Journal Cover Journal of Forensic Sciences
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   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  [1589 journals]
  • Developing and Testing a Soil Property Database for Forensic Applications
           in Southern California
    • Authors: Patricia R. Menchaca; Robert C. Graham, Theodore Younglove
      Abstract: The research sought to develop and test a forensic database of surface soil variability within previously mapped geologic and soil units in southern California. This type of database could be used to link suspects to crime scenes or determine source locations of soil sample evidence. Variability was evaluated using (i) color, (ii) magnetic susceptibility, and (iii) particle-size distribution. Soil properties were analyzed for their ability to discriminate source areas using stepwise discriminant analysis. The percent correct predictions for geologic unit groups ranged from 30% to 100%. A blind study experiment matched four of the 18 samples to their unit of origin with the first choice by stepwise discriminant analysis, and eight were matched as second and third choices. The probability of selecting the appropriate unit of origin increased by 54% over random chance and eliminated as much as 99% of the field area as a potential search location.
      PubDate: 2018-01-08T17:20:52.378577-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13723
  • Homicide–Suicide in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, 1991–2016
    • Authors: Wendy C. Regoeczi; Thomas Gilson
      Abstract: Research on homicides followed by suicides has relied heavily on small samples and relatively short time spans of data. This study helps to fill this gap by examining 26 years of homicide–suicide data from Cuyahoga County, Ohio, between 1991 and 2016. The main data source for the study is medical examiner files. Analyses of the data indicate the rate of homicide–suicide in Cuyahoga County is consistent with other studies but fluctuates considerably across years studied. The majority of victims are female while perpetrators are overwhelmingly male. Black people are overrepresented as victims and offenders. Use of drugs and/or alcohol leading up to the incident is common among perpetrators. Both the homicides and suicides were overwhelming committed with firearms. When comparing our results to the typology of murder–suicides developed by Marzuk, Tardiff, and Hirsch (JAMA 1992;267:3179), we find amorous jealousy is a significant motivating factor in a many cases, including those involving nonintimate partners. Our findings underscore the importance of widespread use of lethality assessment instruments.
      PubDate: 2018-01-08T17:20:36.46038-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13729
  • Issue Information
    • First page: 1
      PubDate: 2018-01-05T13:37:05.825107-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13646
  • There are No Sides in Forensic Science
    • Authors: Betty Layne DesPortes
      First page: 6
      PubDate: 2018-01-05T13:37:16.970952-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13659
  • Letter to the Editor—Elbow Grease and OxiClean™ for Cleaning
           Fentanyl‐ and Acetylfentanyl‐contaminated Surfaces
    • Authors: Noah M. Froelich; Jon E. Sprague, Travis J. Worst
      First page: 336
      PubDate: 2018-01-05T13:37:11.484734-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13675
  • Letter to the Editor—Appropriate Standards for Verification and
           Validation of Probabilistic Genotyping Systems
    • Authors: Nathaniel Adams; Roger Koppl, Dan Krane, William Thompson, Sandy Zabell
      First page: 339
      PubDate: 2018-01-05T13:37:14.351854-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13687
  • Letter to the Editor—A Contribution to Contextual Information Management
           in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis: Preliminary Idea for a Two‐Step Method
           of Analysis
    • Authors: Michael C. Taylor; Nikola K. P. Osborne
      First page: 341
      PubDate: 2018-01-05T13:37:16.393703-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13705
  • Commentary on: An objective measure of splitting in parental alienation:
           the Parental Acceptance‐Rejection Questionnaire. J Forensic Sci
  Epub 2017 Aug 17
    • Authors: Vincenzo Puppo
      First page: 342
      PubDate: 2018-01-05T13:37:18.743009-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13660
  • Author's Response
    • Authors: William Bernet
      First page: 343
      PubDate: 2018-01-05T13:37:10.84299-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13661
  • Commentary on: Jiang B, Zhu F, Cao L, Presley BR, Shen MS, Yang KH.
           Computational study of fracture characteristics in infant skulls using a
           simplified finite element model. J Forensic Sci 2017;62(1):39–49
    • Authors: L. Dutch Johnson; Roland Auer
      First page: 345
      PubDate: 2018-01-05T13:37:11.001355-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13706
  • Erratum
    • First page: 349
      PubDate: 2018-01-05T13:37:05.952697-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13725
  • Digital Stratigraphy: Contextual Analysis of File System Traces in
           Forensic Science
    • Authors: Eoghan Casey
      Abstract: This work introduces novel methods for conducting forensic analysis of file allocation traces, collectively called digital stratigraphy. These in‐depth forensic analysis methods can provide insight into the origin, composition, distribution, and time frame of strata within storage media. Using case examples and empirical studies, this paper illuminates the successes, challenges, and limitations of digital stratigraphy. This study also shows how understanding file allocation methods can provide insight into concealment activities and how real‐world computer usage can complicate digital stratigraphy. Furthermore, this work explains how forensic analysts have misinterpreted traces of normal file system behavior as indications of concealment activities. This work raises awareness of the value of taking the overall context into account when analyzing file system traces. This work calls for further research in this area and for forensic tools to provide necessary information for such contextual analysis, such as highlighting mass deletion, mass copying, and potential backdating.
      PubDate: 2017-12-28T16:21:14.594584-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13722
  • Testing the Use of Pigs as Human Proxies in Decomposition Studies
    • Authors: Melissa Connor; Christiane Baigent, Eriek S. Hansen
      Abstract: Pigs are a common human analogue in taphonomic study, yet data comparing the trajectory of decomposition between the two groups are lacking. This study compared decomposition rate and gross tissue change in 17 pigs and 22 human remains placed in the Forensic Investigation Research Station in western Colorado between 2012 and 2015. Accumulated degree days (ADD) were used to assess the number of thermal units required to reach a given total body score (TBS) (1) which was used as the measure of decomposition. A comparison of slopes in linear mixed effects model indicated that decomposition rates significantly differed between human donors and pig remains χ2(1) = 5.662, p = 0.017. Neither the pig nor the human trajectory compared well to the TBS model. Thus, (i) pigs are not an adequate proxy for human decomposition studies, and (ii) in the semiarid environment of western Colorado, there is a need to develop a regional decomposition model.
      PubDate: 2017-12-28T16:20:38.423781-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13727
  • Citrate Content of Bone as a Measure of Postmortem Interval: An External
           Validation Study
    • Authors: Michael A. Brown; Ann W. Bunch, Charles Froome, Rebecca Gerling, Shawn Hennessy, Jeffrey Ellison
      Abstract: The postmortem interval (PMI) of skeletal remains is a crucial piece of information that can help establish the time dimension in criminal cases. Unfortunately, the accurate and reliable determination of PMI from bone continues to evade forensic investigators despite concerted efforts over the past decades to develop suitable qualitative and quantitative methods. A relatively new PMI method based on the analysis of citrate content of bone was developed by Schwarcz et al. The main objective of our research was to determine whether this work could be externally validated. Thirty-one bone samples were obtained from the Forensic Anthropology Center, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Onondaga County Medical Examiner's Office. Results from analyzing samples with PMI greater than 2 years suggest that the hypothetical relationship between the citrate content of bone and PMI is much weaker than reported. It was also observed that the average absolute error between the PMI value estimated using the equation proposed by Schwarcz et al. and the actual (“true”) PMI of the sample was negative indicating an underestimation in PMI. These findings are identical to those reported by Kanz et al. Despite these results this method may still serve as a technique to sort ancient from more recent skeletal cases, after further, similar validation studies have been conducted.
      PubDate: 2017-12-26T13:50:24.258734-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13716
  • Accuracy and Repeatability of Trajectory Rod Measurement Using Laser
    • Authors: Eugene Liscio; Helen Guryn, Daniella Stoewner
      Abstract: Three‐dimensional (3D) technologies contribute greatly to bullet trajectory analysis and shooting reconstruction. There are few papers which address the errors associated with utilizing laser scanning for bullet trajectory documentation. This study examined the accuracy and precision of laser scanning for documenting trajectory rods in drywall for angles between 25° and 90°. The inherent error range of 0.02°–2.10° was noted while the overall error for laser scanning ranged between 0.04° and 1.98°. The inter‐ and intraobserver errors for trajectory rod placement and virtual trajectory marking showed that the range of variation for rod placement was between 0.1°–1° in drywall and 0.05°–0.5° in plywood. Virtual trajectory marking accuracy tests showed that 75% of data values were below 0.91° and 0.61° on azimuth and vertical angles, respectively. In conclusion, many contributing factors affect bullet trajectory analysis, and the use of 3D technologies can aid in reduction of errors associated with documentation.
      PubDate: 2017-12-22T16:00:32.963718-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13719
  • Accuracy and Reliability of Total Body Mass Estimation Techniques from
           Stature and Bi‐iliac Breadth in Non‐Hispanic U.S. Whites from the Bass
           Donated Skeletal Collection
    • Authors: William C. Schaffer; Tyler E. Dunn
      Abstract: This paper tests the fidelity of a recent method that used the NHANES III dataset as a proxy to estimate total body mass from stature and bi‐iliac breadth in U.S. White males and females. The bi‐iliac breadths of 230 males and 152 females identified as non‐Hispanic U.S. White from the Bass Donated Skeletal Collection were measured, and along with stature from predonor paperwork, total body mass estimates were calculated and then compared to body masses recorded on predonor paperwork. Male and female samples were subdivided by body mass index (BMI [kg/m2]) categories established by the World Health Organization. Our results suggest that total body mass estimates can be accurately assessed provided that the individual is within 18.50 ≤ BMI ≤ 29.99 for White males and 18.50 ≤ BMI ≤ 24.99 for White females. Recommendations on how to report total body bass estimates are also presented.
      PubDate: 2017-12-22T15:55:24.025962-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13720
  • Intracoronary Thrombus Formation Following Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
    • Authors: Marilou Caron-Cantin; Marcia Abbott, Elizabeth Brooks-Lim, Bamidele Adeagbo
      Abstract: Thromboembolic events in the context of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure have been well described in the literature. Six cases of clinically significant coronary thrombosis following CO exposure were previously reported. However, factors affecting the development of coronary thrombus in CO exposure are poorly understood, and the significance of this finding in a forensic context is not clear. This article discusses a case of coronary thrombosis found at autopsy following a death in which CO poisoning was suspected. A 67‐year‐old man was found dead in his garage with four vehicles with their ignition in the “on” position and their tanks empty. At autopsy, severe coronary atherosclerosis and an acute nonocclusive coronary thrombus were found. Given the dissimilarities among cases and the presence of CO exposure, it was suggested that the coronary artery thrombosis is likely due to the inherent prothrombotic mechanism of CO, the only common denominator in all the cases.
      PubDate: 2017-12-22T11:35:22.82622-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13724
  • Bullet Trajectory after Impact on Laminated Particle Board
    • Authors: Erwin J. A. T. Mattijssen; Wim Kerkhoff, Marlies E. Bestebreurtje
      Abstract: When reconstructing a bullet's trajectory prior to impact using the spatial orientation between two consecutive bullet defects (e.g., by probing), it is important to take the bullet's deflection into account. The (critical) ricochet angles as well as the vertical and horizontal deflection angles of eight cartridge types on laminated particle board have been studied. For all eight of the cartridge types combined, the critical ricochet angles lie between approximately 14° and 26°, while for the subgroup of the jacketed bullets, this range lies lower, between approximately 14° and 18°. The data from this study can be used to assess the accuracy and precision of the applied method. The results show that the highest deflection angles are seen near the critical ricochet angle. Generally speaking, vertical and horizontal deflection angles can almost be neglected above angles of incidence of 30° or 40° for handgun ammunition when shooting at laminated particle board.
      PubDate: 2017-12-19T16:45:33.894727-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13717
  • Forensic Use of the Piracatinga Fish (Callophysius macropterus) to Locate
           and Identify Human Remains Retrieved From the Amazon River
    • Authors: Erik L. Jennings Simões
      Abstract: Piracatinga (Callophysius macropterus) are a type of bottom feeder catfish encountered in the Amazon River and its tributaries. We report two cases in which human remains were first located based on a characteristic circular distortion of the surface of the river that the Piracatinga make while they feed. Human skin samples of one of the victims recovered from the Piracatinga digestive tract were subjected to mitochondrial DNA analysis that allowed identification of the body of Case 1; the family recognized body parts of Case 2. Importantly, the location of human body parts and their identification based on DNA analysis enabled the respective families to obtain a death certificate expeditiously in the absence of identifiable remains—a process that normally requires 5 years under current Brazilian law, and in the absence of closure, imposes severe emotional stress on the family of the deceased.
      PubDate: 2017-12-15T16:06:07.947768-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13721
  • The Concealed Information Test is Susceptible to Misleading Information
    • Authors: Katja Volz; Lisa-Marie Bahr, Markus Heinrichs, Dieter Vaitl, Wolfgang Ambach
      Abstract: An approach toward detecting hidden knowledge is the Concealed Information Test (CIT). It relies on the memory of crime‐relevant information. This study investigated whether its validity is susceptible to memory distortion by misleading information. A misleading information paradigm was employed to distort memory prior to an interrogation with a CIT. Forty‐one participants watched a video with specific crime‐related information. After a 1‐week retention interval, misleading information was introduced. Afterward, a CIT was performed, followed by a threefold memory test. When misleading information was presented, memory performance was reduced, and no physiological response differences between crime‐relevant and crime‐irrelevant information were found. Without presenting misleading information, physiological responses differed between responses to crime‐relevant and crime‐irrelevant information. However, responses in all physiological measures also differed between misleading and irrelevant information. The results indicate that the CIT is susceptible to misleading information, which reduces its validity in specific constellations.
