Pollen Findings in a Presumptive Drowning Case


A medicolegal/botanical collaboration has to lead to an interdisciplinary procedure for developing methods when studying dead bodies found in water with no clear circumstances. Hereby we present a report or a preliminary attempt as a basis for encouraging further work in the field. The body of an unidentified 25 - 35 years old woman was found immersed in a fresh water ditch in state of decomposition. Structural alterations avoid any a priori identification of asphyxia or traumatic cervical lesions. The last cause of death was estimated as a cardio respiratory collapse and a drowning investigation was proposed. Taxonomic species identification was carried out to relate the pollen aspiration with the water medium in lung, spleen, liver and water medium. We presented pollen grains in spleen, as a closed organ, as a clue for death investigation in the absence of diatom findings. Information about where and when pollen grains occur may ascertain that a body or an object was in some place at a certain time. Since the consequences of aspiration depend on many factors, such as the quantity, size and solidity of the material aspirated and whether the aspiration is chronically recurrent or acute, the pollen investigation must be done with precaution. We conclude that in the absence of other microscopic structures, biochemical blood analyses, or histological findings, forensic palynology may be of help to relate the presumptive drowned body with its death scenario.

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Martínez, P. , González-Porto, A. , Munuera, M. and Acevedo, N. (2015) Pollen Findings in a Presumptive Drowning Case. Forensic Medicine and Anatomy Research, 3, 43-47. doi: 10.4236/fmar.2015.32009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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