Volume 48, Issue 3 (May 2003)
Twenty-Seven Years of Forensic Anthropology Casework in New Mexico
A review of anthropological consult cases for the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator was conducted for the years 1974 through 2000. A total of 596 cases are summarized and information is presented on the sex and age of the individuals, season of recovery, depositional environment, body covering, time since death, perimortem trauma, postmortem animal activity, and skeletal element recovery. Results reveal a higher percentage of male victims (76%). No variation is seen in the seasonal distribution of cases. In cases with known time since death, 35% were recovered within one week while 30% had a postmortem interval exceeding one year. Depositional environments include surface (45%), burial (13%), and airplane crashes (9.5%). In 42% of the cases, no evidence of perimortem trauma was observed. Postmortem animal activity was noted in 46% of cases. Data presented in this study may prove useful in supporting expert witness testimony and generating future research models.