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FSC 239: Lecture for Assignment 1.docx

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Forensic Science
Wade Knaap

Assignment 1: Forensic Anthropology Case Study: Dr. Tracy Rogers  What is the point of this assignment? o In first year you are generally told that you can’t use textbooks to write essays. o So we want you to use original sources first year. o In second year, we want you to be familiar with journals. o There are different types of journal articles. o Your professors will want you to utilize the research articles because these are the ones that are experimental, correlation and most extensive. o There are shorter articles too. Technical notes test and validate one specific technique. o Another kind of short article is brief communication. These articles usually address an issue instead of addressing a technique. It usually addresses something that was maybe addressed in another article. o The last kind is a case study, which focuses on usually one, two, three or four specific examples of something in your field. So a specific case, and from that specific case you are hopefully able to generalize and learn something larger. o Case studies can be presented at a conference too. o Case studies tend to be used in situations where it’s difficult to do an experiment. E.g. think about medicine and think about how difficult it would be to do an experiment on a disease. Psychology experiments can also be difficult. o Case studies are told in narrative format, it’s basically a story about a particular individual or circumstance. It’s very interesting from that perspective. o The thing to remember is that a good case study should not just be entertaining, it should be informative. You need to learn something from a case study. o We want you to start thinking about what makes a good case study. This is the point of the assignment. o You want to be able to distinguish a good case study from a poor one. o One way you can tell that it’s a good case study is that right off the top they tell you what the purpose is. There should be a very clearly stated purpose. o There are often two prime purposes to a case study. o Generally, you might find that a case study might provide guidance to you in a unique situation. E.g. a rare disease, how will they recognize the symptoms and stuff? These case studies help doctors recognize these diseases. o The second component is that there may be a lesson there. It’s not the specific circumstances that they are trying to tell you about primarily. They are trying to tell you a lesson they learned from this case and it’s a lesson you can take with you. o You have to ask yourself when you are reading a case study, what is the message or what is the lesson the author wants you to take from this? If it’s just telling you an interesting story, but it’s not a valuable case study for you to utilize.  Purpose – Three Main Points o There are 3 main points. o The first is that assumptions can be misleading. People don’t always realize how easy it is to assume things. You start assuming things right from the first time you hear about something. You really need to think about those assumptions you are making and stop yourself and evaluate them. o The second is that unique scenes require unique solutions. We have our typical kinds of processes that we use, we like to things to progress in a very particular way. There are going to be cases where standard is not going to work. You can lose evidence by trying to do things the standard or the usual way. o The third is that importance of critical thinking in crime scene investigation. Today’s case study will show you how we utilize critical thinking to help me figure out how to approach the case and what I needed to do to collect the evidence in the most useful way.  Initial Phone Call – Initial Assumption: o You are going to start building a mental picture and you are going to start assuming things the first time. o So in this case, my initial phone call about the case that came from police officers in US Minister when I was living out in BC. They asked me if its possible to distinguish cemetery remains from recent illegal burials? I said to them “Yes, you can do that”. Immediately I started thinking about typical cemetery environments. o So first of all you can have a grave that happens to erode. The older cemetery that’s build on a hill is most common. A grave eroding, or a grave robber or vandal. Someone who has desecrated a grave and some bones has been exposed. Finally, the other alternative I was thinking about was situation where cemetery is restructuring. Cemeteries can legally move bodies and put them in other areas. If they need to expand and put roadways, then they are allowed to move bodies. And when they do that, there are no specific guidelines in how they have to do that. o Arrived at scene expecting fragmented, old bones near head stone or hill.  The Scene: o She encountered something else. o It was not in the main area of the cemetery, it was in the maintenance area of the cemetery. It was not the burial area. It was where they keep the dump in. This shaft is about 2.5 Meters deep and it was dug by a backhoe. There was a coffin shaped object still dirt covered. Right beside the shaft was the backfill sprinkled with tissue, bone, hair, and cheap coffin handles.  First Question When Tissue, Bone, body Part Discovered o We have to immediately address the issue of whether or not this material is human. o Is it Human? This is the first question. o Generally it is easier to determine if something is human by looking at the bone. o Rogers tends to prefer to always work with the bone. o The first step in this process is to try to find recognizable features. o Sometimes I have cases where there’s a lot of decomposing tissue and its impossible to tell anything in that tissue. Sometimes you must feel the bone’s shape through decomposed tissue.  Arrived at Scene 4 pm in Winter o It was getting darker and Rogers expected a quick trip. o In fact, it was an unusual circumstance. The bone was greasy and had a texture to it that meant that it was recent bone. This meant that they were dealing with a forensically significant case. o In this case, because they have human remains that are recent, it means that it is forensically significant.  Day 2 o It had been raining and the grave shaft was full of water. o You are going to need to pump out the water in such a way that you wont damage or lose evidence. o In this case, we arranged the city to come in and pump this out. o It started to rain again while this was going on. Added more compication. o What happens to large mounts of soils that get wet in r
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