ANALYSIS OF HUMAN DECOMPOSITION PATTERNS WITHIN THE PINEY WOODS REGION OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS
Palermo, Alexander S.
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Temperature, climate, and various other environmental factors are known to affect the rate and process of decomposition, calling for region-specific visual characteristics to be identified, characterized, and implemented in decomposition templates for use by medico-legal personnel in order to more accurately estimate the post-mortem interval (PMI). This research aimed to more accurately describe and characterize the stages of decomposition undergone by four human cadavers within the Piney Woods region of Southeast Texas. Creating a more accurate template in terms of the stages and visually observable phases of decomposition proves beneficial to law enforcement and researchers alike by means of having the ability to correlate characteristics with a stage of decomposition, which can be linked to accumulated degree days and the estimation of the post-mortem interval. Major research goals included identifying visual characteristics associated with region-specific decomposition patterns occurring in human cadavers in the subtropical and humid region of the Piney Woods in Southeast Texas; as well as describing and analyzing the stages of decomposition that the cadavers undergo as well as any and all modifications or transformations that the cadavers experience.