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Measuring Desiccation Using Qualitative Changes: A Step Toward Determining Regional Decomposition Sequences

NCJ Number
254210
Date Published
2019
Length
8 pages
Author(s)
Melissa Connor; Christianel Balgent; Eriek S. Hansen
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Publication Type
Research (Applied/Empirical), Report (Study/Research), Report (Grant Sponsored), Program/Project Description, Program Description (Model)
Grant Number(s)
2015-DN-BX-K015
Annotation
The creation and features of a regional decomposition scoring system for western Colorado are outlined as a model for the development of regional systems.
Abstract
The development of such a scoring system requires: (1) human remains, not proxies, (2) longitudinal observations, and (3) large sample size. First, an enhanced system (total body desiccation score [TBDS] ) was developed through observations of 40 human remains. This effort produced a categorical scoring model augmented by qualitative categories of gross tissue change. The new model was tested with retrospective photographic packets. A sample of eight donors with data collected over 3 years was selected. Monthly data points over a maximum of a 3-year period yielded 112 data points. Correlations between TBDS and accumulated degree-days (ADD ), and total body score (TBS ) and ADD were approximately equal for a TBS below -20, but the TBDS correlated better with ADD at higher TBS scores >20. The TBDS may be used to refine postmortem interval (PMI ) models in areas where remains desiccate. (publisher abstract modified)
Date Created: July 20, 2021