      PubDate: 2017-12-15T16:05:46.597178-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13718
  • A Simple and Efficient Method of Extracting DNA from Aged Bones and Teeth
    • Authors: Qiqi Liu; Liyan Liu, Minli Zhang, Qingzhen Zhang, Qiong Wang, Xiaoran Ding, Liting Shao, Zhe Zhou, Shengqi Wang
      Abstract: DNA is often difficult to extract from old bones and teeth due to low levels of DNA and high levels of degradation. This study established a simple yet efficient method for extracting DNA from 20 aged bones and teeth (approximately 60 years old). Based on the concentration and STR typing results, the new method of DNA extraction (OM) developed in this study was compared with the PrepFiler™ BTA Forensic DNA Extraction Kit (BM). The total amount of DNA extracted using the OM method was not significantly different from that extracted using the commercial kit (p > 0.05). However, the number of STR loci detected was significantly higher in the samples processed using the OM method than using the BM method (p < 0.05). This study aimed to establish a DNA extraction method for aged bones and teeth to improve the detection rate of STR typing and reduce costs compared to the BM technique.
      PubDate: 2017-12-14T16:10:29.031118-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13603
  • Cranial Backspatter Pattern Production Utilizing Human Cadavers
    • Authors: Celestina Rossi; Lynne D. Herold, Tom Bevel, Leslie McCauley, Stephanie Guadarrama
      Abstract: A backspatter pattern results from blood drops that travel retrograde to an applied external force. Historically, an array of animals and nonhuman objects have been used to create and study backspatter patterns. In this study, backspatter patterns captured on foam core targets that were placed 45.72 cm (18 in) behind the impact site (occipital area of the skull) were produced by cranial gunshots to human cadavers that were reinfused with fresh defibrinated bovine blood. These patterns were compared to the backspatter patterns produced by shooting blood‐soaked sponges, a typical simulant used in controlled studies of backspatter pattern production and characteristics. The backspatter pattern produced by shooting an actual human head was found to be different than those of blood‐soaked sponges in the number of stains produced, the size and size range of the stains, and the stain dispersion patterns.
      PubDate: 2017-12-11T17:31:17.571668-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13713
  • An Analysis of The Morbidity and Mortality of Diabetes Mellitus in a
           Forensic Context
    • Authors: Chong Zhou; Roger W. Byard
      Abstract: To investigate the spectrum of diseases seen in diabetes mellitus in a forensic context, all autopsy reports of diabetic individuals who presented to Forensic Science, South Australia (FSSA), over a 5‐year period from 2005 to 2009 were studied. The leading cause of death was cardiovascular disease (55.0%), followed by unnatural deaths (15.4%) and infections (9.4%). In type 1 diabetics, principal causes of death included cardiovascular disease (44.7%), acute metabolic complications (18.7%), unnatural deaths (17.9%), and infections (8.9%). However, frequencies of these diseases differed in type 2 diabetics, with cardiovascular events responsible for 56.6% of cases, followed by unnatural deaths (15.0%) and infections (10.9%). A larger number of male deaths were seen in all disease categories, except respiratory and gastrointestinal where the frequencies were similar to females. Cardiovascular disease was the leading overall cause of death across all ages except in those under the age of 30 where metabolic complications were more common.
      PubDate: 2017-12-11T17:31:01.36539-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13674
  • Avian Scavenging of Small‐Sized Pig Carcasses in Central Florida:
           Utilizing GIS to Analyze Site Variables Affecting Skeletal Dispersal
    • Authors: John J. Schultz; Alexander T. Mitchell
      Abstract: Scavengers can significantly alter a forensic scene and consume, modify, disarticulate, and disperse bodies on the ground surface. The research purpose was to examine vulture scavenging in central Florida, USA. Four small‐sized pig (Sus scrofa) carcasses were left on the ground surface of two microenvironments (shaded and open) at a secure site with game cameras. Dispersal data were mapped and analyzed using geographical information systems spatial analysis digital mapping tools. The primary avian scavengers recorded included black vultures (Coragyps atratus) and turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), as well as bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Carcass dispersal patterns were impacted by foliage density (grass height and concentrations of bushes and trees) and proximity to the perimeter fence. While the majority of skeletal elements were dispersed within 6 m of the carcass deposition locations, dispersion occurred over a greater distance in the wooded microenvironment. Overall, vulture behaviors deleteriously destroyed and changed the context of the scene, with black vultures having the greatest impact.
      PubDate: 2017-12-06T15:41:23.856594-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13694
  • Classification Improvements in Automated Gunshot Residue (GSR) Scans
    • Authors: Micha Mandel; Osnat Israelsohn Azulay, Yigal Zidon, Tsadok Tsach, Yaron Cohen
      Abstract: Classification of particles as gunshot residues (GSRs) is conducted using a semiautomatic approach in which the system first classifies particles based on an automatic elemental analysis, and then, examiners manually analyze particles having compositions which are characteristic of or consistent with GSRs. Analyzing all the particles in the second stage is time consuming with many particles classified by the initial automated system as being potentially GSRs excluded as such by the forensic examiner. In this paper, a new algorithm is developed to improve the initial classification step. The algorithm is based on a binary tree that was trained on almost 16,000 particles from 43 stubs used to sample hands of suspects. The classification algorithm was tested on 5,900 particles from 23 independent stubs and performed very well in terms of false positive and false negative rates. A routine use of the new algorithm can reduce significantly the analysis time of GSRs.
      PubDate: 2017-12-05T17:20:46.51949-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13711
  • Detection and Identification of Psilocybe cubensis DNA Using a Real‐Time
           Polymerase Chain Reaction High Resolution Melt Assay,
    • Authors: Ashley F. Cowan; Kelly M. Elkins
      Abstract: Psilocybe cubensis, or “magic mushroom,” is the most common species of fungus with psychedelic characteristics. Two primer sets were designed to target Psilocybe DNA using web‐based software and NBCI gene sequences. DNA was extracted from eighteen samples, including twelve mushroom species, using the Qiagen DNeasy® Plant Mini Kit. The DNA was amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the primers and a master mix containing either a SYBR® Green I, Radiant™ Green, or LCGreen Plus® intercalating dye; amplicon size was determined using agarose gel electrophoresis. The PCR assays were tested for amplifiability, specificity, reproducibility, robustness, sensitivity, and multiplexing with primers that target marijuana. The observed high resolution melt (HRM) temperatures for primer sets 1 and 7 were 78.85 ± 0.31°C and 73.22 ± 0.61°C, respectively, using SYBR® Green I dye and 81.67 ± 0.06°C and 76.04 ± 0.11°C, respectively, using Radiant™ Green dye.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01T12:26:24.787457-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13714
  • The Roles of Participants’ Differing Background Information in the
           Evaluation of Evidence
    • Authors: Colin Aitken; Anders Nordgaard
      PubDate: 2017-12-01T12:26:16.39881-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13712
  • Teens and Spice: A Review of Adolescent Fatalities Associated with
           Synthetic Cannabinoid Use
    • Authors: Anthea B. Mahesan Paul; Lary Simms, Saeideh Amini, Abraham Ebenezer Paul
      Abstract: Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) are commonly abused by adolescents with reported past year (2013) use in high school students between 3 and 10%. Standard adolescent postmortem toxicology does not include routine SC analysis, and thus, the true burden of fatalities related to SCs is unknown. A retrospective case review of two cases included scene investigation, interviews, autopsy, and toxicology. SCs were confirmed by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC‑MS/MS). Review of the eight adolescent SC‐associated fatalities in the literature revealed five of eight cases had no other discernible cause of death on autopsy. Compounds detected included PB‐22 (1.1 ng/mL), JWH‐210 (12 ng/mL), XLR‐11 (1.3 ng/mL), JWH‐122, AB‐CHMINACA (8.2 ng/mL), UR‐144 (12.3 ng/mL), and JWH‐022 (3 ng/mL). With synthetic drug use on the rise, forensic experts should have a high index of suspicion for the possibility of SC intoxication in adolescent fatalities with no other discernible cause of death.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01T12:26:13.802658-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13704
  • STR Genotyping from a Dry‐Cleaned Skirt in a Sexual Assault Case
    • Authors: Hisae Ogawa; Yuuji Hiroshige, Takashi Yoshimoto, Akira Ishii, Toshimichi Yamamoto
      Abstract: In this sexual assault case, the standard preliminary semen examinations could not confirm physically or biochemically whether the accused's semen had stained the victim's skirt because the skirt had been dry‐cleaned for stain removal and had been worn for more than a year after the assault. Fortunately, however, a photograph taken just after the assault was found in the court records that showed white stains on the checkered skirt. The locations of the stains were estimated based on the checkered pattern of the fabric, and microscopic examination using Baecchi's staining revealed the presence of spermatozoa. Further analysis indicated the male DNA profile generated from the sperm cells was consistent with the suspect's DNA using three multiplex STR typing systems for a total of 21 autosomal and 17 Y chromosomal short tandem repeats (STRs). Ultimately, the result of the DNA profile played a very useful role as additional evidence.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01T12:26:10.534175-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13698
  • A Three‐Locus, PCR‐based Method for Forensic Identification of
           Plant Material
    • Authors: Tushar Srivastava; Michael Wu, Julia Kakhnovich, Bridgit Waithaka, Nathan H. Lents
      Abstract: Plant residue is currently an underutilized resource in forensic investigations despite the fact that many crime scenes, as well as suspects and victims, harbor plant‐derived residue that could be recovered and analyzed. Notwithstanding the considerable skill of forensic botanists, current methods of species determination could benefit from tools for DNA‐based species identification. However, DNA barcoding in plants has been hampered by sequence complications in the plant genome. Following a database search for usable barcodes, broad‐spectrum primers were designed and utilized to amplify and sequence the rbcL, trnL‐F, and rrn18 genetic loci from a variety of household plants. Once obtained, these DNA sequences were used to design species‐targeted primers that could successfully discriminate the source of plant residue from among the 21 species tested.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01T12:25:33.999273-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13715
  • Clinical and Autopsy Characteristics of Fatal Methamphetamine Toxicity in
    • Authors: Shane Darke; Johan Duflou, Julia Lappin, Sharlene Kaye
      Abstract: Characteristics of death attributed solely to methamphetamine toxicity (MT, n = 93) by forensic pathologists were examined and compared to cases of multiple drug toxicity (MDT, n = 634). The mean age of MT cases was 36.7 years, and 86.0% were male. Strenuous activity was reported in 12.9%. The most common witness observations were: collapse (60.3%), difficulty in breathing (36.2%), and hyperthermia (27.6%). MT cases had higher blood methamphetamine (0.54 vs. 0.11 mg/L) and amphetamine (0.04 vs. 0.02 mg/L) concentrations and lower likelihoods for opioids (12.5% vs. 80.9%), hypnosedatives (27.3 vs. 60.7%), antidepressants (14.8 vs. 29.8%), and antipsychotics (9.1 vs. 19.7%). MT cases had significantly heavier hearts than MDT cases (423.4 vs. 385.8 g) and were more likely to have cardiomegaly (37.1 vs. 20.4%) and replacement fibrosis (25.7 vs. 14.5%). The clinical picture was of a sudden cardiac event in a middle‐aged man with a high methamphetamine concentration. Cardiovascular signs of heavy methamphetamine use are frequently seen.
      PubDate: 2017-11-29T16:10:53.975-05:00
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13710
  • Introducing 3D Printed Models as Demonstrative Evidence at Criminal Trials
    • Authors: Waltraud Baier; Jason M. Warnett, Mark Payne, Mark A. Williams
      Abstract: This case report presents one of the first reported uses of a 3D printed exhibit in an English homicide trial, in which two defendants were accused of beating their victim to death. The investigation of this crime included a micro‐CT scan of the victim's skull, which assisted the pathologist to determine the circumstances of the assault, in particular regarding the number of assault weapons and perpetrators. The scan showed two distinct injury shapes, suggesting the use of either two weapons or a single weapon with geometrically distinct surfaces. It subsequently served as the basis for a 3D print, which was shown in court in one of the first examples that 3D printed physical models have been introduced as evidence in a criminal trial in the United Kingdom. This paper presents the decision‐making process of whether to use 3D printed evidence or not.
      PubDate: 2017-11-29T16:10:51.709077-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13700
  • Statistical Modeling of the Case Information From the Ohio Attorney
           General's Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative
    • Authors: Jaimie E. Kerka; Derek J. Heckman, James H. Albert, Jon E. Sprague, Lewis O. Maddox
      Abstract: The Ohio Attorney General's Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Testing Initiative has resulted in nearly 14,000 kits being processed since the initiation of the project in 2012. A logistic regression model was fit to the data from 2500 SAKs in order to determine the probability of obtaining at least one Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) eligible DNA profile based on a number of predictor variables. The probability of obtaining at least one CODIS eligible DNA profile from an SAK varied as a function of (i) days to kit collection following a sexual assault; (ii) years to kit submission to the laboratory for testing following kit collection; (iii) the age of the victim; and (iv) the occurrence of victim‐reported consensual sex around the time of the assault and/or kit collection. These findings demonstrate the utility of the statistical modeling of data obtained from the “forklift” testing approach of sexual assault kits.
      PubDate: 2017-11-29T12:40:27.704115-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13697
  • Syphilis—Cardiovascular Manifestations of the Great Imitator
    • Authors: Roger W. Byard
      Abstract: Rates of syphilis are beginning to once again increase, with the World Health Organization estimating that in recent years there were 12 million new cases of syphilis each year; in 2002, syphilis was responsible for 0.3% of deaths globally. At‐risk groups include young males (20–29 years), prisoners, and sex workers. Increased rates in young females have elevated the numbers of congenital cases. Review of the University of Adelaide Pathology Archive revealed four cases with significant pathology, which included cardiac gummas and aortic arch aneurysms. These cases demonstrate the cardiovascular characteristics of untreated syphilis in the tertiary stage. Cases with such advanced pathology will only occur where diagnoses have not been made, and/or standard antibiotic therapy has not been implemented in the early stage of disease.
