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Commingled Human Remains: Methods in Recovery, Analysis, and Identification

A powerful resource for those working in the forensic sciences who need to plan for and/or address the complex challenges associated with commingled and fragmentary human remains
Written by an international group of the foremost forensic scientists presenting their research and candid experiences of dealing with commingled human remains, offering recommendations and providing "lessons learned" which can be invaluable to others who find themselves facing similar challenges
Contains chapters on remains recovery, laboratory analysis, case studies, and broader topics such as mass fatality management and ethical considerations

By: Bradley J Adams (Editor), John E Byrd (Editor)

519 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables

Academic Press

Paperback | Jun 2014 | #229205 | ISBN-13: 9780124058897
Availability: Usually dispatched within 7 days Details
NHBS Price: £42.99 $53/€48 approx

About this book

Commingled human remains are encountered in situations ranging from prehistoric ossuaries to recent mass fatality incidents. Commingled Human Remains: Methods in Recovery, Analysis, and Identification brings together tools from diverse sources within the forensic science community to offer a set of comprehensive approaches to resolving issues associated with commingled remains. This edition focuses on forensic situations, although some examples from prehistoric contexts are also addressed. Commingling of bones and other body parts is a major obstacle to individual identification that must be addressed before other forensic determinations or research can proceed. Regardless of the cause for the commingling (transportation disaster, terrorist attack, natural disaster, genocide, etc.) it is critical that the proper experts are involved and that the proper techniques are employed to achieve the greatest success in making identifications. Resolution of commingling nearly always requires consideration of multiple lines of evidence that cross the disciplinary lines of modern forensic science. The use of archaeology, DNA, and forensic anthropology are several areas that are critical in this process and these are core topics presented in Commingled Human Remains. Even a relatively "simple mass fatality event can become very complicated once body fragmentation and commingling occur. Expectations associated with all phases of the process from recovery of remains to their final identification and release to next of kin must be managed appropriately.


