for Journals by Title or ISSN
for Articles by Keywords
help
Followed Journals
Journal you Follow: 0
 
Sign Up to follow journals, search in your chosen journals and, optionally, receive Email Alerts when new issues of your Followed Journals are published.
Already have an account? Sign In to see the journals you follow.
Journal Cover Forensic Science International
  [SJR: 1.21]   [H-I: 88]   [422 followers]  Follow
    
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0379-0738
   Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3044 journals]
  • Writer identification: A comparative study across three world major
           languages
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 279
      Author(s): Gloria Jennis Tan, Ghazali Sulong, Mohd Shafry Mohd Rahim
      This paper presents a review on the state of the art in offline text-independent writer identification methods for three major languages, namely English, Chinese and Arabic, which were published in literatures from 2011 till 2016. For ease of discussions, we grouped the techniques into three categories: texture-, structure-, and allograph-based. Results are analysed, compared and tabulated along with datasets used for fair and just comparisons. It is observed that during that period, there are significant progresses achieved on English and Arabic; however, the growth on Chinese is rather slow and far from satisfactory in comparison to its wide usage. This is due to its complex writing structure. Meanwhile, issues on datasets used by previous studies are also highlighted because the size matter – accuracy of the writer identification deteriorates as database size increases.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Sexual assault and general body injuries: A detailed cross-sectional
           Australian study of 1163 women
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 279
      Author(s): Renate R. Zilkens, Debbie A. Smith, Maire C. Kelly, S. Aqif Mukhtar, James B. Semmens, Maureen A. Phillips
      Objectives To describe the frequency and severity of general body injury in women alleging recent sexual assault and then identify demographic and assault characteristics associated with injury severity. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC), Western Australia. Participants Total of 1163 women attending SARC from Jan-2009 to Mar-2015. Methods Women underwent a standardised medical examination and data collection by forensically trained doctors. Multivariate ordinal logistic regression analyses were performed. An algorithm was used to classify general body injuries as mild, moderate or severe. Results General body injury was observed in 71% of women; 52%, 17% and 2% were classified as having respectively, mild, moderate and severe injuries. Moderate or severe injury was observed in 30.4% of women assaulted by intimate partners, 16.4% of women assaulted by strangers and 14.9% of women assaulted by friends/acquaintances. In regression analysis, an interaction between mental illness and assailant type existed after adjusting for age, intellectual disability, time-to-examination, number of assailants and location. Mental illness was an independent predictor for lower injury severity (adjusted odds ratio=0.5, 95% CI 0.3, 0.9) in women assaulted by strangers and higher injury severity in women assaulted by a friend/acquaintance (adjusted odds ratio=2.4, 95% CI 1.6, 3.6). While women assaulted by intimate partners had more frequent moderate-to-severe injuries than other women their current mental illness status was not associated with risk of injury severity. Conclusion This study highlights the increased injury severity in women assaulted by intimate partners. The risk of moderate/severe injury for women with mental illness assaulted by their acquaintances was unexpected and requires further investigation.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Large-scale forensic investigations into the missing: Challenges and
           considerations
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 279
      Author(s): Mercedes Salado Puerto, Hugh Tuller
      Large-scale forensic investigations may follow episodes of mass violence and disasters where hundreds or thousands of people have died or are missing. A number of unique challenges for forensic science, different from domestic investigations, arise in these contexts. The setting and situation of these investigations regularly force forensic scientists into practices not regularly encountered while working in a standard criminal justice system. These practices can entail activities not specific to a practitioner’s particular field or necessarily be scientific in nature, but are still needed in order for the investigation to move forward. These activities can include (1) establishing the number of and who exactly is missing after mass violence and disaster, (2) the creation of working protocols to deal with the scale of the loss of life that often overwhelm domestic practices and institutions, (3) negotiating the form that the investigation will take with various stakeholders, (4) addressing cultural beliefs of the affected society regarding the dead and missing, and (5) working within prescribed economic, political, and time constraints, among others. Forensic scientific responses to these challenges have proven to be flexible, innovative, and continually evolving.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • New, previously unreported correlations between latent Toxoplasma gondii
           infection and excessive ethanol consumption
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Dorota Samojłowicz, Aleksandra Borowska-Solonynko, Marcin Kruczyk
      A number of world literature reports indicate that a latent Toxoplasma gondii infection leads to development of central nervous system disorders, which in turn may lead to altered behavior in the affected individuals. T. gondii infection has been observed to play the greatest role in drivers, suicides, and psychiatric patients. Studies conducted for this manuscript involve a different, never before really reported correlation between latent T. gondii infection and ethanol abuse. A total of 538 decedents with a known cause of death were included in the study. These individuals were divided into three groups: the risky behavior group, inconclusively risky behavior group, and control group. The criterion for this division was the likely effect of the individual’s behavior on the mechanism and cause of his/her death. The material used for analyses were blood samples collected during routine medico-legal examinations in these cases. The blood samples were used to measure anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Moreover, the following data were recorded for each decedent: sex, age, circumstances of death, cause of death, time from death to autopsy, and (if provided) substance abuse status (alcohol, illicit drugs). In those cases where blood alcohol level or toxicology tests were requested by the Prosecutor’s Office, their results were also included in our analysis. Test results demonstrated a strong correlation between latent Toxoplasma gondii infection and engaging in risky behaviors leading to death. Moreover, analyses demonstrated a positive correlation between the presence of anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies and psychoactive substance (especially ethanol) abuse, however, the causal relationship remains unclear. Due to the fact that alcohol abuse constitutes a significant social problem, searching for eliminable risk factors for addiction is extremely important. Our analyses provided new important information on the possible effects of latent T. gondii infection in humans.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Determination of cross-reactivity of poly- and monoclonal antibodies for
           synthetic cannabinoids by direct SPR and ELISA
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Nico Langer, Franziska Steinicke, Rainer Lindigkeit, Ludger Ernst, Till Beuerle
      One of the main reasons for the rise in popularity of synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) is their ability to remain unrecognized in conventional drug screenings. Due to their structural diversity, caused by the constant introduction of new substances to circumvent legal regulation, antibodies with a wide range of cross-reactivity are necessary for the establishment of a reliable immunological based drug test. Therefore, high-quality binding data are needed to select promising antibody candidates for further development. In this study, we carried out a direct surface plasmon resonance (SPR) method and evaluated its suitability for the characterization of antibody-SC interactions. The cross-reactivity of 22 SCs with three polyclonal antibodies, raised against JWH-018 haptens with different attachment positions of the linker, and two commercial available monoclonal antibodies were determined. These results were compared with the commonly used competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). It could be demonstrated, that direct SPR and competitive ELISA show comparable specificity results for the majority of the measured compounds. However, the reduced manual labor, the real-time analysis and the high information content about the binding events of SPR compared to ELISA, showed that SPR is a valuable tool during the development of antibodies against synthetic cannabinoids, currently the largest group of new psychoactive substances.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Toxicological findings in suspected drug-impaired drivers in Norway
           − trends during 1990-2015
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Anja Valen, Stig Tore Bogstrand, Vigdis Vindenes, Hallvard Gjerde
      This study describes trends in drug use among drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, apprehended by the police in Norway during 1990-2015. Chromatographically determined toxicological findings in blood samples were retrospectively investigated. Drug findings above defined cut-off concentrations were considered positive; hence making the annual prevalence comparable during the 26 years studied. Blood samples from 112,348 drivers were included, of which 63% were positive for drugs; 43% had combined drug with alcohol or other drugs. In total, 87% of the drug-positive drivers were men, and a higher proportion of them were positive for illicit drugs compared to the women. Benzodiazepines and related drugs were found in 57% of the drug-positive drivers, stimulants in 51%, cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol, THC) in 34%, and opioids in 18%. The types of benzodiazepines and opioids changed over time. The age distribution also changed; the proportion of drug-positive drivers above 40 years of age increased for all drug classes. The annual number of suspected drug-impaired drivers increased by 122% from 1990 to 1999, and by 54% from 2000 to 2015; the annual number of drug-positive samples increased by 260% from 1990 to 1999, and by 60% from 2000 to 2015. During 2000-2015, an increasing prevalence of amphetamines was found among suspected drug-impaired drivers above age 30; the highest rate of increase was observed among those at or above age 40. In the same period, the prevalence of benzodiazepines and related drugs decreased among all age groups, whereas the prevalence of THC increased; the highest prevalence and rate of increase were among suspected drug-impaired drivers under the age of 30. The results from this study indicate a slight change in the types of drugs used by drivers in Norway.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Tau protein (MAPT) as a possible biochemical marker of traumatic brain
           injury in postmortem examination
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Mieszko Olczak, Justyna Niderla-Bielińska, Magdalena Kwiatkowska, Dorota Samojłowicz, Sylwia Tarka, Teresa Wierzba-Bobrowicz
      MAPT is a neuronal protein that plays an important role in axonal stabilization, neuronal development, and neuronal polarity. MAPT release into the CSF and blood has been interpreted as indicative of axonal injury as its elevated levels were observed in olympic boxers even after a mild head trauma suggesting minor CNS injuries. In our study we wanted to check the potential relevance of MAPT examination for forensic purposes. The study was carried out using cases of head injury group and cases of sudden death (cardiopulmonary failure, no injuries of the head − control group) provided by forensic pathologists at the Department of Forensic Medicine, Medical University of Warsaw. CSF and blood were collected within 24hours after death using suboccipital puncture and femoral vein puncture. Serum and cerebrospinal fluid Tau protein concentrations were compared using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (elisa). Brain specimens (frontal cortex) were collected during forensic autopsies. Sections were stained histologically (hematoxylin-eosin) and immunohistochemically with anti human Tau antibody, anti glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP), anti human macrosialin (CD68) or anti human endothelial cells (CD34). In our study we documented that elevated levels of serum and CSF MAPT may also be considered a marker for mild traumatic brain injury and traumatic brain injury (mTBI and TBI). An increase in CSF and serum levels of MAPT in the absence of visible macroscopic traumatic CNS changes indicates that even minor head injuries may result in changes at the neuronal level that could remain undiagnosed during regular forensic autopsy and routine histopathological examination.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Forensic drug intelligence and the rise of cryptomarkets. Part I: Studying
           the Australian virtual market
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Julian Broséus, Marie Morelato, Mark Tahtouh, Claude Roux
      Analysing and understanding cryptomarkets is essential to become proactive in the fight against the illicit drug trade. Such a research seeks to combine a diversity of indicators related to the virtual (darknet markets) and physical (the traditional “offline” market) aspects of the illicit drug trade to provide information on the distribution and consumption as well as to assess similarities/differences between the virtual and physical markets. This study analysed data that had previously been collected on cryptomarkets from December 2013 to March 2015. In this article, the data was extracted from two marketplaces, Evolution and Silk Road 2, and analysed to evaluate the illicit drug trade of the Australian virtual market (e.g. information about the supply and demand, trafficking flows, prices of illicit drugs and market share) and highlight its specificities. The results revealed the domestic nature of the virtual Australian illicit drug trade (i.e. Australian sellers essentially ship their products to local customers). This may explain the coherence between supply and demand. Particularly, the virtual Australian illicit drug trade is dominated by amphetamine-type substances (ATS), mainly methamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), and cannabis. Australia, as a shipping country, accounts for half of the methamphetamine offered and purchased on Silk Road 2. Moreover, it was observed that the online price fixed by Australian sellers for the considered illicit drugs is higher than for any other shipping countries, which is in line with previous studies. Understanding the virtual and physical drug market necessitates the integration and fusion of different perspectives to capture the dynamic nature of drug trafficking, monitor its evolution and finally improve our understanding of the phenomenon so policy makers can make informed decisions.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Quantifying pteridines in the heads of blow flies (Diptera:
