COLD CASE FILE!
The Medical Examiner and police have asked for your help with a cold case. Based on
the following information, you will need to write your own report (see report outline
information below); make sure to include all the sections. Please use subheadings. You
may wish to refer to Chapter 19 of the textbook (Byers, 2011) for suggestions on how to
write a report.
You will need to:
“ Assign sex, age, stature and ancestry where possible using the methods described
in class or any additional material you deem applicable. Comment if it was
impossible to assign any of these characteristics, and if so why?
“ Construct your own inventory sheet, with appropriate illustrations and recordable
elements. Explain why these things were included in your inventory sheet. (Make
sure to properly reference any images you use.)
“ Determine the minimum number of individuals represented. What did you base
“ Comment on how personal identification could be determined in this case. What
information would you need to be successful in this (antemortem, post-mortem
data, features of the skeleton)?
“ Discuss post-mortem taphonomic factors and their effects as related to those
outlined in this case. How did you arrive at these conclusions?
“ Estimate time since death. What did you base this on?
“ Comment on any pertinent indicators of cause and manner of death.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this document is a mix of fact and fiction
presented for you to be able to construct your assignment. The human remains are
available in the lab for you to look at if you wish. Open lab is held on Fridays between
9am and 4pm. Information designated by ** indicates something which, although
consistent with forensic case situations, is not actually seen on the remains used for this
The report should be written as if you were the consulting Forensic Anthropologist on
this case. It is intended to be a professional report so write accordingly. Bear in mind that
you will need to present this report to the Medical Examiner and it may be required for
legal proceedings (so don’t over-reach with your statements). You must include the
following clearly labeled sections:
1. Summary “ A brief summary of the information in your report. Make sure to include
all pertinent information. This section should be similar to an abstract, something which
another professional could use to gain the basic facts of the case if they did not read your
2. Background “ Where were the remains found? Who were they found by? What
condition are they in?
3. Inventory and assessment “ This section should include your inventory sheet as well as
your age, sex, stature and ancestry profile. Justify the resources you used to construct
this profile. Describe any further analysis you would need to do.
You should also include your assessment of the minimum number of individuals,
postmortem taphonomy, time since death, personal identification, antemortem,
perimortem and postmortem trauma and cause and manner of death in this section.
4. Reflection “ Did you encounter any difficulties with this assignment? If so, what were
they? Were there any conclusions you weren’t able to draw? What were the difficulties
with this task? Is there any information that you could not conclude? Why? Are there
inaccuracies in the original report by the Medical Examiner? What are these
inaccuracies? Make sure to reference your information.
Justify your own inventory sheet. What does it provide that others do not? What are some
criticisms of other inventory sheets?
Excerpt from the previous Medical Examiner’s report.
The skeletonized remains were found in a wooded area on the outskirts of the city. The
remains were found scattered, probably by animals, over an area of 15 metres x 10
metres. The remains were found on the surface, covered by a thick layer of snow. They
were discovered by a local recreational cross-country skier. It appears as if the remains
were there for a period of time and may have been buried at some point.
The remains were recovered by the police and documented using photographic evidence.
Evidence was collected and brought to the Medical Examiner’s Office in bags. The bags
were opened and the remains were dried.
the police reports and photographs have been misplaced and all that is
available is the Medical Examiner’s report. There are no comments about retrieved
botanical or entomological evidence.
**Additional evidence found at the scene:
Â· Clothing, in poor condition.
Â· Pair of glasses, which appear to have been left in a pocket.
Initial inventory and assessment
**Bones are overall light in colour, smooth with evidence of sun-bleaching, weathering
and some soil staining. There is very minimal soft tissue present, which is desiccated.
The skeleton is disarticulated and incomplete. Some of the bones are fragmentary; many
long bones have ends that are either missing or fragmentary. Multiple bones show
puncture marks as well as parallel striations; some bones appear to have been broken and
the marrow removed.
The remains consist of:
Skull (including mandible)
“ Mostly intact.
“ **Skull exhibits a comminuted depressed fracture measuring 2.2 Ã— 1.3-cm on the left
side of the frontal bone. Slight beveling is seen on the inner table of the skull
“ Small inca bone
“ Spheno-occipital synchondrosis approximately 90% fused
“ Mental eminence rounded
“ Moderately rugged nuchal area with hook
“ Moderate mastoid processes
“ High and rounded frontal region
“ Intermediate supraorbital margin
“ The nasal root and nasal bridge are low, while the spine is pronounced and the lower
border is sharp. The nasal width is medium.
“ The face is intermediate in profile and shape, the eye orbits are rounded and the lower
eye border is somewhat projecting.
“ The browridges are medium and muscle markings smooth. The sutures are
moderately complex and the post-bregma region is straight.
Upper and lower dentition
“ Most teeth are present. Third molars are erupted and intact. Teeth have some wear,
which is more pronounced on the right side. The bone is receding in some areas,
exposing the tooth root. No significant carious lesions.
“ No apparent restorations or dental work.
“ Maxillary dentition “ Central incisors worn, some wear on third molars, postmortem
damage to right lateral incisor and right canine, and right lingual premolar. No
Carabelli’s cusps present.
“ Mandibular dentition “ postmortem damage to left canine, right lateral incisor, right
canine, 2 right premolars, right anterior lingual surface of first molar, left second
premolar and left first and second molars.
“ The jaws are medium and palate shape is elliptical
“ Unfused medial epiphysis
“ Large septal aperture
“ Humerus length 30.2cm
“ Large deltoid tuberosity
“ Microfractures to head
“ Possible antemortem injury to the inferior glenoid fossa. Muscle pull?
Pelvic remains, consisting of left and right os coxae
“ The pelvis is generally small and the ilium is low and flat. The iliac crest is not
“ The inlet is elliptical and the pubic shape is broad and square.
“ The pelvic morphology exhibits a wide sciatic notch with deep and well-delineated
“ Evidence of ventral arch on the left pubis and a subpubic cavity. The subpubic angle
is extremely U-shaped. The obturator foramen is intermediate and triangular.
“ Pubic length = 76.14mm
“ Ischium length = 78.92mm
“ The pubic face shows furrows filling in, a minimal ventral bevel, and a dorsal bevel
where definition is beginning. The upper and lower extremities are undefined.
“ The auricular surface is has a billowing, fine texture. There is no activity in the apical
or retro-auricular areas. There is no evident porosity.
“ Sacrum is short and broad. There is partial fusion of the sacral crest (only S1-3 are
fused). On the ventral side, the joint between S1 and S2 is unfused, while the joint
between S2 and S3 shows a partial fusion line.
“ No osteoarthritic changes.
“ Unfused spinous process of L4.
Ribs (unknown numbers)
“ An assortment of ribs is present. **Many of these appear to be damaged postmortem
and there is extensive animal activity. The sternal ends appear smooth, with an
indented (U to V-shape); they are rounded at the rim and wavy on the contour.
“ Head diameter = 39.87mm
“ Length = 42.0cm
Medical Examiner’s Summary
It appears the remains are consistent with one individual, aged over 18 years. This
individual is suspected to be male based on the skull morphology. The features of the
skull suggest non-Caucasian ancestry. There is no antemortem trauma. The sole
perimortem trauma is the fracture to the left side of the frontal bone and is identified as
cause of death. Manner of death is deemed undetermined.
Times New Roman font 12
Margins 1 inch
APA format guidelines
Please use the subheadings as outlined
There is no page limit to this assignment. That is because people will do things in
different ways. Please try to be succinct when writing though. Tables and point form are
acceptable for section 3, as long as I can understand what you are saying and can follow