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Journal of Forensic Sciences

Zuzana Obertová, Pascal Adalian, Eric Baccino, Eugenia Cunha, Hans H De Boer, Tony Fracasso, Elena Kranioti, Philippe Lefévre, Niels Lynnerup, Anja Petaros, Ann Ross, Maryna Steyn, Cristina Cattaneo
One of the goals of the Forensic Anthropology Society of Europe (FASE) is to map the existing education and practice opportunities in the field of forensic anthropology in order to support the development of the discipline and to optimize the training courses provided by the Society. To address this goal, an online questionnaire was sent to European and South African practitioners of forensic anthropology and related disciplines in 2016. The results of the questionnaire showed that the status and roles of forensic anthropologists vary depending on the national legal systems, education, and employment status of the practitioners...
February 8, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Ismail Mekkaoui Alaoui, Jan Halamek
1,2-indanedione is used for latent fingerprint visualization on porous surfaces. In this paper, fluorescence spectra of 1,2-indanedione after reacting with 21 individual amino acids present in latent fingerprints residue were measured in water-methanol solutions. The fluorescence intensity depends on the amino acid used, while the fluorescence peak does not change much. The concentration of amino acids in fingerprint residue in females is almost the double of their concentration in males. This property combined with fluorescence of 1,2-indanedione-amino acids compounds is used for gender determination, by comparing the fluorescence intensity peaks in the same experimental conditions...
February 8, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Josep De Alcaraz-Fossoul, Carme Barrot Feixat, Sara C Zapico, Luke McGarr, Clara Carreras-Marin, Jack Tasker, Manel Gené Badia
This fourth article of the series is taking an in-depth analysis at the visible aging of latent fingermarks regarding changes in ridge widths over time. The objective is to quantify and statistically describe significant ridge size variations under controlled indoor conditions. The effect of three environmental variables are examined: type of secretion (sebaceous- and eccrine-rich) and type of substrate (glass and polystyrene) when aged in three light conditions (direct natural light, shade, and dark). Prior to width measurements, fresh and aged fingermarks were powdered with titanium dioxide (TiO2 ) and sequentially photographed at predetermined times over 6 months...
February 8, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Zhihui Li, Yuyou Sun, Lei Xu, Ning Zhang, Jia Liu, Haiou Wang, Qimin Zhao
Image interpretation is an important aspect in the field of forensic science; however, it is seldom reported how to use these techniques in explosion scene forensic investigations. On 12 August 2015, a series of explosions killed 165 people and injured hundreds more at a container storage station at the Port of Tianjin. In this study, we applied image interpretation methods to determine the seat of the explosion by analyzing low-quality video clips of the event. The interpretation fits well with recently published standard operating procedures, including the hypothesis, evaluation, inference, and confirmation...
February 8, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Wu-Ting Tsai, Chia-Yun Chang, Chia-I Hu
Fatal fall from a height initiated with a swinging motion on the sagittal plane of the victim's body is examined. Method of analytical mechanics is adopted to establish the functional relations between the swinging angle of the body and the force needed to sustain the body until release, and the amount of the horizontal displacement that would occur after release. The analysis is applied to support an expert opinion presented in a criminal court in which two accused were convicted of murder for dropping a female victim from a bridge...
February 8, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Katelyn E Mason, Phillip H Paul, Fanny Chu, Deon S Anex, Bradley R Hart
Shed human hair (lacking root nuclear DNA) frequently contributes important information to forensic investigations involving human identification. Detection of genetic variation observed in amino acid sequences of hair proteins provides a new suite of identity markers that augment microscopic hair analysis and mitochondrial DNA sequencing. In this study, a new method that completely dissolves single hairs using a combination of heat, ultrasonication, and surfactants was developed. Dissolved proteins were digested and genetically variant peptide (GVP) profiles were obtained for single hairs (25 mm) via high-resolution nanoflow liquid chromatography-based mass spectrometry and a novel exome-driven bioinformatic approach...
February 8, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Jan J Topoleski, Angi M Christensen
Thermally altered skeletal remains can be very fragile and fragmented and are typically further fragmented or even destroyed when handled; recovery of such remains from a scene can therefore be extremely challenging. There are few recommendations and no generally accepted practices for preserving burned bone for recovery and transport. Here, we test whether the application of a gelatin-based consolidant at the scene can preserve thermally altered bone in the condition and relative anatomical position in which it was discovered...
February 8, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Heather M Garvin, Kieran Severa
Mandibular length, mandibular angle, and maximum ramus height measurements used during forensic evaluation of skeletal remains require use of a mandibulometer. This study presents a new method of taking these measurements from images, so that practitioners without access to an expensive mandibulometer or those working with 3D models (e.g., CT scans) can collect and utilize these measurements. Ten trials performed on a sample of 45 mandibles were used to compare measurements collected from photographs and images extracted from 3D surface scans to those collected with a mandibulometer, including intra- and inter-observer analyses...
February 8, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Michelle Clark, James Gill, Kristin Sasinouski, Angela McGuire
Archival medical examiner specimens may contain perpetrator DNA evidence useful in unsolved ("cold case") homicides. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) histology slide archives were searched for sexual assault smears for all 376 female homicides from 1990 to 1999. Of these, the OCME had sexual assault smears on 84 of which 13 slides had sperm. Of these 13, six were still unsolved. DNA profiles were obtained on all six (5 from smears and one from swabs). Combined DNA Index System ( submission resulted in two matches ("hits") for new suspects...
February 7, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Ping Lu, Jin-Qi Ma, Fan Li, Guo-Hui Xu, Wan Guo, Hai-Mei Zhou
This manuscript reported a case of fatal arsenic poisoning. A woman with schizophrenia took arsenic-containing "pills," which consisted of arsenic trioxide and realgar (arsenic (II) sulfide) and wrapped with gauze. The victim consumed 1.09 and 0.819 g arsenic on two occasions, respectively, with the interval between the two doses of 3 days. The woman died on the sixth day after the first dose without any treatment. In this case, pathological examination revealed fat degeneration of the liver rather than hepatomegaly, a rare finding in acute arsenic poisoning...
February 7, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Amy M Tharp, Kathrin Hobron, Trista Wright
Gabapentin, a GABA analogue, is a nonopioid prescribed for seizure control and neuralgic pain. Its abuse for recreational purposes has been increasing in recent years as the number of prescriptions also increases. In our series, we review 104 cases of decedents who tested positive for gabapentin in postmortem blood samples and an additional 53 nonfatal cases of motor vehicle drivers suspected of driving under the influence. In 47.1% of the fatality cases, gabapentin was directly involved in death. Most gabapentin fatalities had several other intoxicants present (opioids, over-the-counter medications, antianxiety, and antidepressant medications)...
February 7, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Bradley J Adams, Christopher W Rainwater, An-Di Yim, Helen S Alesbury
A review of New York City dismemberment cases occurring between 1996 and 2017 was conducted, which resulted in a total of 55 dismembered decedents in a 22-year period. Annual trends indicate an average of 2.5 dismembered decedents. Additional results show that 53% of cases involved transection only, 35% involved disarticulation only, and 13% involved a combination of both. When the entire body could be accounted for, the average number of body portions per case was 5.5. Frequent locations for dismemberment were the neck, shoulders, hips, and knees...
February 1, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Kathleen A S Blake
Biological sex is foundational to the work of forensic anthropologists and bioarcheologists. The lack of reliable biological sex estimation methods for subadults has, thus, greatly limited forensic and bioarcheological analyses. Auricular surface elevation showed promise as a subadult sex estimation method in previous studies. This study examined two auricular surface elevation evaluation methods on four subadult samples of known age, sex, and ancestry. Samples were scored as "male," "female," or "indeterminate" and results were examined with chi-square analysis...
