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Digital UV/IR Photography for Tattoo Evaluation in Mummified Remains

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 57 Issue: 4 Dated: July 2012 Pages: 1134-1136
William R. Oliver, M.D., M.S., M.P.A.; Lisa Leone, M.A.
Date Published
July 2012
3 pages
This study reviewed the use of ultraviolent (UV) and infrared (IR) in forensic science.
The presence and location of tattoos can be an important component in the identification of remains in the extended postmortem period if remnants of skin persist. However, when there is significant mummification, visualization of tattoos can be problematic. Multiple methods have been proposed to make tattoos more visible, but all have limitation. In this case report, a mummified body was discovered. The presumptive victim was reported to have a small tattoo on her hand but it was not visible to the naked eye. The hand was photographed using ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) light. A tattoo matching the description was noted in the photographs. In contrast to film-based IR and UV photography, digital UV and IR photography allows rapid visual evaluation of results and optimization of image utility. The ability to quickly modify photographic parameters quickly greatly increases the utility of IR and UV photography in the autopsy suite. Abstract published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons.