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Author Topic: stomach contents  (Read 6013 times)

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stomach contents
« on: October 30, 2006, 02:52:32 PM »

HOW, oh how, do the fantastic scientists at the police lab KNOW what the vic had at his last meal, esp if eaten several hours before? After all, we do (mostly) chew, not inhale) food, so it's mush, rather than identifieable chunks, such as peas and carrots. That mush has saliva which already starts to break it down before it goes into our tummies, then the what is it, hydrochloric acid, or is it sulphuric acid, that further turns it into nutrients for our bodies. The stomach churns, turns, and digests that goo, so how do they KNOW he had a certain meal, probably from that high class restuarant or greasy spoon?

Okay, the greasy spoon might be identifiable, but...?


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Re: stomach contents
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2006, 05:16:09 PM »

Funny, I have never wondered about that.  When they can do DNA and identify a brand of carpet from a single fibre, or a beach from a few sand grains, stomach content seems incredibly simple to me. As a rule this is used to find out how soon before death the victim ate and no doubt the state of the food can be used to time the meal. It gets more fascinating when maggots and fly eggs are analyzed, but that too fixes time of of death neatly.  In fact, the ancient Chinese were already usuing something of the sort in their forensics.


Lee Lofland

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Re: stomach contents
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2006, 06:52:57 PM »

Ingrid is correct. Remember, digestion pretty much stops at the time of death. Also, people don't always chew their food properly. I've attended autopsies where some of the stomach contents were easily recognized. I'll leave it at that. I'm cooking dinner. 
There are no perfect crimes, merely imperfect investigations.
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