CT Imaging of a Case Involving Thermal and Sharp Trauma

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Angi M. Christensen
Kera E. O'Reilly


This case involved a multiagency investigation of a fire in which an adult female and her three young children were found deceased. Anthropological analysis, including imaging using high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scanning, was used to assess skeletal trauma, which involved thermal alterations as well as sharp trauma. Due to fire-related discoloration of the bone, sharp traumas on the cranium of the adult were difficult to appreciate visually, but CT imaging helped to significantly improve visualization of the alterations. CT imaging also facilitated the preservation of the conditions of all four crania, which were appreciably altered by the fire, and for the adult individual reconstructed from multiple fragments. The contributions of various agencies and laboratory analyses, including forensic anthropological imaging, helped contribute to the successful resolution of the case.

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