Volume 43, Issue 1 (January 1998)
Three Case Studies in Forensic Entomology from Southern Italy
Three cases of forensic interest regarding the estimation of postmortem interval (PMI) by entomological data are presented. The three cases concerning criminal investigations were performed in Southern Italy by the Entomological Laboratory of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bari. For each case the authors present a detailed description of the remains as observed at the crime scene and a description of the arthropods collected from the remains. The PMI estimation was based on comparison of data from autopsy reports (rate of decay), local environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, rainfall) and development times for the immature stages of each species of local arthropod and succession patterns. The collection of insects was performed at the discovery site and during autopsy procedures. In the first case a PMI of 5 to 8 days was established based on the presence of adult specimens of Saprinus aeneus (family Histeridae), and mature larvae of Chrysomya albiceps and Sarcophaga carnaria (3rd instar). In the second case, on the charred remains of a corpse, larvae of Sarcophaga haemorrhoidalis (3rd instar) and Protophormia terraenovae (2nd instar) were observed in different developmental stages, as indicated, giving a PMI of 3 to 4 days based on entomological data. In the third case a PMI of 36 to 48 hours was defined from the evidence of Calliphora vicina 2nd instar on the two burnt bodies. In all cases the entomological evidence alone led to conclusions on PMI.