           Calliphoridae): Application for forensic entomology
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): J.A. Cammack, M.H. Reiskind, L.M. Guisewite, S.S. Denning, D.W. Watson
      In forensic cases involving entomological evidence, establishing the postcolonization interval (post-CI) is a critical component of the investigation. Traditional methods of estimating the post-CI rely on estimating the age of immature blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) collected from remains. However, in cases of delayed discovery (e.g., when remains are located indoors), these insects may have completed their development and be present in the environment as adults. Adult fly collections are often ignored in cases of advanced decomposition because of a presumed little relevance to the investigation; herein we present information on how these insects can be of value. In this study we applied an age-grading technique to estimate the age of adults of Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius), Cochliomyia macellaria (Fabricius), and Phormia regina (Meigen), based on the temperature-dependent accumulation of pteridines in the compound eyes, when reared at temperatures ranging from 5 to 35°C. Age could be estimated for all species*sex*rearing temperature combinations (mean r2 ±SE: 0.90±0.01) for all but P. regina reared at 5.4°C. These models can be used to increase the precision of post-CI estimates for remains found indoors, and the high r2 values of 22 of the 24 regression equations indicates that this is a valid method for estimating the age of adult blow flies at temperatures≥15°C.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation-associated injuries in still-/newborns,
           infants and toddlers in a German forensic collective
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): B. Ondruschka, C. Baier, M. Siekmeyer, C. Buschmann, J. Dreßler, M. Bernhard
      Introduction Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may lead to injuries. Forensic experts are sometimes confronted with claims that fatal injuries were caused by chest compressions during CPR rather than by assaults. We want to answer, how often CPR-associated injuries are present in younger children and if they may mimic injuries caused by abuse. Material and methods All autopsy records of the Institute of Legal Medicine in Leipzig, Germany in a 6-year study period were used (2011-2016). There were 3,664 forensic autopsies in total, comprising 97 autopsies of children≤4years. After exclusion criteria we were able to include 51 cases in the study. Following this, all CPR-related variables were collected according to the ‘Utstein style’. Standard procedures were used for statistical evaluation of the data. Results The most common cause of cardiac arrest was SIDS. The mean duration of CPR was 50minutes. Bystander CPR was performed in 43.1%. In no single case death was declared without at least partly professional CPR. Most of the children were first resuscitated out-of-hospital (41.2%). 27.5% of the children had at least one CPR injury without preference to an age group. None of the recorded CPR-associated injuries were considered significant or life-threatening. The duration of CPR or presence of bystander CPR did not correlate to the presence of any detected injury. Conclusion Skeletal injuries and relevant injuries to the soft tissue and organs seem to occur only very rarely after pediatric CPR. Whenever such injuries are diagnosed, the children should be examined thoroughly for potential abuse.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Histological transformations of the dental pulp as possible indicator of
           post mortem interval: a pilot study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Patricio A. Carrasco, Claudia I. Brizuela, Ismael A. Rodriguez, Samuel Muñoz, Marianela E. Godoy, Carolina Inostroza
      Background The correct estimation of the post mortem interval (PMI) can be crucial on the success of a forensic investigation. Diverse methods have been used to estimate PMI, considering physical changes that occur after death, such us mortis algor, livor mortis, among others. Degradation after death of dental pulp is a complex process that has not yet been studied thoroughly. It has been described that pulp RNA degradation could be an indicator of PMI, however this study is limited to 6 days. The tooth is the hardest organ of the human body, and within is confined dental pulp. The pulp morphology is defined as a lax conjunctive tissue with great sensory innervation, abundant microcirculation and great presence of groups of cell types. Aim The aim of this study is to describe the potential use of pulp post mortem alterations to estimate PMI, using a new methodology that will allow obtainment of pulp tissue to be used for histomorphological analysis. The current study will identify potential histological indicators in dental pulp tissue to estimate PMI in time intervals of 24 hours, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months. Materials and method This study used 26 teeth from individuals with known PMI of 24hours, 1 month, 3 months or 6 months. All samples were manipulated with the new methodology (Carrasco, P. and Inostroza C. inventors; Universidad de los Andes, assignee. Forensic identification, post mortem interval estimation and cause of death determination by recovery of dental tissue. United State pfatent US 61/826,558 23.05.2013) to extract pulp tissue without the destruction of the tooth. The dental pulp tissues obtained were fixed in formalin for the subsequent generation of histological sections, stained with Hematoxylin Eosin and Masson's Trichrome. All sections were observed under an optical microscope using magnifications of 10X and 40X. Results The microscopic analysis of the samples showed a progressive transformation of the cellular components and fibers of dental pulp along PMI. These results allowed creating a chart of qualitative and quantitative parameters to be used on the estimation on PMI based on microscopic degradation of dental pulp. Conclusions The histological transformations of dental pulp as a function of time can be used as PMI indicators.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Performance of Willem’s dental age estimation method in children: A
           systematic review and meta-analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Mohd Yusmiaidil Putera Mohd Yusof, Ilham Wan Mokhtar, Sivaprakash Rajasekharan, Rosanna Overholser, Luc Martens
      Through numerous validation and method comparison studies on different populations, the Willems method exhibited a superior accuracy. This article aims to systematically examine how accurate the application of Willems dental age method on children of different age groups and its performance based on various populations and regions. A strategic literature search of PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, EMBASE and hand searching were used to identify the studies published up to September 2014 that estimated the dental age using the Willems method (modified Demirjian), with a populations, intervention, comparisons and outcomes (PICO) search strategy using MeSH keywords, focusing on the question: How much Willems method deviates from the chronological age in estimating age in children' Standardized mean differences were calculated for difference of dental age to chronological age by using random effects model. Subgroup analyses were performed to evaluate potential heterogeneity. Of 116 titles retrieved based on the standardized search strategy, only 19 articles fulfilled the inclusion criteria for quantitative analysis. The pooled estimates were separately kept as underestimation (n =7) and overestimation (n =12) of chronological age groups for both genders according to primary studies. On absolute values, females (underestimated by 0.13; 95% CI: 0.09-0.18 and overestimated by 0.27; 95% CI: 0.17-0.36) exhibited better accuracy than males (underestimated by 0.28; 95% CI: 0.14-0.42 and overestimated by 0.33; 95% CI: 0.22-0.44). For comparison purposes, the overall pooled estimate overestimated the age by 0.10 (95% CI: −0.06-0.26) and 0.09 (95% CI: −0.09-0.19) for males and females, respectively. There was no significant difference between the young and older child in subgroup analysis using omnibus test. The mean age between different regions exhibited no statistically significant. The use of Willems method is appropriate to estimate age in children considering its accuracy among different populations, investigators and age groups.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Influence of the axial rotation angle on tool mark striations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Derrel Louis Garcia, René Pieterman, Martin Baiker
      A tool's axial rotation influences the geometric properties of a tool mark. The larger the axial rotation angle, the larger the compression of structural details like striations.This complicates comparing tool marks at different axial rotations. Using chisels, tool marks were made from 0 to 75 degrees axial rotation and compared using an automated approach (Baiker et al. (2014)). In addition, a 3D topographic surface of a chisel was obtained to generate virtual tool marks and to test whether the axial rotation angle of a mark could be predicted. After examination of the tool mark and chisel data-sets it was observed that marks lose information with increasing rotation due to the change in relative distance between geometrical details on the tool and the disappearance of smaller details. The similarity and repeatability were high for comparisons between marks with no difference in axial rotation, but decreasing with increased rotation angle from 0 to 75 degrees. With an increasing difference in the rotation angles, the tool marks had to be corrected to account for the different compression factors between them. For compression up to 7.5%, this was obtained automatically by the tool mark alignment method. For larger compression, manually re-sizing the marks to the uncompressed widths at 0 degrees rotation before the alignment was found suitable for successfully comparing even large differences in axial rotation. The similarity and repeatability were decreasing however, with increasing degree of re-sizing. The quality was assessed by determining the similarity at different detail levels within a tool mark. With an axial rotation up to 75 degrees, tool marks were found to reliably represent structural details down to 100 μm. The similarity of structural details below 100 μm was dependent on the angle, with the highest similarity at small rotation angles and the lowest similarity at large rotation angles. Filtering to remove the details below 100 μm lead to consistently higher similarity between tool marks at all angles and allowed for a comparison of marks up to 75 degrees axial rotation. Finally, generated virtual tool mark profiles with an axial rotation were compared to experimental tool marks. The similarity between virtual and experimental tool marks remained high up to 60 degrees rotation after which it decreased due to the loss in quality in both marks. Predicting the rotation angle is possible under certain conditions up to 45 degrees rotation with an accuracy of 2.667±0.577 degrees rotation.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Finding the way forward for forensic science in the US—A commentary
           on the PCAST report
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): I.W. Evett, C.E.H. Berger, J.S. Buckleton, C. Champod, G. Jackson
      A recent report by the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), (2016) has made a number of recommendations for the future development of forensic science. Whereas we all agree that there is much need for change, we find that the PCAST report recommendations are founded on serious misunderstandings. We explain the traditional forensic paradigms of match and identification and the more recent foundation of the logical approach to evidence evaluation. This forms the groundwork for exposing many sources of confusion in the PCAST report. We explain how the notion of treating the scientist as a black box and the assignment of evidential weight through error rates is overly restrictive and misconceived. Our own view sees inferential logic, the development of calibrated knowledge and understanding of scientists as the core of the advance of the profession.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Early colonisation of urban indoor carcasses by blow flies (Diptera:
           Calliphoridae): An experimental study from central Spain
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Daniel Martín-Vega, Carla Martín Nieto, Blanca Cifrián, Arturo Baz, Luisa M. Díaz-Aranda
      Due to their ubiquity and synanthropy, blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are generally the first colonisers of cadavers and, therefore, frequently used to estimate a minimum post-mortem interval (minPMI). Whereas in outdoor situations blow flies are expected to locate and colonise exposed cadavers within hours or even minutes after death, it is usually assumed that the colonisation of a cadaver indoors might be delayed for an uncertain period of time. This uncertainty severely limits the informativity of minPMI estimates based on entomological evidence. Moreover, these limitations are emphasised by the lack of experimental data on insect colonisation of indoor carrion and by the fact that most of the forensic cases involving entomological evidence have been reported to occur indoors. In this study we investigate the early colonisation of pig carcasses placed indoors in a building located in the centre of an urban environment in central Spain. Three carcasses were placed in three equal rooms with a window half opened during five experimental trials: summer 2013, autumn 2013, winter 2014, spring 2014 and summer 2014. The species composition and their contribution to the carrion colonisation differed among seasons. Calliphora vicina Robineau–Desvoidy was the sole coloniser of carcasses in winter and colonised the carcasses within the first 24–48h in every season, although Lucilia sericata (Meigen) was the first coloniser of most summer carcasses. On the other hand, Calliphora vomitoria (L.) and Chrysomya albiceps (Wiedemann) colonised the carcasses significantly later in spring and in spring and summer, respectively, with a delay of several days. In autumn, however, there were no significant differences in the colonisation times by C. vicina, L. sericata and Ch. albiceps. C. vicina and L. sericata showed a clear preference for ovipositing in the natural orifices of the carcasses, whereas Ch. albiceps oviposited more frequently on the trunk and legs.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T04:59:46Z
       
