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CMRJ 402-FINAL – Four types of child abuse and importance of the identification of human remains

Question 1

A. Discuss the four types of child abuse–clearly mark each one. Include in your discussion, the six patterns of child abuse. Be sure to include characteristics and examples to show your understanding of the terms.
B. Discuss several of the challenges that an investigator may face when investigating child abuse.

Question 2
Discuss the importance of the identification of human remains. Be sure and include specific means of identification verses non-specific means.

Question 1

The Pedestrian involved in the hit and run homicide most likely sustained bumper injuries on the lower parts of the limbs and whiplash injuries of the neck. These injuries are usually severe with fractures and large extent wounds to the soft tissue. The examination of the severity of these injuries may reveal the details of the unknown vehicle such as the speed at which it was moving, the shape and the age of the diseased (Spitz & Fisher, 1993). The wounds to the calfskin and injuries to the calf muscles are examined to reveal the direction of impact.

The victim may have sustained typical impact injuries causing extensive fractures to the pelvis, pubic rami or opposite side hip may signify impact by the radiator guard. Thoracic and lumbar wounds from the crushing by the impact of the hood may also be present. Superficial tears with minimal hemorrhage on the skin often reveal overstretching. If the pedestrian was hit from behind by a vehicle traveling at about 30 mph they might have wounds around the groin area and lower abdomen. One sided overstretching tears to the skin are also indicative of off-center impacts (Spitz & Fisher, 1993).

The victim’s body may also have deep lacerations of the groin and/or shattering of the pelvis, this shows that the vehicle hit him at 50 mph and above. If the victim was run over by the vehicle at the thighs, they would most likely have stretchmark like tears around one or both groins. Brush burns may also be present where large extents of the skin tissue is scraped off. This is consistent with a scenario where the pedestrian was hit and dragged by the vehicle along the surface of the road (Spitz & Fisher, 1993).

Question 2

The two children found at the bottom of an abandoned well are likely to have died from asphyxia caused by carbon dioxide inhalation inside the well. Carbon dioxide is a denser gas than oxygen and may have therefore accumulated and settled at the bottom of the abandoned well. When the two children were lowered into the well, the abundance of carbon dioxide at the bottom may have gradually replaced oxygen causing asphyxia (Spitz & Fisher, 1993).

Carbon dioxide inhalation is considered a potential toxicant that causes asphyxia within minutes (Aerias 2005). The gas was present in great quantity inside the well and it entered the bodies of the two children through the lungs. Through Bohr effect, the carbon dioxide displaced the oxygen from the hemoglobin hence less oxygen is available to the cells. The overabundance of carbon dioxide in the blood causes acidosis (Aerias 2005).

The increased inhalation of carbon dioxide by the two boys subsequently reacted with water in the blood to form carbonic acid. This acid dissociated to form more hydrogen ions in their blood thus acidifying the blood by lowering the blood’s pH (Priestly 2003). Furthermore, since the environment in the blood stream was depleted of oxygen, the breathing process was inhibited hence disabling cells in the body to obtain the oxygen they need to survive.

Question 3

The woman sunbathing at the beach was most likely shot from a close range rather than a contact shot by a gun being fired with the muzzle completely touching her thigh. This is because for contact shots, all the gunsmoke often enters the bullet wound and therefore deposits the soot inside the soft tissue (at the bone surface) (Cohle & Buhk, 2007).

The black markings seen surrounding the entrance wound are caused by the gunsmoke.  The gunsmoke comprises of dispersed tiny particles of gunpowder and soot. These particles are ejected together with the bullet from the gun’s barrel. Since the woman was shot at close range, each of these gunpowder grains easily reached her thigh and embedded on the superficial layers of the skin causing numerous black superficial wounds (Spitz & Fisher, 1993).

The gunshot wound could not have been from a distant shot. A distant shot does not leave the gunsmoke black markings around the entry hole. This is because the gunsmoke does not reach the target in distances exceeding 18 inches for most handguns (Spitz & Fisher, 1993). With the gunsmoke black markings present, an accurate distinction between distances can be made concerning the range at which the shot was taken.



Air Quality Science IAQ Resource Center (Aerias). (2005). Carbon Dioxide: A Common Indoor Air Pollutant. Retrived from

Cohle, S. D., & Buhk, T. T. (2007). Cause of death: Forensic files of a medical examiner. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Priestly, M. A. (2003). Medicine :Respiratory Acidosis. January, 21, 2003.

Spitz, W. U., & Fisher, R. S. (1993). Spitz and Fisher’s medicolegal investigation of death: Guidelines for the application of pathology to crime investigation. Springfield, Ill.: C.C. Thomas.

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