One of the more interesting or perhaps creepy crawly facts about crime scene investigation is that forensic entomology is used more and more to help solve crimes. This type of work within the crime scene condition is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart. It sometimes makes me shudder just thinking about it.
Forensic entomology is the study of insects and how it relates to the condition of a decomposing body. This can be a crucial piece to the puzzle in homicide investigations. An entomologist can type the insects and their state of development, environmental factors, weather data, and current condition of the body, which can provide investigators an accurate indicator of the time of death.
The various clues are derived from maggots, flies, beetles, and other types of insects that help to tell the story of death. How’s that for the ultimate jigsaw crime puzzle? There are certain types of flies that are attracted to the odor of decomposing human and animal tissues. Basically, the fly lays eggs on the dead body with the resulting factor of larvae, or maggots. The development of the eggs and adult flies help to pinpoint a timeline.
The forensic entomologist uses the evidence of the development sequence of insects to work backward to deduce the time of death, or post mortem interval. The timeline is extremely important in homicide investigations. It can pinpoint, fairly accurately, the time of death, and possibly point to who might be responsible for the act.
Forensic entomology is used in the investigation for civil cases as well as criminal. Homicide investigations seem to get all the attention for this forensic science, but civil cases can benefit as well. Think about product liability, such as food, various goods, and environment.
In crime scene investigation, entomological evidence has been used more frequently in recent years. There is a need for trained forensic entomologists, but there are few universities that offer this type of training. Many forensic entomologists first train and study medical entomology, then they specialize in the forensic area.
You many never look at bugs the same way again!
* * *
Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting