Eight skulls on the table: Forensic doctors’ skills put to the test

Mumbai: Mumbai Police have been doing the rounds of KEM Hospital lately. It is because the hospital is armed with the skill of facial recognition technology, which is proving to be a handy investigation tool for police in cases where they are unable to identify the deceased.

Currently, the forensic department of the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital has received eight skulls for facial reconstruction, of which work on three has already been accomplished.

Ever since forensic doctors used Russian technology to reconstruct the head from a skull found in an Ambarnath jungle last October, they have been handling requests from police.

“Since we helped solve two murder cases with the help of this facial reconstruction technology, our department has been receiving many queries and unknown skulls for reconstruction,” said a doctor.

According to Dr Hemlata Pandey, forensic odontologist, KEM, currently their team has eight unidentified skulls, most of them from rural parts of the state like Aurangabad, Nashik, Palghar and others.

“Most of these skulls were retrieved from skeletons and one of them was charred beyond recognition. Facial reconstruction plays a major role when the chances of DNA sample matching or fingerprints are not available.

Though this procedure may not be able to provide 100 per cent accurate representation of the victim, it is sufficient for identification,” said Dr Pandey.

She said three such skulls have been reconstructed and handed over to police. One such skull was of a female from Aurangabad, identified by anatomical analysis.

“We have also received two queries from Rajasthan and Kolkata in similar cases, where skeletons have been found and police are unable to identify the victims,” Dr Pandey added.

Dr Harish Pathak, head of the hospital's forensic and toxicology department, said since their successful reconstruction of a face from a skull last October, police have been approaching the hospital to help them unravel puzzling crimes. “

This technology needs a combination of anatomy, sculpting and forensic science. Every human being has unique facial points, not just unique fingerprints.

These points give individualistic features to each human. So, after calculating all these facial points, experts place clay or flesh units on it. This requires proper mathematical calculation, and knowledge of the gender, ethnicity and age of the victim,” said Dr Pathak.

(For all the latest News, Mumbai, Entertainment, Cricket, Business and Featured News updates, visit Free Press Journal. Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and do like our Facebook page for continuous updates on the go)

Free Press Journal