rss_2.0Scandinavian Journal of Forensic Science FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Scandinavian Journal of Forensic Science Journal of Forensic Science Feed Two Mass Grave Sites of WWII POW Camps in Lithuania<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In 2020, archaeological excavations, exhumations, and field research were conducted at two mass grave sites near Zokniai and Armalėnai (Fig. 1) in order to locate, exhume, document, identify where possible, and respectfully bury the human remains. Archaeological field methodology was employed during the excavation and exhumation phases; the visual examination data, supplemented by osteological data obtained using anthropological methodology, was separately recorded for each individual using a standardized format. A total of 1927 individuals were exhumed, documented, and buried. The Zokniai investigation revealed that the burial site originated in late 1941 and contained POWs who were either in transit or performing harsh labour at the airport; many had died from gunshot lesions and mistreatment. The stationary camp inmates at Armalėnai were buried in late 1942 - early 1943, their deaths presumably being the result of exhaustion and disease. Both investigations illustrate how interdisciplinary collaboration between archaeology and anthropology can offer forgotten people greater respect and recognition.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of forensic archaeology in Lithuania and identification of historical persons<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article presents a brief overview of the development of forensic archaeology in Lithuania. From the beginning of the early 1960s, the disciplines of forensic osteology and anthropology have been intensively developed through extensive work on numerous mass graves left in Lithuania after wars and other social disasters. This has allowed individual researchers and their teams to develop and validate a set of original, population-specific forensic osteological methods. Nevertheless, the term <italic>forensic archeology</italic> is still new in Lithuania. Only over the last few years has a short program of forensic archeology been offered to students of archaeology. The potential application of forensic archaeology in solving legal issues still lacks the interest of law enforcement and governmental institutions. We want to emphasize the importance of close collaboration between different institutions and an interdisciplinary approach to these investigations as a core value in achieving final goals. In addition, the particular importance of international cooperation to properly commemorate the victims of wars is emphasized.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue issue: Forensic anthropology and archaeology in Northern Europe (FAANE) – Historical, current and future perspectives brothers - the search and identification of the participants of anti-soviet resistance<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article focuses on the history and main activities in the search and identification of Lithuanian partisans, commonly known as the “Forest brothers”. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the search for partisans was chaotic and unprofessional, leading to extensive exhumations without professional provision, and reburial without further identification of the remains. Only after regaining independence, the Lithuanian government supported official surveys and even re-exhumations of the partisans. These new investigations were led by esteemed historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists, and provided results that conflicted with former activities. The overall outcome could be summarized as a division between an “official history” asserted by the Soviet Union, and results coming from a collaboration between forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology specialists. The thorough results and overall conclusions led to two main accomplishments: the identification of partisans, including some prominent figures of this movement, and the manner of death, through the evidence of undocumented torture.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue status and future of forensic archaeology and anthropology in Finland<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this paper we discuss the history and development of forensic archaeology and anthropology in Finland. Current status of the fields and some future prospects are also highlighted. We offer some potential reasons for why so little research related to forensic archaeology or anthropology is conducted in Finland. To set the forensic archaeology and anthropology in Finland into a broader setting, we discuss the awareness of the fields among Finnish archaeologists, anthropologists, and enthusiasts via the results of an online survey conducted in November 2021. In this manuscript we also delve into some inner workings of Finnish law enforcement and voluntary organisations in order to show how forensic archaeologists and anthropologists could fit into criminal investigations in Finland.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and implementation of forensic anthropology in Swedish forensic practice<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper presents the ongoing development of forensic anthropology in Sweden. We discuss the background of the discipline, its application, as well as its current and potential development in Swedish forensic practice. Collaboration with osteoarchaeologists in skeletal forensic cases has a long tradition in Sweden. Analyses of skeletal remains are performed ad-hoc, in contrast to analyses of fleshed human remains. While several law enforcement employees are educated in forensic anthropology and/or osteoarchaeology, they are not employed in these fields, and regional variations are evident. Internationally, forensic anthropology has become an autonomous forensic discipline over the past decades, requiring skills beyond mere skeletal analysis. To keep on a par with international standards, it may be time to revisit the concept of forensic anthropology in Sweden. Despite the limited presence of supporting organisational structures and systems, forensic anthropological and hard-tissue-reliant physico-chemical analyses have proven valuable in Swedish forensic practice, especially in cases of personal identification, trauma analysis and search efforts. We argue that Sweden could benefit from making qualified forensic anthropology expertise available in all law enforcement regions, starting to implement and promote forensic anthropology in routine forensic casework and formalising the role of forensic anthropology practitioners.