Date of Award
Master of Science in Biology - (M.S.)
Federated Department of Biological Sciences
Gareth J. Russell
By protocol, ambient and body temperatures are collected at every investigated death scene. These data has been used since 1839 to estimate the time of death, a crucial factor when it comes to cases of unnatural deaths and homicides. The Glaister Equation and Henssge's nomogram, commonly used to calculate estimated time of death, are inconsistent and often do not agree with each other. Therefore, my objective was to evaluate and improve them.
I collected data in the field and consistently measured temperature data. Furthermore, I was granted access to a database of every death in New Jersey and published data. I found that the Glaister Equation with a cooling rate of 2 degrees/hour was the most accurate available method. Moreover, I demonstrate that it is possible to develop an equation that gives a more consistently accurate time of death estimation for this data set.
Berdan, Carly, "Improving methods to estimate time of death from body temperature" (2018). Theses. 1607.