Child neglect and forensic entomology

Source: Forensic Science International 120:155-159

Mark Benecke, Rüdiger Lessig

Close co-operation between forensic scientists, medico-legal doctors, and police forces made it possible to estimate not only the post-mortem interval but also the time since a child was neglected. On the skin surface under the diaper (anal-genital area), third instar larvae of the false stable fly Muscina stabulans FALLÉN, and the lesser house fly Fannia canicularis L. were found. F. canicularis adults are attracted to both feces and urine. From the face, larvae of the bluebottle fly Calliphora vomitoria L. were collected. C. vomitoria maggots are typical early inhabitants of corpses. From the developmental times of the flies, it was estimated that the anal-genital area of the child had not been cleaned for about 14 days (7–21 day range), and that death occurred only 6–8 days prior to discovery of the body. This is the first report where an examination of the maggot fauna on a person illustrated neglect that had occurred prior to death.

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