    About the Editors
    About the Contributors
    Chapter 1. Commingling Analysis: Historical and Methodological Perspectives
        Separation of Bone and Tooth from Other Materials
    Chapter 2. Spatial Analysis of Mass Grave Mapping Data to Assist in the Reassociation of Disarticulated and Commingled Human Remains
        Materials and Methods
    Chapter 3. Recovery Methods for Cremated Commingled Remains: Analysis and Interpretation of Small Fragments Using a Bioarchaeological Approach
        Concluding Remarks
    Chapter 4. More Pieces of the Puzzle: F.B.I. Evidence Response Team Approaches to Scenes with Commingled Evidence
        FBI Evidence Response Team Operational Guidelines and Responsibilities
        The 12-Step Approach to Crime Scene Processing
        Commingling within Cold Case Exhumations
    Chapter 5. The Use of Radiology in Mass Fatality Events
        Imaging Modalities
        Radiation Protection
        Application of Radiographic Methods to Mass Fatalities
        Conventional Approach
        Mass Fatality Investigation Using MDCT
        Case Studies
    Chapter 6. A Practical Method for Detecting Commingled Remains Using Epiphyseal Union
        Background Information
        Foundations for Understanding Epiphyseal Union Sequencing
        Designing a Recording Form
        Two Examples Demonstrating Use of the Recording Form
        Testing the Method
        Appendix 6-1
        Antenna Diagram
        Appendix 6-2
        Epiphyseal Recording Sheet for Maturational Sequence Analysis
    Chapter 7. Application of Portable X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) for Sorting Commingled Human Remains
        X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry
        Use of XRF on Human Skeletal Remains
        Materials and Methods
        Discussion and Conclusion
    Chapter 8. Osteometric Sorting
        Data Sources and Analytical Methods
        Models for Osteometric Sorting
        Assessment of Results
        Appendix 8-1
    Chapter 9. Estimating the Number of Individuals Represented by Commingled Human Remains: A Critical Evaluation of Methods
        Factors Affecting Quantification: Bone Preservation and Scale of the Incident
        Quantification Techniques
        Test for the Accuracy of Visual Pair Matching
        Test Application of the MNI and MLNI: Larson Village
        Alternative Methods for Estimating the Number of Individuals
        Some Comments on Counting Pairs of Bones
        Final Considerations
    Chapter 10. Assessment of Commingled Human Remains Using a GIS-Based and Osteological Landmark Approach
        Issues of Fragmentary and Commingled Human Remains
        Walker–Noe (15Gd56)
        Walker–Noe Skeletal Analysis
        Landmark Analysis
        GIS Analysis
        GIS Results and Discussion
        Comparison of Landmark and GIS Analyses
    Chapter 11. Human Cremation: Commingling and Questioned Identity
        The Inevitability of Commingling in Cremation
        Factors That May Lead to Excessive Commingling
        How Commingling Is Detected
        The Biological Remains
        Personal Identification in Cremains Analysis
        How Commingling Becomes a Legal Issue
        How Is Commingling Described to a Jury?
        Case Study
    Chapter 12. Marrying Anthropology and DNA: Essential for Solving Complex Commingling Problems in Cases of Extreme Fragmentation
        Part I: Overview of WTC Identification Process
        Part II: WTC Case Examples
    Chapter 13. Prioritized Sampling of Bone and Teeth for DNA Analysis in Commingled Cases
        Specific Recommendations
        After Sampling
    Chapter 14. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Commingled Remains Analysis: Anthropology, Genetics, and Background Information
        Forensic Anthropology and the Investigation of Human Rights Violations
        Types of Scenarios
        Background Information
        Multidisciplinary Approach in Commingled Remains
        Anthropological Reassociation of Remains and Sampling for Genetic Analysis
        Illustrating with Some of the Investigated Cases
        Lessons Learned and Recommendations
        And Now What? Future Challenges
    Chapter 15. Blast and Crash Incidents: Resolving Commingling at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System
        Overview of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System
        Combat Considerations
        AFMES Autopsy Protocols
        AFMES Dissociated Remains Protocols
        Total Fragmentation of the Decedent
        Subsequent Recovery of Remains and Final Disposition
        Examples of Commingling Resolution at the AFMES
        Summary and Conclusions
    Chapter 16. Forensic Investigation of Suicidal Bombings in Israel: Balancing Religious Considerations with Medicolegal Responsibilities
        Religious Beliefs Concerning Postmortem Examinations in Israel
        History of Forensic Medicine in Israel
        Suicidal Bombing
    Chapter 17. Anthropologist-Directed Triage: Three Distinct Mass Fatality Events Involving Fragmentation and Commingling of Human Remains
        The Three Disasters
        The World Trade Center Disaster
        The Crash of American Airlines Flight 587
        The Staten Island Ferry Crash
    Chapter 18. Recovery and Identification of Victims of the Colgan Air Flight 3407 Crash
        The Incident
        Recovery and Documentation of Human Remains at Crash Site
        Morgue Operations
        Findings of the NTSB Investigation
        Retrospective on Incident Response
    Chapter 19. The Korea 208: A Large-Scale Commingling Case of American Remains from the Korean War
        Introduction: JPAC and the CIL
        Background: The Korean War and K208
        K208 Analysis: Segregation, Consolidation, and Identification
        K208 Case Studies
    Chapter 20. Data Management and Commingled Remains
        MFI Data
        Identification Errors at an MFI
        DNA Testing on Degraded Remains
        Partial DNA Profiles
        Summary of Identification Errors at an MFI
        Summary of AM Intake Dynamics
        Challenges in the AM Interview Process
        Error Rates in the AM Records
        Error Rates in the PM Records
        Addressing the Problems
    Chapter 21. Resolving Commingling Issues During the Medicolegal Investigation of Mass Fatality Incidents
        Fragmentation, Reassociation, and Identification: Influencing Parameters
        Managing the Identification Process: Applying Human Remains Triage Principles
        Establishing Human Remains Triage Guidelines
        Human Remains Tracking Systems
        Group Remains Classification
        The Probative Index System
        DNA Sampling Guidelines
        Triage Station Staffing, Quality Assurance, and Control
        Mass Fatality Morgue Operations
        Case Study: United Airlines Flight 93
        Family Assistance Considerations
        Additional Considerations: Policy, Ethics, and Family Expectations
    Chapter 22. Mass Fatality Management and the Effects of Commingling
        Overview of Mass Fatality Incidents in the U.S. from 2000 to 2013
        Planning Considerations
        Lessons Learned
    Chapter 23. The Social Complexities of Commingled Remains
        The Scientific Quandaries of Commingled Remains: Intent and Uncertainty
        Srebrenica’s Secondary Mass Graves
        Commingling’s Effect on Religious Ritual: Srebrenica’s Collective Cemetery
        Reassociation and Decisions to Bury
        Re-exhumations at Potocari
        Conclusion: Commingling of the Dead and Living

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Dr. Bradley Adams' expertise is in the field of Forensic Anthropology. He is currently the Director of the Forensic Anthropology Unit for the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City. Dr. Adams and his team are responsible for all forensic anthropology casework in the five boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island). Dr. Adams and his team are also integral players in the ongoing recovery and identification work related to the September 11, 2001 attacks of the World Trade Center. Prior to accepting the position in New York, Dr. Adams was a Forensic Anthropologist and Laboratory Manager at the Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) in Hawaii from 1997-2004. The CIL is responsible for recovering missing U.S. military personnel from remote locations across the globe and its staff utilizes forensic anthropology as a key component in the identification efforts. While with the CIL, Dr. Adams directed large-scale recovery operations in such locations as Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, and Papua New Guinea. Dr. Adams has served as an expert witness in Forensic Anthropology in multiple court cases, he has worked as the project osteologist on several archaeological excavations, he has authored/edited several books, and he has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals on topics relating primarily to forensic anthropology. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, a Fellow with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, a founding board member of the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Anthropology, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Dr. John E. Byrd earned his doctorate from the University of Tennessee in 1994. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Forensic Sciences. He has been Laboratory Director at the Central Identification Laboratory, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command since 2009.