Professor Assists Law Enforcement
Law enforcement officials from the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office contacted Georgia Southern University with a request. They were in need of an expert to help them with a suspicious death. They were unable to determine the time of death for a person that had just been discovered.
“During the autopsy, the medical examiner in Savannah, Ga. collected insects from the body and gave them to the Sheriff’s Office,” said biology professor and forensic entomologist Ed Mondor, who was able to examine the insects and construct an approximate time from death to discovery.
Through Mondor’s hard work and dedicated efforts, Georgia Southern and the community-at-large have been introduced to the field of forensic entomology. Since the summer of 2010, Mondor has led students in research studies at two undisclosed field sites in the area, the only such locations in the state. Similar to “body farms” located at universities around the country, students study the stages of vertebrate decomposition. Instead of human cadavers, Mondor uses stillborn pigs. Students are taught to identify the types and stages of local fly species that colonize the carcasses.
Currently, he is building a database of local insects that will be helpful in identifying insects discovered on human bodies in future cases. While waiting for his next opportunity to assist in a case, he is teaching the University’s first forensic biology course. Mondor and colleague Michelle Tremblay are creating further awareness about the field by conducting a forensic entomology workshop for law enforcement personnel around the state of Georgia. “We are going to show them proper collecting techniques for different life stages so the insects can be sent to me for future cases,” he said.
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