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Journal Cover Journal of Forensic Sciences
  [SJR: 0.896]   [H-I: 73]   [487 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0022-1198 - ISSN (Online) 1556-4029
   Published by John Wiley and Sons Homepage  [1577 journals]
  • Injury Patterns Sustained in Fatal Motor Vehicle Collisions with Driver's
           Third‐Generation Airbag Deployment
    • Abstract: The Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario database for 2011–2012 was used to compare fatal injury patterns in drivers whose third‐generation airbags deployed compared to first‐ and second‐generation airbag deployments and airbag nondeployments with and without seatbelt use. There were 110 frontal and offset frontal crashes analyzed. The small sample size meant that the odds of craniocerebral, cervical spinal, thoracic, and abdominal injuries were not statistically different for airbag generation, deployment status, and seatbelt use; however, the risk of fatal thoracic injuries in third‐ and second‐generation cases was increased. Seatbelt usage in third‐ and second‐generation deployment cases reduced the risk of all injuries except abdominal trauma. High severity impacts and occupant compartment intrusion were frequently observed. The analyses in this retrospective study were challenged by data that were not collated in a standardized way and were limited in details about scene, vehicle, and driver variables.
  • Trace DNA Sampling Success from Evidence Items Commonly Encountered in
           Forensic Casework
    • Abstract: Trace DNA analysis is a significant part of a forensic laboratory's workload. Knowing optimal sampling strategies and item success rates for particular item types can assist in evidence selection and examination processes and shorten turnaround times. In this study, forensic short tandem repeat (STR) casework results were reviewed to determine how often STR profiles suitable for comparison were obtained from “handler” and “wearer” areas of 764 items commonly submitted for examination. One hundred and fifty‐five (155) items obtained from volunteers were also sampled. Items were analyzed for best sampling location and strategy. For casework items, headwear and gloves provided the highest success rates. Experimentally, eyeglasses and earphones, T‐shirts, fabric gloves and watches provided the highest success rates. Eyeglasses and latex gloves provided optimal results if the entire surfaces were swabbed. In general, at least 10%, and up to 88% of all trace DNA analyses resulted in suitable STR profiles for comparison.
  • Suicidal Decapitation by Hanging—A Population‐based Study
    • Abstract: A prospective study was undertaken at Forensic Science SA over a 15‐year period from July 2002 to June 2017 for all cases of adult (>18 years) suicidal hangings with decapitation. A total of 1446 cases of suicidal hangings were identified from a general population of approximately 1.5 million (1206 males—age range 18–97 years, average 42.6; and 240 females—age range 18–96 years, average 40.1). Only three cases of decapitation were found, all from long‐drop hangings; these consisted of three males (ages 32–55 years; average 45 years). Spinal transections had occurred between the first and second, second and third, and third and fourth cervical vertebrae, respectively. In this study, the number of suicidal hangings with decapitation represented only 0.2% of the total number of hangings. These events are therefore extremely rare, most likely due to most suicidal hangings occurring from relatively low levels in a domestic environment.
  • The Role of Forensic Botany in Solving a Case: Scientific Evidence on the
           Falsification of a Crime Scene
    • Abstract: Forensic botany can provide useful information for pathologists, particularly on crime scene investigation. We report the case of a man who arrived at the hospital and died shortly afterward. The body showed widespread electrical lesions. The statements of his brother and wife about the incident aroused a large amount of suspicion in the investigators. A crime scene investigation was carried out, along with a botanical morphological survey on small vegetations found on the corpse. An autopsy was also performed. Botanical analysis showed some samples of Xanthium spinosum, thus leading to the discovery of the falsification of the crime scene although the location of the true crime scene remained a mystery. The botanical analysis, along with circumstantial data and autopsy findings, led to the discovery of the real crime scene and became crucial as part of the legal evidence regarding the falsity of the statements made to investigators.
  • The Biological Effects of Kambo: Is There a Relationship Between its
           Administration and Sudden Death'
    • Abstract: Kambo is a substance obtained from the skin secretions of a frog, Phyllomedusa bicolor, popular in the Amazon region, which is administered via the transdermal route. We report a case of 42‐year‐old man found dead in his house. Near the corpse, a plastic box labeled as “Kambo sticks” was found. The man was a chronic consumer of Kambo and no previous pathology or genetic disease emerged in clinical history from the declaration of his general practitioner. Autopsy investigations and toxicological analysis were performed. The histopathological examination showed left ventricular hypertrophy. Toxicological screening was negative for ethanol and other drugs. Phyllocaerulein, phyllokinin, and deltorphin A were isolated from the Kambo sticks but, only deltorphin A was detected in blood sample. We describe the first forensic case of death associated with Kambo administration. We attempt to explain how its use could be related to the cause of sudden death in this case.
  • An Improved Version of a Tool Mark Comparison Algorithm
    • Abstract: Chumbley et al. (2010) described a statistically based algorithm for comparing pairs of tool marks. They presented empirical evidence that the algorithm produces well‐separated similarity score values for “matching” and “non‐matching” pairs of tool marks. However, the algorithm has two substantial weaknesses. First, it is “uncalibrated” in the sense that error rates can be determined only through empirical investigation. Second, it relies on a randomized test and can lead to different similarity scores when the algorithm is repeatedly applied to the same pair of tool marks. We present an improved version of the procedure, which eliminates the randomized scores and yields more consistent and predictable error rate control. This is accomplished by replacement of a random sampling step from the original algorithm with a deterministic process. We demonstrate the improved algorithm and compare its performance to the original by applying to known “matching” and “non‐matching” pairs of tool marks.
  • Identification of
           (bk‐IVP) in a Seized Drug Exhibit
    • Abstract: To circumvent the law by evading regulation and obscuring their identities in routine analyses, numerous substituted cathinones have entered the illicit drug market. These compounds have been coined “bath salts” by users. In the described case, the laboratory received an unknown white powder for controlled substances identification. The sample could not be immediately identified using standard methods and procedures. Ultimately, the structure was elucidated using GC‐MS, NMR, FTIR, GC‐SPIR, UV, and color tests to be 1‐(2,3‐dihydro‐1H‐inden‐5‐yl)‐2‐(ethylamino)pentan‐1‐one (bk‐IVP), a cathinone analog with a rarely observed nonoxygenated bicyclic ring system. Features of spectra and chemical tests are reported that distinguish this class of cathinones from heterocyclic analogs.
  • Reanalysis of Korean War Anthropological Records to Support the Resolution
           of Cold Cases
    • Abstract: Re‐investigation of previously unidentified remains from the Korean War has yielded 55 new identifications, each with corresponding records of prior anthropological analyses. This study compares biological assessments for age at death, stature, and ancestry across (i) anthropological analyses from the 1950s, (ii) recent anthropological analyses of those same sets of remains, and (iii) the reported antemortem biological information for the identified individual. A comparison of long bone measurements from both the 1950s and during reanalysis is also presented. These comparisons demonstrate commonalities and continuing patterns of errors that are useful in refining both research on Korean War cold case records and forensic anthropological analyses performed using methods developed from the 1950s identifications.
  • The Micro‐Taphonomy of Cold: Differential Microcracking in Response to
           Experimental Cold‐Stresses
    • Abstract: Cold is a central feature of environments at higher latitudes and elevations. Thus, cold‐induced taphonomic changes are relevant in many forensic contexts. Fifty‐two lamb bone segments were used to assess the impact of cold, freeze‐thaw cycles, freeze‐drying, and water immersion on microstructural cracking of bone in a series of controlled exposure experiments. For each bone segment, three thin sections were examined under a light microscope. Cold exposure caused taphonomic changes in the form of microscopic cracking. Transverse cracks occurred in all treatments, whereas osteonal cracks were restricted to rapid freezing treatments. Type of cold exposure had a statistically significant effect on both the total number of cracks and each type of crack observed. Skeletal microcracking could potentially be used as a taphonomic indicator of postmortem bone exposure to sub‐zero temperatures. The type and prevalence of this damage could also be used to distinguish between different types of cold exposure.
  • Effects of Cremation on Fetal Bones
    • Abstract: The charring process is a weak point of anthropological analysis as it changes bone morphology and reduces information obtainable, specially in fetuses. This experiment aims at verifying the conservation of fetal bones after cremation. A total of 3138 fetuses of unknown sex and age were used, deriving from legal and therapeutic abortions from different hospitals of Milan. Cremations took place in modern crematoria. Nine cremation events were analyzed, each ranging from 57 to 915 simultaneously cremated fetuses. During the cremations, 4356 skeletal remains were recovered, 3756 of which (86.2%) were morphologically distinguishable. All types of fetal skeletal elements were found, with the exception of some cranial bones. Only 3.4% of individuals could be detected after the cremation process, because of the prevalence of abortions under 12 lunar weeks. All fire alterations were observed and the results were statistically analyzed. This pilot study confirmed the possibility of preservation of fetal skeletal elements after cremation.
  • The Effect of Body Mass on Outdoor Adult Human Decomposition
    • Abstract: Forensic taphonomy explores factors impacting human decomposition. This study investigated the effect of body mass on the rate and pattern of adult human decomposition. Nine males and three females aged 49–95 years ranging in mass from 73 to 159 kg who were donated to the Complex for Forensic Anthropology Research between December 2012 and September 2015 were included in this study. Kelvin accumulated degree days (KADD) were used to assess the thermal energy required for subjects to reach several total body score (TBS) thresholds: early decomposition (TBS ≥6.0), TBS ≥12.5, advanced decomposition (TBS ≥19.0), TBS ≥23.0, and skeletonization (TBS ≥27.0). Results indicate no significant correlation between body mass and KADD at any TBS threshold. Body mass accounted for up to 24.0% of variation in decomposition rate depending on stage, and minor differences in decomposition pattern were observed. Body mass likely has a minimal impact on postmortem interval estimation.
  • Identification of Eight Synthetic Cannabinoids, Including 5F‐AKB48 in
           Seized Herbal Products Using DART‐TOF‐MS and LC‐QTOF‐MS as
           Nontargeted Screening Methods
    • Abstract: Synthetic cannabinoids are sprayed onto plant material and smoked for their marijuana‐like effects. Clandestine manufacturers modify synthetic cannabinoid structures by creating closely related analogs. Forensic laboratories are tasked with detection of these analog compounds, but targeted analytical methods are often thwarted by the structural modifications. Here, direct analysis in real time coupled to accurate mass time‐of‐flight mass spectrometry (DART‐TOF‐MS) in combination with liquid chromatography quadruple time‐of‐flight mass spectrometry (LC‐QTOF‐MS) are presented as a screening and nontargeted confirmation method, respectively. Methanol extracts of herbal material were run using both methods. Spectral data from four different herbal products were evaluated by comparing fragmentation pattern, accurate mass and retention time to available reference standards. JWH‐018, JWH‐019, AM2201, JWH‐122, 5F‐AKB48, AKB48‐N‐(4‐pentenyl) analog, UR144, and XLR11 were identified in the products. Results demonstrate that DART‐TOF‐MS affords a useful approach for rapid screening of herbal products for the presence and identification of synthetic cannabinoids.
  • Raman Microspectroscopic Mapping: A Tool for Identification of Fused
           Materials in Fire Debris
    • Abstract: Examination of fire debris can provide information about the types of materials which were present at the time of the fire to give insights for fire scene reconstruction and understanding compartment fire dynamics. This paper demonstrates the ability of Raman spectroscopy for material identification postfire in complex situations, such as the production of fused masses during fire dropdown. A validated Raman spectral library is combined with Raman mapping in three fire case studies, to determine the individual materials in the fused masses formed. The case studies accessed material combinations of several common polymers. Raman mapping was carried out on a 10 μm × 10 μm square of the masses. Material identification using this technique ranged from a high of 85% match to a low of 40% match. This work demonstrated that complex masses found in the fire debris can be resolved into the individual material components for identification and spatial distribution.
