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1/5. Postmortem interval (PMI) determined by study sarcophagous biocenoses: three cases from the province of Venice (italy).

    This paper presents and discusses three cases of cadavers found, unburied, in the province of Venice, Northern italy. In each case, all insect species playing some role in carrion decay processes, both sarcophagous and their predators, found on or in the bodies, were collected and determined. In one case, many larvae of the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens L. (diptera: Stratiomyidae) were found and are reported, for the first time in italy, as necrophagous. Experimental breeding of some fly species was also carried out in controlled temperature and humidity conditions. In particular, it was of interest to know how the Neotropical black soldier fly modified its life-cycle to adapt to a temperate climate. It was thus possible to establish the rate of larval growth and timing of pupation, emergence, oviposition and hatching in various external conditions. The postmortem interval (PMI) established by identifying the life-cycle stages of dipterofauna were later confirmed in all cases through police investigations and the results of forensic analyses.
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2/5. The body buried twice.

    The authors report the case of an unusual reason for an "exhumation." A young person "exhumed" a child's body involved in a road accident because he wanted to test methods for preventing or slowing down the process of postmortem decay.
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3/5. Decomposition chemistry of human remains: a new methodology for determining the postmortem interval.

    This study was conducted to characterize the chemistry associated with the decomposition of human remains with the objective of identifying time-dependent biomarkers of decomposition. The purpose of this work was to develop an accurate and precise method for measuring the postmortem interval (PMI) of human remains. Eighteen subjects were placed within a decay research facility throughout a four-year time period and allowed to decompose naturally. Field autopsies were performed and tissue samples were regularly collected until the tissues decomposed to the point where they were no longer recognizable (encompassing a cumulative degree hour (CDH) range of approximately 1000 (approximately 3 weeks)). Analysis of the biomarkers (amino acids, neurotransmitters, and decompositional by-products) in various organs (liver, kidney, heart, brain, muscle) revealed distinct patterns useful for determining the PMI when based on CDHs. Proper use of the methods described herein allow for PMIs so accurate that the estimate is limited by the ability to obtain correct temperature data at a crime scene rather than sample variability.
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keywords = decay
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4/5. The black soldier fly Hermetia illucens (diptera: Stratiomyidae) as a potential measure of human postmortem interval: observations and case histories.

    The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.), has been shown to be a ubiquitous inhabitant of both surface and buried human remains throughout the southern, central and western united states and hawaii. Unlike most other species of forensically important diptera, this species frequently dominates bodies in the dry/post decay stage of decomposition. Adults of the black soldier fly appear to initiate oviposition (egg laying) 20 to 30 days postmortem. Even at warm temperatures (27.8 degrees C), subsequent completion of the life cycle can require an additional 55 days. life history data for H. illucens, when used in combination with data for other cohabiting arthropod species and viewed in the context of local environmental conditions, can provide medicolegal investigators with valuable parameters for estimating the postmortem intervals for badly decomposed remains.
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5/5. Three case studies in forensic entomology from southern italy.

    Three cases of forensic interest regarding the estimation of postmortem interval (PMI) by entomological data are presented. The three cases concerning criminal investigations were performed in Southern italy by the Entomological Laboratory of the Institute of forensic medicine at the University of Bari. For each case the authors present a detailed description of the remains as observed at the crime scene and a description of the arthropods collected from the remains. The PMI estimation was based on comparison of data from autopsy reports (rate of decay), local environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, rainfall) and development times for the immature stages of each species of local arthropod and succession patterns. The collection of insects was performed at the discovery site and during autopsy procedures. In the first case a PMI of 5 to 8 days was established based on the presence of adult specimens of Saprinus aeneus (family Histeridae), and mature larvae of Chrysomya albiceps and Sarcophaga carnaria (3rd instar). In the second case, on the charred remains of a corpse, larvae of Sarcophaga haemorrhoidalis (3rd instar) and Protophormia terraenovae (2nd instar) were observed in different developmental stages, as indicated, giving a PMI of 3 to 4 days based on entomological data. In the third case a PMI of 36 to 48 hours was defined from the evidence of Calliphora vicina 2nd instar on the two burnt bodies. In all cases the entomological evidence alone led to conclusions on PMI.
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