Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors ...

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Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors ...

  1. 1. Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae. “Let conversation cease. Let laughter flee. This is the place where death delights to help the living.” (Attributed to many—I took this version from Dr. Bernard Knight’s textbook)
  2. 2. Things that Help Us Help You • Tarrant County Medical Examiner District’s 8 th Annual “Current Trends in Forensic Science” • Human Identification Laboratory • Serving Tarrant, Parker, and Denton Counties
  3. 3. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District Human Identification Lab <ul><li>Roger D Metcalf DDS </li></ul><ul><li>Director of Human ID Lab </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Forensic Odontologist </li></ul><ul><li>Nizam Peerwani MD </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Medical Examiner </li></ul>
  4. 4. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>What we do: pursuant to Art. 49.25 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure , we must attempt to identify all remains presented to our office as “unidentified”. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2004 we had 206 cases, in 2005 we had 264 cases, in 2006 there were 306 , and we project over 320 cases for 2007. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>How we identify remains: </li></ul><ul><li>(1) visual, </li></ul><ul><li>(2) fingerprints, </li></ul><ul><li>(3) dental records, </li></ul><ul><li>(4) medical records, </li></ul><ul><li>(5) DNA. </li></ul><ul><li>We generally do not use tattoos for id; our lab does not make the call for circumstantial id. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District • Please note: we say our lab makes an id, but only the Medical Examiner or a Judge can legally certify the identity of the decedent —our lab actually makes a recommendation the ME (or JP) can accept or reject.
  7. 7. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>We rarely get to id remains by visual means—if that were possible, it would have already been done. </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of our unidentified remains are id’ed by fingerprints --about 60% </li></ul>
  8. 8. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>We have access to NCIC/TLETS </li></ul><ul><li>We have an in-house AFIS terminal and IAFIS is on the way </li></ul><ul><li>Our Latent Print Examiners are Mr. Bill Bailey and Mr. Bill Walker </li></ul>
  9. 9. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>In our official jurisdiction ( Tarrant, Parker, Denton counties), we deal with over 40 different law enforcement agencies (John Briggs, FDI) </li></ul><ul><li>Our office also provides the professional services for Wichita and Ector counties </li></ul><ul><li>About 80 other counties send their cases to TCME </li></ul>
  10. 10. Most of our remains are in good condition and can be fingerprinted fairly easily
  11. 11. And we have a fair number of decomposed remains as well-- these can usually be fingerprinted without too much problem
  12. 12. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District
  13. 13. Many times the fingertips can be “degloved” and printed— please make sure decomposing hands are protected during transportation and that all epidermis from the hands is collected
  14. 14. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Many of our unidentified persons are “known to law enforcement” and have prints readily retrievable from the DPS Archives or from the FBI database. Our A.F.I.S. “hit rate” is about 62%. </li></ul><ul><li>We also obtain a fair number of thumbprints from DPS driver’s license records. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Occasionally a person will have a set of fingerprints on file locally but they have not been submitted to the DPS Archives—it is extremely helpful for our Latent Print Examiners to know if there’s a set of prints available from the local jurisdiction. </li></ul><ul><li>There may be a booking thumbprint available from jail records even if a full set of prints was not taken. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>We occasionally obtain fingerprints from employers (airport, military contractors, various professions that now require fingerprinting) </li></ul><ul><li>Some schools fingerprint their students (legal?) </li></ul><ul><li>Some birth certificates have Mom’s thumbprint as well as Baby’s sole print </li></ul>
  17. 17. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District
  18. 18. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Citizens of Mexico may have their thumbprint on their national voter registration card </li></ul><ul><li>Homeland Security (Biometric Support Center West) maintains a database of “frequent border crossers” </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t have much luck getting military or juvenile fingerprints </li></ul>
  19. 19. Undocumented workers are a challenge for us because of the very fact that they are undocumented . Citizens of Mexico may have a Consular ID card which is somewhat helpful, but what we really hope to recover is the federal voter registration card.
  20. 20. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Some people do not have fingerprints on file and their driver’s license thumbprints are unusable—or their fingers are not suitable for fingerprinting. </li></ul><ul><li>So we next think about dental or medical radiograph comparison. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Dr. Dana Austin, DABFA, and Mr. Bill Walker, Latent Print Examiner
  22. 22. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Dr. Dana Austin, DABFA, is our full-time, board-certified forensic anthropologist and she does the medical radiograph comparisons. </li></ul><ul><li>I am the full-time forensic odontologist and generally do the dental radiograph comparisons—Dr. Kathy Kasper is our deputy forensic odontologist. </li></ul><ul><li>Our lab consists of full-time latent print examiners, a forensic anthropologist, and a forensic odontologist. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District Mr. Paul Coffman, Human ID Lab Tech, Dr. Dana Austin and Dr. Kathy Kasper
  24. 24. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Dr. Austin often compares antemortem radiographs of a person’s skull, spine, or pelvis —but other views can be used as well. </li></ul><ul><li>The images now often come from a hospital or imaging center on a CD. The old hard-copies of radiographs are routinely shredded for silver recovery after 5 years. </li></ul><ul><li>The putative decedent’s physician (name from Rx bottle or insurance records) will not usually have radiographs in the office—but can tell you when and where the decedent was sent for radiographs—or might have a dentist’s name. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District Implanted surgical hardware is usually very helpful for id purposes