  • Quantitative Differentiation of Bloodstain Patterns Resulting from Gunshot
           and Blunt Force Impacts
    • Abstract: Bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA) provides significant evidentiary value in crime scene interpretation and reconstruction. In this work, we develop a quantitative methodology using digital image analysis techniques to differentiate impact bloodstain patterns. The bloodstain patterns were digitally imaged and analyzed using image analysis algorithms. Our analysis of 72 unique bloodstain patterns, comprising more than 490,000 individual droplet stains, indicates that the mean drop size in a gunshot spatter pattern is at most 30% smaller than the mean drop stain size in blunt instrument patterns. In contrast, we demonstrate that the spatial distribution of the droplet stains—their density as a function of position in the pattern—significantly differs between gunshot and blunt instrument patterns, with densities as much as 400% larger for gunshot impacts. Thus, quantitative metrics involving the spatial distribution of droplet stains within a bloodstain pattern can be useful for objective differentiation between blunt instrument and gunshot bloodstain patterns.
  • Latent Fingermark Aging Patterns (Part III): Discontinuity Index as One
           Indicator of Degradation
    • Abstract: This article is the third in a series of reports exploring quantifiable visual parameters of the aging process of latent fingermarks. On this occasion, research is focused on the occurrence of ridge discontinuities (i.e. breakages) as a function of time. Experiment variables included type of secretion (eccrine and sebaceous), substrate (glass and plastic), and exposure to natural light (dark, shade, and direct light) over a 6 months period. Fingermarks were sequentially visualized with titanium dioxide powder, photographed, and the number of naturally occurring ridge discontinuities subsequently evaluated. A semi‐quantitative value, named Discontinuity Index, was used to better characterize this aging parameter. Results indicated that ridges of sebaceous depositions on glass were generally less affected by the environmental conditions compared with those on plastic surface. In addition, aging in darkness was not always the best condition for preservation, and the direct exposure to light seemed not to affect the degradation under certain conditions.
  • Optimizing Ballistic Imaging Operations
    • Abstract: Ballistic imaging systems can help solve crimes by comparing images of cartridge cases, which are recovered from a crime scene or test‐fired from a gun, to a database of images obtained from past crime scenes. Many U.S. municipalities lack the resources to process all of their cartridge cases. Using data from Stockton, CA, we analyze two problems: how to allocate limited capacity to maximize the number of cartridge cases that generate at least one hit, and how to prioritize the cartridge cases that are processed to maximize the usefulness (i.e., obtained before the corresponding criminal case is closed) of hits. The number of hits can be significantly increased by prioritizing crime scene evidence over test‐fires, and by ranking calibers by their hit probability and processing only the higher ranking calibers. We also estimate that last‐come first‐served increases the proportion of hits that are useful by only 0.05 relative to first‐come first‐served.
  • Visualizing Digital Forensic Datasets: A Proof of Concept
    • Abstract: Digital forensic visualization is an understudied area despite its potential to achieve significant improvements in the efficiency of an investigation, criminal or civil. In this study, a three‐stage forensic data storage and visualization life cycle is presented. The first stage is the decoding of data, which involves preparing both structured and unstructured data for storage. In the storage stage, data are stored within our proposed database schema designed for ensuring data integrity and speed of storage and retrieval. The final stage is the visualization of stored data in a manner that facilitates user interaction. These functionalities are implemented in a proof of concept to demonstrate the utility of the proposed life cycle. The proof of concept demonstrates the utility of the proposed approach for the storage and visualization of digital forensic data.
  • Facial Age Synthesis Using Sparse Partial Least Squares (The Case of Ben
    • Abstract: Automatic facial age progression (AFAP) has been an active area of research in recent years. This is due to its numerous applications which include searching for missing. This study presents a new method of AFAP. Here, we use an active appearance model (AAM) to extract facial features from available images. An aging function is then modelled using sparse partial least squares regression (sPLS). Thereafter, the aging function is used to render new faces at different ages. To test the accuracy of our algorithm, extensive evaluation is conducted using a database of 500 face images with known ages. Furthermore, the algorithm is used to progress Ben Needham's facial image that was taken when he was 21 months old to the ages of 6, 14, and 22 years. The algorithm presented in this study could potentially be used to enhance the search for missing people worldwide.
  • Evaluation of Acute Alcohol Intoxication as the Primary Cause of Death: A
           Diagnostic Challenge for Forensic Pathologists
    • Abstract: Deaths caused by acute alcohol intoxication (AAI) remain a major public health issue. This study is retrospective and descriptive: an 8‐year case analysis of deaths due to AAI in Maryland. Study showed that of 150 AAI deaths, the death rate among Hispanics (10.41/100,000 population) was significantly higher than all the non‐Hispanics combined (1.88/100,000 population). The majority of individuals were young adults, overweight, and binge drinkers. The obese group showed significantly lower mean heart and peripheral blood alcohol concentration (BAC) (0.36%, 0.37%) than the normal weight group (0.45%, 0.42%). Based on the PBAC and urine AC ratio, 49.6% deaths likely occurred close to peak phase, followed by postabsorptive phase (31.6%) and absorptive phase (18.8%). Our results indicate that forensic pathologists should evaluate postmortem BAC in the light of individual's age, drinking history, body weight, possible phase of alcohol intoxication, and other autopsy findings when certifying AAI as primary cause of death.
  • Flail Chest Following Failed Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
    • Abstract: Following the death of a woman with blunt force chest trauma, the question was asked how common was the finding at autopsy of a flail chest in decedents after failed cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It was suggested in court that this was an uncommon occurrence. To address this issue, autopsy cases in adults (>18 years) with rib fractures attributable to cardiopulmonary resuscitation were taken from the files of Forensic Science SA over a 7‐year period from 2008 to 2014. Flail chest injuries were defined as those arising from fractures at two sites in at least three consecutive ribs. From 236 cases with rib fractures attributed to resuscitation, a total of 43 flail chest injuries were found in 35 cases (14.8%). The majority occurred in the 60‐79‐year‐old age group. These data suggest that flail chest injuries are a more common sequelae of cardiopulmonary resuscitation than has been previously appreciated in autopsy cases, particularly in the elderly.
  • Use of an Automated Nested Multiplex Respiratory Pathogen PCR Panel
           Postmortem in the Pediatric Forensic Setting
    • Abstract: Respiratory pathogens have been detected in forensic investigations using multiple techniques; however, no study has examined the use of automated, nested, multiplex polymerase chain reaction (ANM‐PCR), commonly used in living patients, in the forensic setting. This retrospective study assessed the utility of ANM‐PCR in detecting respiratory pathogens in the pediatric forensic setting. Respiratory samples from 35 cases were tested for up to 20 respiratory pathogens. 51.4% of these cases yielded a positive ANM‐PCR result, 20% of which were considered the cause of or contributory to death. The most commonly detected pathogens were rhinovirus/enterovirus and respiratory syncytial virus, and these were the only pathogens determined to play a significant role in cause of death. The sampled sites and postmortem intervals tested did not affect the likelihood of a positive or negative test. ANM‐PCR panels are effective, affordable, and rapid ancillary tools in evaluating cause of death in the forensic pediatric population.
  • Sex‐ and Size‐Related Patterns of Carrion Visitation in Necrodes
           littoralis (Coleoptera: Silphidae) and Creophilus maxillosus (Coleoptera:
    • Abstract: The estimation of postmortem interval (PMI) based on successional patterns of adult insects is largely limited, due to the lack of potential PMI markers. Sex and size of adult insects could be easily used for such estimation. In this study, sex‐ and size‐related patterns of carrion attendance by adult insects were analyzed in Necrodes littoralis (Coleoptera: Silphidae) and Creophilus maxillosus (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae). For both species, abundance of males and females changed similarly during decomposition. A slightly female‐biased sex ratio was recorded in N. littoralis. Females of N. littoralis started visiting carcasses, on average, one day earlier than males. There was a rise in size of males of N. littoralis at the end of decomposition, whereas for females of both species and males of C. maxillosus, no size‐related patterns of carrion visitation were found. Current results demonstrate that size and sex of adult carrion beetles are poor indicators of PMI.
  • Temperature‐dependent Development of Parasarcophaga similis (Meade 1876)
           and its Significance in Estimating Postmortem Interval
    • Abstract: Flesh flies are commonly found insects on decaying corpses that appears slightly later than blowflies, and their development patterns are significant indicators for minimum postmortem interval (PMImin) estimation. In this study, the flesh fly Parasarcophaga similis (Meade 1876) was reared at nine constant temperatures ranging from 15°C to 35°C to examine indicators for estimating their age. We generated three development models, including isomorphen diagram, isomegalen diagram, and thermal summation model. Larval body length at different rearing temperatures was fit into an L = a + bT + cT2 + dT3 equation with which the relationship between the larval body length (L) and the time after larviposition (T) was confirmed. The pupal stage was categorized into 13 substages according to intrapuparial morphological changes, and a detailed table was generated of the pupal developmental stages at five rearing temperatures, 15°C, 20°C, 25°C, 30°C, and 35°C. This study provides fundamental data in supporting P. similis as an indicator for PMImin estimation.
  • Profile of Hospital Admissions due to Self‐Inflicted Harm in Los Angeles
           County from 2001 to 2010
    • Abstract: We aimed to describe the demographic profile of self‐inflicted harm (SIH) in Los Angeles County between 2001 and 2010 and to investigate trends over this 10‐year period. We used the California Hospital Discharge Data to investigate all cases of hospital admission due to SIH, including suicide attempts and if they had a concurrent psychiatric diagnosis based on ICD‐9 codes. African‐Americans (AA) had the highest 10‐year SIH admission rates. SIH admission rates remained steady throughout the 10‐year study period. Median age of SIH was significantly lower in Latinos. Episodic mood disorders were the most common psychiatric comorbidity. The use of solid/liquid poisoning was the most common SIH method among all racial/ethnic groups. We found major disparities in SIH admissions across racial/ethnic subgroups. The importance of programs to identify, prevent, and treat SIH in these groups is discussed.
  • Sexual Dimorphism of the First Rib: A Comparative Approach Using Metric
           and Geometric Morphometric Analyses
    • Abstract: This research investigated the sexual dimorphism of the first human rib using geometric morphometric and metric approaches on a sample of 285 specimens containing European Americans and African Americans from the Hamann‐Todd collection. Metric measurements were investigated for sexual dimorphism and ancestral differences using univariate statistics. Four type II landmarks and 40 sliding semi‐landmarks were placed outlining the dorsal and ventral curvatures of the ribs. Landmark data were processed using Generalized Procrustes Analyses with Procrustes distance sliding, and the subsequent coordinates were investigated for sexual dimorphism and ancestral differences using Procrustes ANOVAs. Both geometric morphometric and metric data were analyzed using cross‐validated discriminant function analyses to test the hypothesis that variables from both approaches can be combined to increase sex classification rate. European Americans had sex correctly classified as high as 88.05% and African Americans as high as 70.86% using a combination of metric and geometric morphometric variables.
  • Quantifying Sexual Dimorphism in the Human Cranium: A Preliminary Analysis
           of a Novel Method
    • Abstract: In forensic anthropology, sexually dimorphic cranial features are traditionally visually assessed and scored using an ordinal scale, which is highly subjective. This study quantifies six cranial features using original three‐dimensional coordinate measurements to provide greater accuracy in sex estimation. Cranial features include supraorbital ridges, glabella, external occipital protuberance, nuchal protuberances, mastoid processes, and frontal bosses. Measurements were taken using coordinate calipers from 158 White and Black male and female crania from the Maxwell Documented Collection at University of New Mexico and Tennessee's Bass Collection. Overall, 72.2% of the crania were correctly classified. Males were correctly classified 69.9% of the time, while females were correctly classified 74.7% of the time. The overall value is similar to the results from traditional methods and suggests this method may be just as reliable as established visual sex estimation techniques.
