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  [3175 journals]
  • Estimating the age of Lucilia illustris during the intrapuparial period
           using two approaches: Morphological changes and differential gene
           expression
    • Authors: Yu Wang; Zhi-ya Gu; Shui-xiu Xia; Jiang-feng Wang; Ying-na Zhang; Lu-yang Tao
      Pages: 1 - 11
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Yu Wang, Zhi-ya Gu, Shui-xiu Xia, Jiang-feng Wang, Ying-na Zhang, Lu-yang Tao
      Lucilia illustris (Meigen, 1826) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) is a cosmopolitan species of fly that has forensic and medical significance. However, there is no relevant study regarding the determination of the age of this species during the intrapuparial period. In this study, we investigated the changes in both morphology and differential gene expression during intrapuparial development, with an aim to estimate the age of L. illustris during the intrapuparial stage. The overall intrapuparial morphological changes of L. illustris were divided into 12 substages. Structures such as the compound eyes, mouthparts, antennae, thorax, legs, wings, and abdomen, each capable of indicating age during the intrapuparial stage, were observed in detail, and the developmental progression of each of these structures was divided into six to eight stages. We recorded the time range over which each substage or structure appeared. The differential expression of the three genes 15_2, actin, and tbp previously identified for predicting the timing of intrapuparial development was measured during L. illustris metamorphosis. The expression of these genes was quantified by real-time PCR, and the results revealed that these genes can be used to estimate the age of L. illustris during the intrapuparial period, as they exhibit regular changes and temperature dependence. This study provides an important basis for estimating the minimum postmortem interval (PMImin) in forensic entomology according to changes in intrapuparial development and differential gene expression. Furthermore, combination of the two approaches can generate a more precise PMImin than either approach alone.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.025
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Integrated computer-aided forensic case analysis, presentation, and
           documentation based on multimodal 3D data
    • Authors: Alexander Bornik; Martin Urschler; Dieter Schmalstieg; Horst Bischof; Astrid Krauskopf; Thorsten Schwark; Eva Scheurer; Kathrin Yen
      Pages: 12 - 24
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Alexander Bornik, Martin Urschler, Dieter Schmalstieg, Horst Bischof, Astrid Krauskopf, Thorsten Schwark, Eva Scheurer, Kathrin Yen
      Three-dimensional (3D) crime scene documentation using 3D scanners and medical imaging modalities like computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are increasingly applied in forensic casework. Together with digital photography, these modalities enable comprehensive and non-invasive recording of forensically relevant information regarding injuries/pathologies inside the body and on its surface. Furthermore, it is possible to capture traces and items at crime scenes. Such digitally secured evidence has the potential to similarly increase case understanding by forensic experts and non-experts in court. Unlike photographs and 3D surface models, images from CT and MRI are not self-explanatory. Their interpretation and understanding requires radiological knowledge. Findings in tomography data must not only be revealed, but should also be jointly studied with all the 2D and 3D data available in order to clarify spatial interrelations and to optimally exploit the data at hand. This is technically challenging due to the heterogeneous data representations including volumetric data, polygonal 3D models, and images. This paper presents a novel computer-aided forensic toolbox providing tools to support the analysis, documentation, annotation, and illustration of forensic cases using heterogeneous digital data. Conjoint visualization of data from different modalities in their native form and efficient tools to visually extract and emphasize findings help experts to reveal unrecognized correlations and thereby enhance their case understanding. Moreover, the 3D case illustrations created for case analysis represent an efficient means to convey the insights gained from case analysis to forensic non-experts involved in court proceedings like jurists and laymen. The capability of the presented approach in the context of case analysis, its potential to speed up legal procedures and to ultimately enhance legal certainty is demonstrated by introducing a number of representative forensic cases.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.031
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Image re-sampling detection through a novel interpolation kernel
    • Authors: Alaa Hilal
      Pages: 25 - 35
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Alaa Hilal
      Image re-sampling involved in re-size and rotation transformations is an essential element block in a typical digital image alteration. Fortunately, traces left from such processes are detectable, proving that the image has gone a re-sampling transformation. Within this context, we present in this paper two original contributions. First, we propose a new re-sampling interpolation kernel. It depends on five independent parameters that controls its amplitude, angular frequency, standard deviation, and duration. Then, we demonstrate its capacity to imitate the same behavior of the most frequent interpolation kernels used in digital image re-sampling applications. Secondly, the proposed model is used to characterize and detect the correlation coefficients involved in re-sampling transformations. The involved process includes a minimization of an error function using the gradient method. The proposed method is assessed over a large database of 11,000 re-sampled images. Additionally, it is implemented within an algorithm in order to assess images that had undergone complex transformations. Obtained results demonstrate better performance and reduced processing time when compared to a reference method validating the suitability of the proposed approaches.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.024
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Simple DNA extraction of urine samples: Effects of storage temperature and
           storage time
    • Authors: Huey Hian Ng; Hwee Chen Ang; See Ying Hoe; Mae-Lynn Lim; Hua Eng Tai; Richard Choon Hock Soh; Christopher Kiu-Choong Syn
      Pages: 36 - 39
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Huey Hian Ng, Hwee Chen Ang, See Ying Hoe, Mae-Lynn Lim, Hua Eng Tai, Richard Choon Hock Soh, Christopher Kiu-Choong Syn
      Urine samples are commonly analysed in cases with suspected illicit drug consumption. In events of alleged sample mishandling, urine sample source identification may be necessary. A simple DNA extraction procedure suitable for STR typing of urine samples was established on the Promega Maxwell® 16 paramagnetic silica bead platform. A small sample volume of 1.7mL was used. Samples were stored at room temperature, 4°C and −20°C for 100days to investigate the influence of storage temperature and time on extracted DNA quantity and success rate of STR typing. Samples stored at room temperature exhibited a faster decline in DNA yield with time and lower typing success rates as compared to those at 4°C and −20°C. This trend can likely be attributed to DNA degradation. In conclusion, this study presents a quick and effective DNA extraction protocol from a small urine volume stored for up to 100days at 4°C and −20°C.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.035
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Accurate identification of opioid overdose deaths using coronial data
    • Authors: Amanda Roxburgh; Jennifer L. Pilgrim; Wayne D. Hall; Lucinda Burns; Louisa Degenhardt
      Pages: 40 - 46
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Amanda Roxburgh, Jennifer L. Pilgrim, Wayne D. Hall, Lucinda Burns, Louisa Degenhardt
      Introduction Defining drug-related mortality is complex as these deaths can include a wide range of diseases and circumstances. This paper outlines a method to identify deaths that are directly due to fatal opioid toxicity (i.e. overdose), utilising coronial data. Materials and methods The National Coronial Information System (NCIS), an online coronial database containing information on all deaths that are reported to a coroner in Australia, is used to develop methods to more accurately identify opioid overdose deaths. The NCIS contains demographic information, Medical Cause of Death, and associated documentation on toxicology, clinical and police investigations. Results Identifying overdose deaths using the coroner determined Medical Cause of Death provided greater capture, and specificity, of opioid overdose deaths. Distinguishing morphine from heroin-related deaths presented challenges, requiring analysis of clinical and investigative information in addition to toxicology results. One-quarter of the deaths attributed to morphine were recorded to heroin as a result of further investigation. There was also some underestimation of codeine-related deaths. Access to clinical and investigative information also yields important information in relation to comorbid conditions among these decedents, such as history of chronic pain, substance use issues and mental health problems. Conclusions Reliance on toxicology results alone leads to an underestimate of heroin-related deaths. Differentiating between heroin and pharmaceutical opioid (e.g. morphine) overdose deaths has important public health and policy implications, particularly in relation to prescribing practices and development of a strategic response. Understanding comorbidities among these decedents is also important in efforts to reduce preventable causes of death such as opioid overdose.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.032
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Enhancing the evidential value of textile fibres
    • Authors: Rees Powell; Wilhelm van Bronswijk; John Coumbaros
      Pages: 54 - 62
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Rees Powell, Wilhelm van Bronswijk, John Coumbaros
      In numerous major crime cases undertaken at our laboratory the recovery of large numbers of fibres (>1000), particularly in cases with no known source, presented several challenges. These included the inability to effectively manage the data (i.e. combination of MSP spectra, microscopic characteristics, composition, etc.) and perform comparisons in an efficient manner. To address these challenges, and in response to a growing need for performing fibre comparisons, we developed a database of textile fibre microspectrophotometric (MSP) spectra. The database, designed to compare MSP spectra using a modified Pearson method of correlation, currently contains over 20,000 normalised and first derivative spectra of casework, validation and reference textile fibres. A comparison strategy for cases with a large number of questioned samples was devised, involving identification of critical fibres in the casework data set, development of preliminary fibre groups classified according to their corresponding/similar MSP spectra, and verification of the preliminary groups via brightfield and fluorescence comparison microscopy. The database has successfully been utilised for proficiency trials and casework with small questioned fibre sets. Furthermore, in a case involving a larger dataset (>4000 “unknown” fibres) the database assisted in the efficient classification of 156 distinct groups of interest, highlighting its utility in providing investigative leads for the identification of potential sources of the recovered fibres.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.025
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Systematic forensic toxicological analysis by
           liquid-chromatography-quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry in serum
           and comparison to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
    • Authors: Marcel Grapp; Christoph Kaufmann; Frank Streit; Lutz Binder
      Pages: 63 - 73
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Marcel Grapp, Christoph Kaufmann, Frank Streit, Lutz Binder
      Comprehensive screening procedures for psychoactive agents in body fluids are an essential task in clinical and forensic toxicology. With the continuous emergence and adaption of new psychoactive substances (NPS) keeping a screening method up to date is challenging. To meet these demands, hyphenated high-resolution mass spectrometry has gained interest as extensive and expandable screening approach. Here we present a comprehensive method for systematic toxicological analysis of serum by liquid chromatography-quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF-MS) with data independent acquisition. The potential of this method was demonstrated by analysis of 247 authentic serum- and 12 post-mortem femoral blood samples. Thus 950 compounds, comprising 185 different drugs and metabolites could be identified. For the detected substances, including pharmaceutical substances, illicit drugs as well as NPS, serum concentrations were confirmed ranging from traces to toxic values indicating the capability for forensic toxicological requirements. Positive identification of drugs was achieved by accurate mass measurement (±5ppm for [M+H]+; ±10ppm for [M−H]−), retention time (±0.35min), isotopic pattern match (less than 10 m/z RMS [ppm]), isotope match intensity (less than 20% RMS) and the presence of at least two fragment ions. The LC-QTOF-MS procedure was shown to be superior to serum screening by GC–MS, since 240% (335 versus 141) more drugs were identified in serum samples compared to GC–MS.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.039
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Detection of latent fingerprint hidden beneath adhesive tape by optical
           coherence tomography
    • Authors: Ning Zhang; Chengming Wang; Zhenwen Sun; Zhigang Li; Lanchi Xie; Yuwen Yan; Lei Xu; Jingjing Guo; Wei Huang; Zhihui Li; Jing Xue; Huan Liu; Xiaojing Xu
      Pages: 81 - 87
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Ning Zhang, Chengming Wang, Zhenwen Sun, Zhigang Li, Lanchi Xie, Yuwen Yan, Lei Xu, Jingjing Guo, Wei Huang, Zhihui Li, Jing Xue, Huan Liu, Xiaojing Xu
      Adhesive tape is one type of common item which can be encountered in criminal cases involving rape, murder, kidnapping and explosives. It is often the case that a suspect deposits latent fingerprints on the sticky side of adhesive tape material when tying up victims, manufacturing improvised explosive devices or packaging illegal goods. However, the adhesive tapes found at crime scenes are usually stuck together or attached to a certain substrate, and thus the latent fingerprints may be hidden beneath the tapes. Current methods to detect latent fingerprint hidden beneath adhesive tape need to peel it off first and then apply physical or chemical methods to develop the fingerprint, which undergo complicated procedures and would affect the original condition of latent print. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a novel applied techniques in forensics which enables obtaining cross-sectional structure with the advantages of non-invasive, in-situ, high resolution and high speed. In this paper, a custom-built spectral-domain OCT (SD-OCT) system with a hand-held probe was employed to detect fingerprints hidden beneath different types of adhesive tapes. Three-dimensional (3D) OCT reconstructions were performed and the en face images were presented to reveal the hidden fingerprints. The results demonstrate that OCT is a promising tool for rapidly detecting and recovering high quality image of latent fingerprint hidden beneath adhesive tape without any changes to the original state and preserve the integrity of the evidence.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.030
