Understanding clothed buried remains: the analysis of decomposition fluids and their influence on clothing in model burial environments

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology, 2019, 15 (1), pp. 3 - 12
Issue Date:
Filename Description Size
Ueland2019_Article_UnderstandingClothedBuriedRema.pdfPublished Version4 MB
Adobe PDF
Full metadata record
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Previous studies of fabric degradation have shown promising results for post-mortem interval estimations based on differences in the degradation states of clothing in the presence of decomposing remains. It is crucial to determine if a body was present when using the degradation state as an indicator of time since death. For this study, fabric samples from buried pig remains were collected and analyzed using attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and chromatography- mass spectrometry. Three different fabrics were investigated; 100% cotton, 100% polyester and a polyester-cotton blend. Distinct visual changes were observed between the experimental and control graves, with the fabrics in the control grave degrading more rapidly. There was also a difference between the fabric types, whereby the natural fabrics degraded much faster than the synthetic ones. Principal component analysis was used to determine that the cotton control samples could be statistically separated based on their degradation state. The presence of lipids and proteins were useful for separating “wetter” graves from those drier in nature as well as the control graves. Clothing evidence was demonstrated to provide quantitative time since death information, as well as indicating the decomposition site in the event of intentional or unintentional movement.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: