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Reblogged from backspatter
If flies are present in the local environment, they will lay eggs on the body, often in or near body orifices. This aggregate of fly eggs has an appearance that is somewhat reminiscent of grated Parmesan cheese. Also note the multiple brown spots on the skin surface. These are produced by flies and can sometimes be mistaken for blood spatter.
Reblogged from medbeat
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These large scissors are used for opening the intestines. The bulb-ended blade is inserted into the lumen (the hollow inside) of the gut, and the instrument is smoothly stripped down the length of the intestine. The blunt bulb keeps the internal blade from perforating the gut from the inside.
After scoring the calvarium (the vault-like part of the skull that holds the brain) with the vibrating saw or hand saw, the chisel is used to gently finish the separation of the top of the calvarium from the lower skull, thus exposing the brain and its coverings (meninges).
Also called the sailmaker’s needle, this is a large needle with an eye for sewing up the body after the autopsy is finished. The stitching is similar to that used on the outer covering of baseballs. Heavy twine, which is much coarser than suture, is used for the procedure.
These look like small pruning shears and are used to cut through the ribs prior to lifting off the chest plate. Some prosectors actually use pruning shears from a hardware store, which are much less expensive.
This differs from the surgeon’s scalpel in having a longer handle for reaching deeper into body cavities. The disposable blade is usually a #22 size, which is the largest commonly available.
The teeth on these “pickups” lend strength in gripping heavy organs for removal. In surgical pathology, teeth are a liability in that they increase the risk of cross contamination between specimens, so untoothed forceps are used there.
These are otherwise unremarkable scissors used for opening hollow organs (such as the gallbladder) and trimming off tissues. They can also be used for blunt dissection by means of an “opening” motion, rather than the more familiar “closing” motion used in cutting.
This hand saw is rarely used today, most often by pathologists who fear infection from aersols thrown up by the much more vigorous vibrating saw (see below). The hand saw can be used to saw through the skull, but it’s very slow-going compared to the vibrating saw.
Hammer with hook
The hammer (perhaps the Beatles’ inspiration for “Maxwell’s silver hammer”?) is used with the chisel to separate the calvarium from the lower skull. The hook is handy to pull the calvarium away.
Also referred to simply as the “long knife,” this is used to smoothly cut solid organs into slices for examination, display, and photography of the organs’ cut surfaces. Particularly facile prosectors pride themselves on being able to do almost all of the soft tissue dissections (including stripping the gut from the mesentery and opening the heart chambers) with this large, unlikely-looking blade. The example shown here includes a disposable blade. Models with permanent, resharpenable blades are also available.
The vibrating saw, also referred to eponymously as the “Stryker saw,” is the instrument of choice for most prosectors faced with removing the brain. The blade reciprocates rapidly with a small amplitude. This action prevents the saw from cutting soft tissues, notably the prosector’s hand. The disadvantage of vibrating saws is that they throw up more potentially infectious aerosols than do hand saws.
Reblogged from dance-0f-the-damned
How Forensic Entomologists Use Insects to Tell If a Body Was Moved After Death:In some suspicious death investigations, arthropod (insect) evidence may prove that the body was moved at some point after death. Crime scene insects can tell whether the body decomposed at the location where it was found, and even reveal gaps in the crime time line.
- Crime Scene Insects Inconsistent with the Body’s Location: The entomologist first identifies all the collected arthropod evidence, cataloging the species present on or near the body. Not every insect belongs in every habitat. Some live in quite specific niches – on limited vegetation types, at certain elevations, or in particular climates. What if the body yields an insect that is not known to live in the area where it was found? Wouldn’t that suggest the body had been moved?In his book A Fly for the Prosecution, forensic entomologist M. Lee Goff tells of one such case. He collected evidence from a woman’s body found in an Oahu sugar cane field. He noted that some of the maggots present were a species of fly found in urban areas, not in agricultural fields. He hypothesised that the body had remained in an urban location long enough for the flies to find it, and that it was later moved to the field. Sure enough, when the murder was solved, his theory proved correct. The killers kept the victim’s body in an apartment for several days while trying to decide what to do with it.
- Crime Scene Insects Inconsistent with the Crime Timeline: Sometimes insect evidence reveals a gap in the time line, and leads investigators to the conclusion that the body was moved. The primary focus of forensic entomology is the establishment of the postmortem interval, using insect life cycles. A good forensic entomologist will give detectives an estimate, to the day or even the hour, of when the body was first colonised by insects. Investigators compare this estimate with witness accounts of when the victim was last seen alive. Where was the victim between when he was last seen and when insects first invaded his corpse? Was he alive, or was the body hidden somewhere?
Again, Dr. Goff’s book provides a good example of a case where insect evidence established such a time gap. A body found on April 18th yielded only First Instar Maggots, some still emerging from their eggs. Based on his knowledge of this insect’s life cycle in the environmental conditions present at the crime scene, Dr. Goff concluded that the body had only been exposed to insects since the previous day, the 17th. According to witnesses, the victim was last seen alive two days prior, on the 15th. It seemed that the body must have been somewhere else, protected from exposure to any insects, in the interim. In the end, the murderer was caught and revealed he had killed the victim on the 15th, but kept the body in the trunk of a car until dumping it on the 17th.
- Crime Scene Insects in the Soil: A dead body lying on the ground will release all its fluids into the soil below. As a result of this seepage, the soil chemistry changes substantially. Native soil organisms leave the area as the pH rises. A whole new community of arthropods inhabit this gruesome niche. A forensic entomologist will sample the soil below and near where the body was lying. The organisms found in the soil samples can determine whether the body decomposed at the location where it was found, or prior to being dumped there.