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Evaluation of 1,5-anhydro-d-glucitol in clinical and forensic urine
           samples
    • Authors: Konrad Sydow; Christopher Wiedfeld; Frank Musshoff; Burkhard Madea; Diethelm Tschoepe; Bernd Stratmann; Cornelius Hess
      Pages: 88 - 97
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Konrad Sydow, Christopher Wiedfeld, Frank Musshoff, Burkhard Madea, Diethelm Tschoepe, Bernd Stratmann, Cornelius Hess
      Because of the lack of characteristic morphological findings post mortem diagnosis of diabetes mellitus and identification of diabetic coma can be complicated. 1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG), the 1-deoxy form of glucose, competes with glucose for renal reabsorption. Therefore low serum concentrations of 1,5-AG, reflect hyperglycemic excursions over the prior 1–2 weeks in diabetic patients. Next to clinical applications determination of 1,5-AG can also be used in forensic analysis. To investigate the elimination of 1,5-AG, a liquid chromatographic–mass spectrometric method for the determination of 1,5-AG and creatinine in urine was developed and validated according to international guidelines. To evaluate ante mortem concentrations of 1,5-AG spot urine samples of 30 healthy subjects, 46 type 1 and 46 type 2 diabetic patients were analyzed. 1,5-AG urine concentrations of diabetic patients were significantly (p<0.001) lower (mean: 1.54μg/ml, n=92) compared to concentrations of healthy subjects (mean: 4.76μg/ml, n=30) which led to the idea that 1,5-AG urine concentrations post mortem might help in the interpretation of a diabetic coma post mortem. Urine of 47 deceased non-diabetics, 37 deceased diabetic and 9 cases of diabetic coma were measured. Comparison of blood and urine 1,5-AG concentrations in clinic samples (linear, R2 =0.13) and forensic samples (linear, R2 =0.02) showed no correlation. Urinary levels of 1,5-AG in deceased diabetic (mean 6.9μg/ml) and in non-diabetic patients (mean 6.3μg/ml) did not show a significant difference (p=0.752). However, urinary 1,5-AG concentrations in deceased due to diabetic coma (mean: 1.7μg/ml) were significantly lower than in non-diabetic (mean: 6.3μg/ml, p=0.039) and lower than in diabetic cases (mean: 4.7μg/ml, p=0.058). The determination of a reliable cut-off for the differentiation of diabetic to diabetic coma cases was not possible. Normalization of urinary 1,5-AG concentrations with the respective creatinine concentrations did not show any gain of information. In clinical (serum) and forensic blood samples a significant difference between all groups could be detected (p<0.05). Comparison of blood and urine 1,5-AG concentrations in clinical samples (linear, R2 =0.13) and forensic samples (linear, R2 =0.02) showed no correlation.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.002
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Contribution of Raman and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) to
           the analysis of vehicle headlights: Dye(s) characterization
    • Authors: Cyril Muehlethaler; Yin Pak Cheng; Syed K. Islam; John R. Lombardi
      Pages: 98 - 107
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Cyril Muehlethaler, Yin Pak Cheng, Syed K. Islam, John R. Lombardi
      Although ubiquitous on accident scenes, the polymers from headlight optics are often neglected in hit-and-run cases, and their evidential value restrained to direct comparison once a corresponding vehicle is found. Multilayered automotive paint fragments are preferred for their access to corresponding databases (PDQ, EUCAP) to infer models and brands of cars. The potential of polymers headlights for providing forensic intelligence has never been exploited, principally due to the lack of diversity, of appropriate databases, and of case examples. The motives are very simple however. Headlight polymers suffer from a lack of differentiation, and about 90% of them are composed of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). The discriminating powers using techniques in sequence typically range from 30 to 60%. In this paper, we take advantage of the extreme sensitivity of Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) to analyze the dye composition of the polymer headlights. The measurements by standard Raman spectroscopy at 488, 633, and 785nm permits us to identify the polymer type with relative ease. 51 out of 53 samples are composed of PMMA, the two remaining being either Polycarbonate or Polybutylene terephthalate. Additionally, using SERS with silver colloids at 488 and 633nm, provides enhanced spectra of the dyes used in the composition with an extreme sensitivity and specificity. With SERS we are able to differentiate the majority of the headlights with a remarkable 90–100% discriminating power. Solvent Orange 60, Solvent Red 52 and Solvent Red 111 were successfully identified as dyes used in the manufacture of the headlights. These results demonstrate that a combined Raman-SERS approach has the potential to replace an otherwise lengthy sequence of many different analytical techniques. With one single instrument, we offer the possibility to combine an analysis of the polymer type, and of the dye components with high discriminating capabilities. These results open up new opportunities for exploiting headlight plastics in road accidents investigations. It has the potential to help in source attribution, and/or database building in a forensic intelligence perspective.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.036
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Inspective and toxicological survey of the poisoned baits and bites
    • Authors: Antonella De Roma; Gianluca Miletti; Nicola D’Alessio; Laura Marigliano; Teresa Bruno; Pasquale Gallo; Giovanni Binato; Mauro Esposito
      Pages: 108 - 112
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Antonella De Roma, Gianluca Miletti, Nicola D’Alessio, Laura Marigliano, Teresa Bruno, Pasquale Gallo, Giovanni Binato, Mauro Esposito
      Cases of intentional animal poisonings are still widespread in Italy, even if the improper or malicious use of poisoned baits is banned. This represents a serious threat to pets as well as wildlife species, but also an environmental and human health concern. A retrospective study was performed based on baits sent for toxicological analysis to the laboratories of Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Mezzogiorno (IZSM) in Southern Italy over a five year period. Analyses were carried out by using different analytical techniques in relation to the toxicants. Results show a trend different from other countries, as well as from that reported for Northern Italy. The molluscicide metaldehyde proved to be the most common substance detected in our laboratory (63.9%) followed by organochlorine insecticides (29.2%), organophosphine insecticides (11.1%) and anticoagulant rodenticides (9.7%). Other rodenticides, such as strychnine and zinc phosphide were detected only one time in baits. Among the organochlorine insecticide, endosulfan (both alpha and beta isomers) occurred as the main poisoning agent. The incidence of poisoning cases detected in the present survey is extremely alarming and pointed out that actions have to be made to reduce this illegal practice and its environmental impact.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.038
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • A method for the statistical interpretation of friction ridge skin
           impression evidence: Method development and validation
    • Authors: H.J. Swofford; A.J. Koertner; F. Zemp; M. Ausdemore; A. Liu; M.J. Salyards
      Pages: 113 - 126
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): H.J. Swofford, A.J. Koertner, F. Zemp, M. Ausdemore, A. Liu, M.J. Salyards
      The forensic fingerprint community has faced increasing amounts of criticism by scientific and legal commentators, challenging the validity and reliability of fingerprint evidence due to the lack of an empirically demonstrable basis to evaluate and report the strength of the evidence in a given case. This paper presents a method, developed as a stand-alone software application, FRStat, which provides a statistical assessment of the strength of fingerprint evidence. The performance was evaluated using a variety of mated and non-mated datasets. The results show strong performance characteristics, often with values supporting specificity rates greater than 99%. This method provides fingerprint experts the capability to demonstrate the validity and reliability of fingerprint evidence in a given case and report the findings in a more transparent and standardized fashion with clearly defined criteria for conclusions and known error rate information thereby responding to concerns raised by the scientific and legal communities.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.043
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Three-dimensionally derived interlandmark distances for sex estimation in
           intact and fragmentary crania
    • Authors: Candice Small; Lynne Schepartz; Jason Hemingway; Desiré Brits
      Pages: 127 - 135
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Candice Small, Lynne Schepartz, Jason Hemingway, Desiré Brits
      The skull is the element most frequently presented to forensic anthropologists for analysis yet weathering, corpse maiming, and scavenger activity often result in damage and fragmentation. This fragmentation results in a reduction in the number of traditional calliper derived measurements that can be obtained and subjected to discriminant based analyses for sex estimation. In this investigation, we employed three-dimensional geometric morphometric methods to derive novel interlandmark distance measures across six regions of the cranium including the basicranium, basipalate, zygoma, orbits and the cranium globally to create functions to discriminate sex with high efficacy, even in the event of fragmentation. Forty-five homologous landmarks were digitised across each of 227 (114 males and 113 females) South African crania of European descent (white) sampled from the Raymond A Dart Collection of Human Skeletons, housed in the School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. A total of 990 interlandmark distances (ILDs) were mathematically derived using Pythagorean geometry. These ILDs were then filtered by region and subjected to both direct and stepwise discriminant function analyses. Discriminant equations where derived for each region and achieved the following average cross-validated sex estimation accuracies: basicranium—74%; basipalate—80.2%; zygomatic—82.4; orbits—71.8%; nasomaxilla—83.7%; global cranium—88.2%. A large number of the ILDs used to derive the discriminant functions are novel, demonstrating the efficacy of geometric morphometric methods and illustrating the need to reassess old methods of data collection using modern methods to determine whether they best capture biological differences. The results of this study provide an invaluable contribution to forensic anthropology in South Africa as it provides an accurate, practical means of assessing sex using fragmentary material that may otherwise have been disregarded. These will undeniable aid in accurate sex estimation and ultimately, victim identification.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.012
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Estimation of 2D to 3D dimensions and proportionality indices for facial
           examination
    • Authors: Rubén Martos; Andrea Valsecchi; Oscar Ibáñez; Inmaculada Alemán
      Pages: 142 - 152
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Rubén Martos, Andrea Valsecchi, Oscar Ibáñez, Inmaculada Alemán
      Photo-anthropometry is a metric-based facial image comparison technique where measurements of the face are taken from an image using predetermined facial landmarks. In particular, dimensions and proportionality indices (DPIs) are compared to DPIs from another facial image. Different studies concluded that photo-anthropometric facial comparison, as it is currently practiced, is unsuitable for elimination purposes. The major limitation is the need for images acquired under very restrictive, controlled conditions. To overcome this latter issue, we propose a novel methodology to estimate 3D DPIs from 2D ones. It uses computer graphic techniques to simulate thousands of facial photographs under known camera conditions and regression to derive the mathematical relationship between 2D and 3D DPIs automatically. Additionally, we present a methodology that makes use of the estimated 3D DPIs for reducing the number of potential matches of a given unknown facial photograph within a set of known candidates. The error in the estimation of the 3D DPIs can be as large as 35%, but both I and III quartiles are consistently inside the ±5% range. The methodology for filtering cases has demonstrated to be useful in the task of narrowing down the list of possible candidates for a given photograph. It is able to remove on average (validated using cross-validation technique) 57% and 24% of the negative cases, depending on the amounts of DPIs available. Limitations of the work developed together with open research lines are included within the Discussion section.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.037
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Thermal conditions in selected urban and semi-natural habitats, important
           for the forensic entomology
    • Authors: Marek Michalski; Jerzy Nadolski
      Pages: 153 - 162
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Marek Michalski, Jerzy Nadolski
      A long-term study on thermal conditions in selected urban and semi-natural habitats, where human corpses are likely to be found, was conducted in the city of Lodz (Central Poland). Thermal data were collected during two years at nine sites and compared with corresponding data from the nearest permanent meteorological station at Lodz Airport (ICAO code: EPLL). The conditions closest to those at the meteorological station prevailed in the deciduous forest, coefficient of determination R 2 for those sets of data was above 0.96. The open field was characterized by high daily amplitudes, especially during spring, while the site in the allotment gardens was characterized by relatively high winter temperatures. The conditions prevailing in all closed space sites were very diverse and only slightly similar to the external ones. The most distinct site was an unheated basement in a tenement house, where temperature was almost always above 0°C and daily amplitudes were negligible.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.042
      Issue No: Vol. 287 (2018)
       
