Volume 36, Issue 6 (November 1991)

    Cocaine in Decomposed Human Remains

    (Received 17 January 1991; accepted 16 April 1991)

    CODEN: JFSOAD

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    Abstract

    From March 1988 through March 1990, at the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office toxicology laboratory, samples from 77 decomposed human bodies were tested for the presence of cocaine, employing gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The material analyzed included decomposed soft tissue, bloody decomposition fluid, mummified tissue, maggots, and beetle feces. Twenty-two cases (28.6%) were positive for cocaine, many of these cases in states of advanced decomposition. These findings indicate the usefulness of testing decomposed tissue for cocaine in all cases where its presence is suspected. This is contrary to what might be expected, since cocaine is generally labile and rapidly broken down by both enzymatic and nonenzymatic mechanisms.


    Author Information:

    Manhoff, DT
    Pathology resident, deputy medical examiner, chemists, toxicologist, and medical examiner, Medical Examiner's Office, Philadelphia, PA

    Caputo, F
    Pathology resident, deputy medical examiner, chemists, toxicologist, and medical examiner, Medical Examiner's Office, Philadelphia, PA

    Mirchandani, HG
    Pathology resident, deputy medical examiner, chemists, toxicologist, and medical examiner, Medical Examiner's Office, Philadelphia, PA

    Hood, I
    Pathology resident, deputy medical examiner, chemists, toxicologist, and medical examiner, Medical Examiner's Office, Philadelphia, PA

    Perry, J
    Pathology resident, deputy medical examiner, chemists, toxicologist, and medical examiner, Medical Examiner's Office, Philadelphia, PA

    Rosen, S
    Pathology resident, deputy medical examiner, chemists, toxicologist, and medical examiner, Medical Examiner's Office, Philadelphia, PA


    Stock #: JFS13196J

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS13196J

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    Author
    Title Cocaine in Decomposed Human Remains
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30