Currently, digital images and videos have high importance because they have become the main carriers of information. However, the relative ease of tampering with images and videos makes their authenticity untrustful. Digital image forensics addresses the problem of the authentication of images or their origins. One main branch of image forensics is passive image forgery detection. Images could be forged using different techniques, and the most common forgery is the copy-move, in which a region of an image is duplicated and placed elsewhere in the same image. Active techniques, such as watermarking, have been proposed to solve the image authenticity problem, but those techniques have limitations because they require human intervention or specially equipped cameras. To overcome these limitations, several passive authentication methods have been proposed. In contrast to active methods, passive methods do not require any previous information about the image, and they take advantage of specific detectable changes that forgeries can bring into the image. In this paper, we describe the current state-of-the-art of passive copy-move forgery detection methods. The key current issues in developing a robust copy-move forgery detector are then identified, and the trends of tackling those issues are addressed.
Law enforcing authorities need to provide a scientific basis for the identification of any unknown individual. In recent years, dental records comparison has developed into one such credible method of confirming the identity of a deceased. This method is however restricted as dentists are not making and maintaining adequate records of their patients. Fortunately the advent of inexpensive cameras and print processing procedures has enabled the availability of ample antemortem photographs. Photographs in which a person expresses his/her teeth 'gleefully' has provided a sound scientific basis for the identification by comparing dental characteristics of the deceased.
Cadaver body bags are the conventional method to contain a human body or human remains, which includes the use for storage and transportation of the deceased at any crime scene or disaster scene. During disasters, most often than not, the first responders including the police will be equipped with cadaver body bags to do scene processing of human remains and collection of personal belongings at the disaster site. However, in an unanticipated large scale disasters involving hundreds and thousands of fatalities, cadaver body bags supplies may be scarce. The authors have therefore innovated the cling film plastic wrap as an alternative for the cadaver body bag used at the disaster site. The plastic wrap was tested on six different experimental subjects, i.e. both adult and child mannequins; body parts of the mannequin figure (arm and hand); a human adult subject and an unknown dead body. The strengths of the cling film plastic wrap are discussed in comparison with the cadaver body bag in the aspects of costing, weight, duration of the wrap, water and body fluid resistant properties, visibility and other advantages. An average savings of more than 5000% are noted for both adult body wrap and child body wrap compared to the cadaver body wrap. This simply means that the authors can either wrap 25 adult dead bodies or 80 children dead bodies with the cost of 1 cadaver body bag. The cling film plastic wrap has proven to have significant innovation impact for dead body management particularly by the first responders in large scale disasters. With proper handling of dead bodies, first responders can manage the dead with dignity and respect in an overwhelmed situation to facilitate the humanitarian victim identification process later.
While forensic medical tasks are usually associated with supporting the criminal justice system, there are a range of forensic medical skills that can be brought to bear on addressing humanitarian activities. Disaster victim identification is a procedure that has achieved international standardisation through the work of a multinational Interpol Standing Committee. While part of a police organisation, it includes forensic pathologists, anthropologists, odontologists and molecular biologists who provide most of the specialist scientific input regarding identification that is integrated with police processes such as document examination and fingerprinting. The loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 represented a major activation of these procedures in an environment that had both humanitarian and forensic criminal investigation components. The information that is derived from the processes involved in disaster victim identification has a value that goes far beyond the determination of identity. It has an important humanitarian role in supporting the family and friends of the victims in their bereavement journey.
Bloodstain photography is important in forensic applications, especially for bloodstain pattern analysis. This study compares the enhancement effect of bloodstain photography using three different types of light source: fluorescent white light, near-ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diode (LED) light, and 410 nm LED light. Randomized complete block designs were implemented to identify the lighting that would statistically produce the best enhancement results for bloodstains on different types of surfaces. Bloodstain samples were prepared on white cotton, brown carpet, tar road, and wood. These samples were photographed in darkroom conditions using a Canon EOS 50D digital SLR camera, with Canon EFS 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens. Two-way analysis of variance and Fisher's least significant difference test were used to analyze the contrast of the images. The statistical analysis showed that 410 nm light is the best among the tested lights for enhancing bloodstains on the tested surfaces, where the contrast of bloodstain to background was the highest.
