CT scans help with identification to solve cold cases

Technology typically used to diagnose medical illnesses is being used to help identify victims in cold cases.

Aug 11, 2011
By Paul Jacques
Left to right: Kay Dargue, head of South Tees Youth Justice Service, PCC Matt Storey and Chief Inspector John Dodsworth.

Technology typically used to diagnose medical illnesses is being used to help identify victims in cold cases.

Inova Alexandria Hospital in the US is using computed tomography (CT) scanning machines to examine the skulls of unidentified deceased children.

The research is being carried out in conjunction with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

Using a combination of Adobe Photoshop and FreeForm modelling, a forensic imaging specialist can reconstruct the victim’s appearance based on the person’s presumed ancestry and age.

To do a facial reconstruction, the specialist needs to have the skull digitised with a CT scan, which can produce three-dimensional images using X-ray and computer technology.

In the UK, the East Midlands Forensic Pathology unit, based at the University of Leicester, used 3D images derived from post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) scans as an aid to demonstrate injuries to a jury at Nottingham Crown Court for the first time in evidence at a UK trial.

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