      PubDate: 2017-11-28T17:21:22.26329-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13709
  • Skeletal Trauma Resulting From Fatal Low (≤3 m) Free Falls: An Analysis
           of Fracture Patterns and Morphologies
    • Authors: Samantha K. Rowbotham; Soren Blau, Jacqueline Hislop-Jambrich, Victoria Francis
      Abstract: The skeletal trauma resulting from fatal low (≤3 m) free falls is poorly researched and understood by forensic practitioners. The aim of this study was to identify the types of skeletal trauma resulting from low falls through investigating fracture patterns and morphologies. Skeletal trauma was analyzed using full‐body postmortem computed tomography scans of 145 individuals who died from a low free fall. Trauma was then contextualized to the variables that influence how a person falls using multiple logistic regression. Results showed fracture patterning primarily involved the axial skeleton and that there were a number of patterns significantly associated with the height fallen, pre‐existing health conditions, and age. Analysis of fracture morphologies showed 108 possible fracture types, six of which were significantly associated with the height fallen. Understanding the skeletal trauma characteristic of low free falls will further inform anthropological interpretations of trauma in cases where a fall may be considered the possible mechanism.
      PubDate: 2017-11-28T17:21:04.13082-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13701
  • A Morphometric Outline Analysis of Ancestry and Sex Differences in Cranial
    • Authors: Rachel E. Murphy; Heather M. Garvin
      Abstract: Forensic anthropological techniques that utilize nonmetric cranial traits to estimate sex and ancestry have historically been criticized for their subjectivity and qualitative nature. Nonmetric traits, however, continue to be valuable tools in identifying remains in forensic investigations. In this study, geometric morphometric analyses of cranial outlines were performed to quantitatively assess population and sex variation in modern human cranial shapes and to verify group differences in previously reported qualitative traits. Elliptical Fourier analysis was conducted on two‐dimensional images of the left lateral, posterior, and superior cranial views from 198 U.S. Black and White crania. Results reveal significant sex and population differences in cranial shape that generally coincide with traditional qualitative descriptions. Although sex classification was relatively low (70.2%), ancestry classification was higher (92.4%), indicating that outline analyses that incorporate multiple nonmetric traits into a single statistical analysis may provide a more objective and accurate means of ancestry classification.
      PubDate: 2017-11-28T17:20:54.784694-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13699
  • Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotope Analyses of Ephedra Plant and Ephedrine
           Samples and Their Application For Methamphetamine Profiling
    • Authors: Cuimei Liu; Peipei Liu, Wei Jia, Yingfeng Fan
      Abstract: In this study, stable isotope ratio analysis was used to track the precursor information of methamphetamine. The δ13C and δ15N values of 30 nature ephedra plants, 12 synthetic ephedrine/pseudoephedrine (ephedrine), 14 natural ephedrine, and 987 seized methamphetamine samples were measured and compared. Due to different weather and earth conditions, the δ13C and δ15N values of ephedra plants grown in the east and the west of Inner Mongolia showed great difference. The δ15N values of ephedra plants were consistent with related ephedrine extracted from them. Moreover, the criteria to infer the synthetic origin of ephedrine were set up after the analysis of natural and synthetic ephedrine samples. Finally, the precursor origins of 949 seized methamphetamine samples synthesized by Emde and Nagai method were tentatively inferred. Influenced by different preprecursors, the δ13C values of seized methamphetamine samples that synthesized from P2P also showed great difference, and this result is consistent with the reported data.
      PubDate: 2017-11-28T17:20:44.766866-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13692
  • Contactless Visualization of Latent Fingerprints on Nonporous Curved
           Surfaces of Circular Cross Section—A Statistical Evaluation on the
           Materials as Plane Mirror
    • Authors: Wei Zeng Low; Bee Ee Khoo, Ahmad Fahmi Lim bin Abdullah
      Abstract: A new contactless technique for latent fingerprint visualization on nonporous curved surfaces of circular cross section was introduced by Low et al. (1). The technique utilizes a plane mirror to convey the light rays toward the inspected surfaces for latent fingerprint visualization. This research activity came up as an extension of the previous study which utilized an aluminum plate as the plane mirror to illuminate the inspected surfaces. Dulling spray was used to increase the diffuse component of the reflective aluminum plate. However, the amount of dulling spray will affect the uniformity of the illumination on the inspected curved surfaces. In this study, a study on the new materials for the plane mirror was carried out. Coated aluminum, opal, and ground glass diffusers were selected as the new materials. The performance of the new materials was compared to the aluminum based on the quality of the captured images on various nonporous cylindrical surfaces. A statistical approach known as randomized complete block design was used to design the experiment. The quality of the captured images was obtained using Spectral Image Validation and Verification. Two‐way analysis of variance and Fisher's least significant difference test were used to analyze the quality of the images. From the results of the statistical analysis, coated aluminum has the best performance compared to aluminum, opal, and ground glass diffusers.
      PubDate: 2017-11-27T15:35:42.117446-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13702
  • Insane Sex Offenders: Psychiatric and Legal Characteristics of Sexual
           Offenders Found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity
    • Authors: Brian J. Holoyda; Barbara E. McDermott, William J. Newman
      Abstract: There is little known about sexual offenders hospitalized under forensic commitment statutes such as not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI). We conducted a chart review to delineate the demographic, clinical, and legal characteristics of NGRI sexual offenders (n = 68) committed to the California Department of State Hospitals—Napa, including 41 found NGRI for a sexual offense and 27 found NGRI for a nonsexual offense. The two groups did not differ significantly in their demographics, psychiatric diagnoses, victim characteristics, or recidivism risk as measured by the Static‐99R. Those found NGRI for a sexual offense were older at the time of their first criminal and first violent offense, younger at the time of their committing offense, and had fewer prior total convictions and sexual offense convictions. These findings may indicate that sexual offenders found NGRI for a sexual offense are less antisocial than those found NGRI for a nonsexual offense.
      PubDate: 2017-11-27T15:35:31.549898-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13707
  • An Unusual Cause of Headache and Sudden Death of a Young
           Sailor—Postmortem Computed Tomography and Histological Findings of a
           Fatal Retroperitoneal Malignant Mixed Germ Cell Tumor
    • Authors: Belinda Lee; Michelle Chan, Ronald Goh
      Abstract: A 26‐year‐old Caucasian sailor, with no past medical history aside from headache for the last 1 week, was found dead in his cabin. The body was stored in a refrigerator on board and disembarked for autopsy 3 days later. Autopsy showed a large, nodular, necrotic and hemorrhagic retroperitoneal mass, and smaller hemorrhagic nodules in the brain, lungs, liver, and left kidney, with the brain being markedly edematous. Both testes were descended and normal. Histologically, the retroperitoneal mass showed a malignant mixed germ cell tumor comprising choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, and teratoma components. Retroperitoneal extragonadal germ cell tumors are uncommon, and this case of a young male who presented with headache and sudden death due to metastases is extremely rare.
      PubDate: 2017-11-22T13:31:20.450067-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13703
  • A Validation Study of the Langley et al. (2017) Decision Tree Model for
           Sex Estimation
    • Authors: Heather M. Garvin; Alexandra R. Klales
      Abstract: Langley et al. (2017) developed a sex estimation decision tree utilizing two traditional cranial traits (glabella and mastoid) and a new trait: zygomatic extension. This study aimed to test the reliability of their zygomatic extension scoring method and validate their sex estimation method. Ordinal score data were collected from 281 male and female U.S. White and Black individuals. The five traditional cranial traits were collected from physical specimens, while zygomatic extension was scored from 3D cranial models. Intra‐ and interobserver analyses carried out on a subsample of 30 individuals indicate good agreement between zygomatic scores. The decision tree correctly sexed 71.5% of the sample, but a strong sex bias (94.2% correct for females, 49.3% correct for males) severely limits the utility of this method. The Walker (2008) and Stevenson et al. (2009) methods produced higher accuracy rates (80.8% and 82.6%, respectively), although these methods also produced sex and ancestry biases.
      PubDate: 2017-11-17T02:45:49.496633-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13688
  • The Pharmacokinetics of Morphine and Codeine in Human Plasma and Urine
           after Oral Administration of Qiangli Pipa Syrup
    • Authors: Bin-bin Guo; Yu-qiao Zhang, Sheng-feng Wang, Jin-song Ding, Wen-hu Zhou
      Abstract: Papaveris pericarpium, a natural source of morphine and codeine, is the principal active component in many antitussive traditional Chinese medicines. We herein report the first PK study of papaveris pericarpium in human plasma and urine following oral administration of single (15, 30, 60 mL) and multiple dose (15 mL) of Qiangli Pipa Syrup (MOR 0.1 mg/mL, COD 0.028 mg/mL) by monitoring morphine and codeine using a HPLC‐MS/MS method. Their Tmax and t1/2 values are independent of dosages, while the AUC0−t linearly increased with higher dosages, indicating linear PK characteristics. AUC0−t increased obviously after multiple doses, indicating possible risk of accumulative toxicity. Urine studies suggested risks of positive opiate drug tests with a cutoff of 300 ng/mL, which lasted 6–14 h at different doses. These results provide important information for clinical safety, efficacy and rational drug use of Qiangli Pipa Syrup and also guide the related judicial expertise of its administration.
      PubDate: 2017-11-17T02:45:31.825147-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13696
  • Bioelectrical Impedance as a Technique for Estimating Postmortem
    • Authors: Eriek S. Hansen; Christiane Baigent, Sophia I. Reck, Melissa Connor
      Abstract: Estimation of postmortem interval (PMI) is a critical component of death investigation. A cadaver can be hypothesized to be a resistor–capacitor (RC) circuit the impedance (Z) of which changes in a quantifiable manner as the cadaver decomposes. This hypothesis was tested using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) equipment to apply a current with a fixed amplitude at a single frequency to four cadavers over time and measuring two components of Z, resistance (R) and reactance (Xc). Quadratic regression analysis between Z and accumulated degree days (ADD) showed a statistically significant parabolic relationship. The parabolic relationship poses an initial challenge to the use of the method, and additional research is needed to address this issue. However, the results of the reported research support the hypothesis that Z measured using BIA has a relationship to PMI.
      PubDate: 2017-11-16T04:20:47.59457-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13695
  • Location of Artifacts Deposited by the Blow Fly Lucilia cuprina After
           Feeding on Human Blood at Simulated Indoor Crime Scenes
    • Authors: Annalisa Durdle; Timothy J. Verdon, Robert John Mitchell, Roland A. H. Oorschot
      Abstract: Human DNA profiles can be obtained from fly artifacts (feces and regurgitant) when a fly has been feeding on biological material, sometimes 2 years after deposition. Morphological similarity between artifacts and spots of unaltered biological material make it difficult to distinguish between them, and presumptive and confirmatory forensic tests are unreliable in making the distinction. Knowing possible artifact locations will assist investigators in recognizing where DNA contamination might occur. Flies were released into a house with human blood available under a variety of different climatic and lighting conditions. The location of flies and artifacts was recorded after 72 h. It was found flies may move toward warm or well‐lit areas and deposit artifacts there, but artifacts were predominantly located around food sources and were often found in low positions. Factors such as ambient temperature, and the proximity of light and food sources, had an impact on where artifacts were deposited.
      PubDate: 2017-11-16T04:20:45.435495-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13693
  • The Effect of Alcohol‐Based Hand Sanitizer Vapors on Evidential
           Breath Alcohol Test Results
    • Authors: Ellen Strawsine; Brian Lutmer
      Abstract: This study was undertaken to determine if the application of alcohol‐based hand sanitizers (ABHSs) to the hands of a breath test operator will affect the results obtained on evidential breath alcohol instruments (EBTs). This study obtained breath samples on three different EBTs immediately after application of either gel or foam ABHS to the operator's hands. A small, but significant, number of initial analyses (13 of 130, 10%) resulted in positive breath alcohol concentrations, while 41 samples (31.5%) resulted in a status code. These status codes were caused by ethanol vapors either in the room air or their inhalation by the subject, thereby causing a mouth alcohol effect. Replicate subject samples did not yield any consecutive positive numeric results. As ABHS application can cause a transitory mouth alcohol effect via inhalation of ABHS vapors, EBT operators should forego the use of ABHS in the 15 min preceding subject testing.
      PubDate: 2017-11-16T04:20:30.230639-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13691
  • Certifying Death in the United States
    • Authors: Leah Ruiz; Brianne M. Posey, Melanie-Angela Neuilly, Mary K. Stohr, Craig Hemmens
      Abstract: Accurately identifying death and its causes is integral to the compilation of mortality data and ultimately to the operation of the criminal justice and public health systems. A clear understanding of who is in charge of such processes is paramount to establishing the quality, or lack thereof, of the information provided in death certificates. Our study provides a comprehensive overview of all state statutes identifying death investigators charged with classifying and certifying death in the United States. We found that state statutes designate a broad range of individuals as responsible for the classification and certification of death. Those vary by state and set of circumstances and can include medical examiners, coroners, pathologists, other physicians, registered nurses, and more. Our findings highlight the important need for a unified standard of qualifications in the medico‐legal system, as well as, regulatory reform at the state level regarding who can complete and sign death certificates.
      PubDate: 2017-11-16T04:20:27.19709-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13689
  • Correcting the Count: Improving Vital Statistics Data Regarding Deaths
           Related to Obesity
    • Authors: Brandi C. McCleskey; Gregory G. Davis, Daniel W. Dye
      Abstract: Obesity can involve any organ system and compromise the overall health of an individual, including premature death. Despite the increased risk of death associated with being obese, obesity itself is infrequently indicated on the death certificate. We performed an audit of our records to identify how often “obesity” was listed on the death certificate to determine how our practices affected national mortality data collection regarding obesity‐related mortality. During the span of nearly 25 years, 0.2% of deaths were attributed to or contributed by obesity. Over the course of 5 years, 96% of selected natural deaths were likely underreported as being associated with obesity. We present an algorithm for certifiers to use to determine whether obesity should be listed on the death certificate and guidelines for certifying cases in which this is appropriate. Use of this algorithm will improve vital statistics concerning the role of obesity in causing or contributing to death.
