How Maggots Helped Solve the Murder of Filipina in UK

How Maggots Helped Solve the Murder of Filipina in UK

With the help of maggots, investigators can now get more vital clues in a crime scene. In fact, these creepy crawlers have been instrumental in putting several killers behind bars.

A forensic entomologist at Texas A&M University, Jeff Tomberlin said the presence of maggots or larvae of flies in a deceased person or animal’s bodies can give criminal investigators an idea about the time of death, and whether the body was moved from one location to another.

So how exactly do maggots become indispensable allies of CSI?

Tomberlin explained that when a person or animal dies, microorganisms break down its tissues and produce gases causing the body to bloat.

Eventually, insects such as bowflies, flesh flies, and black soldier flies will join the feast.

These flies are attracted to moist cavities such as eyes, ears, and mouth where they lay their eggs. Of course, the eggs hatch and come out as maggots which feed on the surrounding soft tissue.

Predicting the Time of Death

By identifying the species of larvae and maggots, ageing them, and determining the temperature which affects their growth, investigators can predict the actual time of death of a person.

In the 2009 murder case of Leah Questin, a 37-year-old Filipina health worker found dumped in a suitcase in a dried-up pond in Kent, UK, the presence of blowfly maggots in her body became a critical piece of evidence in identifying her killer.

Lea Questin, murdered Filipina found inside a suitcase PHOTO CREDIT:http://www.independent.co.uk

Lea Questin, murdered Filipina found inside a suitcase
PHOTO CREDIT:http://www.independent.co.uk

Although Questin’s body had been badly decomposed, the way the maggots affected her body was crucial in establishing that her body was moved to the site.

The vital clue was instrumental in identifying her murderer, Clinton Bailey, a boyfriend whom she met in the internet. Bailey was found guilty and sentenced for a minimum of 30 years in prison.

Since Questin was dumped in a suitcase, researchers also studied the material of the suitcase as it affected the speed with which the maggots infested her body.

Can larvae penetrate a suitcase? PHOTO CREDIT:http://www.bbc.com

Can larvae penetrate a suitcase?
PHOTO CREDIT:http://www.bbc.com

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mmalabanan
mmalabanan 540 posts

Mini is a work-at-home mom from Laguna. Aside from writing, she's passionate about breastfeeding and homeschooling.

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