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Anthropology and Archaeology in Denmark<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this paper, we provide a brief overview of the status of forensic anthropology and forensic archeology in Denmark, as well as related information about education, research, and skeletal collections. Forensic anthropologists mainly deal with the examination of unidentified skeletal remains. Some special tasks include cranial trauma analysis of the recently deceased, advanced 3D visualization from CT scanning of homicide cases, and stature estimation of perpetrators using surveillance videos. Forensic anthropologists are employed at one of Denmark’s three departments of forensic medicine (in Copenhagen, Odense, and Aarhus) and have access to advanced imaging equipment (e.g., CT and MR scanning, surface scanners, and 3D printers) for use in both their requisitioned work and their research. Extensive research is conducted on different topics, such as the health and diseases of past populations, age estimation, and human morphology. Research is based on skeletal material from the archeological collections housed in Copenhagen and Odense or on CT data from the recently deceased. There is no full degree in forensic anthropology in Denmark, but elective courses and lectures are offered to students at different levels and to people from different professional backgrounds.</p> <p>Forensic archaeology is a relatively new field of expertise in Denmark, and relevant cases are rare, with only one or two cases per year. No forensic archeologists are officially employed in any of the departments of forensic medicine. Until recently, the Special Crime Unit of the police handled crime scene investigations involving excavations, but with the option of enlisting the help of outside specialists, such as archaeologists, anthropologists, and pathologists. An official excavation work group was established in 2015 under the lead of the Special Crime Unit of the police with the aim of refining the methods and procedures used in relevant criminal investigations. The group is represented by five police officers from the Special Crime Scene Unit, a police officer from the National Police Dog Training center, the two archaeologists from Moesgaard Museum, a forensic anthropologist from the Department of Forensic Medicine (University of Copenhagen), and a forensic pathologist from the Department of Forensic Medicine (University of Aarhus).</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Danish Court Case Database: a data source in forensic mental health?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Grey literature complementing evidence from common scientific sources, such as journals, may serve to provide a broader range of evidence, fill in commercial literature gaps and reduce publication bias in research. However, grey literature from legal sources has been used only to a limited extent in forensic mental health research. In this paper, we presented the newly established Danish Court Case Database in the light of forensic mental health. A systematic review was conducted and 15 cases focusing on forensic mental health issues were identified. The cases contained information about indictment, explanations and testimonies and also the court’s decision and underlying reasoning. The different included case types provided a broad range of information about current issues in forensic mental health regulation and the interpretation of Danish law. The database is thus a relevant grey source in forensic research. However, this paper also demonstrated that the database may be improved in terms of its current coverage and ease of use.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of pulmonary artery aneurysm with eroding thrombus into the airways. A fatal case of suffocation<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>We present a fatal case of hemoptysis following a thrombus-eroding pulmonary artery aneurysm into the left upper bronchus of a 79-year-old male with a history of multiple hospital contacts and examinations due to cough, hemoptysis, and reflux symptoms.</p> <p>A postmortem computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a hyperdense, condensed area in the left lung in relation to the lung hilus. At autopsy, the forensic specialist discovered a large, organized thrombus in a pulmonary artery aneurysm. The thrombus was adherent to the pulmonary artery aneurysm wall with an underlying defect directly communicating to the left upper bronchus. The cause of death was asphyxia due to blood in the airways (i.e., suffocation).</p> <p>The combination of pulmonary artery hypertension, previous pulmonary embolism, and hemoptysis should lead to a particularly thorough inspection of the lungs with a focus on the pulmonary circulation. This case report emphasizes the importance of early detection of patients at risk of pulmonary artery rupture and attentiveness when performing biopsies during bronchoscopy to prevent communication between the artery and the airway. The risk of rupturing an aneurysm should be taken into account when performing biopsies on excrescence intruding into the bronchus in patients with medical histories of pulmonary hypertension, cough, and sporadic hemoptysis.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Mortem Computed Tomography as an important tool in establishing a cause of death in fire fatalities Medicine – seen through the eyes of a social anthropologist<abstract><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p> For the average Dane death has become part of daily life. The media paints a picture of numerous violent acts, but even though we come across it on a daily basis certain aspects of death, e.g. working with the dead, are still seen as taboos.