      PubDate: 2017-11-15T04:40:46.665995-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13690
  • Effect of Sterilants on Amplification and Detection of Target DNA from
           Bacillus cereus Spores
    • Authors: James M. Robertson; Douglas L. Anders, Francene Basalyga, Julie Millar, Donia Palomo Slack, Robert Bever
      Abstract: To conceal criminal activity of a bioterrorist or agroterrorist, the site of pathogen generation is often treated with sterilants to kill the organisms and remove evidence. As dead organisms cannot be analyzed by culture, this study examined whether DNA from sterilant‐treated Bacillus cereus spores was viable for amplification. The spores were exposed to five common sterilants: bleach, Sterilox®, oxidizer foam (L‐Gel), a peroxyacid (Actril®), and formaldehyde vapor. The spores were inoculated on typical surfaces found in offices and laboratories to test for environmental effects. It was found that the surface influenced the efficiency of recovery of the organisms. The DNA isolated from the recovered spores was successfully detected using RT‐qPCR for all treatments except for formaldehyde, by amplifying the phosphatidylinositol phospholipase C and sphingomyelinase genes. The results demonstrated that evidence from sites treated with sterilants can still provide information on the uncultured organism, using DNA amplification.
      PubDate: 2017-11-15T04:40:44.058977-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13653
  • Temporal Trends in Rainwater Tank Suicides in Rijeka, Croatia—A
           30‐year Study
    • Authors: Antun Ferenčić; Ivan Šoša, Drazen Cuculic, Valter Stemberga, Roger W. Byard
      Abstract: Although drowning in rainwater tanks is a generally rare phenomenon, this method for suicide has been observed in parts of Croatia. Review of autopsy records at the University of Rijeka, Croatia, was undertaken from 1987 to 2016 to examine this phenomenon. Of 469 drowning deaths, there were 35 suicides in rainwater tanks (7.5%). Overall drowning deaths showed no temporal trends. In contrast, suicidal drownings in rain water tanks showed a marked decline over the years, with 15 cases in 1987–1991, seven in 1992–1996, six in 1997–2001, six in 2002–2006, one in 2007–2011, and none in 2012–2016. Thus, suicidal drowning cases as a percentage of overall drownings dropped from 18% to zero (p
      PubDate: 2017-11-06T03:16:16.82803-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13683
  • Measuring the Frequency Occurrence of Handwritten Numeral Characteristics
    • Authors: Thomas W. Vastrick; Ellen Schuetzner, Kelsey Osborn
      Abstract: The premise of this follow‐up sister study to “Measuring the Frequency Occurrence of Handwriting and Handprinting Characteristics” was to collect a representative population sampling of numerals and assess how many participants utilize each of the predetermined characteristics as found in their specimens. A total of 1410 handwriting specimen forms were collected from across the United States and pared to 1025 to obtain a proper representative sample of the U.S. adult population based on the same demographics used in the original 2017 study. This study provides frequency of occurrence proportions and 95% confidence limits for 25 handwritten numeral characteristics. A total of 277 intercharacter pairs of handwritten numeral characteristics were cross‐analyzed for interdependence. The results were that 72.92% of all intercharacter pairs had a coefficient of correlation between −0.2 and +0.2 in this study.
      PubDate: 2017-11-03T01:22:03.278791-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13678
  • Enhanced Visualization of Latent Fingermarks on Rough Aluminum Surfaces
           Using Sequential Au and Zn/ZnS/ZnO Depositions
    • Authors: Anjani Kumar Tiwari; Ismail Mekkaoui Alaoui, Sriram Guddala, S. Anantha Ramakrishna
      Abstract: Detection and visualization of fingermarks on rough and diffuse surfaces is a relatively challenging task. We succeeded in developing latent fingermarks on scratched and rough aluminum surfaces by sequential deposition of a thin layer of gold followed by one of zinc or zinc‐based compounds on the fingermarks. The best image enhancement was achieved with sequential Au and ZnS depositions. Using this combination, we could enhance the visualization of latent fingermarks aged over 65 days in normal conditions. The optical reflectance from the fingermarks with the deposited layers of metal/dielectric is analyzed as a stratified medium. Significant contrast in the reflectance from the regions of the ridges and the valleys of the fingermark would enhance the visualization. Our results show that the Au and ZnS bi‐layer combination can have a large reflection contrast and improved fingermark visualization at wavelengths corresponding to the green light for specific thickness of ZnS.
      PubDate: 2017-11-03T01:21:45.3008-05:00
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13686
  • Use of Xylazine in Drug‐Facilitated Crimes
    • Authors: Jatupon Krongvorakul; Saranya Auparakkitanon, Satariya Trakulsrichai, Pitsucha Sanguanwit, Jetjamnong Sueajai, Nantida Noumjad, Winai Wananukul
      Abstract: Human xylazine poisoning is uncommon. This report describes the use of xylazine for intentional poisoning with criminal intent. Two incidents occurred within 3 weeks: the first involved one victim, and the second involved two victims. The clinical presentations were brief coma, bradycardia, hypotension, and hyperglycemia. The victims recalled having been given a drink from a stranger in a hospital waiting room before loss of consciousness. In the first case, general drug screening by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (MS) revealed xylazine in the gastric contents, but liquid chromatography–tandem MS (LC‐MS/MS) of serum did not. In the second incident, LC‐MS/MS screening of both victims’ urine and serum samples revealed an unknown peak in the total ion chromatograms, which a molecular mass database identified as morantel or xylazine. The latter was confirmed by comparison with a xylazine standard. Based on this report, we suggest that xylazine should be classified as a controlled drug.
      PubDate: 2017-11-03T01:21:28.94222-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13684
  • Child Fatalities in Dammam: A Call for Child Fatality Reviews in Arab
    • Authors: Dalia Mohammed Alsaif; Osama M. Almadani, Salah Ali Almoghannam, Dina Hamdi, Maram A. Al-Farayedhi, Magdy A. Kharosha
      Abstract: Identifying children's risk exposure is the first step toward mortality prevention. This retrospective study determined the causes of child fatalities in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Death reports of children and adolescents from 1999 to 2015 (N = 157) were analyzed. Boys represented most cases (69%) and there were two age peaks (1–5 years and 16–18 years). Accidents (typically immersion) defined the main death circumstance (51%) followed by homicide (25%). Only 33% of cases underwent autopsy, and the most common cause of death was head injury (27%) followed by firearm injury. Only one immersion death underwent autopsy. This study revealed important data about the risk exposure of children in Dammam and emphasizes deficient investigative procedures. Child fatality reviews comprise systematic data collection by multidisciplinary teams to determine the true risks toward children in a community. Such teams do not exist in Arab countries; therefore, strategies should be implemented to initiate them.
      PubDate: 2017-11-03T01:21:26.072124-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13685
  • A GIS‐based Quantitative Approach for the Search of Clandestine
           Graves, Italy
    • Authors: Roberta Somma; Maria Cascio, Massimiliano Silvestro, Eliana Torre
      Abstract: Previous research on the RAG color‐coded prioritization systems for the discovery of clandestine graves has not considered all the factors influencing the burial site choice within a GIS project. The goal of this technical note was to discuss a GIS‐based quantitative approach for the search of clandestine graves. The method is based on cross‐referenced RAG maps with cumulative suitability factors to host a burial, leading to the editing of different search scenarios for ground searches showing high‐(Red), medium‐(Amber), and low‐(Green) priority areas. The application of this procedure allowed several outcomes to be determined: If the concealment occurs at night, then the “search scenario without the visibility” will be the most effective one; if the concealment occurs in daylight, then the “search scenario with the DSM‐based visibility” will be most appropriate; the different search scenarios may be cross‐referenced with offender's confessions and eyewitnesses’ testimonies to verify the veracity of their statements.
      PubDate: 2017-10-30T12:52:12.603469-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13677
  • Arterial Perfusion—A Useful Technique for Evaluating Incised Wounds
    • Authors: Neil E. I. Langlois; Roger W. Byard
      Abstract: A 54‐year‐old woman was found deceased with incised wounds of both sides of her neck and both wrists. Postmortem CT scanning revealed air in the heart and in the dural veins in continuity with air in the right jugular vein. Death was due to incised wounds of the wrist and neck with blood loss and air embolism. The manner of death was suicide. At autopsy, perfusion of the thoracic ascending aorta produced a fine stream of water emanating from an incised wound of the right ulnar artery with no significant leakage of water from the wound of the left wrist. There was also leakage from the facial artery branch of the right external carotid artery. Perfusion testing can be used as a screening test prior to formal dissection and also to identify small vessels that may not be obvious on standard examination of an exsanguinated field.
      PubDate: 2017-10-30T12:51:08.737302-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13682
  • Potential Use in Forensics of a Novel Hybrid Gelatin—Dynamic Impact
    • Authors: Teodora Zecheru; Alexandru Dena, Marius Cîrmaci, Ciprian Său, Cătălin Zaharia, Claudiu Lăzăroaie
      Abstract: Ballistic gelatin as simulant of the human body and organs is a support in forensics. After having obtained very good results for a new gelatin‐based composite in terms of physicochemical and rheological properties, this study focused on this material's mechanical behavior during stabbing and shooting versus bovine and porcine organs and standard ballistic gelatin. The hybrid gelatin has a predominantly elastic behavior at 23°C, whereas the elastic modulus becomes practically constant in the 10–0.1 Hz frequency range. In terms of stabbing behavior, the small variations obtained between porcine organs and surrogate are below 5%, the perforation indicating a good similarity. From the ballistic test results using 10 × 28T rubber balls, it has been seen that the hybrid ballistic gelatin conducts to more reliable and reproducible values of perforation/penetration versus standard gelatin, making from it a real candidate for use in forensic tests.
      PubDate: 2017-10-30T12:51:04.32806-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13679
  • Self‐Strangulation Turning into Partial Hanging for a Suicide Victim
    • Authors: Rajanikanta Swain; Mantaran Singh Bakshi, Shivani Dhaka, Krishna Kumar Singh, Asit Kumar Sikary
      Abstract: Hanging is the most common asphyxial method of suicide, whereas suicide by strangulation is unusual. Here, we are reporting a particular methodology of the asphyxial method of suicide in which a case of self‐strangulation culminated into partial hanging. A 30‐year‐old male wrapped one end of the cable wire around his neck. He then passed the other end over a curtain rod and tied that end around the right hand. He pulled the hand down, using the curtain rod as a fulcrum, to tighten the noose around the neck in an attempt to strangulate himself. However, he lost consciousness during the process and the body slipped down, pulling the right hand up which got stuck at the curtain rod. This led the body hanged in the kneeling position. This bizarre scenario raised suspicion of homicide but the crime scene, autopsy and victim characteristics were in favor of suicide.
      PubDate: 2017-10-30T12:50:37.208726-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13680
  • Lone Actor Terrorist Attack Planning and Preparation: A Data‐Driven
    • Authors: Bart Schuurman; Edwin Bakker, Paul Gill, Noémie Bouhana
      Abstract: This article provides an in‐depth assessment of lone actor terrorists’ attack planning and preparation. A codebook of 198 variables related to different aspects of pre‐attack behavior is applied to a sample of 55 lone actor terrorists. Data were drawn from open‐source materials and complemented where possible with primary sources. Most lone actors are not highly lethal or surreptitious attackers. They are generally poor at maintaining operational security, leak their motivations and capabilities in numerous ways, and generally do so months and even years before an attack. Moreover, the “loneness” thought to define this type of terrorism is generally absent; most lone actors uphold social ties that are crucial to their adoption and maintenance of the motivation and capability to commit terrorist violence. The results offer concrete input for those working to detect and prevent this form of terrorism and argue for a re‐evaluation of the “lone actor” concept.
      PubDate: 2017-10-23T16:30:57.832721-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13676
  • Weapon Use in Korean Homicide: Differences Between Homicides Involving
           Sharp and Blunt Instruments
    • Authors: Jisun Park; Hyeonseo Son
      Abstract: On the basis of information regarding 276 homicides committed in South Korea between 1987 and 2008, we compared offenders’ and victims’ characteristics, injury locations, weapon‐related behavior, and offending behavior between homicides involving sharp and blunt instruments. The victims of sharp‐force homicide were much younger relative to those of blunt‐force homicide. In addition, homicides involving blunt instruments were more likely to be committed by offenders who lived with the victims. Most sharp‐force homicides involved injuries to the torso, while blunt‐force homicides involved mainly head injuries. Furthermore, perpetrators of sharp‐force homicides tended to preselect their weapons, while those of blunt‐force homicides were likely to use weapons of opportunity. Logistic regression analysis identified a number of factors, including injury location and body transportation, which significantly predicted weapon type. As this was the first South Korean study to compare sharp‐ and blunt‐force homicides, the results have practical implications for homicide investigations.
      PubDate: 2017-10-23T16:30:54.775352-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13673
  • Suicide by Medication Overdose in Prison: A Study of Three Cases
    • Authors: Christophe Bartoli; Caroline Berland-Benhaim, Lucile Tuchtan-Torrents, Pascal Kintz, Georges Leonetti, Anne-Laure Pelissier-Alicot
      Abstract: Suicide is one of the principal causes of mortality in a prison environment. Although suicide by medication overdose is less frequent than suicide by hanging, self‐strangulation, or vein cutting, it raises questions as to how the medications are obtained, particularly in view of the specific organization of the medication circuit in prisons. We present three cases of suicide by medication overdose involving different therapeutic classes with different distribution circuits and review the regulatory requirements and the measures that could be taken to prevent such suicides.
      PubDate: 2017-10-23T16:30:52.299283-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13671
  • Judicial Murder‐Suicides in Van Diemen's Land
    • Authors: Roger W. Byard; Hamish Maxwell Stewart
      Abstract: On the morning of December 17, 1827, nine convicts were executed by public hanging in Hobart Town, the capital of the British colony of Van Diemen's Land (now the Australian state of Tasmania). Two months previously they had drowned senior Constable George Rex on Small Island, which was part of the penal settlement at Macquarie Harbor, in front of five bound and gagged witnesses. They offered no defence at their trial. Examination of the Tasmanian colonial convict records shows that “suicide by lottery” involved convicts choosing two men, one to die and the other to kill him. The witnesses would earn a respite when taken away for the trial, and the murderer would be executed. “Death by gallows” could be considered a nineteenth‐century version of an orchestrated suicide reminiscent of more modern “death by cop.” This category of “judicial” murder‐suicide expands the range of contemporary classifications of dyadic deaths.
