MSU partners with Detroit to investigate death scenes
EAST LANSING, Mich. – As bodies decompose, their types and numbers of bugs and bacteria change. Deciphering the clues they provide could mean the difference between a closed case and an unsolved murder.
Michigan State University is using a more than $866,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant to help Detroit death-scene investigators examine these changing populations. The microbial communities may provide crucial details such as geographical location of death, gender, race, socioeconomic relations and more, said Eric Benbow, MSU entomologist and osteopathic medical specialist.
Written by Katherine Steck-Flynn (2003)
This paper is intended for use by police and other emergency personnel who have occasion to be in contact to the recently and not so recently deceased. When first introduced I will mention the scientific name of the various species of insects which colonize bodies after death. After the first mention I will use the common name which is easier to both remember and pronounce.
All too often insect evidence is accidentally destroyed be emergency personnel who fail to realize the importance of this evidence. This author has personally witnessed well meaning emergency personnel shooing away insects and maggots at a scene. I have even observed emergency personnel stomping on maggots as they attempt to flee from the activity around the body. Education in the proper collection and preservation procedures is essential. Continue reading