Learning Goal: I’m working on a criminal justice discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
Identify and discuss at least three difficulties associated with identifying bodies in mass disaster.
In a mass disaster, there are various difficulties related to body identification including dismemberment, body recovery, and damage that may have affected postmortem changes. In a mass disaster, recovering dismembered parts of a body can mean that there are multiple limbs that cannot be easily matched to the rest of the decedent. If an arm is found, there is no guarantee that it has enough identifying information to be matched to the correct decedent through tentative identification or that there are any features unique enough for a positive or presumptive identification. As bodies and limbs are recovered, it may be difficult to preserve evidence. During this recovery, trace evidence from minerals, fluids, fibers, and fabrics may cross-transfer from one body to another, resulting in confusion for examiners. In the example of a mudslide, the act of digging and excavated to find bodies could actually damage them more, separate pieces of a body from itself, or obscure unique features. Mass disasters can also result in postmortem damage that can obscure antemortem injuries, procedures, or implants on the decedent that could have been used for identification.
2.Identify and discuss at least two forensic specialists that may be needed to positively identify the decedent and how they can be used identify the individual. Be sure to explain when these specialists are most likely to be consulted.
Forensic entomologists may be used to identify decedents through insects and other creatures that may help investigators identify the original locations of bodies, where they have moved, and any DNA samples that can be used for toxicology reports if the insect has digested some of the decedent. Forensic entomologists may be consulted when a body has been well-preserved, buried, or found in the wilderness. Forensic dentists can use teeth to identify decedents, as dental examinations and X rays post mortem can be compared with dental records antemortem. Teeth may be preserved for examinations even on decedent remains that have been damaged by fire or decay. Forensic dentists are most likely to be consulted when the body has been damaged significantly or when no other remains are available.
3. Describe the differences between positive, presumptive, and tentative ID? Which methods of identification are the most reliable, and why? Which methods of positive identification are the most practical (efficient and cost effective)?
Positive identification requires that anatomical features discovered on the postmortem body match known information from the antemortem body and that the features are sufficiently unique enough. Presumptive identification is not a 100% percent match of remains to an identity. There may be similarities, but the methods used to make this type of identification may be nonscientific and cannot be considered positively conclusive. Tentative identification determines age, sex, stature, and ethnicity, but is not enough for a positive identification or a presumptive identification. It gives general demographic information about the decedent to help inform the next steps of the death investigation process.
Body Marks. (2005). In K. L. Lerner
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