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  1. Description
  2. Death Scene Investigation
  3. Death Scene Investigation: Procedural Guide
  4. Death Scene Investigation Procedural Guide by Michael S. Maloney

Accident — Result of activity or action that is not intended or expected to lead to death. Non-criminal homicides may include justifiable situations such as self- defense, war, and law enforcement killings. Criminal homicides range from negligent homicide to manslaughter to murder. Undetermined — This classification may be temporary or long term. Are they trained and skilled medico-legal investigators or simply transporta- tion providers? The Role of Medical Examiner 61 Figure 7. The permission may be a blanket authorization or a special authori- zation for a unique situation.

In special cir- cumstances such as possible obliteration of critical bloodstain spat- ters, the ME should be contacted. The hands should be bagged before the body is moved from the scene Figure 7. This requires making a small incision with a scalpel about 0. Circumstances Requiring Autopsy The conduct of an autopsy is covered thoroughly in Chapter 8. Insert a digital thermometer at slight upward angle under the ribcage about 4 inches. Figure 7. Procedures in Lieu of Autopsy If an autopsy will not be required, ensure that needed evidence and docu- mentation are still collected.

This procedure is completely non-invasive. This is the time to request copies of photographs and be listed to receive the preliminary and final autopsy reports. Request a copy of the diagram the ME used to indicate external injuries. Preliminary Autopsy Report The preliminary report is usually issued within a week of the autopsy and confirms findings discussed at the outbrief. The preliminary report may pro- vide justification for the issue of warrants to search for weapons and other forensic evidence that maybe associated with an identified perpetrator.

Toxicology Report Toxicology testing and reporting may take several weeks. The report will detail levels of alcohol, drugs, or poisons found in fluids collected from the body. Final Autopsy Report The final report will mirror the preliminary autopsy report along with addi- tional forensic testing results based on the toxicology report. Autopsy Protocol and Investigator's Role 8 The autopsy suite and the body constitute the absolute domain of a medical examiner ME.

The ME usually has at least one assistant who is commonly called a diener German for servant, a traditional term used in autopsy protocols. A diener is responsible for handling, moving, and cleaning the corpse and assisting with the autopsy. The ME may also employ a medi- cal photographer to document the autopsy and significant findings. The ME is a medical doctor, usually a pathologist, and in the most desirable circumstances a board-certified forensic pathologist.

Board certification in forensic pathology requires a minimum of 11 years of specialized medical training, after earning a four-year college degree. Recognizing this exper- tise will go a long way toward cementing a long-term working relationship with an ME. The body may be out of the bag, undressed, rinsed, and waiting for the pathologist by the announced autopsy time. Arrive early. Make any special autopsy requests suggested by conditions at the scene. Even then, back-up photography is recommended. Bone surveys may be required to document prior injuries in fatal child abuse cases.

Ensure hands are thoroughly photographed before GSR testing. A sexual assault kit may provide standards and samples for other crimes such as aggravated assault. Close-up photography of these items is important. Blood remaining on bullets or fragments may be corrosive enough to deteriorate firearm markings. This may be left until the end of the autopsy if evidence on the hands and wrists dictate. Clearly note them as preliminary findings.

A preliminary report may be available quickly but you must also obtain a final report of an autopsy. Tungsten surgical lamps generally provide the Autopsy Protocol and Investigator's Role 69 lighting. Ask that they be turned off or temporarily directed away from the photographic field before photography is started. Tungsten lights will cast a yellow tint to all photographs taken with standard daylight film or digital media if not compensated for through white balance.

Mapping will aid subsequent use of photographs. You may need to take some duplicate photographs. Mark the scale with the name of the deceased and wound identifier A,B,C. Mark along the leg that will be used to demonstrate the sag- ittal plane. Orient the other leg of the scale parallel with a trans- verse plane of the body and toward the feet Figure 8. Autopsy Protocol and Investigator's Role 71 Figure 8. L-shaped scales are placed with one arm towards midline, the other toward the feet. The injuries are photographed in clusters with an anatomical marker visible. The injuries are photographed close-up, framed by the L-shaped scale.

Figure 8. Fill the frame with the wound, orienting the ABFO scale to the edge of the frame square. Multicolored fiberglass knitting needles serve as effective wound probes and are very easy to clean. One objective may be to get a clean, detailed photograph of the injury that will be admissible in court.