      PubDate: 2017-10-23T16:30:50.345614-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13672
  • Development and Validation of a Virtual Examination Tool for Firearm
           Forensics, ,
    • Authors: Pierre Duez; Todd Weller, Marcus Brubaker, Richard E. Hockensmith, Ryan Lilien
      Abstract: The transition from 2D imaging to 3D scanning in the discipline of firearms and toolmark analysis is likely to provide examiners an unprecedented view of microscopic surface topography. The digital examination of measured 3D surface topographies has been referred to as virtual microscopy (VM). The approach offers several potential advantages over traditional comparison microscopy. Like any new analytic method, VM must be validated prior to its use in a crime laboratory. This paper describes one of the first validation studies of virtual microscopy. Fifty‐six participants at fifteen laboratories used virtual microscopic tools to complete two proficiency‐style tests for cartridge case identification. All participating trained examiners correctly reported 100% of the identifications (known matches) while reporting no false positives. The VM tools also allowed examiners to annotate compared surfaces. These annotations provide insight into the types of marked utilized in comparative analysis. Overall, the results of the study demonstrate that trained examiners can successfully use virtual microscopy to conduct firearms toolmark examination and support the use of the technology in the crime laboratory.
      PubDate: 2017-10-16T19:02:22.473974-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13668
  • A Retrospective Study of the Investigation of Homicidal Childhood
           Asphyxial Deaths
    • Authors: Theodore T. Brown; Nick I. Batalis, Joni L. McClain, Tracey Corey, Kim A. Collins, Jeffrey M. Jentzen, Joseph A. Prahlow
      Abstract: As one of the leading causes of traumatic deaths in newborns, infants, and young children, there is no anatomic or microscopic feature that is pathognomonic for asphyxial deaths. Instead, pathologists rely on investigation information, including confessions and/or witness statements, and potential evidence at the scene. Twenty cases of homicidal newborn, infant, and young children asphyxial deaths were reviewed, which included death and police investigation reports and autopsy reports, as well as histology slides of lung sections. This series of homicidal asphyxial deaths highlight that, in a vast majority of such cases, the final cause and manner of death rulings are dependent on confession by the perpetrator. Furthermore, this series highlights the possible role of histology to help forensic pathologists better certify asphyxial deaths. Finally, this series emphasizes important investigation points and considerations at autopsy during the investigation of asphyxial deaths in newborns, infants, and young children.
      PubDate: 2017-10-16T19:01:31.90745-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13666
  • Authentication of Surveillance Videos: Detecting Frame Duplication Based
           on Residual Frame
    • Authors: Sondos M. Fadl; Qi Han, Qiong Li
      Abstract: Nowadays, surveillance systems are used to control crimes. Therefore, the authenticity of digital video increases the accuracy of deciding to admit the digital video as legal evidence or not. Inter‐frame duplication forgery is the most common type of video forgery methods. However, many existing methods have been proposed for detecting this type of forgery and these methods require high computational time and impractical. In this study, we propose an efficient inter‐frame duplication detection algorithm based on standard deviation of residual frames. Standard deviation of residual frame is applied to select some frames and ignore others, which represent a static scene. Then, the entropy of discrete cosine transform coefficients is calculated for each selected residual frame to represent its discriminating feature. Duplicated frames are then detected exactly using subsequence feature analysis. The experimental results demonstrated that the proposed method is effective to identify inter‐frame duplication forgery with localization and acceptable running time.
      PubDate: 2017-10-16T19:01:30.089864-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13658
  • Myocardial Bridging: A Meta‐Analysis of Prevalence
    • Authors: Sorin Hostiuc; Ionuț Negoi, Mugurel C. Rusu, Mihaela Hostiuc
      Abstract: The main objective of this article was to analyze prevalence data about myocardial bridging (MB) in published studies. To this purpose, we performed a meta‐analysis of studies published in English literature that contained data about the prevalence of MB and its anatomical characteristics. The overall prevalence was 19% (CI: 17–21%); autopsy studies revealed an overall prevalence of 42% (CI: 30–55%), CT studies 22% (CI: 18–25%), and coronary angiography 6% (CI: 5–8%). Most bridges were located on the left anterior descending artery (82% overall, 63% on autopsy studies), had a mean thickness of 2.47 mm and a mean length of 19.3 mm. In conclusion, autopsy studies should be the gold standard in evaluating the actual prevalence of myocardial bridges, while in vivo high‐resolution CT scanning should be preferred to coronary angiography studies.
      PubDate: 2017-10-16T19:01:11.92863-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13665
  • An Investigation into the Relationship between Human Cranial and Pelvic
           Sexual Dimorphism
    • Authors: Kaleigh C. Best; Heather M. Garvin, Luis L. Cabo
      Abstract: When faced with commingled remains, it might be assumed that a more “masculine” pelvis is associated with a more “masculine” cranium, but this relationship has not been specifically tested. This study uses geometric morphometric analyses of pelvic and cranial landmarks to assess whether there is an intra‐individual relationship between the degrees of sexual expression in these two skeletal regions. Principal component and discriminant function scores were used to assess sexual dimorphism in 113 U.S. Black individuals. Correlation values and partial least squares regression (PLS) were used to evaluate intra‐individual relationships. Results indicate that the os coxae is more sexually dimorphic than the cranium, with element shape being more sexually dimorphic than size. PLS and correlation results suggest no significant intra‐individual relationship between pelvic and cranial sexual size or shape expression. Thus, in commingled situations, associations between these skeletal elements cannot be inferred based on degree of “masculinity.”
      PubDate: 2017-10-16T19:01:02.646166-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13669
  • An Automated Two‐Dimensional Form Registration Method for
           Osteological Pair‐Matching
    • Authors: Jeffrey James Lynch
      Abstract: This study introduces an automated method for osteological pair‐matching using two‐dimensional outline form data extracted from photographs. A procedure for acquiring photographs that improve the differentiation of specimens from the background is presented along with an extraction procedure that allows the capture of form data from photographs. The raw form data are used in a two‐dimensional registration procedure, which combines iterative closest point, K‐nearest neighbor search, and iterations around an estimated mean. Form data are used in optimized distance calculations that minimize true‐pair difference and maximize false‐pair difference. The sample consists of 122 calcanei and 110 tali from the UI‐Stanford collection. Performance statistics are provided for the maximum and average Segmented‐Hausdorff, Hausdorff, and Procrustes distances to show the comparative statistical results for matching. Results indicate 98.36% and 98.2% accuracy in pinpointing true‐pairs for the calcanei and tali, respectively, using a shortlist of one‐lowest‐distance.
      PubDate: 2017-10-16T19:00:35.55516-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13670
  • Total Ion Spectra versus Segmented Total Ion Spectra as Preprocessing
           Tools for Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry Data
    • Authors: Lawrence A. Adutwum; Robin J. Abel, James Harynuk
      Abstract: Alignment of fire debris data from GC‐MS for chemometric analysis is challenged by highly variable, uncontrolled sample and matrix composition. The total ion spectrum (TIS) obviates the need for alignment but loses all separation information. We introduce the segmented total ion spectrum (STIS), which retains the advantages of TIS while retaining some retention information. We compare the performance of STIS with TIS for the classification of casework fire debris samples. TIS and STIS achieve good model prediction accuracies of 96% and 98%, respectively. Baseline removal improved model prediction accuracies for both TIS and STIS to 97% and 99%, respectively. The importance of maintaining some chromatographic information to aid in deciphering the underlying chemistry of the results and reasons for false positive/negative results was also examined.
      PubDate: 2017-10-10T17:06:17.636413-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13657
  • Quantification of Morphine, Codeine, and Thebaine in Home‐Brewed Poppy
           Seed Tea by LC‐MS/MS
    • Authors: Deborah Powers; Stephen Erickson, Madeleine J. Swortwood
      Abstract: Recently, medical examiners reported two cases of a 21‐year‐old male and 24‐year‐old male with high amounts of morphine in their blood at autopsy. It was suspected that the decedents ingested lethal amounts of morphine from home‐brewed poppy seed tea. No studies to date have investigated opium alkaloid content extracted from poppy seeds by home‐brewing methods. Various poppy seed products were purchased from online sources and extracted with four home‐brewing methods representative of recipes found on drug user forums. Morphine, codeine, and thebaine were quantified in the tea extracts by liquid chromatography‐tandem mass spectrometry using a validated analytical method. Morphine, codeine, and thebaine concentrations from seeds were
      PubDate: 2017-10-03T12:10:55.788285-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13664
  • Fate and Behavior of Gunshot Residue—A Review
    • Authors: Lauren S. Blakey; George P. Sharples, Kal Chana, Jason W. Birkett
      First page: 9
      Abstract: A review of the literature concerning the fate and behavior of gunshot residue (GSR) is presented. A number of concomitant parameters including firearm and ammunition type, plume and GSR material characteristics, travel distances, chemical composition and GSR morphology are critically discussed in relation to their effects on the distribution and deposition, transfer and persistence processes of GSR. The underlying mechanisms associated with such processes are also considered. Knowledge of these processes on GSR materials could provide valuable information concerning scene preservation and subsequent forensic sampling. The number of GSR particles deposited can vary significantly with each firearm discharge, highlighting the potential to produce distinctive data in each individual case. With the continual development and compositional changes of new ammunition types, further evaluation of the effect these processes may have on GSR evidence and their possible influence on the interpretation of the analytical results should be given due consideration.
      PubDate: 2017-05-23T03:35:53.769798-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13555
  • Age Estimation of Infants Through Metric Analysis of Developing Anterior
           Deciduous Teeth
    • Authors: Joan Viciano; Stefano De Luca, Javier Irurita, Inmaculada Alemán
      First page: 20
      Abstract: This study provides regression equations for estimation of age of infants from the dimensions of their developing deciduous teeth. The sample comprises 97 individuals of known sex and age (62 boys, 35 girls), aged between 2 days and 1,081 days. The age‐estimation equations were obtained for the sexes combined, as well as for each sex separately, thus including “sex” as an independent variable. The values of the correlations and determination coefficients obtained for each regression equation indicate good fits for most of the equations obtained. The “sex” factor was statistically significant when included as an independent variable in seven of the regression equations. However, the “sex” factor provided an advantage for age estimation in only three of the equations, compared to those that did not include “sex” as a factor. These data suggest that the ages of infants can be accurately estimated from measurements of their developing deciduous teeth.
      PubDate: 2017-04-06T04:01:12.385749-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13505
  • A Decision Tree for Nonmetric Sex Assessment from the Skull
    • Authors: Natalie R. Langley; Beatrix Dudzik, Alesia Cloutier
      First page: 31
      Abstract: This study uses five well‐documented cranial nonmetric traits (glabella, mastoid process, mental eminence, supraorbital margin, and nuchal crest) and one additional trait (zygomatic extension) to develop a validated decision tree for sex assessment. The decision tree was built and cross‐validated on a sample of 293 U.S. White individuals from the William M. Bass Donated Skeletal Collection. Ordinal scores from the six traits were analyzed using the partition modeling option in JMP Pro 12. A holdout sample of 50 skulls was used to test the model. The most accurate decision tree includes three variables: glabella, zygomatic extension, and mastoid process. This decision tree yielded 93.5% accuracy on the training sample, 94% on the cross‐validated sample, and 96% on a holdout validation sample. Linear weighted kappa statistics indicate acceptable agreement among observers for these variables. Mental eminence should be avoided, and definitions and figures should be referenced carefully to score nonmetric traits.
      PubDate: 2017-05-16T03:58:26.706646-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13534
  • Assessing Impact Direction in 3‐point Bending of Human Femora:
           Incomplete Butterfly Fractures and Fracture Surfaces,,
    • Authors: Mariyam I. Isa; Todd W. Fenton, Trevor Deland, Roger C. Haut
      First page: 38
      Abstract: Current literature associates bending failure with butterfly fracture, in which fracture initiates transversely at the tensile surface of a bent bone and branches as it propagates toward the impact surface. The orientation of the resulting wedge fragment is often considered diagnostic of impact direction. However, experimental studies indicate bending does not always produce complete butterfly fractures or produces wedge fragments variably in tension or compression, precluding their use in interpreting directionality. This study reports results of experimental 3‐point bending tests on thirteen unembalmed human femora. Complete fracture patterns varied following bending failure, but incomplete fractures and fracture surface characteristics were observed in all impacted specimens. A flat, billowy fracture surface was observed in tension, while jagged, angular peaks were observed in compression. Impact direction was accurately reconstructed using incomplete tension wedge butterfly fractures and tension and compression fracture surface criteria in all thirteen specimens.
      PubDate: 2017-04-23T22:15:37.78887-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13521
  • An Optimized DNA Analysis Workflow for the Sampling, Extraction, and
           Concentration of DNA obtained from Archived Latent Fingerprints
    • Authors: April D. Solomon; Madison E. Hytinen, Aryn M. McClain, Marilyn T. Miller, Tracey Dawson Cruz
      First page: 47
      Abstract: DNA profiles have been obtained from fingerprints, but there is limited knowledge regarding DNA analysis from archived latent fingerprints—touch DNA “sandwiched” between adhesive and paper. Thus, this study sought to comparatively analyze a variety of collection and analytical methods in an effort to seek an optimized workflow for this specific sample type. Untreated and treated archived latent fingerprints were utilized to compare different biological sampling techniques, swab diluents, DNA extraction systems, DNA concentration practices, and post‐amplification purification methods. Archived latent fingerprints disassembled and sampled via direct cutting, followed by DNA extracted using the QIAamp® DNA Investigator Kit, and concentration with Centri‐Sep™ columns increased the odds of obtaining an STR profile. Using the recommended DNA workflow, 9 of the 10 samples provided STR profiles, which included 7–100% of the expected STR alleles and two full profiles. Thus, with carefully selected procedures, archived latent fingerprints can be a viable DNA source for criminal investigations including cold/postconviction cases.
