skull and bones in sand

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: