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Journal of Forensic Sciences

William Ulwelling, Kim Smith
Testing for phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is a relatively new tool for detecting and grossly quantifying a person's use of alcohol in a variety of security, medical, and legal environments. The basic chemistry of PEth is explained with a particular focus on factors that make it highly suitable as a biomarker for alcohol use in such situations. This article meets the need for a literature review that synthesizes PEth laboratory findings and suggests updated guidelines for interpretation. Several ethanol biomarkers have been used for detection or monitoring alcohol use but have significant limitations...
July 13, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Sebastian K T S Wärmländer, Liivi Varul, Juuso Koskinen, Ragnar Saage, Stefan Schlager
Determining maximum heating temperatures of burnt bones is a long-standing problem in forensic science and archaeology. In this pilot study, controlled experiments were used to heat 14 fleshed and defleshed pig vertebrae (wet bones) and archaeological human vertebrae (dry bones) to temperatures of 400, 600, 800, and 1000°C. Specular component included (SCI) color values were recorded from the bone surfaces with a Konica-Minolta cm-2600d spectrophotometer. These color values were regressed onto heating temperature, using both a traditional linear model and the k-nearest neighbor (k-NN) machine-learning algorithm...
July 12, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Jeffrey James Lynch, Heli Maijanen, Andreas Prescher
This study analyzes three tibia length measurement techniques on a sample of 107 tibiae. Two of the techniques meet published criteria by resting the tibia on its posterior surface with the longitudinal axis parallel to an osteometric board. The third technique does not adequately keep the longitudinal axis parallel to the board. Statistical analyses show low levels of interobserver error for all techniques and statistically significant differences between the third technique and the other two techniques. Results report a maximum difference of 6 mm between measurement techniques with the third technique having greater than 95% directional bias...
July 12, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Caroline Chimeno, Jérôme Morinière, Jana Podhorna, Laura Hardulak, Axel Hausmann, Frank Reckel, Jan E Grunwald, Randolph Penning, Gerhard Haszprunar
Throughout the years, DNA barcoding has gained in importance in forensic entomology as it leads to fast and reliable species determination. High-quality results, however, can only be achieved with a comprehensive DNA barcode reference database at hand. In collaboration with the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office, we have initiated at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology the establishment of a reference library containing arthropods of potential forensic relevance to be used for DNA barcoding applications...
July 11, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Nicole Yarid, Emily C Brown, Markus Boos, Jeffrey Otjen, James Metz, Carole Jenny, Kenneth W Feldman
Traumatic cardiac ventricular ruptures in children are rare. Only a single case of left ventricular rupture due to child abuse has been reported. We report a child who sustained a fatal left ventricular apical rupture. It appeared to have resulted from hydrostatic forces resulting from abusive blunt thoracic injury. That he was being abused was previously missed when he was presented to the emergency department with facial pyoderma. It was not noted that he also had lip and oral mucosal injury, sites not affected by staph toxins...
July 10, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Matteo Borrini, Luigi Garlaschelli
An investigation into the arm and body position required to obtain the blood pattern visible in the image of the Shroud of Turin was performed using a living volunteer. The two short rivulets on the back of the left hand of the Shroud are only consistent with a standing subject with arms at a ca 45° angle. This angle is different from that necessary for the forearm stains, which require nearly vertical arms for a standing subject. The BPA of blood visible on the frontal side of the chest (the lance wound) shows that the Shroud represents the bleeding in a realistic manner for a standing position while the stains at the back-of a supposed postmortem bleeding from the same wound for a supine corpse-are totally unrealistic...
July 10, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Ramya Kiran, James Chapman, Marc Tennant, Alexander Forrest, Laurence J Walsh
Victim identification using dental records involves antemortem and postmortem comparison of dental charts. Since dental restorations may be part of such records, identifying them accurately is critical. The objective of this study was to compare the diagnostic reliability and validity of two optical methods for identifying tooth-colored restorations (digital imaging fiber optic transillumination (DiFOTI) using near infrared light, and fluorescence-aided identification of restorations (FAIR)) with conventional diagnostic methods...
July 10, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Elisabeth M P Williams, Emma S Graham, Mark C Jermy, David C Kieser, Michael C Taylor
Although the characteristics of cast-off bloodstain patterns are well known, the physics of the mechanism by which they are created is poorly understood. The aim of this work was to describe the process by which blood droplets disengage from swinging objects. Cast-off droplets were recorded using high-speed digital video photography, and the resulting cast-off patterns were analyzed to draw inferences about the trajectories of individual drops. Blood on the object's distal end formed ligaments, which subsequently disintegrated into droplets...
July 5, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Itiel E Dror, Glenn Langenburg
Inconclusive decisions, deciding not to decide, are decisions. We present a cognitive model which takes into account that decisions are an outcome of interactions and intersections between the actual data and human cognition. Using this model it is suggested under which circumstances inconclusive decisions are justified and even warranted (reflecting proper caution and meta-cognitive abilities in recognizing limited abilities), and, conversely, under what circumstances inconclusive decisions are unjustifiable and should not be permitted...
July 5, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Marin A Pilloud, Kelly Heim
This study tests the relationship between third molar impaction and its concomitant effect on age estimation methods. Data were collected on radiographs of males analyzed in the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Laboratory (n = 114). Radiographs of skeletonized individuals were scored for dental development, and age was assigned based on the appropriate ancestry-based method. Differences between identified age and estimated dental age were assessed to determine whether molar impaction affected root development and age estimations...
July 5, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Daniele Merli, Alberto Amadasi, Debora Mazzarelli, Annalisa Cappella, Elisa Castoldi, Stefano Ripa, Lucia Cucca, Cristina Cattaneo, Antonella Profumo
This study concentrates on samples of bare pork skin, with and without bristles, and dried bovine ribs shot with a semi-automatic pistol to find the best methodology and sampling surface in the search for inorganic gunshot residues (IGSR). Four quadrants of known surface areas were sampled at different distances from the bullet's hole with different swabs: tapes in graphite, Leukosilk® white tape, 3M® transparent tape, and a cotton swab to assess the technique able to collect the highest amounts of IGSR with the lowest contribution of the blank...
July 5, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Christy J Mancuso, James R Ehleringer
Global travel has increased, and having a diagnostic tool to distinguish residents from visitors would be valuable. This study examined stable isotope biomarkers of fingernail tissues of resident (n = 26) and nonresident (n = 22) participants in Salt Lake City (SLC), UT, from 2015 to 2016. The purpose of this research was to determine whether fingernail isotopes could be used for reconstructing geolocation movements and to examine the convergence in nonresident fingernail isotopes to that of the resident signal following their arrival to SLC...
July 5, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Eoghan Casey, Olivier Ribaux, Claude Roux
Forensic science laboratories are being challenged by the expanding decentralization of forensic capabilities, particularly for digital traces. This study recommends laboratories undertake digital transformations to capitalize on the decentralization movement, develop a more comprehensive understanding of crime and security-relevant problems, and play a more central role in problem-solving collaboratively with law enforcement organizations and other stakeholders. A framework for the bilateral transfer of information and knowledge is proposed to magnify the impact of forensic science laboratories on abating crime, strengthening security, and reinforcing the criminal justice system...
July 5, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Haley E Horbaly, Michael W Kenyhercz, Mark Hubbe, Dawnie W Steadman
Skeletal sexual dimorphism manifests as size or shape differences between males and females in a population. Certain dimorphic traits are used in sex estimation methods, and populational variation in the expression of these traits can result in inaccurate sex estimation. However, the underlying causes of variation in trait expression remain unclear. This study explores body size, which also exhibits sexual dimorphism, as a potential factor influencing trait expression. To test this, skeletons of 209 individuals of varying body size were analyzed, and morphological traits were scored according to the Walker (2008), Klales et al...
July 5, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Uyum Vehit, Angi M Christensen
Commingling is frequently encountered in cases examined by the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus, and pair-matching is routinely used as a preliminary segregation method. Here we examine the degree of bilateral asymmetry in nutrient foramen position of the radius and ulna to determine whether nutrient foramen position may be useful in visual and/or ostetometric pair-matching. Differences in nutrient foramen position between left-right pairs from the same individual were compared with differences in nutrient foramen position between different individuals...
July 5, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Christy J Mancuso, James R Ehleringer
This study focuses on the examination of stable isotope biomarkers in human fingernails of travelers who ventured away from Salt Lake City, UT and subsequently returned. Here, we describe three case studies examining: individual travelers (n = 4), paired travelers (n = 2), and a traveler (n = 1) who repeatedly left and returned. Our case studies examined the influences of dietary and drinking water inputs on fingernail stable isotope profiles for reconstructing travel histories. Stable isotope data were compared with theoretical and predictive models that laid the groundwork for anthropological and forensic geospatial reconstruction of travel histories...
June 28, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Andrew Ziegler, Timothy Williams, Nicole Yarid, Daniel L Schultz, Elizabeth A Bundock
Diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2 are diseases characterized by impaired regulation of blood glucose due to decreased insulin production and insulin resistance, respectively. Management of diabetes mellitus often requires injection of exogenous insulin. Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII or insulin pump) is a diabetes treatment modality utilizing a device to aid in regulation of glycemic control. Malfunctions in device components can have rare fatal consequences. Described in this report are six fatalities due to one such malfunction, the failure of plastic cannulas of CSII devices to penetrate the skin and deliver insulin, resulting in fatal diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)...
June 25, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Benjamin E Criss, Nives Zimmermann, Randall T Butler
Traditionally, the manner of death in most hospital autopsy cases is natural, in which death is due to the natural course of disease or reasonably anticipated outcomes of medical interventions. Some cases fall into a potential gray zone between natural and accident, including rare or unanticipated outcomes of medical interventions. We present a case of a patient postcoronary artery bypass graft. Autopsy revealed the proximal anastomosis of the aorta-to-first-diagonal-coronary-artery-to-second-obtuse-marginal-artery graft was detached from the aorta...
June 25, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Sarah Avedschmidt, Carl Schmidt, Daniel Isenschmid, Kilak Kesha, David Moons, Avneesh Gupta
Acetyl fentanyl (N-[1-phenethylpiperidin-4-yl]-N-phenylacetamide) is a potent opioid analgesic with no medicinal uses. We report deaths between 2016 and 2017 at the Medical Examiner's Office in Detroit, MI where acetyl fentanyl was found in the decedent's blood and compare them to previously published deaths between 2015 and 2016. The recent cases (cohort B) had a mean acetyl fentanyl concentration of 0.9 ng/mL (range: 0.1-5.3 ng/mL) and an associated higher concentration of fentanyl along with multiple other drugs present...
June 25, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Timothy C Antinick, David R Foran
Successful identification of skeletonized remains often relies upon DNA analyses, frequently focusing on the mid-diaphysis of weight-bearing long bones. This study explored intra-bone DNA variability using bovine and porcine femora, along with calcanei and tali. DNA from fresh and short-term environmentally exposed bone was extracted utilizing demineralization and standard lysis buffer protocols, and DNA quantity and quality were measured. Overall, femoral epiphyses, metaphyses, and the tarsals had more nuclear and mitochondrial DNA than did the femoral diaphyses...
June 25, 2018: Journal of Forensic Sciences
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