Top 10 Criminal Cases Involving Human Teeth

Forensic science has developed by leaps and bounds prior to now couple of centuries. What started as rumour and finger-pointing has developed into a fancy tapestry of proof gathered from DNA, audio and video footage, data-mining, and complicated bodily sciences. One kind of the latter that has confirmed helpful repeatedly is forensic dentistry. Though one side of chew mark evaluation has fallen out of favor basically forensic use and polarized the authorized group, different aspects similar to dental DNA fingerprinting, forensic age estimation from enamel, and autopsy sufferer identification from enamel have confirmed critically helpful in circumstances.

Teeth are useful instruments for forensic scientists as a result of enamel- the shiny, white layer protecting the tooth- is the toughest substance within the human physique, more durable even than bone. Whereas criminals might go to nice lengths to dismember and destroy our bodies, enamel are sometimes the physique’s final holdout, and due to this fact have a tendency to go away worthwhile proof behind. It’s no shock that enamel have helped felony investigators and prosecutors verify the reality repeatedly. And generally, they’ve hindered the method, as effectively. Listed below are ten circumstances the place, for higher or worse, human enamel have made all of the distinction in felony circumstances.

10 Aggrippina and Lollia Paulina’s Golden Teeth

In Our Time: S18/26 Agrippina the Youthful (March 31 2016)

The case of Lollia Paulina is often known as the primary use of forensic dentistry to determine a physique. Some even declare it’s the primary use of forensic science basically. Both means, human enamel performed a giant position in its decision. The quick model is that this:

Roman noblewoman Agrippina the Youthful sought to marry the emperor Claudius however had a rival in fellow noble Lollia Paulina. Agrippina gained their contest and married the emperor however was not forgiving of Lollia. Agrippina had Lollia accused of sorcery, convicted, exiled, her property seized, and even ordered Lollia to commit suicide. As proof of the suicide, a guard introduced Lollia’s severed head again to Agrippina, however its options had been distorted and marred by the dying, dismemberment, and journey. To determine the physique, Agrippina was compelled to depend on forensic dentistry. She knew Lollia had beforehand had her rotten enamel partially changed with gold. Agrippina’s suspicions had been confirmed by opening the pinnacle’s mouth. This act is the alleged first use of enamel to determine a physique.

9 Reverend George Burroughs

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 are a darkish and twisted reflection of early American justice. Equally, they embody a darkish and twisted use of enamel in felony prosecution. Amongst many different innocents, Reverend George Burroughs was accused of witchcraft and cavorting with the satan. His accusers, in actuality simply private enemies with grudges, introduced forth many items of alleged proof towards Burroughs.

One was a chew mark on a younger sufferer that he was stated to have made in a fiendish assault. His enamel had been in contrast towards the sufferer’s arm visually, and this was sufficient to have Burroughs convicted and hanged. He would later be posthumously exonerated, however his trial marked the primary time within the (eventual) U.S. that chew proof was used to assist ‘resolve’ a case.

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8 Jesse Timmendequas and Megan’s Regulation

In the present day, each state within the U.S. advantages from Megan’s Regulation (which is one federal regulation and plenty of state legal guidelines), making intercourse offender info, together with names, faces, and addresses, obtainable to the general public. As its identify implies, the regulation stems again to 1 case involving a younger lady named Megan Kanka.

Megan was raped and murdered by her neighbor, a person named Jesse Timmendequas. Fortunately, Timmendequas was caught and placed on trial. One of many key items of proof that helped convict him (and there have been many) was a chew mark that Megan had left on Timmendequas’s hand as she bravely fought again. Once more, enamel performed a task in creating our fashionable system of kid safety laws.

7 Thomas Maupin’s Dentures

In 2001, a younger lady (left nameless) was strolling down an empty stretch of highway in Memphis, Tennessee, when she was assaulted. An unknown man stabbed her, raped her, and fled. Fortunately, the lady survived, reported the crime, and the police collected proof on the scene. Sadly, the person went unidentified.

That’s, till ten years later. One unusual piece of proof collected on the scene was a pair of dentures. For no matter cause, that they had initially been neglected, however when reexamined all these years later, it seems that they belonged to the attacker. The attacker had written his identify contained in the dentures. This allowed police to search out the attacker, Thomas Maupin, and convict him of his crime. Although it took frustratingly lengthy, a minimum of the (faux) enamel got here by way of.

6 Fredrik Fasting Torgersen

The case of Norwegian man Fredrik Fasting Torgersen is likely one of the extra controversial circumstances in fashionable historical past. It serves as a stark reminder that chew mark evaluation can generally be a flawed and deceptive piece of proof.

Torgersen was convicted of the rape and homicide of a younger lady in 1958, regardless of little or no proof that linked him to the sufferer, established motive, or positioned him on the crime scene. Maybe the only greatest piece of proof for the protection was from a so-called knowledgeable witness who claimed {that a} chew mark discovered on the breast of the sufferer “with full certainty pointed to Torgersen because the assassin.”