  • Wastewater-based epidemiology generated forensic information: Amphetamine
           synthesis waste and its impact on a small sewage treatment plant
    • Authors: Erik Emke; Dennis Vughs; Annemieke Kolkman; Pim de Voogt
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Erik Emke, Dennis Vughs, Annemieke Kolkman, Pim de Voogt
      Chemical analysis of domestic wastewater can reveal the presence of illicit drugs either consumed by a population or directly discharged into the sewer system. In the search for causes of a recent malfunctioning of a small domestic wastewater treatment plant aberrantly high loads of amphetamine were observed in the influent of the plant. Direct discharges of chemical waste from illegal production sites were suspected to be the cause. Illegal manufacturing of amphetamines creates substantial amounts of chemical waste. Here we show that fly-tipping of chemical waste originating from an amphetamine synthesis in the catchment of a small sewage treatment plant resulted in failure of the treatment process. Target analysis of drugs of abuse and non-target screening using high resolution mass spectrometry provided evidence for the presence of amphetamine produced from the precursor 1-phenylpropan-2-one by the Leuckart process through specific synthesis markers. Furthermore the identity and presence of the pre-precursor 3-oxo-2-phenylbutanamide was confirmed and a route specific marker was proposed. This is the first study that demonstrates that non-target screening of wastewater can identify intermediates, impurities and by products of the synthesis routes used in illegal manufacturing of amphetamine. The profiles of chemicals thus obtained can be used in tracking productions sites within the corresponding sewer catchment.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.019
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Impact of one-step luminescent cyanoacrylate treatment on subsequent DNA
           analysis
    • Authors: Alicia Khuu; Scott Chadwick; Sébastien Moret; Xanthe Spindler; Peter Gunn; Claude Roux
      Pages: 1 - 7
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Alicia Khuu, Scott Chadwick, Sébastien Moret, Xanthe Spindler, Peter Gunn, Claude Roux
      Fingermarks can be exploited for both their ridge detail and touch DNA. One-step luminescent cyanoacrylate (CA) fuming techniques used for fingermark enhancement, such as PolyCyano UV (Foster+Freeman Ltd) and Lumicyano™ (Crime Science Technology), claim to be compatible with DNA analysis as they reduce the need for post‐staining to increase contrast of the developed fingermark. The aim of this study was to determine the impact that these one-step luminescent cyanoacrylates have on DNA analysis and how they compare to conventional CA techniques. Four donors each deposited five sets of natural fingermarks, to which a known amount of washed saliva cells was dispensed onto half of each set of fingermarks. Each set was treated with either a conventional CA technique or a one‐step luminescent CA technique prior to collection and processing of DNA, with one set left as a non-fumed control. It was found that DNA was still recoverable and detectable following each of the treatments. Lumicyano™ had a similar impact on DNA profiles as conventional CA fuming and with post‐stain, however, the degradation effect of PolyCyano UV on DNA was greater than the conventional treatments. For quantities of DNA such as that from touch DNA, the use of PolyCyano UV to enhance fingermarks may impact subsequent DNA analysis by causing allele drop out at larger fragment sizes.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.015
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Biometric correspondence between reface computerized facial approximations
           and CT-derived ground truth skin surface models objectively examined using
           an automated facial recognition system
    • Authors: Connie L. Parks; Keith L. Monson
      Pages: 8 - 11
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Connie L. Parks, Keith L. Monson
      This study employed an automated facial recognition system as a means of objectively evaluating biometric correspondence between a ReFace facial approximation and the computed tomography (CT) derived ground truth skin surface of the same individual. High rates of biometric correspondence were observed, irrespective of rank class (Rk) or demographic cohort examined. Overall, 48% of the test subjects’ ReFace approximation probes (n=96) were matched to his or her corresponding ground truth skin surface image at R1, a rank indicating a high degree of biometric correspondence and a potential positive identification. Identification rates improved with each successively broader rank class (R10 =85%, R25 =96%, and R50 =99%), with 100% identification by R57. A sharp increase (39% mean increase) in identification rates was observed between R1 and R10 across most rank classes and demographic cohorts. In contrast, significantly lower (p<0.01) increases in identification rates were observed between R10 and R25 (8% mean increase) and R25 and R50 (3% mean increase). No significant (p>0.05) performance differences were observed across demographic cohorts or CT scan protocols. Performance measures observed in this research suggest that ReFace approximations are biometrically similar to the actual faces of the approximated individuals and, therefore, may have potential operational utility in contexts in which computerized approximations are utilized as probes in automated facial recognition systems.

