Volume 43, Issue 4 (July 1998)
Postmortem Insect Activity May Mimic Perimortem Sexual Assault Clothing Patterns
Determination of perimortem sexual assault can be confounded in homicide cases in which only badly decomposed or skeletal remains are recovered. One indicator of assault is a characteristic pattern of clothing disarray, including tearing, removal, or displacement of clothing. Preliminary findings from two studies of clothed pig carrion of approximate human size (59 to 162 kg) reveal that postmortem insect activity, particularly maggot masses, and natural decompositional changes such as bloating can produce changes to clothing which mirror those seen in cases of sexual assault.