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anthranz Volume 70 No 1 p101-111 Forensic Paleoradiology Identification of a public figure murdered in 1837 79578

Anthrop. Anz. 70/1, pp. 101–111
J. Biol. Clinic. Anthrop.
published online September 2012
Forensic Paleoradiology: Identification of a public figure
murdered in 1837
M. Castro1,2, J. Dı́az3, J.L. Riquelme1, P. Rivas4 and P. Richter5
Departamento de Morfologı́a, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago,
[email protected]
Subdirección de Museos, DIBAM, Santiago, Chile
Centro de Imagenologı́a, Red Hospital Clı́nico Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Aswakiar Consultores EIRL, Santiago, Chile
Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo de la Quı́mica, Facultad de Ciencias Quı́micas y Farmaceúticas, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
With 5 figures and 1 table
Summary: Two unidentified graves were found during construction of a new crypt at the
Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago, Chile. One of the bodies was sent to the Teaching Hospital of the University of Chile for forensic identification. The fully mummified corpse was
suspected to be that of Diego Portales, a prominent Chilean politician who was assassinated
in 1837. The condition of the corpse determined that the best way to establish a positive identification was by means of a multislice CT scan, since the body had been autopsied and
embalmed using unknown substances. This paper presents the results of the virtual autopsy
of the remains and compares these results with the original autopsy report of 1837. The
embalming method is also discussed, based on chemical analysis using inductively coupled
mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) and cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry (HGCVAAS).
Key words: Mummified body, paleoradiology, paleopathology, forensics, virtopsy.
In forensic anthropology, rarely the opportunity has arisen to identify the remains of
an important historical figure and to contrast the findings with the forensic information reported at the time of death. Most published studies concerning human mummified remains refer to the embalming processes and/or paleopathological findings
(Lynnerup 2007). At the same time, technological advances in medical imaging have
led to a better understanding of the processes and techniques used to preserve bodies
and have improved the accuracy of paleopathological diagnoses (Hoffman et al.
2002, Boyer et al. 2003, Chhem & Rühli 2004, Gardner et al. 2004, Rühli et al. 2004,
Chhem & Brothwell 2008, Gupta et al. 2008, O’Brien et al. 2009, Dedouit et al.
쏘 2012 E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany
DOI: 10.1127/0003-5548/2012/0196
0003-5548/12/0196 $ 2.75