  • A Comparative Taphonomic Analysis of 24 Trophy Skulls from Modern Forensic
    • Abstract: Cranial remains retained from fallen enemies are commonly referred to as “trophy skulls,” and many such crania were acquired as souvenirs by U.S. servicemembers during WWII and the Vietnam conflict. These remains increasingly have become the subject of forensic anthropological analysis as their possessors, typically veterans or their relatives, try to discard or repatriate them. The present research uses a qualitative analytical approach to review 24 cases of reported trophy skulls (14 previously unpublished cases and 10 from the literature) to determine which perimortem and postmortem characteristics are most useful for generating a taphonomic profile. Overall, the taphonomic signature of trophy remains includes traits relating to acquisition and preparation, ornamental display, and subsequent curation. Contextual evidence and the biological profile also are considered when determining the possible origin of human cranial remains as a trophy skull. Thorough taphonomic analysis will aid in identifying these types of remains as trophy skulls.
  • Comparison Among Manual Facial Approximations Conducted by Two
           Methodological Approaches of Face Prediction
    • Abstract: This study verified the difference between two methods of forensic facial approximation (FFA) regarding recognition and resemblance rates. Three‐dimensional models of skulls were obtained from computerized tomography (CT) scans of two subjects (targets). Two manual FFAs were performed for each target, by applying two different guidelines for the facial structures (what we called “American method” (AM) and “Combined method” (CM)). Unfamiliar assessors evaluated the sculptures by recognition and resemblance tests. The AM was that which allowed more correct responses of recognition and higher resemblance's scores for the male target (p 
  • The Reliability of Facial Recognition of Deceased Persons on Photographs
    • Abstract: In humanitarian emergencies, such as the current deceased migrants in the Mediterranean, antemortem documentation needed for identification may be limited. The use of visual identification has been previously reported in cases of mass disasters such as Thai tsunami. This pilot study explores the ability of observers to match unfamiliar faces of living and dead persons and whether facial morphology can be used for identification. A questionnaire was given to 41 students and five professionals in the field of forensic identification with the task to choose whether a facial photograph corresponds to one of the five photographs in a lineup and to identify the most useful features used for recognition. Although the overall recognition score did not significantly differ between professionals and students, the median scores of 78.1% and 80.0%, respectively, were too low to consider this method as a reliable identification method and thus needs to be supported by other means.
  • Comparing the Scoring of Human Decomposition from Digital Images to
           Scoring Using On‐site Observations
    • Abstract: When in forensic casework or empirical research in‐person assessment of human decomposition is not possible, the sensible substitution is color photographic images. To date, no research has confirmed the utility of color photographic images as a proxy for in situ observation of the level of decomposition. Sixteen observers scored photographs of 13 human cadavers in varying decomposition stages (PMI 2–186 days) using the Total Body Score system (total n = 929 observations). The on‐site TBS was compared with recorded observations from digital color images using a paired samples t‐test. The average difference between on‐site and photographic observations was −0.20 (t = −1.679, df = 928, p = 0.094). Individually, only two observers, both students with
  • Assessment of the Effects Exerted by Acid and Alkaline Solutions on Bone:
           Is Chemistry the Answer'
    • Abstract: The treatment of corpses with extremely acid or basic liquids is sometimes performed in criminal contexts. A thorough characterization by chemical analysis may provide further help to macroscopic and microscopic analysis; 63 porcine bone samples were treated with solutions at different pH (1–14) for immersion periods up to 70 days, as well as in extremely acidic sulfuric acid solutions (9 M/18 M) and extremely basic sodium hydroxide. Inductively coupled optical emission spectrometry (ICP‐OES)/plasma mass spectrometry (ICP‐MS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT‐IR), energy dispersive X‐ray analysis (EDX), X‐ray powder diffraction (XRPD), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that only the sulfuric acid solution 18 M was able to completely dissolve the sample. In addition, chemical analysis allowed to recognize the contact between bone and substances. Hydrated calcium sulfate arose from extreme pH. The possibility of detecting the presence of human material within the residual solution was demonstrated, especially with FT‐IR, ICP‐OES, and EDX.
  • Application of the Stephan et al. Chest Radiograph Comparison Method to
           Decomposed Human Remains
    • Abstract: This manuscript describes the use of comparative radiography of the chest to facilitate positive identification of human remains in advanced stages of decomposition. The method reported by Stephan et al. for positive identification of dry, disarticulated skeletal elements was used on semifleshed, decomposing remains. Positive identification was established through multiple points of concordance observed in radiographs of the left and right clavicles and the C5‐T1 vertebrae. This case study demonstrates the applicability of the Stephan et al.'s method in cases involving decomposing remains.
  • Bloodstains on Leather: Examination of False Negatives in Presumptive Test
           and Human Hemoglobin Test
    • Abstract: Presumptive tests for blood are very simple and sensitive tests used in the search for evidence. They also provide initial information on the nature of stains. A second test can confirm their nature. However, these tests can present false–negative results for different reasons. Some of those reasons have been studied, while others, those caused by the substrate material that contains the stain, are less well known. This work studies the effect of one component of a leather substrate—quebracho extract—on presumptive and human hemoglobin blood tests. Assays were performed using samples of blood dilutions contaminated with quebracho extract and others formed on a substrate containing the contaminant. Results show an undoubted interference that causes false negatives and even visible to the naked eye stains and also indicate that some tests (phenolphthalein) are more affected than others. Examiners should be taken into account when working on this kind of substrates.
  • The Effect of Varying the Composition of Fingerprint Sweat Deposits on the
           Corrosion of Brass and Fingerprint Visibility
    • Abstract: Corrosion of α‐phase brass by sebaceous sweat fingerprint deposits produced identifiable impressions in a majority of samples (n = 40) 4 days after deposition. Combining sebaceous with eccrine sweat yielded a greater percentage of identifiable fingerprint deposits, although this increase was not statistically significant. Production of identifiable fingerprints from eccrine sweat deposits was dependent on the sampling time of year with deposits taken during summer months giving similar percentages of identifiable fingerprints to sebaceous deposits. A statistically significant positive correlation was found between elapsed days after deposition and identifiable eccrine (ρ = 0.787, p < 0.05), sebaceous (ρ = 0.724, p < 0.05), and eccrine/sebaceous mixture (ρ = 0.908, p < 0.01) fingerprints deposited during summer months. The summer increase in the percentage of identifiable eccrine sweat deposits was statistically significant compared to winter eccrine deposits (p < 0.0001). Observations were consistent with results obtained from artificial sebaceous and eccrine sweat.
  • Accuracy of Dental Age in Nonadults: A Comparison of Two Methods for Age
           Estimation Using Radiographs of Developing Teeth
    • Abstract: This research tests the accuracy of two methods for age estimation, Cameriere's European formula and AlQahtani's London Atlas, on a multi‐population American sample. Digitized radiographs of 360 European American, Hispanic, and American Indian children aged 6–17 years were analyzed. The accuracy of these methods was assessed using the mean and absolute mean difference of the residuals. Results indicate that Cameriere's European formula underestimated age for both sexes, with a mean difference of −1.19 years for girls and −1.32 years for boys, prompting the first author to create an American‐specific formula. The London Atlas underestimated age with a mean difference of −0.18 years for girls and −0.16 years for boys. Sex and ancestry had no significant affect on accuracy. The results indicate that both methods can be used for age estimation in an American population.
  • Benford's Law for Quality Assurance of Manner of Death Counts in Small and
           Large Databases
    • Abstract: To assess if Benford's law, a mathematical law used for quality assurance in accounting, can be applied as a quality assurance measure for the manner of death determination. We examined a regional forensic pathology service's monthly manner of death counts (N = 2352) from 2011 to 2013, and provincial monthly and weekly death counts from 2009 to 2013 (N = 81,831). We tested whether each dataset's leading digit followed Benford's law via the chi‐square test. For each database, we assessed whether number 1 was the most common leading digit. The manner of death counts first digit followed Benford's law in all the three datasets. Two of the three datasets had 1 as the most frequent leading digit. The manner of death data in this study showed qualities consistent with Benford's law. The law has potential as a quality assurance metric in the manner of death determination for both small and large databases.
  • Use of Cardiac Injury Markers in the Postmortem Diagnosis of Sudden
           Cardiac Death
    • Abstract: In the daily practice of forensic pathology, sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a diagnostic challenge. Our aim was to determine the usefulness of blood biomarkers [creatine kinase CK‐MB, myoglobin, troponins I and T (cTn‐I and T), and lactate dehydrogenase] measured by immunoassay technique, in the postmortem diagnosis of SCD. Two groups were compared, 20 corpses with SCD and 8 controls. Statistical significance was determined by variance analysis procedures, with a post hoc Tukey multiple range test for comparison of means (p < 0.05). SCD cases showed significantly higher levels (p < 0.05) of cTn‐T and cTn‐I compared to the control group. Although only cases within the first 8 h of postmortem interval were included, and the control group consisted mainly of violent death cases, our results suggest that blood troponin levels may be useful to support a diagnosis of SCD.
  • Postmortem Serum Tryptase Levels with Special Regard to Acute Cardiac
    • Abstract: An elevated serum tryptase concentration is considered a specific marker for systemic mast cell activation, a central feature of anaphylaxis. However, in some cases of acute cardiovascular death, high concentrations of serum tryptase are also observed. We compared the postmortem serum tryptase concentrations in 74 cases assigned to the following four groups: anaphylactic deaths (Group A, n = 20), acute cardiac deaths (Group ACD, n = 30), acute dissecting aneurysm ruptures (Group ADA, n = 10), and controls (Group C, n = 14). Additionally, the cutoff between Group A and the other groups was calculated using receiver‐operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Tryptase concentrations were markedly elevated in Group A (p < 0.001), Group ACD (p = 0.015), and Group ADA (p = 0.005). The optimal cutoff was 43 ng/mL, the sensitivity was 90%, and the specificity was 98%. While elevated concentrations of tryptase were noted in practical autopsy cases, due attention should be paid to the differential diagnosis between anaphylactic and acute cardiovascular deaths.
  • LIFE BEYOND LIFE – An Easy Way to Derive Lung Fibroblasts from
    • Abstract: Several protocols have illustrated the possibility of deriving cells, such as fibroblasts, from different organs. These techniques generally concern organs sampled from living persons, but have already been described for cadavers, especially concerning the skin and tendons. We present, for the first time, an easy way to derive pulmonary fibroblasts from a lung tissue sampled from a cadaver and directly culture plated. The fibroblast output was checked daily. We obtained lung fibroblasts from 3 (60%) cadavers and 2 (100%) living persons. The fibroblast output took about 3 days for cells from living persons and took up to 39 days for those from cadavers. We did not clearly identify any parameters that could explain these differences. Nevertheless, these derived cells had the same features as the source cells, especially in terms of morphology and proliferation, and could potentially be used in different research domains such as forensic or regeneration medicine.
  • Application of MALDI‐TOF MS for Estimating the Postmortem Interval
           in Rat Muscle Samples
    • Abstract: Estimating the postmortem interval (PMI) is very important in the forensic sciences. Although many approaches have been used for estimating the PMI, accurate PMI calculations are still difficult. In this study, four Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were sacrificed by suffocation, and muscle samples were collected by dissection at various time intervals (0, 48, 96, and 144 h) after death. All samples were probed using matrix‐assisted laser desorption/ionization time‐of‐flight mass spectrometry (MALDI‐TOFMS) to obtain molecular images and data for principal component analysis (PCA). The results showed that the peaks at m/z 1511, 1543, 1564, 1586 clearly decreased in intensity from 0 to 144 h postmortem and that the time groups were separated from each other on the PCA score plot. The prediction model showed high recognition capability (95.93%) and cross‐validation (83.72%). Our work suggests that MALDI‐TOF MS can be used to determine the PMI.
  • Determination of Time since Death using Vitreous Humor Tryptophan
    • Abstract: Determination of time since death (TSD) plays very important role in forensic examination as it narrows down field of suspects and aids in deceased identification. This study utilizes the fluorescence property of vitreous humor (VH) tryptophan to determine TSD using o‐phthalaldehyde (OPA). The detection limit of these fluorometric studies was found to be 8 ppb indicating sensitivity and high accuracy in TSD determination. The study was performed on selected 76 cadaver with known TSD ranging from 3 to 90 h. Excellent correlation between VH tryptophan and TSD was obtained with a coefficient of correlation R2 = 0.9590. Results showed statistically significant increase in vitreous tryptophan with TSD up to 90 h, and the proposed method was efficaciously applied for prediction of TSD as no systematic error exist. The regression equation obtained from the study is [Trp] = 2.21 + 2.98 * TSD.