      PubDate: 2018-03-17T21:31:27Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.019
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Quantitative estimation of α-PVP metabolites in urine by GC-APCI-QTOFMS
           with nitrogen chemiluminescence detection based on parent drug calibration
           
    • Authors: Samuel Mesihää; Ilpo Rasanen; Ilkka Ojanperä
      Pages: 12 - 17
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Samuel Mesihää, Ilpo Rasanen, Ilkka Ojanperä
      Gas chromatography (GC) hyphenated with nitrogen chemiluminescence detection (NCD) and quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (QTOFMS) was applied for the first time to the quantitative analysis of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in urine, based on the N-equimolar response of NCD. A method was developed and validated to estimate the concentrations of three metabolites of the common stimulant NPS α-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP) in spiked urine samples, simulating an analysis having no authentic reference standards for the metabolites and using the parent drug instead for quantitative calibration. The metabolites studied were OH-α-PVP (M1), 2″-oxo-α-PVP (M3), and N,N-bis-dealkyl-PVP (2-amino-1-phenylpentan-1-one; M5). Sample preparation involved liquid–liquid extraction with a mixture of ethyl acetate and butyl chloride at a basic pH and subsequent silylation of the sec-hydroxyl and prim-amino groups of M1 and M5, respectively. Simultaneous compound identification was based on the accurate masses of the protonated molecules for each compound by QTOFMS following atmospheric pressure chemical ionization. The accuracy of quantification of the parent-calibrated NCD method was compared with that of the corresponding parent-calibrated QTOFMS method, as well as with a reference QTOFMS method calibrated with the authentic reference standards. The NCD method produced an equally good accuracy to the reference method for α-PVP, M3 and M5, while a higher negative bias (25%) was obtained for M1, best explainable by recovery and stability issues. The performance of the parent-calibrated QTOFMS method was inferior to the reference method with an especially high negative bias (60%) for M1. The NCD method enabled better quantitative precision than the QTOFMS methods To evaluate the novel approach in casework, twenty post- mortem urine samples previously found positive for α-PVP were analyzed by the parent calibrated NCD method and the reference QTOFMS method. The highest difference in the quantitative results between the two methods was only 33%, and the NCD method’s precision as the coefficient of variation was better than 13%. The limit of quantification for the NCD method was approximately 0.25μg/mL in urine, which generally allowed the analysis of α-PVP and the main metabolite M1. However, the sensitivity was not sufficient for the low concentrations of M3 and M5. Consequently, while having potential for instant analysis of NPS and metabolites in moderate concentrations without reference standards, the NCD method should be further developed for improved sensitivity to be more generally applicable.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-03-17T21:31:27Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.017
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • A mixed composition particle highlights the formation mechanism of the
           weapon memory effect phenomenon
    • Authors: Osnat Israelsohn-Azulay; Yigal Zidon; Tsadok Tsach
      Pages: 18 - 22
      Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Osnat Israelsohn-Azulay, Yigal Zidon, Tsadok Tsach
      A shooting event involved several types of ammunition that were all shot from a single firearm. GSR analysis of samples taken from the suspect's hands, hair and from his clothes was carried out. Mixed compositions particles were found among other GSR particles, attributed to the weapon memory effect. SEM/EDX analysis of these particles highlighted a particle with defined domains containing distinct groups of elements. Some of these elements were absent in the primers mixtures of the ammunition used in the shooting event. X-ray mapping indicated that these domains might have been incorporated into the particle within several shooting cycles. This combination of compositions created an opportunity to shed light on the formation mechanism of “memory effect” particles. The aim of the study is to highlight such particles way of formation.

      PubDate: 2018-03-06T10:36:21Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.027
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Cathinone stability in authentic urine specimens
    • Authors: Lindsay Glicksberg; Sumandeep Rana; Sarah Kerrigan
      Pages: 54 - 60
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Lindsay Glicksberg, Sumandeep Rana, Sarah Kerrigan
      Purpose Synthetic cathinones are encountered in a variety of antemortem and postmortem forensic toxicology investigations. Earlier experimental studies using fortified urine have evaluated analyte, temperature and pH-dependent variables associated with their stability. The purpose of this study was to compare experimental findings with those obtained using authentic urine from cathinone users. Methods In this report we compare cathinone concentrations in 180 authentic unpreserved urine specimens, following known periods of refrigerated storage. These findings are compared with previously published experimental data using fortified drug-free urine. Liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-Q/TOF-MS) was used to target 22 cathinones. Quantitative results were compared in urine specimens (pH 4.5–10) following 5–17 months of storage. Results The 180 specimens resulted in 164 quantitative findings involving α-PVP, ethylone, methylone, MDPV and pentylone. Initial drug concentrations ranged from 25ng/mL to over 100,000ng/mL. Upon reanalysis, the percentage of drug remaining (0–119%) was correlated with storage time and specimen pH. The ability to reconfirm original results was not correlated with storage time. Instead, specimen pH was far more predictive. The relationship between initial and final drug concentration was highly pH-dependent, yielding significant correlations for α-PVP, ethylone and methylone, particularly under acidic conditions. Conclusions These results are in good agreement with experimental findings and highlight the critical importance of specimen pH, rather than conventional time dependent variables, when considering cathinone stability in biological samples. The potential for pre-analytical changes in cathinone concentrations must be carefully considered when interpreting their results.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.016
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Impact sites representing potential bruising locations associated with bed
           falls in children
    • Authors: Raymond Dsouza; Gina Bertocci
      Pages: 86 - 95
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Raymond Dsouza, Gina Bertocci
      Bruising can occur as a result of accidental or abusive trauma in children. Bruises are an early sign of child abuse and their locations on the body can be an effective delineator of abusive trauma. Since falls are often reported as false histories in abuse, the ability to predict potential bruising locations in falls could be valuable when attempting to differentiate between abuse and accident. In our study we used an anthropomorphic test device (ATD), a surrogate representing a 12 month old child, adapted with a custom developed force sensing skin to predict potential bruising locations during simulated bed falls. The sensing skin is made of custom resistive force sensors integrated into a conformable skin, adapted to fit the contours of the ATD. The sensing skin measured and displayed recorded force data on a computerized body image mapping system when sensors were activated. Simulated bed fall experiments were performed from two initial positions (FF – facing forward and FR – facing rearward) and two fall heights of 61cm (24 in) and 91cm (36 in) onto a padded carpet impact surface. Findings indicated potential bruising primarily in two planes of the ATD body. The majority of contact regions and greater forces were recorded in one plane, with fewer regions of contact and decreased force exhibited in an adjoining second plane. Additionally, no contact was recorded in the two planes opposite the impact planes. Differences in contact regions were observed for varying heights and initial position. Limitations of ATD biofidelity and soft tissue properties must be considered when interpreting these findings.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.018
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Analytical and Transfer Characteristics of a Fluorescent Detection Spray:
           Implications for subvisible and nanotrace particle transfers
    • Authors: Christopher S. Palenik; Kelly Brinsko-Beckert; Joseph Insana; Skip J. Palenik
      Pages: 96 - 105
      Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Christopher S. Palenik, Kelly Brinsko-Beckert, Joseph Insana, Skip J. Palenik
      Fluorescent detection sprays are applied to objects to elucidate evidence of contact. Billed as an invisible powder, evidence of contact between objects may be visualized through illumination by ultra-violet light, which causes the fluorescent tracer to luminesce. While the presence of the fluorescent powder on a suspect or object is often used as evidence of direct contact, the fine nature of the powder, which is comprised of sub-visible particles that are generally less than 10 μm in diameter, lends itself to higher-order transfers that do not necessarily involve the original object. Due to the small particle size and light-yellow color, the particles are generally invisible to the unaided eye in white light. This increases the opportunity for unwanted or unanticipated transfers (i.e., contamination). This article provides a microanalytical characterization of a common fluorescent tracer and the approaches by which this powder (or analogous powders) may be applied, detected, and specifically identified in quantities that range from major to trace. This research illustrates the ease of higher order cross-transfers (up to the 10th order) and the considerations necessary to maximize the evidentiary value of sub-visible particles and nanotraces, while minimizing the chances of cross-contamination.

