Skip to main content

Australia. This elderly woman was located in a state of advanced decomposition. Because of decomposition the body was not visually identifiable. She was identified through x-ray comparisons. An important duty of coroners, medical examiners, and forensic pathologists involves the identification (ID) of deceased individuals. While this process does not usually present many difficulties, the consequences of misidentification can be significant and long lasting. In many cases investigated by medicolegal death teams, initial inquiries will produce a preliminary or tentative identification.

Fig.1 Anterior view of the head showing an advanced state of decomposition.

The most reliable methods of identification involve a more scientific approach where a unique feature of the unidentified decedent can be compared to a likely match. This requires that the features of both are compatible, with no significant features that do not match. Examples of scientific methods of identification include fingerprint comparison, dental comparison and x-ray comparisons, and DNA typing. For each of these methods (except for DNA typing) an antemortem (prior to death) record must exist and be available for a successful comparison to be made.

Fig.2 VR images of the anterior and left lateral views of the head showing the nasal implant (red arrows) and the chrome-cobalt framework for a denture (yellow arrows).

Postmortem CT showed evidence of a nasal implant and a chrome cobalt framework for a denture. Nasal implants are used as a cartilage substitute to more easily shape or reshape the nose. They are commonly made from soft materials that can be sculpted. In cases where visual identification is not possible, such implants may assist in the identification process. Unlike metal prosthetics, such material will not usually have a serial number.

Latest posts

Fig.1 Destruction of the facial skeleton due to shotgun blast.

Destruction of the facial skeleton due to shotgun blast

| Gunshot, Suicide | No Comments
Spain. Destruction of the facial skeleton due to shotgun blast. No further info. Shotguns differ from rifles and…
Fig.1 Destruction of the head with loss of a large part of the brain after a fall from a height.

Destruction of the head from a fall from height

| Accident | No Comments
This individual fell from a height and suffered fatal destruction of the head with a loss of a…
Fig.1 The deceased was registered in the guest house as male.

Suicide by hanging

| Hanging, Suicide | No Comments
New Delhi, India. The incident took place in one of the guest houses in the city. The deceased…
Fig.1 This individual has a contact-range gunshot wound on the forehead.

Stellate wound

| Gunshot | No Comments
This individual has a contact-range gunshot wound on the forehead. No further info. In contact gunshot wounds with…