View Full Version : Identification of a body

Kenra Daniels
09-12-2010, 05:38 AM
When a body has to be identified at the morgue, would an acquaintance be able to make the ID?

09-12-2010, 06:26 AM
Depends. If the body is a victim of a murder or a missing person, a family member is used to identify the body. If the body was a victim of suicide, then depending on the state of the body will a family member be asked to identify. Now as for acquaintances being used to identify, I don't know if that would be the best witness to ascertain the identity of the body. I don't know if it would stand up in court.

09-12-2010, 04:57 PM
I would think that a lot depends on the state of the body and how well the relative knows the victim. I've got several aunts/uncles/cousins who I wouldn't feel qualified to identify if I had to (we're a spread out family, don't visit much).

If the body's mangled, burned, decomposed and/or doesn't have any distinctive marks, investigators will be down to dental records, fingerprints, maybe DNA.

Forbidden Snowflake
09-12-2010, 05:12 PM
If there's no family member to ID the body, then a preliminary ID can be made through an acquaintance, however dental records, fingerprings, DNA etc. would be used to make sure.

I'm pretty certain that when the body is disfigured they even do that when one of the family members IDs him/her.

09-12-2010, 05:31 PM
DNA is usually the last resort because it is very expensive. The first things they would do is dental records if they have a candidate missing person whom they suspect the body could be. The next thing they do is peel off the hands and wear the skin on gloves and take fingerprints that way and run the fingerprints through all databases. Unless the body is chewed, gnawed, charred, etc, a cop told me they can lift fingerprints like that even after six months. If the body had drown they would have to dry the skin, if the body had been dead for a long time but in a dry place they would have to rehydrate the tissue.

Kenra Daniels
09-12-2010, 07:44 PM
My victim is in good shape, found in the trunk of an abandoned car the next day. There are no relatives who could make the ID, and he has no fingerprints in 'the system'. I think I'll have the aquaintance, the owner of the abandoned car, make the prelimary ID and have it confirmed with dental records. Does that sound reasonable?

09-12-2010, 08:04 PM