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Missing in Amazonian Jungle: A Case Report of Skeletal Evidence for Dismemberment

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This case study presents the results of the recovery and analysis of three sets of disarticulated and incomplete human remains found in Ecuador, within the Amazonian jungle. Recovered body parts sustained extensive sharp force trauma situated on different aspect of the skeleton. The anthropological examination (bone reassembly, biological profile) was followed by a detailed analysis of cut marks, including a basic experimental study on pig bones to demonstrate that dismemberment may have occurred within a certain amount of time after death. Despite the location (deep into the Amazonian jungle) and the perpetrator’s actions (dismemberment and dispersion of body parts in a river), forensic work both on the field and in laboratory allowed identification of the victims and the reconstruction of the sequence of events.
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Keywords: chain saw; cut marks; dismemberment; forensic science; machete; postmortem interval

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: French Institute of Andean Studies, Whymper 442 y Coruña, Quito, Ecuador. 2: Institute of Legal Medicine, 11 rue de Humann, Université de Strasbourg, 4 rue Kirschleger, 67000 Strasbourg, F-67085 Strasbourg Cedex, France.

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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