Facial Recreation in Criminal Investigation
Fort Myers Criminal Lawyer News: Facial Recreation in Criminal Investigation
Criminal lawyers in Fort Myers understand that where the remains of a body are discovered, identification becomes the first step in the Fort Myers criminal investigation process. If a likeness of the individual is created and circulated, someone might recognize the person. Alternatively, if the search has been narrowed to a few individuals, photographs of these persons can be compared to the skull in question. This is called skull-to-photo superimposition.
Facial reconstruction is a fascinating art that often involves a forensic anthropologist, dentist, and artist or sculptor. Facial reconstruction from a complete or partial skull involves recreating a two-dimensional image on paper or a computer screen or sculpting one that is three-dimensional. In either case, the goal is to produce an image that is an approximate likeness of the deceased. Criminal lawyers in Fort Myers who are proficient at working on homicide cases, are more likely to have come across investigations utilizing this investigative procedure.
For the sculptor, the skull or a cast of the skull serves as the framework. A clay model is then created one layer at a time. Studies have determined the average skin thickness over certain bony landmarks of the skull. Small spacers of this thickness are placed in these areas and are then connected by strips of clay. This latticework is then filled in and contoured. Needless to say, this requires the hand and eye of an artist.
Criminal Lawyers in Fort Myers may point out that there may be many problems with this process. Hair and eye color, hairstyle, and the presence or absence of facial hair is not known. Some features, such as the nose and ears, are made of cartilage and may be absent. To draw or sculpt these features requires a "best guess." Similarly, the thickness of the skin and the amount of body fat must also be estimated, and errors in this estimation may greatly affect the final model.
If a missing individual who fits the general characteristics of the remains is identified, and if a photograph of this person is available, a skull-to-photo superimposition may be used to confirm the identification. Basically, the photo is superimposed over a similar-sized photo of the skull and the bony landmarks are compared. Fort Myers criminal lawyers may caution that this can rarely provide a conclusive match but it can eliminate certain candidates. If the photo reveals that the eyes are too widely spaced, the nose too long, or the chin is of a different contour, the skull is not that of the suspect individual. On the other hand, if all these features match, the suspect individual cannot be excluded.