Forensic Entomology

Forensic Entomology

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1. Forensic Entomology actually plays a major role in determining the time of death, which I am very surprised about. I figured that it would play a big role but it is interesting how much information is gathered by the insects that are found. It is very gross but also kind of interesting. It was very interesting to see that forensic entomology is the only method to determine post-mortem interval after 48-72 hours (CMRJ402). There are different insects that they would find on a decaying body which would be maggots, flies, beetles, and probably more. If the body was discovered less than a month after the death then they would use maggot development to determine the post-mortem interval (SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, 2010). Insects are attracted to the body at different times depending on different factors such as the temperature and the level of decomposition.

There is actually an interesting case that occurred 48 years ago in Canada that has just cleared the person convicted with the help of bugs. Steven Truscott was 14 years old when he was convicted of raping and murdering his friend who was 12 years old at the time. It was thought that the window for the murder was only an hour but it was determined that the incident probably occurred the following morning when Truscott could not have done it. There were experts that looked into this and determined that the size of the maggots in the early photos were not as large as they should have been if they were on the body when they believed the murder occurred (Dye). Because of this observation they were able to determine from the insects that the murder occurred later than they thought due to the size of them. He was freed and not guilty but still awaiting to be declared innocent of murder, at least at the time of this article. Eventually the body will deteriorate so much that the investigators have to use other means which is why the insects are beneficial since a lot can be learned from them. Again, the insects are attracted to the body at different times which helps in determining the time of death.

CMRJ402. (n.d). Week 2: Time of Death and Causes of Death. Retrieved from

Dye, L. (n.d). 48 Years Later, Bugs Clear Convicted Murderer. abcNews. Retrieved from

SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. (2010). Forensic Entomology of the use of Insects in Death Investigations. Retrieved from

2. Forensic Entomolgy is the study of insects and other arthropods and their journey throughout a body to determine the potential time of death of an individual. Some areas have insects specific to the region. The general time for when these insects will colonize a body is known. Investigators can determine how long a body has been in an area based on the age or damage that has been caused to the body by said insects. There are also insects that will inhabit a deceased body at a particular stage of decomposition. These can also help investigators determine the length of time the body has been dead before decomposition began. These investigators must also look into the weather patterns of the area in which the body was found. The rate of maturation for an insect can be hindered through harsh weather. Therefore the investigators must also take this into consideration when determining the time of death (, n.d.).

In the case of Steven Truscott, he had been convicted of the murder of his childhood friend, Lynn Harper. Truscott maintained his innocence stating that she had been alive when he had left ot go home. Truscott had been the last one to supposedly see her alive on June 9th 1958. Harper’s body was found two days later raped and strangled. No DNA evidence was recovered from the scene or the body. However, insects had inhabited the body. Most prominent were blow flies, which had laid hundreds of eggs on the body. The body also contained maggots from the blow flies. These maggots were collected and stored. After serving 48 years, the case was reopened. During the review, the maggots were reviewed by forensic entomologists who determined that Harper was likely killed the next morning as the maggots had not reached a maturity level consistent with the body being dead at the time previously stated. The new evidence was brought to the courts. This proved Truscott could not have been the killer. Truscott was exonerated of the crime but law dictated that he could not be declared innocent (ABC news, 2007). However, Truscott now walks a free man proven innocent of the crime.


ABC news. (2007, 24). 48 Years Later, Bugs Clear Convicted Murderer. Retrieved from (n.d.). What is Forensic Entomology | Forensic Entomologist Jobs, Degrees, Certification and Salary. Retrieved from

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