      PubDate: 2017-04-06T04:01:29.967965-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13504
  • A Comprehensive Study of the Alteration of Ignitable Liquids by Weathering
           and Microbial Degradation,
    • Authors: Dee A. Turner; Mary Williams, Michael A. Sigman, John V. Goodpaster
      First page: 58
      Abstract: The differing effects of weathering and microbial degradation are described here in a comprehensive study that involved 50 different ignitable liquids from the Ignitable Liquids Database and Reference Collection. Examples of ignitable liquid residues from each of the main classes established by the American Society of Testing and Materials are presented. Weathering was accomplished via evaporation, whereas microbial degradation was carried out on soil at room temperature for periods of up to 21 days. Major trends included the rapid degradation of long n‐alkanes and monosubstituted alkyl benzenes (e.g., toluene, ethylbenzene, and propylbenzene). Surprisingly, some longer branched alkanes (e.g., trimethyloctanes) were also susceptible to microbial attack. Although all ignitable liquids examined suffered at least to some extent from microbial degradation, gasoline, petroleum distillates, and oxygenates were the most susceptible. Isoparaffinic and naphthenic–paraffinic products were the most resistant to microbial degradation.
      PubDate: 2017-05-02T10:21:33.003328-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13527
  • The Capability of Raman Microspectroscopy to Differentiate Printing Inks
    • Authors: Chelsea E. Johnson; Paul Martin, Katherine A. Roberts, Tatiana Trejos, Ruthmara Corzo, Jose R. Almirall, Alan M. Safer
      First page: 66
      Abstract: This study applies Raman microspectroscopy to differentiate the chemical components in printing inks of different brands, colors, and type using the 532 nm and 785 nm excitation wavelengths. Spectra were collected from 319 inks (78 inkjet, 76 toner, 79 offset, and 86 intaglio) representing various colors. Comparisons were performed to calculate discrimination capability percentages for each ink type. Overall, Raman microspectroscopy differentiates according to the following hierarchy: intaglio (96%), inkjet (92%), offset (90%), and toner (61%). The ability of Raman microspectroscopy to differentiate between same‐colored inks from different brands was dependent on the color and ink analyzed. Based on ink color, the discrimination capability ranged from 75 to 94% (inkjet), 0 to 86% (toner), and 0 to 77% (offset). Copper phthalocyanine was detected in cyan inks and various intaglio inks, while carbon black was identified in black inkjet, offset, and intaglio inks.
      PubDate: 2017-05-24T02:40:28.162665-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13508
  • Provenance Establishment of Stingless Bee Honey Using Multi‐element
           Analysis in Combination with Chemometrics Techniques
    • Authors: Aidil Fahmi Shadan; Naji A. Mahat, Wan Aini Wan Ibrahim, Zaiton Ariffin, Dzulkiflee Ismail
      First page: 80
      Abstract: As consumption of stingless bee honey has been gaining popularity in many countries including Malaysia, ability to identify accurately its geographical origin proves pertinent for investigating fraudulent activities for consumer protection. Because a chemical signature can be location‐specific, multi‐element distribution patterns may prove useful for provenancing such product. Using the inductively coupled‐plasma optical emission spectrometer as well as principal component analysis (PCA) and linear discriminant analysis (LDA), the distributions of multi‐elements in stingless bee honey collected at four different geographical locations (North, West, East, and South) in Johor, Malaysia, were investigated. While cross‐validation using PCA demonstrated 87.0% correct classification rate, the same was improved (96.2%) with the use of LDA, indicating that discrimination was possible for the different geographical regions. Therefore, utilization of multi‐element analysis coupled with chemometrics techniques for assigning the provenance of stingless bee honeys for forensic applications is supported.
      PubDate: 2017-04-06T04:20:48.746805-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13512
  • Characterizing the Performance of Pipe Bombs
    • Authors: Jimmie C. Oxley; James L. Smith, Evan T. Bernier, Fredrick Sandstrom, Gregory G. Weiss, Gunther W. Recht, David Schatzer
      First page: 86
      Abstract: Pipe bombs of steel or PVC fragment in reproducible patterns when similarly configured. The power of the explosion correlates with number, mass, and size of the fragments recovered, where a large number of small, low‐mass fragments indicate a high‐power event and vice versa. In discussing performance, describing pipe fragmentation pattern by fragment weight distribution mapping (FWDM) or fragment surface area distribution mapping (FSADM) was useful. When fillers detonated, detonation velocities of ~4.4 mm/μs were measured. In such cases, side walls of the pipe were thrown first; the average fragment velocity was ~1000 km/s. In deflagrations, the end cap was first thrown; fragment velocities were only ~240 km/s. Blast overpressures varied; at 10 feet, 2 × 12 inch steel pipes containing ~550 g of detonable mixture produced overpressures of 5–6 psi; similar nondetonating pipes produced less than 2 psi. Maximum fragment throw distances were 250–300 m, with an average of ~100 m.
      PubDate: 2017-05-24T02:40:52.195109-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13524
  • Two‐stage Keypoint Detection Scheme for Region Duplication Forgery
           Detection in Digital Images
    • Authors: Mahmoud Emam; Qi Han, Hongli Zhang
      First page: 102
      Abstract: In digital image forensics, copy‐move or region duplication forgery detection became a vital research topic recently. Most of the existing keypoint‐based forgery detection methods fail to detect the forgery in the smooth regions, rather than its sensitivity to geometric changes. To solve these problems and detect points which cover all the regions, we proposed two steps for keypoint detection. First, we employed the scale‐invariant feature operator to detect the spatially distributed keypoints from the textured regions. Second, the keypoints from the missing regions are detected using Harris corner detector with nonmaximal suppression to evenly distribute the detected keypoints. To improve the matching performance, local feature points are described using Multi‐support Region Order‐based Gradient Histogram descriptor. Based on precision–recall rates and commonly tested dataset, comprehensive performance evaluation is performed. The results demonstrated that the proposed scheme has better detection and robustness against some geometric transformation attacks compared with state‐of‐the‐art methods.
      PubDate: 2017-03-02T00:10:42.038736-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13456
  • Analyzing Data Remnant Remains on User Devices to Determine Probative
           Artifacts in Cloud Environment
    • Authors: Abdulghani Ali Ahmed; Chua Xue Li
      First page: 112
      Abstract: Cloud storage service allows users to store their data online, so that they can remotely access, maintain, manage, and back up data from anywhere via the Internet. Although helpful, this storage creates a challenge to digital forensic investigators and practitioners in collecting, identifying, acquiring, and preserving evidential data. This study proposes an investigation scheme for analyzing data remnants and determining probative artifacts in a cloud environment. Using pCloud as a case study, this research collected the data remnants available on end‐user device storage following the storing, uploading, and accessing of data in the cloud storage. Data remnants are collected from several sources, including client software files, directory listing, prefetch, registry, network PCAP, browser, and memory and link files. Results demonstrate that the collected remnants data are beneficial in determining a sufficient number of artifacts about the investigated cybercrime.
      PubDate: 2017-04-10T21:30:33.109151-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13506
  • Evaluation of Lip Prints on Different Supports Using a Batch Image
           Processing Algorithm and Image Superimposition
    • Authors: Lara Maria Herrera; Clemente Maia da Silva Fernandes, Mônica da Costa Serra
      First page: 122
      Abstract: This study aimed to develop and to assess an algorithm to facilitate lip print visualization, and to digitally analyze lip prints on different supports, by superimposition. It also aimed to classify lip prints according to sex. A batch image processing algorithm was developed, which facilitated the identification and extraction of information about lip grooves. However, it performed better for lip print images with a uniform background. Paper and glass slab allowed more correct identifications than glass and the both sides of compact disks. There was no significant difference between the type of support and the amount of matching structures located in the middle area of the lower lip. There was no evidence of association between types of lip grooves and sex. Lip groove patterns of type III and type I were the most common for both sexes. The development of systems for lip print analysis is necessary, mainly concerning digital methods.
      PubDate: 2017-04-06T03:50:59.827396-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13507
  • The Modern Compound Bow
    • Authors: LokMan Sung; Kilak Kesha, Sarah Avedschmidt, Kelly Root, Leigh Hlavaty
      First page: 130
      Abstract: Bows and arrows are ancient weapons that have risen and fallen as the preeminent armaments used by man. Because of the ubiquity of firearms, fatalities from archery injuries in the United States have radically declined. However, when deaths involving this weapon do present themselves, the paucity of reference materials can be a hurdle for forensic pathologists and other forensic scientists. This article will provide a brief history of the origins of the bow and the inception of the compound bow. Comparing and contrasting the structures comprising a traditional bow to those of the modern compound bow will provide insight into how these components function in unison to propel arrows.
      PubDate: 2017-06-12T05:35:46.679057-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13503
  • Morphology of Modern Arrowhead Tips on Human Skin Analog
    • Authors: LokMan Sung; Kilak Kesha, Jeffrey Hudson, Kelly Root, Leigh Hlavaty
      First page: 140
      Abstract: Archery has experienced a recent resurgence in participation and has seen increases in archery range attendance and in children and young adults seeking archery lessons. Popular literature and movies prominently feature protagonists well versed in this form of weaponry. Periodic homicide cases in the United States involving bows are reported, and despite this and the current interest in the field, there are no manuscripts published on a large series of arrow wounds. This experiment utilizes a broad selection of modern arrowheads to create wounds for comparison. While general appearances mimicked the arrowhead shape, details such as the presence of abrasions were greatly influenced by the design of the arrowhead tip. Additionally, in the absence of projectiles or available history, arrowhead injuries can mimic other instruments causing penetrating wounds. A published resource on arrowhead injuries would allow differentiation of causes of injury by forensic scientists.
      PubDate: 2017-04-12T02:26:38.528633-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13502
  • The Forensic Implications of Amphetamine Intoxication in Cases of
           Inflicted Blunt Craniocerebral Trauma
    • Authors: Roger W. Byard; James Donkin, Robert Vink
      First page: 151
      Abstract: The effects of D‐amphetamine on outcome after blunt craniocerebral trauma are characterized and the potential legal implications discussed. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) was induced under general anesthesia in adult, male Sprague Dawley rats using the impact acceleration model. At 10 min prior to injury, D‐amphetamine (5 mg/kg) or saline vehicle was administered subcutaneously; animals were subsequently assessed over a 7‐day period post‐trauma for motor outcome using a rotarod device. D‐amphetamine treated animals performed significantly better (p 
      PubDate: 2017-04-06T04:20:31.399845-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13509
  • Morphological Features of Regurgitate and Defecatory Stains Deposited by
           Five Species of Necrophagous Flies are Influenced by Adult Diets and Body
    • Authors: David B. Rivers; Andrew McGregor
      First page: 154
      Abstract: The morphological characteristics of artifacts from five species of necrophagous flies were examined following feeding on several types of diets. Four types of insect stains were produced by each species: regurgitate, defecatory, translocation, and tarsal tracks. Regurgitate was the most frequent type deposited (70.9 ± 2.4%), followed by defecatory (19.8 ± 4.0%), tarsal tracks (8.6 ± 1.2%), and translocation (0.7 ± 0.1%). Artifact shapes, sizes, and color were highly variable and species and diet specific. Calliphora vicina and Sarcophaga bullata consistently deposited the largest artifacts after feeding, whereas Chrysomya rufifacies and Ch. megacephala produced more tarsal tracks than the other species examined. Artifacts with tails were infrequently observed (4.1 ± 0.6% of all stains) but occurred as either defecatory or regurgitate stains. The widely variable morphologies of all types of fly artifacts underscores the view that insect stains cannot be distinguished from human bloodstains based on morphology alone.
      PubDate: 2017-02-23T09:30:31.736273-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13459
  • Understanding Suicide Across the Lifespan: A United States Perspective of
           Suicide Risk Factors, Assessment & Management
    • Authors: Ian H. Steele; Natasha Thrower, Paul Noroian, Fabian M. Saleh
      First page: 162
      Abstract: Suicide is a troubling, preventable phenomenon. Prior to attempts, individuals often seek help, prompting practitioners to perform risk assessments that ideally use evidence‐based risk management strategies. A literature review was performed using Harvard Countway Library of Medicine, Google Scholar, PubMed. Key words used were “Forensic Science,” “Suicide Risk Management,” “Pediatric Suicide Risk Factors,” “Adult Suicide Risk Factors,” “Geriatric Suicide Risk Factors,” “Suicide Risk Assessment.” Parameters limited articles to studies/reviews completed in the past twenty years in the United States. Results indicated predictors of suicide in juveniles were insomnia, burdensomeness, and recent conflicts with family or a romantic partner. Adults had greater risk if male, substance abusing, with marital/job loss. Elderly individuals with multiple medical comorbidities, hopelessness, and isolation were at higher risk. Everyone evaluated should be screened for access to firearms. Management of suicide risk involves providing the least restrictive form of treatment which maintains an individual's safety.
      PubDate: 2017-06-21T23:25:43.185948-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13519
  • De Novo Advanced Adult‐Onset Offending: New Evidence from a Population
           of Federal Correctional Clients
    • Authors: Matt DeLisi; Katherine N. Tahja, Alan J. Drury, Michael J. Elbert, Daniel E. Caropreso, Timothy Heinrichs
      First page: 172
      Abstract: Adult antisocial behavior is almost always predated by delinquency during childhood or adolescence; however, there is also evidence of adult‐onset criminal offending. This study examined this controversial subgroup of offenders using self‐reported and official data from a total population of federal correctional clients selected from the Midwestern United States. Difference of means t‐tests, chi‐square tests, and logistic regression models found that 11.7% of clients had an adult onset of offending and 2.7% of clients (n = 23) had an onset occurring at age 60 years or older. This group—introduced as de novo advanced adult‐onset offenders—had high socioeconomic status, mixed evidence of adverse childhood experiences, and virtually no usage of drugs with the exception of alcohol. These offenders were primarily convicted of social security and white‐collar crimes and evinced remarkably low psychopathology and criminal risk. More research is needed to replicate the phenomenon of de novo advanced adult‐onset offending.
