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Pandora’s box


Gascho, Dominic; Bolliger, Stephan A; Enders, Markus; Thali, Michael J; Fliss, Barbara (2018). Pandora’s box. Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology, 14(1):120-122.

Abstract

Suitcases or other containers are occasionally involved in forensic investigations. If there is a suspicion that human remains are hidden inside such a container, medico-legal examinations are required. However, these containers are occasionally locked. Forced opening of a locked suitcase or container may cause damage to its contents. Additionally, the safety of the investigator has to be considered as such containers may be booby-trapped or contain other hazardous material. An overview of the contents before opening is desirable in order to avoid the possibility of encountering a Pandora's box. In forensic medicine, an established approach to examine the inside of a body before opening at autopsy is postmortem computed tomography (CT). However, there may be a reluctance to use this approach for suitcases or containers with metallic components because of the assumption that severe metal artifacts will result in inadequate images. In this article, we present a forensic case in which a CT scan of a metallic suitcase was performed in order to examine its contents. Additionally, we performed an experimental scan of a conventional safe in order to determine if CT is able to reveal the contents of such a highly radiopaque storage box.

Abstract

Suitcases or other containers are occasionally involved in forensic investigations. If there is a suspicion that human remains are hidden inside such a container, medico-legal examinations are required. However, these containers are occasionally locked. Forced opening of a locked suitcase or container may cause damage to its contents. Additionally, the safety of the investigator has to be considered as such containers may be booby-trapped or contain other hazardous material. An overview of the contents before opening is desirable in order to avoid the possibility of encountering a Pandora's box. In forensic medicine, an established approach to examine the inside of a body before opening at autopsy is postmortem computed tomography (CT). However, there may be a reluctance to use this approach for suitcases or containers with metallic components because of the assumption that severe metal artifacts will result in inadequate images. In this article, we present a forensic case in which a CT scan of a metallic suitcase was performed in order to examine its contents. Additionally, we performed an experimental scan of a conventional safe in order to determine if CT is able to reveal the contents of such a highly radiopaque storage box.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:26 Apr 2018 13:22
Last Modified:26 Apr 2018 13:23
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1547-769X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s12024-018-9948-z
PubMed ID:29423777

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