  • Differentiation of black writing ink on paper using luminescence lifetime
           by time-resolved luminescence spectroscopy
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Mototsugu Suzuki, Norimitsu Akiba, Kenji Kurosawa, Yoshinori Akao, Yoshiyasu Higashikawa
      The time-resolved luminescence spectra and the lifetimes of eighteen black writing inks were measured to differentiate pen ink on altered documents. The spectra and lifetimes depended on the samples. About half of the samples only exhibited short-lived luminescence components on the nanosecond time scale. On the other hand, the other samples exhibited short- and long-lived components on the microsecond time scale. The samples could be classified into fifteen groups based on the luminescence spectra and dynamics. Therefore, luminescence lifetime can be used for the differentiation of writing inks, and luminescence lifetime imaging can be applied for the examination of altered documents.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-09-12T07:32:52Z
       
  • Death by heroin intoxication in a body pusher with an innovative packaging
           technique. Case report and review of the literature.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Sindi Visentin, Greta Bevilacqua, Chiara Giraudo, Caterina Dengo, Alessandro Nalesso, Massimo Montisci
      Death due to mechanical or chemical intoxication of heroin body packers, thanks to the continuous improvement in packaging techniques, are increasingly rare, and almost all the cases reported in the literature refer to drug swallowers. A case of fatal acute heroin intoxication in a body pusher with an unreported packaging technique is presented, and previous deaths due to heroin body packing are reviewed, taking into consideration imaging techniques performed, cause of death, toxicological analysis on biological and non-biological samples, as well as number, position and type of drug packages identified at the dissection of the body. The innovative packaging technique found in the present case, constituted by an external multilayer cellophane casing containing 16 smaller packages of hardened heroin powder, each one covered with cigarette paper and multiple layers of heat-sealed cellophane, was probably used to avoid both chemical complications of package rupture and to create a package with morphological and radiological features different from those reported by previous studies. Drug dealers, in fact, are continually looking for packaging methods that, besides being safer, minimize the risk of detection at the radiological examinations performed, thus increasing the number of false negative findings. The identification of new types of package is therefore important, in order to identify packages that do not have the typical radiological signs, both in order to protect the patient's health and to avoid the non-recognition of a drug carrier. Despite the presence of multilayer composition of both the smaller and the bigger external coverage, these new types of package did not guarantee the greater safety of the drug dealer.

