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ashes contaminted

Forensic science and the case of the dubious ashes

ashes contaminted

I think most of may raise questions if we received a love remains back and we got a solid grey lump back like the one in the picture.

This is what happened to family of a man in the US, what is more it was a kilogram heavier than was expected. Dubious indeed!

The funeral directors, who to be honest don’t sound the brightest, returned the urn to family three weeks after they said they had ‘misplaced’.

Before even opening it, the family sent the urn to forensic osteology at the Human Identification Lab at California State University in Chico, for testing.

After the dump grey lump (not a normal state for ashes to be in) was dried out the analysis begun, they came across screws, staples and stones and some bone but less than one would expect, well about a third of what was expected.

The lab went one step further, and asked a Swedish institute to examine the cremated remains with X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy. They conclude that fibreglass reinforced concrete had been added to the mix! Was this some sort of Blue Peter creation that had gone seriously wrong! There was no traces of sticky backed plastic so perhaps we can rule that one out….

The evidence was enough for the funeral home to settle out of court, so we shall never know….boooooo

Oh well, the researchers seemed happy and said their process could be used in similar cases. They wrote:  “Using a multidisciplinary approach to cremains analysis can provide useful information for resolving cases of contaminated remains and cases in which the remains do not represent the decedent,”

Original article: http://smithsonianscience.si.edu/2015/05/hi-tech-analysis-cracks-curious-case-of-contaminated-cremains/

“Using a multidisciplinary approach to cremains analysis can provide useful information for resolving cases of contaminated remains and cases in which the remains do not represent the decedent,” the researchers write.

 

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