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Part

1: IDENTIFICATION OF
DEAD BODIES
Sergio P. Paguio,MD,LL.B.MMHA,FPSP,FPSO
Iden?ca?on of a dead person is
important in the :
1. prosecu?on of criminal oense
2. facilita?on of seJlement of estate
3. re?rement
4. insurance and other social benets
5. resolving anxiety of rela?ves and
friends.
Rules in Iden?ca?on
1. The greater the number of points of
similari?es and dissimilari?es of two
persons compared, the greater is the
probability for the conclusion to be the
correct. the Law of Mul?plicity of
Evidence in iden?ca?on.
Rules in Iden?ca?on
2. The value of the dierent points of
iden?ca?on varies in the formula?on of
conclusion.
Posi?ve: ngerprints on le is the same
with the dead body.
Corrobora?ve: body marks (moles, scars,
complexion, shape of nose, etc.)
Fingerprints and Dental Records have
greater value compared with Visual
recogni?on by rela?ves and friends
Rules in Iden?ca?on
3. The longer the interval between death
and the examina?on of the dead body
for iden?ca?on, the greater is the
need for experts in establishing the
iden?ty.
It is necessary to act in the shortest
possible ?me specially in cases of mass
disaster.
Methods of Iden?ca?on
1. By comparison:
Iden?ca?on criteria recovered during
inves?ga?on are compared with records
available in the le.
Post-mortem ndings are compared with
ante-mortem records.
2. By exclusion:
If two or more persons have to be iden?ed
and all but one is not yet iden?ed, then the
one whose iden?ty has not been established
may be known by elimina?on
Methods of Approxima?ng the Height
of a Person
A. Measure the distance between the ?ps of
the middle nger of both hands with the
arms extended laterally = height.
B. 2 x length of one arm + 12 inches from the
clavicle and 1.5 inches from the sternum =
height.
C. 2 x length from the vertex of the skull to the
pubic symphysis = height.
Methods of Approxima?ng the Height
of a Person
D. Distance between the supra-sternal notch and the
pubic symphysis = 1/3 height.
E. Distance from the base of the skull to the coccyx =
44% of height
F. The length of the forearm measured from the ?p of
olecranon process to the ?p of the middle nger =
5/19 of height.
G. 8 x length of the head = height
Informa?on included in the Ber?llon
system
1. Descrip?ve data: color of the hair, eyes and
complexion, shape of the nose, ear, etc.
2. Body marks moles, scars, taJoo marks,
deformi?es, etc
3. Anthropometrical measurements:
a. Body Measurements
b. Measurement of the head
c. Measurement of the limbs
Extrinsic Factors in Iden?ca?on of
Dead Body
1. Ornamenta?ons rings, bracelet, necklace,
hairpin, earrings, lapel pin, etc.
2. Personal belongings leJers, wallet,
drivers license, residence cer?cate,
personal cards, etc.
3. Wearing apparel tailor marks, laundry
mark, printed name of owner, size, style, and
texture, footwear, socks
Extrinsic Factors in Iden?ca?on of
Dead Body
4. Foreign bodies dust in clothings, cerumen in the
ears, nail scrappings may show occupa?on, place of
residence or work, habit, etc.
5. Iden?ca?on by close friends and rela?ves.
6. Iden?ca?on record on le at the police
department, immigra?on bureau, hospitals, etc.
7. Iden?ca?on photograph.
SCIENTIFIC METHODS OF IDENTIFICATION OF A
DEAD BODY
A. DNA TESTING
B. Fingerprin?ng
C. Dental Iden?ca?on
D. Handwri?ng
E. Iden?ca?on of Skeleton
F. Determina?on of Sex
G. Determina?on of Age
H. Iden?ca?on of Blood and Blood Stains
I. Iden?ca?on of Hair and Fibers
Fingerprin?ng
Universally used because:
There are no iden?cal ngerprints.
The chances of two ngerprints being the
same are claculated to be 1:64 billion.
Fingerprints are not changeable.
Fingerprints are formed in the fetus in the 4th
month of pregnancy.
Fingerprints are an indelible signature which a
person carries from the cradle to the grave
Prac?cal Uses of Fingerprints
1. Help establish iden?ty in cases of dead bodies and
unknown or missing persons.
2. Prints recovered from the crime scene associate
person or weapon.
3. Prints on le are useful for compara?ve purposes
and for the knowledge of previous criminal
records.
4. Among illiterates, right thumbprint is recognized
as a subs?tute for signature on legal documents.
Advantages of Using Fingerprints As a
Means of Iden?ca?on
1. Not much training is necessary for a person to
take, classify and compare ngerprints.
2. No expensive instrument is required in the
opera?on.
3. The ngerprint itself is easy to classify.
4. Actual prints for compara?ve purposes are always
available and suspected errors can easily be
checked.
Dental Iden?ca?on
The role of the teeth in human iden?ca?on is
important for the following reasons:
1. The possibility of two persons to have the same
den??on is quite remote.
2. The enamel of the teeth is the hardest substance
of the human body.
3. The more recent the ante-mortem records of the
person to be iden?ed, the more reliable is the
compara?ve or exclusionary mode of
iden?ca?on that can be done.
Handwri?ng
A person may be iden?ed through his
handwri?ng, hand prin?ng and hand numbering.
Proven by:
Statement of witness who saw the wri?ng
made and is able to iden?fy it as such.
Opinion of persons who are familiar with
the handwri?ng of the alleged writer
Opinion of an expert who compares the
ques?oned wri?ng with that of the other
wri?ngs which are admiJed or treated to
be genuine by the party against whom the
evidence is oered.
Iden?ca?on of Skeleton

The following can be determined in the


examina?on of bones:
1. Whether the remains are of human origin or
not.
2. Whether the remains belong to a single person
or not.
3. Height
4. Sex
Dierences Between a Male and a
Female Pelvis
Male Female
Heavier construction Lighter construction
wall more pronounced wall less pronounced
Height greater and flays Height lesser and flays
off its wall more off its wall less
pronounced pronounced
Pubic arch narrow and Pubic arc wider and
less round rounder
Dierences Between a Male and a
Female Pelvis
Male Female
Diameter of the true Diameter of the true
pelvis less pelvis greater
Curve of then iliac crest Curve of the iliac crest
reaches a higher level is of the lower level
Narrow greater sciatic Wide greater sciatic
notch notch
Body of the pubis Body of the pubis wider
narrow
Dierences Between a Male and a
Female Pelvis
Male Female
Iliopectineal line sharp Iliopectineal line
rounded
Obturator foramen egg- Obturator foramen
shaped triangular
Sacrum shorter and Sacrum long and wide
narrow
Dierences Between a Male and a
Female Cranium
Male Female
Less curve of shaft More curve of shaft
Mastoid process larger Predominance of cranial
roof over cranial base.
Mastoid process smaller
Cranium placed Cranium placed
horizontally rests on horizontally rests on the
mastoid process occipital and maxillary
bone
Dierences Between a Male and a
Female Cranium
Male Female
Forehead higher and Forehead less high and
more oblique more vertical
Superciliary ridges less Superciliary ridges
sharp or more rounded sharper
Styloid process shorter Styloid process longer
and slender
Dierences Between a Male and a
Female Cranium
Male Female
Zygomatic arches and Zygomatic arches and
frontal sinuses more frontal sinuses less
prominent prominent
Lower jaw larger and Lower jaw narrower and
wider lighter and chin not
projecting
Face larger in proportion Face smaller in proportion
to the cranium to the cranium
Iden?ca?on of Hair and Fibers
How the Hair and Fiber Changes Color:
1. Addi?on of a substance that will coat the outer
surface of the hair so as to impart a dierent color.
Ex. Salts of bismuth, lead, silver and pyrogallic acid
2. Addi?on of substance which bleach or change the
natural color of the ber or hair.
Ex. Hydrogen proxide, chlorine and diluted nitric
acid
The Vegetable and Animal Fibers may be
Dieren?ated as Follows
1.Igni?on Test:
a. Animal bers Burn and fuse; smell of burnt
hair, fused and globular; fume
turns red litmus to blue
b. Vegetable bers Rapid combus?on, end
charred and break sharply; smell of burning
wood; vapor turns blue litmus to red
2. Chemical Tests: NITRIC ACID
a. Animal bers turns yellow
b. Vegetable bers No change in color