</p><p>This article is based on my internship at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Odense in February 2011 where I participated in the daily routines, and therefore had the opportunity to see how the employees relate to death and the dead.</p><p>The section “A Room of Impurities” deals with the symbolical impurity of the autopsy rooms at the Institute, since death, according to the anthropologist Mary Douglas, is a taboo and therefore something symbolically impure. In the section “Subjects or Objects?” another aspect of working with the dead is presented. The employees at the Institute have an ability to see the dead as both subjects and objects and to switch between these. The dead body as an object can equally be seen as something impure. The last section “A Part of Human Life” compares the taboo surrounding the Institute of Forensic Medicine with the view upon death in Tibet, and concludes on the manuscript.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue are caused, they do not happen<abstract><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p> The head, being the most vulnerable part of human body, is the most commonly injured body part in accidents, especially those involving road traffic. In an unusual case, the deceased succumbed to internal injuries of the brain that resulted from the neck being constricted with the loose end of a dupatta. The woman was pillion riding a motorbike when the loose end of the dupatta got entangled in the rear wheel of the motorbike. As a result, her neck was constricted by the dupatta and wentunnoticed. This paper comments on the safety of wearing the traditional style dressing of Indian women while riding on two wheeled vehicles. Additionally, this paper suggests it be mandatory to wear helmets for all pillion riders in order to prevent such mishaps in future.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue bupivacaine overdose through intrathecally positioned epidural catheter<abstract><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p> We describe a fatality due to an intrathecally positioned epidural catheter and an infusion rate of bupivacaine set 10 times higher than planned. The undetected misplacement, despite safety routines, is discussed along with the toxicological findings and new information on the intrathecal distribution of bupivacaine. From a clinical point of view, the human factor, in combination with an indistinct decimal point on the pump, was considered as the reason for the unfortunate overdose. In continuous epidural infusion of local anesthetics, the importance of guidelines and informed staff in managing complications of epidural lumbar infusion as well as careful monitoring of the vital functions is essential. Guidelines are also vital during the procedure of insertion of epidural catheters. When using combined spinal and epidural anaesthesia, we believe that an epidural catheter should be inserted, and its position tested, prior to spinal anesthesia. The case also illustrates the need of innovative investigation techniques to confirm the suspicion of unusual manifestations of inadvertent drug effects. Segmental analysis, together with analyses in a control case, enabled us to elucidate the high and varying tissue concentrations in the central nervous system.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue anthropology and human identification<abstract><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p> This is the full summary paper of a thesis to be defended at the University of Copenhagen, May 31st, 2013</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue parents’ experiences of being informed about autopsy findings after the sudden and unexpected loss of an infant or small child<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Background: Following the sudden and unexpected loss of an infant or small child, the police <bold>usually</bold> request a forensic autopsy. <bold>National guidelines exist for how the autopsy report should be made available for the bereaved parents, but there is limited knowledge whether the guidelines are followed.</bold> This study aims to explore bereaved parents’ experience<bold>s of being informed about autopsy findings.</bold></p><p>Methodology: As part of in-depth follow-up interviews at 13 months post-loss, <bold>24 couples</bold> were asked how they experienced being informed about autopsy findings. Participants’ responses underwent thematic analysis.</p><p>Results: The results show that the <bold>waiting period before the autopsy report was made available was a burden for many parents, particularly those who experienced a delay in the process. Two main themes related to parents’ experiences of being informed when the report was available:</bold> ‘informed in a supportive and caring way’ and ‘difficult or negative experiences’.</p><p>Conclusion: Several factors are described that help parents cope with being informed about autopsy findings<bold>, such as: being informed according to the given timeframe by competent health personnel, face-to-face meetings at the hospital, being able to ask questions and routine follow-up contact. These factors are mostly described in the national guidelines. This study shows that when guidelines were followed, the majority of parents were satisfied with how they were informed. Unfortunately, some parents had negative experiences.</bold> Regular training and continuing education for health personnel <bold>are recommended</bold>.