Use of Gastric Contents See Autopsy Determining Time of Death by Scene Investigation

Clues concerning the time of death may also be found at the scene either away from, near to, or on the body. Evidence such as the type of insects on the body, flora beneath the body, or objects from the decedent's residence may be contributing clues.

Insect larvae on the body can be collected and saved in alcohol. An entomologist will be able to determine, not only the type of larvae, but also its developmental stage. Each stage has a specific time duration which enables an entomologist to state how long the larvae have been present.Bear in mind, however, that this time estimate is only the time larvae were present on the body.

Flora discovered under or near the body may be helpful. A botanist may be able to examine the specimen, classify the type of flora and time of year it would normally be present, and determine how much time elapsed to reach that particular growth stage.

Information from the scene, other than that associated with the body, may also be critical in estimating the time of death. All clues from a house or an apartment must be analyzed. Was the mail picked up? Were the lights on or off? Was food being prepared? Were any major appliances on? Was there any indication as to the kind of activity the individual was performing, had completed, or was contemplating? How was the person dressed?

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