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Cold Case Investigation


Case nos. 89-965, body was found in an open area, floating on the Brisbane Lagoon. The fact that it was floating meant that the perpetrator intended for the body to be found and so they did not consider hiding the evidence.  The Physical appearance of the body suggested that she was a female. My study showed Jane Doe was in the age distribution between 28 to 35 years. The female had been severally stabbed at the abdomen, hip and knee area; her body was filled with reddish skin lesion, while her finger nails and toe nail showed traced of red polish. In most publication dealings with homicides by sharp force it is emphasized that usually the perpetrator and the victim knew each other before the attack (Mahon, Thornhill, Norenburg & Halanych, 2010). Or In many cases there was an even close relationship like maybe life partners, relatives or friends. While taking over Jane does case we had to first check her blood for any signs of intoxication by alcohol or drugs because most victims are usually under the influence of alcohol when strike by death.

The internal laboratory results of her lungs, liver pancreas, gallbladder, spleen gastrointestinal tract and heart proved that she had been okay and not under any drugs, alcohol or internal disease attack. The movement of the water and the place where the body was identified suggest where the body was dumped, why and where the killer was coming from and also further seek witnesses if there are any. On the principle, the findings at the scene are important to determine whether the death was caused by homicide, suicide or accident (Fisher & Fisher, 2012). The importance of a joint visit to the scene by the police and the forensic pathologist cannot be emphasized enough. The purpose of this visit to the scene is to reconstruct the sequence of events in the given case. This is because it may always be helpful to inspect the scene again after having performed the autopsy, as only then will the extent of the injury and the cause of the death be known.

Generally, injuries can be assigned to an object best if the DNA of the victim can be found to match the weapon used. In Jane Doe it was important to determine which arteries or body parts were injured and how long the capability to act may have been maintained (Mahon, Thornhill, Norenburg & Halanych, 2010). Evidence showed that the position of Jane Doe at the crime scene showed that the woman was thrown into the river. Details with evident wound patterns indicated that the killing of the woman was not committed at the scene but rather her body was dumped there. Stab wounds on the victim’s body surface; that is stab wounds at her abdomen, hip area and the deep one at the knee indicates that the leg was elevated for defensive actions thus the stab wounds inflicted.

Apart from the body examination, clinical records of forensic examination of living individuals become more important. This will not only apply to the victims but also the suspected offenders. The information is presented by forensic pathologist by the police not only to preserve DNA traces as proof of contact between the suspect and the victim, but also to determine potential consequences of fights with the victim (McPherson & Pincus, 2011).

If Jane Doe case was homicides by sharp force, the perpetrator may voluntarily injure him or her. Cut wounds on the knife-holding hand of the offender may occur when the hands slips onto the blade. This is possible if the knife used does not have an adequate hand guard and the tip of the blade hits a solid resistance like the bony structure of the victim, thus being abruptly decelerated. Depending on how the knife was held by the hand, characteristic lesions may be created. When the stab is done with the blade protruding on the ulnar side of the fist, the little finger will be predominantly affected. When knife is held with the blade protruding on the radial side, injuries may occur on the thumb or index figure, or even on both of them, especially if the double edge blade was used. When cuts are deep enough, the flexor tendon of the finger may also be severed. In this case, the connection strongly retracted that the skin bruises suggest that there were physical attack at the moment of trauma or the tendons injuries were under tension. Thus several injuries on the perpetrators hand allow for reconstructive conclusion. For correct evaluation, it is necessary to consider the pattern of injuries as a whole, as victims of sharp force and suicides may show similar lesions on the hands (Schmidt, 2010).


In conclusion, Evidences proved that Jane Doe had been stabbed three times. One stab was on the abdomen, the second one on the hip area and the third one on the knee area. The number of stabs shows the certain correlation with the gender of the perpetrator. In homicides caused by sharp force that were committed by female perpetrators, the victims tend to have fewer stab wounds than in homicide that are committed by male perpetrators leading to the possible attack by a female.



Mahon, A. R., Thornhill, D. J., Norenburg, J. L., & Halanych, K. M. (2010). DNA uncovers Antarctic nemertean biodiversity and exposes a decades-old cold case of asymmetric inventory. Polar biology.

Fisher, B. A., & Fisher, D. R. (2012). Techniques of crime scene investigation. CRC Press.

McPherson, R. A., & Pincus, M. R. (2011). Henry's clinical diagnosis and management by laboratory methods. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Schmidt, U. (2010). Sharp force injuries in “clinical” forensic medicine. Forensic science international.

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