The Process of Establishing the Window of Death (Coursework Sample)
1. Overview: Discuss the process known as establishing the Window of Death.
2. Post Mortem Changes: Forensic scientists, pathologists, and investigators estimate
the Time of Death through an understanding of post mortem physical changes that take
place. List and explain these postmortem or after-death changes that occur in the body
that help investigators estimate the time of death. Include time frames associated with
3. Importance: Discuss the importance of establishing the time of death is homicide
investigations as outlined in our text.
The book is there too and the book’s name is “Criminal Investigation Basic Perspectives”.
Time of Death
Time of Death
The process of establishing the window of death involves a continued homicide investigation whereby witnesses who spoke or communicated with the deceased victim either over a telephone or in-person before the assault are located. These witnesses give information about the time of the conversation and the content or details of what they spoke about (Lushbaugh & Weston, 2016). The details about the activities in which the deceased was engaged before or during death are also collected, but this is mainly done within reasonable limits. There are cases when there are no witnesses for the homicide. During such cases, a pathologist and a forensic scientist can determine the time of death within the window of death (Lushbaugh & Weston, 2016). The forensic expert witness often works together with legal teams to give supporting evidence about the victim’s time of death. There are different ways through which these experts determine the deceased person’s time of death, including using the body’s temperature, rigour Mortis status, eye condition, stomach contents, body decomposition, insect activity, blood pooling, and skin condition.
Post-Mortem changes are the changes noted on a body after death. The changes can be categorized as late post-mortem changes and early post-mortem changes. These changes start soon after death and continue along a timeline. Through the process of Algor Mortis, the body begins to cool after death. In around twenty hours, the body’s temperature drops until it reaches the ambient room temperature (Lushbaugh & Weston, 2016). This process is one of the most reliable times of death indicators. However, these estimates are not exact due to a number of variables such as clothing, humidity, air movement across the body, the body temperature at the time of death and surface temperature.
Within two to six hours after death, rigour Mortis or stiffening of the muscles occurs due to the body’s biochemical changes after death. The process starts in the neck and jaw and spreads to the extremities and trunk, and within six to twelve hours, it is complete (Lushbaugh & Weston, 2016). The rigidity is noted for two to three days and disappears in the process in which it appeared, i.e. starting from the neck and jaw and spreading to the extremities and trunk. When the blood stops moving around the body, it starts to settle to the lowest part of the body due to gravity. The process, commonly known as post-mortem lividity, is noted within one hour after death and is developed within three to four hours to the fullest. It appears as reddish or blue marks on the skin (Lushbaugh & Weston, 2016). The discolouration gives two information types. The degree of discolouration indicates the time of death and movement of the body or a change of position after death.
Putrefaction, or decomposition, starts after death due to bacterial action and autolysis. Autolysis is a chemical breakdown of the body that leads to liquefaction and softening of body tissue. Bacterial action can be converted body tissues into gases and liquids (Lushbaugh & Weston, 2016). Discolouration of the skin is noticeable within twenty-four hours. The colour change is noted within thirty-six hours. Due to the bacterial action, the body swells and produces gases with an unpleasant odour. The rate of decomposition is affected by the environment. Warmer temperatures tend to increase the process, while colder temperatures impede it. Different insects feed on the dead body. They lay their eggs, which develop into larvae. These insects can reduce a body to skeletal remains in around two mo
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