  • Preliminary Data on the Role of Emotional Intelligence in Mediating the
           Relationship Between Psychopathic Characteristics and Detention Terms of
           Property Offenders
    • Abstract: We present preliminary data on the role of emotional intelligence (EI) in mediating the relationship between psychopathy and detention term of authors of property crimes. We assumed that the detention term is an approximation of the severity of criminal behavior. A sample of 24 property offenders were individually administered a brief anamnestic interview, the Psychopathic Personality Inventory—Revised (PPI‐R), and the Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). Information concerning the detention term was obtained from prison records. A mediation model was applied to the data showing that offenders high in psychopathic traits (i.e., total PPI‐R score and Self‐centered dimension of PPI‐R) have a low level of ability EI and this is in turn negatively associated with the duration of their prison sentence. Results encourage the investigation of ability EI as a protective factor against the antisocial outcomes of psychopathic disorder.
  • Preliminary Study of Testosterone and Empathy in Determining Recidivism
           and Antisocial Behavior
    • Abstract: Recidivism, repeated criminal behavior after conviction and correction of prior offenses, is a costly problem across the nation. However, the contribution of empathy in determining the risk of recidivism has received limited attention, although lack of empathy has been related to antisocial personality disorder in various studies. Studies linked testosterone to aggression, antisocial behavior, and criminality, and evidence support hormonal connections between empathy and aggression. Adult male prison inmates convicted of violent or nonviolent offenses were included in a cross‐sectional study of empathy, antisocial behavior, salivary testosterone, and recidivism. Subjects underwent criminal history, Empathy Quotient, Levenson Self‐Report Psychopathy Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, Spielberger State‐Trait Anxiety Inventory, and salivary testosterone assays. Bivariate analyses indicated multiple correlations between variables. Multivariate modeling analyses found a significant relationship between self‐reported conviction number and psychopathy scale score (p = 0.013). These preliminary results suggest avenues of investigation of factors contributing to recidivism risk.
  • Visualizing Indented Writing on Thermal Paper by the Controlled
           Application of Heat
    • Abstract: Indented writing on thermal paper made with either one, two, or three sheets of paper above the thermal paper has been visualized by the controlled application of heat to the thermal paper at temperatures below the paper's normal color change temperature. Indentations created by applying a variable pressure to a steel letter stamp showed that, with one sheet above the thermal paper, indentations were more visible at lower pressures than with either two or three sheets above. Handwriting from 20 volunteers produced indented writing graded with most of the text clear and easy to read for all samples with one sheet above, half the samples with two sheets above and eight samples with three sheets above. Comparison with ESDA showed that, with three sheets above, there was a statistically significant difference (p < 0.01), with heating producing more samples than ESDA with most of the text clear and easy to read.
  • Fingerprint Change: Not Visible, But Tangible
    • Abstract: Hand–foot syndrome, a chemotherapy‐induced cutaneous toxicity, can cause an alteration in fingerprints causing a setback for cancer patients due to the occurrence of false rejections. A colon cancer patient was fingerprinted after not having been able to use fingerprint recognition devices after 6 months of adjuvant chemotherapy. The fingerprint images were digitally processed to improve fingerprint definition without altering the papillary design. No evidence of skin toxicity was present. Two months later, the situation returned to normal. The fingerprint evaluation conducted on 15 identification points highlighted the quantitative and qualitative fingerprint alteration details detected after the end of chemotherapy and 2 months later. Fingerprint alteration during chemotherapy has been reported, but to our knowledge, this particular case is the first ever reported without evident clinical signs. Alternative fingerprint identification methods as well as improved biometric identification systems are needed in case of unexpected situations.
  • Identification of a Carbonized Body Using Implanted Surgical Plates: The
           Importance of Computed Tomography
    • Abstract: In addition to clinical examination, forensic odontologists can use diagnostic imaging as an auxiliary method for identification. This paper reports a case where forensic odontologists from the Afrânio Peixoto Legal Medicine Institute in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) positively identified a carbonized and partially calcined body using oral and maxillofacial imaging. The cadaver showed several metallic plates fixed with metallic screws on bones of the neurocranium and viscerocranium. Family members provided spiral computed tomography scans of the skull and a panoramic radiograph that were acquired after an accident that required surgical procedures. Comparative analysis between the clinical exam and the maxillofacial images demonstrated complete coincidence, confirming the victim's identity. Dactyloscopy, which is the most commonly used method of identification, was not possible because of the body carbonization. Thus, diagnostic imaging, especially computed tomography, was essential for elucidation of this case.
  • Domestic Predation of an Elder: A Fatal Dog Attack Case
    • Abstract: We present the case of a 91‐year‐old woman lived alone at her home with two domestic dogs, that is,, a Labrador Retriever and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and found dead. The investigation of the scene revealed that the Bull Terrier's jawbone and chest were covered with blood. The autopsy revealed multiple, histologically confirmed, life‐threatening skin and bone lacerations without scavenging marks. The punctures and tearing of each of the wounds on the skin were compatible with bites. A left humeral fracture and multiple fractures of the right facial bones were observed. The death was attributed to external hemorrhages due to several dog bites. A veterinary physical and behavioral examination indicated that the Bull Terrier was involved in the attack. A domestic predation hypothesis was deemed here most likely due to the presence of food supplies at the scene, the dog's previous history of attack, and the breed of the dog.
  • Case Report of a Migrating Bullet: An Unusual Cause of Postmortem
    • Abstract: Migrating bullets are rare sequelae of penetrating gunshot wounds. Such cases have been described in the neurosurgical literature because they can produce complications in the management of patients such as decline in neurologic status, delays in rehabilitation, and difficulties in bullet removal. In contrast, few postmortem reports have described this phenomenon. We report a case of a gunshot wound in which the projectile entered the left side of the head and traversed to the right frontal area as documented by CT scan on hospital admission. At autopsy, the bullet was noted to have migrated back to the left side of the head from where it was recovered. Medical examiners need to be aware of this unusual phenomenon of retained intracranial projectiles.
  • Repeat Coronary Artery Dissection in Pregnancy: A Case Report and Review
           of the Literature
    • Abstract: Non‐atherosclerotic spontaneous coronary artery dissection (NA‐SCAD) is a rare cause of morbidity and mortality with a propensity for young, healthy, and often peripartum women. NA‐SCAD etiology is poorly understood, with possible hormonal and hereditary mechanisms. Current treatment strategies range from conservative management (often showing resolution on angiographic follow‐up) to invasive angiographic procedures. Rarely, NA‐SCAD has recurred in another coronary artery, ranging hours to years later. We report NA‐SCAD of the right coronary artery (RCA) in a 30‐year old, 3‐month postpartum female with an additional autopsy finding of remote myocardial infarction (MI) in the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery territory. The remote MI is consistent with prior NA‐SCAD of the LAD and, given the medical history, may have occurred in the peripartum period of the decedent first pregnancy 3 years earlier. As such, to the best of our knowledge, this may represent the first reported case of NA‐SCAD recurrence in a subsequent pregnancy.
  • Alteration of the Death Scene After Self‐stabbing: A Case of Sharp Force
           Suicide Disguised by the Victim as a Homicide'
    • Abstract: This paper reports a case of a 72‐year‐old woman who was found dead in her bedroom with a 4 cm vertical stab wound in the abdomen. A bloodstained knife was found in the top drawer of her bedside table. The clothes worn by the victim showed no damage. A bloodstained vest and a sweater with frontal incisions were found far from the victim, in the bathroom and in the bedroom respectively. Several bloodstains were found in every room of the apartment. The evidence found during the forensic examination and, in particular, the Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, led the investigators to determine the manner of death, being consistent with a suicide with a long‐lasting physical activity after self‐stabbing. This report describes an unusual case of “disguised suicide,” in which the victim tried to cover‐up the suicide by changing her clothes and concealing the weapon, in the last minutes of her life.
  • Frozen: Thawing and Its Effect on the Postmortem Microbiome in Two
           Pediatric Cases,
    • Abstract: Previous postmortem microbiome studies have focused on characterizing taxa turnover during an undisturbed decomposition process. How coexisting conditions (e.g., frozen, buried, burned) affect the human microbiome at the time of discovery is less well understood. Microbiome data were collected from two pediatric cases at the Wayne County Medical Examiner in Michigan. The bodies were found frozen, hidden in a freezer for an extended time. Microbial communities were sampled from six external anatomic locations at three time points during the thawing process, prior to autopsy. The 16S rRNA V4 gene amplicon region was sequenced using high‐throughput sequencing (Illumina MiSeq). Microbial diversity increased, and there was a distinct shift in microbial community structure and abundance throughout the thawing process. Overall, these data demonstrate that the postmortem human microbiome changes during the thawing process, and have important forensic implications when bodies have been substantially altered, modified, and concealed after death.
  • Biparietal Thinning: Accidental Death by a Fall from Standing Height
    • Abstract: Biparietal thinning resulting in bilateral and symmetrical resorption and loss of thickness of the parietal bones is an uncommon to rare condition in the anthropological and clinical literature. This enigmatic condition of unknown etiology was first reported in the 18th century and has been variously described as a nonmetric trait, anatomical variant, anomaly, and pathology. Biparietal thinning presents grossly and radiographically as oval‐shaped depressions in 0.25–0.8% and 0.4–0.5% of individuals and with a higher frequency in females over the age of 60 years. A review of the literature revealed only one example of cranial trauma associated with biparietal thinning and none of fatal trauma associated with this condition. This case reports a rare example of fatal trauma in an elderly man that resulted from a backward fall from a standing height and highlights the increased risk of craniocerebral trauma in individuals with this condition.
  • Drug Recognition Evaluation and Chemical Confirmation of a
           25C‐NBOMe‐Impaired Driver
    • Abstract: This case report details an individual arrested for drug‐impaired driving after leaving the scene of multiple motor vehicle collisions and evading police. The driver was examined by a drug recognition expert and failed the drug recognition evaluation. The driver admitted to using cocaine, marijuana, an antidepressant medication and “N‐bomb,” a novel psychoactive substance that possesses hallucinogenic properties. Toxicological analyses at the Centre of Forensic Sciences’ Toronto laboratory revealed only the substance 2‐[4‐chloro‐2,5‐dimethoxyphenyl]‐N‐[(2‐methoxyphenyl)methyl]ethanamine (25C‐NBOMe) in the accused's urine. This is the first report in which 25C‐NBOMe was identified through DRE and toxicological analyses in a drug‐impaired driver.
  • The Toxicology of Methadone‐Related Death in Infants Under 1 Year: Three
           Case Series and Review of the Literature
    • Abstract: Methadone‐related fatalities occur rarely in infants under 1 year, with five confirmed cases in the literature. The interpretation of pediatric postmortem toxicology relies on adult data; however, infants have crucial physiological differences that may impact interpretation of results. Retrospective case review included scene investigation, interviews, autopsy, and NIH/CDC Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation Reporting Form. Methadone levels were confirmed by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC‐MS/MS). The fatal blood methadone levels in this case series ranged from 69 to 700 ng/mL. This review of the literature adds toxicological findings of three methadone‐related infant fatalities and reviews the current literature on methadone‐related death in infants under 1 year. With opioid use on the rise in today's society, forensic experts should have a high index of suspicion for the possibility of intentional or unintentional poisoning in infants.
