Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of DeathBook - 2001
Provides an intriguing look at the role of forensic ecology--the study of plants, insects, chemicals, and other factors--found near a body in helping forensic pathologists determine a time of death. 25,000 first printing.
Sachs (a freelance science writer) tells the story of how the time of death of a corpse is determined, giving the history of the studies used to develop the tests for time of death. She incorporates familiar stories from famous murders and their trials into the narrative to illustrate the importance given to these tests. The main focus of the book is the researches of 12 forensic entomologists who study and time the process of decomposition in the natural world. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Looks at the role of forensic ecology--the study of plants, insects, chemicals, and other factors--found near a body in helping forensic pathologists determine the time of death.
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Jessica Snyder Sachs discusses the historical efforts to pinpoint the time of death of a murder victim (or apparent murder victim). She begins with a detailed discussion of the decay process a corpse undergoes. Next, she explains how time of death was determined historically, the growing awareness of the uncertainties involved (such as ambient temperature or the presence of a bacterial infection), and why addresssing those uncertainties is important in investigating murder cases. Snyder Sachs explains how research in entomology, forensic anthropology, botany, and chemistry has led to improvements in gauging the time at which a person died. In conjunction with her explanations of the research, Snyder Sachs includes examples of criminal cases in which the research was used to convict or exonerate a suspect. She concludes with a discussion of the lines of research that were being explored at the time the book was written.
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