Excessive blood or views of the body cavity may preclude that. Autopsy Protocol and Investigator's Role 73 Figure 8. Entering them into the evidence custody system may prevent their timely return to the family or availability for interment with the deceased. Outbrief with Medical Examiner Discuss timeframe for receiving photographs and preliminary and final autopsy results. Can you tell what hand the perpetrator used to wield the weapon? Can specific physical characteristics of the perpetrator be determined? Was he or she on the ground?

Recovery of Remains Searching for Human Remains 9 This chapter deals with ground searches for human remains. It covers general search techniques and guidelines for searches of open ground and wooded areas. Detailed guidance for surface recoveries, buried remains, and aquatic recoveries is provided in subsequent chapters. Figure 9. Surface Recovery of Human Remains 10 General The surface recovery of human remains is a time consuming and exact- ing task. Rather than being confined within a grave, the body is left on the surface of the ground to decompose.

Usually the discovery of the body is delayed. If decomposition is minimal, a body may remain relatively articulated and confined to a small area. Through skeletonization, animal predation, and other events, the body may become disarticulated and spread over a con- siderable area. Follow foot and vehicle paths, and concentrate on areas off the paths because it is difficult to carry a body a great distance from a trail or road. Search windfalls and other areas where a canine can protect its back while chewing.

Cadaver Dogs Cadaver dogs undergo highly specialized training. They differ from search- and-rescue dogs and bloodhounds in that they are trained to detect human body decomposition, not follow living human scents. Decomposition of the body and ento- mological activity, particularly the presence of maggot masses, may increase the temperature of areas of the body even to the point of mid- decomposition changes. The temperature of a body during decomposition is elevated above the ambient temperature and may be detected by FLIR often mounted on a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft or via a portable thermography unit.

This technique is most effective for surface recoveries and expedient graves. NecroSearch International NecroSearch International is a volunteer multidisciplinary team dedicated to assisting law enforcement to locate clandestine graves and recover evidence including human remains from them. Its website is www. When the site is completely measured, the rebar maybe driven com- pletely into the ground for later relocation with a metal detector. The reference should be level with the highest ground in the search area Figure Stake this line at the northernmost part of the recovery area.

Stake this line at the easternmost part of the recovery area. Potential Burial Site 1. Datum is established at Southwest corner of dig site. Figure Squares should be large enough to allow movement within them as the evidence is recovered and documented. It is recommended that squares measure 3 feet on each side Figure This may be accomplished with a simple line level Figure North-south line is established from datum 1. Datum is established at Southwest corner of dig site Figure Three-foot grid squares are recommended though the size may be adjusted to the search area and terrain.

Grid square designations are numerically assigned; the first number reflects the number of grid squares north from the datum, the second number reflects the number of grid squares east of the datum. Care must be taken to locate footwear and tire impressions the body had to be moved to the site and the perpetrator had to leave it. Consider docu- menting plant growth and roots that have grown over the surface remains. Do not be more spe- cific at this stage. Do not attempt to dif- ferentiate animal chew marks, cut marks, skull fractures, or bullet holes at this stage.

Note their presence; they will require follow-up after examination of the remains by a medical examiner or forensic anthropologist. This will give you a rough idea of the major bones still missing. The area is easily identified by the presence of grouped vertebrae, ribs, scapula, pelvis, and other bones. Some animal predation may have disassoci- ated bones from the grouping. Soil should be sifted through progres- sively finer meshes. Scientific Assistance Forensic anthropologist — This expert is invaluable for examining buried remains. He or she can quickly determine the sex, approximate age, and gen- eral characteristics of a victim.

These specialists may be sufficiently familiar with an area to advise about unmarked graves, historical graves, or native burial mounds. Storms, erosion, and construction may cause disinterment of these and other remains. Forensic anthropologists can advise on appro- priate search methodologies.

Description

When an area containing scattered remains Figure They can determine whether scat- tered remains are human or non-human. Botanist — A botanist from a local university may be able to deter- mine how long flora may have taken to become established within remains. For instance, a vine growing through the eye orbit of a skull that indicates 3 months of growth means the skull was completely skeletonized at least 3 months earlier.

A botanist may assist in determining postmortem intervals for skeletonized remains. It is important to engage an appropriately qualified professional who can testify in court if necessary. Ornithologist — An individual who studies birds may help recover bio- logical evidence. Birds may have used the hair from a victim to line their nests. An ornithologist familiar with the area will be able to guide an inves- tigator to the types of bird likely to build such nests and locate nests within the area.