      PubDate: 2018-03-17T21:31:27Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.007
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Range of therapeutic metformin concentrations in clinical blood samples
           and comparism to a forensic case with death due to lactic acidosis
    • Authors: C. Hess; M. Unger; B. Madea; B. Stratmann; D. Tschoepe
      Pages: 106 - 112
      Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): C. Hess, M. Unger, B. Madea, B. Stratmann, D. Tschoepe
      Due to a lack of reference values for blood concentration of metformin in the literature, the forensic evaluation of metformin findings in blood samples is difficult. Interpretations with regard to the assessment of blood concentrations as well as an estimation of the ingested metformin amounts are often vague. Furthermore, post mortem evaluation of death due to lactic acidosis because of metformin is difficult since renal performance or lactate concentrations can not always reliably be determined after death. To describe a concentration range in clinical samples after chronic use of metformin, metformin serum concentrations were determined in serum samples of 95 diabetic patients receiving daily doses of 500mg to 3,000mg of metformin. The analyses of metformin was carried out using a validated high performance liquid chromatograph coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-QQQ-MS). On average, metformin concentrations were 1,846 ng/mL (<LoQ − 5,560 ng/mL) and independent of the prescribed daily dose. There was no correlation between plasma concentration and glomerular filtration rate except for the 1,700mg daily dose collective (R2 =0.707). Results of the herein presented study are useful for the interpretation of analytical metformin findings in forensic toxicology. The utility of the described concentration range is demonstrated by discussing a death case involving a fatal lactate acidosis after metformin intake and renal failure. Usefulness of the parameters metformin blood concentration, lactate concentration and glomerular filtration rate in post mortem cases of lactic acidosis due to metformin intoxication are discussed.

      PubDate: 2018-03-17T21:31:27Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.003
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Evaluation of three rapid oral fluid test devices on the screening of
           multiple drugs of abuse including ketamine
    • Authors: Magdalene H.Y. Tang; C.K. Ching; Simon Poon; Suzanne S.S. Chan; W.Y. Ng; M. Lam; C.K. Wong; Ronnie Pao; Angus Lau; Tony W.L. Mak
      Pages: 113 - 120
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Magdalene H.Y. Tang, C.K. Ching, Simon Poon, Suzanne S.S. Chan, W.Y. Ng, M. Lam, C.K. Wong, Ronnie Pao, Angus Lau, Tony W.L. Mak
      Rapid oral fluid testing (ROFT) devices have been extensively evaluated for their ability to detect common drugs of abuse; however, the performance of such devices on simultaneous screening for ketamine has been scarcely investigated. The present study evaluated three ROFT devices (DrugWipe® 6S, Ora-Check® and SalivaScreen®) on the detection of ketamine, opiates, methamphetamine, cannabis, cocaine and MDMA. A liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LCMS) assay was firstly established and validated for confirmation analysis of the six types of drugs and/or their metabolites. In the field test, the three ROFT devices were tested on subjects recruited from substance abuse clinics/rehabilitation centre. Oral fluid was also collected using Quantisal® for confirmation analysis. A total of 549 samples were collected in the study. LCMS analysis on 491 samples revealed the following drugs: codeine (55%), morphine (49%), heroin (40%), methamphetamine (35%), THC (8%), ketamine (4%) and cocaine (2%). No MDMA-positive cases were observed. Results showed that the overall specificity and accuracy were satisfactory and met the DRUID standard of >80% for all 3 devices. Ora-Check® had poor sensitivities (ketamine 36%, methamphetamine 63%, opiates 53%, cocaine 60%, THC 0%). DrugWipe® 6S showed good sensitivities in the methamphetamine (83%) and opiates (93%) tests but performed relatively poorly for ketamine (41%), cocaine (43%) and THC (22%). SalivaScreen® also demonstrated good sensitivities in the methamphetamine (83%) and opiates (100%) tests, and had the highest sensitivity for ketamine (76%) and cocaine (71%); however, it failed to detect any of the 28 THC-positive cases. The test completion rate (proportion of tests completed with quality control passed) were: 52% (Ora-Check®), 78% (SalivaScreen®) and 99% (DrugWipe® 6S).

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.004
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Authenticity assessment of banknotes using portable near infrared
           spectrometer and chemometrics
    • Authors: Vanessa da Silva Oliveira; Ricardo Saldanha Honorato; Fernanda Araújo Honorato; Claudete Fernandes Pereira
      Pages: 121 - 127
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Vanessa da Silva Oliveira, Ricardo Saldanha Honorato, Fernanda Araújo Honorato, Claudete Fernandes Pereira
      Spectra recorded using a portable near infrared (NIR) spectrometer, Soft Independent Modeling of Class Analogy (SIMCA) and Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) associated to Successive Projections Algorithm (SPA) models were applied to identify counterfeit and authentic Brazilian Real (R$20, R$50 and R$100) banknotes, enabling a simple field analysis. NIR spectra (950–1650nm) were recorded from seven different areas of the banknotes (two with fluorescent ink, one over watermark, three with intaglio printing process and one over the serial numbers with typography printing). SIMCA and SPA-LDA models were built using 1st derivative preprocessed spectral data from one of the intaglio areas. For the SIMCA models, all authentic (300) banknotes were correctly classified and the counterfeits (227) were not classified. For the two classes SPA-LDA models (authentic and counterfeit currencies), all the test samples were correctly classified into their respective class. The number of selected variables by SPA varied from two to nineteen for R$20, R$50 and R$100 currencies. These results show that the use of the portable near-infrared with SIMCA or SPA-LDA models can be a completely effective, fast, and non-destructive way to identify authenticity of banknotes as well as permitting field analysis.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.001
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • FINGERMARKS IN BLOOD: MECHANICAL MODELS AND THE COLOR OF RIDGES
    • Authors: Boris Geller; Amihud Leifer; David Attias; Yanku Mark
      Pages: 141 - 147
      Abstract: Publication date: Available online 14 March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Boris Geller, Amihud Leifer, David Attias, Yanku Mark
      This article treats fingermarks in blood on non-porous surfaces and addresses the question of “which came first”: the fingermark or the blood. Three mechanical models were systematically examined: 1) A blood-contaminated finger pressed against a clean surface; 2) blood contaminates a latent print that had been placed on a clean surface; 3) A clean finger pressed against a blood-contaminated surface. The questions of reliability and limits of all three models were discussed. The relevancy of the approach to “which came first”, based solely on the color of ridges was questioned. The first mechanical model most simulated a real situation, when previously cleaned, a blood contaminated finger touched a clean Formica or glass surface with pressure of 100 to 500g. Concerning the second model, it was observed that in the case of a greasy latent print, placed on an inclined surface and contaminated with appropriate amount of blood, the color of ridges were normally darker than the color of its valleys. As for the third model, it was concluded that it works only in about 25% of cases. While investigating this model, two phenomena were observed: ridge color inversion and valley color inversion. In conclusion the color of ridges can not be the only and ultimate indicator to the question of “which came first”, the fingermark or the blood stain.

      PubDate: 2018-03-17T21:31:27Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.008
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Pilot study of feature-based algorithm for breech face comparison
    • Authors: Hao Zhang; Jialiang Gu; Jin Chen; Fuzhong Sun; Hua Wang
      Pages: 148 - 154
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Hao Zhang, Jialiang Gu, Jin Chen, Fuzhong Sun, Hua Wang
      A novel feature-based method, which is scale invariant feature transform (SIFT) and RANdom SAmple Consensus (RANSAC) integration algorithm, is introduced to promote the automated identification of the breech face impression, the most common mark left on the cartridge used for firearm evidence. SIFT algorithm is employed to extract the local extrema from examined impression as keypoints representing its invariant features, and to build the feature descriptor for each keypoint based on its local gradients in neighborhood. RANSAC is used to improve the matching performance among these keypoints and feature descriptors. With hypothesize-and-verify methods, RANSAC is able to construct the best model fitting initial matching pairs of keypoints and to guarantee the robust comparison result. Validation tests using 40 cartridge cases fired from pistols with 10 consecutively manufactured slides yielded a clear separation result, which strongly supports the effectiveness of the ensemble algorithm of SIFT and RANSAC. This application indicates the practical feasibility of feature-based algorithm and image processing technique in forensic science.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.026
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Soil chemistry changes beneath decomposing cadavers over a one-year period
    • Authors: Ildikó Szelecz; Isabelle Koenig; Christophe V.W. Seppey; Renée-Claire Le Bayon; Edward A.D. Mitchell
      Pages: 155 - 165
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Ildikó Szelecz, Isabelle Koenig, Christophe V.W. Seppey, Renée-Claire Le Bayon, Edward A.D. Mitchell
      Decomposing vertebrate cadavers release large, localized inputs of nutrients. These temporally limited resource patches affect nutrient cycling and soil organisms. The impact of decomposing cadavers on soil chemistry is relevant to soil biology, as a natural disturbance, and forensic science, to estimate the postmortem interval. However, cadaver impacts on soils are rarely studied, making it difficult to identify common patterns. We investigated the effects of decomposing pig cadavers (Sus scrofa domesticus) on soil chemistry (pH, ammonium, nitrate, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and carbon) over a one-year period in a spruce-dominant forest. Four treatments were applied, each with five replicates: two treatments including pig cadavers (placed on the ground and hung one metre above ground) and two controls (bare soil and bags filled with soil placed on the ground i.e. “fake pig” treatment). In the first two months (15–59 days after the start of the experiment), cadavers caused significant increases of ammonium, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (p<0.05) whereas nitrate significantly increased towards the end of the study (263–367 days; p<0.05). Soil pH increased significantly at first and then decreased significantly at the end of the experiment. After one year, some markers returned to basal levels (i.e. not significantly different from control plots), whereas others were still significantly different. Based on these response patterns and in comparison with previous studies, we define three categories of chemical markers that may have the potential to date the time since death: early peak markers (EPM), late peak markers (LPM) and late decrease markers (LDM). The marker categories will enhance our understanding of soil processes and can be highly useful when changes in soil chemistry are related to changes in the composition of soil organism communities. For actual casework further studies and more data are necessary to refine the marker categories along a more precise timeline and to develop a method that can be used in court.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.031
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Visual characteristics for sequencing of overlapping bloodstain patterns
    • Authors: L.J. van Steijn; J.C.M. Limborgh; G.J. Edelman
      Pages: 166 - 176
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): L.J. van Steijn, J.C.M. Limborgh, G.J. Edelman
      The deposition sequence of overlapping bloodstain patterns can be valuable reconstructive information. A formal method for sequencing overlapping bloodstain patterns has yet to be published. We present a method for sequencing overlapping transfer and drip stains using visual characteristics. A survey was held amongst educated bloodstain pattern analysts to determine whether the newly acquired method will assist them in correctly sequencing these overlapping bloodstain patterns. Results showed a significant improvement of expert decisions: the percentage of overlapping stains correctly sequenced by participants increased from 57 to 79% using the visual characteristics defined in this study. These results suggest that a decision support system can be built, which helps investigators at the crime scene to sequence overlapping bloodstain patterns.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.023
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Specific-Age group sex estimation of infants through geometric
           morphometrics analysis of pubis and ischium
    • Authors: Enrique José Estévez Campo; Sandra López-Lázaro; Claudia López-Morago Rodríguez; Inmaculada Alemán Aguilera; Miguel Cecilio Botella López
      Pages: 185 - 192
      Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Enrique José Estévez Campo, Sandra López-Lázaro, Claudia López-Morago Rodríguez, Inmaculada Alemán Aguilera, Miguel Cecilio Botella López
      Sex determination of unknown individuals is one of the primary goals of Physical and Forensic Anthropology. The adult skeleton can be sexed using both morphological and metric traits on a large number of bones. The human pelvis is often used as an important element of adult sex determination. However, studies carried out about the pelvic bone in subadult individuals present several limitations due the absence of sexually dimorphic characteristics. In this study, we analyse the sexual dimorphism of the immature pubis and ischium bones, attending to their shape (Procrustes residuals) and size (centroid size), using an identified sample of subadult individuals composed of 58 individuals for the pubis and 83 for the ischium, aged between birth and 1year of life, from the Granada osteological collection of identified infants (Granada, Spain). Geometric morphometric methods and discriminant analysis were applied to this study. The results of intra- and inter-observer error showed good and excellent agreement in the location of coordinates of landmarks and semilandmarks, respectively. Principal component analysis performed on shape and size variables showed superposition of the two sexes, suggesting a low degree of sexual dimorphism. Canonical variable analysis did not show significant changes between the male and female shapes. As a consequence, discriminant analysis with leave-one-out cross validation provided low classification accuracy. The results suggested a low degree of sexual dimorphism supported by significant sexual dimorphism in the subadult sample and poor cross-validated classification accuracy. The inclusion of centroid size as a discriminant variable does not imply a significant improvement in the results of the analysis. The similarities found between the sexes prevent consideration of pubic and ischial morphology as a sex estimator in early stages of development. The authors suggest extending this study by analysing the different trajectories of shape and size in later ontogeny between males and females.

      PubDate: 2018-03-17T21:31:27Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.012
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Morphometric investigations to assess the compatibility of mandible and
           skull
    • Authors: Sandra Preissler; Marcel A. Verhoff; Frank Ramsthaler; Franziska Holz; Axel Gehl; Sarah C. Koelzer
      Pages: 193 - 198
      Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Sandra Preissler, Marcel A. Verhoff, Frank Ramsthaler, Franziska Holz, Axel Gehl, Sarah C. Koelzer
      When a morphologically separated skull and mandible are found in the same case context, the possibility of a match arises. Two criteria with which to determine a match are the rough articulation between the mandibular condyles and cranial base itself and, most importantly, the fit of the teeth. However, when there has been intravital or postmortem tooth loss, this important criterion is not available. To date, only Reichs (1989) has investigated further compatibility criteria to solve the question of putative commingling in a case where a mandible seemed to originate from a female, while all other bones originated from a male individual. In a different reported case (Preißler et al. 2017), a mandible seemed too big for a skull; DNA analysis, however, confirmed that both originated from the same female individual. To investigate the metric relationship between mandible and skull we measured the postmortem CT data records of 223 corpses (virtual skulls) in OsiriX© MD for the following linear parameters: bicondylar breadth (KDB), biradicular breadth (AUB), and bizygomatic breadth (ZYB). The indices KDB/ZYB and KDB/AUB were developed and used to define ranges for matches and mismatches. Furthermore, the intra-observer reliability for the method was assessed. An intraclass correlation coefficient of >0.99 for every parameter showed that the used measurements are highly reliable. The 2.5-97.5 percentile for the KDB/AUB index lay between 0.91 and 1.05, while the range for the KDB/ZYB index was between 0.87 and 1.00. Within these ranges, it is possible to roughly assess whether or not a mandible and skull might be compatible, even if this can only be verified by forensic DNA analysis. If an index value lies outside these ranges, it can be assumed that skull and mandible do not match. Future studies should include more samples from a broader population spectrum so that these metric relationships can be used for different populations.