The chew mark, and the usage of chew marks basically, has been known as into query within the years since. Torgersen was sentenced to life in jail primarily based on virtually nothing however a presumably inconclusive chew mark. Fortunately, he was launched after 16 years. Nonetheless, many members of the Norwegian group, together with a number of high-profile scientists and attorneys, have protested the case’s obvious miscarriage of justice within the 60 years since.

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5 Bundy’s Massive Chew

Ted Bundy, the charismatic killer, is likely one of the most well-known serial killers in historical past. Bundy confessed to murdering 30 individuals in the course of the Nineteen Seventies. He additionally admitted to kidnapping and raping many extra victims. Bundy was intelligent and left little proof behind for investigators to make use of towards him.

The case towards Bundy took years to construct, and his trial took years extra. Though we’ve already mentioned the relative inconclusiveness of chew mark evaluation, it proved essential in serving to to place Bundy away. Throughout one in every of Bundy’s extra daring sprees, he attacked a number of sorority members, leaving a deep chew on the left buttock of one of many ladies. Forensic odontologists Richard Souviron and Lowell Levine made casts of Bundy’s enamel and matched them to the sufferer’s chew mark, serving to seal the case towards the monstrous Bundy and finish his reign of terror.

4 Sharon Carr’s Cheetos Teeth

Oklahoma lady linked to residence break-in after Cheetos residue discovered on her enamel, police say

In early 2001, a lady known as 911 when she heard the sounds of an intruder in her home. The lady was alone together with her two children and anxious for his or her security. After the intruder spent a while within the residence, they observed that it was occupied and fled by way of an open window. When police arrived, they confirmed that the intruder was gone, although that they had left behind proof.

Proof included a water bottle and an empty bag of Cheetos. Police imagine the intruder left the gadgets behind as they fled by way of the window. Whereas looking the property, police discovered the intruder, Sharon Carr, hiding in close by bushes. Police had been in a position to verify Carr was the intruder due to the contemporary Cheetos mud protecting her enamel. One other win for tooth-based proof. A small, bizarre win, however a win nonetheless.

3 Ray Krone Overturned

Forensic Science Put Me on Dying Row for My Teeth | Innocence Ignored

The 1992 conviction of Ray Krone for homicide and subsequent labeling because the Snaggletooth Killer is likely one of the most well-known examples of mishandling of proof, wrongful conviction, and unreliability of chew mark evaluation as proof.

Like Fredrik Fasting Torgersen, there was little proof towards Krone, other than an knowledgeable witness who claimed that Krone’s chew sample matched bites discovered on the sufferer’s physique. Not like Torgersen, Krone was a minimum of fortunate sufficient to be exonerated by way of DNA proof, which additionally recognized the true killer: a repeat sexual offender named Kenneth Phillips. Krone has since labored with the Innocence Challenge and campaigned towards the dying penalty, partly as a result of newly obtainable DNA proof is critical to rule out probably incorrect convictions, simply because it did for him.

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2 John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy Seems to be at Sufferer Images: “I Have No Recollection Any Of Them”

Like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy is likely one of the most well-known serial killers in historical past, remembered for each the brutality and scope of his crimes, in addition to the clown persona he adopted, which altogether earned him the moniker of Killer Clown. Gacy killed a minimum of 33 younger males, a lot of them raped and tortured.

The difficulty was find the our bodies of Gacy’s many victims after which positively figuring out them. Police recovered twenty-six victims from the crawlspace of Gacy’s residence. Dental data supplied twenty-three of their identities. Within the a few years since a number of different victims of Gacy’s have been discovered, most within the Des Plaines River, and plenty of of them have been recognized by way of dental DNA.

1 Josef Mengele Recognized

Josef Mengele: The Angel of Dying


Josef Mengele is likely one of the evilest human beings in historical past. Because of his enamel, we will relaxation assured of his dying. As a high-ranking officer of the Nazi SS, Mengele led a program of inhumane medical experimentation on prisoners on the Auschwitz focus camp, incomes him the nickname the Angel of Dying. When it grew to become clear that he, alongside his fellow Nazis and allied fascists, had misplaced the battle that they had begun, Mengele fled to Argentina to start a brand new life in hiding.

He continued his life on the run, fleeing to Paraguay, then Brazil, at all times assuming new identities, till 1979, when he suffered a stroke whereas swimming and drowned. After many years of looking for the lacking monster, Mengele was lastly discovered, although solely as a corpse underneath a distinct identify. It was as much as Brazilian and American dentists to show his true identification. Evaluating x-rays taken of the corpse’s cranium to these taken by a Brazilian dentist who had handled Mengele within the years earlier than his dying, American dental scientist Lowell J. Levine was in a position to say that the stays “might now be recognized as Josef Mengele with an absolute certainty.” Teeth had been what lastly proved the Angel of Dying was no extra.


truth checked by Jamie Frater

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