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Forensic Sci., Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2022) – 12 articles

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17 pages, 342 KiB  
Article
The Fall and Rise of Identified Reference Collection: It Is Possible and Necessary to Transition from a Typological Conceptualization of Variation to Effective Utilization of Collections
by John Albanese, Abegail Dagdag, Carmen Skalic, Stephanie Osley and Hugo Cardoso
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 438-454; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020033 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2419
Abstract
In some jurisdictions, race, ancestry or population affinity are part of the biological profile used in preliminary identification, for historical and political reasons. It is long overdue for forensic anthropologists to abandon this typological approach to human variation, regardless of the terms used. [...] Read more.
In some jurisdictions, race, ancestry or population affinity are part of the biological profile used in preliminary identification, for historical and political reasons. It is long overdue for forensic anthropologists to abandon this typological approach to human variation, regardless of the terms used. Using a sample (n = 105) selected from the Terry and Coimbra identified reference collections, a blind experimental approach is used to test several metric methods and versions of methods for group estimation (Fordisc 3.0 and 3.1, and AncesTrees), that rely on different statistical approaches (discriminant function analysis and random forest algorithms, respectively) derived from different reference samples (Howells’ data in AncesTrees and Fordisc 3.1, and different forensic subsamples in Fordisc 3.0 and 3.1). The accuracy for matching premortem documented group designation is consistently low (36 to 50%) across testing parameters and consistent with other independent tests. The results clearly show that a change in terminology, software updates, alternative statistics, expanded reference samples, and newer collections will not solve the underlying fundamental problems. It is possible and necessary to transition from a typological conceptualization of variation to the effective utilization of identified reference collections in Forensic Anthropology. In addition to the theoretical and methodological reasons, it is unethical for forensic anthropologists to continue to use on the deceased methods that do not work and that serve only to further exclude and marginalize the living. Full article
15 pages, 1878 KiB  
Article
Histopathological and Quantitative Lesions of the Cardiac Conduction System and Its Vascularization Related to Chronic Cocaine Abusers and Sudden Unexpected Death
by Damián Sánchez-Quintana, Sergio Alama, Yolanda Macías, José-Ángel Cabrera, María Santos and Manuel Salguero
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 423-437; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020032 - 8 Jun 2022
Viewed by 2339
Abstract
Cocaine abuse is associated with multiple cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, and sudden death. A total of 40 hearts were studied. The purpose of this study was to compare the cardiac conduction tissue and its vascularization in 20 young adults without a [...] Read more.
Cocaine abuse is associated with multiple cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, and sudden death. A total of 40 hearts were studied. The purpose of this study was to compare the cardiac conduction tissue and its vascularization in 20 young adults without a history of drug use and/or arrhythmias and 20 hearts of young adults with a history of chronic cocaine use who have died of sudden unexpected death, in which toxicological analyzes were performed in blood and urine as a means to establish chronic cocaine use. We have applied serial histological sections, techniques of morphometry, and image analysis to quantify the density and affectation of connective/adipose tissue of the conduction system and intramyocardial vessels. The conduction system after chronic cocaine use showed potentially lethal changes with an increase in connective/adipose tissue at the level of the intranodal or perinodal tissue of the sinus node in 35% (7 hearts) and the atrioventricular node in 75% (15 hearts), with the most affected structure being the left bundle branch and the AV nodal artery (100%, 20 hearts). In conclusion, the histopathologic changes in nodes, the perinodal area, and small vessels may be a morphological substrate that offers an explanation about the mechanism of arrhythmias and sudden death in this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Forensic Sciences in 2022)
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6 pages, 243 KiB  
Technical Note
The Portuguese Association of Forensic Sciences Model for Forensic Expert Certification: An Urgent Need and Regulation Proposal
by Ricardo Jorge Dinis-Oliveira, Áurea Madureira-Carvalho, Luís Fernandes, Inês Morais Caldas and Rui M. S. Azevedo
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 417-422; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020031 - 9 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3308
Abstract
A certification for Forensic Specialists is urgently needed. Indeed, with the “CSI Effect”, assorted education in this field flourished in many countries, resulting in discrepancies in experts’ skills and quality that may compromise judicial decisions. Our technical proposal aims to pragmatically establish a [...] Read more.
