KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A University of Tennessee forensic researcher has given law enforcement officials another tool to identify human remains.
Dr. Murray Marks, associate director of the Forensic Anthropology Center at UT-Knoxville, developed a new procedure that uses home video images to identify human bodies when no dental or medical records are available.
A report on his work appears in the May issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences.
Marks said the new method is especially useful in identifying young children and homeless people who often have no medical records.
Unlike still photos, different angles and movements on video images provide three-dimensional data. The information enables investigators to use a wide range of advanced computer-graphic techniques to make a positive identification, Marks said.
Marks recently used the process to help police identify remains of a young girl found in an attic in Knoxville.
Police suspected the remains were those of a child who had been missing since 1992. There were no dental records to use for comparison, but videos showing the young girl smiling had been made just before she disappeared.
Marks and researchers in UT-Knoxville’s dentistry department matched the remains of the little girl’s jaws, which showed a severe underbite, to images in the videos.
“Video camcorders are the photo albums of the nineties,” Marks said. “This new process allows a positive identification to be made from video images.”
Contact: Dr. Murray Marks (423-974-4408)