He or she should have appropriate qualifications and be capable of testifying in court if necessary. Mammalogist or zoologist — Someone familiar with the behavior of small animals indigenous to the discovery site can help locate and explore small rodent holes that are excellent hiding places for rings, small bones, or other artifacts of a crime.

Again, you should locate an appropriately trained professional who can appear in court if necessary. Recovery of Buried Human Remains 11 General Principles The location of clandestine graves and recovery of human remains are time- consuming tasks that often require specialized assistance and equipment. Buried remains may be classified as follows: Expedient graves — Often located in natural or man-made shallow depres- sions and loosely covered with soil scraped from the surface.

They are often hastily covered with vegetation, leaves, and limbs from the immediate area. Shallow graves — Hastily dug shallow depressions; only inches of soil cover the remains. Buried remains — Characterized by depth. No exact depth determines the difference between a shallow grave and a burial, but the depth and cor- responding effort required to reach buried remains call for an approach dif- ferent from uncovering a shallow grave.

The significant digging by hand or machine required to bury the body requires similar effort by investigators. A forensic anthropologist is an invaluable asset for investigations involv- ing buried remains. He or she may be able to quickly determine the sex, approximate age, and general racial characteristics of a victim and advise of unmarked graves, historical graves, or native burial mounds in an area to be investigated.

Forensic anthropologists can advise on appropriate search methodologies and expertly guide the recovery of remains while ensuring appropriate methods and complete documentation. They can also determine whether scattered remains are human or non-human. Caution must be exercised at a shallow grave to prevent damage to the body when the rod is inserted Figure They then step forward as a unit Figure Recovery of Buried Human Remains 91 Align the team each with a probe in a line search pattern. In unison probe left 1 , center 2 , right 3.

Then step forward repeating the probing sequence. Technological Methods Methane gas detection — A body produces methane gas as it decomposes. The leaching gas may be located by a methane detec- tor Figure Care should always be taken to avoid damaging the body by overly aggressive insertion of a probe.

Forward looking infrared FLIR and thermal tomography — FLIR allows an area to be scanned to detect differences in temperature that may identify human remains. Decomposition of the body and entomological activ- ity, particularly the presence of maggot masses, may increase the temperature of areas of the body even to the point of mid-decomposition changes. The tem- perature of a body during decomposition is elevated above the ambient tem- perature and may be detected by FLIR often mounted on a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft or via a portable thermography unit.

Magnetometry — A magnetometer detects the magnetic fields of bur- ied ferrous iron- containing objects. While magnetometry will not detect a body in a grave, it may reveal ferrous artifacts buried with the body, for example, zippers, shoe eyelets, belt buckles, snaps, and weapons containing iron. Electrical resistivity — As fluids from a body leach into the surrounding soil as a natural result of decomposition, they alter the ability for an electri- cal current to pass through the ground.

A survey of the level of electrical resistance in the soil of an area suspected to contain a clandestine grave may indicate decomposition. This method is best used when late decomposition changes are present. NecroSearch International This voluntary multidisciplinary team is dedicated to assisting law enforce- ment in locating clandestine graves and recovering evidence including human remains from them.

Care must be taken to locate any footwear or tire impressions the body has to be moved to the site and the perpetrator had to leave it. Vegetation must be removed to reveal bare soil. All obvious remains and items of evidentiary value should be flagged and documented. Consider docu- menting plant growth and roots encountered during excavation at a gravesite. When the site is completely measured, the rebar may be driven completely into the ground for later relocation with a metal detector.

Squares should be large enough to allow movement within them as the earth is excavated. It is recommended that squares at a subsurface measure 3 feet on each side Figure This may be accomplished with a sim- ple line level Figure Recovery of Buried Human Remains 95 2. Datum is established at Southwest corner of dig site 4. Establish a square 4 i L I I 3. East-west line is established from datum Figure Do not rush this phase. Ensure that you have prepared the site properly and have the proper equipment and personnel to perform the excavation. Soil is then removed in thin layers no more than an inch deep from the target grid squares.

The soil should be removed using a masonry trowel, placed into a scoop, and transported for sifting. Recovery of Buried Human Remains 97 Figure Photograph the item in situ. The soil around the find and additional soil from the grid square should be removed with a whisk broom and swept into a scoop. Measurements within the grid square and depth of the recovery as measured from the datum point should be recorded Figure Follow the procedure of completely excavating to one depth across the find area before excavating deeper. Their spatial relationships to other finds should be clearly shown and documented.

