Helpful Definitions

General Information

Case Type: 

In the field: Case is entered at the time of the death investigation
Retrospective: Case is entered from a retrospective death report file
Longitudinal: Case is entered from outdoor/human decomposition research facilities 
Test: For new users who want to get familiar with the survey before submitting actual, real cases

Date of Discovery: The date the body was discovered. May be different from the date of death. 

For longitudinal cases only (from human decomposition/outdoor research facilities) this is the date of observation

 

Date of Death: First select how accurate the date of death is, then select the actual date, when estimated to have died, NOT the date when pronounced dead

Date Last Known Alive: First select how accurate the date last known alive is, then select the actual date. You have the option of entering text, such as 2 days prior, 3 weeks prior, etc.

Location of discovery: If you want to drop the pin on your current location, please select the icon highlighted by the red arrow, as illustrated. If you are not allowed to disclose the exact location of the body, please enter a nearby location (close to the scene or local office responding) 

Sex: 

F: Female

M: Male

X: Intersex/Trans/Non-binary

Body Size Estimation: Based on best assessment classify body size as emaciated, normal, or obese

Emaciated: extreme lack of body fat; extremely thin; lack of muscle tone 
Normal: average or typical presence of body fat 
Obese: presence of extreme body fat; extremely overweight 

 

Presence of clothing: 

Fully Clothed: upper body and lower body (including limbs) covered; unclothed body wrapped in blankets or fabric sheets 

Partially Clothed: either upper body, lower body, or abdominal area covered 

Deposition Site Type: Description of context where body was discovered

*Special Note: if body found hanging, please select Other, and enter hanging and details in the dialog box 

Characteristics of Decomposition Select all that apply

Fresh- Livor Mortis Absent: There is no pooling of the blood in the body

Livor Mortis Unfixed: Prior to blood coagulation. If the body is moved, the blood will re-pool

Livor Mortis Fixed: Blood coagulates, preventing the blood from re-pooling if the body is moved

Fresh-Rigor Mortis Absent: Muscle stiffening has not set in

Rigor Mortis Partial: Muscle stiffening has accrued in the small muscles of the face and jaw

Rigor Mortis Full: Complete muscle stiffening

Body intact but rigor mortis has passed: Muscle stiffening has dissipated 

 

Corneal clouding: The cornea have become opaque/cloudy 

 

Drying of fingertips, lips, and/or nose: Lips, nose and fingertips may dry significantly after death, also turning brownish in color 

Greening of the abdomen: Green discoloration of abdominal skin, starting in right lower quadrant 

Skin Bullae/Slippage: Formation of vesicles (or bullae) which may contain decomposition fluid; sloughing of the epidermis from the body in any location; for hands, skin may entirely slough off, resulting in "degloving" 

Skin discoloration: Any discoloration due to postmortem/decomposition changes; not to be confused with the coloration due to livor mortis  

Marbling: Darkening of the blood vessels

Bloat: Gaseous by-products of microorganisms causing the swelling of tissues; it can be the abdomen, trunk, limbs, face 

Purging: Decomposition fluids exiting through natural orifices (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, etc.)

Adipocere (or Saponification): "Grave Wax." The grayish-white substance observed on or around the body

Abdominal Caving: The caving in of the abdominal area after bloat has occurred

Liquid decomp: general decomposition fluids on and around the body

Desiccation/Mummification: Preservation of skin or tissue that is desiccated or dried out

Exposed Bone with Moist Tissue: Moist tissue is present and bone can be seen as the result of the decomposition process that is not trauma induced

Exposed Bone with Desiccated Tissue: Dry tissue is present and bone can be seen

Bone with Grease: Bone is moist to the touch and may have glistening appearance

Dry Bone: Moisture is not present on surface of bone

Weathered Bone: Flaking or roughening of bone surface as the result of exposure to the environment

Burned: Evidence of postmortem burning on the body 

Embalmed: Mostly encountered in exhumation cases 

Other Decomp: You have the option of entering any other characteristics of decomposition not included above 

Insect Characteristics Select all that apply

Fly Eggs: Small white or yellow specks often seen around eyes, nose, mouth, genitals, or wounds

Larva: Maggots in any stage of development - often resembles grains of rice

Pupae: Hard or hollow black pellets located around the body in soil or other surrounding material

Adult Flies: Common fly often with iridescent or dark grey bodies observed in close proximity or on the body

Beetles: Any type of beetle observed on the body

Ants: Any type of ant observed on the body. Small, red marks may be observed on the skin of the body, especially if fire ants are present

Other Insect Activity: Insect or insect activity present that are not classified above

Vertebrate Characteristics Select all that apply

Rodent Activity: Parallel striations are commonly observed on the cortical bone or trabecular bone removed from joint ends to create a pedestal

Carnivore Activity: (dogs, foxes, bears, raccoons, etc.) Commonly associated with puncture marks and/or crushing, particularly on the ends long bones. Also, disarticulation of the limbs may be commonly observed

Vultures: Evidence of vulture activity which may be associated with rapid skeletonization, fractures inside the eye orbits, and/or rib fractures

Other Scavenger Activity: Modification of remains by other animals not described above

Estimating PMI 

This allows you to determine the calendar date or range corresponding to an accumulated degree day (ADD) or total body score (TBS) determined from published/currently available methods based on the mean daily temperature of the nearest weather station.


The application automatically compiles information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to locate the nearest weather station and calculate the mean daily temperature until it reaches the accumulated degree days entered, thus providing you with an estimated PMI and corresponding calendar date.


If TBS is selected, the application uses the formula of Megyesi et al. (2005): ADD = 10^(0.002∗TBS∗TBS+1.81) ± 388.16.


The calendar date is based only on temperature data and not on the information entered about the case (to read more about how this project strives to improve upon current methods, click here). geoFOR aims to provide you with PMI estimates in a simpler and faster format.


You will immediately receive an email with the results. 

 

References:

 

Megyesi, M. S., S. P. Nawrocki, et al. (2005). "Using accumulated degree-days to estimate the postmortem interval from decomposed human remains." Journal of Forensic Sciences 50(3): 618-626.

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