Positive identification in a case of intentional extreme fragmentation.

  • Owsley D
  • Mann R
  • Chapman R
 et al. 
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Abstract

The investigation of the first of the murders of young males to which Jeffrey Dahmer confessed led to systematic survey of two acres of semirural property in Bath Township, Ohio. The survey revealed the fragmentary skeleton of a young adult male, as well as bones of several species of animals. Through archaeobiological analysis, the animal bones were identified and taphonomic modifications documented. The human bones were dry and weathered, and many were rodent-gnawed, indicating that they had been exposed for many years. The human bones displayed an extreme degree of splintering, warping, bending, and spiral breakage. The only relatively complete bone was a cervical vertebra. Dismemberment and breakage had been accomplished by cutting, blunt force, and, in the case of the ribs, manual bending. Even in so extreme a case of intentional fragmentation, however, forensic anthropological analysis resulted in positive identification, with the primary criteria based on matching osteological features evident in premortem and postmortem radiographs of a cervical vertebra.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Age Determination by Skeleton
  • Bone and Bones
  • Bone and Bones: pathology
  • Bone and Bones: radiography
  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Cervical Vertebrae: pathology
  • Cervical Vertebrae: radiography
  • Forensic Dentistry
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molar
  • Molar: pathology
  • Molar: radiography
  • Tooth
  • Tooth: pathology
  • Tooth: radiography

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Authors

  • D W Owsley

  • R W Mann

  • R E Chapman

  • E Moore

  • W a Cox

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