      PubDate: 2017-09-12T07:32:52Z
       
  • A convergence algorithm for correlation of breech face images based on the
           congruent matching cells (CMC) method
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Zhe Chen, John Song, Wei Chu, Johannes A. Soons, Xuezeng Zhao
      The Congruent Matching Cells (CMC) method was invented at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for accurate firearm evidence identification and error rate estimation. The CMC method is based on the principle of discretization. The toolmark image of the reference sample is divided into correlation cells. Each cell is registered to the cell-sized area of the compared image that has maximum surface topography similarity. For each resulting cell pair, one parameter quantifies the similarity of the cell surface topography and three parameters quantify the pattern congruency of the registration position and orientation. An identification (declared match) requires a significant number of CMCs, that is, cell pairs that meet both similarity and pattern congruency requirements. The use of cell correlations reduces the effects of “invalid regions” in the compared image pairs and increases the correlation accuracy. The identification accuracy of the CMC method can be further improved by considering a feature named “convergence,” that is, the tendency of the x-y registration positions of the correlated cell pairs to converge at the correct registration angle when comparing same-source samples at different relative orientations. In this paper, the difference of the convergence feature between known matching (KM) and known non-matching (KNM) image pairs is characterized, based on which an improved algorithm is developed for breech face image correlations using the CMC method. Its advantage is demonstrated by comparison with three existing CMC algorithms using four datasets. The datasets address three different brands of consecutively manufactured pistol slides, with significant differences in the distribution overlap of cell pair topography similarity for KM and KNM image pairs. For the same CMC threshold values, the convergence algorithm demonstrates noticeably improved results by reducing the number of false-positive or false-negative CMCs in a comparison.

      PubDate: 2017-09-12T07:32:52Z
       
  • Validation of a standard forensic anthropology examination protocol by
           measurement of applicability and reliability on exhumed and archive
           samples of known biological attribution
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Raffaela Arrabaça Francisco, Martin Paul Evison, Moacyr Lobo da Costa Junior, Teresa Cristina Pantozzi Silveira, José Marcelo Secchieri, Marco Aurelio Guimarães
      Forensic anthropology makes an important contribution to human identification and assessment of the causes and mechanisms of death and body disposal in criminal and civil investigations, including those related to atrocity, disaster and trafficking victim identification. The methods used are comparative, relying on assignment of questioned material to categories observed in standard reference material of known attribution. Reference collections typically originate in Europe and North America, and are not necessarily representative of contemporary global populations. Methods based on them must be validated when applied to novel populations. This study describes the validation of a standardized forensic anthropology examination protocol by application to two contemporary Brazilian skeletal samples of known attribution. One sample (n =90) was collected from exhumations following 7-35 years of burial and the second (n =30) was collected following successful investigations following routine case work. The study presents measurement of 1) the applicability of each of the methods: used and 2) the reliability with which the biographic parameters were assigned in each case. The results are discussed with reference to published assessments of methodological reliability regarding sex, age and—in particular—ancestry estimation.

      PubDate: 2017-09-12T07:32:52Z
       
  • DEATH AFTER 25C-NBOMe AND 25H-NBOMe CONSUMPTION
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Luca Morini, Marzia Bernini, Sara Vezzoli, Mario Restori, Matteo Moretti, Stefano Crenna, Pietro Papa, Carlo Locatelli, Antonio Marco Maria Osculati, Claudia Vignali, Angelo Groppi
      A teenager male was found dead in a waterway after he was spotted jumping off into the water stream. The boy looked agitated and confused after a party with friends. At the gathering place, investigators seized packages of blotter papers. A complete autopsy and a histological evaluation of the main tissues were performed; although the death occurred by drowning, the prosecutor requested toxicological exams, in order to evaluate the potential role of drugs of abuse in the episode. Blood (both peripheral and central) and urine samples as well as seized blotter papers were collected and analyzed as follows. The blotter paper, analyzed through a GC-MS method, revealed the presence of 25-NBOMes. A liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometric (LC-MS/MS) system was used to identify and quantify 5 different 25-NBOMes (namely 25B-NBOMe, 25C-NBOMe, 25D-NBOMe, 25H-NBOMe, 25I-NBOMe) in blood and urine. 25E-NBOMe was used as internal standard (IS). 1mL of urine and 1mL of blood (both peripheral and cardiac) were diluted in 2mL phosphate buffer at pH 6.0, containing IS and purified on a solid phase extraction (SPE) cartridge. LOD and LOQ for the five 25-NBOMes were calculated at 0.05 and 0.1ng/mL respectively. Linearity, accuracy, precision, ion suppression, carry over and recovery were tested and all parameters fulfilled the acceptance criteria. Blood and urine provided positive results for 25C-NBOMe and 25H-NBOMe. Eventually, the seized blotter papers were analyzed by means of LC-MS/MS and the presence of the two NBOMes was confirmed: 25C-NBOMe and 25H-NBOMe were measured at the concentration of 2.80 and 0.29ng/mL in peripheral blood, of 1.43 and 0.13ng/mL in central blood and of 0.94 and 0.14ng/mL in urine, respectively. THC and THCCOOH were also detected in biological fluids, at the concentration of 15.5 and 56.0ng/mL in peripheral blood, 9.9 and 8.5ng/mL in central blood, respectively. NBOMes can produce severe hallucination even at very low doses, and the 25C-NBOMe levels measured in the subject's blood are considered potentially toxic.

      PubDate: 2017-09-06T23:40:18Z
       
  • The analysis of 132 novel psychoactive substances in human hair using a
           single step extraction by tandem LC/MS
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Vassiliki A. Boumba, Matthew Di Rago, Melissa Peka, Olaf H. Drummer, Dimitri Gerostamoulos
      A rapid LC-MS/MS method for the targeted screening of 132 NPS in hair is described. Drugs include cathinones and synthetic cannabinoids, as well as amphetamine-type stimulants, piperazines and other hallucinogenic compounds. This method utilizes hair pulverization in acidified methanol followed by analysis using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem MS. The limit of detection varied from 0.001 to 0.1ng/mg hair among the various analytes. The method was validated in terms of sensitivity, selectivity, repeatability and stability. The limit of reporting was set at 0.1ng/mg of hair. The method was successfully applied to 23 medico-legal cases where NPS were detected in blood or where NPS use was suspected. The identified NPS included acetyl fentanyl, 25C‐NBOMe, MDPV, PB-22 and AB-FUBINACA, allowing hair to be used where historical or retrospective information on use of NPS is sought. This technique has proven to be efficient for the one step extraction from hair of different classes of NPS in routine toxicological investigations; from unstable and volatile compounds, such as most of the cathinones, to hydrophobic compounds such as synthetic cannabinoids.

      PubDate: 2017-09-06T23:40:18Z
       
  • Comparative radiologic identification with standardized single CT images
           of the paranasal sinuses—Evaluation of inter-rater reliability
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Cédric N. Brun, Angi M. Christensen, Milan Kravarski, Guillaume Gorincour, Wolf Schweitzer, Michael J. Thali, Dominic Gascho, Gary M. Hatch, Thomas D. Ruder
      The aim of this study was to assess the reproducibility of a standardized image for personal identification (SIPI), used in the comparative analysis of paranasal sinuses, and test the effect of inaccurate reformation of the SIPI on suitability for comparative identification. Five raters with different professional backgrounds independently reformatted SIPIs from ten post-mortem head CTs. Inter-rater, intra-rater agreement as well angular deviations between reformatted SIPI images and reference SIPI images were calculated. Second, raters assessed the suitability of 70 accurately and inaccurately reformatted SIPIs for identification with a 4-point Likert scale. Inter-rater agreement as well as levels of significance regarding image suitability were calculated. Inter-rater agreement regarding reproducibility of SIPI reformation was excellent (inter-rater correlation coefficient (ICC) 0.9995, intra-rater ICC 0.9983). Deviation between the angular dimensions of the reformatted SIPIs and the reference SIPIs was ≤1° in 94% of all 300 measurements. Inter-rater agreement regarding the effect of inaccurate SIPI reformation on suitability for comparative identification was fair (ICC 0.6809). There was no statistically significant difference between raters’ evaluation of image suitability (p=0.9755). This study shows that the standardized image for personal identification can be accurately reformatted by different raters with varying professional backgrounds. In addition, raters agree that inaccurately reformatted SIPIs are still suitable for comparative identification in the majority of cases.