  26. 26. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Teeth are extremely valuable from an id standpoint because they usually survive accidents and trauma quite well and they don’t decompose </li></ul>
  27. 27. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>For a dental comparison, we usually think about comparing radiographs—but dentists may have other things we could use just as well: plaster models made for crowns or bridges, bleaching trays, orthodontic retainers, nightguards, removable partial dentures. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District Name inscribed in denture base Partial denture located at home and fitted to remains
  29. 29. Many radiographs are submitted to us electronically
  30. 30. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District
  31. 31. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>We normally ask for all original radiographs the dentist has—no matter how old the films are—we will duplicate and return the originals. </li></ul><ul><li>Diagrams that show location of fillings (odontograms) are extremely helpful, too. </li></ul><ul><li>We do not want any financial, insurance, nor billing information. </li></ul><ul><li>We are not connected with the Texas State Board of Dentistry and are not interested in any quality-of-care issues. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>H.I.P.A.A. specifically does not apply to releasing medical/dental records for id purposes [45 C.F.R. § 164.512 (g) (1)] (just Google “164.512”). </li></ul><ul><li>We are not the decedent’s physician nor dentist and are not subject to doctor-patient confidentiality —plus, once a person is deceased, they can no longer be a patient. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Additionally, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure art. 63.006(e) “Release of Dental Records” says: </li></ul><ul><li>“A dentist or physician who releases dental records to a person presenting a proper release executed or ordered under this article is immune from civil liability or criminal prosecution for the release of those records.” </li></ul>
  34. 34. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>If an entity (dentist or doctor’s office, hospital) is being difficult about releasing records, by statute the Chief Medical Examiner has the same authority as a Justice of the Peace regarding death investigations—so a subpoena duces tecum can be issued , if necessary. (An ME’s Inquest is a real court proceeding —an ME can issue a bench warrant to the Sheriff to arrest people, if necessary.) </li></ul>
  35. 35. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>DNA is usually our last resort --even though it is the “gold standard” for id purposes—may take 6 to 8 weeks to get results. </li></ul><ul><li>For best results with STR analysis, we would like a reference sample from putative parents or children of the decedent. </li></ul><ul><li>Mitochondrial DNA analysis can show only that two people are in the same “maternal line”— but for id purposes this may be perfectly adequate. Y-STR analysis can show the same “paternal line,” but is not widely available, yet. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>We send our DNA analyses to the University of North Texas Health Science Center DNA Lab in Fort Worth—one of only 3 mito+CODIS DNA labs in the country. </li></ul><ul><li>If you work a missing-person’s case, PLEASE be sure that the family donates a reference sample to the Missing Person’s Database —no charge to the family or your agency; just a buccal swab is needed. (UNT: 817-735-0606) </li></ul>
  37. 37. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Things that Help Us </li></ul><ul><li>Help You with a </li></ul><ul><li>Bitemark Case </li></ul>
  38. 38. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District
  39. 39. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>For an overall view, this is fine; but it is not usable in a bitemark analysis because: </li></ul><ul><li>(1) no scale, </li></ul><ul><li>(2) limb is not parallel to “film” plane </li></ul>
  40. 40. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District
  41. 41. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>This is better—not perfect (I took this photo) </li></ul><ul><li>(1) ABFO #2 scale is present </li></ul><ul><li>(2) limb is parallel to “film” plane—this is same case as before but 3 days later—note how mark is now much less distinct due to healing </li></ul>
  42. 42. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District
  43. 43. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Now a scale is present, but limb still not parallel to “film” plane—plus, dentists prefer measurements in millimeters (although that’s a minor point) </li></ul>
  44. 44. Shift gears slightly…
  45. 45. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>What the odontologist is going to do is make an “overlay” of the suspect’s teeth to compare to the bitemark—an impression of the suspect’s teeth will be taken and a plaster cast made—the incisal (“biting”) edges of the front teeth will be highlighted using Adobe Photoshop® </li></ul>
  46. 47. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Then the overlay will be superimposed on the bitemark for comparison—adjusting the size of the injury and the size of the teeth to be on precisely the same scale is absolutely critical to the analysis—so, having a properly positioned scale in the photo is also absolutely critical for the analysis to withstand attack in court </li></ul>
  47. 48. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Please remember—first and foremost—swab the injury for DNA before ANYTHING else is done </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the injury is parallel to the “film” plane of the camera and a scale is present </li></ul><ul><li>It is not possible to take too many photos of a bitemark </li></ul>
  48. 49. Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District <ul><li>Roger D Metcalf DDS </li></ul><ul><li>Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District </li></ul><ul><li>Human ID Lab </li></ul><ul><li>200 Feliks Gwozdz Place </li></ul><ul><li>Fort Worth, Texas 76104-4919 </li></ul><ul><li>(817) 920-5700 ext 160 </li></ul><ul><li>e-mail: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.metcalf.org.uk </li></ul>

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