      PubDate: 2018-03-17T21:31:27Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.013
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Isolation and structural characterization of a novel sibutramine analogue,
           chlorosipentramine, in a slimming dietary supplement, by using HPLC-PDA,
           LC–Q-TOF/MS, FT-IR, and NMR
    • Authors: Jisuk Yun; Kye Jung Shin; Jangduck Choi; Cheon-Ho Jo
      Pages: 199 - 207
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Jisuk Yun, Kye Jung Shin, Jangduck Choi, Cheon-Ho Jo
      A novel sibutramine analogue was detected in a slimming formula by high performance liquid chromatography with a photo diode detector array (HPLC-PDA). The unknown compound exhibited an ultraviolet (UV) spectrum that was similar to that of chlorosibutramine, despite having a different HPLC retention time. Further analysis of the slimming formula by LC–quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC–Q-TOF/MS) showed that the unknown compound had the formula C18H27Cl2N. To elucidate the structure of this new sibutramine analogue, the target compound in the slimming formula was isolated on a preparative-LC system equipped with a PDA. After analysis by fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, the unknown compound was identified as a sibutramine analogue in which the iso-butyl group on the side chain is replaced with an iso-pentyl group. This new sibutramine analogue was identified to be 1-(1-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)cyclobutyl)-N,N,4-trimethylpentan-1-amine and has been named as chlorosipentramine.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.021
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A (THC-A) in urine of a 15-month-old
           child: A case report
    • Authors: Luca Morini; Jessica Quaiotti; Matteo Moretti; Antonio Marco Maria Osculati; Luca Tajana; Angelo Groppi; Claudia Vignali
      Pages: 208 - 212
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Luca Morini, Jessica Quaiotti, Matteo Moretti, Antonio Marco Maria Osculati, Luca Tajana, Angelo Groppi, Claudia Vignali
      Introduction The acidic forms of cannabinoids, THC-A and CBD-A are naturally present in cannabis plants and preparations and are generally decarboxylated to the active compounds before the use (e.g. thermally decarboxylated through smoking). Hence, the identification of the acidic compounds in urine could be an evidence of cannabis ingestion rather than a passive exposure to smoke. This case report described a 15-month-old child that suffered an acute intoxication by accidental cannabis ingestion. It is important to assess the ingestion and to discriminate it from a passive exposure to better interpret the clinical findings and to establish the correct therapeutic procedure. Methods Urine samples were simply diluted in deionized water and directly injected in the LC–MS/MS system. D3-THCCOOH was used as internal standard. Chromatographic separation of THCCOOH, THC-A and CBD-A was carried out in reversed phase on a c18 column. A triple quad in MRM negative mode was used to monitor the three analytes. Results and discussion The developed LC–MS/MS method was simple and fast. A LOD of 3.0ng/mL and a LOQ of 10.0ng/mL were measured for the three compounds. The analytical procedure was validated accordingly to international guidelines. The two urine samples collected from the 15-month-old child at the hospitalization and after three days provided positive results for THCCOOH (130.0 and 10.0ng/mL respectively). THC-A was found only in the urine sample collected at the hospitalization (concentration: 70.0ng/mL). Conclusion THC-A was detected and quantitated in a urine sample of a 15-month-old child.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.020
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Chromatographic fingerprinting through chemometric techniques for herbal
           slimming pills: A way of adulterant identification
    • Authors: Nafiseh Shekari; Maryam Vosough; Kourosh Tabar Heidar
      Pages: 213 - 222
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Nafiseh Shekari, Maryam Vosough, Kourosh Tabar Heidar
      In the current study, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) fingerprinting of herbal slimming pills assisted by chemometric methods has been presented. Deconvolution of two-way chromatographic signals of nine herbal slimming pills into pure chromatographic and spectral patterns was performed. The peak clusters were resolved using multivariate curve resolution-alternating least squares (MCR-ALS) by employing appropriate constraints. It was revealed that more useful chemical information about the composition of the slimming pills can be obtained by employing sophisticated GC–MS method coupled with proper chemometric tools yielding the extended number of identified constituents. The thorough fingerprinting of the complex mixtures proved the presence of some toxic or carcinogen components, such as toluene, furfural, furfuryl alcohol, styrene, itaconic anhydride, citraconic anhydride, trimethyl phosphate, phenol, pyrocatechol, p-propenylanisole and pyrogallol. In addition, some samples were shown to be adulterated with undeclared ingredients, including stimulants, anorexiant and laxatives such as phenolphthalein, amfepramone, caffeine and sibutramine.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.022
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Application of modern autoradiography to nuclear forensic analysis
    • Authors: Tashi Parsons-Davis; Kim Knight; Marc Fitzgerald; Gary Stone; Lee Caldeira; Christina Ramon; Michael Kristo
      Pages: 223 - 232
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Tashi Parsons-Davis, Kim Knight, Marc Fitzgerald, Gary Stone, Lee Caldeira, Christina Ramon, Michael Kristo
      Modern autoradiography techniques based on phosphorimaging technology using image plates (IPs) and digital scanning can identify heterogeneities in activity distributions and reveal material properties, serving to inform subsequent analyses. Here, we have adopted these advantages for applications in nuclear forensics, the technical analysis of radioactive or nuclear materials found outside of legal control to provide data related to provenance, production history, and trafficking route for the materials. IP autoradiography is a relatively simple, non-destructive method for sample characterization that records an image reflecting the relative intensity of alpha and beta emissions from a two-dimensional surface. Such data are complementary to information gathered from radiochemical characterization via bulk counting techniques, and can guide the application of other spatially resolved techniques such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). IP autoradiography can image large 2-dimenstional areas (up to 20×40cm), with relatively low detection limits for actinides and other radioactive nuclides, and sensitivity to a wide dynamic range (105) of activity density in a single image. Distributions of radioactivity in nuclear materials can be generated with a spatial resolution of approximately 50μm using IP autoradiography and digital scanning. While the finest grain silver halide films still provide the best possible resolution (down to ∼10μm), IP autoradiography has distinct practical advantages such as shorter exposure times, no chemical post-processing, reusability, rapid plate scanning, and automated image digitization. Sample preparation requirements are minimal, and the analytical method does not consume or alter the sample. These advantages make IP autoradiography ideal for routine screening of nuclear materials, and for the identification of areas of interest for subsequent micro-characterization methods. In this paper we present a summary of our setup, as modified for nuclear forensic sample analysis and related research, and provide examples of data from select samples from the nuclear fuel cycle and historical nuclear test debris.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.027
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Identification of deceased based on sternal bone computed tomography
           features
    • Authors: Geraldine Weiss; Holger Wittig; Eva Scheurer; Rahel Ruprecht; Claudia Lenz
      Pages: 233 - 238
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Geraldine Weiss, Holger Wittig, Eva Scheurer, Rahel Ruprecht, Claudia Lenz
      Identification of deceased with unclear identity is a common problem in forensic science, whereby radiologic comparison can be applied as method for identification. As this comparison is mostly made on a visual basis, it is highly dependent on the examiner and often lacks standardized procedures and statistical support. The aim of this study therefore was to develop a reproducible and examiner independent method for radiologic identification (RADid) based on morphometric and morphological features of sternal bone computed tomography (CT). Furthermore, the feasibility of an automated comparison of a post-mortem (PM) case against a database of ante-mortem (AM) cases was evaluated. 44 in situ PM CT scans of sternal bone and their corresponding AM CT scans were analysed and reproducible features were selected based on intra- and interrater reliability assessments. The selected features were further tested by contrasting AM and PM data. Moreover, an automated identity evaluation was developed by calculating the number of matching features between each PM case and an AM database consisting of 94 cases including the 44 with corresponding PM scans. Several features showed to be reliable according to their resulting correlation coefficient values (greater or equal to 0.60). The suitability and stability of these features was confirmed by contrasting AM and PM CT scans. Finally, the automated comparison was successful in 76.7% of the cases, whereby an unambiguous identification was possible in 65.1%. The present study reflects the benefits of a standardized and statistically established identification method and demonstrates the high potential of the sternal bone as a suitable structure for RADid.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.018
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • How to recognize the traces left on a crime scene by a 3D-printed
           Liberator'
    • Authors: Hanna Honsberger; Damien Rhumorbarbe; Denis Werner; Fabiano Riva; Matthieu Glardon; Alain Gallusser; Olivier Delémont
      Pages: 245 - 251
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Hanna Honsberger, Damien Rhumorbarbe, Denis Werner, Fabiano Riva, Matthieu Glardon, Alain Gallusser, Olivier Delémont
      The Liberator is a firearm that can be manufactured from its blueprints, using a 3D-printer. This weapon made of nineteen pieces – eighteen in printed plastic and one metallic nail – raises questions such as its ability to fire a round, its wounding potential and the traces produced by its discharge. In particular, knowledge must be gained to infer that a 3D-printed handgun was used, reconstruct the shooting event involving such handgun, and gather information related to the type of 3D-printed handgun used. This study focused on the traces that could orientate forensic investigations when the use of a 3D-printed Liberator is suspected. In a first step, the Liberator was investigated to study its behaviour during the discharge and characterize traces produced by the discharge. To fulfil this goal, some Liberators were printed and assembled. Six Liberators fired a round. The discharge of the weapons was done under specific conditions allowing to collect ballistics data and traces produced by the shooting. The results showed that the barrel tended to break between the ignition of the primer and the moment the projectile exited the muzzle. The speed of the projectiles reached 140m/s when the barrel broke, while it was about 170m/s when barrel remained intact. The trajectory of the projectiles was sometimes disrupted, and the projectile tumbled on itself. It was thus very difficult to characterize the trajectory. The cavity wound caused by the fastest bullet was typical of a handgun wound firing a FMJ projectile (penetration of 21cm in ballistics soap). On the other hand, the cavity caused by the slowest bullet was more representative of a splinter wound (penetration of 14cm in ballistics soap). The study of gunshot residues collected on adhesive targets showed the presence of unburnt particles and small perforations caused by polymer pieces that concentrated around the entry holes.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.026
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Automatic frontal sinus recognition in computed tomography images for
           person identification
    • Authors: Luis A. de Souza; Aparecido N. Marana; Silke A.T. Weber
      Pages: 252 - 264
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Luis A. de Souza, Aparecido N. Marana, Silke A.T. Weber
      In many cases of person identification the use of biometric features obtained from the hard tissues of the human body, such as teeth and bones, may be the only option. This paper presents a new method of person identification based on frontal sinus features, extracted from computed tomography (CT) images of the skull. In this method, the frontal sinus is automatically segmented in the CT image using an algorithm developed in this work. Next, shape features are extracted from both hemispheres of the segmented frontal sinus by using BAS (Beam Angle Statistics) method. Finally, L 2 distance is used in order to recognize the frontal sinus and identify the person. The novel frontal sinus recognition method obtained 77.25% of identification accuracy when applied on a dataset composed of 310 CT images obtained from 31 people, and the automatic frontal sinus segmentation in CT images obtained a mean Cohen Kappa coefficient equal to 0.8852 when compared to the ground truth (manual segmentation).

