All too often, police called to the scene of a water-related death may consider it an accidental drowning before they even arrive. But the investigation of these types of deaths requires the same careful and thorough documentation as in other potentially non-natural deaths and these efforts must be carried through all stages of investigation. Water-Related Death Investigation: Practical Methods and Forensic Applications merges the essentials of field investigation with the best practices involved in evidence collection, autopsy performance, and laboratory testing on the deceased involved in a water-related death.
Tracking the case process from the scene to the autopsy to the courtroom, this volume examines: The physiology of drowning Investigative duties of those called to the scene, including securing the scene, searching for evidence, evidence recovery, and body assessment Investigative characteristics of various selected scenes, including submerged vehicles, scuba fatalities, pool drowning, erotic drowning, and boating accidents Obtaining decedent, witness, suspect, and first responder information Pre-trial preparation for the field investigator, including exhibits, testimony, and video and audio recording The medicolegal autopsy The forensic pathological and toxicological aspects of deaths due to drowning and bodies recovered from fluid environments. Water-related death investigation involves a continuum of activities performed by a number of trained professionals. This volume demonstrates how the best collective efforts of all individuals involved in the investigation of a water-related death may help to illuminate the truth of the circumstances and unearth any criminality.
Introduction; E. J. Armstrong, MD Drowning: A Diagnosis of Exclusion Drowning Statistics The Drowning Process Importance of a Good Scene Investigation The Role of the Coroner/Medical Examiner in Medicolegal Death Investigation Investigative Duties on Scene; K. L. Erskine Securing the Scene Determining Scene Boundaries Documenting the Scene Search for Evidence Significance of the Absence or Presence of Clothing or Other Coverings on the Body Investigative Characteristics of Selected Scenes On-Scene Body Assessment; K. L. Erskine and E. J. Armstrong, MD Introduction Postmortem Wandering General Body Assessment Ocular Changes Foam Column/Foam Cone Rigor Mortis (Rigidity) Livor Mortis (Lividity) Lividity vs. Bruising (Contusion) Algor Mortis Physical Wounding of the Body Anthropophagy Maggots Decomposition Fingerprinting the Deceased in Water-Related Deaths Case Investigation: Obtaining Decedent, Witness, Suspect, and First Responder Information; K. L. Erskine Decedent Information Determining Accuracy of Statements Obtained at Scene Nonverbal Communication Why People Lie and How They Attempt to Conceal It Child Witnesses Interviews of Rescue and Recovery Personnel Pretrial Preparation for the Field Investigator; K. L. Erskine Incident Report Chain of Evidence and Exhibits Pretrial Interviews Eyewitness Testimony vs. Circumstantial Evidence Child Witnesses Expert Witnesses Video and Audio Recordings Testifying in Court: Credibility, Appearance, and Demeanor Criminal vs. Civil Proceedings Case Studies Medicolegal Investigation of Deaths: Initial Processing; E. J. Armstrong, MD The Medicolegal Autopsy; E. J. Armstrong, MD Introduction External Examination: General Information Internal Examination Reporting Application of Medicine and Pathology to Law: The Forensic Pathologist as an Expert Witness Asphyxia; E. J. Armstrong, MD The Forensic Pathological Aspects of Deaths Due to Drowning and Bodies Recovered from Fluid Environments; E. J. Armstrong, MD Introduction Water-Related Deaths: Initial Processing The Autopsy and the Diagnosis of Drowning and Other Water-Related Injury The Forensic Toxicological Aspects of Deaths Due to Drowning and Bodies Recovered from Fluid Environments; E. J. Armstrong, MD Introduction Ethanol Psychiatric Medications Illicit Drugs and Medications Carbon Monoxide Water-Related Deaths by Manner; E. J. Armstrong, MD Homicidal Water-Related Deaths Suicidal Water-Related Deaths Accidental Water-Related Deaths Natural Water-Related Deaths Undetermined Water-Related Deaths Appendix A Appendix B: Body Drop Rate Chart Appendix C: Body Recovery Checklist and Automobile Appendix D: Sample Autopsy Report Appendix E: You Make the Call Index