This is a very effective way to allow anyone with even a rudi- mentary understanding of anatomy to see what body parts and items have been recovered and which ones have not been found Figure The refuse is examined for evidentiary value. Footwear impressions may be left on the floor of the grave, perhaps under the body.

Careful excavation may reveal these impressions. The shape of a shovel, spade, or other digging tool may be impressed and left at the margins or walls of a grave. This area is the interface between the harder compacted soil external to the grave and the softer soil that was removed and replaced into the grave. The shape of the tool used to dig may be apparent on the walls at this margin. These marks should be preserved if indicated.


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Aquatic Recovery of Human Remains 12 General Principles This chapter focuses on search and recovery techniques when a body is in water. In most cases, a body is submerged in a pond, lake, river, or salt-water environment. Under no circumstances should anyone without proper training attempt to effect an aquatic search or recovery mission.

A well equipped aquatic search team is required to ensure the safety of the members of the operation and achieve a successful recovery that is appro- priately documented.

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Death Scene Investigation

A death scene investigator DSI must be versed in the techniques employed in water recovery and play a part in the effort. A submerged body will often hold valuable evidence that must be properly handled upon recov- ery. Unless the body is snagged on a limb, rocky prominence, or other feature, it will likely remain submerged early during the search. This does not occur until decomposition has progressed and may take days or weeks, depend- ing on the water temperature. The body may return to the surface in a face-down position, with the arms, legs, and head dangling into the water.

Often only the shoulder blades and upper back are visible at or near the surface Figure Viewed without polarizing lens sunglasses or camera filter. Note that the reflection from the surface of the water obscures most of the body from view. Body floating at surface. Viewed with polarizing lens. The reflection from the surface of the water has been eliminated and the body is easier to view.

Underwater Search Underwater recovery requires specialized training, certification, proper equipment, and familiarity with a specific aquatic environment. It should never be attempted by sports divers. An underwater search for a body may be conducted by a dive search team and is often most effective if a body is believed to be in or near a submerged vehicle or other container.

Divers must be cautious around the snags and entrapments. Such vehicles are portable and controlled by cables. They may be available from local harbor or ship inspection and marine construction facilities. Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard, and state agencies may have computer simulation models available. Although these mod- els were not developed for the recovery of human remains, an adept operator may be able to simulate the conditions from the time since drowning or submersion and the submersion point, and greatly nar- row the potential search area.

Properly trained cadaver dogs may be used to locate submerged remains. The dog and its boat handler should complete joint training.


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  5. The dog typically remains at the bow of the boat and alerts the handler when decomposition gases from a body percolate to the surface. In an aquatic environment, methane will percolate up through the water to the surface and the gas release may be located by a methane detector.

    Forward looking infrared FLIR and thermal tomography — FLIR allows an area to be scanned for differences in temperature that may identify human remains. The temperature of a recently drowned body will be higher than the temperature of the surrounding water for some time and it may be possible to detect the body using FLIR mounted on a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft. Scanning sonar — The equipment is mounted on a tripod on the bottom of a boat or mounted on a remotely operated vehicle and submerged. Sonar is used to search smaller bodies of water such as ponds, where side scanning sonar equipment could not be effectively towed Figure Sonar provides a degree view of the bottom regardless of water visibility Figure Side scanning sonar — The equipment is submerged and towed behind a boat.

    It emits sonar waves that strike objects and return to the device. The returning waves reveal details of a lake, river, or ocean bottom. Side scan- ning sonar is useful for finding remains that rest on the bottom. It is not very effective for locating remains along a very rocky or irregular bottom surface or remains covered by silt or debris Figure Magnetometry — A magnetometer detects the magnetic fields of buried ferrous iron- containing objects.

    Magnetometry will not detect a body. It is used to find ferrous artifacts associated with the body e. The Figure Trained Volunteer Teams NecroSearch International is a volunteer multidisciplinary team dedicated to assisting law enforcement to locate clandestine graves and recover evidence including human remains.

    Submerged 55 gallon drum imaged with side scanning sonar. Plan, prepare for, and set up the recovery of the body and vehicle. Both may reveal valuable forensic evidence. To the extent possible, fully photograph a sub- merged vehicle or container before it is moved.

    Weapons and other vital metallic evidence should be secured while still submerged and placed in a container of the same water without exposure to air. This step may be safely accomplished in shallow water or on a recovery platform over a catch net to prevent loss of items like bullets and casings. Estimating Postmortem Interval The only accurate method of determining the time of death is observation by a reliable witness. Evaluating the changes that occur in a body after death may help you estimate the time since death, also known as the postmor- tem interval.