A total of 101 entomological specimens recovered from human cadavers were processed and studied. Analysis of the data indicated that about 95% of these specimens were maggots of flies. Maggots of the blowfly Chrysomya (Family: Calliphoridae) especially Ch. rufifacis and Ch. megacephala were predominantly found in 77 cases (76.2%) while larvae of several other flies of the genera Sarcophaga, Calliphora, Lucilia and hermetia were also recovered. It was notable that Musca domestica or other related flies were not found in all these specimens. The age of these larvae was useful in the determination of the minimum time lapsed after death. However, more biological studies on animal carcases should be conducted for more accurate determinations. Methods of collection, preservation and despatching of specimens were also discussed.
Forensically important entomological specimens recovered from 95 forensic cases of human cadavers from April 1993 to May 1996 in Malaysia were identified and analysed. The results indicated that 73.7% of these specimens were Chrysomya species, occurring either as single or mixed infestations. Of these, the most prominent species were Ch megacephala (F.) and Ch rufifacies (Macquart). Other fly maggots recovered included Sarcophaga spp., Lucilia spp. and Hermetia spp., mostly occurring together with other calliphorine flies. A member of Muscidae fly, Ophyra spp. was also recovered for the first time.
All deaths due to unnatural causes and deaths that are believed to be due to natural causes but where the medical cause of death is not certain or known are subjected to an inquest. The objective of an inquest is to ascertain facts pertaining to the death. This is achieved by inquiry and at the conclusion of the inquest a verdict is arrived as to whether the death was due to a natural, accidental, suicidal or a homicidal cause. An inquest is not a trial. There is no complainant or defendant and at the conclusion of the inquest no judgment is passed. The inquest system exists in all parts of the world. In the English legal system, the person who conducts an inquest is called a Coroner. In Scotland, he is called a Procurator Fiscal. The United States of America use the Medical Examiner system. Most continental European countries and their former colonies follow the Code Napoleon. A postmortem examination may become necessary in certain deaths that come up for inquests. In these situations the authority which conducts the inquest will order a doctor to perform a postmortem examination (medico-legal autopsy). To perform a medico-legal autopsy, consent from the relatives of the deceased is not required. In an unexpected sudden death, only a doctor after a postmortem examination may be able to determine the cause of death. However, it is often wrongly assumed that the objective of a postmortem examination is only to ascertain the cause of death. This article deals with the purpose of the inquest and roles of the medico-legal autopsy.
The deliberate inhalation of solvents among children and adolescents "for kicks" is becoming more common in the West. It was generally regarded as a relatively harmless practice and consequently little attention had been paid to the isolation of the toxic agent from the variety of substances used. It is now well recognised that solvent abuse not only can result in sudden death but also cause pathological changes to the liver, kidney, brain, heart and lungs. A case of toluene associated death in Malaysia is discussed both from a medico-legal and pathological standpoint.
Nondestructive techniques for gathering evidence are important in the field of forensics. Due to the geometry of the substrates, nondestructive visualization of fingermarks on curved surfaces remains challenging. A novel contactless technique was developed for visualizing and recording fingermark patterns on nonporous curved surfaces of circular cross section. The technique utilizes a plane mirror to transmit rays from a light source to illuminate the area of interest for fingermark visualization. The fingermark acquisition system consists of a digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, a plane mirror, and a white light source. Mathematical equations are used to calculate the mirror size. Experiments were performed on various curved surfaces to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of the technique. Spectral Image Validation and Verification (SIVV) was used to analyze the captured images. The results of this study indicate that the technique described here is able to reveal fingermark patterns on curved surfaces of circular cross section.
