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Subject: [DNA] Ashes (corrected)
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2002 05:52:12 EST


I know a little about creations due to my interesting friends.

Years ago a forensic anthropologist working at the Smithsonian described some
ashes that were brought to them to analyze to see if they were from the
remains of a truck driver (who turned out to have set his truck on fire to
fake his death, using slabs of pork parts to simulate his body). The remains
had been taken to a crematory to burn what hadn't been burned in the truck
fire before the police demanded the ashes to take to the Smithsonian. My
friend said that there was some humor in analyzing the remains because most
of the bone fragments left (and, yes, there are bone fragments in real
cremation ashes) were obviously pork bones. There was one human vertebra in
the ashes, however. My friend told me that the bone was "obviously a female
vertebra, so couldn't be the truck driver in question." When I asked my
friend how could this bone have gotten into the ashes, she laughed and said,
"You know they just shovel those ashes out and sometimes someone else's ashes
get mixed in."

The mixing of ashes would have obvious impact on DNA testing, even if it were
possible.

Mary Mallett


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