    Physiological changes since death may be observed at a scene and generally indicate the time since death. Careful observations of these changes should be recorded at the scene and presented to the medical exam- iner who may be able to determine a far more accurate postmortem interval than could be determined from scene indicators alone.

    Determining Time Range First, ascertain when the body was discovered, then work backward to deter- mine when the deceased was last seen. That will provide a range of time that can be narrowed based on receipt of other information. Appendix I is a post- mortem indicators worksheet. Is it present? Is it fixed? If the lividity dis- appears under pressure, it is not fixed. The disappearance of the pur- plish discoloration is called blanching. Temperatures should be taken at least twice, at least 1 hour apart. As a guide, the rate of body cooling is approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit F per hour for the first 3 hours, 2 degrees per hour for the next 6 hours, and 1.

    Normal rectal temperature is A body in a spread-eagle position will cool faster than one in the fetal position due to the greater body sur- face exposure. Bodies of infants and chil- dren cool faster. Late Postmortem Changes Decomposition Decomposition depends more on the environment of the body than the pas- sage of time. Knowledge of decomposition changes may determine early investigative directions. For details about collec- tion and processing of insect evidence, see Chapter Flies are usually the first insects to infest a body.

    Egg laying can start immediately or within several hours. Larva maggots appear in 1 to 3 days. Pupae and adults appear at various times, depending on species. Flies lay eggs in open, moist areas such as the mouth, nose, eyes, rectum, vagina, and open wounds. Stomach contents maybe determined at autopsy. A variety of mechanisms can cause asphyxiation. Oxygenated blood cannot reach the lungs if the air passage is blocked through choking or suffocation. Preventing the chest from expanding to bring in oxygen is considered mechanical asphyxia. The obstruction of blood and air flow occurs in ligature strangula- tions and hangings.

    All these conditions deprive the body and particularly the brain of oxygen. Partial oxygen deprivation causes unconsciousness. Total oxygen deprivation may result in death. Strangulation Strangulation is caused by a constriction or compression of the neck, result- ing in the obstruction of blood and or oxygen reaching the brain. There are three types of strangulation. It may be accidental if death occurs from sexual activities involving hypoxyphilia. When a person loses consciousness, his or her hands will relax and blood will return to the brain. Manual strangulation does not instantly incapacitate a victim.

    Scrapings found under the nails of the deceased may provide useful information about the attacker that can link him or her to the deceased. They may have been caused as the victim struggled against the assailant or when the assailant fought against the victim Figure Ligature Strangulation Garroting This type of strangulation involves pressure on the neck caused by a constrict- ing band that is tightened by a force other than body weight Figure Body Thumbnail marks Figure Asphyxiation Figure Expand the search area accordingly. Petechial hemorrhages may be present in the whites of the eyes and skin.

    Hanging Hanging is strangulation by means of a rope, cord, or similar ligature tight- ened by the weight of the body Figure Simulating a hanging to disguise a homicide shouldbe considered when injuries could not have been self- inflicted or evidence indicates the cause of death was not asphyxia. Examine both sides of the Asphyxiation Cut Figure An abraded area on the side opposite the body may indicate the hanging was not a suicide.

    Cut through the center of the taped section to pre- vent the line from fraying or unraveling Figure Videotape the untying. This may help reconstruct a com- plex knot. Take the rope or material used to tie the knot and the video to the autopsy for examination by the pathologist. The tongue may protrude and turn dark from drying.

    Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Techniques

    If lividity appears in an area inconsistent with the position of a hanging body, the victim may have been hanged after death. The ligature takes an upward course in the region of the knot to form an inverted V. Consider tape lifting the ligature mark for trace evidence. Both the furrow and the line should be docu- mented with scale. Autoerotic Asphyxiation This is an accidental death from self-inflicted asphyxia as the victim induces a hypoxic state to increase sexual excitement and the intensity of orgasm during masturbation.

    They may initially appear too elaborate or complex to have been self-applied. Examine fixed suspension points such as anchor points in overhead beams.

    Death Scene Investigation: Procedural Guide

    Choking Choking is caused by obstruction of the internal airway. Homicidal choking is rare. However, choking can occur if a victim is gagged and the gag becomes so satu- rated with saliva that air can no longer pass through the material. Smothering A smothering death is caused by obstruction of the external airway.

