5 thoughts on “The 94 Evidence Items Submitted for Forensic Testing [59th Tranche]

  1. Is it routine for murdered children to be tested for any signs of sexual abuse? I can vote where, when, or which other cases, but I know I’ve seen before where this has been the case. If it is common practice, then this could be why the swabs were taken from Celeste and Bella. Law enforcement seems to be aware that this kind of abuse often preceeds the murder of a child, and thus acts accordingly. (We are reasonably confident that this is not a factor in the Watts case, but as I said, could be routine. )

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    • “I can vote” above is supposed to read “I can’t say.” 🙄 My autocorrect is drunk this morning; it was adding random words to the end of text messages earlier. 😅

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  2. Yes, in autopsies I have participated in, it is routine to perform three swabs on a female homicide victim: oral, vaginal and anal. This is mainly done to rule out sexual assault (oral vaginal rape/sodomy). The swab is tested for pre ejaculate fluids and sperm (which can last generally 1-3 days in the victims body but some studies have found vaginal swabs containing sperm up to 7 days after death). In the case of a child, anything found is undoubtedly a result of sexual assault. In the case of an adult female, results may be the result of rape or of consensual sex. If the sperm is degraded in a ‘fresh ‘ body, it can be the result of consensual sex in the hours or days before death – this provides information about who last saw and had interactions with the victim. That person may not be involved in the death but can provide valuable clues regarding the victims activities and interactions before death. If this is a violent death and the sperm is not degraded, this is very important evidence as the victim and the person who left the sperm were interacting shortly before or around time of death. Sperm/fluids are analyzed for a DNA profile which is turned over to law enforcement. This has mainly been the source of many cold cases recently being solved, as DNA profiles lifted from old samples or stored samples matches with someone’s DNA in the database. It is my understanding in this case that the ‘sex assault swabs’ on all three victims came back negative, therefore ruling out sexual assault as a motive or factor in this case.

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    • Kerry, you have a serious talent for laying this out in a fashion that is friendly to those of us not in the medical field. Thanks again for doing this. Your posts are so interesting to read.

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      • Thanks!! I taught pre-med for a couple of years p/t when my kids were little so I tried to figure out ways to explain medical terms and conditions in easy to understand ways. Medicine, like many other fields, is not hard to understand when you can speak the ‘language”. Plus the human body is fascinating but mechanical and behaves in predictable ways (psychiatry is probably the hardest specialty imho because it is still largely unknown, unpredictable and so individual)

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