      PubDate: 2017-09-06T23:40:18Z
       
  • Copy–move forgery detection through stationary wavelets and local binary
           pattern variance for forensic analysis in digital images
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 279
      Author(s): Toqeer Mahmood, Aun Irtaza, Zahid Mehmood, Muhammad Tariq Mahmood
      The most common image tampering often for malicious purposes is to copy a region of the same image and paste to hide some other region. As both regions usually have same texture properties, therefore, this artifact is invisible for the viewers, and credibility of the image becomes questionable in proof centered applications. Hence, means are required to validate the integrity of the image and identify the tampered regions. Therefore, this study presents an efficient way of copy-move forgery detection (CMFD) through local binary pattern variance (LBPV) over the low approximation components of the stationary wavelets. CMFD technique presented in this paper is applied over the circular regions to address the possible post processing operations in a better way. The proposed technique is evaluated on CoMoFoD and Kodak lossless true color image (KLTCI) datasets in the presence of translation, flipping, blurring, rotation, scaling, color reduction, brightness change and multiple forged regions in an image. The evaluation reveals the prominence of the proposed technique compared to state of the arts. Consequently, the proposed technique can reliably be applied to detect the modified regions and the benefits can be obtained in journalism, law enforcement, judiciary, and other proof critical domains.

      PubDate: 2017-09-01T21:07:23Z
       
  • Integrated hierarchical geo-environmental survey strategy applied to the
           detection and investigation of an illegal landfill: A case study in the
           Campania Region (Southern Italy)
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 279
      Author(s): Vincenzo Di Fiore, Giuseppe Cavuoto, Michele Punzo, Daniela Tarallo, Marco Casazza, Silvio Marco Guarriello, Massimiliano Lega
      This paper describes an approach to detect and investigate the main characteristics of a solid waste landfill through the integration of geological, geographical and geophysical methods. In particular, a multi-temporal analysis of the landfill morphological evolution was carried out using aerial and satellite photos, since there were no geological and geophysical data referring to the study area. Subsequently, a surface geophysical prospection was performed through geoelectric and geomagnetic methods. In particular, the combination of electrical resistivity, induced polarization and magnetic measurements removed some of the uncertainties, generally associated with a separate utilization of these techniques. This approach was successfully tested to support the Prosecutor Office of Salerno (S Italy) during a specific investigation about an illegal landfill. All the collected field data supported the reconstruction of the site-specific history, while the real quarry geometry and site geology were defined. Key elements of novelty of this method are the combination and the integration of different methodological approaches, as the parallel and combined use of satellite, aerial and in-situ collected data, that were validated in a real investigation and that revealed the effectiveness of this strategy.

      PubDate: 2017-09-01T21:07:23Z
       
  • An examination of the spatial distribution of the tissue fragments created
           during a single explosive attack
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 279
      Author(s): E. DuBois, K. Bowers, C. Rando
      Throughout the course of a forensic investigation following an explosive attack, the identification and recovery of tissue fragments is of extreme importance. There are few universally accepted methods to achieve this end. This project aims to explore this issue through the examination of the spatial distribution of the tissue fragments resulting from an explosive event. To address this, a two stage pilot study was conducted: first, a series of controlled explosions on porcine carcases was undertaken. Second, the data produced from these explosions were used to chart the spatial distribution of the tissue debris. In the controlled explosions, 3kg military grade explosive was chosen to create the maximum amount of fragmentation; this level of explosive also prevented the complete disappearance of forensic evidence through evaporation. Additionally, the blast created by military grade explosive is highly powerful and would mean that the maximum possible distance was achieved and would therefore allow the recorded distances and pattern spread to be a guideline for forensic recovery of associated with an explosive amount of an unknown size and quality. A total station was employed to record the location of the resulting forensic evidence, with the collected data analysed using R Studio. The observed patterns suggested that the distribution of remains is fairly consistent in trials under similar environmental conditions. This indicates potential for some general guidelines for forensic evidence collection (for example, the distance from the explosion that a search should cover).

      PubDate: 2017-09-01T21:07:23Z
       
  • Recovery and identification of human remains in post-conflict
           environments: A comparative study of the humanitarian forensic programs in
           Cyprus and Kosovo
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 279
      Author(s): Maria Mikellide
      This study follows the humanitarian forensic programs in Cyprus and Kosovo over a ten-year period with an emphasis on the role of local capacity building. It begins by providing an in-depth historical account of forensic activities, followed by a comparison of the rate of excavations, exhumations and identifications. Through this analysis, a repeated pattern emerges whereby forensic activities in Kosovo start with a surge in values, which drop drastically in the first few years of operations, followed by a steadily declining productivity curve. By contrast, in Cyprus, activities begin modestly, with lower values allowing for some modest growth. Close observation of the two programs provides indications as to the factors that may influence the development of forensic programs as well as the elements that need to be set in place to create an environment conducive to greater sustainability through local ownership and responsibility.

      PubDate: 2017-09-01T21:07:23Z
       
  • Two halves make a whole: Both first responders and experts are needed for
           the management and identification of the dead in large disasters
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 279
      Author(s): S. Cordner, S.T.D. Ellingham
      Catastrophic natural disasters are a regular global issue claiming thousands of lives and having severe and long lasting consequences for communities. Along with the rescue and care of survivors and the provision of basic services, managing the dead in a proper and dignified manner is one of the three pillars of disaster response. Since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, progress to facilitate better coordination in the management of the dead has been made. Two guidelines contributing to this positive trend are the Interpol DVI Guide, and the “Management of the Dead after Disasters — A Field Manual for First Responders”. The former is aimed at forensic specialists and emergency services, the latter at untrained first responders confronted with the management of the dead when specialist forensic services are not available. This paper sets out the complementarity of the two publications, illustrating that ideally, both first responders and experts are needed to properly manage and identify the dead following large disasters.

      PubDate: 2017-09-01T21:07:23Z
       
  • An experimental study addressing the use of geoforensic analysis for the
           exploitation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Beth Wilks, Ruth M. Morgan, Neil L. Rose
      The use of geoforensic analysis in criminal investigations is continuing to develop, with the diversification of analytical techniques, many of which are semi-automated, facilitating prompt analysis of large sample sets at a relatively low cost. Whilst micro-scale geoforensic analysis has been shown to assist criminal investigations including homicide (Concheri et al., 2011 [1]), wildlife crime (Morgan et al., 2006 [2]), illicit drug distribution (Stanley, 1992 [3]), and burglary (Mildenhall, 2006 [4]), its application to the pressing international security threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) is yet to be considered. This experimental study simulated an IED supply chain from the sourcing of raw materials through to device emplacement. Mineralogy, quartz grain surface texture analysis (QGSTA) and particle size analysis (PSA) were used to assess whether environmental materials were transferred and subsequently persisted on the different components of three pressure plate IEDs. The research also addressed whether these samples were comprised of material from single or multiple geographical provenances that represented supply chain activity nodes. The simulation demonstrated that material derived from multiple activity nodes, was transferred and persisted on device components. The results from the mineralogy and QGSTA illustrated the value these techniques offer for the analysis of mixed provenance samples. The results from the PSA, which produces a bulk signature of the sample, failed to distinguish multiple provenances. The study also considered how the environmental material recovered could be used to generate information regarding the geographical locations the device had been in contact with, in an intelligence style investigation, and demonstrated that geoforensic analysis has the potential to be of value to international counter-IED efforts. It is a tool that may be used to prevent the distribution of large quantities of devices, by aiding the identification of the geographical location of key activity nodes.

      PubDate: 2017-09-01T21:07:23Z
       
  • DNA barcoding allows identification of European Fanniidae (Diptera) of
           forensic interest
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Andrzej Grzywacz, Dominika Wyborska, Marcin Piwczyński
      In forensic entomology practice, species identification is a prerequisite for any further analysis of collected material. Although morphology-based taxonomy may be hindered by a range of factors, these are not obstacles for a molecular identification approach, so-called DNA barcoding. The Fanniidae are a dipteran family that is attracted to and breeds in decomposing animal carrion and dead human bodies. However, morphological identification of fanniids, both at adult and immature stages, is considered to be difficult, particularly for non-experts. We investigated the usefulness of molecular taxonomy methods as an alternative/supplement for morphology-based identification in European Fanniidae of forensic interest. The material used in this study was collected from various regions in Asia, Europe and North America. We sequenced a barcode region of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) in 27 species. For 13 species, including some taxa breeding in dead bodies, this study describes COI sequences for the first time. Our analysis revealed that both mini-barcode and full-length COI barcode sequences give very high specimen identification success. Despite the large number of COI barcode sequences referring to Fanniidae in the BOLD and GenBank databases, previous identification of forensically relevant Fanniidae was hindered by uneven taxonomic sampling. The majority of available sequences refer to species that are not of medico-legal interest, and many species of forensic interest are unrepresented or represented only by a single sequence. Because of erroneous data that are present in depository databases, DNA barcoding must be used with caution and cannot be considered to be the sole alternative to other identification methods. Wolbachia infections in the examined material did not disrupt specimen identification. The obtained results will facilitate precise identification of European Fanniidae of forensic interest, badly preserved material with degraded DNA, as well as matching of unidentified females and immature stages to already described specimens.

