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Dr. Katherine Brown- Forensic Research In Resurrection Of Burn Bones

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“As criminals have become more advanced in their approach, it's time for the forensic scientists and detectives to be one step ahead of them.”

In the times of COVID-19, with all the uncertainty and chaos surrounding us, many have opened the gateway to their dark side. Domestic violence peaked by 5% during these critical times, and on the bright side other violent crimes, like assault, robbery, murder, and rape have declined by 25% in America according to The Economist.

Especially in the initial four phases of the COVID-19 lock down women in India reported more domestic violence than in the previous 10 years, which is shocking. From 25th March- 31st May 2020 there have been a total of 3,11,477 domestic complaints according to The Hindu. What is saddening is that about 86% of the women don’t even report out of fear.

Sometimes the lack of advanced forensic research and manpower has to lead to the accused running scot-free. To put a dent in the number of crimes and to bar more people who are guilty, Dr. Katherine Brown has come up with new research. On June 30th 2020 she found a new method to use 3D technology to bring burnt bones back for investigation.

We all may have watched serials like crime patrol, serial killer cases on the discovery, and so on. Many criminals try to burn the body to get rid of all the evidence, to cover up their crimes, and flee. As a result of that, it is difficult to identify the victim's dead body, the time and the cause of death, and even if there was sexual assault.

When the forensic investigation team arrives at the crime scene they analyze for human remains, blood splatter, ballistics, DNA samples of the victim or the accused, method used to commit the crime, fingerprints, etc. “But the samples need to go through a ‘physical fit analysis’ to understand if the pieces of evidence were originally one whole or not”, says Dr. Katherine Brown.

She is a researcher and lecturer in the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, at the University of Portsmouth. The subjects taught by her are entomology (which is a branch that studies the relation between insects and humans), criminology, and taphonomy (is the branch that studies fossilization) for graduates and post-graduates. Most of her studies involve time-since-death analysis by using a blowfly as the model organism.

To confirm the physical fit analysis at a crime scene, links have to be made between the place of the suspects at the crime scene, let reconstruction of the objects take place and the location of the crime. It’s challenging for the forensic experts to conduct the study when the bones are fragile or embedded in other matters and the other two problems are manually handling and assembling the skeletal remains.

While Dr. Katherine Brown and her team found it difficult to fix the jigsaw puzzle with the skeletal remains, because of that they switched to 3D technology. The use of 3D has increased across the field of criminology and forensics. This approach is now being tried for the physical fit analysis, because of it, the jurisdiction has a chance to look for replicas of the evidence. This 3D technology also has an option to look for animations and gives a 3600 view that helps forensic scientists to come to conclusions easily. Thus, provides a greater understanding to the jury. This is a great tool for presentation of the evidence in the court and investigation as compared to the ancient techniques.

Author’s view

First things first, any sort of violence against human rights shouldn’t be tolerated. If you are facing domestic abuse reach out for help. If you come across another soul who is being emotionally or physically abused at their workplace, or in their family then kindly report it to your local police.

Secondly, Dr. Katherine Brown is a researcher and a great example for us, to be more resistant and passionate about our goal. Her work on bringing burnt and damaged bones back to life has helped detectives, forensic scientists, and cops around the globe. Run after your passion like Dr. Brown, so that you can live a stress-free life, health and wealth will follow.

Article by,

Magaly Gracias

Technical Associate (trainee)

Treillis Life Sciences Pvt, Ltd

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