Mid Term Paper
Ronald M. Riethle
Crime Scene Investigations II CJ370
Prof. Chet Effler
December 29, 2011
How a body is identified depends on the physical state of the body and the crime scene. The identification of the body is one of the most important factors of the entire investigation. The identity of the victim may help establish a link between the suspect and the crime. There are several natural and man-made factors that can, in some cases impede or delay identification. Some of these factors include how soon after the crime was the body discovered? Was the body exposed to natural elements? Also, were there other possible factors involved either natural ...view middle of the document...
Although the victim may not have fingerprints on file it is still good possibility to identify said victim with fingerprint identification. Investigators can compare latent fingerprints at the crime scene or if known the victims place of employment. Laundry marks left on clothing can be a valuable tool in identifying the victim.
Many dry-cleaning companies use a stamping method to identify the owner with a particular piece of clothing. "Eyeglasses discovered on or near a dead body may provide a means of identification. If the name of the optometrist is on the eyeglass case, it may be possible to determine the victim's name from the doctor’s records. Even if the identity of the individual cannot be determined from a prescription, eyeglasses may be useful. Friends or relatives of the victim may be able to identify the eyeglasses is similar to those worn by the victim". (Fisher, B. 2004 p.136)
Jewelry, such as finger rings, often stay on the victim despite the level of decomposition. The rings may have inscriptions such as engagement or wedding dates. Other rings may have distinctive marks such as family crests, insignia, branch of service or a high school or college ring.
If a watch is found on an unknown victim, the watchmaker’s marks may be useful in the identification process. For example, watches usually have a serial number stamped on the inside case. The serial number is used to identify which store is shipped to. If the watch is taken in for repair, it is customary for the watchmaker to etch inside of the case letters or marks identifying when and who performed the repairs.
For whatever reason the victim is not identified at the scene, the body, after being photographed, sketched and evidence removed, the examiner will secure the body and have it transported back to the forensic lab. Once at the lab there will be other methods incorporated to aid in the identification. Some of these methods will include x-rays, which may indicate if the victim had a fracture or other surgical procedures. Blood type analysis may also be used in identifying the victim. For example, the blood taken from the victim may be compared with hospital or military records.
Usually at a murder scene there will be a medical examiner or a trained investigator from the medical examiner's office assigned to the investigative team responding to the incident. The examiner's role will be to identify the deceased, determine approximate time of death and also take custody of the body. The examiner may also determine certain characteristics such as...