Effective appropriate use of dental remains and forensic DNA testing for personal identity confirmation.Leg Med (Tokyo). 2009 Apr; 11 Suppl 1:S560-2.LM
Two severely burned human male bodies, possibly those of a parent and child, were recovered from the scene of a house fire and positive identification of the bodies was accomplished. This report describes the appropriate use of effective identification methods that made this possible. Identification of a body involves comparison of antemortem and postmortem X-ray films or dental records. In cases of poorly preserved dental remains, or in the absence of antemortem dental records, forensic DNA testing can be done. In the present case the male thought to be the son was identified from an antemortem panoramic X-ray film provided by the family dentist, which matched every significant detail in the body. On the other hand, forensic DNA testing of a sample obtained from the father's burned body was done in comparison with a swab obtained from his older brother, as the victim had no dental records for the 5 years before his death. This was able to confirm his identity. Thus positive identification was established through a combination of these methods. Although positive identification from dental records is rapid and certain, it requires antemortem dental records. If these are not available, forensic DNA testing should be attempted. In laboratories of forensic odontology, facilities for identity confirmation from both dental characteristics and forensic DNA testing should be made available.