Flashcards in Problematic Body Recovery Deck (56)
What are the aims of problematic body recovery?
Max trace evidence
ID method of concealment
Clear representation in court
What is taphonomy?
Combination of extrinsic (environmental ie sand vs. water) and intrinsic (internal body i.e. old vs. young) factors as to why body looks the way it does
What specialists are used in Problematic body recovery?
What does an Anthropologist do?
Bone ID, body reconstruction
What does an Archaeologist do?
Body & trace evidence recovery, search, criminality
What does a Biologist/Chemist do?
What does a Botanist do?
Enviro profiling, trace evidence, duration, search advice
Wha does an Entomologist do?
Insects to ID duration
What does a Pathologist do?
Cause of death
What does a soil scientist do?
Trace evidence (layers of soil, links)
What does a Vomitologist do?
Timing of death (stomach contents)
Where are specialists recruited from?
SCA (Serious Crime Authority) recommendation,
SPA (Scottish Police Authority), biologists and chemists
Private companies- expensive
Individuals- not always forensically aware
Universities- Strathclyde, Glasgow, Dundee
What are the separate elements of body recovery?
Trace evidence gathering and recording
ID CMOD & events over post-mortem interval
Specialist trace evidence analysis & interpretation
What is involved in finding a missing person (MISPER)?
Preserve evidence (uncompromised)
Haste, not speed
Keep costs down
What is involved for wide scale search?
What is involved with small searches i.e. several acres or less?
What happens when nothing is visible on the group?
What is aerial photography?
Standard archaeology skill
Good for wide area search (hidden graves etc)
ID disturbances in topography & vegetation (e.g. grave, tyre tracks)
Natural or man made
Compare images: Royal Commission archive & helicopter flyover pics
What is used for maps and DBA?
OS maps and PastMap (online archaeology database)
What do maps and DBA eliminate?
What is environmental profiling?
Work with dog handlers & Police Search Advisors (POLSA)
Archaeology, botany, soils
Rules out areas
Costs and search time reduced
Duration of deposition human remains/objects
Trace evidence recovery
What is the theory used to identify a body?
Remains alter natural topography
Change soil profile & stratigraphy (layers of soil- mixtures of layers if dug up, burrials)
Increase water holding capacity- body in burial, organic material, soil is softer and moister, last for hundreds of years
Affect overlying vegetation- height, colour, type, and health
ID these changes gives info on duration & sequence of event at the locus
What is differences are looked for in topography?
Abnormal hollows or bumps
Initially soil burial is raised
Ground sinks as body decays
Grave edges may be defined
Cracks on surface/
Differential cracking- X marks the spot above body
Cracks on surface/ edges of grave
“Spoil” may be scattered around
What timing effects do ID duration due to vegetation have?
Depends on habital & season
Roots on body growing through rib cage, roots have growth tells you how long bodys been there
What are the short term effects of plant vegetation on remains?
Nutrients & gases toxic
Annual weds only
What are the long term effects of plant vegetation on remains?
Plants teller/ lush
Nettles, brambles high (conceal body)
Tall weeds present
What does burial chronology show?
Not big enough
Soil shoved back in, panic
Takes a few years for deep routed plants to return
What does burial duration indicate?
Skull near graveyard
Mistaken for a boulder
Mosses suggest exposed for at least several years
Lichens (symbiotic relationship between fungus and alga) growing inside bone: exposed less 100 years
When is geophysics used?
When no disturbance is visible
What is geophysics?
Provides target areas to investigate by trial trenching
Different techniques for varying situations
Specialists advice and interpretation is required
What is resistivity?
Resistance to current between 2 electrodes
Soil moisture conducts current
Water/ loose soil less resistant than compacted- gives peak
Good for features retaining some water (e.g. ditches, old graves)
Not good if waterlogged or very dry
What is magnetometry?
ID changes to magnetic field by burning, buried metal or refilled holes
Fast- 20 mins to cover 20m2
Works in waterlogged soil
Works in very dry soi
What is magnetometry affected by?
Affected by overhead power cables & ferrous metal on site
What is Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)?
Radar frequencies bounce off sub-surface features
ID pits, ditches & graves
ID voids in walls & concrete
Works to 3m down
What conditions does GPR work well in?
Good for urban sites & rough terrain, unaffected by metal/cables
What conditions does GPR not work well in?
NOT good in wet, standing water, or clay rich soils
What is monitored top-soil strip?
If search are is very large & no disturbance visible
Removal of the topsoil can reveal a grave cut
Cut shows as differences in soil colour & compaction
Analysis of cut helps tell how the grave was dug
How can the top of suspicious holes be identified as suspicious or unsuspicious?
Indicated by search dog stratigraphy & roots indicate undisturbed
How can the bottom of suspicious holes be identified as suspicious or unsuspicious?
Body depo site- soil compaction, colour & root growth
What is the 3 stages of burial of human remains?
Digging the hole
Deposition of the body
Backfilling the grave
What environmental factors can ID remains?
Position of remains
What is looked for in problematic body recovery?
Duraton of deposition
Method of digging/ backfill
Method of deposition
Tool marks & footprints
What is the use in recording burial remains?
Stratigraphy can be interpreted
Detailed plan drawing helps interpret events & jury to understand
Used with mapping techniques to provide detailed account of events
Takes time & skill to do
What specialists are used in grave/ open air body recovery?
Archaeology, botany, osteology, entomology, biology skills
What do ostologists do?
Record and reconstruct events
ID bones present
Determine duration from soil layers, vegetation and insects
Sample for trace evidence
Sieve & search soil for evidence
Giver further search advice
What is the base and profile of a grave useful for?
May retain tool marks, footprints etc.
What must happen to grave fill and surrounding soil?
Sieves and retained
What is the process in open air body recovery?
Scavengers scatter remains- search advice vital
Standard archaeology techniques used
Decomposition site is mapped, soil researched
Botanist can ID duration of scattered items
Enviro & insect sampling done
Detailed archaeological recording will ID events and timings
What can recording evidence help with?
•Cause and manner of death
•Deposition and duration
•Post depositional activity (human/ animal)
Help assign body parts to correct individual if more than one present
What are tapes and grids used for?
Locus divided into squares
Each square is searched, sieved, evidence recorded & mapped
Ensures rigorous search
Helps interpret events
Visual representation for jury
Enables spatial patterning analysis
Maximises trace evidence recovery
How relevant is a grid search?
What does grid search ensure?
Max recovery- small bones, trace evidence
What causes variation in Grid search?
What does grid search show?
Links people to places
Possible months/ years after the crime
What is microscopic level of search used for?
Floted soil can be dried & searched microscopically for small trace evidence (hairs, fibres, seeds etc)
Larger items (bindings, weapons etc) can be dissected out of soil uncompromised using low magn microscopy