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Applications of social network media in medicolegal death investigation

Applications of social network media in medicolegal death investigation

Journal of Forensic Sciences 58(6): 1628-1632

With the increased popularity of online social networking services (SNS) such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+, we propose that a wealth of new resources is available for medicolegal death investigation. Recognizing this potential, we identified cases in which social media had been useful in the past in our office and asked our investigative staff to consider using social media in current cases. These cases provided illustrative examples for this primer regarding how information from SNS was used in death investigations in our office. Information gleaned from online social media aided in establishing preliminary identification of a decedent, locating next-of-kin, investigating the circumstances of death as relevant to the manner of death, corroborating eyewitness accounts, and providing information relevant to time of death. Potential pitfalls were identified, such as shared accounts or online impostors. SNS proved useful to the medicolegal death investigator and medical examiner, so long as their limitations were recognized.

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Accession: 051616163

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23822156

DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.12173

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