Septic Tank Burial: Not Just Another Skeleton in the Closet

    Volume 41, Issue 5 (September 1996)

    ISSN: 0022-1198


    Page Count: 4

    Bannach, BG
    Assistant Chief Medical Examiner, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Edmonton, AB

    Lew, EO
    Associate Medical Examiner, Dade County Medical Examiner Dept., Miami, FL

    Rodriguez, WC
    Forensic Anthropologist, The Office of The Armed Forces Medical Examiner, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC

    (Received 16 January 1996; accepted 13 February 1996)


    Backed-up toilets lead to the discovery of a skeleton in the septic tank. Our challenges began with the excavation of this unconventional grave and progressed through recovery and examination of the skeleton, determination of the cause and manner of death, and ultimately, identification of the victim. Main aspects of the septic tank system are summarized, including functional theory, physical design and components, and general comments on use and maintenance. We discuss some basic principles applicable to the excavation and examination of any human skeletal remains, and offer a general approach to identification of the decedent.

    Paper ID: JFS14018J

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS14018J

    ASTM International
    is a member of CrossRef.

    Title Septic Tank Burial: Not Just Another Skeleton in the Closet
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30