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Volume 1, September

Forensic Sci., Volume 1, Issue 1 (June 2021) – 7 articles

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Technical Note
Forensic Expertise Based on Findings through Postmortem Mammography Imaging
Forensic Sci. 2021, 1(1), 46-55; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/forensicsci1010007 - 12 Jun 2021
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Abstract
In forensic cases where standard macroscopic examination and conventional radiological analysis are inconclusive, mammography can be a useful technique. This applies especially when bodies are found in an advanced state of decomposition, with the dissolution of the soft tissues, and with fragile skeletal [...] Read more.
In forensic cases where standard macroscopic examination and conventional radiological analysis are inconclusive, mammography can be a useful technique. This applies especially when bodies are found in an advanced state of decomposition, with the dissolution of the soft tissues, and with fragile skeletal structures. This study proposes the use of soft X-rays (i.e., mammography) in particular cases for forensic evaluation, with specific regard to the cause of death, age estimation, and body identification. Here we report three cases in which mammography was particularly useful to obtain fundamental medico-legal information. The first case involved a body that had reached the mummification stage, the second a woman who died from asphyxiation by strangulation, and the last a charred femur found in a field. Mammography uses low-energy X-rays. This technique provides increased image quality through better contrast and higher definition. In the first case, it highlighted a complete fracture of the thyroid cartilage; in the second, it revealed a complete fracture of the horn of the hyoid bone; in the last, it showed rarefaction of the reticular substance of the charred bone. As shown in this study, in selected cases, mammography is a useful tool for post-mortem imaging. Full article
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Communication
Proposed Framework for Comparison of Continuous Probabilistic Genotyping Systems amongst Different Laboratories
Forensic Sci. 2021, 1(1), 33-45; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/forensicsci1010006 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Continuous probabilistic genotyping (PG) systems are becoming the default method for calculating likelihood ratios (LRs) for competing propositions about DNA mixtures. Calculation of the LR relies on numerical methods and simultaneous probabilistic simulations of multiple variables rather than on analytical solutions alone. Some [...] Read more.
Continuous probabilistic genotyping (PG) systems are becoming the default method for calculating likelihood ratios (LRs) for competing propositions about DNA mixtures. Calculation of the LR relies on numerical methods and simultaneous probabilistic simulations of multiple variables rather than on analytical solutions alone. Some also require modelling of individual laboratory processes that give rise to electropherogram artefacts and peak height variance. For these reasons, it has been argued that any LR produced by continuous PG is unique and cannot be compared with another. We challenge this assumption and demonstrate that there are a set of conditions defining specific DNA mixtures which can produce an aspirational LR and thereby provide a measure of reproducibility for DNA profiling systems incorporating PG. Such DNA mixtures could serve as the basis for inter-laboratory comparisons, even when different STR amplification kits are employed. We propose a procedure for an inter-laboratory comparison consistent with these conditions. Full article
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Case Report
Herbal Medicine Must Be Treated with Care—A Case Report on Aconitine
Forensic Sci. 2021, 1(1), 25-32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/forensicsci1010005 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 417
Abstract
Pathologists usually only request a screening for natural toxic substances if plant material has been observed during autopsy or if there exists a hint in the police investigation file. This situation is aggravated by the fact that most toxins are not covered by [...] Read more.
