Journal Published Online: 01 September 1996
Volume 41, Issue 5

Septic Tank Burial: Not Just Another Skeleton in the Closet



Backed-up toilets lead to the discovery of a skeleton in the septic tank. Our challenges began with the excavation of this unconventional grave and progressed through recovery and examination of the skeleton, determination of the cause and manner of death, and ultimately, identification of the victim. Main aspects of the septic tank system are summarized, including functional theory, physical design and components, and general comments on use and maintenance. We discuss some basic principles applicable to the excavation and examination of any human skeletal remains, and offer a general approach to identification of the decedent.

Author Information

Lew, EO
Dade County Medical Examiner Dept., Miami, FL
Bannach, BG
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Canada, AB
Rodriguez, WC
The Office of The Armed Forces Medical Examiner, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC
Pages: 4
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: JFS14018J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS14018J