1. robertpri007
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    robertpri007 Member

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    Fingerprints from a badly burned body?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by robertpri007, Jan 16, 2015.

    Sorry if I'm in the wrong forum section, but I've been gone a few years and don't recall where everything is located.

    My story has a body that has been seriously destroyed by a raging fire. Can fingerprints still be readable, or do they refer to dental x-rays and/or DNA?

    Many thanks, and sorry is this was the wrong place
     
  2. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I doubt fingerprints would survive. I think it would be dental records/ DNA.
     
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  3. robertpri007
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    Many thanks. That is what I hoped for.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    In a "raging fire" you might only have bones or less.

    Cremation FAQs
    And in a less intense fire:
    The fingerprint is in the dermis. Below that there is subcutaneous connective tissue. Third degree burns involve the full thickness of the dermis.
     
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  5. robertpri007
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    Many thanks. Could a big fire reduce the jaw and teeth so dental x-rays would not be effective?
    Let's say a wood house with added accelerates, alcohol, etc. Obviously my story is a homicide.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    The AISC has this answer:
    Put that together with the cremation data and you can write whatever condition of the body suits the story. Cremated remains don't have teeth left and the bones are like tiny bits of grey charcoal in with ashes that are a fine grey dust.
     
  7. Chinspinner
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    [​IMG]
     
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  8. robertpri007
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    Good stuff. My victim is an orphan, no ties to family, so I want dental x-rays to reveal his identity. It sounds like I need a fire big enough to destroy fingerprints but not enough to destroy teeth. Have a taken on a plot that cannot be possible?
    Or would be incredibly tricky?
     
  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm no expert, but my understanding is that fires can be unpredictable things, that some things can survive in good condition due to some unexplained freak circumstance.

    e.g. there are cases of "spontaneous human combustion" where the body is the only thing that burns, and the chair in which the body is found is virtually undamaged.
     
  10. robertpri007
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    Many thanks. You know FAR more than me. I want a body that must be identified by dental records, because fingerprints are gone [fire] Victim is an orphan so no family DNA. Yes, I've seen they can get DNA off his hairbrush, toothrush, etc., but I'm reall concerned mostly with existing teeth but no fingerprints. If I cannot solve it, then back to the plot drawing board!
     
  11. Chinspinner
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    Well this is easy, the skin will be destroyed by fire at a far, far lower temperature than teeth.
     
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  12. robertpri007
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    OK. good! Thanks!
     
  13. Shadowfax
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    Problem with DNA from his hairbrush: who uses a hairbrush? Are you sure the hair is his?

    If it's a fairly overall fire, the hairbrush is just as likely to go up as anything else (hair burns extremely easily - if you're in a backwoods situation and struggling to get a fire lit, use a few strands of your own hair). As Chinspinner mentions, skin burns far more easily than teeth.

    Remember the furore over Richard III when a body that was identified as his by DNA was exhumed, dating back to 1485? Not burned, however!
     
  14. robertpri007
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  15. robertpri007
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    Hey, yeah, I recall that from boy scout training a zillions years ago.
    This is an office building that is detonated by a bomb from experts. I was not sure about adding the accelerates. It's on the tenth floor so FD would not get there quickly. The victim is the man who should be there, was seen going in, so no reason to suspect it's anyone else. But I want no fingerprints and the necessity of using dental records.

    It's a tiny minute aspect to the story plot, but without it, the plot unravels.
     

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