results of the concordance studies demonstrate that InnoQuant® HY produced quantification results in nearly 29% more than Quantifiler® Duo (indicating that this new kit is more effective in challenging samples), while the differences observed between InnoTyper® 21 and GlobalFiler™ are not significant. Therefore, the utility of InnoTyper® 21 has been proven, especially by the successful amplification of a greater number of complete genetic profiles (27 vs. 21). The results herein presented allowed the internal validation of both InnoQuant® HY and InnoTyper® 21, and their implementation in the LPC-PJ laboratory routine for the treatment of challenging samples.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-12-12T14:16:41Z
       
  • Automatic estimation of a scale resolution in forensic images
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 December 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): I. Gertsovich, M. Nilsson, J.S. Bartůněk, I. Claesson
      This paper proposes a new method for an automatic detection of a resolution of a scale or a ruler with graduation marks in the shoeprint images. The method creates a vector of the correlations estimated from the co-occurrence matrices for every row in a shoeprint image. The scale resolution is estimated from maxima in Fourier spectrum of the correlations’ vectors. The proposed method is evaluated on over 500 images taken at crime scenes and in a forensics laboratory. The experimental results indicate the possibility of applying the proposed method to automatically estimate the scale resolution in forensic images. The automatic detection of a scale resolution could be used to automatically rescale a forensic image before the printing this image in ”one-to-one” scale. Furthermore, the proposed method could be used to automatically rescale images to an equal scale thus allowing to compare the images digitally.

      PubDate: 2017-12-12T14:16:41Z
       
  • Detection of copy-move image modification using JPEG compression
           model
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 December 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Adam Novozámský, Michal Šorel
      The so-called copy-move forgery, based on copying an object and pasting in another location of the same image, is a common way to manipulate image content. In this paper, we address the problem of copy-move forgery detection in JPEG images. The main problem with JPEG compression is that the same pixels, after moving to a different position and storing in the JPEG format, have different values. The majority of existing algorithms is based on matching pairs of similar patches, which generates many false matches. In many cases they cannot be eliminated by postprocessing, causing the failure of detection. To overcome this problem, we derive a JPEG-based constraint that any pair of patches must satisfy to be considered a valid candidate and propose an efficient algorithm to verify the constraint. The constraint can be integrated into most existing methods. Experiments show significant improvement of detection, especially for difficult cases, such as small objects, objects covered by textureless areas and repeated patterns.

      PubDate: 2017-12-12T14:16:41Z
       
  • MDPV in forensic routine cases: Psychotic and aggressive behavior in
           relation to plasma concentrations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 December 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Marco Diestelmann, Anna Zangl, Inge Herrle, Eva Koch, Matthias Graw, Liane D. Paul
      The new psychoactive substance 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) belongs to the group of synthetic cathinones and is purchased mainly as “research chemical” or “bath salt” on the illegal drug market, also in South Bavaria. MDPV was detected in blood and urine samples from 2010 on in 50 authentic routine cases in a forensic setting. Plasma concentrations in 46 cases with available blood specimens ranged from approximately 1.0 to 301μg/L (median 23.7; mean 47.9μg/L), detected by a fully validated LC-MS/MS method. Subjects aged between 16 and 54 years (median 36; mean 35 years) and reflected experienced chronic drug users. Accused offences were mainly violent crimes such as bodily harm, robberies, homicides and acts of resistance. A lot of subjects showed highly aggressive and violent behavior with endangerment of self and others and/or psychotic symptoms as confusion, hallucinations or paranoia. The risk for such behavior rises with MDPV plasma concentrations above as low as 30μg/L, whereby a time interval of 1.5hours on average between incident and/or observation of impairment and blood sampling has to be taken into account. Comprehensive toxicological analysis proved poly-drug use in almost all cases including opiates/opioids, benzodiazepines and other sedatives, antidepressants and other stimulants, also other new psychoactive substances. Alcohol was detected only in three cases. Co-consumed benzodiazepines seem not be able to completely prevent psychotic effects despite their use as first-line treatment for patients with synthetic cathinone poisonings. The study demonstrates that relatively low plasma concentrations of MDPV could be associated with mental impairment which is relevant in the assessment of forensic cases.

      PubDate: 2017-12-12T14:16:41Z
       
  • Stability of postmortem methemoglobin: artifactual changes caused by
           storage conditions
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 December 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Vincent Varlet, Elenore Ryser, Marc Augsburger, Cristian Palmiere
      Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries and distributes oxygen to the body. Methemoglobinemia is a blood disorder in which an abnormal amount of methemoglobin (MetHb), a form of hemoglobin (Hb), is produced from either inadequate MetHb reductase activity or too much MetHb production or by exposure to oxidizing agents. This could lead to anoxia and death if it is not treated. However, this parameter has not been investigated as a valid post-mortem indicator because random MetHb levels have been observed in various studies: MetHb increases can be observed due to autoxidation during storage, and MetHb decreases can be observed due to MetHb reductase or microbial activity in post-mortem samples. MetHb variations can also come from the blood state and can interfere in the optical measurements of MetHb. We have studied the post-mortem MetHb concentrations according to various storage conditions. Based on our results, both the post-mortem delay and the delay before analysis should be reduced whenever possible to avoid changes in MetHb. If the analysis is delayed for a short period of time (two weeks), the blood sample taken at autopsy should not be frozen but collected in EDTA preservative and stored under refrigeration (4–6°C) until analysis. If the analysis is delayed for a longer period (more than two weeks), the blood sample should be frozen with cryoprotectant at −80°C or −196°C.

      PubDate: 2017-12-12T14:16:41Z
       
 
 
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