      PubDate: 2017-09-01T21:07:23Z
       
  • The ICRC AM/PM Database: Challenges in forensic data management in the
           humanitarian sphere
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 279
      Author(s): Ute Hofmeister, Shuala S. Martin, Carlos Villalobos, Juliana Padilla, Oran Finegan
      Large-scale forensic investigations should include a robust data management system with software capable of performing all tasks relevant to achieving the objectives of the investigation. Data management involves the collection, archiving, analysis and reporting of data. A successful data management system requires the development of protocols, procedures and policies, such as on data protection, as well as tools, including software. Adequate training for staff is also required, along with strict quality control and assurance regimens. In 2007, the ICRC launched its AM/PM Database to help fill a gap in readily available software to manage large quantities of data on missing persons and unidentified human remains. The database is now used in 14 countries around the world, including in Mexico and Central America where the ICRC advises the authorities on setting up search mechanisms and forensic data management systems, for addressing the issue of missing persons and the large number of unidentified dead, among them migrants that die in the region on route to the United States. The ICRC also works with various European nations to address the thousands of individuals who die annually while trying to cross the Mediterranean. The ICRC is currently working on the first major revision to the AM/PM Database, set for launch in 2018, based on challenges and lessons learned over the last decade in relation to forensic data management.

      PubDate: 2017-08-22T20:57:23Z
       
  • Humanitarian forensic action — Its origins and future
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 20 August 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Stephen Cordner, Morris Tidball-Binz
      Humanitarian forensic action is the application of the knowledge and skills of forensic medicine and science to humanitarian action, especially following conflicts or disasters. It has its early roots in the experience of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team and that of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, is moulded by International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law and was developed by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Having demonstrated its worth, this new field of application of forensic medicine and science needs further development, integration and research.

      PubDate: 2017-08-22T20:57:23Z
       
  • Novel age estimation model based on development of permanent teeth
           compared with classical approach and other modern data mining methods
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 14 August 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Michal Štepanovský, Alexandra Ibrová, Zdeněk Buk, Jana Velemínská
      In order to analyze and improve the dental age estimation in children and adolescents for forensic purposes, 22 age estimation methods were compared to a sample of 976 orthopantomographs (662 males, 314 females) of healthy Czech children and adolescents aged between 2.7 and 20.5 years. All methods are compared in terms of the accuracy and complexity and are based on various data mining methods or on simple mathematical operations. The winning method is presented in detail. The comparison showed that only three methods provide the best accuracy while remaining user-friendly. These methods were used to build a tabular multiple linear regression model, an M5P tree model and support vector machine model with first-order polynomial kernel. All of them have mean absolute error (MAE) under 0.7 years for both males and females. The other well-performing data mining methods (RBF neural network, K-nearest neighbors, Kstar, etc.) have similar or slightly better accuracy, but they are not user-friendly as they require computing equipment and the implementation as computer program. The lowest estimation accuracy provides the traditional model based on age averages (MAE under 0.96 years). Different relevancy of various teeth for the age estimation was found. This finding also explains the lowest accuracy of the traditional averages-based model. In this paper, a technique for missing data replacement for the cases with missing teeth is presented in detail as well as the constrained tabular multiple regression model. Also, we provide free age prediction software based on this wining model.

      PubDate: 2017-08-22T20:57:23Z
       
  • Forensic Identification of Pharmaceuticals Via Portable X-ray Fluorescence
           and Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Sarah Shutic, Somsubhra Chakraborty, Bin Li, David C. Weindorf, Kathy Sperry, Dominick Casadonte
      The importance of unknown substance identification in forensic science is vital to implementation or exclusion of criminal charges against an offender. While traditional laboratory measures include the use of gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy, an alternate method has been proposed to efficiently perform presumptive analyses of unknown substances at a crime scene or at airport security points. The use of portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) and visible near infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) to determine elemental composition was applied to pharmaceutical medications (n =83), which were then categorized into 21 classifications based on their active ingredients. Each pharmaceutical was processed by standard laboratory procedures and scanned with both PXRF and DRS. Lastly, the datasets obtained were compared using multivariate statistical analyses. The aforementioned devices indicate that differentiation of unknown substances is clearly demonstrated among the samples with 73.49% DRS classification accuracy. Thus, the approach shows promise for future development as a rapid analytical technique for unknown pharmaceutical substances and/or illicit narcotics.

      PubDate: 2017-08-12T21:28:39Z
       
  • Technical Note: Differentiation and identification of 5F-PB-22 and its
           isomers
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Angeline S.Y. Tang, Samuel W.X. Loh, Hui Boon Koh, Sylvia Tan, Angeline T.W. Yap, Shu-Hua Zhang
      Quinolin-8-yl 1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indole-3-carboxylate (5-Fluoro-PB-22 or 5F-PB-22; QUPIC N-(5-fluoropentyl) analog), is a synthetic cannabinoid which mimics the effects of cannabis. Several countries have reported numerous detections of this compound and its abuse has led to adverse effects including death. The aim of this study was to separate and identify the fluoropentyl positional isomers of fluoro-PB-22 using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, solid deposition gas chromatography-infrared detection spectroscopy and 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Data acquired from these multiple techniques can assist forensic laboratories lacking the reference drug standard(s) to identify the specific isomer of fluoro-PB-22 in seized material.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-08-12T21:28:39Z
       
  • Screening of “Spice” herbal mixtures: From high-field to
           low-field proton NMR
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Gaëtan Assemat, Florian Dubocq, Stéphane Balayssac, Catherine Lamoureux, Myriam Malet-Martino, Véronique Gilard
      Forty one samples of herbal spices intended to be introduced into the European market and seized by the French customs were analysed with high-field 1H NMR. Nine synthetic cannabinoids (MAM-2201, JWH-073, JWH-210, JWH-122, JWH-081, JWH-250, UR-144, XLR-11 and AKB-48-5F) were detected and quantified. The ability of a compact benchtop low-field NMR spectrometer for a rapid screening of the content of herbal blends was then successfully explored for the first time. Even if low-field 1H NMR spectra are much less resolved than high-field spectra, we demonstrate that they provide valuable clues on the chemical structures of synthetic cannabinoids with the detection of some typical signals.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-08-12T21:28:39Z
       
  • Postmortem distribution and redistribution of MDAI and 2-MAPB in blood and
           alternative matrices
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Sandra N. Staeheli, Martina I. Boxler, Andrea Oestreich, Michelle Marti, Dominic Gascho, Stephan A. Bolliger, Thomas Kraemer, Andrea E. Steuer
      Intoxication cases involving new psychoactive substances (NPS) provide several challenges for forensic toxicologists as data on pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties are lacking, especially on potency and toxicity. Furthermore, reference values and information on postmortem redistribution (PMR) do not exist so far for most NPS. A fatal case involving the amphetamine-derivatives MDAI (5,6-methylenedioxy-2-aminoindane) and 2-MAPB (1-(benzofuran-2-yl)-N-methylpropan-2-amine) was investigated at the Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine. At admission at the institute approx. 11h after death (first time point, t1), femoral and heart blood (right ventricle) was collected using computed tomography (CT)-guided biopsy sampling. At autopsy (t2), samples from the same body regions as well as various tissue samples were collected manually. In addition, an antemortem blood sample collected 6hours before death was available. MDAI and 2-MAPB were quantified using a validated LC-MS/MS method. A significant concentration decrease between the antemortem and the first peripheral postmortem blood sample was observed, which most probably can be explained by remaining metabolism and excretion within the last 6hours prior to death. No significant concentration change was observed between the two postmortem heart blood and peripheral blood samples. Accordingly, MDAI and 2-MAPB did not seem to undergo relevant postmortem redistribution in peripheral and heart blood in the presented case. This is the first study on postmortem redistribution of the new psychoactive substances MDAI and 2-MAPB. However, more studies covering more cases are necessary to generate universal statements on the PMR with these two NPSs.