Points of Iden?ca?on to the Dead
Person
4. TaJoo marks
May help in the iden?ca?on of the person.
Inscribed name, date of birth, language, religion, name of
spouse, etc.
May indicate memorable events in life.
May indicate the social stratum to which the person
belongs.
Generally, taJoing is prac?ced by members of the lower
economic class
Implies previous commitment in prison or membership in
a criminal gang.
Part 2: MEDICO-LEGAL ASPECTS
OF DEATH
Importance of Death Determina?on
1. The civil personality of a natural person
is ex?nguished by death.
2. The property of a person is transmiJed
to his heris at the ?me of death.
3. The death of a partner is one cause of
dissolu?on of partnership agreement.
4. The criminal liability of a person is
ex?nguished by death.
5. The case for claims .
Brain Death
- No universally accepted criteria yet to
establish a condi?on of brain death.
- Harvard report criteria/Philadelphia
protocol:
1. unaccepatability and unresponsibility
2. no movements or breathing
3. no reexes/responses
4. at electro-encephalogram
5. falling arterial pressure

Kinds of Death
1. Soma?c/Clinical Death- complete,persistent
and con?nuous cessa?on of the vital
func?ons of the organ systems.
2. Molecular/cellular death
3. Apparent death/State of suspended
Anima?on- not really death but merely a
transient loss of consciousness or temporary
cessa?on of the vital func?ons of the body .
Signs of death
1. Cessa?on of heart ac?on and circula?on.
- there must be an en?re and con?nuous
cessa?on of the heart ac?on and ow of
blood in the whole vascular system.
2. Cessa?on of respira?on.
- con?nuous and persistent
- normally can hold breath for a period not
longer than 3 1/2 minutes.
3. Cooling of the body ( Algor Mor?s )
- metabolic process ceases and no more heat
is produced.

Signs of death
4. Insensibility of the body loss and loss of
power to move.
5. Changes in the skin.
- loss of elas?city of the skin.
- opacity of the skin.
- eect of applica?on of heat
6. Changes in and about the eye.
- loss of corneal reexes
- clouding of the cornea
- accidity of the eyeball
- The pupil is in the posi?on to rest

Changes in the body following Death

1. Changes in the Muscle:


-3 Stages:
a. Stage of primary accidity : (post-mortem
muscular irritability ).
b. Stage of post-mortem rigidity ( Cadaveric Spasm
and Rigor Mor?s )
c. Stage of secondary accidity or commencement
of putrefa?on
A. Stage of primary accidity : (post-mortem
muscular irritability )
Immediately aker death, there is complete
relaxa?on and sokening of all the muscles of the
body.
The muscle are s?ll contrac?le and react to external
s?muli, mechanical or electric owing to the
presence of molecular life aker soma?c death.
Stage occurs 3-6 hours aker death ( in warm places,
about 1hour and ky minutes ).

B. Stage of post-mortem rigidity ( Cadaveric
Spasm and Rigor Mor?s
3-6 hours aker death, the muscle gradually s?en
Usually starts a the muscles pf the neck and lower
jaw and spreads downwards to the chest, arms and
lower limbs.
Whole body becomes s? aker 12 hours.
Chemically, there is increase lac?c acid and
phosphoric content of the muscle.
Maybe u?lized to approximate the length of ?me
the body has been dead.
Condi?ons S?mula?ng Rigor Mor?s
1. Heat S?ening:
- if the dead body is exposed to temperatures above
75 C it will coagulate the muscle proteins and cause
the muscles to be rigid.
- s?ening is more or less permanent and may not
easily aected by putrefac?on.
2. Cold S?ening:
- may be manifested when the frozen , but exposure
to warm condi?on will make such s?ening
disappear.
- it due to solidica?on of fat when the body is
exposed to freezing temperature.
Cadaveric Spasm or Instantaneous
Rigor:
- Rigidity of muscles which occurs at the
moment of death due to extreme nervous
tension, exhaus?on and injury to the nervous
system or injury to the chest.

- Principally due to the fact that the last
voluntary contrac?on of muscle during life
does not stop aker death but is con?nuous
with the act of cadaveric rigidity.

Dis?nc?on between Rigor Mor?s vs. Cadaveric
Spasm

Distniction Rigor Mortis Cadaveric Spasm

Time of appearance 3-6 hours after death Immediately after


death

Muscles Involved All muscles Certain muscles

Occurrence Natural phenomenon May or may not


appear on the person

Significance Approximate the time Determine the nature


of death of the crime
Dis?nc?on between Muscular Contrac?on
vs. Rigor Mor?s
Distinction Muscular Rigor Mortis
Contraction

Contracted muscle transparent or Losses translucency


translucent and becomes opaque

Elasticity very lost

Reaction to litmus Neutral or slight Acid


alkaline

Muscle remaining (+) (-)


C. Stage of Secondary Flaccidity or Relaxa?on

- aker the disapperance of rigor mor?s, the muscle


becomes sok and accid.
- does not respond to any s?mulus
- due to dissolu?on of the muscle proteins which
have previously been coagulated during the period
of rigor mor?s.
- This body while at the stage of rigor mor?s, if
stretched or exed to become sok, will no longer
be rigid.
Changes in the Blood:
- Stasis of the blood due to the cessa2on of
circula2on enhances the coagula2on of blood
inside the blood vessels.
-Blood clo8ng is accelerated in cases of death
by infec2ous fevers and delayed in cases of
asphyxia, poisoning by opium, hydrocyanic
acid and carbon monoxide
Physical Characteris?cs of Postmortem Lividity

1. It occurs in the most extensive areas of the most


dependent poritons of the body.
2. It only involves the supercial layer of the skin.
3. It does not appear alevated from the rest of the
skin.
4. The color is uniform but the color may become
greenish at the start of decomposi2on.
5. There is no injury to the skin.
Kinds of Post-Mortem Lividity
1. Hyposta2c Lividity:
- blood merely gravitates into the most dependent
por2ons of the body but s2ll inside the blood
vessels and s2ll uid in form.
- occurs during early stage
2. Diusion Lividity:
- appears when the blood has coagulated inside the
blood vessels or has diused into the 2ssues of the
body.
- occurs during late stage.
Signicance of Post-Mortem Lividity

1. It is one of the signs of death.


2. IT may determine whether the posi?on of the
body has been changes aker its appearance in the
body.
3. The color of lividity may indicate the cause of
death.
4. It may be determine how long the person has
been dead.
5. IT gives us an idea as to the ?me of death.
Autoly7c/Autodiges7ve changes a:er
death:

- Aker death, proteoly?c,glycoly?c and lipoly?c
ferments of glandular ?ssues con?nue to act which
lead to the autodiges?on of organs.
- Ac?on is facilitaiton by wea acid and higher
temperature.
- It is delayed by alkaline reac?on of the ?ssues of
body and low temperature.
. Putrefac7on:

- is the breaking down of the complex
proteins into complex components
associated with the evolu?on of foul smelling
gasses and accompanied by the change of
color of the body.

Inuence of bacteria in Decomposi?on:

- Decomposi?on is due to ac?on of


bacteria in various ?ssues of the body.
- Early period, aerobes present, late period
both aerobes and anaerobes.
- Organism that play a dominant role in
decompositon is Clostridium.

Other destruc?ve agents during
decomposi?on
1. Maggots:
- dependent on the accessibility of the body to
adult ies.
-have strong desire to live in damaged skin
surface.
- also observe in bodies buried in shallow
graves and even in oa?ng decomposed
bodies in water pools.
2. Rep?les:
- lizards and snakes that are aJached to dead
bodies eats sok ?ssues.
- small bones may be fractured in the process
and may be mistaken for injuries.
3. Rodents:
- rats and mice will nibble the skin and other
?ssues and may show unexplainable injuries.
-bones may also be aJacked and cause certain
degree of erosion.
4. Molds:
- growth cause disgurement and minor
supercial erosions of the skin.
Special modica?on of Putrefac?on
1. Mummica?on- dehydra?on of the whole body
which results in the shivering and preserva?on of
the body.
2. Saponica?on /Adipocere forma?on faJy
?ssues of the body are transfromed to sok
brownish-white substance which is a waxy
mateiral,rancid or moldy in odor.
3. Macera?on- sokening of the ?ssues when in a
uid medium in the absence of putrefac?ve
microorganism which is frequently observed in
the death of the fetus in utero.

Causes of Death
A. Natural death --- caused by natural disease
condi?on.
B. Violent or sudden Death ---- termina?on of
life which causes quickly under circumstances
when its arrival is not expected.
C. Judicial Death