Main content area

A reliable method for estimating the postmortem interval from the biochemistry of the vitreous humor, temperature and body weight

Cordeiro, Cristina, Ordóñez-Mayán, Lucía, Lendoiro, Elena, Febrero-Bande, Manuel, Vieira, Duarte Nuno, Muñoz-Barús, José Ignacio
Forensic science international 2019 v.295 pp. 157-168
ambient temperature, biochemistry, body weight, computer software, death, forensic sciences, hypoxanthine, models, postmortem changes, potassium, statistical analysis, urea
The estimation of the time elapsed since death is of paramount importance in the field of forensic sciences and criminal investigation, owing, among other factors, to the possible legal repercussions. Over the past few years various formulae have been developed to calculate this interval using a combination of different statistical methods and the concentrations of substances found in the vitreous humor. Corrective factors, such as ambient temperature, cause of death or age, which can modify the concentration of these substances and therefore the estimation of the postmortem interval, have been incorporated into models. In this paper five simple and reliable models to estimate PMI based the on the analysis of potassium, hypoxanthine and urea in the vitreous humor are presented. Corrective factors, such as body weight, rectal temperature and ambient temperature, which can influence the estimation of this interval have been incorporated into the formulae. Finally, the R2 and the mean squared error have been calculated for each model in order to select the best of the five. A free software program which calculates the PMI from the model and parameters used is available from the authors. It provides quick and reliable results as well as the error committed and R2 for each case.