The problem of identifying the wounding agent in forensic cases is recurrent. Moreover, when several tools are involved, distinguishing the origin of lesions can be difficult. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)/energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDS) equipment is increasingly available to the scientific and medical community, and some studies have reported its use in forensic anthropology. However, at our knowledge, no study has reported the use of SEM-EDS in forensic cases involving glass tools, whether in case reports or experiments. We performed an experimental study on human rib fragments, on which we manually created wounds using fragments of window and mirror glass. SEM-EDS was executed on samples without any further preparation on low vacuum mode, then on the same samples after defleshing them completely by boiling them. Window and mirror glass particles were detected on experimental wounds. Both had silica in their spectra, and the opaque side of the mirror contained titanium, allowing for their identification. Boiling and defleshing the bone samples involved a loss of information in terms of the number of wounds detected as positive for glass particles and in the number of glass particles detected, for both window and mirror glass. We suggest the analysis of wounds with suspected glass particles using low vacuum mode and with no defleshment by boiling.
International Journal of Legal Medicine – Springer Journals
Published: May 23, 2017
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