The Calculus of CSI. Estimating Time of Death By: Catherine Lipford. The Factors in Estimating Time of Death. Rigor Mortis– The gradual muscle stiffening that spreads over the body in the hours after death then fades as gradual as it started.
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Estimating Time of Death By: Catherine Lipford
**Anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after death, lividity reaches its peak, the body reaches room temperature, and rigor mortis disappears. Therefore, estimating the time of death is more accurate within the 24 hours after death. Anywhere from 2 days or more these factors are no longer valuable in the investigation.
Newton’s Law of Cooling:
The original formula for Newton’s Law of Cooling is……
By using this formula, one can solve for t which is time, by using integration. After solving for t, the equation will be….
The derivation formula that is specific for estimating the time of death of a body is as stated below.
= time in hours
= Body temperature (°F)
= Room temperature (°F)
After a busy evening of income
calculations an accountant was
found dead in his office. At 10:00 a.m. the coroner
measured the body temperature to be 85.6 °F, then again at 12:00 p.m. it was 82.6 °F.
The room temperature was measured to be a constant 70 °F.
*Assuming the body temperature at death was 98.6 °F, what would the estimated time of death be to the nearest minute?
At 10:00a.m. :
At 12:00p.m. :
10hrs – 6.061hrs = 3.93hrs = 3:56 a.m.
12hrs – 8.197hrs = 3.80hrs = 3:48 a.m.
Time of death interval:
3:48 a.m. to 3:56 a.m.
Estimated time of death: 3:52a.m.
Estimating the time of death is of great importance to the police investigators working on a murder case and/or finding a hidden cause of death. It gives a time interval in which further investigation is needed. It also allows investigators to rule out a suspect due to a legitimate alibi during that time interval. Therefore, the estimation of the time of death is ranked very high on the to-do list of crime investigation.