A certification for Forensic Specialists is urgently needed. Indeed, with the “CSI Effect”, assorted education in this field flourished in many countries, resulting in discrepancies in experts’ skills and quality that may compromise judicial decisions. Our technical proposal aims to pragmatically establish a Regulation of the Professional Practice of Forensic Specialists (RPPFS) by defining the general requirements for its recognition, which must include appropriate experience/training/pedagogical processes for each of the five certification levels. This regulation has been approved by the Portuguese Association of Forensic Sciences and is advocated and recommended to reduce divergence among experts’ skills. This general regulation can be easily applied to major forensic specialties such as clinical forensic and basic medicine and those working within the framework and intersections of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, among others. Further guidelines for certification must be produced for each forensic area. Full article
14 pages, 2424 KiB  
Article
A Simplified Approach to Understanding Body Cooling Behavior and Estimating the Postmortem Interval
by Pushpesh Sharma and C. S. Kabir
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 403-416; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020030 - 6 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2348
Abstract
Ascertaining the postmortem interval or PMI has been an item of interest over many decades in forensic science for crime scene investigations. The challenge revolves around establishing the postmortem interval or PMI with a single temperature measurement, given the known initial and the [...] Read more.
Ascertaining the postmortem interval or PMI has been an item of interest over many decades in forensic science for crime scene investigations. The challenge revolves around establishing the postmortem interval or PMI with a single temperature measurement, given the known initial and the final boundary condition of a human body and room temperature. Despite the advent of a succession of single, double, and triple-exponential analytical models, and more recently, the 3-D heat-transfer modeling, the uncertainty remains in the PMI estimation. This study presents a pragmatic way to solve this problem in a two-step approach. First, we attempted to understand the cooling rate in various body parts. Second, we proposed a hyperbolic modeling approach to fit the time-dependent temperature data to estimate the PMI. The latest digital data of Wilk et al.’s study provided the platform for validating our solution approach. Overall, the use of 20 subsets of three bodies involving Wilk et al. and five from one body of Bartgis et al. provided the required data. Although body imaging and 3-D modeling greatly facilitate our understanding of overall body-cooling behavior in the modern era in real-time, a simple semi-analytical tool can corroborate the model results for PMI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances in Postmortem Interval Estimation)
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4 pages, 1790 KiB  
Case Report
An Autopsy Case of Posterior Pharyngeal Abscesses Caused by Periodontal Bacteria
by Risa Bandou, Hiroaki Ichioka, Masataka Kawamoto and Hiroshi Ikegaya
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 399-402; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020029 - 19 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2186
Abstract
A woman in her seventies living alone was found dead on the floor of her living room. A blue-green swelling was found from her right cheek to her anterior neck and an autopsy was performed. The autopsy revealed subcutaneous abscesses from the right [...] Read more.
A woman in her seventies living alone was found dead on the floor of her living room. A blue-green swelling was found from her right cheek to her anterior neck and an autopsy was performed. The autopsy revealed subcutaneous abscesses from the right cheek to the anterior neck, posterior pharyngeal abscesses, mediastinal abscesses, pleuritis, and pericarditis. The cause of death was diagnosed as sepsis due to a retropharyngeal abscess caused by extensive severe periodontitis. The presence of a dentist at the autopsy allowed for a rapid diagnosis of periodontal disease, which was the cause of the posterior pharyngeal abscesses and septic shock. Therefore, the participation of a dentist in a forensic autopsy is important not only for personal identification but also for the rapid diagnosis of the cause of death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Forensic Sciences in 2022)
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20 pages, 803 KiB  
Review
Conceptualizing Cybercrime: Definitions, Typologies and Taxonomies
by Kirsty Phillips, Julia C. Davidson, Ruby R. Farr, Christine Burkhardt, Stefano Caneppele and Mary P. Aiken
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 379-398; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020028 - 16 Apr 2022
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 29422
Abstract
Cybercrime is becoming ever more pervasive and yet the lack of consensus surrounding what constitutes a cybercrime has a significant impact on society, legal and policy response, and academic research. Difficulties in understanding cybercrime begin with the variability in terminology and lack of [...] Read more.
Cybercrime is becoming ever more pervasive and yet the lack of consensus surrounding what constitutes a cybercrime has a significant impact on society, legal and policy response, and academic research. Difficulties in understanding cybercrime begin with the variability in terminology and lack of consistency in cybercrime legislation across jurisdictions. In this review, using a structured literature review methodology, key cybercrime definitions, typologies and taxonomies were identified across a range of academic and non-academic (grey literature) sources. The findings of this review were consolidated and presented in the form of a new classification framework to understand cybercrime and cyberdeviance. Existing definitions, typologies and taxonomies were evaluated, and key challenges were identified. Whilst conceptualizing cybercrime will likely remain a challenge, this review provides recommendations for future work to advance towards a universal understanding of cybercrime phenomena as well as a robust and comprehensive classification system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Forensic Sciences in 2022)
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8 pages, 2004 KiB  
Review
Post-Trauma Combined Pulmonary Fat and Bone Embolism: Literature Review with Case Presentation
by Sara Sablone, Gerardo Cazzato, Lorenzo Spagnolo, Caterina Berterame, Federica Mele, Francesco Introna and Aldo Di Fazio
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 371-378; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020027 - 7 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4758
Abstract
Following an accident in the workplace, a man received deep wounds in his left groin and left lower limb caused by plow blades. An external examination was carried out showing multiple, large, and deep slash injuries of the scrotal region, the left groin, [...] Read more.
