Forensic chemists verify human remains from fat deposits
In the absence of evidence such as bones, clothing or strands of hair, forensic investigators can verify whether a body decomposed at a site indoors by looking for traces of lingering fat deposits, according to a new report.
While examining the scene of a 30-year-old death, Ohio University researcher Glen Jackson and colleagues discovered adipocere – fatty acids primarily made up of calcium salts – in a dry, airy building. Until this study, researchers had reported finding this evidence of human decomposition only in moist, anaerobic environments, such as when bodies are stored for extended periods in grave sites or submerged in water, he said.
That finding could be useful for forensic investigators looking for evidence at crime scenes, said Jackson, who published the study in the latest issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences.