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J Forensic Sci. 1999 Jul;44(4):720-3.

Sharp-force trauma analysis and the forensic anthropologist: techniques advocated by William R. Maples, Ph.D.

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C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.


Forensic anthropological tenets supported by William R. Maples, Ph.D. provide the bases for a case study from the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory. Using a multidisciplinary team that included police investigators, pathologists, odontologists, entomologists, and anthropologists, a biological profile and trauma analysis was constructed. Our analysis determined that the decedent was a middle-aged Hispanic male, approximately 5'6"-5'7" in stature, who had died a minimum of three months before the discovery of his remains. Gross and microscopic analysis revealed 11 areas of sharp trauma to the skull and cervical vertebrae. To aid with analysis of the trauma, nonhuman trauma exemplars were created using a Tiger rear flail mower of the make known to have been used at the scene where the remains were recovered. This use of nonhuman trauma exemplars proved to be essential in the effort to exclude the rear flail mower as the possible trauma agent.

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