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Luis A. Sanchez, MD Chief Medical Examiner Medical ...

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Luis A. Sanchez, MD Chief Medical Examiner Medical Examiner System: How Does the Anthropologist Fit In? Jennifer C. Love, PhD, D-ABFA Tercer Seminario Internacional de Antropologia Forense
Slide 1Medical Examiner System: How Does the Anthropologist Fit In?
Jennifer C. Love, PhD, D-ABFA
Tercer Seminario Internacional de Antropologia Forense
Forensic Anthropology Division
• Investigations – Triaging all death calls – Taking death reports – Responding to scenes – Requesting all medical records – Submit finger prints – Requesting dental radiographs and coordinating the
odontologist – Searching for next-of-kin – Processing all unclaimed decedents – Processing all unidentified decedents
ID Unit
– Process unclaimed decedents
Forensic Anthropology Division
• Responsibility of unidentified decedents transferred to anthropology – Unidentified Decedent Files
• ~425 records (1957-2006)
– Incoming Unidentified Decedents
Unidentified Decedent Records
– Complete files – police, autopsy, dental charts – National Crime Information Center – National Database for Unidentified Decedents (NamUS) – Submit DNA to national database – Finger prints submitted
• Local law enforcement • National law enforcement • Immigration law enforcement
– HCIFS website
ID Successes
Record Review
decedent prior to death – Pedestrian struck by motor vehicle
(2 days later) – Decedent transferred as unknown,
case worked by state trooper – State trooper canvassed local
police department with decedent photo
– Decedent recognized and police record update
– MEO never notified
sent to all agencies
• ML89-7911 – Finger prints scanned and
sent to all agencies
– FBI Latent Processing Unit matched print to Oklahoma criminal record
ID Success
• Record review
• Circumstantial Identification
Circumstantial Identification
• Family contacted HCIFS – Brother missing since 1983 – 16 year old, Hispanic, male – Atypical ear, dental work – Abandoned in vehicle
• Unidentified Decedent – Match physical description – Match circumstances – No antemortem record or
decedent DNA sample – Visual identification
Circumstantial Identification
the Brazos River • Autopsy
– White female – 5’5”, 120 lbs – Long light colored hair – Surgically absent spleen – Likely had at least one child – Well-manicured hand and feet nails
painted a deep red color
Circumstantial Idenfication
• Held in metal casket above ground for several months
• Buried in Austin County • Austin County remains
active in the case, but no leads
Circumstantial Identification
• Skull, femurs and humeri collected – Skull – facial
• Recognizes facial approximation on TX-DPS website
Missing Person
• 22 yo, White female • 5’5”, 110 lbs • Long blond hair • Splenectomy following MVA • 1 son • Recently moved to Texas City, TX • Last spoke to father June 4, 1975 • Cosmetologist • Signature finger nail color - deep red
Scientific Identification
• June 6, 2006 – Multiple gun shot wound victim found in parking
lot of apartment complex – No ID – Girlfriend – decedent “Tony” and he stays in Apt
159 – Finger prints fail
» Abnormal fingernail left index finger
Louisiana find decedent on website
– Identified by visual identification and description of abnormal nail bed
Forensic Anthropology Division
• Incoming Unidentified Decedents
– Watch, belt buckle and shoes in vicinity
– Biological profile • W/M/18-25 years, 67-73”
• Dental restorations
Media Release
release to media
son missing for 5 years
• January 14, 2011 – Identification confirmed by
Brays Bayou
• Second media release targeting Spanish media
Media Release
• Decedent recent immigrant, no family in US
• DNA sample obtained from mother with assistance of consulate
• Decedent returned to Guatemala
• Submitting and resubmitting finger prints
• DNA submissions
Identification Success
• On-Call Schedule – 24 hours/ 7 days a week – Surface Remains
– Fire Remains
– Buried Remains
Scene Response
2012 – 25 scenes
Blunt Force Trauma
• Type of fracture
• Fracture distribution pattern
• Direction of load
Direction of Stress
Striation Patterns
– Scene response
– Trauma analysis
Forensic Anthropology Division
Forensic Anthropology Division
Forensic Anthropology Division