      PubDate: 2017-05-11T02:55:29.678282-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13545
  • Relative Width and Height of Handwritten Letter
    • Authors: Joseba Lizega Rika
      First page: 178
      Abstract: This is an exploratory study that analyzes the width and the height of letters in two texts written by each of the 21 writers analyzed. After detrending the linear, text, and allograph trends, we proceeded to comparing the sizes obtained in different texts. The different detrended series were compared by means of correlation and t‐test. According to the results regarding the width of letters, the texts of 19 of 21 writers correlated strongly, whereas the texts of two writers did not correlate with the limits of the threshold. With regard to the height of letters, texts written by between 18 and 21 writers of 21 writers correlated strongly, whereas texts that did not correlate were within the threshold value. Regarding both the width and the height of letters, of 21 writers, texts written by between 19 and 21 individuals were found to correlate strongly.
      PubDate: 2017-02-28T01:46:55.37572-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13483
  • Heroin‐related Deaths from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office
           from 2004 Through 2015
    • Authors: Sara A. Love; Jessica Lelinski, Julie Kloss, Owen Middleton, Fred S. Apple
      First page: 191
      Abstract: Over the past two decades, prescription and illicit opioid use has led to changes in public health policy to address the increasing number of opioid‐related deaths. The purpose of this study was to review cases from Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office between 2004 through 2015 where heroin was listed as a significant contributor or as the cause of death. We identified 322 heroin‐related deaths, which were predominantly male (255; 79%). 6‐Monoacetylmorphine (6‐MAM) median (range) concentrations were as follows: blood (n = 7), 0.010 (0.006–0.078) mg/L; urine (n = 30), 0.359 (0.009–1.75) mg/L; and vitreous humor (n = 31), 0.034 (0.004–0.24) mg/L. Free morphine was measurable in 273 cases and the percent free morphine (range), when grouped by COD, was opioid (n = 124), 28% (2.2%–92%), and mixed drug toxicity (n = 135), 35.3% (1.5%–100%); (p < 0.01). Quantitation of 6‐MAM in blood and vitreous humor, along with a free to total morphine ratio >26%, was useful in establishing heroin‐related deaths.
      PubDate: 2017-04-19T04:56:49.095887-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13511
  • Report of Increasing Overdose Deaths that include Acetyl Fentanyl in
           Multiple Counties of the Southwestern Region of the Commonwealth of
           Pennsylvania in 2015–2016
    • Authors: Jessica B. Dwyer; Jennifer Janssen, Todd M. Luckasevic, Karl E. Williams
      First page: 195
      Abstract: Acetyl fentanyl is a Schedule I controlled synthetic opioid that is becoming an increasingly detected “designer drug.” Routine drug screening procedures in local forensic toxicology laboratories identified a total of 41 overdose deaths associated with acetyl fentanyl within multiple counties of the southwestern region of the state of Pennsylvania. The range, median, mean, and standard deviation of blood acetyl fentanyl concentrations for these 41 cases were 0.13–2100 ng/mL, 11 ng/mL, 169.3 ng/mL, and 405.3 ng/mL, respectively. Thirty‐six individuals (88%) had a confirmed history of substance abuse, and all but one case (96%) were ruled multiple drug toxicities. This report characterizes this localized trend of overdose deaths associated with acetyl fentanyl and provides further evidence supporting an alarmingly concentrated opiate and opioid epidemic of both traditional and novel drugs within this region of the United States.
      PubDate: 2017-06-12T05:30:19.365894-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13517
  • Sex, Parity, and Scars: A Meta‐analytic Review
    • Authors: Clare McFadden; Marc F. Oxenham
      First page: 201
      Abstract: The ability to identify whether a female has been pregnant or has given birth has significant implications for forensic investigations and bioarcheological research. The meaning of “scars of parturition,” their causes, and their significance are a matter of contention, with a substantial literature of re‐evaluations and tests of the relationship between pelvic scarring and parity. The aim of this study was to use meta‐analytic techniques (the methodological approach) to test whether pelvic scarring, namely dorsal pubic pitting and the preauricular groove, is a predictor of parity and sex. Meta‐analyses indicated that neither dorsal pubic pitting nor the preauricular groove are predictors of parity status, while dorsal pubic pitting is a moderate predictor of sex. A weak relationship between dorsal pubic pitting and parity was identified, but this is believed to be a product of the moderate relationship with sex. This calls into question whether any causal relationship between parity and pelvic scarring exists.
      PubDate: 2017-02-24T01:40:23.552034-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13478
  • An Analysis of Systematic Elemental Changes in Decomposing Bone
    • Authors: Steven J. Walden; Jacqui Mulville, Jeffrey P. Rowlands, Sam L. Evans
      First page: 207
      Abstract: The aim of this pilot study was to investigate compositional changes in bone during decomposition. Elemental concentrations of barium, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus in porcine bone (as an experimental analog for human bone) were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP‐OES). The samples were taken from porcine bone subjected to shallow burial and surface depositions at 28‐day intervals for a period of 140 days. Results indicated that ICP‐OES elemental profiling has potential to be developed as a forensic test for determining whether a bone sample originates from the early stages of soft tissue putrefaction. Significant changes in iron, sodium and potassium concentrations were found over 140 days. These elements are known to be primarily associated with proteins and/or tissue fluids within the bone. Changes in their respective concentrations may therefore be linked to dehydration over time and in turn may be indicative of time since deposition.
      PubDate: 2017-03-10T10:37:32.267587-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13480
  • Accuracy and Reliability of the Klales et al. (2012) Morphoscopic
           Pelvic Sexing Method
    • Authors: Kate M. Lesciotto; Lily J. Doershuk
      First page: 214
      Abstract: Klales et al. (2012) devised an ordinal scoring system for the morphoscopic pelvic traits described by Phenice (1969) and used for sex estimation of skeletal remains. The aim of this study was to test the accuracy and reliability of the Klales method using a large sample from the Hamann‐Todd collection (n = 279). Two observers were blinded to sex, ancestry, and age and used the Klales et al. method to estimate the sex of each individual. Sex was correctly estimated for females with over 95% accuracy; however, the male allocation accuracy was approximately 50%. Weighted Cohen's kappa and intraclass correlation coefficient analysis for evaluating intra‐ and interobserver error showed moderate to substantial agreement for all traits. Although each trait can be reliably scored using the Klales method, low accuracy rates and high sex bias indicate better trait descriptions and visual guides are necessary to more accurately reflect the range of morphological variation.
      PubDate: 2017-04-06T04:01:03.44967-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13501
  • Eyeball Position in Facial Approximation: Accuracy of Methods for
           Predicting Globe Positioning in Lateral View
    • Authors: Pavla Zednikova Mala; Jana Veleminska
      First page: 221
      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.
      PubDate: 2017-07-21T10:25:44.214101-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13513
  • Evaluation of Skin Surface as an Alternative Source of Reference DNA
           Samples: A Pilot Study
    • Authors: Mohammed H. Albujja; Abdul Aziz Bin Dukhyil, Abdul Rauf Chaudhary, Ahmed Ch. Kassab, Ahmed M. Refaat, Saranya Ramesh Babu, Mohammad K. Okla, Sachil Kumar
      First page: 227
      Abstract: An acceptable area for collecting DNA reference sample is a part of the forensic DNA analysis development. The aim of this study was to evaluate skin surface cells (SSC) as an alternate source of reference DNA sample. From each volunteer (n = 10), six samples from skin surface areas (forearm and fingertips) and two traditional samples (blood and buccal cells) were collected. Genomic DNA was extracted and quantified then genotyped using standard techniques. The highest DNA concentration of SSC samples was collected using the tape/forearm method of collection (2.1 ng/μL). Cotton swabs moistened with ethanol yielded higher quantities of DNA than swabs moistened with salicylic acid, and it gave the highest percentage of full STR profiles (97%). This study supports the use of SSC as a noninvasive sampling technique and as a extremely useful source of DNA reference samples among certain cultures where the use of buccal swabs can be considered socially unacceptable.
      PubDate: 2017-02-23T09:20:30.801623-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13468
  • Preparation of Artificial Blood from the Extract of Legume Root Nodules,
           and the Creation of Artificial Latent Fingermarks in Blood Using
           Artificial Blood,
    • Authors: Sungwook Hong; Chaewon Kim, Soyoung Jeon, Eunhye Lee
      First page: 234
      Abstract: Distribution of homogeneous fingermarks in blood is essential for conducting proficiency tests in forensic science. Hence, the artificial blood was prepared using the root nodule extract of Glycine max plants. The reactivity of the artificial blood with widely used human blood detection reagents was tested. Artificial latent fingermarks in blood were printed using an inkjet cartridge case filled with artificial blood solution. The artificial latent fingermarks in blood were developed with amino acid‐sensitive reagents and could obtain development as prominent as the image of the master fingermark saved on the computer. Therefore, it has been confirmed that the extract of legume root nodules can be used as artificial blood, and the artificial blood can be used for the preparation of artificial latent fingermarks or footmarks in blood.
      PubDate: 2017-03-07T22:40:30.819634-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13488
  • Magazine Influence on Cartridge Case Ejection Patterns with Glock Pistols
    • Authors: Wim Kerkhoff; Ivo Alberink, Erwin J.A.T. Mattijssen
      First page: 239
      Abstract: In this study, the cartridge case ejection patterns of six different Glock model pistols (one specimen per model) were compared under three conditions: firing with a loaded magazine, an empty magazine, and without magazine. The distances, covered by the ejected cartridge cases given these three conditions, were compared for each of the six models. A significant difference was found between the groups of data for each of the tested specimens. This indicates that it is important that, to reconstruct a shooting scene incident based on the ejection patterns of a pistol, test shots are fired with the same pistol type and under the correct magazine condition.
      PubDate: 2017-04-13T12:34:14.9831-05:00
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13498
  • Palynological Investigation of Mummified Human Remains
    • Authors: Karl J. Reinhard; Marina Milanello do Amaral, Nicole Wall
      First page: 244
      Abstract: Pollen analysis was applied to a mummified homicide victim in Nebraska, U.S.A., to determine the location of death. A control sample showed the normal ambient pollen in the garage crime scene. Ambient windborne types, common in the air of the region, dominated the control. Internal samples were analyzed from the sacrum, intestine, and diaphragm. Microfossils were recovered from the rehydrated intestine lumen. The intestinal sample was dominated by Brassica (broccoli). The sacrum sample was high in dietary types but with a showing of ambient types. The pollen from the diaphragm was dominated by ambient pollen similar to the control samples. The discovery of diverse pollen spectra from within a single mummy was unexpected. They show that ingested and inhaled pollen mixed in the corpse. The data linked the decedent to a specific crime scene in her Nebraska home in the southern tier of eastern counties on the border with Kansas.
      PubDate: 2017-03-10T10:37:43.560568-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13463
  • X‐ray Diffraction and Rietveld Refinement in Deferrified Clays for
           Forensic Science
    • Authors: Luis V. Prandel; Vander de F. Melo, André M. Brinatti, Sérgio da C. Saab, Fábio A. S. Salvador
      First page: 251
      Abstract: Soil vestiges might provide information about a crime scene. The Rietveld method with X‐ray diffraction data (RM‐XRD) is a nondestructive technique that makes it possible to characterize minerals present in the soils. Soil clays from the metropolitan region of Curitiba (Brazil) were submitted to DCB treatment and analyzed using XRD with CuKα radiation in the step‐scan mode (0.02° 2θ/5 s). The GSAS+EXPGUI software was used for RM refinement. The RM‐XRD results, together with the principal component analysis (PCA) (52.6% total variance), showed the kaolinite predominance in most analyzed samples and the highest quartz contents in “site 1.” Higher anatase, and gibbsite and muscovite contents influenced discrimination, mainly in “site 3” and “site 1,” respectively. These results were enough to discriminate clays of four sites and two horizons using a reduced amount of sample showing that the technique can be applied to the investigation into soil vestiges.
      PubDate: 2017-02-23T09:25:27.489951-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13476
  • Human Factors Effecting Forensic Decision Making: Workplace Stress and
    • Authors: Amy M. Jeanguenat; Itiel E. Dror
      First page: 258
      Abstract: Over the past decade, there has been a growing openness about the importance of human factors in forensic work. However, most of it focused on cognitive bias, and neglected issues of workplace wellness and stress. Forensic scientists work in a dynamic environment that includes common workplace pressures such as workload volume, tight deadlines, lack of advancement, number of working hours, low salary, technology distractions, and fluctuating priorities. However, in addition, forensic scientists also encounter a number of industry‐specific pressures, such as technique criticism, repeated exposure to crime scenes or horrific case details, access to funding, working in an adversarial legal system, and zero tolerance for “errors”. Thus, stress is an important human factor to mitigate for overall error management, productivity and decision quality (not to mention the well‐being of the examiners themselves). Techniques such as mindfulness can become powerful tools to enhance work and decision quality.
      PubDate: 2017-05-02T10:21:16.254747-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13533
  • Autopsy Fingerprint Technique Using Fingerprint Powder
    • Authors: Lee O. Morgan; Marty Johnson, Jered B. Cornelison, Carolyn V. Isaac, Joyce L. deJong, Joseph A. Prahlow
      First page: 262
      Abstract: The collection of high‐quality fingerprints is an important component of routine forensic autopsies and represents one of the several potential methods for identifying a decedent. Fingerprint collection at autopsy frequently employs a manual method using fingerprint ink and cards, although some offices use digital‐scanning equipment. While these methodologies are adequate in most circumstances, this study introduces an alternative method using fingerprint powder and adhesive labels. The method is quick, easy to perform, and cost‐effective and provides the additional advantage of an adhesive label that easily conforms to the finger, palm, or foot which reduces smudging of prints in individuals with rigor mortis, skin slippage, or decomposition compared to more traditional autopsy fingerprint collection techniques. The prints can then be easily stored, either in hard‐copy form or scanned to make a digital record.
