Professor's project to aid death investigations

Dr. Ann Bunch, chair of SUNY Oswego’s anthropology department and a forensic pathologist, has received a grant from the National Institute of Justice to test a method for estimating the age of a person at the time of death based on dental remains.

As principal investigator, she and her team will use the $6,915 grant to assess the utility of an age estimation method that could be especially useful in cases involving large numbers of fatalities where a number of professionals and trainees are working in temporary laboratories and makeshift morgues.

Her team includes Onondaga County Chief Medical Examiner Mary Jumbelic; Dr. Richard Willis, a dentist; Ronald Brunelli, a death investigator; and Jennifer VanWie, an Oswego alumna currently working on her master’s degree in forensic science.

The five will test the Lamendin age estimation method on a sample of 200 known-age teeth, Bunch said.

“We will test the method to see if there is significant interobserver error and whether it is ‘simple’ and ‘easy to use’ (as Lamendin et al. claim it to be). The number of participants, their various training/experience, and the number of teeth in the sample are all new twists on previous studies conducted using this promising method of age estimation,” she added.

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CONTACT: Dr. Ann Bunch, 312-3170,

(Posted: Oct 18, 2006)