A Homicide in the Ukraine: DNA-based Identification of a Boiled, Skeletonized, and Varnished Human Skull, and of Bone Fragments Found in a Fireplace


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Abstract

In an apartment, bone fragments were found in a fireplace. Furthermore, a varnished skull was found elsewhere in the same apartment. The tenant confessed to a murder and stated that the head of a victim, a girl, was boiled for 12 hours. He stated that the soft tissue was then removed and the skull was varnished. Other parts of the body were burned to ashes in an open field. Comparison of loci D19S252, CD4, CYAR04, TII01, F13A01, F13B, and D6S366 from the skull and the bone remains to loci of the mother of a missing girl showed that the skull came from that missing child. Biological maternity was calculated as 99.99%. The bone pieces were DNA typed as male and did not share alleles with the mother in several systems. Therefore, they belonged to a different (human) victim.

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