Anonymous said: I first thought a window for time of death could be 4-7 hours as the body is still warm (in what I assume to be 14 degree ambience) and shows only slight rigor mortis. However there are some insect eggs (I assume blowfly eggs) some of which have developed to the first instar larval stage. Surely the time of death can't be much more than 8 hours otherwise the body would be cooler and rigor mortis would be well established. Is there a fast developing Calliphora species for this?

I’m still a student so be prepared for possible inaccuracies here, but here is how I would approach this:

Have you verified that they are definitely 1st instar Calliphora larvae? This will make a difference, so best to get it checked out if not. 

Different species of Calliphora show different development rates so probably best to rear them to adulthood to check with species you have and then look up the development rate for that species. There’s a nice list in this paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2915.2006.00600.x/full

To give an example, according to Anderson (2000), C. vicina larvae take a minimum of around 41 hours to develop to 1st instar at 15.8 degrees C +/- 0.004 degrees. So at a constant 14 degree environmental temperature, they would take longer than that. 

However, the presence of certain drugs and other substances can speed up larval development, as well as factors such as higher temperatures, so it would also be necessary to make sure as far as possible that you definitely have the correct temperature.

Is there a possibility that the cadaver was colonised prior to death (myiasis)? This can happen in cases of abuse and neglect in old people and children, for example.

I don’t think any of the species I have personally worked with would develop to 1st instar in under 8 hours, but I’d advise checking that with someone with more experience if this is for something important. 


Anonymous said: how quickly can soft callus formation happen for rib fractures?

I don’t know, it’s not my area. There seem to be some possible resources on Google though.


Anonymous said: What is esla

Electrostatic Lifting Apparatus

Used for lifting footmarks off hard surfaces. 


Anonymous said: how can livor mortis be used in estimatin time of death

Why, do you have homework? :)

Try looking at chapter one of this book. There are also loads of resources you can find just by googling ‘livor mortis time of death’. 


hetahomestuckgirl said: I was thinking about going into Forensic Science. I really don't know how to start or anything. I am fifteen and I want to start learning now.

Ok, good for you! It’s a great career. Was there something specific you wanted to know?


sexy-sluts-forever said: Right now I am a Natural Science major with a specialization in Forensic Science and a minor in Psychology. However, this college does not seem to be benefiting me. No kind of internships, or any kind of help in the forensic field besides a couple of basic classes. My goal in life career wise is to become a CSI or work for the FBI at some point. I was thinking of changing my major to Psychology and a minor in Forensic Science, or change schools completely where i major in Forensic Science ...

continued….I was thinking of changing my major to Psychology and a minor in Forensic Science, or change schools completely where i major in Forensic Science and not Natural Science. I cannot obtain a handle on all of the Biology and Chemistry. I’m very lost lately, any help is much appreciated.

Ok! I’m not sure how much help I can be because of the differences between the UK and US, but I will try.

Over here it’s very hard to get work experience with any forensic organisations due to confidentiality issues and when my friend and I looked for one independently of our university, we were turned down by them all. We found it was much better to look for something in a related discipline - in the end we both went to an environmental science lab and were fortunate to be able to have a tour of their forensic facilities while we were there. If you can get some experience in at a lab, it will still be valuable even if it is not forensic in nature.

I also did single honours so I have no real experience of studying more than one subject, but due to the nature of it, you are going to get less forensic classes because of having to fit in the other things as well (or at least that is the way I believe it works here). 

I’m afraid I don’t know what kinds of qualifications or skills you need to work for the FBI, but I know a few people who applied for jobs as Scenes of Crime Officers after completing the same course that I did (in pure forensic science) and I think that, if I remember back correctly to the career advice I had before I started my own university course, a course in pure forensics might serve you better. BUT I don’t know the specifics of it in the States, and of course your own competence and skills will count as well as the course you have done.

The biology and chemistry is important to forensic science in gaining an understanding of the methods and concepts involves, although this might be less important if you want to do purely bagging and tagging at scenes. Does your school offer experience of crime scenes at all? We had to attend several mocked up (but very realistic) scenes, and this is how I found out that I in no way want to do any CSI work, for reasons that are too long to go into here! 

All that considered, I think my ultimate advice would be to look at your own course and other courses carefully as well as to ask for career advice from people who have been there and done it. I think all of my own course tutors had experience of being in some kind of forensic job, so they were ideal to talk to about how to get where I want to be. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the general university careers advice service (assuming your uni has one), as forensics is quite a highly specialised area. 

Don’t forget as well that your career aspirations might change as you study. When I started uni I wanted to do SOCO work, then changed my mind to mortuary work for a while, and now I am studying to become a forensic entomologist. You could also look at finding out which areas of forensics have available jobs in the US. For example, is it easy to find work as a CSI, or are there more jobs in lab work etc? That might guide you a little.

I hope some of that was at least a little bit helpful!


Anonymous said: Hi, I wondered whether you knew any casework examples of superglue fuming being used. I have to do it for an assignment, and I've been trawling the internet trying to find forensic cases where they specifically used superglue fuming and I can't find anything. I'm thought I found one about the 'Dockland bomb' in the UK but I can't find anything on it. I was wondering whether you knew any.

I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head but I’ve found one that looks useful in the Journal of Forensic Sciences which involves visualising prints on a shell casing from a murder scene. 




Richard Ramierez, the Night Stalker, has died in prison.

More to come

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