Disposal of a Homicide Victim by Dismemberment and Burning
The Contribution of Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology in Reconstructing the Crime
Keywords:Anthropology, Archaeology, Burnt Remains, cutmarks, reconstruction
Burning can have a profound effect on the appearance of bone and increase its susceptibility to mechanical damage. In criminal cases where there has been a deliberate attempt to dispose of human remains in this way; there is also often a need to distinguish between damage caused by heat, ante-mortem and peri-mortem trauma, and post-mortem damage. This case demonstrates how the forensic anthropologist and archaeologist contributed to a complex investigation where a homicide victim had been dismembered, burned and concealed. The use of archaeological and anthropological techniques at the scene, in the mortuary and the laboratory, provided evidence that enabled the sequence of events surrounding the disposal of the deceased to be reconstructed. The expert witness testimony given in court showed the benefits of employing these skills and assisted in securing the conviction of the offenders who are both serving life sentences.
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