Identification of Suspect by Bite Mark Analysis in a Dead Woman: A Case Report

Case Report

Austin J Forensic Sci Criminol. 2016; 3(1): 1049.

Identification of Suspect by Bite Mark Analysis in a Dead Woman: A Case Report

Costa ST¹, Carvalho GP¹, Matoso RI¹, Freire AR¹, Junior ED², Prado FB¹ and Rossi AC¹*

¹Department of Morphology, University of Campinas, Brazil

²Department of Social Odontology, University of Campinas, Brazil

*Corresponding author: Rossi AC, Department of Morphology, Anatomy Division, Piracicaba Dental School, University of Campinas, FOP-UNICAMP, Av. Limeira, 901- Vila Rezende, Piracicaba - SP - Brazil

Received: June 07, 2016; Accepted: July 08, 2016; Published: July 11, 2016


Human bite marks are unique and can provide precise biter identification. When a dead woman was found with a thoraco abdominal bite mark, the first step was tried to recognize the owner of the guilty teeth. A suspect was found and comparisons between bite mark and plaster models and wax impression was made. After investigations, the suspect was identified as the author of dental impression found on the dead victim. Plaster models of teeth and dental wax impression fully supported this statement. In consequence, he was condemned for qualified homicide, because it was committed with cruelty and feature that impeded or made impossible the offended defense. He was sentenced to nineteen years imprisonment in fully closed regime.

Keywords: Forensic science; Forensic dentistry; Bite marks; Identification; Teeth; Plaster models


Bite marks may be present in police investigations, involving certain specific crimes, such as homicides, rapes, children abuse and domestic violence [1]. Typically, a bite mark is round or ovoid, followed by a profuse bruising [2]. Petechial bruising is due to suction, made by humans. They are caused by loose skin being sucked into the mouth and then pressed against the palate by the tongue [1]. It may be possible to detect individual tooth marks, especially in more aggressive biting [1,2]. Upper and lower incisors teeth mark are expected to be rectangular and canine’s teeth marks are circular, triangular or diamond-shaped in their normal relations to one another [3].

Initial bite mark screening is generally conducted by local polices and coroners, but the specific analysis it is in charge of a forensic dental expert, because the investigation final aims to identify the owner of the guilty teeth. In order to achieve the purpose, the first step is to recognize 4 to 5 marks that resembled teeth, before a given mark can be defined as a human bite mark. Then, such injuries can eventually allow identification of the originator [4]. Biter identification is based on uniqueness teeth features. Human teeth and their related oral structures, like fingerprints are unique for each individual, even including identical twins [2,5]. Identification based on bite mark impression is made based on the shapes and arrangements of the bite mark impressions left behind and the degree of match to the teeth of the human who might have left these impressions [6].

Bite mark analysis can make criminals be sentenced to prison [7], since it can reveal unique individual features. Therefore, because teeth relations and characteristics are unique for each individual, the present study proposes to report a case, which a human bite marks, was the essential element to convict the principal author.

Case Presentation

In 2001, a woman was found dead with several bruises. In the complaint, it was stated that the defendant, freely and consciously, with intent to kill, assaulted the victim with punches, kicks, bites, and blunt instrument, causing the numerous injuries. Author was arrested but denied the murder because he lived cohabiting with the victim and that he acted in self-defense of his honor. Finally, it maintains that the intent of killing remains unproven, because when he departed from the crime scene, the victim was still alive. Thus, faced with allegations imposed by the defense and the statement of not being the author of several injuries, there was a need to prove the authorship of the attacks. One of the lesions called attention, because it seemed to be a typical bite mark (Figure 1). In the left anterior thoraco abdominal region there was a well-defined lesion that clearly resembled a human bite mark, with no dilacerations. Thus, the bite mark was a chance to define the suspect as the author of all injuries.