(Received 5 October 1990; accepted 25 February 1991)
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Valuable forensic information can be obtained from analysis of human bite mark injuries after careful retrieval of such evidence from living or deceased victims. It is difficult, however, to maintain the anatomical configuration of the skin, especially where body contours complicate the recovery process.
Transillumination of the injury pattern in the skin after removal and preservation of the tissue from a deceased victim can provide significant information in the investigation process. A dimensionally stable matrix is required to support the skin's anatomical configuration during and after its removal. The authors have developed a unique and convenient method of heating and contouring a ring of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) plastic using table salt over a heat source. When this ring is applied to the deceased victim's skin, and a backing material is added for support, removal of the skin and the bite mark can be accomplished more predictably while maintaining the anatomical contour.
It is important to record bite marks accurately as soon after discovery as possible; the authors believe that this technique will significantly aid recovery of such evidence either at the crime scene or in the laboratory. A method of inscribing appropriate anatomical markers and case numbers on the rings is also described.
Assistant professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., British Columbia
Coroner in charge, Forensic Identificaton Unit, British Columbia Coroners Service, Burnaby, British Columbia
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