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Forensic Facial Reconstruction

Forensic Facial Reconstruction

By reconstructing the face, with the use of a computer, forensic investigators can use the bone structure to add eyes, hair and skin to develop a close facsimile of the person they need to identify. This picture is then compared to a missing person database to see if any matches are found. If the database has no match, police may then send the photo to the media for distribution. This has helped identify people that were killed by serial killers such as John Wayne Gacy.

Gacy was convicted of killing, torturing and raping thirty-three males from 1972 through 1978. Forensic science helped to identify his victims that were uncovered under his crawlspace. Most victims were identified by means of forensic science. Although the technology years ago was not as sophisticated as it is today, crime investigators used what they had available to place a name with those from on the Gacy property. By looking at pictures of missing persons and a facial reconstruction, crime investigators can clearly match a picture with a missing person.

After forensic facial reconstruction and finding a close match in the database, more forensic science is needed to complete the process. They can use forensic DNA from the missing person and the bones found to confirm if the person is indeed the one they found. They may also use forensic odontology to find out if a person is a certain person of interest. Because of the hard work of forensic investigators, serial killer victims can have an identity if found. This however does not help with identifying every body found. The media must be used in some cases.

The media is where the investigators go to when they have a forensic facial reconstruction and no match in the missing person’s database. These pictures are posted nationwide in most cases in hopes of finding someone that recognizes the victim. This is the case in Fond Du Lac County, Wisconsin. A woman’s decaying body was found in the woods near the Kettle Moraine area. No match was found in the missing person’s database, so the reconstructed facial picture was sent out to the media in hopes that someone knew who the woman was and what her name is. Once they have a name to go with the picture, they can conduct other tests to confirm the identity.

There is never just one piece of forensic information that identifies a person or a cause of death. Forensic science is the use of all means to conclusively identify a person and the cause of death. Without forensic science, more crimes would go unsolved and more people would be buried without an identity. Because of forensic science, more convicted criminals are being released from prison because they are proven innocent because of new technology in forensic science. The same science that helps clear ones name is also the same science that proves the guilt of a person.