This paper describes a new approach to determine characteristics of the implement used to inflict trauma which involves the histological analysis of exogenous particles. Based on Locard’s principle “every contact leaves a trace,” we decided to assess whether histological examination of bone and soft tissue around a penetrating injury (sharp force trauma) could provide evidence of the offending implement. Case reports and experimental studies have demonstrated the potential of cut mark features in bone to identify the causative implement and potentially assist in identifying the perpetrator. Scanning electron microscopy in combination with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM/EDS) have previously been reported to identify exogenous particles from various implements. In medical research, histological techniques are used to study the impact of foreign particles in tissues originating from implants. However, the routine use of histology in forensic medicine focuses on understanding type and timing of injuries. Based on three forensic cases, the results presented in this paper demonstrate that histology offers a cost-efficient and reliable means to detect foreign particles related to offending implement and/or to the environment where the victim was located. The interpretation of histological results was performed in conjunction with the macroscopic autopsy findings and anthropological analysis of bone samples.
International Journal of Legal Medicine – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2017
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