Following an accident in the workplace, a man received deep wounds in his left groin and left lower limb caused by plow blades. An external examination was carried out showing multiple, large, and deep slash injuries of the scrotal region, the left groin, and the left thigh. A complete autopsy was performed. The gross examination of the lungs showed edema and congestion, with some areas of parenchymal contusion and wide emphysema. The left femur showed complete, comminuted, displaced, and exposed fracture of its diaphyseal tract. Histopathological analysis was then carried out, showing unusual abnormalities in both lungs, with numerous endovascular drop-shaped fat globules with surrounding hematopoietic marrow that were mixed with small bone particles. The other organs did not show any signs that could explain the death. Given macroscopic and histopathological elements, the cause of death was ultimately identified as a traumatic shock with a high hemorrhagic component combined with pulmonary bone marrow and bone embolism. This paper aims to outline a rare case of post-trauma combined bone and bone marrow embolism. This occurrence is scantly described in the literature and should be considered in major trauma deaths. Therefore, in such cases, an accurate histopathological analysis should be mandatory to identify the correct cause of death and evaluate a possible medical liability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Forensic Sciences in 2022)
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9 pages, 815 KiB  
Article
The John A. Williams Human Skeletal Collection at Western Carolina University
by Rebecca L. George, Katie Zejdlik, Diana L. Messer and Nicholas V. Passalacqua
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 362-370; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020026 - 2 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2131
Abstract
This manuscript serves to introduce The John A. Williams Human Skeletal (JAW) Collection, which is a donated skeletal collection consisting of individuals from the Body Donation Program at Western Carolina University. Full body donors decompose naturally at the Forensic Osteology Research Station (FOREST) [...] Read more.
This manuscript serves to introduce The John A. Williams Human Skeletal (JAW) Collection, which is a donated skeletal collection consisting of individuals from the Body Donation Program at Western Carolina University. Full body donors decompose naturally at the Forensic Osteology Research Station (FOREST) before curation within the JAW Collection. As of 31 December 2021, the JAW Collection has 98 skeletal donors and 16 cremated donors. There are also nearly 40 donors within various stages of the decomposition and curation processes. The importance of a willed-body collection such as the JAW Collection is its ability to be utilized in educational efforts for both students and members of the public. Undergraduate students at Western Carolina University learn from our willed-body donors from the initial intake at FOREST through processing and curation within the Western Carolina Human Identification Lab (WCHIL). The JAW Collection also enables a thriving outreach program through continuing education efforts. Courses are offered throughout the year that would not be possible without a donated skeletal collection. Additionally, the FOREST and JAW Collection serve a larger community purpose by offering environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional burials for community members, demonstrating that these collections have a variety of purposes outside of academic research. Full article
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13 pages, 329 KiB  
Article
Scientific and Ethical Aspects of Identified Skeletal Series: The Case of the Documented Human Osteological Collections of the University of Bologna (Northern Italy)
by Maria Giovanna Belcastro, Annalisa Pietrobelli, Teresa Nicolosi, Marco Milella and Valentina Mariotti
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 349-361; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020025 - 29 Mar 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3565
Abstract
Osteological collections are an essential source of information on human biological and cultural variability, providing insights about developmental, evolutionary, and biocultural processes. Among osteological series, documented human osteological collections (DHOC) are especially useful due to the opportunity to control biological parameters such as [...] Read more.
Osteological collections are an essential source of information on human biological and cultural variability, providing insights about developmental, evolutionary, and biocultural processes. Among osteological series, documented human osteological collections (DHOC) are especially useful due to the opportunity to control biological parameters such as age-at-death and sex, which are typically unknown in archaeological or forensic cases. Raising ethical concerns about the collection, management, and study of human remains poses anthropologists with renewed responsibilities. These issues become especially pressing when dealing with DHOC. In this contribution, we discuss the scientific value and ethical issues characterizing DHOC using as case study the documented human osteological collections of the University of Bologna. This series includes more than 1000 individuals from Northern Italian and Sardinian cemeteries and is among the largest in Europe. It represents the basis for ongoing research on a large range of methodological studies, especially focused on the reconstruction of biological profile. After outlining the scientific studies performed on this DHOC, we discuss it in the context of the specific legislation featuring the Italian territory. Finally, we highlight some directions where work can be carried out to better balance scientific research, preservation needs, and ethical concerns, stressing the advantages of modern imaging techniques. Full article
28 pages, 10977 KiB  
Article
Population-Inclusive Assigned-Sex-at-Birth Estimation from Skull Computed Tomography Scans
by Samantha R. Kelley and Sean D. Tallman
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 321-348; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020024 - 26 Mar 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 4146
Abstract
Methods for estimating assigned, binary sex at birth from skeletonized remains have primarily been developed for specific population groups in the U.S. (e.g., African American, European American, Hispanic) and, thus, inherently rely on ancestry estimation as a foundational component for constructing the biological [...] Read more.
