Journal Published Online: 01 September 1997
Volume 42, Issue 5

The Use of Insects to Determine Time of Decapitation: A Case-Study from British Columbia



A case is presented in which insects were used to determine time of decapitation. A severed human head was located on 28 June in a ditch on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The victim had been missing since 17 June. Prepupal Calliphora vomitoria (L.) were found at the cut surface of the neck and no evidence of insect feeding was observed at any of the natural orifices; the eyes were intact. Meteorological and insect developmental data indicated that the insects had been oviposited on or before 20 June. The lack of feeding at the orifices, together with the evidence of feeding and presence of insects at the cut surface of the neck indicated that the eggs had been laid after decapitation. Therefore, decapitation had occurred on or before 20 June. This was consistent with later police evidence.

Author Information

Anderson, GS
School of Criminology, 8888 University Dr., Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada
Pages: 4
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: JFS14239J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS14239J