Crime Scene Cleanup >> Forensics

Human remains are treated as a separate and unique type of Forensics evidence. An autopsy of the remains is completed to determine the cause and manner of any death that is violent, unusual or untimely. A pathologist will examine the human remains (post-mortem examination) and consider death scene findings. 

The medical history of the individual may also be reviewed to help determine if the death was natural, accidental or criminal. During the exam, Forensics the pathologist may recover critical evidence such as a bullet, which may help to determine the cause and manner of death. 

Furthermore, the pathologist may identify a wound pattern that can be matched to a weapon or Forensics can determine entry and exit wounds in deaths involving firearms and other projectiles.

To better equip forensics pathologists, more research is needed in the use of virtual autopsy as an alternative to traditional post-mortem exams. NIJ is focusing its funding on research and development into the use of Forensics virtual autopsy as a tool in executing a thorough post-mortem examination — whether used in concert with standard gross autopsy or as a stand-alone tool. 

More research is also needed to develop better methods to estimate time since death and Forensics to determine the cause and manner of death, especially in children and the elderly. Forensics toxicology is the analysis of biological samples for the presence of toxins, including drugs. 

The toxicology report can provide key information as to the type of substances present in an individual and if the amount of those substances is consistent with a therapeutic dosage or is above a harmful level. These results can be used to make Forensics inferences when determining a substance's potential effect on an individual's death, illness, or mental or physical impairment. 

For example, the results of a blood analysis from a driver involved in a car accident can be used to determine if the individual was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Forensics toxicology is a continually advancing discipline. New drugs are always being developed, which creates a constant need to design novel approaches for their detection. 

To rise to this challenge, new instrumentation is being used and new detection methods are constantly in development. NIJ seeks to fund research to: Forensics Improve tools and technologies to better identify, collect, preserve and analyze biological samples to show the presence of drugs and other substances in a person.

Develop faster and more efficient analytical methods for toxicological samples. Develop analytical methods for detecting emerging drugs in Forensics toxicological samples. Improve the interpretation of toxicology data to aid in understanding the relationship between drug concentration and its effect on the human body. Improve the understanding of the how drugs are redistributed throughout the body.

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