Entomological evidence: Lessons to be learnt from a cold case review
Magni, P.A., Harvey, M.L., Saravo, L. and Dadour, I.R. (2012) Entomological evidence: Lessons to be learnt from a cold case review. Forensic Science International, 223 (1-3). e31-e34.
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Insects are known to be useful in estimating time since death, but this is only possible if samples are collected and preserved correctly according to best practices. This report describes a case where an 18-year old female was found dead and during the first medico-legal investigation which determined it was a homicide, entomological samples were collected but not considered. The case was then closed with no suspect. However, 9 years after the first investigation the courts decided that the case needed to be re-examined. In doing so the new review team decided that although the remaining entomological evidence was poorly preserved some extra information may be gained from its analyses. On inspection of the remaining samples of larvae no normal morphological analyses could be conducted. Molecular analyses were combined with an unorthodox morphological analysis to provide an estimate of the post-mortem interval based on insect evidence, indicating the value of multidisciplinary approaches to both cold and contemporary cases.
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