The case investigation of the remains of a burned body began when a janitor noticed the remains at the bottom of a dumpster while going to throw out the trash in Vancouver, British Columbia. There were many problems encountered in this case investigation. Firstly, it was nearly impossible to identify any DNA, flesh of skin, or fingerprints that could have helped in identifying the body. The remains of the body were severely burned and made it almost impossible to identify. As learned about in class, this case uses Forensic Odontology to solve. The jaw bone and teeth were the only remains of the descendant that could be identified and examined for any DNA.
Since most of the remains were severely burnt, it was next to impossible to determine the identity of the body. However, after the autopsy was done there was a lot discovered. Firstly, it was established from a patch of burnt hair that the victim’s hair was apparently reddish-blonde. X-ray of the victim’s skull revealed that it was fractured and contained several pieces of metal meaning the victim suffered gunshot wounds. During the autopsy, bullet fragments were discovered from the brain and it was discovered that there was blood in the sinuses and nasal cavities meaning the victim was alive when they were shot, this lead to the confirmation of a homicide. Internal organs also revealed the victim was an adult female. Identification of the remains was done using forensic odontology. Examination of the jaw bone and teeth revealed the victim was between 24 and 30 years of age, high-quality dental work had been done and that the victim had an extreme condition known as mesiodens. This information was then used to identify the victim through missing people report. They confirmed the victim to the killer using the DNA that was extracted from the victim’s tooth. It was used to match the blood stains that were found in the killer’s car. The deceased victim was identified as Lynn Breaden and her killer was proven to be Chris Cruz.
The results concluded from the autopsy x-ray, and forensic odontologist were all accurate and adequate. It concluded that that victim was struck multiple times with a tire iron in the head and face, shot 3 times in the head with a 22-caliber rifle, dumped into a garbage bin, and then burned. Although the reason that leads to the occurrence of this event is unknown. It is said that Lynn and Chris got into an argument after leaving the nightclub over the payment for drugs they had just bought, specifically cocaine. The argument escalated which led to the violent behavior from Chris eventually leading to the death of Lynn.
This case broke new grounds for scientist’s as it was the first time in history that DNA extracted from a tooth was used to identify the victim in a criminal case. Although this was not the first time a drug-related homicide had occurred, it was one that made history. Statistics in Canada show that there has been a 203% increase in usage of cocaine between 2000 and 2010. According to a publication by the Health Officers Council of British Columbia in 2007, there were 47,000 drug-related deaths yearly in Canada, and the number was said to be rapidly growing over the years. Although a majority of these deaths are from overdoses, a sufficient amount is from crimes committed when handling the drug. Canadian laws suggest that those convicted of 2nd-degree murder will receive a sentence of imprisonment for life. Depending on the offense eligibility of a parole date will be within a range of 10 to 25 years. Drug-related deaths/offenses are an ongoing issue and have repeatedly proven itself to be one of the top leading causes of deaths not only in Canada but worldwide as well.
The unfortunate homicide of Lynn Breadon led to an increase in solving other cases in similar where the remains of the body were at a minimal. This case was the first to break grounds with scientists as it was the first time in history DNA from a tooth was used to solve a criminal case. With the use of forensic odontology, x-rays and an autopsy report, doctors and the police could make conclusions as to what the circumstances were when Lynn was murdered. The most important part that connected Chris to Lynn was not because they were together at the nightlife the night she was murdered, but it was the fact that the extraction of DNA material from her tooth matched the blood that was found all over Chris Cruz car including the weapons that were used. Although over the years drug-related crimes have drastically increased, most crimes aren’t left unsolved as they used to be, with the use of forensic technology many cases have come to find the light of truth.
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