Forensic Entomology – Bugs Solving a Crime

Insects are a helpful tool for providing details of when, where, and how someone died. Forensic entomologists can even use clues from bugs to solve crime investigations. Most commonly, this science is used to establish a time frame for when a death occurs.

The species of insects that inhabit a corpse, along with weather information and other crime scene details, can provide an approximation of the time of death, whether the person had been wounded before dying, and if the corpse had been moved after the crime.

insects in crime

Studying bugs was crucial in a trial in 2003 when a man named Vincent Brothers had allegedly driven from Ohio to California to murder his family. He denied these claims, and said he did not drive to Ohio. In order to prove him wrong, UC Davis entomologist Lynn Kimsey examined the bugs located on Brothers’ radiator and air filter. She determined from fragments of 30 insects that many of them could have only been found in the West. Her testimony led to Brothers’ conviction. (Natalie Gilmore)

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