<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 26, Issue 1, March 2018

Rom J Leg Med26(1)29-36(2018)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

Diatoms and drowning: can diatoms enter the lungs after the initial drowning event?

M. Bąk, A. Witkowski, S. Dobosz, J. P. Kociolek, L. Pietras

Abstract: The study addresses the utility of diatoms in deciding whether a woman whose body was found in a river had died as a result of drowning. Several hours after the woman had been reported missing, a rescue dog led the police to a concrete water tank close to her workplace. Her body was found two months later in a nearby river. The composition and abundance of diatoms found in the victim’s internal organs were compared to those in water samples from the location where the corpse was found and from other potential sites of drowning. These locations proved to support quite different assemblages of diatoms. The clumps of diatoms encountered in the lung proved useful for interpreting the place of drowning. The results suggest that death occurred as a result of drowning in the tank and the body was subsequently moved to the river, thereby facilitating secondary diatom introductions.
Keywords: forensic science, diatoms, drowning, diatom clumps, acid digestion, alveoli.

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