Methods for estimating assigned, binary sex at birth from skeletonized remains have primarily been developed for specific population groups in the U.S. (e.g., African American, European American, Hispanic) and, thus, inherently rely on ancestry estimation as a foundational component for constructing the biological profile. However, ongoing discussions in forensic anthropology highlight pressing issues with ancestry estimation practices. Therefore, this research provides population-inclusive assigned-sex estimation models for cases where ancestry is not estimated or is truly unknown. The study sample (n = 431) includes 3D volume-rendered skull computed tomography scans from the novel New Mexico Decedent Image Database of African, Asian, European, Latin, and Native Americans. Five standard nonmetric traits were scored, and eighteen standard measurements were obtained. Binary logistic regressions and discriminant function analyses were employed to produce models and classification accuracies, and intraobserver reliability was assessed. The population-inclusive nonmetric and metric models produced cross-validated classification accuracies of 81.0–87.0% and 86.7–87.0%, respectively, which did not differ significantly from the accuracy of most population-specific models. Moreover, combined nonmetric and metric models increased accuracy to 88.8–91.6%. This study indicates that population-inclusive assigned-sex estimation models can be used instead of population-specific models in cases where ancestry is intentionally not estimated, given current concerns with ancestry estimation. Full article
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19 pages, 2474 KiB  
Article
AutoPoD-Mobile—Semi-Automated Data Population Using Case-like Scenarios for Training and Validation in Mobile Forensics
by Margaux Michel, Dirk Pawlaszczyk and Ralf Zimmermann
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 302-320; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020023 - 25 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3258
Abstract
The complexity and constant changes in mobile forensics require special training of investigators with datasets that are as realistic as possible. Even today, the generation of training data is almost exclusively done manually. This paper presents a novel open-source framework called AutoPoD-Mobile. The [...] Read more.
The complexity and constant changes in mobile forensics require special training of investigators with datasets that are as realistic as possible. Even today, the generation of training data is almost exclusively done manually. This paper presents a novel open-source framework called AutoPoD-Mobile. The framework supports the creation of case-based scenarios. Even more, the semi-automated provision of datasets for mobile forensics is enabled. Thus, the behavior of suspects interacting with each other can be simulated. The result combines mobile device data from normal device usage and case-related information. This way helps validate mobile forensic tools, test new techniques, and create realistic training datasets in the mobile forensics domain. The results of a proof-of-concept trial in a realistic deployment environment will also be presented. The paper concludes with a discussion of the results and identifies options for future improvements. Full article
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15 pages, 870 KiB  
Article
Osteological Collections of the National Museum in Brazil: Challenges and New Perspectives for a Historical Collection
by Paulo Vítor Mendes, Hilton P. Silva, Murilo Bastos, Victor Bittar, Silvia Reis and Claudia Rodrigues-Carvalho
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 287-301; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020022 - 22 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2775
Abstract
The National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (NM-UFRJ), Brazil, suffered a serious fire in 2018, resulting in the loss or severe damage of many collections. The human osteological collection, also affected, was one of the largest and oldest in [...] Read more.
The National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (NM-UFRJ), Brazil, suffered a serious fire in 2018, resulting in the loss or severe damage of many collections. The human osteological collection, also affected, was one of the largest and oldest in the country, holding over two thousand entries from prehistoric to historic sites, including some international donations. The oldest remains were those of “Luzia”, dating to 11.5 thousand years. While part of the collection was recovered from the debris, the bones were mostly warped and damaged by the fire, making the possibility of identification uncertain. Therefore, this collection is now inadequate for regular forensic and bioarchaeological studies. Considering the need for the construction of a new human osteological collection, especially with forensic perspectives, we conducted a survey of Brazilian national and local (capitals of the Southeast region) legislation, regarding donation and institutionalization of human remains for scientific collections and ossuaries, considering the potential ethics and logistics aspects. Results suggest that legislation generally treats human remains studies and collections as an issue of lesser importance Thus, private donations may become the simplest way to receive human remains, even though they are generally age biased. We conclude that it is necessary to broaden legal and ethical discussions in order to build contemporary human bone collections with proper scientific potential for the needs of society. Full article
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