Journal of Forensic Sciences
Wiley Periodicals Inc.
We illustrate an interdisciplinary approach to identify a victim in a case with complex taphonomic and procedural issues. Burning, fragmentation, species commingling, and examination by multiple experts required anthropological preparation and analysis combined with radio- graphic adaptations to image and match trabecular patterns in unusually small, burned specimens. A missing person was last seen in the company of a reclusive female on a remote rural property. A warranted search found several burn sites containing human and animal bones. Fragment prepara- tion, analysis, and development of a biological profile by anthropologists enabled examination by the odontologist, molecular biologist, and radiolo- gist, and justified use of antemortem radiographs from one potential victim. Visual and radiological comparison resulted in a positive (later confirmed) identification of the victim by radiological matches of three carpal phalanges. Although some dimensional changes are expected with burning, morphological details were preserved, aided by selection of relatively intact, small bones for comparison.
Brogdon, B. G.; Sorg, Marcella H.; and Marden, Kerriann, "Fingering a Murderer: A Successful Anthropological and Radiological Collaboration" (2010). Anthropology Faculty Scholarship. 29.
post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing with all author corrections and edits)