How pigs in suitcases can help solve crime November 1, 2017 Suitcase murders: Forensic science research helps to solve crimes Murdoch University researchers are investigating the science of hiding dead bodies in suitcases, in a bid to help police solve macabre murders. Forensic biologist Dr Paola Magni has supervised one of the first studies into how bodies decompose when concealed in a suitcase – using dump sites around Murdoch campus. Dr Magni and forensic Master students Chris Petersen and Jonathon Georgy conducted a pilot study using pig carcasses in suitcases in the first step to building a body of scientific data that will help convict killers. “While a lot of research has been conducted into body decomposition, body decomposition in a suitcase is a new field of study,” Dr Magni said. “In fact, we are only aware of one scientific paper on this topic which was published in the UK in 2014. “This area of research is so unusual that the students were invited to present at the European Association for Forensic Entomology conference held recently in Treviso, Italy.” The research found that storing a body in a zipped case slowed the rate of decomposition because it was more difficult for flies to reach the remains. The Murdoch research documented the different insect species, however, Dr Magni said more data was vital before forensic entomologists could present expert witness testimony to assist the prosecution in such murder court cases. Further research would provide valuable information to help crime fighters identify time of death, location of death, and whether the body had been moved. Additional investigation of various zippers and suitcase liners would be useful. During her career Dr Magni has assisted police investigations involving a body in a fridge and a cupboard. “Hiding a body in a suitcase can’t be described as a common practice, thank goodness, but there have been several notorious cases around the world of killers transporting the body from place to place in a suitcase before dumping it.” Dr Magni works in the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences at Murdoch University. Print This Post Media contact: Eugenie Harris Tel: (08) 9360 2734 | Mobile: | Email: Eugenie.Harris@murdoch.edu.au Categories: General, Teaching and Learning, Future Students, International students, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences Research Tags: body, crime, decomposition, entomology, forensic science, insect, murder, police, suitcase Leave a comment Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published. Thanks for commenting!