  • Authors' Response
  • Review of: Hair Analysis in Clinical and Forensic Toxicology
  • Review of: Forensic Archaeology: The Application of Comparative Excavation
           Methods and Recording Systems
  • DXAGE: A New Method for Age at Death Estimation Based on Femoral Bone
           Mineral Density and Artificial Neural Networks
    • Abstract: Age at death estimation in adult skeletons is hampered, among others, by the unremarkable correlation of bone estimators with chronological age, implementation of inappropriate statistical techniques, observer error, and skeletal incompleteness or destruction. Therefore, it is beneficial to consider alternative methods to assess age at death in adult skeletons. The decrease in bone mineral density with age was explored to generate a method to assess age at death in human remains. A connectionist computational approach, artificial neural networks, was employed to model femur densitometry data gathered in 100 female individuals from the Coimbra Identified Skeletal Collection. Bone mineral density declines consistently with age and the method performs appropriately, with mean absolute differences between known and predicted age ranging from 9.19 to 13.49 years. The proposed method—DXAGE—was implemented online to streamline age estimation. This preliminary study highlights the value of densitometry to assess age at death in human remains.
  • Quantifying Macrophages and Hemosiderin in Pediatric Dura Mater,
    • Abstract: Determining the age of a subdural hematoma at autopsy is of great interest for medicolegal purposes. The appearance of pigment-laden macrophages is often referenced as evidence that the subdural hematoma is 3–4 days old. However, understanding the significance of macrophages and hemosiderin requires understanding the histology of infant dura. Samples of grossly unremarkable dura taken from 17 pediatric autopsies were identified and histologically confirmed to lack subdural neomembrane. CD68 immunostaining and Prussian blue staining was performed. The CD68-positive cells per high-power field were quantified, and the presence of iron-containing cells was recorded. CD68-positive cells were present in all cases, even in the dural border layer. Iron-containing cells were identified in 59% of cases, and in the dural border layer in 29%. Therefore, CD68-positive and iron-containing cells can be present in pediatric dura without neomembrane or macroscopic subdural hemorrhage, and this requires consideration when estimating the age of a subdural hematoma.
  • Sex Estimation from Human Cranium: Forensic and Anthropological Interest
           of Maxillary Sinus Volumes
    • Abstract: Sex estimation is a key objective of forensic science. We aimed to establish whether maxillary sinus volumes (MSV) could assist in estimating an individual's sex. One hundred and three CT scans were included. MSV were determined using three-dimensional reconstructions. Two observers performed three-dimensional MSV reconstructions using the same methods. Intra- and interobserver reproducibility were statistically compared using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) (α = 5%). Both intra- and interobserver reproducibility were perfect regarding MSV; both ICCs were 100%. There were no significant differences between right and left MSV (p = 0.083). No correlation was found between age and MSV (p > 0.05). We demonstrated the existence of sexual dimorphism in MSV (p 
  • Application of 3D Laser Scanner to Forensic Engineering
    • Abstract: In the case of building collapses and overturned structures, a three-dimensional (3D) collapse or overturn model is required to reconstruct the accident. As construction sites become increasingly complex and large, 3D laser scanning is sometimes the best tool to accurately document and store the site conditions. This case report presents one case of a structure collapse and one case of an overturned crane reconstructed by a 3D laser scanner. In the case of structural collapse of a prefabricated shoring system, a 3D model reconstructed all the members successfully, a task that is nearly impossible using a scale such as a tape measure. The reconstructed prefabricated shoring system was verified through a structural analysis through comparison with the construction drawings to investigate faults in construction. In the case of the overturned crane, the jib angle and other major dimensions were successfully acquired through 3D laser scanning and used to estimate the working radius. As a result, the propriety of the working radius with the given lifting load was successfully determined.
  • The Accuracy and Applicability of 3D Modeling and Printing Blunt Force
           Cranial Injuries
    • Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine the factors affecting the accuracy of 3D models and 3D prints of cranial blunt force trauma, to evaluate the applicability and limitations of modeling such injuries. Three types of cranial blunt force lesions were documented (hinge, depressed, and comminuted) using three forms of surface scanning (laser, structured light scanner, and photogrammetry) at two different quality settings (standard and high). 3D printed models of the lesions were produced using two different materials (a gypsum-like composite powder called VisiJet® PXL and an acrylic engineered composite plastic called VisiJet® M3 in crystal colour). The results of these analyzes indicate the prints in this study exhibit some statistically significant differences from the actual bone lesions, but details of the lesions can be reproduced to within 2 mm accuracy.
  • Sudden Unexpected Deaths Due to Intracranial Meningioma: Presentation of
           Six Fatal Cases, Review of the Literature, and A Discussion of the
           Mechanisms of Death
    • Abstract: Deaths due to meningiomas are routinely diagnosed in clinical practice because this neoplasm tends to present with the typical progression of neurological deficits. On the other hand, sudden unexpected deaths due to meningiomas are rarely described in the literature. The study presents six fatal cases of previously undiagnosed intracranial meningiomas from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office from 1998 to 2014. The most common explanation of the mechanism of sudden death due to intracranial neoplasms is a rapid increase in intracranial pressure produced by the mass effect of the neoplasm. Other mechanisms of death include acute intracranial and intratumoral hemorrhage, and benign neoplasms that grow in the vicinity of vital centers altering neural discharge in autonomic pathways leading to cardiac suppression or lethal arrhythmia. Forensic pathologists must keep in mind that sudden unexpected death caused by intracranial meningiomas, although extremely rare, may be encountered in the forensic setting.
  • The Physical Effects of Contact and Close-Distance Gunfire on Sweatshirt
    • Abstract: Powder stippling caused by the impact of propellant particles during close-distance gunfire has been previously described on skin and solid objects only. Additionally, radial tearing has been described as clear evidence of a contact-distance shot, requiring no further testing. Patterns of discrete perforating holes (referred to here as “stippling perforations”) and other physical damage on sweatshirt fleece fabrics were prepared. Using the firearm and ammunition in this study, stippling perforations were observed to a maximum muzzle-to-target distance of 35 cm (10 inches). In addition, radial tearing and disintegration were present (and often more extensive) at greater than contact distance. The presence of stippling perforations could augment muzzle-to-target distance estimates generated using the Griess test, or allow distance estimates when the Griess test is not feasible. Unlike what has been previously reported, testing on the original evidence (or similar substitute) is warranted when physical damage is used to estimate shooting distance.
  • A Molecular Method to Detect Wound Cells in Bloodstains Resultant of Sharp
           Force Injuries for Crime Scene Reconstruction
    • Abstract: Previous research by the authors on an animal model showed that bloodstains can contain additional information about their somatic origin in the form of wound cells. Bloodstains produced by a gunshot wound to the head were distinguished from bloodstains produced by a gunshot wound to the chest by testing the stains for a brain microRNA marker. In this study, the effectiveness of the technique was examined on blood drops shed externally from a stab wound to the liver of rat carcasses. Specifically, investigations were conducted on the liver microRNA marker, rno-mir-122-3p, with the QIAGEN miScript System, and PCR analysis. Between the two stabbing methods used, 67% of the scalpel blades and 57% of the blood drops tested positive for rno-mir-122-3p; however, other samples tested negative giving inconclusive results as to the wound-of-origin. The amount of the liver cells in the bloodstains appeared to be related to the extent of trauma.
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences and Criminal Extremity: New Evidence for
           Sexual Homicide
    • Abstract: Adverse childhood experiences are associated with a wide range of behavioral, health, and psychiatric deficits and have recently been used to study the development of serious offending careers. Unfortunately, this research paradigm has largely ignored forensic populations. This study utilized the adverse childhood experiences framework to examine the associations between exposure to violence, victimization, and total adverse childhood experiences on sexual homicide using a sample of 616 incarcerated adult male sexual offenders from Canada 85 of whom committed sexual homicide. Epidemiological tables of odds revealed that a gradient of adverse childhood experiences was associated with sexual homicide, but that the most significant risks were for offenders who had the most extensive abuse histories. In adjusted models, exposure to violence, victimization, and total adverse childhood experiences increased the odds of sexual homicide by 334%, 249%, and 546%, respectively. These effects intensified in models adjusted for childhood enuresis, cruelty to animals, parental abandonment, deviant sexual behaviors, poor self-image, and sexual problems to 559%, 326%, and 849%, respectively. The adverse childhood experiences framework is a systematic way to organize the criminogenic developmental sequela in sexual homicide.
  • High-Resolution Melting (HRM) of Hypervariable Mitochondrial DNA Regions
           for Forensic Science
    • Abstract: Forensic strategies commonly are proceeding by analysis of short tandem repeats (STRs); however, new additional strategies have been proposed for forensic science. Thus, this article standardized the high-resolution melting (HRM) of DNA for forensic analyzes. For HRM, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from eight individuals were extracted from mucosa swabs by DNAzol reagent, samples were amplified by PCR and submitted to HRM analysis to identify differences in hypervariable (HV) regions I and II. To confirm HRM, all PCR products were DNA sequencing. The data suggest that is possible discriminate DNA from different samples by HRM curves. Also, uncommon dual-dissociation was identified in a single PCR product, increasing HRM analyzes by evaluation of melting peaks. Thus, HRM is accurate and useful to screening small differences in HVI and HVII regions from mtDNA and increase the efficiency of laboratory routines based on forensic genetics.
  • An Objective Measure of Splitting in Parental Alienation: The Parental
           Acceptance–Rejection Questionnaire
    • Abstract: Both clinicians and forensic practitioners should distinguish parental alienation (rejection of a parent without legitimate justification) from other reasons for contact refusal. Alienated children—who were not abused—often engage in splitting and lack ambivalence with respect to the rejected parent; children who were maltreated usually perceive the abusive parent in an ambivalent manner. The purpose of this study was to assess the usefulness of the Parental Acceptance–Rejection Questionnaire (PARQ) in identifying and quantifying the degree of splitting, which may assist in diagnosing parental alienation. Results showed that severely alienated children engaged in a high level of splitting, by perceiving the preferred parent in extremely positive terms and the rejected parent in extremely negative terms. Splitting was not manifested by the children in other family groups. The PARQ may be useful for both clinicians and forensic practitioners in evaluating children of divorced parents when there is a concern about the possible diagnosis of parental alienation.
  • An Evidence-Based Forensic Taxonomy of Windows Phone Communication Apps
    • Abstract: Communication apps can be an important source of evidence in a forensic investigation (e.g., in the investigation of a drug trafficking or terrorism case where the communications apps were used by the accused persons during the transactions or planning activities). This study presents the first evidence-based forensic taxonomy of Windows Phone communication apps, using an existing two-dimensional Android forensic taxonomy as a baseline. Specifically, 30 Windows Phone communication apps, including Instant Messaging (IM) and Voice over IP (VoIP) apps, are examined. Artifacts extracted using physical acquisition are analyzed, and seven digital evidence objects of forensic interest are identified, namely: Call Log, Chats, Contacts, Locations, Installed Applications, SMSs and User Accounts. Findings from this study would help to facilitate timely and effective forensic investigations involving Windows Phone communication apps.
  • Estimating Biological Characteristics With Virtual Laser Data
    • Abstract: Laser scanning technology is increasingly being used in forensic anthropological research to obtain virtual data for archival purposes and post hoc measurement collection. This research compared the measurement accuracy of two laser scanners—the FARO Focus3D 330X and the FARO Freestyle3D—against traditionally obtained (i.e., by hand) control data (N = 454). Skeletal data were collected to address a novel question: the ability of laser scanning technology to produce measurements useful for biological characteristic estimation, such as sex and stature. Results indicate that both devices produced measurements very similar to control (c. 3-mm average absolute error), but also illuminate a tendency to under-measure. Despite these findings, the virtual data produced sex and stature estimates that varied little from control-produced estimates, signifying the usefulness of virtual data for preliminary biological identification when the skeletal elements are no longer available for physical analysis.
