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Macroscopic, Microscopic, and Chemical Assessment of Gunshot Lesions on Decomposed Pig Skin

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Very little literature exists on gunshot wounds on decomposed material. In this study, seven pig heads underwent a shooting test. Entrance wounds from the first head underwent neutron activation analysis (NAA) and histological testing immediately after the firing test; the other six heads were exposed to two different environments (open air and soil) and analyzed by radiochemical and histological tests every 15 days. Gunshot wounds in air maintained their morphological characteristics, and those in soil showed severe alteration after 5 weeks. Microscopic testing verified positive results for lead in all gunshot wounds in open air, whereas in most of those in soil lead could not be detected. Radiochemical analysis performed by NAA yielded for all gunshot wounds but one antimony quantities in the range of 0.07–13.89 μg. In conclusion, it may be possible to detect residues of antimony even in degraded tissues.
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Keywords: decomposition; forensic pathology; forensic science; gunshot wounds; inhumation; neutron activation analysis; sodium rhodizonate

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: LABANOF, Laboratorio di Antropologia e Odontologia Forense, Istituto di Medicina Legale e delle Assicurazioni, V. Mangiagalli 37, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy. 2: Dipartimento di Chimica, Viale Taramelli 12, Università di Pavia, Italy. 3: Dipartimento di Anatomia Patologica, V. Venezian 1, Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano, Italy.

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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