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Positive Identification of Dental Porcelain in Case of Murder

NCJ Number
Japanese Journal of Legal Medicine Volume: 45 Issue: 4 Dated: (August 1991) Pages: 330-340
K Suzuki; Y Hanaoka; K Minaguchi; M Inoue; H Suzuki
Date Published
11 pages
Dental prostheses can provide important evidence for use in personal identification, and this paper reports a case when identification was achieved by the comparative analysis of a fragment of fused dental porcelain.
In April 1990, a woman aged 24 years was found murdered in her apartment in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. A small mass of fused porcelain was recovered near her body. Subsequently, a 48-year-old male suspect was arrested. An examination of his teeth revealed a small fragment of dental porcelain adhering to an abutment tooth, and this fragment was removed for testing. A comparative analysis of the porcelain found in the apartment and the porcelain that was removed from the suspect was carried out by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electron probe x-ray microanalysis (EPMA). The SEM examination demonstrated remarkable similarity with respect to the structure of the porcelain and the nature and distribution of air bubbles produced during the baking process in both samples. The EPMA showed the elemental composition of each sample to be identical. This case demonstrated that detailed analysis of dental materials may be a useful aid for personal identification. 32 references and 21 figures (Author abstract modified)