Pathologists usually only request a screening for natural toxic substances if plant material has been observed during autopsy or if there exists a hint in the police investigation file. This situation is aggravated by the fact that most toxins are not covered by typical immunoassays and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) profiling systems. In addition, only a few forensic toxicological libraries based on liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (LC–HRMS/MS) exist. In the following case, femoral blood and urine were applied to systematic toxicological analysis (STA). However, the concentrations determined in blood did not lead to death. Consequently, a liquid chromatography high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (LC–HRMS/MS) screening approach was applied. Aconitine was quantitated in all specimens taken during autopsy and urine and bile fluid screened for aconitine metabolites. Aconitine, jesaconitine, hypaconitine, and mesaconitine were found in the root piece collected from the duodenum. Apart from aconitine, no other alkaloids were detected in the urine or in the femoral blood sample. The highest concentrations of aconitine were found in gastric content (55.2 μg/mL), bile fluid (11.7 μg/mL), and liver (9.14 μg/g), and least in femoral blood (0.15 μg/mL) and cerebrospinal fluid (0.07 μg/mL). The liver/peripheral blood ratio amounted to 61 L/kg and indicated that aconitine undergoes postmortem redistribution. During our metabolism investigation, we found 3-dehydrogen-aconitine in the urine and bile fluid sample and N-deethyl-aconitine only in the bile fluid sample. If the routine GC–MS screening approach does not come up with a toxin, then LC–HRMS/MS profiling could represent the method of choice. In this case aconitine was identified. The concentrations determined were compared to those reported in literature and clearly indicate that the deceased died due to an aconitine overdose. Full article
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Article
Forensic Behavioral Science of Serial and Mass Murder with an Addition of Leisure Research: A Descriptive Synthesis
Forensic Sci. 2021, 1(1), 16-24; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/forensicsci1010004 - 18 Mar 2021
Viewed by 667
Abstract
Prevalence rates of multiple homicide are statistically rare and vary across nations, yet such cases create substantial suffering for victims and can generate widespread fear among the general population. Despite extreme rarity, it remains important for forensic experts and professionals to be prepared [...] Read more.
Prevalence rates of multiple homicide are statistically rare and vary across nations, yet such cases create substantial suffering for victims and can generate widespread fear among the general population. Despite extreme rarity, it remains important for forensic experts and professionals to be prepared when extremely violent events occur. This review summarizes contemporary behavioral science of serial and mass murder, then highlights the application of recent leisure research to add new motivational and behavioral insights. Research on the application of leisure science to homicide research is in its infancy, yet in conjunction with other related behavioral science disciplines, appears to hold promise in understanding, and perhaps helping to prevent, future violence. Full article
Communication
Forensic Geoarchaeology in the Search for Missing Persons
Forensic Sci. 2021, 1(1), 8-15; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/forensicsci1010003 - 05 Mar 2021
Viewed by 743
Abstract
Despite widespread concern over missing persons, there has always been little clarity on what the word “missing” means. Although the category of young runaways is, indeed, an important cluster, other popular concepts related to disappearances describe a portion of missing persons. Thus, the [...] Read more.
Despite widespread concern over missing persons, there has always been little clarity on what the word “missing” means. Although the category of young runaways is, indeed, an important cluster, other popular concepts related to disappearances describe a portion of missing persons. Thus, the following question persists: What exactly does “missing” mean? In this brief communication, we would like to open a discussion about the social phenomenon of missing persons and the consequent deployment of people and techniques to find those persons. In particular, the benefits of some forensic geoarchaeological approaches that are not yet fully standardized will be highlighted, such as geographic profiling and the use of multispectral satellite images, in order to provide materials for future searching protocols. Full article
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Case Report
A Cruel Homicide via Blades of a Young Boy under Custody in a Juvenile Correctional Unit
Forensic Sci. 2021, 1(1), 4-7; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci1010002 - 04 Mar 2021
Viewed by 440
Abstract
Cut-throat wounds are traumatic injuries to the anterior or lateral part of the neck, between the larynx and the hyoid bone, or over the larynx (but rarely above or below these limits), produced by a sharp and heavy instrument with a cutting edge. [...] Read more.
Cut-throat wounds are traumatic injuries to the anterior or lateral part of the neck, between the larynx and the hyoid bone, or over the larynx (but rarely above or below these limits), produced by a sharp and heavy instrument with a cutting edge. The depths of such wounds are variable. They can reach the spine and can be singular or multiple. The medico-legal etiology of such wounds is commonly homicide, whereas suicides are infrequent, and accidental cases are rare. In this work, we report the homicide of a 16-year-old boy in a juvenile correctional unit, whose throat was cut with cruelty using two blades. The body was then partially charred. A careful examination of the injuries along with the death scene evidence was performed to clarify the cause, circumstances, and mechanism of death. Full article
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Editorial
Forensic Sciences: The Genesis of a New Open Access Journal Focused on the Latest Scientific Advances
Forensic Sci. 2021, 1(1), 1-3; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/forensicsci1010001 - 13 Nov 2020
Viewed by 868
Abstract
Nowadays, and from a scientific point of view, Forensic Sciences are a fascinating “brave new world” that also attracts media attention due to the constant challenges that forensic scientists face [...] Full article
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