    Mechanical Asphyxia Death results from manual compression of the chest by a heavy weight or the anatomical positioning of a victim that prevents respiration. Chemical Asphyxia This occurs when the atmosphere breathed lacks sufficient oxygen to support life or contains a chemical that prevents oxygen intake. The manner of death may be accident, suicide, or homicide.

    Death Scene Investigation Procedural Guide by Michael S. Maloney

    The inert gases reportedly suppress the panicky need-to-breathe feeling associated with suffocation. Death may appear natural if the equipment is removed. Search for packing and wrap- ping materials, address labels, and credit card records. They should be made safe by the fire department or a competent heating technician. While heater-caused deaths are usually accidental, look for evidence of tampering. Only a trained technician should test a heater. Carbon monoxide deaths may be accidental running a vehicle in a garage with inadequate ventilation or suicidal sealing windows and channeling exhaust into the passenger compartment.

    Drowning Drowning is usually a diagnosis of exclusion after a body is found in or near water and no other cause of death is determined. In fast moving water, the lungs may fill after death. Thorough photography of the face and body is very important. Place such items into a con- tainer filled with water from the scene. Find and document any signs that the victim walked, slipped, fell, or was carried into the water. It will contain the information about the fatal dive and previous dives. Data from the dive computer should be recovered and logged by someone very familiar with its operation.

    This information may become important for drift studies to determine point or location of immersion. The intense physical activity associated with drowning may often dramatically accelerate the onset of rigor mortis. Sharp Force Injuries A sharp force injury results from cutting incised wound , stabbing, or chopping. Inform the medical examiner who will perform the autopsy. They are known as defensive injuries. They are usu- ally multiple, parallel, incised wounds found on the wrists and neck. Hesitation wounds on the wrists are usually found between the base of the palm and the elbow.

    The wounded area may have been com- pressed when injured. Stab with vertical movement Stab with lateral movement Figure Gaping when perpendicular to lines of Langer. A fork will create a consistent distance between paired stabs. Varied distances between paired stabs indicate a weapon like scissors. Blunt Force Injuries Blunt force injuries are produced by falls, collisions, or blows. They result in abrasions, contusions, lacerations, and fractures. Blunt forces are transmit- ted by objects with relatively broad or rounded edges.

    A blunt force can cause any combination of these types of injuries. Consider ultraviolet and infrared photography. Bruises may or may not transmit patterns from the object that caused them. Paint, debris, or fragments of the weapon may be found in a wound. Chopping Injuries 17 Chopping wounds demonstrate a combination of both blunt and sharp force injuries. A typical weapon used to inflict a chopping injury might be an axe, hatchet, or machete. Look for an ax, machete, meat cleaver, boat propeller, or similar item at the scene.

    Consider ultraviolet and infra- red photography. Bruises may or may not transmit a pattern from the object that caused them. Your GarlandScience. The student resources previously accessed via GarlandScience. Resources to the following titles can be found at www. What are VitalSource eBooks? For Instructors Request Inspection Copy. Those tasked with investigating death scenes come from a variety of backgrounds and varying levels of experience. Whether a homicide detective, crime scene investigator, medico-legal death investigator, coroner or medical examiner, Death Scene Investigation: Procedural Guide, Second Edition provides the investigator best-practice techniques and procedures for almost any death scene imaginable, including for deaths occurring even under the most unusual of circumstances.

    This Second Edition is fully updated to include new coverage on shallow graves, human remains at crime scenes, poisonings, expanded coverage of projectile weapons, videography, touch DNA, death notifications, and a newly added chapter dedicated to sexual deaths. In addition, the book serves as an on-scene ready reference which includes instructions on procedure including the initial notification of a death, processing the scene and body, the investigator's role at autopsy, and analyzing the scene indicators to place evidence into context.

    Initial response and scene evaluation Death scene management including documentation, sketching, photography, videography, observations, and search procedures A special death investigation matrix that walks the investigator though a decision tree to help in ambiguous deaths Contains discussion of all manners of death, including accident, suicide, natural and homicide Coverage of recovery of human remains from open field, aquatic, and buried sites including estimating the time of death.

    Wound dynamics and mechanisms of injury that covers asphyxiation, sharp and blunt force trauma, chopping injuries; handgun, rifle, and shotgun wounds, electrical injuries, and more. The bulleted format and spiral binding allows for easy use and reference in the field with sections that are self-contained and cross-referenced for quick searches.

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