Radiography Superimposition in Personal Identification - A Case Study Involving Surgical Implants

  • Pushparani C
  • Ravichandran C
  • Sivakumari K
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Till date, the identity of decomposed corpse is a challenging task in all Forensic Laboratories.DNA typing is the primary technique for personal identification. Using ante-mortem and post-mortem DNA profiles in personal identification is impossible in South Indian population due to non-availability of DNA profile for the existing population. Personal identity of the deceased becomes critical in instances like the absence of parents and children for DNA profile comparison. Skull-photograph superimposition is another technique for personal identification in Forensic Science Laboratories. One-third of the cases received for identification through DNA profiles failed with some technical inabilities. Though superimposition technique is easily available and most pioneering, only a probable opinion could be arrived from it. But the court of law accepts only the conclusive identity, the DNA profiles give. When ante-mortem dental records or radiographs are received for superimposition, the conclusive identity will be achieved. In this case of personal identity of a skull, DNA profiles for comparison could not be obtained as the deceased had no parents and children, the skull-photograph superimposition offered only a probable opinion, but the superimposition of the photographs of ante-mortem and post-mortem radiographs of the surgical implant (stainless steel orthopedic fixation device) of the suspected deceased rendered conclusive identity.




Pushparani, C., Ravichandran, C. P., & Sivakumari, K. (2012). Radiography Superimposition in Personal Identification - A Case Study Involving Surgical Implants. Journal of Forensic Research, 03(01).

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