      PubDate: 2017-08-12T21:28:39Z
       
  • Simulation of mirror surfaces for virtual estimation of visibility lines
           for 3D motor vehicle collision reconstruction
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 August 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Anja Leipner, Erika Dobler, Marcel Braun, Till Sieberth, Lars Ebert
      3D reconstructions of motor vehicle collisions are used to identify the causes of these events and to identify potential violations of traffic regulations. Thus far, the reconstruction of mirrors has been a problem since they are often based on approximations or inaccurate data. Our aim with this paper was to confirm that structured light scans of a mirror improve the accuracy of simulating the field of view of mirrors. We analyzed the performances of virtual mirror surfaces based on structured light scans using real mirror surfaces and their reflections as references. We used an ATOS GOM III scanner to scan the mirrors and processed the 3D data using Geomagic Wrap. For scene reconstruction and to generate virtual images, we used 3ds Max. We compared the simulated virtual images and photographs of real scenes using Adobe Photoshop. Our results showed that we achieved clear and even mirror results and that the mirrors behaved as expected. The greatest measured deviation between an original photo and the corresponding virtual image was 20 pixels in the transverse direction for an image width of 4256 pixels. We discussed the influences of data processing and alignment of the 3D models on the results. The study was limited to a distance of 1.6m, and the method was not able to simulate an interior mirror. In conclusion, structured light scans of mirror surfaces can be used to simulate virtual mirror surfaces with regard to 3D motor vehicle collision reconstruction.

      PubDate: 2017-08-12T21:28:39Z
       
  • Evaluation of bait traps as a means to predict initial blow fly (Diptera:
           Calliphoridae) communities associated with decomposing swine remains in
           New Jersey, USA
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Lauren M. Weidner, M. Denise Gemmellaro, Jeffery K. Tomberlin, George C. Hamilton
      Information about blow fly (Diptera: Calliphoridae) species distributions can be valuable for criminal investigations, with regards to determining movement of remains from one location to another and time of colonization estimates, making these data extremely useful. Past work has been conducted on initial species community structure across New Jersey, USA using traps baited with beef liver; however, if these same species frequent vertebrate carrion remains unclear. In order to evaluate these data, piglet carcasses were placed out once every two weeks for a year in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. The same methods were implemented as those used for traps baited with beef liver, with length of collections being based on ADD values. Seven calliphorid species, Calliphora vicina (Robineau-Desvoidy), Lucilia sericata (Meigen), Lucilia coeruleiviridis (Macquart), Phormia regina (Meigen), Pollenia pediculata Macquart, Pollenia rudis (F.) and Protophormia terraenovae (Robineau-Desvoidy) were collected from the carcasses. During this experiment L. sericata, L. coeruleiviridis and P. regina were the dominant adult blow flies captured, totaling 38.2%, 29.2% and 29.2% respectively of all adults caught. All three species colonized the carcasses as well, although not all were dominant colonizers. C. vicina was recorded ovipositing in December, while the piglet was submerged in approximately 5cm of snow. All species that totaled at least 1% of the total collection (adults captured and larvae reared) were the same across baited traps and carcasses. This study supports the use of beef liver baits for surveying forensically important blow flies and the application of such information to forensic investigations.

      PubDate: 2017-07-19T01:02:43Z
       
  • Lack of effects of a “sobering” product, “Eezup!”, on the blood
           ethanol and congener alcohol concentration
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Cora Wunder, Sarah Hain, Sarah C. Koelzer, Alexander Paulke, Marcel A. Verhoff, Stefan W. Toennes
      Introduction The lifestyle product ‘Eezup!’ appeared on the German market and promised to normalize energy metabolism. Among vitamins (B1, B2, B6, C, E and zinc), rice protein and fructose the addition of alcohol dehydrogenase and catalase enzymes is a novel approach. The product was advertised as capable of boosting the rate of alcohol elimination. Methods Seventeen subjects (11 men, 6 women, 19–58 years old), participated in a two-way crossover drinking study. Unfiltered wheat beer (4.4g% alcohol content) was drank within one hour to reach blood alcohol concentrations of 1‰ (1g/kg whole blood). On one day “Eezup!” was taken according to the manufacturer’s instructions before and after drinking which was substituted for a placebo on the second test day. Blood samples were taken during 9h and ethanol and congener alcohols were determined. A comparison of Cmax, tmax, area under the curve (AUC) for ethanol and congener alcohols, and the hourly elimination rate of ethanol (β60) was performed to investigate an effect of Eezup!. Results Ethanol concentrations (Cmax) were in the range of 0,63–1,00‰ (median 0,85‰) and 0.62–1.22‰ (median 0.84‰) in the placebo and “Eezup!” condition, respectively, and not statistically different. Also tmax (1–2.5h) and AUCs did not differ. The ethanol elimination rates were 0.16‰/h (0.14–0.19‰/h) and 0.17‰/h (0.14–0.22 ‰/h) in the placebo and “Eezup!” condition without significant difference. The pharmacokinetic parameters of the congener alcohols (1-propanol, isobutanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol, 2-methyl-1-butanol) as well as of methanol did also not differ. Conclusions The results of the present study failed to show any effect of the sobering product “Eezup!” on the amount of ethanol and congener alcohols absorbed (Cmax, tmax, AUC) and on the ethanol elimination rate (β60).

      PubDate: 2017-07-19T01:02:43Z
       
  • Towards substrate-independent age estimation of blood stains based on
           dimensionality reduction and k-nearest neighbor classification of
           absorbance spectroscopic data
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Tommy Bergmann, Florian Heinke, Dirk Labudde
      The age determination of blood traces provides important hints for the chronological assessment of criminal events and their reconstruction. Current methods are often expensive, involve significant experimental complexity and often fail to perform when being applied to aged blood samples taken from different substrates. In this work an absorption spectroscopy-based blood stain age estimation method is presented, which utilizes 400–640nm absorption spectra in computation. Spectral data from 72 differently aged pig blood stains (2h to three weeks) dried on three different substrate surfaces (cotton, polyester and glass) were acquired and the turnover-time correlations were utilized to develop a straightforward age estimation scheme. More precisely, data processing includes data dimensionality reduction, upon which classic k-nearest neighbor classifiers are employed. This strategy shows good agreement between observed and predicted blood stain age (r >0.9) in cross-validation. The presented estimation strategy utilizes spectral data from dissolved blood samples to bypass spectral artifacts which are well known to interfere with other spectral methods such as reflection spectroscopy. Results indicate that age estimations can be drawn from such absorbance spectroscopic data independent from substrate the blood dried on. Since data in this study was acquired under laboratory conditions, future work has to consider perturbing environmental conditions in order to assess real-life applicability.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-07-10T05:59:38Z
       
  • Forensic aspects of homicides by insulin overdose
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Fang Tong, Rongqi Wu, Wen Huang, Yi Yang, Lin Zhang, Biao Zhang, Xin Chen, Xiaohui Tang, Yiwu Zhou
      Analysis of homicidal insulin overdose is a challenging task in forensic practice because of the difficulties in toxicological analysis as well as the elusive pathologic changes. We performed a detailed histopathologic examination on four autopsy cases involving insulin homicide, using H&E, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescence assays. Severe reactive astrocyte proliferation was obvious in the white matter of the cerebrum, corpus callosum, cerebellum and brain stem, especially in subcortical regions. We found a statistically significant increase in the number and total area of reactive astrocytes compared with controls (p<0.001). Insulin was detected at the injection sites of subcutaneous soft tissues by using IHC, luminescence immunoassay and immunofluorescence. Most insulin deposits were located in the gaps between adipocytes, and a few deposits were located in peripheral nerves and inflammatory cells. We also detected protamine in the skin tissues in two of the four cases. Our study revealed that the presence of insulin and/or protamine at the injection sites, along with severe reactive astrocyte proliferation, could help diagnose insulin overdose.

      PubDate: 2017-07-10T05:59:38Z
       
  • Voyaging into the third dimension: A perspective on virtual methods and
           their application to studies of juvenile sex estimation and the ontogeny
           of sexual dimorphism
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): L.A.B. Wilson, L.T. Humphrey
      In contrast to the well-established and highly accurate morphological methods available for sexing adult skeletons, juvenile sex estimation is widely recognised as a difficult task that faces a series of challenges. The acquisition of 3D data, and construction of 3D models from volume or surface scans, has become increasingly common in forensic sciences, and these data offer considerable opportunity for the development and refinement of methods in sex estimation. The suitability and potential of virtual methods for juvenile sex estimation are evaluated with the aims of identifying (1) the benefits and challenges associated with virtual data and quantitative analysis of 3D models, and (2) pathways that may lead to practical improvements for sexing juveniles. The issues associated with sex estimation in juveniles are discussed and approached in the context of a framework that unifies classification results for a given trait, which provide information on its capacity to discriminate between the sexes, with the underlying patterns of dimorphism over ontogeny. Virtual collections of 3D models are suggested as integral to this framework because they enable the magnitude and mode of sexual dimorphism to be comprehensively quantified for a chosen trait or set of traits. Those data can be used to inform decisions about how to apply a method for sex estimation to maximize its success. Virtual collections, through extending the scope of analyses and impacting the way in which questions on sexual dimorphism in juveniles may be answered, are undoubtedly set to play a central role in future research.

      PubDate: 2017-07-10T05:59:38Z
       
  • The use of unburned propellant powder for shooting-distance determination.
           Part II: Diphenylamine reaction
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Rolf Hofer, Philipp Wyss
      Shooting samples were produced on standard textile pats of six different ammunition types: four ammunitions with exclusively infrared luminescent propellant powder particles, one containing a mixture of luminescent and non-luminescent particles and one with only non-luminescent particles. Unburned propellant powder particles in the gunshot residue (GSR) on the textile of each sample were transferred onto TLC-plates with the aid of an organic solvent. The patterns of the partially and the all-luminescent propellant powder residue on the TLC-plates were visualized in the near infrared wavelength range by the aid of an IR-sensitive camera. The transfer TLC-plates of all six ammunition types were sprayed with a diphenylamine solution, which reacts with the nitrate groups of the nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine and produces deep blue dots thereof. A series of samples with different shooting distances produced with one of the ammunition types was used for the shooting distance determination study. Transfer on TLC-plates was performed and pictures of the plates were taken before and after the chemical reaction. An imaging software was used to measure the density of the particles on the transfer TLC-plate pictures within a defined area around the bullet hole. Curves were drawn with the particle density data vs. the shooting distance. It has been shown, that the transfer of the particles onto a TLC-plate and the chemical reaction eliminate the limitations of the IR-method presented in Part I. Therefore, this method allows shooting distance determination at any textile and for any ammunition type as soon as unburned propellant powder particles are left on the target tissue.

      PubDate: 2017-07-10T05:59:38Z
       
  • Estimation of changes in breech face and firing pin marks over consecutive
           discharges and its impact on an IBIS® Heritage™ System
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Justin N. Kirk, Eric F. Law, Keith B. Morris
      When a firearm is discharged, the individual marks of the breech face and firing pin are imprinted onto the primer of the cartridge case. These individual marks are reproducible between shots; however, over a large number of consecutive shots, it has been observed that minute changes in these individual marks may occur. Changes in individual marks may affect an examiner in their ability to identify or eliminate and may change the magnitude of a likelihood ratio, depending on the system used by the laboratory, but the effect that these changes have on the Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS®) is largely unknown. If such changes negatively affect the performance of the IBIS® then consequences may result with respect to the correct matching candidate not be returned in the top results further compared by an examiner. Two hundred consecutive test fires performed in a clean environment (indoor shooting range) were collected in sequence from 24 new Ruger® SR9 9mm pistols and entered into an IBIS® Heritage™ System. The full known match data were extracted for each firearm, and δ sets were created that had a specific number of cartridge cases between the two cartridge cases being compared. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) area under the curve (AUC) values for these δ sets were compared to the full known match sets to determine if any significant changes in performance resulted. Although there were instances of significant differences, these only occurred in less than 25% of comparisons, and overall no decreasing trends in performance were observed.

      PubDate: 2017-07-10T05:59:38Z
       
  • 1H and 31P benchtop NMR of liquids and solids used in and/or produced
           during the manufacture of methamphetamine by the HI reduction of
           pseudoephedrine/ephedrine
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Ben Bogun, Sarah Moore
      In this study, the use of benchtop NMR spectroscopy in the analysis of solids and liquids used and/or produced during the HI reduction of pseudoephedrine was evaluated. The study focused on identifying organic precursors and phosphorus containing compounds used in and/or produced during the manufacturing process. Samples taken from clandestine laboratories, where this synthesis process was suspected of occurring, were also analysed and evaluated. Benchtop NMR was able to distinguish between ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and methamphetamine as the free base and hydrochloride salt. This technique was also effective at identifying and distinguishing between phosphorus containing compounds used and/or produced during the manufacture of methamphetamine. Benchtop NMR was also determined to be effective at analysing samples from suspected clandestine laboratories.

      PubDate: 2017-07-10T05:59:38Z
       
  • Reproducibility of characteristic marks on fired cartridge cases from five
           Chinese Norinco QSZ-92 9×19mm pistols
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International, Volume 278
      Author(s): Kaifeng Zhang, Yaping Luo, Peng Zhou
      Reproducibility of characteristic marks on fired cartridge cases from five Chinese Norinco QSZ-92 9×19mm pistols over the course of 3070 shots is addressed using an Evofinder® system. The first 20 cartridges are all studied, while one random sample out of every ten consecutively fired cartridge cases is studied for the rest 3050 rounds. As such, a total of 325 cartridges are entered into the system for each pistol and a database consisting of 1625 cartridges from five pistols is established in this paper. Both onscreen examination and automatic correlation are used to examine the reproducibility. In the onscreen examination process, it is possible for firearm examiners to positively identify the first cartridge to the 500th, 1000th, 1500th, 2000th, 2500th, 3000th, 3070th cartridge. In the automatic correlation process, the first cartridge of each firearm is separately performed correlation against the database. It is found that the similarity score for match objects changes slightly as the shot number increases, indicating slight variations of marks. However, these variations have not prohibited the Evofinder® system to make correct correlation and rank 100% of the known match objects on the top of the correlation list by either firing pin impression or breech face mark. Thus, the reproducibility is proved statistically and objectively in this paper.

      PubDate: 2017-07-10T05:59:38Z
       
  • Application of forensic image analysis in accident investigations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 July 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Ellen Verolme, Arjan Mieremet
      Forensic investigations are primarily meant to obtain objective answers that can be used for criminal prosecution. Accident analyses are usually performed to learn from incidents and to prevent similar events from occurring in the future. Although the primary goal may be different, the steps in which information is gathered, interpreted and weighed are similar in both types of investigations, implying that forensic techniques can be of use in accident investigations as well. The use in accident investigations usually means that more information can be obtained from the available information than when used in criminal investigations, since the latter require a higher evidence level. In this paper, we demonstrate the applicability of forensic techniques for accident investigations by presenting a number of cases from one specific field of expertise: image analysis. With the rapid spread of digital devices and new media, a wealth of image material and other digital information has become available for accident investigators. We show that much information can be distilled from footage by using forensic image analysis techniques. These applications show that image analysis provides information that is crucial for obtaining the sequence of events and the two- and three-dimensional geometry of an accident. Since accident investigation focusses primarily on learning from accidents and prevention of future accidents, and less on the blame that is crucial for criminal investigations, the field of application of these forensic tools may be broader than would be the case in purely legal sense. This is an important notion for future accident investigations.

      PubDate: 2017-07-10T05:59:38Z
       
  • Activity level DNA evidence evaluation: on propositions addressing the
           actor or the activity
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 July 2017
      Source:Forensic Science International
      Author(s): Bas Kokshoorn, Bart J. Blankers, Jacob C. De Zoete, Charles. E.H. Berger
      More often than not, the source of DNA traces found at a crime scene is not disputed, but the activity or timing of events that resulted in their transfer is. As a consequence, practitioners are increasingly asked to assign a value to DNA evidence given propositions about activities provided by prosecution and defense counsel. Given that the dispute concerns the nature of the activity that took place or the identity of the actor that carried out the activity, several factors will determine how to formulate the propositions. Determining factors are (1) whether defense claims the crime never took place, (2) whether defense claims someone other than the accused (either an unknown individual or a known person) performed the criminal activity, and (3) whether it is claimed and disputed that the suspect performed an alternative, legitimate activity or has a relation to the victim, the object, or the scene of crime that implies a legitimate interaction. Addressing such propositions using Bayesian networks, we demonstrate the effects of the various proposition sets on the evaluation of the evidence.

      PubDate: 2017-07-10T05:59:38Z
       
 
 
JournalTOCs
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Email: journaltocs@hw.ac.uk
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762
Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
 
Home (Search)
Subjects A-Z
Publishers A-Z
Customise
APIs
Your IP address: 54.80.180.248
 
About JournalTOCs
API
Help
News (blog, publications)
JournalTOCs on Twitter   JournalTOCs on Facebook

JournalTOCs © 2009-2016