Discussion of the Photographs

1. Identification. This baby, whose body was discovered in a toilet, could not have been identified prior to the discovery of DNA fingerprinting. DNA was helpful in providing this child's identity.

2. Identification. This hand with the ring was the only part of the body that could be used for identification in this aircraft crash victim.

3. Identification. The antemortem skull X-ray (right) can be positively matched to the postmortem skull (left) by comparing the frontal sinuses (arrows).

4. Livor mortis. The blanched areas over this baby's face shows the baby died with his face down on the blanket.

5. Livor mortis. Blunt trauma can be distinguished from livor mortis by cutting into the area. An absence of bleeding in the tissues (lower) proves the discoloration is from blood settling and not trauma.

6. Time of death. (A) Rigor mortis. (B) If rolled over, this man's leg will remain flexed. If the room temperature is between 70 and 75°F, complete rigor indicates length of death of at least 12 hours.

7. Time of death. (A) The pattern of the bedding is stained on the man's legs. (B) This man has been on his back for at least eight hours for livor mortis to be "fixed."

8. Decomposition. One man was dead for three weeks in the cold water (upper) and the other was dead for only five days during the hot summer months.

9. Differential decomposition. The head and upper chest is much more decomposed than the rest of the body because there are injuries to the head and the rest of the body is clothed.

10. Anthropophagia. (A) Ant or roach bites on a baby who died of SIDS. (B) Lesions on a man left by the side of a road after being struck in the head and strangled.

11. Asphyxia. The petechiae (arrows) in this child's eyes reveal his neck was compressed with considerable force.

12. Asphyxia. This man was drunk and passed out with his face buried in the pillow and he suffocated.

13. Autoerotic asphyxiation. The man has a towel around his neck and there is abundant pornographic material at his feet.

14. Asphyxia. Livor mortis of long duration, such as in this case of hanging (upper), may cause blood vessels to rupture (arrow). These small hemorrhages are called Tardieu spots.

15. Asphyxia. (A) Rope pattern of this hanging victim is clearly visible on the neck. (B) Contusions and fingernail marks (arrow) in a case of manual strangulation. Fingernail marks were caused by the victim attempting to remove the assailant's hands.

16. Drowning. Foam (arrows) is commonly seen in drowning victims and in cases of drug overdose.

17. Thermal injury. Physicians determine the extent of body surface thermal injury by percentages of the body burned.

18. Thermal injury. Soot on the face does not prove the person died of smoke inhalation (upper). Skin splits (arrows) are a common artifact of thermal injury.

19. Thermal injury. Artifacts. (A) Skull fracture with exposed brain. (B) Abdominal cavity has opened exposing intestines.

20. Electrocution. This man was electrocuted after he touched a "hot" wire while holding a pair of pliers which had no insulation on the metal handles. The outline of the plier's head was burned into his chest (arrow).

21. Electrocution. Extensive burning of the skin may be caused by burning clothing or the flash of the charge.

22. Blunt head trauma. Contusions, abrasions, and lacerations. Arrows outline the pattern of a small sledge hammer which caused the injuries.

23. Blunt trauma. Flat objects striking the skin may cause a pale center where the weapon strikes the skin and contusions at the edges where the skin is stretched (arrows).

24. Blunt trauma. The elderly bruise easily. All the bruising on this woman's arm should not be considered suspicious.

25. Blunt trauma. Lacerations are tears of the skin due to force. This man was struck in the head multiple times with the stock of a rifle. There is no specific pattern to the wounds suggesting the instrument used.

26. Blunt head trauma. Spectacle hemorrhages (raccoon eyes). (A) This child was struck with enough force to cause soft tissue hemorrhage without fracturing the skull. (B) This decedent was shot in the head. Orbital skull fractures caused these hemorrhages around the eyes.

27. Stab wounds. Excessive stab wounds or impact injuries (overkill) suggest that drugs or sex may have been involved in the killing.

28. Stab wounds. (A) A defensive wound may occur when the arms or legs are thrown upwards in protection. (B) Stab wounds through solid organs such as the liver, or in this case the heart, may indicate the weapon has a blunt angle (arrow).

29. Stab wounds. Wound angles aid in weapon determination. The white arrow points to a blunt angle and the black arrow points to a sharp angle, indicative of a weapon with a single sharp cutting edge.

30. Incised wound. This man was killed with a baseball bat. The assailant then tried to saw the victim's head off with a handsaw (arrow).

31. Incised wounds. (A) Multiple hesitation cuts on the neck of this suicide victim. (B) Multiple incisions of the face and neck, usually indicating a homicide.

32. Child abuse. Physical abuse. These injuries could not have occurred naturally.

33. Child abuse. Malnutrition. Starved babies or adults have virtually no fat under their skin (arrow) and have a "concentration-camp" look.

34. Sudden natural death. Abundant blood at the scene may be suspicious. In this case, however, the man died suddenly from a ruptured blood vessel, a complication of his chronic alcoholism.

35. Sudden natural death. The left leg is much larger than the right leg because blood clots have formed and plugged up the blood vessels. The woman died because a large clot broke loose and blocked the blood vessels to the lungs.

36. Sudden natural death. Not everyone drowns in the bathtub. This man died of a brain hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm.

37. Shotgun wound. This extensive chest defect was made by a shotgun slug.

38. Shotgun wounds. (Left) The shot to the abdomen indicates direction of the pellets up towards the left side of the body. (Right) Marked spreading of the pellets. Only two pellets entered the man's chest cavity and caused death.

39. Firearms. Tight contact wound. All of the gunpowder is in the depths and edges of the wound. The skin around the wound is abraded from being blown back against the muzzle.

40. Firearms. Intermediate wounds. Both victims were shot from a distance of less than three feet. There is stippling, but no soot.

41. Motor vehicle. Significant damage to the vehicle suggests the occupant died as a result of the accident (top). Little damage to the vehicle suggests the occupant died from natural causes (bottom).

42. Motor vehicle. This boy died because he was dragged under a truck for almost three miles. The arrow points to blood on the pavement which could be followed from the accident to the body. The only significant injuries were the deep, abraded injuries from resulting form the dragging.

43. Motor vehicle. Occupants may have pattern injuries from striking objects inside the vehicle (arrows)

or may have injuries, such as confluent abrasions from scraping the pavement after ejection (lower).

44. Pedestrian injuries. Leg impact with pattern injury from a headlight (arrows).

45. Pedestrian injuries. (Top) Bilateral lower leg fractures from a car bumper. Distance from fracture sites to heels should be measured. (Bottom) Material from the automobile recovered from the decedent's clothing.

3. Identification. (see key)

9. Differential decomposition. (see key)
13. Autoerotic asphyxiation. (see key)
14. Asphyxia. (see key)
16. Drowning. (see key)

The Rule of Nines

The percent of total body burned is determined by addiny up the numbers on the areas of the body which are burned

21. Electrocution. (see key)

26. Blunt head traums. (see key)
31. Incised wounds. (see key)


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