  • Clinical Characteristics of Fatal Methamphetamine-related Stroke: A
           National Study
    • Abstract: The study aimed to determine the clinical characteristics of fatal methamphetamine-related stroke in Australia, 2009–2015. There were 38 cases, 60.5% male, with a mean age of 40.3 years. In no case was there evidence that this was the first time methamphetamine had been used by the decedent, and 52.6% had known histories of injecting drug use. The stroke was hemorrhagic in 37 of 38 cases. In 21.1% of cases, the stroke was purely parenchymal and, in 18.4%, involved purely the subarachnoid space. A ruptured berry aneurysm was present in 31.6% and in 68.8% of initial subarachnoid hemorrhages. There was evidence of systemic hypertension in 8 of 25 cases in which full autopsy findings were available. With increased use of methamphetamine, there is a high probability of increased hemorrhagic stroke incidence among young people. In cases of fatal hemorrhagic stroke among young cases presenting to autopsy, the possibility of methamphetamine use should be borne in mind.
  • The Difficult Task of Diagnosing Prostate Cancer Metastases on Dry Bone
    • Abstract: The interpretation of pathology on skeletal remains is mandatory for implementing the biological profile and for disease recognition. Prostate cancer is one of the most common tumors, with a high preference for the skeleton as a primary site of metastasis. Its diagnosis on bone is however still ambiguous, due to its “osteoblastic” and resorptive manifestation. This study investigates distribution and appearance of prostate cancer metastases on dry bone on six known cases (selected from the Milano Cemetery Skeletal Collection) and one healthy individual. A macroscopic inspection was performed highlighting the abnormalities observed, describing location, shape, dimension, and aspect. A great amount of proliferative and mixed lesions was noticed, but also cases of pure lytic lesions were displayed. The multiple appearances of the manifestations observed display the difficulty in correctly identifying such a pathology, but also the potential and advantages provided by investigating a study sample with known antemortem history.
  • Fatal Myocarditis Following Treatment with the PD-1 Inhibitor Nivolumab
    • Abstract: Therapeutic antibodies targeting the programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) pathway function as immune checkpoint inhibitors, allowing the immune system to recognize tumors which otherwise escape immune surveillance. However, these agents can also elicit an autoimmune response by inhibiting the ability of non-neoplastic tissues and regulatory cells to suppress the immune system. Here we present a fatal case of active myocarditis in a 55-year-old man with non-small-cell lung cancer which occurred following monotherapy with the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo). He presented with acute right-sided heart failure and died 1 day after admission. Postmortem examination revealed multiple gelatinous lesions in the myocardium of the interventricular septum and the bilateral atria and ventricles which had microscopic features diagnostic of myocarditis. Subsequent studies failed to identify an infectious cause. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are an increasingly common addition to anticancer regimens and they should be considered in the evaluation of acute myocarditis.
  • A Study on the Estimation of Postmortem Interval Based on Environmental
           Temperature and Concentrations of Substance in Vitreous Humor
    • Abstract: A method to determine postmortem interval (PMI) based on environmental temperature and the concentrations of vitreous humor (VH) molecules were explored. Rabbit carcasses were placed in a chamber at 5, 15, 25, or 35°C, and 80–100 μL of VH was collected with the double-eye alternating micro-sampling method every 12 h. A Roche DPPI biochemical analyzer was used to measure the concentrations of six substances in VH samples. The interpolation function model and mixed-effect model were employed for data fitting to establish equations for PMI estimation. The concentrations of K+, P, Mg2+, creatinine (CRE), and urea nitrogen (UN) exhibited an upward trend with increasing PMI in all temperature groups, while the concentration of Ca2+ showed a downward trend. Validation results using K+ and Mg2+ ions revealed that the mixed-effect model provided a better estimation than the interpolation function model using the data from our experiment. However, both models were able to estimate PMI using temperature and VH molecule concentrations.
  • Rare Death Via Histamine Poisoning Following Crab Consumption: A Case
    • Abstract: Histamine poisoning (scombroid food poisoning) is a toxicity syndrome that results from eating spoiled fish. To date, however, few poisoning (or mortality) cases have been reported in relation to crab consumption. Here, we describe a very uncommon case in which a 37-year-old woman and her 14-year-old son ate cooked crabs (Scylla serrata), resulting in the death of the female. Samples of vomitus, food residue, liver tissue, gastric content, intestinal content, and cardiac blood were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Toxicological analysis revealed that histamine concentrations were very high in the cooked crab (47.08 mg/100 g) and intestinal content (22.54 mg/100 g). Comparing our toxicological results, police investigations, and family member statements, it can be assumed that the decedent ingested spoiled crabs, and by excluding other causes of death, lethal intoxication with histamine poisoning was confirmed.
  • Homicide Rates in Lithuania
    • Abstract: Homicide rate in Lithuania between 2004 and 2013 decreased and reached an average of 6.7 per 100,000 people in 2013. The data regarding forensic autopsies of intentional homicide victims were obtained from the State Forensic Medicine Service. Spearman's correlation test was used to assess trends in the homicide rates. A significant correlation was observed between homicide distribution and the following variables: Lithuania's gross domestic product (r = −0.85, p = 0.003), the number of alcohol intoxication cases of victims (r = 0.97, p < 0.05). After regression model adjustments, these variables remained significantly associated with the homicide distribution (p < 0.05). 73% of victims were men, with a mean age of 45.5 ± 15. Alcohol intoxication was present in 58% of victims. 66% of homicides were carried out indoors, 57% in urban area. The presented findings help decide which prevention programs may be the most effective in homicide rate reduction.
  • Implications of Pseudologia Fantastica in Criminal Forensic Evaluations: A
           Review and Case Report
    • Abstract: Pseudologia fantastica, a psychological phenomenon that has been described in the literature for at least a century, is an understudied and poorly understood entity. Sometimes referred to as pathological lying, pseudologia fantastica involves disproportionate fabrication that may be present for many years or a lifetime. In a forensic context, it can significantly complicate the evaluation of capacity to stand trial and, in certain jurisdictions, criminal responsibility. We review the current literature regarding pseudologia fantastica and present a case to highlight the clinical and forensic challenges it may create. We specifically discuss the complications that pseudologia fantastica may have on the assessment of a defendant's rational ability to consult with an attorney, a required element of capacity to stand trial. In addition, we discuss the implications of pseudologia fantastica in the evaluation of criminal responsibility.
  • The Appearance, Taste, and Concentrations of Zolpidem Dissolved in Still
           Water and Carbonated Beverages
    • Abstract: Zolpidem is a sedative that could be used to drug victims, but its suitability to dissolve in drinks is unknown. In this small study, we added either crushed or whole tablets of zolpidem hemitartrate to carbonated beverages or still water to observe how this affected the taste and appearance. Also, concentrations were measured by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry at different time intervals. Two crushed tablets (20 mg) in cider (250 mL) lead to a maximum concentration of 84 mg/L zolpidem base after 30 min, while the corresponding concentration after adding fifteen tablets (150 mg) was 467 mg/L. There was little change in taste, but froth and turbidity were observed when adding high doses to carbonated beverages. Carbonated beverages spiked with 20 mg of crushed zolpidem hemitartrate tablets reached concentrations that could cause impairment. Spiking with 150 mg could possibly be lethal if several mouthfuls were ingested.
  • Preliminary Data on the Role of Emotional Intelligence in Moderating the
           Link between Psychopathy and Aggression in a Nonforensic Sample
    • Abstract: This short report presents preliminary data on the role of emotional intelligence (EI) in moderating the relationship between psychopathy and aggression in a nonforensic sample. A sample of 109 volunteer men was administered the Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R), the Reactive-Proactive Aggression Questionnaire, and the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso emotional intelligence Test in individual sessions. Correlation and moderation analyzes showed that, at low levels of EI (in terms of strategic ability to understand and manage one's own and others’ emotions), people scoring high on the total PPI-R and impulsivity dimension seemed to be both reactively and proactively aggressive. By contrast, at high levels of strategic ability, the relationships between psychopathy and aggression were no longer significant. These preliminary results encourage further investigation into the role of EI ability in mitigating aggressive outcomes in psychopathic subjects.
  • Putrefaction: An Additional Complicating Factor in the Assessment of
           Freshwater Drownings in Rivers
    • Abstract: Background hypothesis: That bodies immersed in freshwater (rivers) may show greater changes of decomposition than bodies immersed in saltwater (sea).Fifty de-identified river drownings and 50 sea drownings were randomly selected from autopsy files at Forensic Science SA, Adelaide, Australia and assessed for decomposition.Results: The river cases consisted of 43 males and seven females (M:F 6:1); age range of 2–92 years (mean 46.8 years); decomposition—16/50 (32%); postmortem interval 1–14 days, average 3.8. The sea cases consisted of 36 males and 14 females (M:F 2.6:1); age range of 9–81 years (mean 50.7 years); decomposition—2/50 (4%) (p < 0.001%); postmortem interval 1–6 days, average 2.8.As decomposition reduces information obtained at autopsy, postmortem examination of deaths in rivers may be less informative than deaths that have occurred in the sea. The reasons for less decomposition in the sea include cooler temperatures, exposure to salt and shorter postmortem intervals.
  • Comparison between Temperature Gradient Gel Electrophoresis of Bacterial
           16S rDNA and Diatom Test for Diagnosis of Drowning
    • Abstract: When a body is discovered in water, it is difficult to conclude whether the cause of death was drowning, even today. Although diatom testing by the digestive method is classical, we hypothesized that aquatic bacteria, as well as diatoms, might be detected in drowned bodies, and conducted temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TGGE)-targeting 16S rDNA. DNA was extracted from the site water, and from heart blood and liver samples from 27 bodies concluded as drowning deaths by autopsy and subjected to TGGE after amplification of 16S rDNA by polymerase chain reaction. We observed whether the feature point of each 16S rDNA from the site water and blood or liver samples matched. Considerably higher correspondence was observed in drowned bodies, and the rate was higher than that achieved with the digestive method. Moreover, TGGE is safer than the digestive method. Our study suggests that this method can aid diagnosis of drowning.
  • Left Ventricular Aneurysm: Sudden Unexpected Deaths in a 29-Year-Old Man
    • Abstract: Left ventricular aneurysm (LVA) is an abnormal dilated heart structure, either congenital or acquired. LVA is a rare cardiac condition with no symptoms in most cases, thus occasionally diagnosed during investigations of other diseases. Its association with certain cardiac complications and sudden cardiac deaths has been reported. However, its role as a cause of sudden unexpected death is rare. The author reported a sudden cardiac death in a 29-year-old man with LVA. Without a significant coronary artery disease and known etiologies of LVA, such an abnormal heart structure in the present case was considered congenital LVA. As no other possible mechanisms of death could be identified other than LVA with its associated pathologic lesions, mural thrombi, and dilated cardiomegaly, his death was attributable to fatal cardiac arrhythmia (most commonly ventricular tachycardia) secondary to LVA.
  • Fatal Diabetic Ketoacidosis—A Potential Complication of MDMA
           (Ecstasy) Use
    • Abstract: A 19-year-old woman with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus was found dead in bed having allegedly recently taken ecstasy and consumed alcohol. At autopsy, there were microhemorrhages in the brain with subnuclear vacuolization and Armanni–Ebstein changes in renal tubules. Biochemical analyses confirmed diabetic ketoacidosis (vitreous glucose—46.5 mmol/L; β-OH butyrate—13.86 mmol/L.). Toxicological analyses of blood showed a low level of 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) (0.01 mg/L), with acetone but no alcohol or other common drugs. Death was attributed to diabetic ketoacidosis most likely provoked by mixed MDMA/alcohol ingestion. Although the use of illicit drugs by young individuals with diabetes mellitus is being increasingly recognized, it has been noted that there is minimal information about the relationship between drug use and acute diabetic complications. Toxicological screening of cases of lethal diabetic ketoacidosis in the young may clarify lethal mechanisms in individual cases and also help to determine the extent of this problem.
  • Unplanned Complex Suicide—A Consideration of Multiple Methods
    • Abstract: Detailed death investigations are mandatory to find out the exact cause and manner in non-natural deaths. In this reference, use of multiple methods in suicide poses a challenge for the investigators especially when the choice of methods to cause death is unplanned. There is an increased likelihood that doubts of homicide are raised in cases of unplanned complex suicides. A case of complex suicide is reported where the victim resorted to multiple methods to end his life, and what appeared to be an unplanned variant based on the death scene investigations. A meticulous crime scene examination, interviews of the victim's relatives and other witnesses, and a thorough autopsy are warranted to conclude on the cause and manner of death in all such cases.
