University Beat report on the USF "Art of Forensics" workshop.
Forensic artists at a recent workshop hosted by the University of South Florida wrapped up their week of work by presenting their creations - fourteen clay busts of unidentified victims in cold cases - to local law enforcement.
But in the middle of their presentation, a woman looking at one of the works at the rear of a downtown Tampa conference room broke down sobbing, sure that the face staring back at her was that of her sister, some thirty-eight years after she went missing.
In April 2013, the decomposed remains of a woman were discovered behind a truck stop at I-75 and State Road 44 in Sumter County. Authorities there weren’t able to identify her, so they turned to Dr. Erin Kimmerle and the USF Forensic Anthropology Laboratory for help.
Combining a three-dimensional scan of the woman’s skull with photos from the scene and other details, Kimmerle says they were able to use Photoshop and put together a composite image of what the woman likely looked like.
"The more information that we can learn from the scene or autopsy helps inform us about those individual characteristics, for example, using her own glasses in the image," Kimmerle said at a press conference earlier this year. "But it’s really just based on skeletal anatomy and we hope that it will trigger someone's memory or bring new information to light."