During a forensic entomological study conducted in a palm oil plantation in Tg.Sepat, Selangor in September 2007, a spider (Arachnida), Oxyopes sp. (Oxyopidae) was found to predate on a calliphorid fly (Chrysomya rufifacies). The female spider laid a silk thread, or "drag line", behind it as it moved. This spider bites its prey by using a pairs of chelicerae, and injecting venom into the fly. The fly was moving its wing trying to escape, however, it succumbed to the deadly bite.
The uniqueness of anatomical structures and their variations provides the basis for forensic identification of unknown deceased persons. Similar to fingerprints, each frontal sinus is so distinctive and unique that the chances of two individuals having the same morphology of the frontal sinuses is extremely remote. Radiographs, especially the occipitomental view commonly used in the assessment of paranasal pathology, provide excellent records of these sinuses. The case illustrated here is an application of the frontal sinus identification of a victim in a mass disaster.
The requirement of the medical graduate, tabled in the objectives of undergraduate medical education, as envisaged by the Malaysian Medical Council, call for the all round basic doctor to be able to handle any medical emergency, as well as meet the requirements of law in examining, documenting and reporting on the common offences of the Penal Code, where medical documentation is required of law for the purposes of dispensing justice. However, in tabling the amended requirements of the undergraduate syllabus on the lines of those followed in sollie of the more developed nations, we seem to have lost this perspective. The authors discuss, based on his previous experience from another former colonial country viz. India, where the objectives of the undergraduate training is the same, and the influences 011 the legal profession bear a common origin and governance, the relevance of some of these topics, coming under the antbit of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology as an undergraduate subject, in the day-to-day practise of medicine in and out of government service. While this issue has been the frequent topic of discussion in international confereilces and symposia, where the decline in the standards of medico-legal work in the coulltries attending have been blanled on the fall in the standard of undergraduate teaching, due recognition of the pitfalls of the deletion or whittling down of the course content, independent of the overall overhauling of the syllabi of medical schools, to keep up to the trends of overseas universities, has not been accorded in the planing of the coursc revisions, resulting in a deletion of a vital aspect of daily practise of medicine. KEYWORDS: Medico-legal; Undergraduates
Piophila casei (Linnaeus) (Diptera: Piophilidae) is reported from human cadavers in two separate forensic cases for the first time in Malaysia. Both bodies were found indoors. The first case, was that of a male of unknown nationality and age and also contained maggots of the muscid Ophyra spinigera (Stein). The second case was a female Chinese whose body also contained other species of maggots but these were not identifiable.
Preservation of larvae retrieved from cadavers is important in ensuring the quality and integrity of entomological specimens used for the estimation of post-mortem interval (PMI). The process of killing and preserving larvae could distort the larvae leading to inaccurate estimation of PMI. In this study, the effects of killing Chrysomya megacephala larvae with hot water at different temperatures and subsequent maintenance in various preservatives were determined. Larvae not killed by hot water but preserved directly were used as control. The types of preservative used were 10% formalin, 70% ethanol and Kahle's solution. The morphological features examined were length, turgidity, curvature and coloration of larvae. Larvae killed in 80ºC hot water have shorter mean length (12.47 ± 2.86 mm) compared to those in 60ºC hot water (12.95 ± 2.69 mm). Increasing the duration of preservation in all types of preservative caused elongations of larvae treated or untreated with hot water. There were no significant changes in larval turgidity preserved in Kahle's solution compared to other two preservatives and were unaffected by the duration of storage. Larvae preserved in Kahle's solution experienced the least changes in coloration and shape compared to other preserved larvae in 70% ethanol or 10% formalin. Larvae directly immersed alive in 70% ethanol experienced the most changes in curvature, coloration and turgidity. This study suggested that killing larvae with hot water at 80ºC and preservation in Kahle's solution is the optimum method resulting in least changes in morphological features of Ch. megacephala larvae.