  • Psychophysiological Responses of People with Psychopathic Tendencies to
           the Concealed Information Test
    • Abstract: This study was designed to investigate differences in psychophysiological responses among individuals with psychopathic tendencies. A total 40 students were participated and were divided into two groups based on Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (LSRP) scores: a high psychopathic tendency group selected from the top 5% of LSRP scores, and a low psychopathic tendency group selected from the bottom 5% of LSRP scores. All participants were instructed to perform a mock crime and complete the concealed information test (CIT). Results indicate that significant differences between crime-relevant questions and irrelevant questions were observed for respiration line length and skin conductance response in both groups, but heart rate did not significantly differ between groups. There were no differences in psychophysiological responses between the groups. In conclusion, CIT was found to be an effective method for detecting crime-relevant information in individuals with psychopathic tendencies.
  • Munchausen by Proxy: A Qualitative Investigation into Online Perceptions
           of Medical Child Abuse
    • Abstract: In Munchausen by proxy (MBP) maltreatment, increasingly termed “medical child abuse” (MCA), a caregiver fabricates or induces illness in another. The perpetrator's goal for the behavior is to meet personal emotional needs by forcing unnecessary or misguided medical or psychological treatment. Generally, a mother is the perpetrator and her child is the victim. There is a serious lack of research into most aspects of MCA, and this study is the first to utilize the anonymity of an Internet forum to investigate victims' first-hand experiences of, and the public's opinions about, suspected and confirmed MCA. Three-hundred and fifty-six posts by 348 members were explored and coded using formal qualitative content analysis. By accessing an open-thought online forum, this paper acquired information regarding social perceptions about the nonperpetrating partners who are unaware of the maltreatment; the disturbing and counterintuitive phenomenon of MCA itself; and the resistance often faced by those who attempt to report it.
  • Fatal Fat Embolism After Penis Enlargement by Autologous Fat Transfer: A
           Case Report and Review of the Literature
    • Abstract: Fat embolism is an incidental finding in cases of long bone fractures or other trauma, but it is also associated with liposuction and autologous fat transfer, a procedure where fat from liposuction is injected back into the same patient's face, breast, buttocks or penis. We here present a case of sudden death by fat embolism in a healthy young male, caused by a simple penis enlargement procedure, in which fat was injected into the penis shaft. We suggest that the risk of fat embolization might be higher when pretraumatized tissue is subjected to fat injection, like in this case, where a penis elongation was performed before the fat injection.
  • The Automation of Regression Modeling in Osteometric Sorting: An
           Ordination Approach
    • Abstract: This study compares the original osteometric sorting association method with an ordination approach across all combinations of the humerus, ulna, radius, femur, tibia, and fibula. This includes both the original prediction interval and t-statistic approaches. Standard measurements are utilized in the models with full measurements combined and without length measurements. The sample is the osteometric sorting reference from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. A full set of performance statistics is provided. Results indicate the ordination approach outperforms the original in the majority of bone combinations. Models with length measurements have more exclusion power than those without. It is recommended for the ordination approach to supersede the original when applied to large commingled assemblages.
  • Eyeball Position in Facial Approximation: Accuracy of Methods for
           Predicting Globe Positioning in Lateral View
    • Abstract: This study measured the accuracy of traditional and validated newly proposed methods for globe positioning in lateral view. Eighty lateral head cephalograms of adult subjects from Central Europe were taken, and the actual and predicted dimensions were compared. The anteroposterior eyeball position was estimated as the most accurate method based on the proportion of the orbital height (SEE = 1.9 mm) and was followed by the “tangent to the iris method” showing SEE = 2.4 mm. The traditional “tangent to the cornea method” underestimated the eyeball projection by SEE = 5.8 mm. Concerning the superoinferior eyeball position, the results showed a deviation from a central to a more superior position by 0.3 mm, on average, and the traditional method of central positioning of the globe could not be rejected as inaccurate (SEE = 0.3 mm). Based on regression analyzes or proportionality of the orbital height, the SEE = 2.1 mm.
  • Commentary on: Lockhart JJ, Satya-murti S. Diagnosing crime and diagnosing
           disease: bias reduction strategies in the forensic and clinical sciences.
  • The Frontal Sinus Cavity Exhibits Sexual Dimorphism in 3D Cone-beam CT
           Images and can be Used for Sex Determination
    • Abstract: Few studies have assessed the use of the frontal sinus cavities for sex differentiation. In this study, a new methodology was used to assess the reliability of CBCT images of the frontal sinus cavity for determining sex based on the sexual dimorphism found in this anatomical structure. The survey sample consisted of 130 scans that were reconstructed three-dimensionally. 3D images of the cavity volume in the frontal, lateral, and basal views were exported in TIFF. The following variables were measured in a second program: area, perimeter, bounding rectangle, ellipse fit, circularity, aspect ratio, roundness, solidity, and Feret's diameter. The methodology demonstrated the existence of sexual dimorphism with an accuracy of 80.0% in the logistic regression model. The basal view had the greatest explanatory power in the final model. This methodology may be used as an alternative way of determining a reliable biological profile during the analysis of skeletal remains.
  • Authors' Response
  • Commentary on: Gibbons J, Mojica A, Peele M. Human electrical muscular
           incapacitation and effects on QTc interval. J Forensic Sci
  Epub 2017 April 17
  • USB Storage Device Forensics for Windows 10
    • Abstract: Significantly increased use of USB devices due to their user-friendliness and large storage capacities poses various threats for many users/companies in terms of data theft that becomes easier due to their efficient mobility. Investigations for such data theft activities would require gathering critical digital information capable of recovering digital forensics artifacts like date, time, and device information. This research gathers three sets of registry and logs data: first, before insertion; second, during insertion; and the third, after removal of a USB device. These sets are analyzed to gather evidentiary information from Registry and Windows Event log that helps in tracking a USB device. This research furthers the prior research on earlier versions of Microsoft Windows and compares it with latest Windows 10 system. Comparison of Windows 8 and Windows 10 does not show much difference except for new subkey under USB Key in registry. However, comparison of Windows 7 with latest version indicates significant variances.
  • Identification of Bodies by Unique Serial Numbers on Implanted Medical
    • Abstract: Visual identification is the most common identification method used by medical examiners but is not always possible. Alternative methods include X-ray, fingerprint, or DNA comparison, but these methods require additional resources. Comparison of serial numbers on implanted medical devices is a rapid and definitive method of identification. To assess the practicality of using this method, we reviewed 608 consecutive forensic autopsies performed at a regional medical examiner office. Of these, 56 cases required an alternative method of identification due to decomposition (n = 35), gunshot wound (n = 9), blunt trauma (n = 6), or charring (n = 6). Of these 56 cases, eight (14.3%) were known to have an implanted medical device. Of these eight cases, five (63%) could be positively identified by comparing serial numbers. If an implanted medical device is known to be present, and medical records are available, identification by medical device serial number should be a first-line method.
  • An Analysis on the Choice of Alpha Level in the Osteometric Pair-matching
           of the Os Coxa, Scapula, and Clavicle
    • Abstract: This study compares the use of 0.05 and 0.10 alpha levels with the updated osteometric pair-matching model on two samples of the os coxa, scapula, and clavicle. The samples include the Forensic Data Bank, and the osteometric sorting reference used within the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Mixed-effects two-way analyses of variance were used to analyze bilateral asymmetry in the standard measurements. In total, 3,793,566 t-tests were conducted for osteometric pair-matching analysis. The results indicate high levels of exclusion power, and accuracy can be obtained with the os coxa and scapula. The clavicle standard measurements capture too much asymmetry causing a lower exclusion to accuracy ratio for osteometric pair-matching relative to other elements. Both 0.05 and 0.10 alpha levels provide acceptable levels of performance. A lower alpha level will result in higher accuracy with less exclusion, and a higher alpha level will result in lower accuracy with more exclusions.
  • Death From Butane Inhalation Abuse in Teenagers: Two New Case Studies and
           Review of the Literature
    • Abstract: The ready availability of butane makes butane abuse frequent. Fatalities are rare. This study presents two cases of death by butane overdose. The postmortem analyses were carried out using headspace gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. It revealed femoral blood butane concentrations of 18 and 22 mg/L, respectively, as well as specific combinations of adjuvants in each victim. In one of the victims, brain and fatty tissue also contained butane, pointing to chronic consumption. The originality of this study is to show that the identification of specific combinations of adjuvants can be helpful for identifying the brand of deodorant used. Also, sampling the skin and mucosa can help identify the method of drug delivery. The histological examination documented both the direct toxic effect of the gas on the respiratory mucosa and signs of chronic abuse. Volatile substance intoxications should be systematically considered in case of sudden death in a teenager.
  • Survival of Atherosclerotic Calcifications in Skeletonized Material:
           Forensic and Pathological Implications
    • Abstract: Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease creating calcifying plaques in the arterial walls. Because its paleopathological diagnosis remains little studied on skeletal remains, its impact on forensic and archeological data is completely underestimated. Here, 24 skeletal remains from the Milano Cemetery Skeletal Collection have been studied to evaluate the chance of atherosclerotic calcification survival, retrieval, and identification. Through direct comparison with a known autopsy collection and literature, the identification and categorization of several types of calcifications were performed. Clothing elements such as tights or socks played a definitive role in the preservation of the calcifications; hence they are more likely to be found in forensic cases than in archeological ones. Therefore, vascular calcifications are possible to collect and identify in skeletal remains if sufficient care is given to their recovery. Consequently and as markers of the disease, such identification can provide valuable pathological information for forensic and archeological cases.
  • A Rapid, Confirmatory Test for Body Fluid Identification,
    • Abstract: We have developed a technique that allows investigators to confirm the presence of blood, semen, and/or saliva in a crime scene sample. It is a confirmatory test where multiple samples can be processed in less than an hour, and it is potentially portable, permitting samples to be processed at the crime scene. Samples at a scene giving a positive result can be further processed while those failing to do so may be ignored. There is a large and growing backlog of DNA evidence in the USA, slowing down the criminal justice system. This backlog has continued to grow despite an increase in the ability to process evidence faster. This technique uses quantum dot molecular beacons to test for tissue-specific RNA species, identifying particular body fluids. We have demonstrated the tissue specificity of molecular beacons for blood, semen, and saliva.
  • Effect of Aging and Surface Interactions on the Diffusion of Endogenous
           Compounds in Latent Fingerprints Studied by Mass Spectrometry Imaging,
    • Abstract: The ability to determine the age of fingerprints would be immeasurably beneficial in criminal investigations. We explore the possibility of determining the age of fingerprints by analyzing various compounds as they diffuse from the ridges to the valleys of fingerprints using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging. The diffusion of two classes of endogenous fingerprint compounds, fatty acids and triacylglycerols (TGs), was studied in fresh and aged fingerprints on four surfaces. We expected higher molecular weight TGs would diffuse slower than fatty acids and allow us to determine the age of older fingerprints. However, we found interactions between endogenous compounds and the surface have a much stronger impact on diffusion than molecular weight. For example, diffusion of TGs is faster on hydrophilic plain glass or partially hydrophilic stainless steel surfaces, than on a hydrophobic Rain-x treated surface. This result further complicates utilizing a diffusion model to age fingerprints.
  • A Simple Method of VNTR D1S80 Locus Allelic Ladder Construction for
           Capillary Electrophoresis-based Genotyping
    • Abstract: VNTR D1S80 locus genotyping has been largely replaced in forensics by STR. As the statute of limitations on murder cases was abolished in the Republic of Korea in July 2015, the demand for re-analysis of DNA from unresolved murder cases has increased. The National Forensic Service includes several recorded D1S80 genotypes as crucial clues. Here, we re-established the D1S80 analysis system using capillary electrophoresis and confirmed the reproducibility of the system by comparison with the genotypes of eight DNA samples that had been analyzed using PAGE in 2006. In addition, we created an allelic ladder via new methodology using flanking region sequences. A single DNA sample (K562) and seven primers were used for the new ladder, which contains 12 alleles. Although artificial owing to the use of the flanking region rather than repeat unit reduction, the method is rapid and simple, and could be applicable in any laboratory.
