Skeletal Trauma Analysis

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In the post-Daubert era, forensic science disciplines are increasingly informed by robust, statistically-sound experimental research. The educational value of the well-documented case study, however, remains as important as ever. Emphasizing known contextual information, this volume serves as a case-driven guide to skeletal trauma analysis through the unique perspective of each chapter s authors. Both forensic anthropologists and pathologists contribute skeletal trauma cases covering a range of topics including child abuse, blunt force trauma, descents from height, plane crashes, sharp force trauma and dismemberment, gunshot wounds, blast trauma, and burned body interpretation. Several chapters also include a discussion of potentially confounding taphonomic influences such as animal scavenging, water immersion, burning, and extended postmortem intervals. Detailed descriptions with multiple supporting images allow the practitioner s skeletal trauma interpretation to be compared to the answer as it pertains to the known circumstances surrounding the traumatic events of each case.


Nicholas V. Passalacqua received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University, his Master of Science degree from Mercyhurst University, and a Master of Arts and PhD from Michigan State University. Nick works as a deploying anthropologist at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command - Central Identification Laboratory, actively engaging in the recovery and identification of U.S. servicemembers from past conflicts.

Christopher W. Rainwater received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida, his Master of Science degree from Mercyhurst University, and is currently a PhD candidate at New York University. Chris works as a forensic anthropologist for the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City, actively engaging in anthropological casework in all five boroughs. He also serves as the Director of Photography for the agency.


List of contributors vii

1 Introduction 1
Nicholas V. Passalacqua and Christopher W. Rainwater

2 Atypical gunshot and blunt force injuries: wounds along the biomechanical continuum 7
Brian F. Spatola

3 Over-interpretation of bone injuries and implications for cause and manner of death 27
João Pinheiro, Eugénia Cunha, and Steven Symes

4 Skeletal injuries in cases of child abuse: two case studies from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences 42
Jason M. Wiersema and Jennifer C. Love

5 Blunt force trauma patterns in the human skull and thorax: a case study from northern California 56
Eric J. Bartelink

6 Patterns of skeletal trauma inflicted during the Spanish Civil War 74
Nicholas V. Passalacqua, Ciarán Brewster, Marina Martínez de Pinillos González, and José Miguel Carretero Díaz

7 Shot and beaten to death? Suspected projectile and blunt force trauma in a case involving an extended period of post-mortem water immersion 90
Hugo F.V. Cardoso, Katerina S. Puentes, and Luís F.N. Coelho

8 Man's best friend: a case study of ballistics trauma and animal scavenging 108
Gina Hart

9 Skeletal evidence of violent sexual assault in remains with excessive evidence of scavenging 118
Hugh E. Berryman and Tiffany B. Saul

10 Neurocranial fractures 130
Jennifer C. Love

11 Blunt force trauma associated with a fall from heights 147
MariaTeresa A. Tersigni-Tarrant

12 Low-velocity impact trauma: an illustrative selection of cases from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Central Identification Laboratory 156
Paul Emanovsky

13 Blast trauma 167
Angi M. Christensen and Victoria A. Smith

14 Case studies in skeletal blast trauma 177
Nikki A. Willits, Joseph T. Hefner, and MariaTeresa A. Tersigni-Tarrant

15 Burned human remains in a double homicide: a forensic case in Cyprus 189
Popi Th. Chrysostomou

16 The utility of spatial analysis in the recognition of normal and abnormal patterns in burned human remains 204
Christina L. Fojas, Luis L. Cabo, Nicholas V. Passalacqua, Christopher W. Rainwater, Katerina S. Puentes, and Steven A. Symes

17 Three modes of dismemberment: disarticulation around the joints, transection of bone via chopping, and transection of bone via sawing 222
Christopher W. Rainwater

18 Kreischer Mansion homicide 246
Lauren Regucci and Bradley Adams

19 Postmortem trauma and the CSI Effect: is television making smarter criminals? 266
Elizabeth A. Murray and Anthony E. Dwyer

Index 289

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Skeletal Trauma Analysis
Case Studies in Context
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