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A Journal on Forensic Medicine




Minerva Medicolegale 2011 June;131(2):33-8

language: Italian

Flatbed scanner detection of the epiderms’ inner layer in the dactyloscopic identification of a corpse after a protracted immersion in water

Giuliano A.

Gabinetto Interregionale di Polizia Scientifica per il Piemonte e la Valle d’Aosta, Torino, Italia


It is well known that the fingerprint ridges are preserved in a cadaver and it is still possible to acquire them: usually it is a simple procedure, but sometimes the extreme condition of the corpse (decomposition, maceration, mummification, saponification or charred) could make it much more difficult. For this reason, during the last years, many different methods have been assessed: silicon or latex impressions, cutting fingers for further examination, etc. Recently, a corpse was found in a stream in northern Italy. The state of decay was increased due to long standing time in the water. The epidermis of the finger tips was quite deteriorated, but the skin of the palm was detached because of maceration and it appeared to be well preserved and useful. Acquiring it by direct scanning, we got from the pattern of the inner layer of the skin. For a fingerprints matching process, the image was uploaded in Automated Palmprint Identification System (APIS) using a specific procedure to obtain the best reliability. The procedure allowed us to identify the corpse in a few hours without using any invasive methods.

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