      PubDate: 2017-05-03T03:49:38.280712-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13532
  • The Griffiths Question Map: A Forensic Tool For Expert Witnesses’
           Assessments of Witnesses and Victims’ Statements
    • Authors: Olivier Dodier; Vincent Denault
      First page: 266
      Abstract: Expert witnesses are sometimes asked to assess the reliability of young witnesses and victims’ statements because of their high susceptibility to memory biases. This technical note aims to highlight the relevance of the Griffiths Question Map (GQM) as a professional forensic tool to improve expert witnesses’ assessments of young witnesses and victims’ testimonies. To do so, this innovative question type assessment grid was used to proceed to an in‐depth analysis of the interview of an alleged 13‐year‐old victim of a sexual assault and two rapes. Overall, the GQM stressed how the interview was mainly conducted in an inappropriate manner. The results are examined with regard to scientific knowledge on young witnesses and victims’ memory. Finally, it is argued that expert witnesses in inquisitorial systems might use the GQM while encountering difficulties to fulfill the legal standards for expert evidence in adversarial systems because of the lack of studies regarding its reliability.
      PubDate: 2017-02-27T05:35:50.13055-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13477
  • A Prototype of Mathematical Treatment of Pen Pressure Data for Signature
    • Authors: Chi-Keung Li; Siu-Kay Wong, Lai-Chu Joyce Chim
      First page: 275
      Abstract: A prototype using simple mathematical treatment of the pen pressure data recorded by a digital pen movement recording device was derived. In this study, a total of 48 sets of signature and initial specimens were collected. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to compare the data of the pen pressure patterns. From the 820 pair comparisons of the 48 sets of genuine signatures, a high degree of matching was found in which 95.4% (782 pairs) and 80% (656 pairs) had rPA > 0.7 and rPA > 0.8, respectively. In the comparison of the 23 forged signatures with their corresponding control signatures, 20 of them (89.2% of pairs) had rPA values < 0.6, showing a lower degree of matching when compared with the results of the genuine signatures. The prototype could be used as a complementary technique to improve the objectivity of signature examination and also has a good potential to be developed as a tool for automated signature identification.
      PubDate: 2017-03-26T23:35:42.878287-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13491
  • Source Determination of Red Gel Pen Inks using Raman Spectroscopy and
           Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy
           combined with Pearson's Product Moment Correlation Coefficients and
           Principal Component Analysis
    • Authors: Muhammad Naeim Mohamad Asri; Wan Nur Syuhaila Mat Desa, Dzulkiflee Ismail
      First page: 285
      Abstract: The potential combination of two nondestructive techniques, that is, Raman spectroscopy (RS) and attenuated total reflectance–fourier transform infrared (ATR‐FTIR) spectroscopy with Pearson's product moment correlation (PPMC) coefficient (r) and principal component analysis (PCA) to determine the actual source of red gel pen ink used to write a simulated threatening note, was examined. Eighteen (18) red gel pens purchased from Japan and Malaysia from November to December 2014 where one of the pens was used to write a simulated threatening note were analyzed using RS and ATR‐FTIR spectroscopy, respectively. The spectra of all the red gel pen inks including the ink deposited on the simulated threatening note gathered from the RS and ATR‐FTIR analyses were subjected to PPMC coefficient (r) calculation and principal component analysis (PCA). The coefficients r = 0.9985 and r = 0.9912 for pairwise combination of RS and ATR‐FTIR spectra respectively and similarities in terms of PC1 and PC2 scores of one of the inks to the ink deposited on the simulated threatening note substantiated the feasibility of combining RS and ATR‐FTIR spectroscopy with PPMC coefficient (r) and PCA for successful source determination of red gel pen inks. The development of pigment spectral library had allowed the ink deposited on the threatening note to be identified as XSL Poppy Red (CI Pigment Red 112).
      PubDate: 2017-05-08T00:42:30.905163-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13522
  • White‐tailed Deer as a Taphonomic Agent: Photographic Evidence of
           White‐tailed Deer Gnawing on Human Bone
    • Authors: Lauren A. Meckel; Chloe P. McDaneld, Daniel J. Wescott
      First page: 292
      Abstract: Ungulate gnawing on bone has been reported in the taphonomic and zooarchaeological literature, but there are no known reports of ungulates altering human remains. Herein, we report on the first known photographic evidence of deer gnawing human remains. As described in nonhuman scavenging literature, forking of the bone characterizes the taphonomic effect of deer gnawing in this case, which is distinct from the effect caused by other scavengers. This type of osteophagia during the winter season is consistent with previously documented behavior of deer gnawing on nonhuman bone, possibly to obtain minerals absent in their diet. In this study, we briefly discuss the distinguishing features of ungulate gnawing, the reasons for this behavior, and possible confusion with other common types of scavenging and modification. This report contributes to taphonomic literature covering the range of animal interactions with human skeletal remains.
      PubDate: 2017-05-02T10:25:26.627129-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13514
  • DNA Identification of Commingled Human Remains from the Cemetery Relocated
           by Flooding in Central Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Authors: Jasmina Čakar; Amela Pilav, Mirela Džehverović, Anesa Ahatović, Sanin Haverić, Jasmin Ramić, Damir Marjanović
      First page: 295
      Abstract: The floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2014 caused landslides all over the country. In the small village of Šerići, near the town of Zenica, a landslide destroyed the local cemetery, relocated graves, and commingled skeletal remains. As the use of other physical methods of identification (facial recognition, fingerprint analysis, dental analysis, etc.) was not possible, DNA analysis was applied. DNA was isolated from 20 skeletal remains (bone and tooth samples) and six reference samples (blood from living relatives) and amplified using PowerPlex® Fusion and PowerPlex®Y23 kits. DNA profiles were generated for all reference samples and 17 skeletal remains. A statistical analysis (calculation of paternity, maternity, and sibling indexes and matching probabilities) resulted in 10 positive identifications. In this study, 5 individuals were identified based on one reference sample. This has once again demonstrated the significance of DNA analysis in resolving the most complicated cases, such as the identification of commingled human skeletal remains.
      PubDate: 2017-05-11T02:40:35.327646-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13535
  • Forensic Case Reports Presenting Immersion Pulmonary Edema as a
           Differential Diagnosis in Fatal Diving Accidents
    • Authors: Julie Vinkel; Peter Bak, Peter Juel Thiis Knudsen, Ole Hyldegaard
      First page: 299
      Abstract: Immersion Pulmonary Edema (IPE) reduces the transport of gases over the respiratory membrane due to edema in the interstitium and respiratory zones. IPE has previously been described in both swimmers and divers, with a few known fatal cases. We have reviewed 42 SCUBA and snorkeling‐related drowning deaths, and through a thorough analysis of each case, including both diving physiology and forensic pathology, we present IPE as a differential diagnosis to drowning in four cases. Our findings propose that; absence of watery content in the stomach and conducting airways, and liquid filled lungs without hyperexpansion, may be compatible with IPE. We suggest that IPE should be considered in cases where witness testimony reveals; no obvious signs of aspiration and rapid respiratory deterioration despite continuous breathing through an appropriate air source. The diagnosis should be based on the overall impression, including both the autopsy findings and the circumstances regarding the accident.
      PubDate: 2017-05-02T10:21:42.428067-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13526
  • Fatal Acute Hemorrhagic Bowel Infarction Caused by Mesenteric Venous
    • Authors: Supawon Srettabunjong
      First page: 305
      Abstract: Acute mesenteric venous thrombosis (MVT) is a rare, but life‐threatening medical phenomenon. MVT is normally characterized by insidious onset, with nonspecific signs and symptoms. A high index of clinical suspicion is required for diagnosis, and emergency surgery is necessary to optimize the chances of patient survival, especially in the people aged more than 70 years. Surprisingly, based on my review of the literature, no fatal acute MVT case has been reported in the forensic literature. All reported such cases have been documented in medical literature, and most of them have been associated with underlying risk factors for venous thrombosis, such as hypercoagulable state, certain cancers, and stasis of the blood flow. Here, I report the case of a sudden unexpected death due to extensive intestinal ischemia and infarction with massive abdominal hemorrhage caused by acute MVT in a 72‐year‐old man without known underlying risk factors.
      PubDate: 2017-04-20T01:55:44.071314-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13525
  • The Cane Sword
    • Authors: Timothy R. Wysozan; Joseph A. Prahlow
      First page: 309
      Abstract: This report provides an overview of the injuries caused by a unique blade‐type weapon known as a cane sword. The cane sword usually consists of a blade that is stored in a cylindrical “cane” that can be released at the handle to reveal the hidden blade within. The victim of the case was found to have a stab wound in the left mid‐back that caused perforation of both the lower and upper lobes of the left lung, resulting in a left hemothorax. Upon autopsy, it was concluded that the patient died from injuries caused by the stab wound to the back. Given the shape of the wound and the fact that the weapon itself was found at the site of the homicide, the weapon that caused the injury was believed to be a cane sword. This case will inform forensic pathologists, law‐enforcement officers, emergency medical personnel, and physicians about rare weapon, the cane sword.
      PubDate: 2017-05-02T10:25:07.752594-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13528
  • Multiple Symmetric Lipomatosis
    • Authors: Samuel P. Prahlow; Patrick Kosciuk, Joseph A. Prahlow
      First page: 312
      Abstract: A significant number of medicolegal deaths involve ethanol. Deaths may be related to the acute, intoxicating effects of ethanol, either in decedents or within persons responsible for causing the deaths of others. Additionally, deaths may be related to chronic alcoholism. A chronic alcoholic may display characteristic external features which allow an observer, such as a forensic pathologist or other physician, to conclude that he/she is probably an alcoholic. Herein, the authors report two decedents with a rare condition known as “multiple symmetric lipomatosis” (MSL), which has a strong correlation with chronic alcoholism. Identification of the peculiar features associated with MSL should prompt the forensic pathologist to consider chronic alcoholism as a probable diagnosis.
      PubDate: 2017-06-23T03:22:07.474282-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13536
  • An Incidental Diffuse Midline Glioma Found at Autopsy
    • Authors: Meggen Walsh; William Hamilton, Vektra Casler, Anthony Yachnis
      First page: 316
      Abstract: This case shows an unexpected midline glioma found at autopsy. Two siblings were riding on a single bicycle on the side of a road. The 13‐year‐old brother was seated and steering the bicycle, while the 14‐year‐old sister held onto the back. The bicycle veered left into traffic and was struck by a vehicle. The siblings were admitted to the local Level 1 trauma center, but both later succumbed to injuries. Autopsies were performed on the children, including brains for neuropathologic evaluation. The brother was found to have an infiltrating astrocytoma located in the left middle cerebellar peduncle, with extension to the pons and medulla. His hospital course included several imaging studies using CT and MRI modalities. However, this lesion was not identified until the postmortem neuropathologic examination. This rare case shows the continued need for postmortem autopsy and the current limitations of medical imaging.
      PubDate: 2017-05-16T03:57:56.916804-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13540
  • Fatality During Servicing of Fire Extinguisher
    • Authors: Nilesh Keshav Tumram; Vipul Namdeorao Ambade, Pradeep Gangadhar Dixit
      First page: 318
      Abstract: Fire extinguisher is an integral part of emergency responses to small fires. Different types of fire extinguisher exists; cartridge‐based fire extinguisher is commonly used. Despite their intended use for safety, such devices can become dangerous if not properly handled or maintained. This case report describes the death of a soldier from the explosion of a cartridge‐based fire extinguisher during routine servicing. The case is the first reported in the medical literature. A safety device like fire extinguisher can become dangerous if not handled with care and due steps should be taken for the maintenance of such devices before being operated in the public domain.
      PubDate: 2017-05-02T10:25:21.402171-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13531
  • Lethal Bentazone Intoxication – A Report of Two Cases
    • Authors: Petar Škavić; Zijad Duraković, Marina Nestić
      First page: 321
      Abstract: This study presents two cases of lethal bentazone poisonings, their clinical presentation, the course of the disease and the autopsy findings. The first is a 50‐year‐old male who had sprayed corn with a solution of bentazone and was admitted to the hospital with sweating, fever, nausea, vomiting of aqueous and hemorrhagic content, and bloody, watery stools. He was treated according to the symptoms including extracorporeal hemodialysis, but eventually suffered from multiorgan failure (acute respiratory failure, acute liver failure, coagulopathy, acute renal failure, metabolic acidosis, and gastrointestinal bleeding) and died 11.35 h after admittance. The cause of death was probable bentazone intoxication. The second case, also a male, aged 49 who committed suicide by ingesting a bentazone solution. He was transferred to the hospital prostrated and cyanotic and died 14.15 h after admittance despite all efforts by the hospital staff. The cause of death was acute bentazone intoxication.
      PubDate: 2017-04-13T09:11:07.231034-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13518
  • Fatal Overdose of Gamma‐hydroxybutyrate Acid After Ingestion of
    • Authors: Erwan Le Garff; Vadim Mesli, Raphael Cornez, Christophe Demarly, Gilles Tournel, Valery Hédouin
      First page: 326
      Abstract: We report a case of fatal intoxication from 1,4‐butanediol (1,4‐BD), which was ingested by a young and “naïve” gamma‐hydroxybutyrate (GHB) consumer during a party with the co‐ingestion of alcohol, cannabis, and methylene‐dioxy‐methamphetamine. The following drug concentrations were found using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry on autopsy samples and on a cup and a glass found at the scene: 20,350 mg/L (bottle) for 1,4‐BD; 1020 mg/L (femoral blood), 3380 mg/L (cardiac blood), 47,280 mg/L (gastric content), and 570 mg/L (vitreous humor) for GHB. The concentration of GHB is difficult to interpret in forensic cases due to the possibility of an endogenous production of GHB. The variable tolerance of the user may also modify the peri‐ and postmortem GHB concentrations. This case underscores the need to have many different sources of toxicology samples analyzed to avoid the hypothesis of endogenous production of GHB.
      PubDate: 2017-04-20T01:50:29.943035-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13510
  • Death From Butane Inhalation Abuse in Teenagers: Two New Case Studies and
           Review of the Literature
    • Authors: Véronique Alunni; Yvan Gaillard, François Castier, Marie-Dominique Piercecchi-Marti, Gérald Quatrehomme
      First page: 330
      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.
      PubDate: 2017-07-18T06:48:36.866795-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13520
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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