Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Solving Crimes with Forensic Toxicology

Poisoning has become one of the most preferred methods of murder throughout much of history. It is believed that any natural or synthetic substance is poisonous with the right dosage. They can even sometimes mimic the symptoms of common diseases, fooling physicians into thinking that the patient had died of natural causes. 

This situation indicates a crime known as foul play. In crime solving, foul play means that a crime is disguised as another situation; in this case, natural death. It is primarily meant to fool authorities, so they could look in directions the perpetrator intended. 

Forensic toxicology is here to save the day. 

Forensic toxicologists are vital into solving crimes which confuse most authorities, ranging from apparent suicide, or deliberate poisoning. They draw conclusions from examining the victim’s body for signs of chemical poisoning, how these substances caused death, and whether or not they were induced accidentally. 

Body fluids are their main focus. They acquire samples of urine, blood, stomach juices, sweat, and saliva to test for possible contamination. Poisoning can involve common house objects as a means to transfer the deadly chemicals into the body. For example, sleeping powder can be mixed into a drink, or a candy be coated with a poisonous substance, then eaten. 

Aside from the bodily samples, they also collect physical objects scattered around the crime scene (e.g. pill bottles) that can be used as evidence. Once enough proof is collated and a conclusion derived, they present their findings to the court in the form of a forensic toxicology witness.

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