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue between head and neck injuries and helmet use in fatal motorcycle and moped crashes in Denmark<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Motorcycle- and moped crashes are prevalent in motorised societies and carry a significant risk of serious injury. Whereas helmet use has reduced the frequency and severity of head injuries, the association between helmet use and neck injury risk is less clear. In the present retrospective study, we examined the relationship between helmet use and various types of head and neck injuries resulting from fatal motorcycle and moped crashes during a 20-year period. Eighty-three cases were included of whom 56 were analysed in detail based on their confirmed use/non-use of helmet. Intracranial haemorrhage was the most common finding, followed by CNS disruption and skull fracture. There was a significantly lower prevalence of skull vault fractures and epidural haemorrhage in the helmeted cases. Injuries to the brainstem and cervical spine fracture/dislocation were more common in the helmeted cases, although this was likely a function of higher speeds among motorcycle riders rather than an effect of helmet use per se. Further investigation of these findings require additional detailed information regarding the nature and severity of the crash, as well as helmet use and type, in order to assess non-confounded associations with the anatomical distribution, type and severity of observed head and neck injuries.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue sudden unexplained infant respiratory deaths may result from the same underlying mechanism<abstract xml:lang="en"><title style='display:none'>All sudden unexplained infant respiratory deaths may result from the same underlying mechanism</title><p>The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) was defined in 1969 by Beckwith as sudden death of an infant or young child, unexpected by medical history, remaining unexplained after thorough autopsy/death-scene investigation. Recently researchers have used the general terms Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) as "umbrella-terms" covering unexplained deaths (SIDS); sudden deaths for which SIDS risk factors present but insufficient cause is found; and sudden deaths for which sufficient cause is found. A characteristic feature of such deaths is that, 24-hours before death (or unexpected collapse that led to death), the caregivers were unaware that the baby was at increased risk of dying. The explainable cases include deaths from several recognized causes including infection, metabolic conditions, accidental and non-accidental injury, and various genetic or cardiac conditions as well as "Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed (ASSB)." SIDS is characterized by a ~50% male excess common to all respiratory infant deaths and a 4-parameter lognormal age distribution - thought to be unique and SIDS main distinguishing characteristic. In this article we model these data for age and/or gender distributions of SUDI/SUID and SIDS reported from the U.K., U.S., Norway and Germany. When pooled together with SIDS, these explained SUDI/SUID data on infant ages and gender have the same distributions as SIDS, indicating that the final mode of death for all SUDI or SUID may be a consequence of different paths to the same biological phenomena as for SIDS, though the mechanism of death remains unclear.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue current absence of neonaticide in Norway<abstract xml:lang="en"><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p>The present study is the first attempt to explore the rate, characteristics and legal reactions to neonaticide in Norway during the years 1990 – 2009. Potential incidents of neonaticide were identified through the national homicide index held by the National Criminal Investigation Service and the national police registers for all recorded crime in Norway held by the National Police Computing and Material Services. The study uncovers that no clear incident of neonaticide has been recorded in the respective registers during the study’s time period. There was however recorded one case of a discarded stillborn and one case of an abandoned neonate that died through exposure. The paper discusses whether the study’s findings are congruent with an evolutionary psychological understanding of filicide and current knowledge of risk factors and rates for neonaticide.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue of contrast-filled stab wounds in various tissue types with computed tomography<abstract xml:lang="en"><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p>Background: Stab wounds are common in homicide cases. Post-mortem multislice computed tomography (PMCT) has proved to be a useful tool in forensic examinations of victims of sharp force trauma, but due the limited resolution of soft tissues, the radiological depiction of a stab channel is difficult. In this study, we have tried to obtain information about the shape of a knife blade by CT scanning contrast-filled experimentally inflicted stab wounds in various types of pig tissue.</p><p> Methodology: The tissue samples were mounted on floral foam (oasis) with wooden sticks. Two contrast media were used: one was unmodified and easy flowing, and one was made more viscous with polyethylene glycol. Stab channels in ballistic soap were used for comparison. India ink-filled stab channels were investigated histologically to determine the pattern of leakage.</p><p> Principal findings: We found that the shape of the stab wounds on the CT images from lung and muscle tissue did not correspond well to the shape of the inflicting knife. There was a better correspondence in the images obtained from liver, spleen and kidney. The viscous contrast medium was less likely than the thin (easy flowing) contrast medium to spill into to structures outside the stab channel, but some spillage was observed for both types of contrast medium. Air bubbles were only observed in the viscous contrast medium.</p><p> Conclusion: Radiological evaluation of a contrast-filled stab wound in isolated tissue blocks did not permit the positive identification of the inflicting weapon, but it was, in tissue blocks from liver, spleen and kidney, possible to obtain a rough idea of the shape of the inflicting knife and to differentiate a knife from a screwdriver.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue unique case of electric circular saw suicide with injuries to the chest and abdomen<abstract xml:lang="en"><title style='display:none'>ABSTRACT</title><p>This case report discusses the previously unreported situation of a suicidal death, with injuries to the chest, by means of an electric circular saw. A review of the English and German literature provides an overview of common sites of injury, gender and psychiatric status in power saw related deaths.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue