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Anti-Missile Technology May Help Identify Dead Bodies

May 01, 2000  | 

Santa Teresa, New Mexico's Recognition Solutions Inc. is employing copyrighted software that uncovers the individual characteristics of a body's skull when used on typical X-rays commonly used by dentists. This technology was originally designed for the rapid determination incoming international missiles. Recognition Solutions was among hundreds of firms hawking products at Washington, D.C.'s recent Forensic Sciences and Crime Scene Conference and Exposition. The exhibition was the initial global gathering of law enforcement authorities who employ multiple technologies to investigate such crimes as murder, rape, arson, and Internet thefts.

GaryBourgeois, Recognition Solutions' founder, is a family dentist who got interested in improving human remains identification when he assisted in an El Paso, Texas, serial killing case during the late 1980s. Bourgeois determined the dental records of a young female, who had been his patient, when her remains were located in the desert. He theorized that there could be a better means of identifying dead bodies, particularly those without teeth.

Simultaneously, Zhonghao Bao, a computer engineer, was working for the Federal Government in a computerized way to take pictures of incoming missiles and identify certain traits in less than a second. Bourgeois proposed the idea of using the technology for dental identification and Zhonghao altered his software. The computer program locates skull areas on lateral head film and figures out exact angular and linear measurements, typically within a half-second, compared to the half an hour it usually takes orthodontists.

(05/21/00) P. A17; Sefton, Dru. Source:NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary.

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