Bitemark Evidence Collection Guidelines

Before investigative procedures commence some form of legal permission must be obtained from an appropriate authority. This may be in the form of written consent, search warrant, subpoena, or court order. Details of how the investigator was contacted, by whom, when, documentation of the case number and agency from where the case originates should be recorded.

“Opportunities to physically view the suspected bitemark are rarely presented other than during the initial examination due to a variety of reasons often beyond the odontologist’s control. Collection of bitemark evidence should endeavor to obtain maximal information so as to enable meaningful analysis and comparison of the wound pattern with a potential source, with the assumption that further access to the material evidence will no longer be possible after the primary examination. Every effort must be made to capture the true nature of the evidence at the time of collection by recording as much detail about the injury as possible.”2

There are two categories of evidence collection associated with patterned injury/bitemark case work. The first involves evidence collection of the patterned injury/bitemark. The second is the collection of evidence from the suspected biter(s).