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Quantifying human decomposition in an indoor setting and implications for postmortem interval estimation.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine. Natl Board Forens Med, Dept Forens Med, Box 1024, SE-75140 Uppsala, Sweden.
The National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Sweden.
The National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine. Natl Board Forens Med, Dept Forens Med, Box 1024, SE-75140 Uppsala, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Forensic Science International, ISSN 0379-0738, E-ISSN 1872-6283, Vol. 283, p. 180-189Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study's objective is to obtain accuracy and precision in estimating the postmortem interval (PMI) for decomposing human remains discovered in indoor settings. Data were collected prospectively from 140 forensic cases with a known date of death, scored according to the Total Body Score (TBS) scale at the post-mortem examination. In our model setting, it is estimated that, in cases with or without the presence of blowfly larvae, approximately 45% or 66% respectively, of the variance in TBS can be derived from Accumulated Degree-Days (ADD). The precision in estimating ADD/PMI from TBS is, in our setting, moderate to low. However, dividing the cases into defined subgroups suggests the possibility to increase the precision of the model. Our findings also suggest a significant seasonal difference with concomitant influence on TBS in the complete data set, possibly initiated by the presence of insect activity mainly during summer. PMI may be underestimated in cases with presence of desiccation. Likewise, there is a need for evaluating the effect of insect activity, to avoid overestimating the PMI. Our data sample indicates that the scoring method might need to be slightly modified to better reflect indoor decomposition, especially in cases with insect infestations or/and extensive desiccation. When applying TBS in an indoor setting, the model requires distinct inclusion criteria and a defined population.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 283, p. 180-189
Keyword [en]
Accumulated degree days, Decomposition stages, Forensic taphonomy, Indoor, Post-mortem interval estimation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-338153DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.12.026PubMedID: 29306148OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-338153DiVA, id: diva2:1171512
Available from: 2018-01-08 Created: 2018-01-08 Last updated: 2018-03-26Bibliographically approved

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Ceciliason, Ann-SofieSandler, Håkan

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