When Remains can't be Identified, Who you gonna call?

Essay by Wintergirl1613College, UndergraduateC, October 2014

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Allison Reuterdahl


Lynne Lerych

English 101

Essay #1 Draft

When Remains can't be identified, who you gonna call?

The death of someone we care deeply about, whether it is a loved one, a friend, or even a colleague can be heart wrenching, and sometimes, their remains cannot be found, but when they are, it can bring closure. When remains are beyond that easy recognition, a Forensic Anthropologist is there to help. Forensic Anthropologists are brought in by an investigative force to identify human remains, and find cause of death.

Forensic Anthropologists are used to identify remains because they are too decomposed or damaged beyond recognition. In the book Trail of Bones: More cases from the Files of a Forensic Anthropologist the first case was about a victim that had been stabbed and the body parts scattered around the tracks by the assailant. While they were searching for more of the remains, Mary found the skull, and while just examining it found that it had African American features, and that it was a young adult.

Their search also helped them discover that it seemed the remains were down there for approximately three weeks. (Manhein, pg. 6-7). This shows just how important a Forensic Anthropologist can be because they have already found clues to help them narrow a search for identification. Sometimes it isn't just a single set of remains, but multiple victim's remains can be found, and at times even mixed together, so a Forensic Anthropologist must distinguish the remains from one another, and identify them. The International Journal of Legal Medicine published an article about a multiple homicide in Portugal where remains of six different bodies were found, and then when an investigative team, including a forensic anthropologist, was sent they found that two victims had been misidentified, and...