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How Are Human Remains Identified?

Australians happen across human remains more frequently than you’d think, and despite law enforcement’s best efforts, many still remain unidentified.

According to a study commissioned by the AFP in 2022, there are estimated to be 750 sets of unidentified human remains across the country, and many are integral to solving long-term missing persons cases.

Forensic Specialist Dr Samantha Rowbotham spoke on a recent episode of the Crime Insiders podcast about what happens when human remains are found:

Rowbotham recalled a case on Christmas Day in 2017, when snorkelers at Sandy Point found a complete, articulated skeleton lying on the sea floor.

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“This individual was complete, and he was just lying on the sea floor in a supine position. So facing upwards,” she said.

But the individual’s identity was unknown. Rowbotham steps through her investigation:

Rowbotham started by creating a biological profile.

His profile couldn’t be found on police databases, so Rowbotham explains how they found who the man was on the full episode of the Crime Insiders podcast: