Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2004, $101,467)
The use of insect evidence by investigators of suspicious human death is now widespread and common in the United States and other countries. In most such analyses it is the estimated age of a carrion-fly larva that provides a minimum postmortem interval (PMI). However, forensic investigators are unable to use available statistical methods for calculating the precision of such an estimate because there is insufficient knowledge of natural variation in carrion insect growth rates. West Virginia University proposes to develop such knowledge. They will improve upon current statistical methods for estimating PMI by adapting existing univariate statistical models for multivariate data and to extend these models to include circumstances in which crime scene environmental conditions are materially different from those used to generate reference data.