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.029
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Ancestry estimation of three Mediterranean populations based on cranial
           metrics
    • Authors: Elena F. Kranioti; Julieta G. García-Donas; Ismail Ozgur Can; Oguzhan Ekizoglu
      Pages: 265.e1 - 265.e8
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Elena F. Kranioti, Julieta G. García-Donas, Ismail Ozgur Can, Oguzhan Ekizoglu
      The estimation of ancestry is an essential benchmark for positive identification of heavily decomposed bodies that are recovered in a variety of death and crime scenes. This is especially true when reconstructing the biological profile of the deceased as most methods for sex, age and stature estimation are population-specific. Ancestry estimation methods vary from traditional morphological assessment of cranial features and biometric quantification to computer-aided shape analysis and classification with specialised software. The current paper aims to explore population differences between three neighbouring countries (Greece, Cyprus and Turkey) that have been in constant interaction through conflicts and population movements from the ancient past to the present day, through cranial measurements. The sample consists of 160 dry crania of Greek origin, 137 dry crania of Greek-Cypriot of origin Cyprus and 380 CT scans from Turks individuals. Twelve measurements were taken in both dry and virtual skulls. Data were submitted to principal component analysis and discriminant function analysis. Intra- and inter-observer error as well as the measurement error between virtual and physical measurements were quantified using TEM, rTEM and R. Measurement error was very low in all cases. Classification accuracy for cross-validated data ranged from 74.1 to 97.9%. The highest accuracy was obtained for the Turks sample both in males and females. The results are in accordance with genetic data on the three populations. These results create great confidence in the application of the produced functions in forensic cases requiring ancestry estimation in Cyprus, specifically to unidentified individuals from the 1974 conflict. In addition, these standards can be applied in other forensic situations where ethnicity is an issue but the geographic area of origin is limited to the area encompassing Turkey, Cyprus and Greece.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.014
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • The use of ventral fusion between sacral elements S1 and S2 as an
           additional age-at-death indicator in a black South African skeletal sample
           
    • Authors: Trisha-Jean Mahon; Louise Jacqui Friedling; Guinevere Marianne Gordon
      Pages: 267.e1 - 267.e6
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): Trisha-Jean Mahon, Louise Jacqui Friedling, Guinevere Marianne Gordon
      Despite indicating numerous demographic features such as sex, stature, and age; the sacrum remains a relatively insufficiently researched skeletal element. A set pattern of ossification and fusion of the sacrum makes it a useful bone for estimating age-at-death in unknown skeletal individuals. The aims of this study, which examined a black South African skeletal sample, were to establish if fusion correlated to age and to estimate the age at which fusion between the first two sacral vertebrae began and ended. A total of 316 male (n =149) and female (n =167) sacra from the Raymond A. Dart collection of Human Skeletons were assessed, with ages ranging from 13–60 years and 12–60 years respectively. A three-stage scoring method was used to categorise the degree of fusion of each sacrum. In comparison to females (rs=0.59), males demonstrated a higher correlation between age and staging score assigned (rs=0.68). It was observed that the age of partial and complete fusion was highly variable. However, it was noted that partial fusion occurred more often in individuals younger than 30 years, while complete fusion was observed commonly in both sexes above the age of 35 years. Despite this variability, the sacrum can be used as an additional age-at-death indicator.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.02.011
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Dutch population specific sex estimation formulae using the proximal femur
    • Authors: K.L. Colman; M.C.L. Janssen; K.E. Stull; R.R. van Rijn; R.J. Oostra; H.H. de Boer; A.E. van der Merwe
      Pages: 268.e1 - 268.e8
      Abstract: Publication date: May 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 286
      Author(s): K.L. Colman, M.C.L. Janssen, K.E. Stull, R.R. van Rijn, R.J. Oostra, H.H. de Boer, A.E. van der Merwe
      Sex estimation techniques are frequently applied in forensic anthropological analyses of unidentified human skeletal remains. While morphological sex estimation methods are able to endure population differences, the classification accuracy of metric sex estimation methods are population-specific. No metric sex estimation method currently exists for the Dutch population. The purpose of this study is to create Dutch population specific sex estimation formulae by means of osteometric analyses of the proximal femur. Since the Netherlands lacks a representative contemporary skeletal reference population, 2D plane reconstructions, derived from clinical computed tomography (CT) data, were used as an alternative source for a representative reference sample. The first part of this study assesses the intra- and inter-observer error, or reliability, of twelve measurements of the proximal femur. The technical error of measurement (TEM) and relative TEM (%TEM) were calculated using 26 dry adult femora. In addition, the agreement, or accuracy, between the dry bone and CT-based measurements was determined by percent agreement. Only reliable and accurate measurements were retained for the logistic regression sex estimation formulae; a training set (n =86) was used to create the models while an independent testing set (n =28) was used to validate the models. Due to high levels of multicollinearity, only single variable models were created. Cross-validated classification accuracies ranged from 86% to 92%. The high cross-validated classification accuracies indicate that the developed formulae can contribute to the biological profile and specifically in sex estimation of unidentified human skeletal remains in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the results indicate that clinical CT data can be a valuable alternative source of data when representative skeletal collections are unavailable.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.12.029
      Issue No: Vol. 286 (2018)
       
  • Work of non-elastic deformation against the deformation ratio of the
           Subcompact Car Class using the variable correlation method
    • Authors: Kubiak
      Abstract: Publication date: June 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 287
      Author(s): Przemysław Kubiak
      The presented study considers a Subcompact Car Class in a new non-linear method utilising the work W of car deformation defined as an algebraic function of deformation ratio Cs. In order to develop the experimental data, the method of variable correlation is utilised. Data from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) database comprising numerous frontal crash tests are used for the determination of mathematical model parameters. In the non-linear method used up until now, the so-called energetic approach, collisions are treated as non-elastic. The velocity threshold that defines the elastic collision was set to be 11km/h. Such an approach, which is very simplified, determines the linear dependence of energy lost during deformation on deformation coefficient Cs. This coefficient is calculated as a mean value, taking into account the weights of deformation points C1–C6. In this paper, the authors propose a more precise non-linear method in order to determine the work of deformation, and have used the more complex form of deformation coefficient.

      PubDate: 2018-04-15T07:36:46Z
       
  • Assessing the accuracy of cranial and pelvic ageing methods on human
           skeletal remains from a modern Greek assemblage
    • Authors: Panagiota Xanthopoulou; Efstratios Valakos; Dionisios Youlatos; Efthymia Nikita
      Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 March 2018
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Panagiota Xanthopoulou, Efstratios Valakos, Dionisios Youlatos, Efthymia Nikita
      The present study tests the accuracy of commonly adopted ageing methods based on the morphology of the pubic symphysis, auricular surface and cranial sutures. These methods are examined both in their traditional form as well as in the context of transition analysis using the ADBOU software in a modern Greek documented collection consisting of 140 individuals who lived mainly in the second half of the twentieth century and come from cemeteries in the area of Athens. The auricular surface overall produced the most accurate age estimates in our material, with different methods based on this anatomical area showing varying degrees of success for different age groups. The pubic symphysis produced accurate results primarily for young adults and the same applied to cranial sutures but the latter appeared completely inappropriate for older individuals. The use of transition analysis through the ADBOU software provided less accurate results than the corresponding traditional ageing methods in our sample. Our results are in agreement with those obtained from validation studies based on material from across the world, but certain differences identified with other studies on Greek material highlight the importance of taking into account intra- and inter-population variability in age estimation.

      PubDate: 2018-03-17T21:31:27Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.005
       
 
 
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