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Cuadernos de Medicina Forense

versão On-line ISSN 1988-611Xversão impressa ISSN 1135-7606


SUBIRANA, M. et al. Importance of anthropological forensic study to the juridical qualification of a violent death. Cuad. med. forense [online]. 2005, n.42, pp.293-305. ISSN 1988-611X.

Identification of a corpse in a bad condition can be complicated due to taphonomical processes and active decomposition on human remains. The combination of classical autopsy techniques, characteristic of the study of a recent corpse, and legal anthropology analysis, is fundamental in order to determine the type of lesions, the mechanism, its evolution and, as in this case, to allow a juridical qualification. In this paper we describe the case of an unidentified corpse, partially burned that appeared in the open air in a waste area. External examination showed the coexistence of carbonization, mummification, skeletal reduction and active decomposition zones. Autopsy showed the existence of stitches at abdominal level as an individual trait and, as signs of violence, a multiple craneal traumatism. A skeleton has been made with the human remains and an anthropological and odontological study was carried out. Starting from these analysis we obtained information about the age, sex, height and also peculiar morphological and odontological traits. These researches, in the light of the autopsy's results, have been compared with the information about missing people supplied by police. Finally, the identification was possible. The pattern of the skull's fracture allowed to arrange in sequence the lesions and to consider them to the repeated action of a blunt instrument such as a hammer. The chronology of the lesions, based on the pattern of interruption of irradiated fractures, permit to assure that the first hammer's blow was made on the cráneoum's rear. This has been qualified as a treacherous act and increased the murderer's penalty requested by the public attorney.

Palavras-chave : forensic anthropology; multiple craneal traumatism; homicide.

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