An examination of the spatial distribution of the tissue fragments created during a single explosive attack
OPEN Forensic science international | 2 Sep 2017
E DuBois, K Bowers and C Rando
Throughout the course of a forensic investigation following an explosive attack, the identification and recovery of tissue fragments is of extreme importance. There are few universally accepted methods to achieve this end. This project aims to explore this issue through the examination of the spatial distribution of the tissue fragments resulting from an explosive event. To address this, a two stage pilot study was conducted: first, a series of controlled explosions on porcine carcases was undertaken. Second, the data produced from these explosions were used to chart the spatial distribution of the tissue debris. In the controlled explosions, 3kg military grade explosive was chosen to create the maximum amount of fragmentation; this level of explosive also prevented the complete disappearance of forensic evidence through evaporation. Additionally, the blast created by military grade explosive is highly powerful and would mean that the maximum possible distance was achieved and would therefore allow the recorded distances and pattern spread to be a guideline for forensic recovery of associated with an explosive amount of an unknown size and quality. A total station was employed to record the location of the resulting forensic evidence, with the collected data analysed using R Studio. The observed patterns suggested that the distribution of remains is fairly consistent in trials under similar environmental conditions. This indicates potential for some general guidelines for forensic evidence collection (for example, the distance from the explosion that a search should cover).
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