Go Personal Identification | Forensic Medicine

Personal identification

  • Features of identification in the forensic examination of the corpses of unknown persons
  • Laboratory methods of research in forensic medicine are ultimately in one way or another subject to the goals and objectives of identification.

    Identification is the establishment of the identity of various phenomena, objects, things, persons according to their characteristic individual, inherent only to them features. A theory of forensic identification has been developed - the study of general principles and rules for identifying material objects (according to their properties in the past) through the use of special scientific methods. The scientific basis of forensic identification consists of the provisions of the Marxist-Leninist theory of knowledge about the individuality of objects of the material world and their ability to reflect, that is, the ability of these objects to reflect (display) their properties in other objects when interacting with each other.

    The basic principles of forensic identification can be expressed in the following form:
    1) the identification process involves identifiable (for which the question of identity must be resolved) and identifying objects (with the help and with the help of which the question of identity is solved);
    2) identification objects are divided into changeable and relatively unchangeable, which are stable in the period in which their identity is determined;
    3) the identification process includes analysis - in-depth study of objects and their properties using techniques and methods that complement each other and give objective information about the object, and synthesis - a comparison of the studied objects and their assessment in synthetic unity;
    4) each compared sign must be studied in dynamics, since the identified objects can appear in different manifestations and states; in addition, one should keep in mind the variability of signs depending on the time and the possibility of deliberate distortion of the trait.


    These basic principles of the theory of forensic identification fully apply to the identification of forensic objects. Identification of personality is the identification of the identity of a particular person based on the totality of all the properties and characteristics that distinguish him from other people.

    One of the main tasks of the preliminary investigation is to establish the identity of the victim or suspect in the commission of a crime.

    Investigation practice requires the identification of a living person (for example, a criminal hiding from the investigating authorities; a detainee who refuses to give his name, surname or deliberately distorting them; impact or deceased suddenly.

    The possibilities of identifying both a living person and a corpse are based on a combination of the individual physical characteristics (uniqueness) of each person. These include gender, age, race, anatomical features, anthropometric indicators, antigenic properties, the presence of certain diseases, traces of various injuries, changes caused by the profession, tattoos, etc.

    fingerprinting (fingerprints)
    Fig. 98. The main types of papillary nodes of the fingers: a - curl; b - arc; in - loopback.

    Fig. 99. Identification by traces of papillary patterns (on the left - on objects from the scene, on the right - the imprint of the suspect).

    When identifying an individual, fingerprinting is of great importance - a section of forensic science that studies the structure of the skin patterns of the fingers (Fig. 98), the design of which is strictly individual. Throughout a person’s life (and after death, pronounced putrefactive changes will develop) the shape and characteristics of papillary patterns do not change. For superficial lesions that do not affect the skin itself, the papillary pattern is fully restored in its previous form. These scientifically proven provisions represent the basis of the currently used fingerprint registration of criminals; fingerprints made at the same time are stored in a special department of the Office of Internal Affairs. When re-arresting, the received fingerprints are compared (by a special system) with those already in the card index and thus identify the identity of the detainee, if he was previously registered. Upon detection of the corpses of unknown or unidentified persons, police officers, with the participation of a forensic expert, make their mandatory fingerprinting. If the deceased has been previously fingerprinted, then his identity can be established by this method (Fig. 99). The arrangement of papillary patterns on the soles of the feet is also strictly individual for each person.


    When searching for criminals hiding from the bodies of inquiry, investigation and trial, or evading punishment, the compilation of a verbal portrait describing a person’s appearance according to special rules using unified terms and symbols is widely used. Properly compiled verbal portrait allows you to select the wanted person from many similar ones and provides the possibility of his identification. The main role in the verbal portrait is given to the description of the features of the face, but the entire appearance of the person is also necessarily characterized. It is indicated as static signs determined at rest ( height , build, shoulder size, neck, overall face shape and profile, details of the face structure, special signs in the form of deviations from the anatomical norm, lack of body parts, deformities, etc.) and dynamic (voice, gait, facial expressions, etc.).

    The system of describing a person by external signs is used by employees of the investigating authorities for the subsequent summation of all established data serving the purpose of identification. As technical methods and means of summing up external signs, in particular, the compilation of “synthetic” and drawn portraits and so-called identikits are used, which are used to search for identifiable persons. Compiled (synthetic) portraits and “identikits” are made by a forensic expert from a variety of fragments of photographs of various persons using the layout method (Fig. 100). Painted portraits are performed by artists from the words of people who know well the signs of a wanted person.

    verbal portrait
    Fig. 100. Verbal portrait.