Recent Cases on Forensic Anthropology

State v. Fritz, No. SD33505, COURT OF APPEALS OF MISSOURI, SOUTHERN DISTRICT, DIVISION ONE, 480 S.W.3d 316; 2016 Mo. App. LEXIS 48, January 26, 2016, Filed

On November 16, 2010 while hunting in Maries County, Darin Lackman found skeletonized human remains. The remains were those of the girlfriend of the Defendant. They had been in an intimate relationship since 2005, had a son (Son), and had another child on the way. In 2007, the Defendant started seeing another woman from the local Home Depot and had a child with her in 2009. Defendant said that he was a single father of Son and that his girlfriend had left him to leave for Colorado. On June 8, 2010 the Defendant and Son were seen going into Walmart buying pillows, a mattress cover, DVDs, and a toy. After leaving Walmart, Defendant threw multiple garbage bags into the dumpster next to an apartment complex nearby. Later that evening, Mann threw away his garbage in the same dumpster and noticed a purse with nothing stolen out of it. The police were contacted and an investigation started.

The Defendant’s girlfriend was identified based on the ID in the found purse and the Defendant was asked to help find her. Mann and his friend Gann were asked to come into a police line up to identify the man who threw away the purse in the dumpster. They identified the defendant in the lineup. Later, in July of 2010 the defendant’s home was searched and there were 30-70 blood stains on the wall, blood stains on the mattress, a new mattress pad, a sizeable blood stain on the mattress, and a deformed bullet inside the mattress. The body was found by Lackman a couple of months later.

Using both a forensic pathologist and a forensic anthropologist, authorities were able to determine that the victim was between 5’2”-5’8” and ranged from 30-40 years of age. The pathologist took dental impressions and was able to match the victim’s dental records to the body found. The anthropologist was able to determine that the body had been exposed to the elements for a time period consistent with June to November of that year. The defendant was found guilty of first degree murder and ACA.

Forensic Summary by Emma-Rae Ranger


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