Nearly 70 decomposing bodies were left to rot in suitcases – all in the name of research

Bags are filled with animal remains in the bushes of Western Australia as part of the world’s largest study of its kind on decomposition.

About 70 dead piglets were placed inside cases and wheelie boxes last month to study the decomposition process and it is hoped that this research will assist crime scene investigators when working on murder cases when reconstructing events.

Temperature and humidity inside and outside the case are measured by researchers to see how this affects the remains along with any chemical changes in the bones as well as any microbiological differences.

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Some pigs are left exposed to the elements to be used as controls in this study in order to show the difference between hidden and exposed pigs.

The remains have been placed in these confined spaces for study because every year bodies and/or body parts of the deceased are discovered hidden in what are referred to as “limited access environments” according to Paula Magni, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science, Murdoch University.

Other examples of these enclosed and enclosed environments include bags, wheel drive boxes, car trunks, freezers, wardrobes, and cupboards.

Dr Magney explained: “This happens because the perpetrators are trying to avoid easy detection by the authorities and/or because they need something where they can temporarily store the body and move it from one place to another: from the primary crime scene where the death occurred./The murder occurs at the secondary crime scene, Where the body is left or discovered.

“Last year, the remains of a man were found in a box with wheels dumped in a dam near Perth, and a few weeks ago the remains of two children were found in two suitcases in New Zealand, confirming that this type of research is much needed,” she added.

There are 70 dead pigs inside the bags and wheelie boxes and many of the remains are also exposed to the elements to study the decomposition process.Swens

A ‘limited access environment’ affects the decomposition process due to a physical barrier that helps slow down the arrival of carrion insects that may colonize the body.

Thus, this affects the ability of the forensic pathologist and forensic entomologist to estimate time or death, which is vital to a correct timeline of events that can prove or disprove the suspect’s excuse.

“Time is critical in reconstructing events, to identify people, places and motivations,” Dr Magney added.

“The forensic pathologist has a short lead time of about three days since death to estimate the time since death, while insects can be present and provide information on days, months and years.

The study will help “understanding insect succession in a limited access environment provides new information to be added to the forensic entomologist’s toolbox.”

Only three research studies have been conducted in the world on cadavers in suitcases, with Dr Magney noting that the data currently available “is not sufficient to support a forensic investigation of cadavers in suitcases, and clearly do not cover issues related to cadavers in other environments, such as trunks. Wheelie”.

Additional reporting by SWNS.

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