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The Stages of Death

The Stages of Deathmsfieldsscience.weebly.com/uploads/2/2/9/9/22992358/...Livor Mortis Algor Mortis The digestive system and gut contents of a victim can provide important clues to

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Page 1: The Stages of Deathmsfieldsscience.weebly.com/uploads/2/2/9/9/22992358/...Livor Mortis Algor Mortis The digestive system and gut contents of a victim can provide important clues to

The Stages of Death

Page 2: The Stages of Deathmsfieldsscience.weebly.com/uploads/2/2/9/9/22992358/...Livor Mortis Algor Mortis The digestive system and gut contents of a victim can provide important clues to

At the time of death…

1) The heart stops

2) The skin gets tight

and grey in color

3) All the muscles

relax

4) The bladder and

bowels empty

5) The body's

temperature will

typically drop .75

degrees F per hour

unless outside

environment is a

factor. This is known

as algor mortis.

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Algor Mortis

The cooling of the body that follows death.

The body's temperature

(98.6° F) will typically drop

.75 degrees F per hour (for

the first 12 hours, and 0.4°

afterwards) unless outside

environment is a factor.

The liver is the organ that

stays warmest the longest, and

this temperature is used to

establish time of death if the

body is found within that time

frame.

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After 30 minutes:

6) The skin gets purple and

waxy

7) The lips, finger- and toe-

nails fade to a pale color or

turn white as the blood

leaves.

8) Blood pools at the lowest

parts of the body leaving a

dark purple-black stain

called lividity

9) The hands and feet turn

blue

10) The eyes start to sink into the skull

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Livor Mortis or Lividity

The discoloration of the body after death due to the gravitational settling of blood.

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After 4 hours

11) Rigor mortis starts to set in

12) The purpling of the skin and pooling of blood continue

13) Rigor Mortis begins to tighten the muscles for about another

24 hours, then will reverse and the body will return to a limp

state.

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14) The body is in full rigor mortis. (becomes rigid).

Stiffness is usually apparent first in the jaw, then the elbows and finally the knees.

As a rule, men have stronger rigor than women because they have a larger muscle mass.

Complete rigor takes approximately 10-12 hours, but it is very much affected by environmental temperature.

After 12 hours:

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After 24 hours:

15) The body is now the

temperature of the

surrounding environment

16) In males, the semen dies

17) The head and neck are

now a greenish-blue color

18) The greenish-blue color

continues to spread to the rest

of the body

19) There is the strong smell

of rotting meat

20) The face of the person is

essentially no longer

recognizable

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After 3 days:

21) The gases in the body

tissues form large blisters

on the skin

22) The whole body

begins to bloat and swell

grotesquely. This process

is speeded up if victim is

in a hot environment, or in

water

23) Fluids leak from the

mouth, nose, eyes, ears

and rectum and urinary

opening

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After 3 weeks:

24) The skin, hair, and nails are so loose they can be easily pulled off

the corpse

25) The skin cracks and bursts open in many places because of the

pressure of Internal gases and the breakdown of the skin itself

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After 1 to 2 months:

26) Decomposition will continue

until body is nothing but skeletal

remains, which can take as little as

a month in hot climates and two

months in cold climates. The teeth

are often the only thing left, years

and centuries later, because tooth

enamel is the strongest substance

in the body. The jawbone is the

densest, so that usually will also

remain. So don't forget - brush

regularly and floss only if you're

really bored.

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How do forensic scientists

determine the time of death?

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The eyes of a victim can hold

answers to the time of death, as a thin cloudy film is developed over the eye within 3 hours after death has occurred.

Livor Mortis

Algor Mortis

The digestive system and gut contents

of a victim can provide important clues to the time of death of a victim. After 3 hours, the food then leaves the stomach and heads toward the small intestines. 6 hours after eating a meal, the food will have traveled half way through the small intestines and begin moving through the large intestine. Where the victim's small intestine is empty, it suggests that the victim ate his or her last meal approximately 8 hours before death.

Rigor Mortis

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Forensic Entymology

Flies and maggots also provide an approximate time of death, very useful for cases where the body has been long dead. Only certain insects will feed and lay eggs on a dead corpse and forensic entomologists study these insects, their larvae cycles and thereafter can determine whether a body has been dead for just one day or up to 3 or 4 weeks.

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Time Physical Appearance of Body Insects Present at that Stage

0-3 days

Proteins and carbohydrates in the Blowflies e.g. Bluebottle flies, Syrphidae flies

deceased body begin to break down.

4-7 days

Body is starting to decay and causes the Fly larvae and beetle e.g. Rove Beetles

abdomen to inflate because of the gases

inside.

8-18 days

Decay is well and truly setting in; the Ants, cockroaches, beetles and flies

abdomen wall begins to break down.

19-30 days

The decaying body enters a stage know Beetles and mites e.g. Springtail beetle, Acari,

as 'post-decay'; in wet, humid conditions, Nematocera (present only during the winter months),

the body is sticky and wet; in hot dry Brachycera

conditions, the body is dried out .

31 and over days

The bones, skin and hair that remain no

longer give off a powerful stench and smell

just like the soil surrounding it.