  • A Fully Automatic Method for Comparing Cartridge Case Images,
    • Abstract: When a gun is fired, it leaves marks on cartridge cases that are thought to be unique to the gun. In current practice, firearms examiners inspect cartridge cases for “sufficient agreement,” in which case they conclude that they come from the same gun, testifying in courts as such. A 2016 President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report questioned the scientific validity of such analysis (President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, Washington, DC, Executive Office of the President). One recommendation was to convert firearms analysis to an objective method. We propose a fully automated, open-source method for comparing breechface marks on cartridge cases using 2D optical images. We improve on existing methodology by automating the selection of marks, and removing the effects of circular symmetry. We propose an empirical computation of a “random match probability” given a known database, which can be used to quantify the weight of evidence. We demonstrate an improvement in accuracy on images from controlled test fires.
  • Visualization of Aged Fingerprints with an Ultraviolet Laser
    • Abstract: Detection of aged fingerprints is difficult because they can degrade over time with exposure to light, moisture, and temperature. In this study, aging fingerprints were visualized by time-resolved spectroscopy with an ultraviolet-pulsed laser. Fingerprints were prepared on glass slides and paper and then stored under three lighting conditions and two humidity conditions for up to a year. The fluorescence intensities of the fingerprints decreased with time. Samples were stored in the dark degraded less than in sunlight or under a fluorescent lamp. Samples were stored under low humidity degraded less than under moderate humidity. As the storage period increased, a fluorescence emission peak appeared that was at a longer wavelength than the peak visible in earlier spectra. This peak was used for visualization of an aged fingerprint over time. An image of the fingerprint was not initially visible, but an image appeared as the time since deposition of the fingerprint increased.
  • Bite Mark Analysis in Foodstuffs and Inanimate Objects and the Underlying
           Proofs for Validity and Judicial Acceptance
    • Abstract: Even though one of the first bite mark cases was Doyle v. State in 1954 (a bitten cheese case), the research has focused on bite marks inflicted in human skin. As published Papers, Case Reports, or Technical Notes can constitute precedents which are relied upon in making the legal arguments and a considerable amount of case law exists in this area, we present a systematic review on bite mark analysis in foodstuffs and inanimate objects and their underlying proofs for validity and judicial acceptance according to Daubert rulings. Results showed that there is vulnerability in these procedures, and it is essential to demand for focus scrutiny on the known error rates when such evidence is presented in trials. These kinds of bite marks are well documented; however, there has been little research in this field knowing that the protocols of analysis and comparison are the responsibility of the forensic odontologists.
  • Sudden Death Due to Coronary Arteritis
    • Abstract: We report the case of a middle-aged man, without medical history, who suddenly died at his workplace. The autopsy highlighted a pathological heart macroscopically, with multiple small white areas on the left myocardium. Coronary dissection revealed a pseudotumoural fibromyxoid aspect within the anterior interventricular artery (AIVA) and the left main coronary trunk, including reduction in their diameter with tight stenosis. Microscopic examination of these arteries showed fibroinflammatory wall destruction. In the left myocardium, there were multiple focal ischemic areas at different stages of recovery. Our case is an illustration of primary ischemic heart disease due to coronary arteritis, with a pseudotumoural presentation, which was revealed by sudden death. We discuss the cause of death and the etiological diagnosis preceding coronary arteritis.
  • A Ballistics Examination of Firearm Injuries Involving Breast Implants
    • Abstract: This ballistics study examines whether saline breast implants can decrease tissue penetration in firearm injuries. We hypothesize that the fluid column within a saline breast implant can alter bullet velocity and/or bullet pattern of mushrooming. The two experimental groups included saline implants with 7.4 cm projection and a no implant group. The experimental design allowed the bullet to pass-through an implant and into ballistics gel (n = 10) or into ballistics gel without passage through an implant (n = 11). Shots that passed through an implant had 20.6% decreased penetration distance when compared to shots that did not pass-through an implant; this difference was statistically significant (31.9 cm vs. 40.2 cm, p < 0.001). Implant group bullets mushroomed prior to gel entry, but the no implant group mushroomed within the gel. Bullet passage through a saline breast implant results in direct bullet velocity reduction and earlier bullet mushrooming; this causes significantly decreased ballistics gel penetration.
  • Disseminated Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection with Escherichia Coli
    • Abstract: Neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection is an uncommon disease that rarely presents as sudden unexpected death of a previously healthy newborn. Clinical manifestations are variable; signs and symptoms may be subtle and nonspecific. Neonatal infection may present with mucocutaneous (skin, eye, and/or mouth), disseminated, or central nervous system disease. Morbidity and mortality are dependent upon disease presentation and treatment. The infection is most frequently transmitted during the peripartum period, although the majority of mothers have no known history of HSV infection at the time of delivery. Findings at autopsy include gastrointestinal or mucocutaneous ulcers, diffuse hepatic necrosis, adrenal necrosis, pneumonitis, and splenic necrosis. Characteristic intranuclear viral inclusions are identified on microscopic examination. Coinfection with bacterial organisms may contribute to death. Autopsy examination with appropriate ancillary studies, including cultures, is critical given that many infants lack cutaneous manifestations of disease and remain undiagnosed prior to death.
  • Cascading Bias of Initial Exposure to Information at the Crime Scene to
           the Subsequent Evaluation of Skeletal Remains,
    • Abstract: Thirty-eight participants took part in a study that investigated the potential cascading effects of initial exposure to extraneous context upon subsequent decision-making. Participants investigated a mock crime scene, which included the excavation of clandestine burials that had a male skeletal cast dressed either in female or gender neutral clothing. This was followed by a forensic anthropological assessment of the skeletal remains, with a control group assessing the same male skeletal cast without any clothing context. The results indicated that the sex assessment was highly dependent upon the context in which participants were exposed to prior to the analysis. This was especially noticeable in the female clothing context where only one participant determined the male skeletal cast to be male. The results demonstrate the importance of understanding the role of context in forensic anthropology at an early stage of an investigation and its potential cascading effect on subsequent assessments.
  • Refining Stable Oxygen and Hydrogen Isoscapes for the Identification of
           Human Remains in Mississippi,
    • Abstract: Isoscape refinement is an essential component for accurately predicting region-of-origin in forensic investigations involving isotope analysis of unidentified human remains. Stable oxygen (δ18O) and hydrogen (δ2H) isotopes were measured from 57 tap water samples collected across Mississippi to model refined isoscapes for the state. A tap water conversion equation, δ18Otw=1.64 δ18Op−31.35, was developed for the southeastern USA to test the prediction accuracy of the δ18Otw isoscape using individuals with known residential histories. A local Mississippi resident (USAFA-134) was assigned with 90% probability to the correct region-of-origin reported by the participant. Assignments for Georgia residents (USAFA-118 and USAFA-205) had variable results, predicting USAFA-118 from Mississippi and USAFA-205 as a nonlocal resident. Stable isotope values often overlap geographically and a multi-isotope approach should be used when narrowing region(s)-of-origin(s). This study demonstrates the utility of refining isoscapes and the importance of tissue calibration in prediction assignments of human remains.
  • Complex Suicide by Self-stabbing and Drowning: A Case Report and a Review
           of Literature
    • Abstract: Sharp force injuries and drowning are methods exceptionally combined in complex suicides. We report a challenging case of complex suicide by self-stabbing and drowning that illustrates the difficulty in discriminating between homicide and suicide in such circumstances of death. The corpse of a young man was found submerged in a river, stabbed nine times with two wounds that had penetrated the thorax and had caused lung injuries and a hemopneumothorax. The postmortem and histological examinations were consistent with a death caused by drowning, but the manner of death still remained undetermined. Police investigation finally concluded to a suicide, although no suicide note had been left and the victim had no underlying diagnosed mental disorder. The parameters that may help distinguish suicide from homicide at the autopsy should be interpreted in light of a thorough forensic investigation to determine the exact manner of death in such a case.
  • Latent Fingermark Development on Thermal Paper using 1,2-Indanedione/Zinc
           and Polyvinylpyrrolidone,
    • Abstract: Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) has been used in combination with 1,2-indanedione (1,2-IND) and ZnCl2 (Zn) to develop latent fingermarks. The results show that the optimal ratio of 1,2-IND/Zn:PVP is 1.0:0.4 (the concentration of PVP is 8%) for developing fingermark. The developed formulation was tested on the surfaces of 12 kinds of thermal papers. The variation in the fingermark development efficiency was observed within the same and among different kinds of thermal papers. The fingermark development efficiency was mostly better on the thermally sensitive surface compared to the thermally nonsensitive surface. However, similar or even better development was observed from a few thermally nonsensitive surfaces. The present method has shown better efficiency compared to the three other proposed methods on the thermally sensitive surface. In contrast, the present method was proven not the best for the thermally nonsensitive surface.
  • Characterization and Differentiation of Geometric Isomers of
           3-methylfentanyl Analogs by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry, Liquid
           Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
    • Abstract: The cis and trans isomers of 3-methylfentanyl and its three analogs were chemically synthesized, and these compounds were characterized and differentiated by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The cis and trans isomers of the 3-methylfentanyl analogs were completely separated by GC/MS. Although the high temperature of the GC injection port caused thermal degradation of β-hydroxy-3-methylfentanyl, the degradation was completely suppressed by trimethylsilyl derivatization. The isomers were also well separated by LC/MS on an octadecylsilyl column with 10 mM ammonium acetate and methanol as the mobile phase. The proton NMR signals were split when the hydrochloride salts of the 3-methylfentanyl analogs were dissolved in deuterated chloroform because stereoisomers were formed by the coordination of the hydrochloride proton to the nitrogen of the piperidine ring of the 3-methylfentanyl analogs.
  • A Simple and Effective Physical Characteristic Profiling Method for
           Methamphetamine Tablet Seized in China
    • Abstract: Methamphetamine (MA) tablet production confers chemical and physical properties. This study developed a simple and effective physical characteristic profiling method for MA tablets with capital letter “WY” logos, which realized the discrimination between linked and unlinked seizures. Seventeen signature distances extracted from the “WY” logo were explored as factors for multivariate analysis and demonstrated to be effective to represent the features of tablets in the drug intelligence perspective. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to evaluate efficiency of different pretreatments and distance/correlation metrics, while “Standardization + Euclidean” and “Logarithm + Euclidean” algorithms outperformed the rest. Finally, hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) was applied to the data set of 200 MA tablet seizures randomly selected from cases all around China in 2015, and 76% of them were classified into a group named after “WY-001.” Moreover, the “WY-001” tablets occupied 51–80% tablet seizures from 2011 to 2015 in China, indicating the existence of a huge clandestine factory incessantly manufacturing MA tablets.
  • How Media Exposure Relates to Laypersons’ Understanding of
    • Abstract: While conceptualization of psychopathy has evolved, so too has the public's relationship with psychology changed. Concurrently, portrayal of psychopaths has made several shifts, both through nonfiction sources and in popular film and television. Psychopathic villains of the mid-20th century have made space for a growing cast of protagonist psychopaths. This study examined whether a relationship existed between exposure to fictional psychopaths and how lay individuals conceptualize psychopathy. Specifically, this study explored conceptualization differences based on exposure to antagonist versus protagonist fictional psychopaths. Surveyed community participants supported earlier research suggesting mixed misunderstanding of psychopathy. Additionally, higher exposure to protagonist psychopaths was associated with higher endorsement of flattering distractor traits, reflecting a kind of romanticized psychopathy. These findings have legal, practical, and ethical implications, including the potential for biased jurors, confounded research about psychopathy's labeling effect, and questions about how psychologists should respond on an individual and systemic level.
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762
Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
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