Evaluation of postmortem biochemical markers: Completeness of data and assessment of implication in the field

Joris Meurs*, Tristan Krap, Wilma Duijst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Throughout the years an increase has been observed in research output on biochemical markers for determining the postmortem interval (PMI). However, to date, a complete overview is missing on the results of postmortem biochemical markers (PBM''s) for PMI estimation. In this paper, literature was reviewed in order to identify the knowledge lacunae of PBM research from a practical point of view. A three-step approach was undertaken in order to achieve the set goal. Literature was collected, the PBM''s were evaluated for completeness by means of a scorings index based on set criteria, and PBM''s were subsequently evaluated in light of the Daubert & Frye criteria for scientific evidence in court. Seven PBM''s were found to be well investigated, from which potassium had the highest completion score. However, none of these PBM''s could be qualified as suitable for court evidence. Further, this study revealed that the majority of PBM''s (94%) is not well investigated. Consequently, these PBM''s did not meet Daubert & Frye criteria. In order to improve the assessment for use of PBM''s as evidence in court regarding PMI estimation, PBM''s should be investigated more thoroughly and data should be made readily available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-180
Number of pages4
JournalScience & Justice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Postmortem interval
  • Biochemical markers
  • Forensic medicine
  • Postmortem biochemistry
  • Thanatochemistry
  • TIME

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