February 1, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Oluf Gøtzsche-Astrup, Lasse Lindekilde
The background for this paper is the debate over what role mental illness plays in radicalization to violent extremism. While one camp points to cases of abnormal functioning of perpetrators, another argues that normal psychological mechanisms are central. Through a review of these perspectives, it becomes clear that mental illness cannot be ruled out as an epi-phenomenon, but is not a necessary condition either. The paper draws on work in psychiatric nosology on dimensional and categorical conceptions of illness and argues that the perspectives in this literature reflect a categorical approach to normal and abnormal functioning...
January 29, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Gideon Koren, Elad Bellaish, Karen Maman
Hair analysis is increasingly used in detecting drug-facilitated crime (DFC) claiming success in identifying even single dose exposures. The calculation of accurate deposition time of the drug in hair is typically based on the assumption of mean hair growth of 1 cm/month. We describe a case of potential exposure to flunitrazepam. Assuming the literature average hair growth rate of 1 cm/month, the alleged victim had measurable amounts of the 7 amino flunitrazepam a month after the alleged drug exposure. However, in this case, due to hair dying, the true growth rate could be quantified at 1...
January 29, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Nadia Geusens, Bart Nys, Sébastien Charles
In shooting incident investigations where it is important to estimate the shooting distance, the sodium-rhodizonate coloring method has been used for the visualization of GSR patterns extensively. This publication describes the optimization of this method by the use of a heated press for the transfer of GSR traces on garments, as well as variation of a number of other important process parameters. Our final aim for this project was to prepare a formal validation of the coloring method as prerequisite for its inclusion into the scope of ISO17025-certified methods in the GSR Laboratory...
January 25, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Lorenzo Gitto, Ponni Arunkumar, Stephen J Cina
Social media (SM) represent a global consumer phenomenon with an exponential rise in usage within the last few years. The various applications and websites are relatively easy and fast to access, and the number of users increases continuously. SM are an incredible source of freely available, public information about their users. The purpose of this study is to provide information about the usefulness of SM in forensic practice. The electronic database of the Cook County of Medical Examiner's Office ("CCMEO") in Illinois was searched for investigative narratives that included specific SM keywords, in the period from August 2014 to January 2018...
January 25, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Ellen M Hondrogiannis, Charlotte Newton, Rachel Alibozek
The Organization of Scientific Area Committees defines threshold of identification as the minimum concentration of ignitable liquid identifiable from gas chromatographic-mass spectrometry data using accepted pattern identification criteria. We propose a method for determining this threshold for gasoline based on base peak to qualifier ratios of six compounds. The ion ratios were established for each compound in the neat gasoline. These ratios were then compared to those obtained for gasoline and 98% weathered gasoline both spiked onto burnt nylon carpet at 20 ppt down 0...
January 25, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Guoliang Ouyang, Biao Li, Pengnan Zhao, Xingfei Guo, Changliang Wang
Stamp-pad ink seals are often placed on important documents, and determining the dating of stamp-pad ink seal is important to assess the authenticity of a document. In this study, 20 different brands and types of stamp-pad inks were classified by ultraviolet visible spectrophotometer. Six different brands and types of papers were classified by micro-Fourier transform infrared spectrometer and visual spectral comparator 6000. Three different brands of stamp-pad inks and two different types of paper were used to make diachronic samples of the seals...
January 22, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Bailey J Henwood, Tracy S Oost, Scott I Fairgrieve
Studies on ballistic trauma to the ribs and thorax, cranium, and long bones demonstrate the potential of obtaining a bullet caliber from an entrance wound. In order to validate prior research on caliber estimation in bone tissue and assess the viability of bullet type determination based on the macroscopic evidence at the entrance wound, thirty fleshed pork (Sus scrofa) shoulders (humeri) were shot with either lead or copper jacketed bullets in one of three calibers; 0.22, 9 mm, or 0.38. Overall, our findings are consistent with previous research indicating that calibers can be grouped into "small" and "large" categories...
January 21, 2019: Journal of Forensic Sciences
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