This study reported the ant species that were recovered from monkey carcasses in three different ecological habitats in Malaysia. The study was conducted from 9 May - 10 October 2007, 6 May - 6 August 2008 and 26 May - 14 July 2009 in forested area (Gombak, Selangor), coastal area (Tanjong Sepat, Selangor) and highland area (Bukit Cincin, Pahang), respectively. Monkey carcass was used as a model for human decomposition in this study. A total of 4 replicates were used in each of the study sites. Ants were observed to prey on eggs, larvae, pupae and newly emerged flies. This study found that ant species could be found at all stages of decomposition, indicating that ants were not a significant indicator for faunal succession. However, different species of ants were obtained from monkey carcasses placed in different ecological habitats. Cardiocondyla sp. was only found on carcasses placed in the coastal area; while Pheidole longipes, Hypoponera sp. and Pachycondyla sp. were solely found on carcasses placed in the highland area. On the other hand, Pheidologeton diversus and Paratrechina longicornis were found in several ecological habitats. These data suggests that specific ant species can act as geographic indicators for different ecological habitats in forensic entomology cases in Malaysia.
DNA identification of blow fly species can be a very useful tool in forensic entomology. One of the potential benefits that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has offered in the field of forensic entomology is species determination. Conventional identification methods have limitations for sibling and closely related species of blow fly and stage and quality of the specimen used. This could be overcome by DNA-based identification methods using mitochondrial DNA which does not demand intact or undamaged specimens. Mitochondrial DNA is usually isolated from whole blow fly and legs. Alternate sources for mitochondrial DNA isolation namely, egg, larva, puparium and empty puparium were explored in this study. The sequence of DNA obtained for each sample for every life cycle stage was 100% identical for a particular species, indicating that the egg, 1st instar, 2nd instar, 3rd instar, pupa, empty puparium and adult from the same species and obtained from same generation will exhibit similar DNA sequences. The present study also highlighted the usefulness of collecting all life cycle stages of blow fly during crime scene investigation with proper preservation and subsequent molecular analysis. Molecular identification provides a strong basis for species identification and will prove an invaluable contribution to forensic entomology as an investigative tool in Malaysia.
Decomposing carrion provides a temporary microhabitat and food source for a distinct community of organisms. Arthropods constitute a major part of this community and can be utilized to estimate the postmortem interval (PMI) of cadavers during criminal investigations. However, in Malaysia, knowledge of carrion arthropod assemblages and their succession is superficial. Therefore, a study on three types of forensic entomology animal model was conducted from 27 September 2010 to 28 October 2010 in a tropical rainforest at National University of Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia. Over one month collections of arthropods were made on nine animal carcasses: three laboratory rats (Rattus norvegicus, mean weight: 0.508 ± 0.027 kg), three rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus, mean weight: 2.538 ± 0.109 kg) and three long tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis, mean weight: 5.750 ± 0.551 kg). A total of 31,433 arthropods belonging to eight orders and twenty-eight families were collected from all carcasses. Among 2924 of adults flies collected, approximately 19% were calliphorids with Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius, 1794) being the most abundant. Arthropod taxon richness was lower on rat carcasses compared to that of rabbit and monkey carcasses, and this was more apparent during the first week of decomposition. However, there were no significant differences in Shannon-Weiner index (H'), Simpson dominance index (C) and Pielou's Evenness index (J) between different animal model. The arthropod assemblages associated to animal model were different significantly (p<0.05) while decomposition stage was a significant factor influencing insect assemblages (p<0.05). Analysis on the arthropods succession indicated that some taxa have a clear visitation period while the others, particularly Coleoptera, did not show a clear successional pattern thus require futher insect succession study. Although human bodies were not possible for the succession study, most of the arthropods collected are necrophagous, and will also possibly colonize human cadaver, and potentially be useful in assisting in estimates of PMI in future forensic cases in Malaysia.