(Received 13 August 1999; accepted 8 February 2000)
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Only two types of human hair roots (proximal ends) derived from decomposing scalps are reported in the literature. The most common representation of the putrid root includes a postmortem dark root band in published photomicrographs. In this study, 22 cases were reviewed in which there was reliable time of death documentation from medical investigator reports. A review of these cases finds that the most common putrid hair proximal end change does not contain the postmortem root band. Four primary types of hair proximal end postmortem change were identified. This study finds no correlation of time of death with scalp hair proximal end decomposition. In addition two examples are presented that suggest that hair roots do not decompose after fresh removal from the scalp and exposure to the outside elements.
Forensic scientist senior, Division of Forensic Science, Richmond, VA
Forensic pathologist, South Bend Medical Foundation, South Bend, IN
Stock #: JFS14906J